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Games Entertainment

Can Video Game Accessibility Go Too Far? 164

A piece at GameSetWatch questions whether modern game companies are taking accessibility a step too far in their rush to attract people who don't typically play video games. This worry was inspired, in part, by the news that Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros. Wii would have the capability to play itself in order to let a human player get past a tricky part. Quoting: "Bigger audiences finishing more games is certainly a worthy goal, and Nintendo has shown that accessibility is the servant of engagement. History has rarely — if ever — dared to disprove the wisdom of Miyamoto's foresight. History has also never disproven, however, the principle that any medium and any message degrades the wider an audience it must reach. Art was never served by generalization, nor language by addressing all denominators. Entertainment for the masses ultimately becomes empty. There must exist an absolute point beyond which greater accessibility means less engagement. Making a game so easy it can play itself for you at the push of a button just might be that point."
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Can Video Game Accessibility Go Too Far?

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  • by Piata ( 927858 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:34AM (#28481165)
    The more you try to gain mass appeal, the further you dilute the core qualities of the experience. This guy is saying that if you make games that can play themselves, they quickly cease to be relevant as games.
  • God Mode (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:57AM (#28481575)

    This is no different than old-school games (ie, the ones I played growing up) like Wolfenstein or Doom, each of which had a "God mode" which everybody knew. Those codes would give you invulnerability and/or unlimited ammo.

    Sometimes it was fun just to use them and just go berserk, but one of the main uses of them was to get through portions of the game that you simply couldn't beat. I used them occasionally when I was just unable to beat some monster. As such, those codes (which have been used in many games by many gamers) are no different than the current feature in Mario, except that it's more interactive.

    I've favored games that automatically level the difficulty level so the user still does all the action rather than watching it. That's easier with combat style games than it is for platform-style games. Maybe they need ways of making the *physics* more forgiving as well - say make Mario jump farther/higher, have something rescue you if you fall, etc.

  • by sorrowsjudge ( 1181865 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:59AM (#28481595)
    The World Ends With You for DS does exactly that. You can change the difficulty of the game at any time (except in battles), which affects the items and XP you get from fights. If you lose a fight, you have 3 options: Quit, Retry, and Retry on Easy. Great system.
  • by Freetardo Jones ( 1574733 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:03AM (#28482847)

    I don't think the facts bear you out: []

    Notice the bar for games sales and how it rises almost every year since 1999.

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by haystor ( 102186 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:18AM (#28483135)

    Why should Nintendo be singled out here? So many PC games over the years have had godmode and other cheats. It doesn't detract at all from your experience if you want to play without it. Some of these companies are spending tens of millions of dollars on game production and people hear that and never get to see the end of the story. One can only wonder about future sales that are lost when someone gets fed up with only ever seeing 2/3's of each story.

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