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Do Gamers Want Simpler Games? 462

A recent GamePro article sums up a lesson that developers and publishers have been slowly learning over the last few years: gamers don't want as much from games as they say they do. Quoting: "Conventional gaming wisdom thus far has been 'bigger, better, MORE!' It's something affirmed by the vocal minority on forums, and by the vast majority of critics that praise games for ambition and scale. The problem is, in reality its almost completely wrong. ... How do we know this? Because an increasing number of games incorporate telemetry systems that track our every action. They measure the time we play, they watch where we get stuck, and they broadcast our behavior back to the people that make the games so they can tune the experience accordingly. Every studio I've spoken to that does this, to a fault, says that many of the games they've released are far too big and far too hard for most players' behavior. As a general rule, less than five percent of a game's audience plays a title through to completion. I've had several studios tell me that their general observation is that 'more than 90 percent' of a game's audience will play it for 'just four or five hours.'"
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Do Gamers Want Simpler Games?

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  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:26AM (#32095048)
    As much as I love RPG games, I am somewhat turned off when I hear that it has a playtime that runs over 60 hours. That's because some of the longer RPGs tend to have nothing "new" other than a whole lot of random encounters and grinding. I didn't mind it as much when I was younger, but now I don't have time or desire to play that long. I'd much rather play a shorter game with some options for replay (so that I can finish and continue should I desire), such as the games with a New+ option after completing the main story line.

    The gamer demographic is changing - I'm sure the hardcore want difficult games. Me, I'd like to have fun when I can, without the overwhelming idea that I need to devote my life to the gameplay.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:27AM (#32095056)


    No, seriously. I'm one of those players that usually play(ed) games to completion. And maybe it's that I'm getting older, thus not longer feeling compelled to "beat" a game, but I haven't felt the urge to actually "complete" a game recently. At some point it becomes repetitive, requiring the same steps to be repeated over and over and over, and it's usually that point where I decide that it's just not worth it.

  • Lovely. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:33AM (#32095088)

    Sounds like somebody is tired of paying developers to make 40 hour games, and has decided to select the evidence they want to promote the idea of 3-5 hour games being the new standard.

    I DO want more of a game I like. I don't tend to buy games that promise sub-10 hour gameplay.

    Ryan Fenton

  • by Ziekheid ( 1427027 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:38AM (#32095116)

    I'm not here to bash on console gamers, hell, I'm a console gamer myself too but I see a trend of (ported) PC games being oversimplified because the console audience is not buying into the "RTS with binding 10.000 keys to individual units" theme. This totally ruins some games and it's not only RTS where this applies. It applies to basically every new PC game comming out that is being ported from a console version.
    Even menu's are stripped down so you can barely change any settings, I've ran into games where you couldn't even change the mouse y-ass to inverted or change advanced graphics settings.
    Shooters where you don't switch to grenades but just hit the nade key and limited choices of "items" available in RPGs.

    Don't even get me started about advanced game manipulation through consoles and/or modding.

  • by mvar ( 1386987 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:51AM (#32095184)
    Have they thought about it? In the past you could play games like "Baldur's Gate" with 200+ hours of gameplay and not get bored and even go through it again a couple of times.
  • Most longer games tend to artificially extend gameplay by long transports and repetitive tasks. The few that has longer gameplay by really introducing new tasks are really good and worth the time.

    I wouldnt want a bad movie be extented over three hours either. If the game suck after a short while, maybe it really isnt that good?

    Any EA executives wet dream must be to chop good games up into countless expansions so it can be sold over and over.

  • by Nautical Insanity ( 1190003 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:54AM (#32095202)

    Generalizing gamers in this way is like generalizing moviegoers. People who play video games are an increasingly diverse group. The phrase "Every gamer wants $X" is either deceit or wishful thinking. Game publishers would love to have their customers bundled into a neat and easily-marketable demographic. However, as many /. arguments over what makes a great game can attest, every person who plays a video games has a different expectation of what the experience should provide.

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:56AM (#32095212) Homepage Journal

    Make your 40 hour long game if you must... but break them up into 8 episodes of 5 hours each. Make each one "self contained" as much as is practical, even if that means you need to put a "previously.." at the beginning of eps 2 to 8.

    And, here's the brilliant part: Charge $15 per episode. Many customers will bork at buying a $120 game, but plenty will happily do that over weeks/months.

  • by ReneeJade ( 1649107 ) <> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:58AM (#32095224)
    Yes, I agree. I watched my housemate play Mario Kart on Wii and wonder at how he didn't get bored. Then one day I got drunk enough to try it for myself and discovered that is is nowhere near as simple as it appears. The challenges are subtle. You don't get "stuck" on Mario Kart, but you need more than good hand-eye co-ordination to be great at it. That's why it remains fun, even after hours, without appearing to be complex.
  • Re:Lovely. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ross D Anderson ( 1020653 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @04:03AM (#32095246)
    Yeah but that's never going to happen. We all know the 10 hour games will still cost $40 a piece and the 40 hour games will cost $100
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @04:32AM (#32095390) Journal

    I think you gave your own answer there. The problem isn't with the number of hours per se, but basically with making a 10 hour game and padding it to 60 with 50 hours of dumb repetitive filler or with boss fights that you need to try 20 times to get to the next chunk of actual story.

    Not all games are automatically that way just because they're 60 hours long. There are a rare few which can stay reasonably interesting. Unfortunately, a lot do just pad it so they can write a big number on the box.

  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @04:46AM (#32095460)
    I do not want less complex games.

    Games don't need to be dumber, the average age of a gamer is over 25, we aren't morons so stop treating us like them.

    I like a bit of complexity and puzzle solving in my game, I absolutely hate the hand holding and linear corridors of recent games.

    Complex does not mean harder or longer it means that it is meant to provide a player with a challenge and after that challenge was defeated a feeling of accomplishment

    Anything that could force the player to make hard decisions or challenge them slightly has been removed. Like an inventory system where you had limited space, so you actually have to make difficult choices about what to carry (S.T.A.L.K.E.R. did this to some extent). Near unlimited ammo and and regenerating health have become the Deus Ex Machina of gaming, killing decent game design. At no point do you have to take it easy and plan your moves due to low health, in HL1 if you wasted your rockets you'd find the game difficult if not impossible at some points. Now days, even in HL2 there is an infinite "box-o-rockets" where you engage anything that needs them. Now that's just for game-play, now let me get started on story.

    Here's the story line for the next Gears of Duty game.

    You are a red meat easting, muscle bound, flag waving all American hero (even if you've got a foreign accent but I'll get to that bit later) needless to say, you are 100% good and pure. Your enemy are the evil Nazi, zombie terrorists who want to blow up the White House with a dirty bomb (sound familiar) so they are unambiguously evil in every fashion. You will fight through a mixture of the standard tile sets (urban, jungle snow, desert) which are quite linear (any illusion of openness is optical) whilst never running out of ammo or health until you get to an unimpressive anti-climax where someone hands you a gun and you kill the ultimate Hitler Zombie Alien with one shot in a cinematic perspective. Further more, simply adding a foreign accent to this archetype does not instantly make them foreign. I cringe when I hear the British soldiers in COD as they are just Yanks with cockney accents. I'm sorry but this just doesn't cut it and why I'm glad they've never tried to use Australian characters (Bioshock again, Australia Day is 26/01 (DD/MM) not 01/26 (MM/DD) no Aussie would ever write dates in a yank format)

    Personally I'm sick of it. It's like the publishers don't want me to see anything that could accidentally kick my brain into gear. I remember System Shock 2, you had a love-hate thing with Shodan, the ideas of the many were seductive, you could associate with the logs of the dead crew (Bioshock was a really, really poor copy of SS2's story with the intrigue taken out). Deus Ex where you weren't sure who was on who's side. I've been waiting 10 years for another game that could get my attention and imagination so completely as DX and SS2.

    So yes, give me complexity, a deep involving story and some actual challenging game play. Also ramping up the enemies hit points to make things harder is cheap (Bioshock), design better AI.

    Standard Disclaimer: this is for PC games and consoles pretending to be PC's. Casual games are a different kettle of fish all together.
  • Completion .... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @04:47AM (#32095472) Homepage Journal
    why should a game have a completion. why it should have an ending. and why the hell do we have to see them ?

    games used to be played for the entertainment they induced WHILE they were being played. they werent some struggle that we would get rewarded in the end. really, WHAT can you do possibly to reward a player, after forcing him/her to go through a lot of arduous 'challenges' over 30-50 hours average in a game ? have him/her laid ?

    increasingly after the mid 90s, games were made to give 'challenges'. some screwed up corporate engineering wisdom that is probably centered around usa (they are very obsessed with 'challenge' and 'success' as a culture) made games more and more synonymous with the words 'challenge' and 'success'. and, the value of the game started to be evaluated around how much 'play time' it offered. culmination of this has been world of warcraft. endles cycle off challenges and successes. an ultimate success (boss) in the end, refreshing every 6-12 months.

    games became stuff that subjected the player to arduous work towards interim or ultimate objectives. the enjoyment was considered as progressing through those objectives. the fun while doing that, was discarded and made synonymous with the progression and struggle. also, 'better' graphics, 'cooler' sounds came with the package as additions, with technology. it was thought this was the way.

    then wii came. it bitchslapped the exceedingly corporatized and industrialized gaming sector. simple, concentrating on actual continuous play fun rather than progression and objectives, it brought fun back into the games. 5 year olds as well as 80 year olds started gaming, along with the hardcore gamer who was supposed to be toiling his/her life away during progression/challenge runs in between objectives. entire game industry was stupefied, and instantly they started to imitate left and right. even world of warcraft was softened, the grind lessened and game was made more fluid, along with added 'fun' elements which you could experience during the gameplay, instead of interim objectives. all the games and platforms took their share from the new wave. even mass effect 2 was simplified (maybe unnecessarily and maybe too far). the simplicity and actual playtime fun of games were brought back from the indie game circle they have been pushed to.

    was it too hard to understand that, people who worked or studied during their weekday time, would not like to repeat the same thing again, in a game, which they were supposedly to have fun ? if you ask me, it doesnt take 2 brain cells. but, it happened. im tying it to the exceedingly vocal minority that is present in gaming crowd on the net, ie 'achievement deranged' crowd, along with the increasingly corporate engineer nature of gaming companies.

    games need to be designed with a childish mind, not a corporate engineer mind. for, games are not going to be sold to vendors, or marketed to government officials or corporate bigwigs in order to strike juicy deals. games are going to be sold to the man in the street for entertainment. its about human nature. its about human nature that comes into being while wearing pajamas at 20.00 in the still of one's own living room. you cant understand it in a corporate environment with a corporate mind.

    well, anyway, here we are now; wii bitchslapped the industry, and they all jumped in the bandwagon. we will see how many of them will succeed in understanding.
  • Yah umm, screw oblivion.

    The first time I tried to kill the council of mages (or whatever they are called) and failed (they are invincible!) I dropped the game and gave up.

    Open world my arse.

    Oblivion is far too SIMPLE. Combat is simple, the storyline is linear and simple, and the promised "multiple paths" are only in terms of limited scripted events. Ooh I can be an evil bad ass if I do what the brotherhood of assassins (or again, whatever they are called, its been awhile) says I do. SCREW THAT. What if I want to jack all of them up? Oh can't do that, not in the script.


  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @05:13AM (#32095584) Journal

    A movie has a running length of 120 minutes, but everybody leaves at 115 minutes when the credits start rolling. Conclusion: People want movies to be shorter.

    Eh, no. They just don't want to sit through 5 minutes of credits.

    People watch commercial TV. Conclusion: People want to watch ads every 5 minutes and overlayed on the program.

    Eh no. That is just what people have to put up with.

    Statistics and user figures are very easy to misinterpret. Would you take the vcr action recordings of someone watching a porn movie and apply them on how to make a regular movie?

    So why apply the actions of a console beat-em-up to a RPG?

    There are some games that are big for the sake of being big. Some beat-em-up is coming out, that was reviewed as having even more characters as before. So if I don't play all of their piss-poor story lines, I haven't finished the game? What if a path through an RPG doesn't appeal to me? I never bother with the evil path. Does that mean I am recorded as only playing through half of the game? I enjoyed F1 games in the past, but only with one did I do a complete realistic season (Grand Prix Legends). What if I don't do the game on nightmare mode or for that matter easy mode? What if I cheat to go straight to nightmare mode (another reason consoles suck donkey balls, locked difficulties)?

    Yes of course there are people who look at an RPG and complain it takes 60 hours. So? Then that game is not for them. Because if you shorten it to 5 hours you ruin it for all your customers who love a 60 hour game.

    Here is a simple sales man trick. Concentrate on selling to people who are buying. People who are not buying will always find another reason not to. But people who are buying, need only 1 to become part of them.

  • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @05:28AM (#32095654)
    There are many classic games that are fun for more than 4 hours, and are repetitive: pacman, tetris, that card game that comes with Windows...
  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @05:44AM (#32095720)
    I've completely lost interest in Half Life. It was one year (June 2006 - October 2007) between Episode 1 and Episode 2 of HL2. It's been three years since Episode 2, and the story has lost its appeal.

    The next Half Life game i'll buy will be Black Mesa [], a third party port of the original Half Life to the Source engine. Episode 3? I might read a synopsis on Wikipedia and go "Oh, so that's what happened..." and then forget about it again.
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @06:01AM (#32095768) Homepage Journal
    So essentially what you want is D&D? No single player game is going to allow you to do what you want where you want because unfortunately the AI isn't all that advanced and won't be in the foreseeable future. If you want an open ended game where you can do anything, grab a bag of dice, a dungeonmasters guide and start creating some characters!
  • seconded... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @06:17AM (#32095850) Homepage Journal
    it's the same with all Bethesda games unfortunately, as well as all the other "huge open world" type games I know. It begins with the environment being indestructible even for the strongest of weapons (in Fallout 3 you cannot even blow up a simple door or even a window with all your firepower/explosives). The more "visual" realism they add, the more disappointing it is when the characters and environment do not react in a realistic way. These games aren't RPGs or Adventure games, they are effectively very constrained "jump and run" type games.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @06:24AM (#32095884)

    Only because you manage to make them interesting over and over. The games you mention do not have a linear, follow-and-succeed path, which is the case with most contemporary games. For most games today there is only one sensible or fast way to succeed. There is such a thing as a best practice. Thus repeating the game is usually fairly unentertaining, because you simply repeat the steps you already did. They are scripted to the point where you basically play through a movie.

    Recreating this freeform, every-game-a-new-challenge modes of the past is not easy with today's complexity in games. It's pretty tough to create such open games while at the same time managing balance.

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @06:25AM (#32095888) Homepage Journal

    If the overwhelming majority of gamers don't finish the game in the first place, how would replayability help?

    I think the main thing here is that developers will take a great game mechanic, like Mirror's Edge type gymnastics, and then strrrrreeeeetch it out to the point where it becomes more overplayed and boring than last year's summer radio hit. Once you hit the point where all the novelty of the gametype is worn out and they're just decreasing the margins for error/increasing skill level, most people get bored with it and move on. That might be why competitive FPS games tend to have more staying power; they're more of a sport than some sort of clever puzzle/timing game.

  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @06:34AM (#32095920) Homepage
    Games don't need to be dumber, the average age of a gamer is over 25, we aren't morons so stop treating us like them.

    To me, this is both the conceit and the problem. "I'm older, so I want something more complex". Well, my current favourite game is the pinball machine I've bought, and I'm 38. Games that I play the most are short pick up'n'play things, not long complex involved ones.

    I'm not suggesting games should become less complex, rather that there should be less complex games available. The two of us sound like we're in different markets and that's fine - your choice isn't wrong, neither is mine. However the idea that because you're older you need something more complex and involved - that's an idea I question. It's purely a matter of choice, not age. As a teen I played the excellent Dungeon Master and mapped things out on paper. My current incarnation wouldn't begin to have the time to do that and wouldn't particularly enjoy doing so either - it's not a function of age, it's a function of time and whatever you happen to be enjoying at the time.

  • by Sandbags ( 964742 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @07:54AM (#32096290) Journal

    Welcome to MMO.... Little missions, complete choice in direction. Continually added content. Social interaction.

    Console and single player games, and RTS, replayability is not a value add within reason. A great story, and captivating action without boring transitions is the way to go, keep them in the game, but almost as important, LET ME BAIL OUT ANYTIME I WANT. Save points that are inconstantly spread about, some 30 minutes apart, others 4 or 5 hours apart do nothing but piss me off. I need to be able to save and quit ANYWHERE ANYTIME in order for me to be able to complete a game. I can catch an hour here, an hour there, and I can't be bothered to worry about wasting 2 or 3 hours of gaming because I got interupted, and by the time I get back to it, someone wanted to watch a DVD in the console and killed my "pause" state...

    I don't finish games because it's HARD to finish games. Or, alternately because the solo story is simply not as fun as the competitive modes (racing games, FPS, etc).

    I play almost exclusively MMOs now, with the wife. We sold our games and controllers for the consoles and they're used exclusively as DVD players now. We're considdering a PS3 as a Blu-Ray player, but not until another price drop.

  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:02AM (#32096332)
    Maybe what this shows is that games companies should focus more on properly marketing their games. Everyone likes something different from their gaming experience, the problem we often have as gamers is finding games that match what we want, and the main reason for that has to be the fact that they're marketed as widely as possible. That and a shift away from lengthy demos is bound to result in a good portion of your audience being disappointed. If you then make the games simpler and the storylines linear, but continue to market it to everyone, you're going to see the reverse (the people who like linear games will play longer but the people who like sandbox will lose interest), it won't tell you anything meaningful.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:17AM (#32096398)

    Gamers don't finish the games because the games are not interesting enough to finish. Name one great game that you didn't try to win. Now name one crappy game that you did try to win.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:41AM (#32096594)


    Yeah, especially now that even consoles have big hard drives there is no reason to not allow saving at any point.

  • by Obyron ( 615547 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:14AM (#32096904)
    I've gotten back into Chess lately, and I agree. The gameplay never changes, but there's a whole world of strategy and tactics in there to discover, and it's seriously good brain exercise. It's also nice not having to worry about DLC to buy the new Warlock piece that can move in a Q shape just to compete, or Ubisoft's restrictive DRM making your chess board not work if it's not sitting on a certain kind of table. Now if I only I didn't suck so much. :)
  • by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:16AM (#32096930)

    Am I the only one to think that it's senseless for games to be measured in hours of gameplay they offer? They're games, not movies or books. How many hours is SimCity 2000? 1 hour? 1000 hours? See it doesn't make any sense for such a game because unlike a lot of modern single player games it's not an interactive movie, it's a game, it doesn't have a story, it has mechanics.

    Less stories, more mechanics. And stop designing loosely connected individual maps, create a world and make everything happen in it, like GTA does.

  • by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:56AM (#32097424)
    Ahh GURPS, the linux of PnP RPGs.
  • by chadplusplus ( 1432889 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:03AM (#32097528)

    The issue for me is that games are now too long for me to finish before I get interrupted by other responsibilities. Fallout 3 and Dragon Age were both interrupted and I failed to return back to them to finish, but have finished Halo 3 twice. I was probably 30+ hours into FO3 and DA:O, and got bored/distracted by other things in my life. The story line for Halo 3 takes about a leisurely weekend to get through.

    That's my problem. I have momentary breaks in my life where I'll have a slow weekend or week that I can really get some gaming in. But if it takes more than a week or two to get through a story line, other responsibilities/interests arise, I get distracted, and by the time I have another break for gaming, I'm no longer interested.

  • by maugle ( 1369813 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:12AM (#32097644)
    The problem isn't simple games, per se, it's the dumbing down of existing games. For example, what I and many other gamers experienced with Supreme Commander 2.
    I was incredibly eager for a sequel to Supreme Commander, which itself was the successor to Total Annihilation, which was one of the best strategy games ever. Then, I started hearing the rumors. That it was designed to appeal to a wider audience (red flag), then that maps would be smaller, games faster, and graphics more cartoony (warning!), that it was going to be get rid of the build system and economy of its predecessors (Danger! Danger!), and - the killing blow - that it was going to be simultaneously released for Xbox360 (Crappy console RTS confirmed! Avoid at all costs!).

    They took a much-loved, if a bit niche, series and murdered it for the sake of being more "mainstream". That's what pisses off most gamers when they hear the words "casual" and "simple". Imagine if they only started producing pinball machines with one huge flipper, because the majority of people thought that managing multiple flippers was "too hard".
  • Only $10? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by twoallbeefpatties ( 615632 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:17AM (#32097732)
    I would pay THIRTY dollars for a good 10-hour game more often than I would pay forty for a good 40-hour game. Why? Because I have a much higher chance of getting to see the ending of the 10-hour game and feeling fulfilled with it.

    Here's a better question - would you rather spend 40 hours of your time playing and finishing four good 10-hour games, or would you rather just play one good 40-hour game?
  • by TOGSolid ( 1412915 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:16AM (#32098714)
    You're overreacting a hair with your rebuttal. Consider this: In Morrowind you could kill anyone, even if it broke the entire game. You could go do basically what ever you wanted. Hell, I didn't even touch the main quest until after many hours of just dicking around.
    Oblivion is horribly closed in and simplified, a trend that has sadly taken off with RPGs. Instead of living worlds like Morrowind and Baldur's Gate, we've instead got tightly directed experiences like Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins. It's a shitty trend and one I'd love to see come to and end, however gamers these days tend to not go for the old style RPGs. They consider them to be too clunky and without the constant carrot on a stick style of modern gameplay, most gamers these days get horribly lost and confused.
    Thank god for those crazy Russians and the progressively more and more awesome games they're putting out.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some artifacts to go scan down.
  • by bbqsrc ( 1441981 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:41AM (#32099148) Homepage
    I was sad when I finished Throne of Bhaal, because I knew I would never be satisfied by another game ever again.
  • by geminidomino ( 614729 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:18PM (#32103036) Journal

    I simply don't have the time to finish a 60 hour game anymore.

    You have an hour a night? You can complete a great RPG in 2 months. And you'll be sorry when it's over. I don't think the problem is the length of the game, but your ADD.

    The problem is there aren't many "great" RPGs anymore, of any stripe. Especially lacking are the ones of "epic greatness" that would warrant dedicating two months worth of free time to. You can play through a lot of "damn good" games in that amount of time.

  • by basscomm ( 122302 ) <> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @07:28PM (#32105964) Homepage

    I played the first Pokemon game about a year ago (luckily the battery held out, since the game is pretty old). I'm an adult and I have some qualms about playing any more Pokemon after that. Not because Pokemon is kid stuff; the cartoon is kids' stuff but the games are more tolerable for all ages.

    But because Pokemon so highly depends on looking up guidebooks, figuring out how to optimize your party with inadequate information, knowing things like that a particular Pokemon gets a particular attack at level 50, knowing intricacies about the level up system (did you know that your Pokemon gain stats differently depending on what they fight to level up?), etc. Later games get a lot worse, with things like rules for gaining attacks when breeding Pokemon, Pokemon that evolve under obscure circumstances you can't guess, or that only appear at certain times on the real time clock, etc.

    In other words, it's complex. And complex, here, is bad. I can just imagine someone starting a newer game in this series and having to figure out "you get this Pokemon by fishing on one out of several hundred randomly chosen tiles, then find the right Pokemon, and feed it a particular stat increasing item many times while making sure it doesn't have the stat which makes the stat-increasing items useless, then let it evolve".

    That's the thing about the Pokémon games. Yeah, you can look up and wade through stats until your eyes go crossed, research gameplay mechanics, delve into the mysterious 'effort values', try to figure out egg groups and chain breeding to transfer a rare/useful move to the offspring, and find the 'correct' nature to min-max your monsters, but all of that's totally optional. You can have a perfectly good time going through the game, collecting monsters to build a well-balanced team, being pleasantly surprised when your level 49 Staraptor learns Brave Bird (and reacting accordingly instead of planning for it), trading with friends, and generally enjoying the story (such as it is). That's one of the great things about the game: it caters both to the 'pick up and play' types and the people who obsess over every statistic and spend hours min-maxing.

  • by Daniel Phillips ( 238627 ) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:02PM (#32106316)

    I think of the exact opposite. I don't like sandbox games at all. If I'm playing a game with a storyline and a quest, I want the gameplay to be tight, focused on the storyline, and with minimum to no distractions or side quests. I play those games for the story, I don't want to wander around lost or go off and do other things- I want the story, and I want a well written plotline engaging and long enough to be worth the game with nothing else tacked on.

    So I am not going to buy any of the games you buy and you are not going to buy any of the games I buy. Stories on rails bore me to tears. I gave up on Final Fantasy XIII in disgust 20 hours in. If I want that I will watch a movie. As the GP noted (where are the mods) Oblivion is my idea of a near-perfect game.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger