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Risking Alienation

posted by wilco64256 on - last edited - Viewed by 2.3K users
I keep seeing comments from Telltale about how they use the model they do for games to keep from alienating players, but the more I see that concept the more I wonder about it. It seems that the more effort you put into "not" alienating players, the more players start showing up who start to get bothered by things being simplified. Back to the Future didn't alienate me because it was too difficult, it alienated me because it was far too simple.

I'm of the opinion that the best games knowingly take that risk of alienating people and accept that they're not going to please everyone. Some of the best games I've played in the last year (Demon's Souls, Resonance of Fate, Final Fantasy XIII) turned off a lot of people because of their mechanics, but I absolutely loved them.

I wonder what the balance is between not alienating people and still making a game that people enjoy playing.
58 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • antoniomsg;467487 said:
    I love TTG and support them, having bought most of their games. But they have yet to release something as good as the classics from the golden era of adventure games, and I feel a part of this comes from some lack of complexity and options when interacting with the environment. I wouldn't be criticizing them if I didn't think they could make even better games.
    This. I would say that the lack of interactivity and larger explorable areas is the MAIN reason why the games don't feel as deep or immersive as the old classics. The simplistic puzzles don't help either.
  • Isn't this the dilemma of games we have been seeing a lot in just about every genre these days?

    Imagine if Roberta Williams or Al Lowe were to make a game that looked and played exactly like one of their best games but with a new story, would you rush to it with drooling mouths? I think you would. Isn't it ironic that companies don't give what the fans want because it sounds economically stupid - who would make a game that looks like it came out of the early 90's, who would expect it to sell? This is exactly the kind of stigma that is probably hurting sales in the first place. Someone, somewhere has to take that "leap of faith", trust the fans arguments and see where it takes you, maybe the fans are right, maybe giving us what we want is actually more profitable.
  • Giant Tope;467484 said:
    The reason we spend hours on end trying to get a worthless achievement is the same reason we run marathons or maintain a floral garden. More likely than not for this reason, more people want at least a bit of a challenge in a game.
    I agree that I want challenge in a game. Most people who spend time on forums want that too. The problem is that most people who buy games don't want a challenge. They want the have the achievement and they will use walkthroughs to get it and then they feel "acomplished." And for what? Being able to repeat what you saw in a youtube video with someone much smarter than them telling them exactly what to do. The problem is that it is the guy making the walkthrough that wants more of a challenge, not the thousands of people that end up using the walkthrough. Way more people want to be given the solution with no work on their part. They at times will post questions on a forum because they don't want to do the work of reading through previous posts where the answer is already sure to be found.
  • chucklas;467720 said:
    The problem is that most people who buy games don't want a challenge.
    ..:( you didn't read my post. The entire reason why people play games is to give them a little extra something to do. IE: Giving themselves an unnecessary challenge in life.
  • chucklas;467720 said:
    The problem is that most people who buy games don't want a challenge.
    Whoa, I totally disagree. Games that handhold you through difficult puzzles, or else have no difficult puzzles to speak of, are boring and forgettable. A feeling of accomplishment only comes from having to work to get the desired outcome.

    This is why people are saying BTTF and JP are closer to "interactive movie games" than adventure games.
  • I don't think you guys get my point. I understand what you prefer, it is everyone else (not on the forums...etc.) that I am talking about. Everyone here on the forums is quite different from the general population. Most people who take the time to actually discuss games want quite a bit more from them. Once you go outside of the internet world and our choice of friends (who tend to be similar to ourselves) then you will find the majority of people; who are quite different from us. I want a challenge, so do the large majority of people here. The problem is, there are many many more people who do not want that kind of challenge. Step outside of your own perspective and you might actually see that the majority of people are lazy, stupid, and prefer for someone to tell them what to do while thinking they are great for doing nothing.
  • I understand what Chucklas is trying to say. At some point the game industry discovered that if they made their games easier, or offered hints and handholding through the entire process, people would feel smarter and feel like they're actually good gamers. That means more sales.
  • I want to disagree. I really do. And I don't generally hang out with the kind of people you're referring to... but I have a fear that you may be right.

    It's the same type of person that would stockpile Potassium Iodide for themselves in the United States as a result of a nuclear emergency halfway around the world in Japan.
  • The adventure game market isn't what it once was. A lot of games back then were expected to also have hint books associated with them. Some games were practically impossible without them. Even if I got stuck in a game I would keep trying and trying. These days, however there are a lot more options and game styles. I don't think overall people would appreciate the old style difficulty or have the patience to complete it when there are hundreds upon hundreds of other excellent distractions. I know that this is not what everyone thinks, and I know that I could still appreciate an old style game, but getting friends to play one of these old Sierra/Lucasarts games is tough, especially if they've never even played one. My friend said he played through Sam and Max Episode 1 and thought it was too hard. I don't agree but I've been playing these games for a looong time.

    So I understand both sides of the argument and while I'm open to some new features and maybe even some slightly more "streamlined" puzzles, I think that if I ever want to play a game like the ones I remember, I'm going to have to actually go back and play those games. That genre isn't totally dead though, the genre of games we have now is just more prominent, and still looking for its niche.
  • This all reminds me of when Squaresoft made Final Fantasy Mystic Quest for the US market, thinking it would sell better because americans wanted dumber games. It didn't work and it's a pretty much forgotten game in the FF series.

    I understand today there's a pretty big market for casual gamers, specially after the advent of Wii and Cellphone games, but I think it's a big error to try to make adventure games for this market. It'd be a smarter move, IMO, to try to attract people who don't necessarilly play video games, but are inteligent and like to flex their brains solving puzzles. I really don't think intelligent people are becoming extinct.

    So, what I'm trying to say is that adventure games shouldn't aim the Wii Party market, who'll think it's all too complicated anyway, nor the modern console gamers, who finds this genre too slow-paced. They should attract a new audience by having really funny or thought-provoking stories, great dialogue, and good puzzles. And that means not dumbing down the experience.

    What needs to go so as not to push newcomers away is the big amounts of frustration some old games used to have, and again that won't be achieved by dumbing down things, because that'll just ruin the experience, but to have logical puzzles and a good hint system. If you're getting too frustrated, it's much better to have the game giving you hints, if you want to, than stop playing and go looking for a walkthrough.
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