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Just Let Me Play! 633

Posted by Zonk
from the it's-not-that-hard dept.
Gamers with Jobs complains today about the thick layers of 'work' many games put between you and the fun nowadays. Instead of having 'secret areas' or 'unlockable modes,' he argues we should just be able to play the game we purchased. From the article: "I play games to escape. To go somewhere else. But our industry has so ingrained this concept of 'earning' our fun that the best is somehow always saved for last. Like modern day Puritans, we've convinced ourselves that we are not worthy of that for which we've already paid. Sinners in the hands of an angry god, we don't deserve our fun until we pay in blood."
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Just Let Me Play!

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  • hmm (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ezwip (974076) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:10PM (#15483481)
    I like that games have alot of things that can be unlocked but I don't like the secret codes and such that nobody in their right mind is going to stumble across by chance.
  • But wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iknowcss (937215) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:12PM (#15483487) Homepage
    Wouldn't the fact that you don't have it all make you crave that next level or secret area all the more? Then you would spend more and more time playing and playing, working to get that last bit of pleasure. Much more enjoyable that a game that's real cool that gets old a couple of days later. I think the work makes games worth more because then you really want to play it.
  • by Zarxrax (652423) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:12PM (#15483490)
    I personally love games that force you to work to unlock stuff. This adds replay value to the game, which makes me feel like I am getting my moneys worth. I mean what if you buy a new game for $50, and everything is right there on the table immediately, and you go through it all in 10 hours. I would certainly feel ripped off! However, that same game, if it requires me to meet certain requirements in order to unlock extra stuff, I'm going to keep playing, and get 20 or 30 hours of playtime out of it, if not more. I'm certainly not going to feel like the game was such a rip-off now.
  • Bad attitude (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:14PM (#15483499) Homepage
    Instead of obsessing about how unlockable features prevents you from having you your fun try thinking of them as spreading the fun over a longer period of time. If a game gave you everything at the start once you got bored with the game that would be it. However with unlockable content you still have new things to do even after you have begun to exhaust the possibilities of the game play provided at the beginning. So instead of buying a game that gives you 30 hours of fun you have bought a game that gives you 50 hours of fun. I would call that a good thing.
  • Re:Bad attitude (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:16PM (#15483524) Homepage
    Or, put another way: our games are so crappy that they have no replay value, so instead, we'll add "unlockable content", so that you're forced through various hoops in order to get at additional material, thus artificially extending the life of the game. Great. Or not.
  • by Jason1729 (561790) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:17PM (#15483525)
    How about when you go back to the old game 5 years later and have lost all your save data for it? Still want to have to put in 500 hours to unlock your favorite part again?

    Why should you be forced to play the same boring content over and over just to get to the content you do want?
  • by XenoRyet (824514) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:18PM (#15483529)
    It's a fairly straightforward idea that a payoff with no work is not as compelling as a payoff that you've worked for. Anyone who's ever used a cheat code should know that.

    If you don't have to "work" for the fun, the fun won't be as good.

  • Re:But wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SoCalChris (573049) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:18PM (#15483534) Journal
    The problem is that once you get older, and start having more of a full life, you just don't have the time to play a game for several hours, trying to unlock certain things.

    I've had several racing games that won't allow me to drive certain cars until I do something that requires more free time than I have. Every time I've played a game like that, I usually end up shelving it after a few days, because I just don't have the time to put into unlocking anything, and playing the game with just the basic level cars gets boring real fast.

    When it comes down to spending time with the kids, working, spending time with the wife, and playing games, the playing games is always going to come in last.

    At least give us the option of allowing things to be unlocked without having to spend hours doing it...
  • I enjoy unlocking stuff, providing the unlocking process is fun. Problably one of the games which I find is really good at this is the WWE Smackdown series (especially Smackdown vs. Raw 2006). You want to unlock Jimmy Hart as a manager? Just win 10 matches as a created guy. You want to unlock the Wrestlemania 21 arena, beat all the Easy challenges (which are, with the exception of eliminating 10 guys from the Royal Rumble, pretty easy), and it lets you carry out the challenges with a second player as well, to make some of the more difficult processes easier.
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:20PM (#15483541)
    If a games replay value is based on making me do pointles shit to unlock special modes/levels/characters, I'm being ripped off. I'd rather the game honestly report it only has 10 hours of playtime, and have the devs work on the next game. I don't find going back through the levbels to collect all the coins, or visit every corner of the map fun. I find it mind numbing and tedious. And then I get annoyed that there's content I paid for that I can't access, not because my skill is too low but because the devs are making me do meaningless shit to reach it. I refuse to ever buy any game which features unlockables. They're a scourge on the industry and need to be destroyed.
  • by mattwarden (699984) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:22PM (#15483556) Homepage

    Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but I think this is rubbish. Work is a four-letter word (especially around here), but the truth is that people don't enjoy things they don't have to work at. Entertainment is no exception. Even movies... anyone who truly enjoys movies would hate a movie that didn't require at least a little bit of thought. I personally don't enjoy a movie unless I have to see it a couple times in order to catch everything (you know, like Enough and Break Up).

    Take the work out of games, and all you have is 10 minutes of running from start to finish. How's that supposed to stroke anyone's ego?

  • WTF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:22PM (#15483560) Journal
    Is the author like 12?

    I WANT EVERYTHING AND I WANT IT NOW! GIMME GIMME GIMME!!

    Unlockables are ment to give you an extra way to enjoy the game. Something fun to extend it after you've already finished the main game. If you want everything handed to you on the plate right at the start of the game then you're not the type of person these features are aimed at.

    Unlockables are aimed at people who want to get a perfect rank in every level, who wants to finish the game only using the basic weapon and who wants to try playing HL2 through with just a crowbar and a rocket launcher. If you're not this crowd then you have to accept that some parts of the games might not be to your taste.
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:28PM (#15483609)
    No its not. The amount of enjoyment I get from something isn't directly proportional to the amount of work I put into it. If anything, I find its inversely proportional- the more work I put into something, the less enjoyment I get out of it. If something takes a lot of effort to achieve, I find myself looking at the effort I took and realising there's so many better things I could have done with my time. Take WoW- I found more enjoyment hitting level 10 than 60. It was low effort, so it was still fun. WHen I hit 60, I wasn't enjoying it- I had better things to do with my time (I just needed that last level for PvP).

    If I want to work, I'll go do something worthwhile- go to my real job, volunteer for a charity, etc. When I game I don't want to expend effort, and I sure as hell don't want a time sink.
  • by Draconnery (897781) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:29PM (#15483611)
    I have no pity for this poor overworked dude. You don't like the games you buy? Don't buy them. You don't have 5 whole hours for a game? Why didn't you rent it to begin with - that would have been much more reasonable, given the timeline your attention span allows.

    Some people are really into hidden/locked content, medals, accolades, and the like. Some people like having visible goals and accomplishing something through their efforts - people who spend time and unlock stuff can really get a kick out of having more available than those who don't put in that same time.

    If this guy has really run into this a lot of times, maybe his problem is that he doesn't have enough time for any given game; I know there are lots of games out there, so I can choose to get a few games a year and get really into those, or wear myself out on every game by playing every one that comes out. I'm not complaining that I don't have time to pick up those other games, I just find some that I actually like, and get what I want out of those.

    I'll buy what I like, this guy should buy what he really likes, and the companies will probably make games in such a way that they get paid.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:30PM (#15483628) Homepage Journal
    ... because the without ALL the content unlocked immediately, games are just dull and boring and no fun to play *geeez*

    Nah, that's when you've hacked into the code and disabled things or given yourself invulnerability or great wealth and then the whole thing gets dull.

    The entertainment of a game is its challenge to achieve success. Too easy and it's dull, too hard and you give up, inexplicable (i.e. just when you thought you made it the rules change) and you beat your head against a table.

    The ideal is to find a game you really like and stick with it, rather than whatever piece of crap is fashionable among the sheep these days. Amazing how many people I see playing board games, now. Check out the Empire Builder series from Mayfair, great stuff.

  • by kisrael (134664) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:31PM (#15483629) Homepage
    Here's a way of thinking about the question:
    If a game takes more time, does that decrease the "dollar per hour" ratio, so it's a good thing?

    Or does it raise the cost, because cost is a function of money AND time?

    I'm in the latter camp. I buy a game mostly to use a new bit of interaction. Having additional time that isn't matched by additional novel interaction just cranks the cost up. Novel interaction can be control modes, missions, weapons, enemies, but it has to be something, and it has to be diverse enough that it feels novel, not "this mission the guard is around the SECOND corner"

    And I have more free cash than free time in general. People the other way 'round, like students or the unemployed, probably have an opposite opinion.
  • by Zarxrax (652423) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:31PM (#15483631)
    There is a thing for people like you called a gameshark (they do still make those, dont they?). I don't buy a game just to unlock the big freakin gun and then watch the ending. I buy a game to PLAY the game.
  • by Zarxrax (652423) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:44PM (#15483735)
    I suppose we just play games for different reasons then. When I buy a racing game, I honestly don't give a damn whether it lets you drive a Camero or a cardbord box. I just want to race. Whatever they do to prolong my racing experience, that is what I consider value, because that is what I'm playing the game for.
  • Re:Bad attitude (Score:2, Insightful)

    by teh moges (875080) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:53PM (#15483787) Homepage
    I have to admit, there is a large culture of games where the gameplay isn't that great, so they use unlockables to "overcome" (or do they add it in place of..?) these shortcomings in the game.
    Even as a Nintendo fanboy, I hate to do this (I REALLY do). We currently live in a gaming world where graphics is king. It's our (the customers) fault really. We get excited about games that make good screenshots. I can't belive there was so much fuss made over the Halo 3 trailer at E3. IT WAS A FREAKING TRAILER. It didn't even have any gameplay related material. The last Halo 2 trailer was much better. It had gameplay, and showed off one of the new features: DUAL weapons! But still, a pointless 2 minute trailer for a new game still generates fuss. Why? I don't know, I've never been a graphiliac. And in this world where graphics are king, gameplay suffers. It doesn't need to be this way, but when games cost so much to make now, budgets are tight, and if the companies have a choice between adding a graphical artist or a gameplay artist, well there isn't much of an argument, the game is going to look prettier.
    A good game should start as fun and get REALLY fun at the end, and give you great satisfaction when completed. Games shouldn't suck to start with before getting fun. I don't play car games because I don't like wasting my time with crap cars. I play first person shooters because most of them I play tend to get you into them straight away (sure, I can't get the rocket launcher until level 15, but I can still shoot this guy in the back of the head). I play RPG/Adventure because theres always something new to explore at the start, and something new to dominate in battle at the end.
    Without unlockable content however, a game quickly ends. But there are limits. Super Smash Brothers had something like 1000 multiplayer fights to unlock a character. That is easy the first time, but when your data gets erased and you have to do it again, well, I really just can't be bothered.
    Good gameplay these days is a fine line that has been covered by pretty sand.
  • Re:Catch 22 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:58PM (#15483821)
    Guitar Hero is EXACTLY the best example of a game that doesn't need to resort to such cheap tactics and does it regardless. Maybe out of habit. It DOES have a great replay value. It's fun. It would already be lots of fun if you had all the songs and could just see your "progress" by how you finally can do Ace of Spades on Extreme where you failed at Smoke on the Water at Easy.

    Why such cheap carrot dangling when it's definitly NOT necessary?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:59PM (#15483828)
    Bullshit. Take last night as an example. I've recently got Res Evil 4, and completed it, taking about 20 hours, which unlocks the zombie killing score attack - the main game is good but this mode is totally awesome. I took it over to a friend, with my memory card so we can get right into score attack - friend's verdict: score attack is totally awesome. Enjoyment doesn't depend on unlocking stuff, if the stuff you're unlocking is good.
  • by SoCalChris (573049) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:59PM (#15483834) Journal
    If you don't have to "work" for the fun, the fun won't be as good.
    I don't play games to "work", I play them to relax.
  • Re:Bad attitude (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Babbster (107076) <[aaronbabb] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @07:12PM (#15483899) Homepage
    Your underlying assumption, though, is that the "hoops" you're jumping through aren't fun. If a game isn't fun until you unlock a bunch of stuff then it's a bad game. It's not a bad game because of the unlockables; it's a bad game because the gameplay isn't fun. For example, I haven't finished unlocking everything in Burnout Revenge. If I wasn't enjoying myself and somehow knew that later in the game there was awesome stuff going on, then that would piss me off. Since I am, though, it doesn't bother me a bit that I can't jump instantly into the level 10 grand prix with the fastest car possible.

    I guess it's not so much that I disagree with the premise that there are too many games that rely on unlockable content to string people along through lackluster gameplay (though I haven't played any recently - that's what I use game reviews for). I just consider it a more general problem of developers making lousy games, unlockable content or not.
  • by NickFortune (613926) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @07:28PM (#15483994) Homepage Journal
    That sounds as if you're assuming that there's a constant amount of work required before games get fun, and further assuming that said value is the same for all people in all circumstances. I don't think that is the case, as amount of debate on this thread should demonstrate.

    I think the relationship is more complicated than that. Not only do people achieve maximum fun levels for different amounts of work, but there are other factors that skew the curve. TFA seems to be suggesting that the amount of time a gamer has free to devote to his hobby is one such variable. From my own experience, I'd tend to agree.

    When I was younger, single and unemployed, I'd quite happy through the latest games very-hard-indeed or whatever the game called the hardest setting. These days, I don't have time to go through the play-get fragged-reload loop that you need to suffer in order to acquire the necessary skills to play the game at the highest levels. But if major sections of content are only available at those levels of difficulty, then the value of the game is lessened to people without the requisite free time. Ultimately, that means paying customers who abandon gaming for a less time-demanding passtime. I can't believe the industry views that as a desirable outcome.

    I don't think anyone is suggesting that we do away with the work aspect of gaming altogether. Nor are we suggesting that the hard play levels be made easier. Just that it would be nice to able to play the full game without having to make a life-altering commitment in time and effort.

  • Re:But wait (Score:2, Insightful)

    by uberjoe (726765) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @07:33PM (#15484023)
    You've got to learn to play games with your wife.
  • Re:Handholding (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DrFalkyn (102068) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @07:37PM (#15484042)
    The obvious solution to this is to have a separate "Tutorial" for players that want to do it. I don't know why game developers insist on having you go through the Tutorial mission. Seems like such an easy thing to do.
  • Re:But wait (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Analogy Man (601298) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:02PM (#15484172)
    Kawasaki did some interesting marketing research. A motorcycle is not typically something someone needs RIGHT NOW. They found that on average people are much more enthusiastic about their purchase if they have to wait. I am not sure if they do it anymore, but even if they had the bike you wanted in inventory you would have to wait 2-3 days while they got it all set up for you. The "compensating male" would spend the next 3 days talking up his new bike and couldn't wait to get on it.

    Maybe video games are the same way. I'll stick with Solitaire (spare the stroke jokes please).

  • Re:WTF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rblum (211213) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:17PM (#15484244)
    If you're not this crowd then you have to accept that some parts of the games might not be to your taste.


    That would be fine - if I didn't have to pay for it, either. I'm a gamer WITH A JOB too, and I don't have time for that crap either. So why exactly should I have to pay for content that's only for people who still live in Mom's basement and don't have any social life?

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aichpvee (631243) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:59PM (#15484397) Journal
    Video Games are GAMES, they're meant to be challenging and competitive. Locked content is part of that, it keeps the game fresh longer and gives you some goals to shoot for.

    This of course assumes that a) the locked content in any way adds to the fun of the game, and/or b) that the process of unlocking the content is actually fun. The vast majority of games with unlockable content don't give a good enough incentive to do so because the features add nothing to the game once it has been completed (yippee! I get a new costume for my character when I'm NEVER playing this game again!!!) They also fail at making the tasks actually fun, and a lot of times the tasks are repetitive and boring and serve no other purpose than as a length-extending feature to be plastered onto the back of the box.

    The only kind of people who find this fun are those with whatever compulsive collecting impulse people possess who continue to play MMORPGs long after they have ceased to be about anything but collecting loot.

    The author definitely has a point, and it's not that games are too hard or that he sucks at them. Most of this "unlockable" content is just garbage filler to add features and playtime (which in most cases is already too long.) The real point is that most games just aren't that fun and adding on crap that makes you replay large portions of them over and over is even less fun.
  • by bigman2003 (671309) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:05PM (#15484412) Homepage
    That was by far the most boring article I have ever read.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) * on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:27PM (#15484488) Journal
    "Challenging and competitive" is one thing. "Replaying the stupid skateboarding minigame 112 times to shave that last 0.2 seconds off your clear time and get the gold mickey token" isn't challenging, it's an OCD screener.
  • Wrong angle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Bitman (95493) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:29PM (#15484495) Homepage
    The problem isnt needing to "work" for /extra/ content. The problem is needing to work for Content.
    I dont mind needing to defeat a bunch of badies to unlock the roundhouse kick. (At that point it's the game's way of saying "Okay, you've proven that needing to use a non-epic move would just be tedious. Here's a way to rush through the tedious parts to get at what's more fun for your skill level")
    The problem is needing to unlock all the minor powers and abilities and areas the game is unplayable without.

    At least San Andreas, rather than just saying "You can't go there", just shoots at you if you try. :)
  • Re:Catch 22 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jerf (17166) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:31PM (#15484506) Journal
    I also wish DDR had this option.

    Once I managed to toast my DDR save somehow, and wham-bang, most of my favorite songs are suddenly unavailable. Losing my grades I can deal with; those are pretty easily replaced. Losing the unlocked songs was a major PITA. (And in DDRMAX2, which is the game that I lost, the only, sole, and singular way to unlock the songs is to play through 300 stages, IIRC, a matter of weeks at any sane speed, even with my wife helping.)

    Meanwhile, in DDRExtreme 2, which I've played a lot, I still don't even know how many songs there are that I paid for and can't play. My wife and I are "well above average" amoung "everybody who has ever played DDR", which is to say we can routinely get through Standard mode songs now, but by DDR standards we're still beginners. The unlockable technique is to play through various challenges, and we've pretty much gotten to the point where we can't progress any further, and I know there are more songs in there. It annoys me when I think about it.

    (Besides, at 6'4", I've come to realize that I am rapidly approaching the point where it simply doesn't matter how much better my brain or my muscles get; I'm not certain I'm ever going to be physically capable of doing Heavy for most songs. I've just got too much leg to move around to do it as quickly as smaller people.)

    The sibling post from cgenman points to the solution, I think; go ahead with your unlockable scheme, but provide unlocking codes for those of us who just want our songs, damn it, or lost our save file (which happens!). This probably applies more to Guitar Hero and DDR-type games than most.
  • Ever played Resident Evil? Ammo starvation sucks, I don't want to have to knife 40 zombies in the head just so I might have enough bullets to kill the incredibly jumpy boss.

    Some movies are like that, some are the other way around. In any event, ammo starvation sucks. This is a hilarious read on games [pointlesswasteoftime.com] see number 13.
  • by mattwarden (699984) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:46PM (#15484576) Homepage

    I GUARANTEE the answer will be "much more than when i was working 40-60 hours a week".

    I didn't say anything about being overworked. I'm talking about the effect that doing no work has on someone. If you accomplish nothing, you will absolutely not feel happy and fulfilled. Humans (and animals in general) are wired to work. Even people with so much money that they would never need to work a day in their lives still involve themselves in projects.

    Fulfillment does not come from lack of work. It comes from the degree to which one can choose his work.

    If you don't accomplish anything, there's a very high chance you will fall into deep depression. One of the first things people being treated for depression are told is to involve themselves in things; i.e., do work. And that has nothing to do with money. Fulfillment can't be subsidized.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by menace3society (768451) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:18PM (#15484703)
    I disagree. For any games where head to head mode is a major part of the game's appeal, unlockable content is annoying as crap. This means racing games, fighting games, strategy games, sports sims, and FPSes, having to unlock the best content just pisses people off who want to mess around with their friends, and games that require you to unlock multi-player modes (Halo 2, I'm looking at you) are especially vexing.
  • Re:Bingo... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thangodin (177516) <elentar&sympatico,ca> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:48PM (#15484800) Homepage
    Agreed. After trying many MMORPG's (including WoW) I've gone back to City of Heroes/City of Villains. Fifteen minute missions, casual grouping, genuine strategic strengths and weaknesses that make a major difference between a good player and a poor player. I can get some good gaming in as little as half an hour, squeezing in a mission or two before dinner or before bed.

    What the article is about is not work, but what I call trial-by-boredom, a term I came up with during my years of tabletop playing. You know those DM's who insisted that you describe exactly what you were doing every step of the way to detect traps, looks for monsters, etc, etc, until the group lapsed into a coma and then he sprang his dastardly trap. Yeah, that crap. When I ran it, every room had something of interest, and I described it from the point of view of experienced adventurers ("That table looks a little to thick to be made of just solid wood--you probably want to take a closer look at it.") When running a game, you have to take into account that the player, who is isolated by the interface or by your description, has a much lower bandwidth of information than his character, who is right there on the scene. This is my ongoing problem with Neverwinter Nights campaigns. The DM, having designed the dungeon, thinks that everyone knows what he does. He drops an oblique hint, then kills the entire party in frustration because they didn't pick up on his casual clue.

    In MMORPG's, trial-by-boredom consists of all crafting, and rare-spawn rare-drop hunting. Most crafting should by done offline by the character after you log intentions for what you are doing till you next log in; you get to work to select a range of difficulty versus money earned--the more you earn, the less you learn, and to learn a lot, you have to pay for materials wasted and the craft master's time. The best items should always be player made. As for the rare-spawn, rare-drop syndrome, all rare components should be obtainable by pyramid style quests: you get X from A by doing his quest, turn in X's to B to get Y's, then turn in some Y's to C to get what you want. Rare boss monsters should be ransomed, not killed. You fight through the guards and the elite champions, till you get to the king, who lets you choose the ransom you want. This is the way it worked historically. You get to choose what drops, and instead of the one dragon scale that you auction to the 50 people in the raid, you get a dragon scale for everyone in the raid, guaranteed (you just beat the dragon to a standstill till he submits, after which he gives you part of his last moult.) Of course, you might also get a dragon scale from a dragon for bringing him a few pounds of his favourite berries, which happen to grow in hostile territory...

    Also underplayed in MMORPG's is the social aspect, which is where you may interest more women. Find and deliver a cure for a rare disease for the nephew of the King of an enemy race, and you may gain right of passage into an enemy city, under the proviso that you keep your sword sheathed. Bring a bottle of good brandy to a notoriously tough guard, and he may wink at you and let you pass unmolested from then on. Make the Paladin the toughest character in the game--but require him to have a high reputation to advance, which can be gained only by helping other players. Become a merchant who trades in rare goods across enemy lines, and secure safe passage in areas no one is allowed to go, allowing you to act as ambassador.

    Make each server retain it's own history, with each significant advance (a newly discovered formula, area, technique, or treaty) bear the name of the original character who initiated it (such discoveries are subject to chance, so few characters will have more than one or two.) Allow the actions and choice of allegiance of characters to change the world, so that those servers dominated by evil characters become fly-blown wastelands where even food is expensive, and those dominated by good players become lush gardens (use algorithmic tex
  • Re:Silly Dog... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tcc3 (958644) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @11:36PM (#15484958)
    I'll agree with you on the MMORPGs. Theres a lot I'd like about WoW, but cant see my way clear to invest the time or the money.

    Lets not confuse all gaming with fanatacism. That way lies madness, Jack Thompson style. You like your indy movies and board games, I can respect that. I like games of the electronic variety.

    I dont like stamp collecting but that doesnt make it wrong somehow. To each his own.
  • Re:But wait (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Traiklin (901982) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @11:36PM (#15484959) Homepage
    well you will be happy to know that thanks to Microsoft (they introduced it first so they get the firs blame) and Sony you won't have to worry about spending hours upon hours to unlock that car.

    For the low low price of $5 you, yes YOU, can BUY THAT CAR! that's right, something that is free in the game and all you have to do is spend 3 hours without a break to get or spend $5 to buy that exact same car and it's unlocked for you!

    You have to beat this one boss but your weapon isn't strong enough, Spend a couple bucks to buy a better one, it's that simple! Oblivion showed how out of hand it can get and they are paying for it now, a peice of horse armor cost $3 when it came out, it offered NOTHING to the game, just made the horse look pretty. now that they are releasing actuall CONTENT that adds to the game they have to charge far less then what they could be because they were greedy right out of the gate.

    Cheat codes will soon be phased out in favor of you spending money you already had a hard enough time coming up with to get the damn system on buying shit that is already avalible in the game that you just don't have time to waste unlocking.

    Before you mommy and daddy buy me everything asses chime in with your "IT'S NOT THAT HARD DUMBASS!" he said he has kids and a Wife, guess what? That means he has a house to pay for, car payments, insurance payments, food, entertainment for the kids, gas and so on, not like you sitting there letting mommy and daddy pay ALL your bills for you.
  • Re:But wait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by toiletsalmon (309546) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @11:37PM (#15484965) Journal
    Books are not artificially "elongated" to the extent that games are. Sure the author might add a few extra chapters here or there, but they don't force you to read chapter 7 three times in a row before you reach chapter 8. And BTW, quite a few people actually DO skip chapters in books that aren't paced well. As for movies, A movie is only about a 2 hour commitment. A game can be a 15-50 hour commitment. That's a long time compared to your two examples.

    I most certainly DO have a life now and it is most certainly NOT "bullshit" as you call it. You are right about one thing though, I do think about things alot differently now that I'm older. Sure, the reflexes aren't quite as good as they used to be, but I just don't want to deal with "filler" any more. Do you know how many "ice stages" I've been forced to play through in my time? The same goes for the infamous "sand stage" and, Uh Oh! here comes the "water stage"!

    You can easily go through any game system catalog and find more than a fair share of sub-par titles that are filled with just this sort of filler. The same way that every movie can't be a cowboy picture, every game can't be a stereotypical platformer (that ship sailed off years ago) or your typical FPS (that ship is getting ready to leave as we speak). The medium needs to evolve as human culture does. Games don't exist in a vaccumn. How many people do you know who be offended by SEGA's infamous "Night Trap" in 2006?

    You can say that I've "payed my dues" and I'm just not willing to deal with it. I'll play a game and when I stop enjoying it, I give it away, trade it in, or just toss it in the trash. I'm no longer willing to allow developers and publishers to blow smoke up my ass while they throw another half-baked game cliche my way. It took me a long time to realize that I'm the customer, and I deserve, no DEMAND to get what I want. I'm not going to try to force anyone to make a game exactly like I want, but I'll persuade them by only buying games that I ENJOY. I'll reward them for a job well done, and the ones I don't appreciate can fall to the wayside as far as my dollars are concerned. I'm a busy man and my TIME means alot more to me than any consumer product. Games or otherwise.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by skam240 (789197) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @12:46AM (#15485199)
    I both agree and disagree. In the realm of RPGs the case can be certainly be made that locked content is a good thing since most of the game play in PC or console RPGs is just that, one of unlocking content. However, I can't help but apply the authors views to one of my favorite types of console game, fighters.

    The real fun of fighting games is playing againts other human players, fun which is significantly hindered by the fact that almost all fighters require you to unlock significant content in a manor that is far less fun. With fighting games one essentially gets a crippled game (very few fight mode options and only a small handfull of fighters) out of the box in regards to multiplayer, which then has to be worked on in order to get it to where the user wants it to be (in other words maybe 30 hours of boring game play). This raises the question, why should I have to submit myself to extended hours of boring repititive game play just so I can have the game I want for the real meat of the game, multiplayer?

    In the past it was possible to just copy other peoples saves in order to get the full version of the game for multiplayer but nowadays a number of developers are not allowing thier saves to be moved between memory cards to prevent this sort of "cheating".
  • by Municipa (99320) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:20AM (#15485289)
    I have noticed that secret areas are harder to find in games. It used to be that maps sort of lead you to find the secrets, which for me was fun, and that might be silly, but it was. If the secret was hard to find - there was at least a hint - anyone remember the 3rd map in original Doom where when you crossed a certain place you could hear a door opening somewhere, but it was hard to find it before it closed?

    And in a way having just really hard to find secrets is sort of pointless. I don't want to have to climb every conceivable place, stacking boxes in 10 locations to find 9 of them don't have anything and it was a complete waste of time. That is really the more annoying part - wasting time trying to find secrets when games are more complex now allow you so many more options, as in half life, stacking boxes anywhere you want.
  • Re:We NEED levels! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Corbets (169101) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @02:00AM (#15485389) Homepage
    You know, as much as I enjoy whacking skanks, there's something to be said for "if you're too ashamed of something to talk about it...."

    Really, I hope your post was modded incorrectly - +5 funny I could see. Interesting? Bleh.

    Then again, this one will be -1 troll, so... grain of salt. :)
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by linvir (970218) * on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @03:33AM (#15485598)

    It makes sense in Oblivion. Oblivion is an RPG, so it's sequential. It doesn't make any sense for Oblivion to be any other way, and people not wanting to unlock content will have the sense to not buy Oblivion, because it's by its very nature a time sink.

    But Project Gotham? An arcadey game like that ought to be its own reward. What logical reason is there for keeping the fun cars from me? The badges and achievements system has nothing to do with unlockable content, and I will agree that it is a good part of the game. In fact, it could be just as good if they didn't force you to race uninspiring shitty cars for several hours. If you don't have much time on your hands, those several hours will take weeks to accumulate.

    And I know from experience that Project Gotham is fun without the car unlocking treadmill. After a few sloooooooow laps in some crappy learner car, I thought "Fuck this". So I copied it to my HDD, found the data files, and edited the prices of all the cars to 0. Rebooted, bought up every single car, and have had a great time ever since with the fun goal-oriented reward systems that you yourself describe. You know, the ones based around gameplay. Apart from that first race, I haven't touched the low end stuff. Maybe that will provide good (if a little hardcore) replay value later on. All of the fun, none of the unlocking of content.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hhman (242355) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:09AM (#15485685) Homepage

    Agreed, I think the article's author probably just sucks at modern games.


    Or the opposite way, the modern games have lost contact with people like the author. And there are heaps of those (just look at the whole retro [retrogames.com] gaming [mamedev.com] scene [mameworld.net]), not exactly a couple of geezers dreaming of their youth - there is a market here.
  • by Aceticon (140883) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:29AM (#15485855)
    It's not the work, it's the challenge.

    Rephrasing what you said:
    A payoff with no challenge is not as compelling as a payoff that you've beaten a challenge for it.

    What the author of the article is pointing is the tendency in many modern games to force the player to do work to get access to a great deal of the game's content.

    The thing for casual gamers is, they have enough work already in real life and they don't have the available free time to go out farm kabots (or whatever) for several hours to get to the next level to finally be able to go into the next area of the game.

    To give an example in the context of RPGs (online or not): it's a lot more fun to get that neat elite sword by besting a boss (maybe in battle, maybe outwitting the boss, maybe sneaking by the boss and stealing it, maybe by finding out via a side-quest a spell that paralizes that boss, maybe by getting to be friends with his faction) than it is to get the same sword by farming dragons for 3 days.
  • Re:WTF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nathanh (1214) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:34AM (#15485866) Homepage
    Is the author like 12? I WANT EVERYTHING AND I WANT IT NOW! GIMME GIMME GIMME!!

    No, it sounds more like he's 30. When you're 12 you can afford to piss away 100 hours a week on a video game to unlock all the specials, because when you're 12 you have parents to cook and clean and provide a roof over your head. When you're 30 you suddenly need to care for your own kids and that means you spend 100 hours a week working. If you're lucky you have 2-3 hours per week to play video games.

    The game writers are still writing games as if we're 12 year olds. The gamer market has grown up and now we want games that fit in with our older lifestyles. That means sweet and concise games, high quality visuals, and no repetition or tedium to get all the content. If they could throw in more substantial plots that don't assume we're uneducated retards, that would also be greatly appreciated.

    Half-life 2 was a pretty good game for the aging gamer. Though it still had a retarded plot.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dclocke (929925) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @06:08AM (#15485965)
    In some games it works, and in some it doesn't. As an example of when it doesn't, when I rent Tiger Woods to play on the 360, and I want to play a few rounds multiplayer with a friend, it's annoying when there are only a few courses that you can access. Especially when you really only intend to play it in multiplayer mode, which never unlocks any new content.
  • by NPN_Transistor (844657) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:16AM (#15486304)
    That's why you have multiplayer FPS games like Quake. In Quake, anyone can get any weapon on the map without having to make enough money to buy it and without leveling up or anything like that. There's nothing in the game that you have to "unlock" or spend a lot of work finding. You can just join your nearest server and frag away. I'd suggest that the guy writing this article should go and purchase Quake 3 Arena/Unreal Tournament 2004/any game along those lines immediately.
  • Re:Bingo... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phpWebber (693379) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @10:04AM (#15486881)

    I like your ideas but I am going to have to be a wet blanket. Your ideas may be appropiate for a single player RPG, but would be problematic in a MMORPG.

    I have had this discussion with other players about the _ultimate_ mmorpg. I always come back to three major conditions:

    1. Hardcore players will raze your content. Every fun morsel savored by the casual player will be swallowed whole by a hardcore player. They will ALWAYS devour content faster than you can develop it. Whatever your crafting market, they will corner it. Each epic encounter will be beaten, repeated, and farmed (if profitable). I am not criticising hardcore players, but you can't ignore them.
    2. Some real jerks will play your game. This is key. Your realms have to be like Disneyworld - lots of neat stuff to oogle but nailed down and sprayed with plastic. A world that mirrors its players will tend to reflect the darker aspects first. There wouldn't be any "good" worlds. I can't count how many paladins I see in WoW named Bloodstrike, Evildeathmaul, or whatever amalgamation of Todd McFarlane comic strip names. Once a world is "evilized", good players won't roll characters there. Your best role-playing intentions readily dissolve from PK's, naked dancing emotes, leet speak, etc. Punishing the evil players will result in them either begging developers to remove the conditions or moving to another world.
    3. Better minds than you or me have considered what you propose. Current games aren't the result of amateurs. Developers realized the best balance of entertainment and profitability. You have to keep people coming back for more. You can't reward everyone at once. You have to fence off those whose fun results from griefing others. The world must remain unchanging to prevent vandalism.

    I imagine many people have dreamed of their ultimate game and the ease of its creation. Few think about development capital, hardware purchases, database maintenance, 3D modeling and animation, artwork, marketing, play testing, network connectivity, story writing, community communication, billing, etc. When you consider these factors and more, it is amazing these games are made at all much less updated regularly.

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