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Just Let Me Play! 633

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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  • Re:Bad attitude (Score:3, Informative)

    by MarcoAtWork ( 28889 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:25PM (#15483585)
    you are contradicting yourself

    If a game gave you everything at the start once you got bored with the game that would be it.

    as opposed to a game with unlockables where I have to subject myself to doing things I don't like (and being bored) to access more of the content I already paid for? Hello? This is a game, it's supposed to be entertainment, I already have a day job, and the last thing I want is having to be made to "work" when all I want is sit on the couch and relax for a bit with some mindless entertainment: the developer already got my money out when I bought the game, if they make it hard for me to enjoy it, I for sure won't be buying any more games from them...
  • Re:Bad attitude (Score:3, Informative)

    by forkazoo ( 138186 ) <> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:50PM (#15483771) 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.

    No. Respectfully, I won't think of it that way. Often times, I only really like 1 or 2 game modes. For example, in a game like Time Splitters, I tend to go for Capture the Flag with a bunch of bots in Arcade mode. As far as I'm concerned, I shouldn't have to play through X hours of story mode, and Y hours of challenge mode before I can play my Capture the Flag. Some of it, I find just frustrating. I am not a hardcore gamer -- I am one of those people who occasionally likes to kill half an hour after work.

    Now, that said, I don't have a fundamental opposition to having *some* unlockable content. As long as I have, say, greater than 50% of the stuff I want to do (In my case, 50 % of the CTF maps, and a sufficient quantity of available bots.) then having some extra unlockable "bonus" items is fine. And, the last 10% of unlockables can be really hard to get, just for the hardcore gamers. I just won't ever see that 10%.

    However, in, say a racing game... Sometimes you will see a game that basically only allows you to race a station wagon and a mini cooper at the start of the game. It's slow and boring. You have to play through like 500 hours to get to the sports cars. You have to unlock every one of the other 200 cars before you get to the ones you actually want to race with. That's just customer abuse. I just want to have my fantasy of racing a fast sports car. That's why I bought the game. For the *fun*. Making me do slow boring races in the station wagon is *not* "adding to gameplay." It's just making sure that everybody with a life never has any fun at all with the game.

    So, to sum up my rant... Starting with only a station wagon is bad. Starting with a sports car, but being able to unlock another sports car -- that is fine. It's fun with an incentive. Likewise, starting with two playable maps, and 1 available bot is bad. Starting with 16 maps, and having another 10 to unlock is fun with an incentive. Customer abude is not a good thing.
  • by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:50PM (#15483775)

    Google "cheat codes for [insert game name here]", and you will get all that you seek, Grasshopper. Walkthroughs abound. Also, many games have various difficulty settings. Start at the "I am only an egg" setting.

  • by GhaleonStrife ( 916215 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:54PM (#15483788)
    There's also these "Anniversary collections" (Think Sonic Mega Collection, which will be my example for this) I paid for all 12 of the games contained on that disc, and I can only play 6 of them from the start, when I bought the disc to play one of the "locked" games that I haven't been able to play in ages. Turns out, to unlock it, I have to beat at least 3 of the unlocked games, all of which I'm horrible at. I just wasted $35-60, since I'll never be able to get what I was looking for or paid for. What makes it worse is that on the case, they advertise the full amount of games, even though you can only play less than half without unlocking them. It's a disappointment for me as a gamer to see this kind of crap pulled on us.
  • Re:But wait (Score:5, Informative)

    by MBraynard ( 653724 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:56PM (#15483810) Journal

    Really, sounds like you should check out gamefaq or something before you get the game to see if the unlock coads are listed. Problem SO-ZIZLED!

  • Re:Catch 22 (Score:5, Informative)

    by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @07:19PM (#15483931) Homepage
    I assure you, nothing in there is out of habit.

    The few games we've made in the past that simply gave the player everything from the start were reprimanded by critics and players alike for having no replay value. And it was a fair criticism: you're done before you start. There was no sense of progression or purpose to them. The progression can be light and the purpose can be hollow, but you still need a purpose for the player's activities in the game.

    Even if the gameplay is the most fun you can imagine, you still have the feeling that there is nothing pulling you along. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel may be worth traversing for itself, but you still have to put a light at the end.

    The fact that people want these things shows that they're great motivators. And motivation is what you need to help make the player the best darned guitar player they can be, both in life and in games. Without motivation, the experience falls falt. Striking that balance between keeping stuff away and rewarding the player is delicate... it can't be too frequent or things feel like they have no value, but it can't be too sparse or else you really are simply milking the player for game time. And milking the player simply for game time is something we studiously avoid, and will continue to avoid in the future.

    Also, you don't want to overload the player with too many options too soon, or they won't know what to do. Even having too deep a songlist too early will confuse. Maybe it won't befuddle the seasoned rocker / gamer, but it does befuddle a lot of people at playtests.

    BTW, if you're stuck at a party without a memory card, try Yellow, Orange, Blue, Blue, Orange, Yellow, Yellow.
  • Re:Catch 22 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kitsuneymg ( 815431 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @07:22PM (#15483952)
    Guitar Hero unlock codes....
    Best of both worlds

    Unlock all:
      Yellow, Orange, Blue, Blue, Orange, Yellow, Yellow

    Unlock "Guitar Hero"
      Blue, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Blue

  • by monopole ( 44023 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @07:23PM (#15483957)
    The game actually forces you to play volleyball before you can get skimpier outfits!
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Informative)

    by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:16PM (#15484240) Homepage
    ... because the without ALL the content unlocked immediately, games are just dull and boring and no fun to play *geeez*

    Agreed, I think the article's author probably just sucks at modern games. For me most of the fun comes from finding the hidden stuff, seeing if I can beat the game on hard or best my buddies high score.
    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. You might as well complain that football is too challenging and suggest the team just play catch instead. If you want to "escape" go watch a movie or read a book.

  • Re:But wait (Score:3, Informative)

    by Reaperducer ( 871695 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:46PM (#15484349)
    Unless it's not a popular game, so it's not listed.

    Or unless it's a game where the unlock codes are dynamically generated based on your hardware serial number.

    Or unless it's a game that you bought overseas a year before it comes out in the United States, so it's not there.

    Or unless you're good at a game and you're farther along than anyone who's bothered to post codes on insert-web-site-here.

    Or unless the web site posts codes for a version of the game on a console other than yours and they're not interchangable.

    Or a dozen other factors that make the game codes on web sites wrong, incomplete, or unavailable.

    So, no. gamefaq, ign, gamespot, and all the rest are generally useless for game codes and walkthroughs all the times I've tried them.
  • by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:47PM (#15484358) Homepage
    Unlockable content is just in the way of me having fun. Burnout 3 drove me nuts because of this-- I just wanted to get online for a half-hour once a week and race a friend or two. But to gain access to other courses and cars, I had to slog through a neverending series of single-player races I wasn't interested in. I gave up after a few weeks.

    It may make some sense in an adventure or RPG game that you can't see the last level without playing the rest of the game-- but at the very least, no multiplayer game should ever have a single-player "unlock" requirement. I don't want to dork around unlocking extra carts and courses in Mario Kart, I just want to play all the courses I paid for when my friends drop by.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Informative)

    by bmc152006 ( 939255 ) <> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @03:06AM (#15485539) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, you didnt even get the code right, its UUDDLRLRBA Start
  • Re:hmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by shotfeel ( 235240 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @12:36PM (#15488183)
    Enter... online walkthroughs and game cheats.

    If not being able to guess the code or not wanting to survive level 12 to get to the cool monster on level 13 are seriously detracting from enjoying the game, then cheat -we're talking personal entertainment here, not real-world finance.

    OTOH sometimes figuring these things out is part of the fun, then avoid spoilers and cheats.

    Its that simple.

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