Friday, November 7, 2014

Why I stick to handheld gaming and my tablet

This clip I watched on duelling analogs sums up one of the main reasons I don't do much in the way of console gaming anymore:

While cut scenes can enhance gameplay, the trend towards " blurring the line between gaming and movies" has led to mediocre gaming, or terrible movies, depending on how far the designers decided to go with the cutscenes. As a gamer, I find the tendency of designers to take control of the experience to be frustrating, even more so than when designers don't bother with any structure at all, and call it a " sandbox" game.  I desire structure in a game, but when I am forced to walk through a twenty minute mandatory " tutorial," or out of a six hour gaming session, thirty minutes are gameplay, somethg in the design process has gone terribly wrong.

Egoraptor did an awesome video on youtube that usec the megaman series of games as an example of excellent game design, and in part, what he cited was how the game taught you how to play it without making you feel condescended, or as if you had someone making you play the way they wanted. The overuse of cutscenes falls into the latter category.

We have all dealt with the control freak GM that is constantly trying to force players to follow their script, even if the cues aren't there, doing so requires a character abandoning a long term goal without a reason or compensation for doing so, or worst of all, breaking with character. The cutscenes feel similar, where the designer has a " story to tell, " and they aren't going to let something as trivial as you enjoying yourself get in the way. The worst example for ne was Final Fantasy IX, where I ended up quitting because, as I progressed into the later parts of the game, I was forced into a more and more passive role, as the amount of cutscenes increased.

Since this is the trend in console games, and hardware limitations make cutscenes a luxury handheld games can't afford as well, I have switched to purely handheld and my tablet.

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