Monday, November 07, 2005

Mad for Madden?

I spoke with one of this building's security guards today.

He plays an occasional game, but the complexity and skill requirements of many of today's games are far beyond him, and he certainly doesn't have the time to get up to speed.

This is, of course, a known problem that lots of designers are lamenting. "We want more games like Katamari Damacy, where even a game-illiterate person can just pick up and play!"

Here's the fun twist, though:

He can't play sports games because they are too complex.

He's totally pumped up about this one game in particular - I believe it was the most recent Madden - which essentially has someone guiding you in some form of a "tutorial" mode if needed. The learning curve flattened out, and he loves it! He loves it enough to go without sleep to play it for the entire night. He says it's the first 'recent' sports title he's been able to play without feeling lost.

Funny. I never ever thought that sports games had the same kind of super-skill requirements other genres have. It makes sense once it's said, but I always kind of assumed the games were largely very simple, aside from the statistics and roster selection, which I viewed as optional.

Well well. The little things you learn.


Patrick Dugan said...

Maybe game designers should "tutor" casual gamers by leveling the learning curve of their games with an optional ladder of nested play loops. Rag Doll Kung Fu does this well with the single player game, which allows the player to "get" the at-first bewilderingly complex controls and just love the kung fu.

Craig Perko said...

Of course, but it costs money to do that.

Patrick Dugan said...

Does it? Healey designed Rag Doll with only his brain and his day job at Lionhead paying his bills. The videos in the single player cost about 50 pounds. I think dev costs are all a matter of perspective, if you've got your rent, grocery and electric bills paid and the will to implement some "wean" levels that will make your game that much more appealing, it seems like it would cost much more money *not* to do that.

Craig Perko said...

Of course. That was the whole point of my original post.

But the reason it doesn't get done more often, or more adequately, is because it takes time and money.