My game design teacher actually touched on the first two minutes of this video in this morning’s lecture, and notably scolded anyone who said the player was just stupid. Earlier, I was happily laughing at the player, along with everyone else, but in hindsight, my teacher has a point.
The player’s amount of intuition and previous game knowledge is certainly a factor here, and perhaps a videogame journalist is expected to have more of both, but it’s also notable how the tutorial is constructed.
It’s introducing two mechanics at once: jumping and dashing, and assuming the player will immediately know to dash at the top of their jump from the small cube to make it over the big pillar.
It may have been better to introduce these separately: perhaps at first a few smaller objects for the player to jump over normally, and a small gap to dash over, instead of having to do this relatively advanced maneuver immediately.
That’s a thing.
An important principle of design is to never assume the player knows how to do anything. Anything at all. Not to say you need to hold their hand, but if at any point you say the world “should”, you’re doing wrong.
I.E. “The player should know that this will happen, the player should be able to get this jumping mechanic down”
You can think the player is stupid all you want (and 90% of the time you will, and you and your team will laugh at them as you re-design after playtesting) but in the end, even perceived stupidity is something you gotta take into account.
One thing to consider though is the concept of gaming literacy. With any type of media there is a form of literacy that as it goes up (usually from the media becoming more accessible), so do the quality of works of that type of media. This has been the case with movies and numerous other forms of entertainment and art. I feel like the ‘should’ clause needs to be used with restraint–having faith and trust in your playerbase and expecting them to know things can and has led to more unique experiences. (Think like how we always associate ‘A’ for ‘jump,’ or how you always start by moving right, etc. Many people who’ve never played a game in their life would likely understand this right away or at least pretty quickly.)
I feel like design does need to try and cater to levels of intuition that you can reasonably expect (so, basically what you both said above, such as introduce both concepts one at a time, then together)–HOWEVER, as a games writer he absolutely should have the slightly-above-basic level of intuition to figure out how to get across the obstacle either way. And yes, while I used ‘should,’ that ‘should’ isn’t a statement on the game design, it’s a statement on him. It’d make sense if someone who has never played games was struggling with that action, and it does highlight a few issues with the current tutorial, but if he writes about games for a living he’d be expected for his job to know how to navigate game problems like that. (Basically, he wouldn’t’ve highlighted the issues with the level if he was actually qualified with his job.)
While yes the tutorial section does leave a bit to be desired with its prompts and probably should be a bit more mindful of someone who is completely new to gaming, it doesn’t change the fact that this player is (supposedly) not new to gaming as a whole. I feel like the argument honestly becomes less about “how can’t you solve this obvious puzzle? / Is this puzzle well designed?” and more “how do you have a job as a gaming writer if you don’t play games?” Whether or not he does is moot–his lack of intuition reflects poorly on his qualifications either way at the end of the day.
Gengas created for Sonic CD (Opening + ending), courtesy of its chief key animator Hisashi Eguchi / 江口寿志 (not related to the famous illustrator).
honestly idk why but i hate ribombee. something about it just bothers me deeply. i feel like i’d find it standing outside of nordstrom’s, a hot caramel macchiato in hand, and it would point at my cracked phone screen and ask me why i don’t just buy a new one