Are modern games making us lazy?

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theantmeister
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Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by theantmeister » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:11 am

So I just finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution and, while it is a very good game, I did find some of it a bit dumbed down. There's a lot of "push button to kill" in it, but besides that, there is the mission structure. Every mission boils down to go somewhere/do something. That wouldn't be so bad, except that the game leads you straight there. Even when you're searching for a specific person, the game knows exactly where they are and points you straight to their exact location. I had the same issue with Skyrim.

Compare that to Planescape: Torment. In that, you talk to an NPC, they give you a mission to find somebody and the NPC describes the person you're looking for and a general idea of where they are - but the game doesn't highlight them on the map. It is up to the player to work out where that NPC is.

Some may argue that the modern way is a good thing, that the old way was tedious. There's no denying it does appeal to the lazy part of my brain. But there is a sense of achievement when you find that person yourself...

So are modern games too convenient? Any other examples? Do you think the old way stinks?

LAIS
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by LAIS » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:26 am

As far as your example goes, there's no skill in finding an NPC, it's just a frustrating trial and error grind. I don't think it's a question of laziness, for me it's a question of allowing the plot/game to bubble along at a nice pace.

The same could be said for other modern introductions - I don't think there's any real excuse for a game not to let you save at any point you like. I don't think save points add anything to a release. You should be able to exit at any point you like, and pick up from where you left.

What I'm going to say next though...may be a little more divisive.

With Bloodborne - one of the things that put me off was the fact health potions would not regenerate if you died. It made death more punishing, sure - but it also potentially traps you, and it certainly makes the game less accessible. I think a game like that should by default give you the option to have regenerating potions. A little switch you can tag "on" in the settings - completely optional - that would open up what's apparently a great game to many more people. But at the same time, it would keep the option open of an ultra-hard, potion-free difficulty for those who wanted it.

When Fire Emblem introduced the option of removing perma-death a lot of people were unhappy, but I think that was a massive stride forward. It was only an option - you didn't have to take it - but it meant that characters you'd grown fond of would stay in the game till the very end. Basically, their stories remained open till the grand finale.

Anything that makes a game more accessible, or keeps the pace moving along should be welcomed with open arms. In certain releases (eg. Bloodborne) some of these features should be optional, but I strongly believe they should be there.

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The Beans
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by The Beans » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:41 am

I'm not bothered by such things. A game is what it is. I prefer the more modern approach to gaming overall though. It's an ethic that's mostly about creating an enjoyable experience that can challenge without p1ssing you off too much. It's an improvement on the fussy stuff of old imo. The use of the word "lazy" implies work. I think once a game starts feeling like work it's starting to fail. I'm all for game mechanics that remove padding too. Some people might see a mission pointer as an overly convenient and challenge robbing device but to me it cuts down on tedious wandering that just wastes my time. The key thing developers need to do with such things is provide the option to turn them off.
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Bluce_Ree
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by Bluce_Ree » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:24 am

Anything that keeps the action flowing is good in my opinion. My main issue with sandbox games, for example, is the amount of time spent just getting to the gameplay.
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by flying_delorean81 » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:28 am

I think I know what you mean. The best example I can think of is the Dead Space series, which has a button that shows you a direct route to your next objective. While it may be spoon feeding the player, I did find it very helpful navigating the dark corridors, many of which look the same.

On the flipside, others may find the constant backtracking in games like Resident Evil a drag. While the item management system of the early games required lots of backtracking to deposit items in storage boxes, the plus side is that it wasn't long before you knew the mansion/police station inside out.

I think games are definitely becoming more accessible with their willingness to help players out. I'm all for that, as long as it is something you can toggle on or off, either in the options or just as part of the game's difficulty settings. Personally, I need to be guided sometimes or I end up going round in circles, getting annoyed and going back to Paperboy on the NES!!
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Gigifusc
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by Gigifusc » Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:25 am

This is an area of great interest to me as I constantly look for depth verus accessibility in games.

Focusing on the OP point above, in this case in Planescape you were told 'find this character' and were given only a text description (is that right? No picture?) in order to find them.

Now, in the real world you would be able to ask more specific questions in order to find a person - where do they work? Where do they live? Any other outstanding characteristics? Any friends that are easier to find ? We would essentially begin and partake in a full investigation.

We wouldn't be told "Find Kaiara Kalanthrope. He's somewhere in the industrial zone. Oh and he has a scar on his face' and then just go off and try to find that person. Real life doesn't work that way but game restrictions do. So now we have a big problem - the game restrictions have created gameplay that can be incredibly frustrating to the point of spoiling a game for the majority of gamers.

So the objective is to overcome the game restrictions. How do we do that? Well. As we've seen, many developers have taken the route of simply removing the finding of a person or location as a gameplay mechanic by leading you directly to them.

In some ways that's fair enough - looking for or a location or people is rarely a wanted game mechanic - that's not what most games are about. But the problem is, as the OP says, it has dumbed down many games.

Personally I would prefer games to use finding things as a mechanic but simply give me the means to find it. That way, I'm engaging and playing in the game world itself in order to move the story on. So thinking about my list above, those things need exposure within the game - I need to have a way to find those things out thereby creating an investigative process that would be fun, engaging and then rewarding.

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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by DPrinny » Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:33 am

We have had a fair few "Is this a game?" type things of late, (Life is strange that Rapture game), in most cases the internet has made us lazy gamers as when we are stuck its off to Google to find a solution rather than figuring it out

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The Beans
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by The Beans » Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:48 am

Gigifusc wrote:This is an area of great interest to me as I constantly look for depth verus accessibility in games.

Focusing on the OP point above, in this case in Planescape you were told 'find this character' and were given only a text description (is that right? No picture?) in order to find them.

Now, in the real world you would be able to ask more specific questions in order to find a person - where do they work? Where do they live? Any other outstanding characteristics? Any friends that are easier to find ? We would essentially begin and partake in a full investigation.

We wouldn't be told "Find Kaiara Kalanthrope. He's somewhere in the industrial zone. Oh and he has a scar on his face' and then just go off and try to find that person. Real life doesn't work that way but game restrictions do. So now we have a big problem - the game restrictions have created gameplay that can be incredibly frustrating to the point of spoiling a game for the majority of gamers.

So the objective is to overcome the game restrictions. How do we do that? Well. As we've seen, many developers have taken the route of simply removing the finding of a person or location as a gameplay mechanic by leading you directly to them.

In some ways that's fair enough - looking for or a location or people is rarely a wanted game mechanic - that's not what most games are about. But the problem is, as the OP says, it has dumbed down many games.

Personally I would prefer games to use finding things as a mechanic but simply give me the means to find it. That way, I'm engaging and playing in the game world itself in order to move the story on. So thinking about my list above, those things need exposure within the game - I need to have a way to find those things out thereby creating an investigative process that would be fun, engaging and then rewarding.
All that might be "fun, engaging and then rewarding" for you but I'd find it tediously long winded and tiresome. It would be fine in a game that was dedicated to the experience you describe but would be a complete pain in the arse if it cropped up in every game where I need to locate an NPC to kick off a mission.
"Realism" in games isn't necessarily a desirable thing for me. Games are too full of dull padding already. The thought of having to faff about with an "investigation" just to talk to an NPC ... no thanks. :lol:
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theantmeister
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by theantmeister » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:13 pm

Gigifusc wrote:Focusing on the OP point above, in this case in Planescape you were told 'find this character' and were given only a text description (is that right? No picture?) in order to find them.
No picture, but the NPC will tell you stuff like what they're wearing and where they might be. Of course, they're almost always where they might be, or something there will point you on to somewhere else.

It's interesting that most people are in favour of the modern aids. I guess I kind of am too, but I do worry it will ruin older games for me. I have to admit I kind of recoiled at having to find my own way around in Planescape. In fact, there's one mission in Deus Ex where the game doesn't put a marker on the map to tell you where to go next. I thought I had found a bug! :lol:
DPrinny wrote:in most cases the internet has made us lazy gamers as when we are stuck its off to Google to find a solution rather than figuring it out
I had a go at King's Quest over the weekend and I'm really trying to resist going to Gamefaqs. I'm trying to get my rusty old brain to figure out how to finish the damn thing. Even worse, I know I finished the damn thing back in the day completely unaided. Why can't I now? Because modern games have rotted my brain, I tell you!

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SpockIOM
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by SpockIOM » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:46 pm

Reading this thread got me thinking about games like Zelda, Metroid, Simon's Quest, Rygar and Star Wars on NES, and plenty of other "where the hell do I go now?" games that didn't include (or only the barest hint of) a map. Playing the game creating our own maps as we went and waiting for a gaming magazine to publish one was part of the fun back then. I accept that we probably had a lot more time on our hands, and the game worlds were a lot smaller by today's standards (even though they seemed enormous at the time!), but exploration was fun! I'd even argue that being shown where to go made some of the sequels too damn easy!

I'm not saying that maps and helpers in games are bad, just depends on context I suppose. For instance, I couldn't imagine having to explore with no information a world on a quest that takes 40 hours to complete if you know what you're doing. If you were to do that without any form of help you could literally spend hours on getting absolutely nowhere. I bet the original GTA would've been a pain in the arse without the arrow showing you the direction, not route, to your goal. And I certainly wouldn't have found the second castle in SOTN without seeing the rooms past the throne room on the map and working out how to get to them! But in shorter games, little to no information can work - Shadow of the Colossus, for example, needed some kind of pointer as the mainly empty world was so vast, but it only gave you a general idea of the direction to go like GTA and didn't really spoil the action or the way the game made you piece the story together yourself. That and the map gradually revealed itself as you progressed, not that I ever really used it.

Really I think it all depends on what you're after from a game, but it would be nice if developers could give a better variety of options for the amount of help a game offers.
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Gigifusc
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by Gigifusc » Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:35 pm

The Beans wrote:
Gigifusc wrote:This is an area of great interest to me as I constantly look for depth verus accessibility in games.

Focusing on the OP point above, in this case in Planescape you were told 'find this character' and were given only a text description (is that right? No picture?) in order to find them.

Now, in the real world you would be able to ask more specific questions in order to find a person - where do they work? Where do they live? Any other outstanding characteristics? Any friends that are easier to find ? We would essentially begin and partake in a full investigation.

We wouldn't be told "Find Kaiara Kalanthrope. He's somewhere in the industrial zone. Oh and he has a scar on his face' and then just go off and try to find that person. Real life doesn't work that way but game restrictions do. So now we have a big problem - the game restrictions have created gameplay that can be incredibly frustrating to the point of spoiling a game for the majority of gamers.

So the objective is to overcome the game restrictions. How do we do that? Well. As we've seen, many developers have taken the route of simply removing the finding of a person or location as a gameplay mechanic by leading you directly to them.

In some ways that's fair enough - looking for or a location or people is rarely a wanted game mechanic - that's not what most games are about. But the problem is, as the OP says, it has dumbed down many games.

Personally I would prefer games to use finding things as a mechanic but simply give me the means to find it. That way, I'm engaging and playing in the game world itself in order to move the story on. So thinking about my list above, those things need exposure within the game - I need to have a way to find those things out thereby creating an investigative process that would be fun, engaging and then rewarding.
All that might be "fun, engaging and then rewarding" for you but I'd find it tediously long winded and tiresome. It would be fine in a game that was dedicated to the experience you describe but would be a complete pain in the arse if it cropped up in every game where I need to locate an NPC to kick off a mission.
"Realism" in games isn't necessarily a desirable thing for me. Games are too full of dull padding already. The thought of having to faff about with an "investigation" just to talk to an NPC ... no thanks. :lol:
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Bluce_Ree
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by Bluce_Ree » Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:57 pm

For me if value for money wasn't an issue, all games should be no longer than four hours long. Anything longer than that and it's all just cut and pasting anyway. I'd rather have a short game that was constant action where you are always doing something worthwhile or seeing something worthwhile than a game where I'm going to be spending hours getting to things.

If you're just travelling, it's all dead time.

Apart from Oblivion. For some reason I loved that game the most.
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JamesC
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by JamesC » Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:31 pm

I think it's all about the focus of the game.
If it's a very cinematic game, you probably don't want to be wandering about not knowing where to go. If it's a sandbox you want there to be plenty of things to do all the time. If it's an RPG you want there to be an opportunity to build your character and to 'quest' (ideally you have options for toggling help functions and pointers on/off).
For me there's a problem when the character or focus of the game is lost. For example, if you're playing a shmup you want to get straight into the action, not have a load of cut scenes. Another example would be something like Arkham Knight - a lot of players feel the tank sections, while functionally sound, are unsuited to the focus of the game as a 'Batman simulator'.

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outdated_gamer
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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by outdated_gamer » Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:05 pm

Depends which modern games you mean. If you mean the mainstream, high production "AAA" type games with lots of marketing behind them I can understand what you mean because those are mostly streamlined to appeal to a larger audience which includes "hand holdy" gameplay design decisions. If you want games that will challenge you, you have to look at the more niche type of games which aren't as popular but have a dedicated following. On consoles you have Dark Souls, Bloodborne, ZombiU and the likes and on PC you have Total War, ArmA, StarCraft, Quake Live, Trackmania, Red Orchestra and so on. All these games have in common that they require you to put a lot of time and dedication into them to be any good at them and that they can have steep learning curves for newcommers. While they still have various helpers and tutorials, they don't actually compromise the gameplay to suit completely everyone, which makes them appealing to a more dedicated audience. A lot of modern games simply eschew any kind of deeper gameplay in favour of movie-like presentation and watered down gameplay to cater to the masses.

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Re: Are modern games making us lazy?

Post by Negative Creep » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:04 pm

Wandering around trying to find the right door/NPC is one of my pet hates in gaming so I don't mind it being signposted
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