The Death of “Secretive” Games - How ‘A Boy and His Blob’ an

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The Death of “Secretive” Games - How ‘A Boy and His Blob’ an

Postby Austin » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:12 pm

This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »

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The birth of the internet has brought about the death of “secretive” game design, but what is it, and can a few developers keep it on life support long enough for a resurgence?





Author: Austin

It might be the most common legitimate complaint among game-players this side of DLC being exploited to high heaven: Games nowadays are just too easy. We used to live in a golden age of toughness, and now our hands are held through even the most simplistic of tasks. We used to spend weeks or months trying one particular part in a game before we beat it. We used to get satisfaction from figuring these things out. Now you never spend more than half an hour on any given task before looking up the answer online and continuing on with the game. After all, anything that gets in the way of you having fun right this second is bad for the game, right?

Maybe. There’s no use starting off on a tirade about how easy games are bad, or how games built for constant stimulation are degrading the industry. There is then, similarly, no use in preaching the power of difficulty, or making the falsely “bold” claim that every game needs to be as hard as Mega Man 2. They don’t, and they aren’t. Any declaration of any type of game being intrinsically superior to any other type of game should be-- though usually isn’t-- ignored in lieu of fostering somewhat more positive discussion about a hobby and/or passion most of us share.

No, the problem is not that ridiculously easy games exist. The problem isn’t really even that ridiculously hard games don’t exist. The problem is that ridiculously hard games don’t exist in the same way that they used to.
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[Opinion] The Death of “Secretive” Games - How ‘A Boy and Hi

Postby Pikmin » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:17 am

Thanks for reading this Austin!
I must admit I prefer knowing what to do next usually, although in some games like the paper mario, there is a fortune teller who gives you hints on what you should do next. This is a good thing because sometimes it is not exactly clear what to do, and if you want to you can figure it out yourself but you can otherwise find out hints on what to do next.

I think sometimes it is just too hard to know what to do next sometimes, for example in TLOZ The Wind Waker, after you clear the tower of the gods you must find and defeat Cyclos, a wind god who teaches you the ballad of gales. Then you have to teleport to a fairy who gives you the ice and fire arrows. Then you have to find Fire mountain and Ice mountain and get the items which will allow you to enter the next dungeons. You have to do all of that without help or hints and I find that a bit ridiculous.
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[Opinion] The Death of “Secretive” Games - How ‘A Boy and Hi

Postby Patrick » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:01 am

The problem is that it now takes like a minute to turn on GameFAQs and look up a walkthrough. Heck, with the Wii U and 3DS's multitasking, you don't even need to look away from the console.

But then I guess that would logically lead to developers making games with less hand holding... I don't really remember what point I was trying to make.
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Re: [Opinion] The Death of “Secretive” Games - How ‘A Boy an

Postby thomas » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:40 am

hah, I remember the Wind Waker bit. Pretty sure I used a walkthrough for that.
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[Opinion] The Death of “Secretive” Games - How ‘A Boy and Hi

Postby invader_quirk » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:27 am

I'll admit that I didn't get far in A Boy and His Blob. The aimlessness resulted in me just not caring. It gave me nothing to care about. Now, though, I'm ashamed of my attitude towards it. Your article made me wonder "where is my spirit of adventure and curiosity? Has it been crushed over the years by straight-forward gameplay?" I now want to go back and explore that game.
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[Opinion] The Death of “Secretive” Games - How ‘A Boy and Hi

Postby Shock-Socks » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:49 am

Hey, Long-time reader and First-time poster here. Just wanted to say that I really like this feature and I'd love to see it perpetuated. Thanks for the wonderful content!
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[Opinion] The Death of “Secretive” Games - How ‘A Boy and Hi

Postby Austin » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:15 am

@Pikmin: Completely fair points, and it's not as though it's better to be one or the other. A healthy mix is always best, but can we at least agree that these types of games have diminished lately?

@Patrick: I think that might be part of it, but that's actually a huge reason why I love zombies as it is now. No one knows exactly what's going on, and Treyarch refuses to confirm anything about it. At least not yet...

@invader_quirk: When I first found out that you could jump into space using the trampoline my jaw dropped. It didn't help you progress in the game or anything, but the feeling of doing that for the first time without guidelines or prompt was incredible.

@Shock-Socks: I'm really glad you liked it, and we're happy to have you here! I talk about this sort of thing on our podcast if you've any interest, and if not I'm sure you'll see me write about it again in the future. :]
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