The original Super Stickman Golf by Noodlecake Studios is one of my favorite mobile games (links to stores available here). It’s a simple yet challenging way to pass a few minutes of time. Everybody likes mini-golf, right? Super Stickman Golf 2 picks up right where the first left off, adding a few new features and a bunch of new in-app purchase options.
Merits of the upgrade aside, there’s one particular issue with the game that hasn’t changed between the two versions, and it has caused me a tiny amount of grief a few times now. When playing a single player round, backing out to the main menu doesn’t save the player’s progress, and the game doesn’t do anything to warn them of this either. Just like Microsoft Word prompts users before leaving changes unsaved, games always should tell the player before they lose progress.
While thatgame’s(ux) has focused primarily on video games so far, tabletop games aren’t exempt from needing user-centered design. The design of the rules book is an obvious place that usability can step in, but well-designed packaging is another one, as well as the construction of the game’s components. Back in February 2012 we talked about the great “progressive enhancement” that takes place in getting Set (the card game) up and running for new players.
I recently played a game of 1st and Goal, a 2011 football sim board game (from designer Stephen Glenn and published by R&R Games), and I was struck by one tiny, amazing feature of the game. It features a magnetic football that sticks to the board. Why is this so awesome? Well let me tell you…
One of the many game modes in the EA’s Madden NFL football series is the “Create a Superstar” mode. It puts an RPG-esque twist on winning the Lombardi Trophy by letting you “level up” your superstar’s skills as you gain experience. This concept certainly isn’t novel though – I’ve talked a little bit about a similar mode in MLB 2K12 recently.
Since you are creating a superstar after all, there are quite a few details to be worked out – from hair style to shoe color and all kinds of things in between. Madden NFL even includes an extensive list of colleges that your superstar could have attended. I’m not sure exactly how many there are, but it’s a ludicrous amount. And this is where the problem comes in – EA might have picked the worst possible way for players to select a college.
As previouslymentioned, NHL 12 has some usability issues. For a game of its scope, maybe that’s not unexpected. There are a lot of menus to sift through for sim-heavy parts of the game like the Be a GM mode. But being able to change what players are on what line shouldn’t be that hard. It’s been in every hockey game since the beginning of time (probably). Unfortunately, NHL 12 manages to be terrible in a lot of ways on this one screen. Continue reading →
In a recent blog post, I talked about how MLB 2K12 takes way too long due to some very realistic ballpark animations. The best way to shorten your game is to turn on “hurry up mode” – basically, it’s like the game is constantly pressing the A button for you to skip the animations (think of the wear and tear on your controller!)
I could think of less awkward ways for the game to speed things along, but that’s not the point of this post. The point is, the menu option where you pick hurry up mode acts really strangely if you aren’t paying close attention to what’s going on. It’s not ever a good idea to break the laws of physics, and I’d say that’s especially true in a game’s menu system.