I picked up Elite: Dangerous recently in a Steam sale, as it’s a game I’ve threatened to get excited about for a while now. Upon booting it up the first time, I found one of the most difficult decisions facing me: what to name my character. And Elite: Dangerous leaves out some pertinent information that would help inform that decision.
Intro videos in video games. Just like upside-down eights in gas station prices, this is one of those situations that once you notice something, you’ll notice it everywhere. I recently started paying attention to how frequently video games have some kind of intro video before you get to the main menu. Indeed, it’s come up on this site recently. Once was in a discussion of how annoying title screens are, and again it came up in a discussion about the personality-infused main menu of Brutal Legend.
So the more I look around, the more I can’t help but notice how widespread this practice is. A few months ago I was thinking that the usage of intro videos was declining, though I’m not super confident that’s actually true. Regardless I’ve discovered something that makes me especially sad – Real Racing 2 for iPad features an intro movie. That’s right, an iPad game, with an intro movie.
With this knowledge, I am officially declaring that video game intro movies must die.
Gamers might not like to admit it, but everybody needs a little help the first time firing up a new game. Experienced gamers can probably guess at what the controls are for common genres – how long has it been since the Madden series has made any kind of meaningful change in controls? For games that are a little more unique though, gamers need help in figuring out not only what buttons to push, but also on a deeper level gamers need to get familiar with what the game is all about. Since we all know that users/gamers/humans don’t read, the usual answer is some kind of in-game tutorial.
Then what happens when you throw a unique game type onto a mobile platform where there are no buttons? Where every game has totally different controls? Well, you might get something like Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, originally a Nintendo DS game ported to iOS that (in a nutshell) features a dead protagonist going around possessing inanimate objects. Ghost Trick features an introductory tutorial level that takes the gamer around 25 minutes to complete! Tutorials for mobile games need to have more action sooner to grab and keep the interest of their probably distracted and already busy audience.
Kinect Sports: Season One is an entertaining, if not terribly deep, game. Among the things that I appreciate about the game is the inclusion of “World Records” in all of the track and field events. There’s five track and field events, and pretty much the first time you successfully complete one of them, you’re going to break the world record. You get a little bit of extra applause from the crowd, a dramatic replay set to the epic Chariots of Fire theme, and a short chance to bask in the glory of your easily-earned success. Continue reading