[MUD-Dev] Removing access to entertainment
johnbue at msn.com
Fri Nov 14 11:35:41 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003
This is an observation about some graphical games that I've played
through the years, and a pet peeve that has been building all that
while. I don't know if text games have this manifested in any way,
but the graphical games sure do: they remove my access to
entertainment as part of the normal
operation of the game.
Example 1: Nighttime and rainstorms.
In graphical games, the gee-whiz graphics are a major selling
point. All the screenshots that we see show amazing detail,
wonderful graphics, magical effects and so on. Yet half of the
game time is rendered for 'night'. The screen goes dark. I
can't see the neato graphics. In truth, I can't see much of
anything. Rainstorms do the same thing.
Example 2: Mesmerization.
This is where one character is able to cause another character
to go unresponsive to controls because it is 'mesmerized'. This
effect can last 30 seconds or more. But the esential truth of
the effect is that the player can not play the game for those 30
Example 3: Blindness.
This is a combination of the first two examples. A character
causes another character to go blind, meaning that the player
can't see anything in the game world. Their controls may be
accessible, but the world itself is not visible.
Example 4: Slow travel in large worlds.
This is less removal of entertainment and more a barrier to
getting to entertainment. Let's say that the world is
geographically large and the task to be tackled requires
multiple players to come together. Or multiple players simply
want to gather because it's fun to do so. The time it takes to
assemble those multiple players from around the game world can
The only real purpose of this post is to suggest to game designers
that they cease putting in game features that, while 'realistic', do
NOT add to the game's entertainment value. In truth, they oppose
players finding entertainment because those very features remove
access to the game's entertainment.
1. Don't remove or limit my ability to see the game world in an
entertaining way. A dark screen is NOT entertaining. It only
adds to eye strain. A rainstorm isn't 'fun'. It only impairs my
ability to move around the game world to find the real
entertainment in the game.
2. Don't remove my access to my character's abilities. Let others
attempt to counter my character's abilities, but don't remove
access to mine.
3. Don't install barriers to accessing entertainment. I
understand that players will consume all available entertainment
in a game because of the difficulty in composing content. That
doesn't mean that there should be such onerous barrier to pursuing
that entertainment that I spend much of my gaming experience in
simply trying to reach the entertainment that's out there.
There are solutions to all of these things. But the first problem
to be solved is that game designers/developers/publishers seem to
believe that impairing a player's ability to access game
entertainment is of itself somehow entertaining. It isn't. So let
me enjoy what entertainment there is in your games.
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