Sunday, June 07, 2009

Nintendo Developing "Help" Feature

The Wii is greatly credited for opening up gaming to a wider audience, appealing to many casual and first time gamers for its simple pick up and play gaming style, and ease of use with its motion controller. Nintendo is now looking to take that one step further with a help feature they're tentatively calling "demo play."

Demo play will be incorporated into the upcoming Super Mario Bros. game, and will allow a player to pause the game and have the game itself play the for them. The player can then unpause and resume control at any point.

Great. You know, I remember a developer commenting once, and it may have been Bungie, that they could design the game to play itself but where's the fun in that. Apparently Nintendo disagrees. The intention is for demo play to allow players to get past tough spots, but seriously, if you let the game play itself for the player, you're removing any sense of challenge or reward from your game. For any developer, it's simply good game design to present the player with a challenge and to balance its level of difficulty and frustration, which will then create a great sense of reward and accomplishment once the player passes it. Even now, we have far too many lazy developers who rely on uber-bosses or ridiculously frustrating environmental situations to "challenege" players, and if this feature takes off (Nintendo is considering it for other games), I can see sloppy, overly hard challenges becoming the norm over quality design. Why bother designing something well when we can simply have the game go through it for us!

Way to encourge development sloth Nintendo!

Original story spotted at Sync.

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