Lately, I have been nothing wanting to play games every once in a while. Sometimes I just feel like it will be too much of an effort. The fact that I mostly just play the first few hours of a game and therefore always have to go through tutorials might play a major role in my problem but I think that it wouldn’t have to be. I think that some games really just force the player to learn too much at once.
Picture this; you have just had a long day of work and now you want to play a videogame to relax. You decide to try and play Dota 2 because your friends recommended it to you. I can assure you that you will not have a good time. You immediately have to learn what items to buy, what skills to upgrade, how to last hit and so on. It takes more than a little motivation to get into a game like that. At this point the game isn’t relaxing anymore, it has become work.
Work is whenever you have to do something in order to be able to just play the game. It can be very tiring to read through text after text or when you are forced through a tutorial. Of course, games can ask something of the player but it really almost never hurts to make to whole experience a little more accessible. The trick in doing this is trying to keep it simple in the beginning and slowly build up towards more complex things. Like how in most RTS you can play the entire game with just your mouse, clicking in the menu to select what to build and what troops to select, but any advanced Starcraft player will be using the keyboard for most of their actions. But the fact that at first you don’t have to learn all keyboard combinations to be able to play makes the game a lot more beginner friendly. Also making the basic game something you can play without any kind of tutorial will make your game into an experience that is a lot more enjoyable. Simplify your turn-based rpg into a simple attack/defend choice and build upon that. Allow your players to button mash through the first 15 minutes of your brawler, make them learn to dodge at the first boss and to block at the second. I could name more examples but you get the point.
A great example of this done right is Fez. The puzzles you have to solve towards the end of Fez are among the most complex in all of gaming. Those puzzles would scare away 95% of all beginning players when it would have been the first thing the game had you do. But because the game begins as a basic platformer you are eased into the game and you slowly play and learn yourself towards more complex puzzle solving. Because of the admirable pacing of this game it can challenge the player in ways I never thought games could challenge people. It also makes Fez one of my favourite games of all time, but that is a slightly unrelated matter.
A game can really challenge any player to do the most insane tasks but only if you don’t require too much of them at once. Pacing is key when you want your game to be for everyone instead of just the players that are already very experienced in the genre. I can understand if you think you can ask a little more of you player. But I think a world in which everyone can play any game is a much nicer one than the way the people on Dota treat me for my lack of skill make me think this one is.