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LONG BLOG

One more try...

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Why don't we hear that as a prominent feature in games? I'm not saying, "oh the games need to be harder" or "You're just a bunch of pussies because games are so much easier" I'm just curious. Way back in the early days of gaming, one more try was the basic rule of games for two simple reasons. By inflating difficulty you could suck more money out of people. And if it was a home game we're talking about, you inflated the length, battletoads anyone? I'm not saying it was a good implementation of the idea back then, go as long as your allowance will let you or until you beat it then try again, however. All I'm saying is, it's pretty much gone.

Not to say games are "easy" just the fact that this design philosophy is almost entirely gone on big releases. Why is this? And why is it that this technique flourishes on top selling small budget games like doodle jump or angry birds. Why don't we operate on the basis of one more try? I think the main reason is that as technological entertainment advances, television, movies, hell even sports, people want a little bit more than they used too. People would rather pay their 50 dollars on a huge adventure epic than fifty dollars for a game that constitutes pretty much high scores. Also my general perception of the matter is the idea that one more try pretty much instantly dictates, hard or go till it gets hard.

Let's take a simple franchise that has stayed with many a gamer over the years, metroid. As time goes on the series slowly advances from one more try to adventure epic. In the original NES metroid, you're tasked with getting samus to the end of the game not only as fast as possible, but with as many items as possible. This was a way of putting tension on players as simply playing the game through to the end almost always got you the worst ending, did for me anyway. The only way you would get a better ending than just her back turned was by actually putting in some effort. If you had the drive to see the best ending you always thought to yourself after a fruitless attempt, "one more try..." and it got you to play more.

As time went on metroid evolved from a simple sci fi shooter race to a full on epic trilogy. I think the turning point was in super metroid, despite it being one of if not the most popular speed run competition. Here the series production values really took off, and the whole experience gave way to something more of an actual adventure. If you don't believe me just watch a video of the original metroid, compared to super metroid. And if you want to see how ahead of the curve it was in atmosphere, compare it to super mario world.

Then comes metroid prime, the only thing that compels you besides beating the game is getting 100%, a common thing nowadays. And afterwords, if you got every missile expansion, charge combo, and power suit up grade you got the best ending. It had no matter on time, and so the one more try design was gone. Instead it was replaced with a more modern, "all I need is time" philosophy. This newer philosophy can be said about the whole industry and how its new tech has led to bigger and better adventures. Which isn't really a bad thing, I don't think mass effect would have been the same game if it was an arcade style shooter. Or half life, or any other great modern game.

One more try has its place, meaning we don't have to phase it out completely. The monster hunter series is a great example of blending epic adventures with the one more try philosphy. The whole game series is based upon careful planning and execution. If you die, it's almost always your fault. It's rarely ever bad design, or unbeatable monsters. And if you get stuck on a monster the game always has items that will help you greatly, but you need to work for them. You can tackle it however you want, but the requirement of thoughtful playing ultimately always results in one more try philosphy. For example, even if you beat a monster that gave you trouble, there's always a new monster that you can challenge that is a bit harder, a bit more resilient, and a bit more powerful. But it's always beatable. Win or lose you're always in the option of, "one more try..." This design is partially because the story is written mostly by yourself, and your experiences with your band of hunters. It's there, but it's thin, and the main "epic adventure" largely comes from personally taking down these insane monsters with skill and finesse.

Of course monster hunter is not the only game that is doing this, it's just one that I can think of at the moment. Think about how many games you played that haven't been touted as, "an intense challenge" on purpose, but the challenge comes from execution and skill. A prime example of this challenge I'm not talking about is the great game,

This is a prime example of fun, deliberate, one more try philosophy. It's all about agility, dexterity and manipulation of meat boy. You die countless times a level and you always keep trying, same with the bit trip series. So back to my query, give me a good example of a game that uses the one more try philosophy, is developed like it, and requires skill. But it isn't touted by pretty much every one as being a ball bustingly hard game.
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About Tanookiboy17one of us since 9:37 PM on 01.31.2010

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