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Field of View: The Stan Lee principal has its limits.


So I'm doing another of these to give my view on stuff and try to bring in a bit more nuanced discussion.
It was once apparently said by Stan Lee that it should be always considered by comic book writers that every comic may be some-ones first.

It's a simple idea which turns into a very complex one when you look at the nuanced and ongoing storylines in modern comics considering the numerous requirements to understand everything going on. Hell the complexity and inherent inaccessibility comics eventually end up at could be part of the reason they just keep rebooting the universes every so often. Well DC does, Marvel keeps...........


You know what let's just not say what Marvel keeps doing to its continuity it's better for everyone involved not to open that can of worms.

Gaming has to an extent been working towards this idea with the often very simplistic tutorials which I'd wager at least some-one reading this has though "For Fucks sakes why do you need to teach me how to move it's going to be pretty much the same as how I moved in every other game in the genre damn it". For people who have played a lot of games yes it's pretty obvious but if it's some-ones first game well they just got helped to access the game a bit more. And that is kind of the real subject of this C-blog Accessibility.

Now I've covered the side that objects to easy modes etc before. I'm not on it but hey I try to understand where people are coming from.

So the for easy modes etc side is pretty simple:

Lets people of more varied gaming experience levels play it and enjoy it.
Lets people with physically limiting conditions play the games

More options are good but I'm not going to be supporting a no death mode for Dark Souls, an easy mode maybe but not a no death mode.

Ok wrapped up and done far quicker than last week right? Wrong

You see this is the a series called the field of view and so it's time to widen what we're looking at to a far bigger picture.

What kind of bigger picture? Well the kind that looks at the fact it is initially the creators right to refuse to do it and the fact there are entitled people who seemingly would love to see harder games scored lower because they're not so accessible. Heck it's an industry where some people (and you know who you are) were pushing walking simulator as the most inclusive kind of game. I have a strong objection to that and let me explain why.

Spot the Dog is a book almost anyone can read assuming they can read. Because it's accessible to everyone doesn't mean it's inclusive just because everyone can technically take part. Very little is truly inclusive to everyone and it's the inter-changability of the terms being used that really does get to me sometimes. Spot the Dog may be fantastic for kids learning to read. Spot the Dog would likely be highly boring for those who can read and would want more to the experience, they're not truly included because it's simply not part of the demographic the product is really aiming to please. If we we're to use the often referenced pasta sauce example, different difficulties are the blends of Pasta sauce you can get. Trying to present one unified vision for everyone, the single perfect pasta sauce, of a single game with a single setting that everyone is meant to enjoy  and is designed to be accessible from for all will inevitably end up having to cater to the mildest tastes and hope those who want stronger things fall in line.

My big issue is with people that have been crawling out of the woodwork recently who harp on about how a hard game will be leaving people behind because it's hard. Not all developers, in fact I'd argue very few developers are that short sighted they don't realise that their game might leave people behind. In some cases, yes a developer might pitch the difficulty a little high due to something I call developer disconnect. I've seen such games and played such games on show floors and suggested to the indie developer that maybe a difficulty option would benefit their game (The game in question had me struggling to beat the first level and I'm defiantly better than Mr Takanashi at games considering I still have footage proving I beat the true final boss on Furi).  Or people calling for games to get lower scores / less acclaim or attacking the praise of a game because they found it too hard and are upset it didn't have an easy mode for them. Here's an idea, if you don't like the review or think it's relevant to you, start writing your own. I did for games on the Xblig service because I wanted my voice out there.

The issue is there's only so many pits you can put covers over. So much help you can give people and when it's a person merely struggling to follow the tutorial instructions or manage fairly simple logic then that's not the game that is to blame there.  Games do have gameplay and if you just want to see a story well I'm not entirely sure why you'd want to play a game beyond it being a game where you can make choices in the narrative. Even Gone Home has some gameplay, very basic and holding gameplay but gameplay none the less. If you just want to experience the games story; maybe buy a copy of the game so you're supporting the developers then kick back and watch a youtuber do it, if there's no choices to make?

Even in comic books the Stan Lee principal has its limits. Comic books still require a degree of skill and competency from the audience. They need people to be able to read, at least the physical ones. I'm sure if not already but in the future Comixology will work on some way to have the text read aloud. Even then you have to understand what's being said and comprehend it, even with the ability to look stuff up in a dictionary sometimes.

A game can't include everyone and if you're claiming the game needs to be made easier otherwise it won't include you, maybe you should look at this guy

and consider that maybe you're the one who could make the change and work to get better. That maybe you have to step up to the challenge and that as stipulated by the psychologist Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky learning is best done with help but does require both sides to make an effort.

So that's my view, what's yours?

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About Dwarvenhobbleone of us since 8:33 AM on 06.19.2012

A qualified Environmental Chemist who happens to live in a fairly dense city with no real environment or chemistry industry.

I review indie games on another blog and you'll see them pop up here if I think the review is a good or interesting one (along with a shameless bit of self promotion)

I also operate another blog reviewing films and I mean t pick that back up when I can.

I've been gaming since the SNES days. I've been in the pro scene before for tribes 2 but hate the present pro scenes and have no interest in going back into it.

I tend to get into quite a few Betas and love ones without NDA as it means I can write about them. I have even beta tested an xbox 360 game in my time (and no not a normal public Beta one )

In gaming I'm normally the guy looking at the shelf below the AAA titles first to see if there are any great hidden gems.

My gaming drug of choice: Timesplitters in any flavour (Why won't you make Timesplitters 4 Crytek, why ????? I need my fix of insanity )
Xbox LIVE:hobblejp
Steam ID:dwavenhobble


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