Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Game Mileage Varies By Age (part 3)

I sometimes never come back to a game I really liked because every time I've tried, I couldn't figure out where to go or what to do next. The problem with adult gamers is that we can't sit down religiously, on a daily basis, and remember where we left off. Sometimes we might not have free time to spend on a game for days or weeks. Once in a while, I load up a game and I notice my last save was months ago! If that game doesn't have some kind of information to remind me what quest I was doing the last time I played, I may find it impossible to pick up where I left off. If it starts me in the middle of a vast map without a marker on the map to even show me where I'd been headed, I might wander the wrong way and waste an hour or two—that's relaxing time that is much more valuable to an adult because there is so little of it available when we have jobs and a family. I know game developers have target audiences, but it seems an immense oversight when designers leave out any method for tracking your objectives. I even remember a time when a lot of RPG's had complex maps that you'd need to map out by hand. That was actually a little fun, but with today's technology and gaming environments, an auto-map should be included in every game by default. If you want to relive the hand-mapping nostalgia, maybe just make the auto-map a feature you can turn on or off? Most of my abandoned, unfinished RPG's were discarded because of many hours of aimless wandering. Quest journal? Auto-map? Save-anywhere? These should be standards in RPG's!

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