I have fond memories of playing video games in arcades; learning the ins and outs of just about any game I had a quarter for. Back then there were no guide books, no YouTube videos, and due to the nature of programing, games were harder. Don’t believe me, today a game tends to be hard because someone designed it right or wrongly to be difficult, back then, make sure you jump on the right pixel or you died. Guess that isn’t difficulty, but my point being I worked harder on older games than anything I play today.
I am not a fan of guide books or YouTube, Twitch, or any other site that walks a person through a game. I get the purpose and I have used all of them from time to time, most often when I get stuck on a puzzle. I am a huge fan of guide books for huge open world games, such as Skyrim, but I use them after I have played for a while; less of a how do I do and more of a this would be a cool place to visit guide. I like to try a game without any assistance, other than in-game, for a while before I seek outside information. The longevity of a game, for me, is directly related to how quickly I feel the need to consult an outside source; the better the game, the less likely I will need outside information, and the longer I will play the game. There are exceptions to this, for example I have no problem seeking outside information to get some cool outfit or something similar that I see in-game, but how to play the game not so much. I know plenty of people who play games with guides and walk-throughs open at the same time. I don’t think any less of them for doing that, as long as a person is having fun I don’t care what tools they use.
However, while watching our girl use a YouTube level walkthru for Unravel, I started wondering about the longevity of the video game industry if it wasn’t for people who make guidebooks and walkthrus. There are so many video games I quit playing after a short time because something just didn’t click and perhaps if I had had a guidebook back in the day I would have continued. Hell that happens today; games that for one reason or another don’t click, but after I hit a guide to get through whatever is stopping me or bothering me, such as a crappy boss fight or a camera angle that makes no sense or a puzzle, I find myself enjoying the game.
Our girl stopped playing Unravel around the third level because the puzzles were not as intuitive as they had been. Personally, while I love the look of Unravel, I think it is poorly designed puzzle platformer precisely because of lack of intuitive solutions and amount of frustration the puzzles cause. Not being a quitter, she found some YouTube walkthrus and started playing again. However, even with the assistance of YouTube she encounters problems that she has to work through. Yet, because she knows that someone has beat the level continues to plug away until she too beats the level. I wonder how many video games and the industry in general have benefited from this connection.