Listening and reading every interview on Sonic Bomb reads like a script for a comedy as these doorknobs make every single mistake a game developer makes this day in age. If not the redesigns and their moronic reasoning, it’s the gameplay gimmicks. If not the gameplay, it’s the intended audience. If not that, it’s the ridiculous mess they spew in interviews like “splinter groups”. One after another, my hopes are dashed in an instant as these devs jump headlong into 1996 where stupid ideas start cropping up for the sake of showing off 3D effects.

But the one that gets me is the comment of “wanting kids to be able to finish the game”. That’s the absolute worst thing you could want. While obnoxiously lamenting that people who want a challenge have to do other things aside from the main game (sounds like Klonoa’s stupid tower).

Forgive me if I give off the essence of a gaming elitist who believes in Ninja Gaiden levels of BS ridden challenges, but these things contributed to the replay value of a video game in ways most people wouldn’t guess.

Video games can really take you places. More so than a book could. Reason being is obvious. A visual aid can give you clear details of these places you are venturing into. Sure, it’s nice to use your imagination to visualize how the place looks, it’s much more accessible to see how things look and feel.

That said, when you find a game that has incredibly interesting places, then you are instantly spell bound. You have the innate desire to dig deeper and explore it’s vast world.

As I’ve said before,  people have a desire to travel and explore the world. if you don’t have the means or the funds to do your own traveling, you rely on the media to give you your fix. Movies and television do a decent job on their own, but to get a first hand experience, you’d need to actively participate in the exploration aspects. IE, YOU need to actually be present in that world. As such, video games do their jobs much better by taking you places.

Think about all the marvelous (read: Generic) looking worlds in Sonic Bomb that we’ve seen thus far. Most have agreed that despite being unfitting, they are some vast pieces of work that people want to dig into once we see more of it.

But in order to really bring out your inner explorer, there have to be obstacles in place. This is why “challenge” is actually important. Not for gamers to stroke their mega lo-maniacal  egos, but to push you into wanting to see more of the game’s worlds…. more than usual.

“Man, I can’t wait to see what the next destination is! Uh oh,  boss fight”

*hours later*3

‘FUUUUUUUUUUUUU- I WANNA SEE MORE OF THIS GAME! STUPID TOUGH BADASS BOSS WITH HIS CHEAP ARMORED MISSILES!”

People would be desperate to find out the next chapter on their journey. Game developers know this which is why they create gorgeous looking environments time and again (unless it’s a game on a nintendo console, apparently). Unfortunately, developers are incredibly ego driven fools who want people to simply marvel at their work. And you can’t marvel at anything when you’re stuck at some boss fight. So instead, the devs coddle people with very easy difficulty in which a baby could progress without hindrance. Then again, they wouldn’t have a choice otherwise considering how much of a hinderance  3D gaming is, but that’s aside the point.

This creates big problems, why? Because when you have legions of incredibly easy games, gamers go through the process of which they burn through content. When this happens, gamers start ending up with games that take up shelf space faster than dust rats. Why is that? Could it be the lack of places to explore in a game?

Outside of puzzle games, sports games, maybe fighting games and FPS’s where the main goal is competition (not to mention being the main genres that seemingly sell the most these days), you would be hardpressed to find any game that is worth your time anymore. Many games that are designed around the element of action or adventure are usually short-lived experiences now. Oh the games might be long, but their length isn’t attributed to REAL length, IE things not created arbitrarily just to artificially lengthen the game, mind you. But when you eventually get through the game, you realize that it’s really over. There’s nothing more to explore. No hidden worlds to seek. When you remove the amount of worlds to explore, the incentive of replay value diminishes greatly. So when you have a game that is built to be easy, what you are doing is creating no incentive to replay the game. No real drive other than a second playthrough with minor bells and whistles.

Speaking of artificial length, do you know why that happens so often in video games? It’s to offset the REAL game lengthening factor which is the challenge factor. Game developers (and modern gamers) these days believe that a LONG game is an aspect of quality. Many people will note today that games feel much shorter than they used to be. The nerds of today will often criticize old games for being ridiculously short only to be lengthened by their sheer difficulty, but that has always been a beneficial factor of a game’s longevity, not it’s vice. Because people actually had to practice and get better at the game in order to progress. As long as they have the drive (and the obstacle doesn’t seem impossible enough), the gamer will actually LIKE this manner of longevity. Instead of that, however, we are given a million mindless tasks to complete in order to offset the length of the game. Locked door? Find 3 key codes. Giant plant monster can’t be beaten by normal means? Run back to several areas to find ingredients to poison it. Elevator locked down? Find someone’s personal chopper and destroy it to piss off the elevator’s personal operator… or something. These things feel like a chore that no one ever wants to revisit for any particular reason. When people are given a shopping list of objectives to do in order to progress, who in the hell wants to replay the whole game again just to repeat the process?

All that said, hearing that Rafei and the gang seriously want people to complete this game should alarm everyone anticipating this game. There should be a goal of creating incentive to replay the game over and over, not have it beaten just so gamers can feel good about themselves for a few minutes and then move on to the next “fix”. The last thing Sonic games need is piss easy difficulty. Knowing the game will be easy, the developers will more than likely try to cram bullshit objectives into the game the make the journey longer. And this will not create a fun experience.

On the other hand, this is not a customer’s permission to make the game goddamned impossible to beat either.

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