: Playing Video Games Used To Be Simple

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Playing Video Games Used To Be Simple

I'm not one of those gamers who erroneously believe everything was better in the "golden age" of the industry. I'm really not. I'm a big fan of many of the advancements we've seen in the past three decades, despite my continued aversion to multiplayer gaming and motion-based entertainment.

But you know, in direct comparison, the once relatively simple and straightforward hobby of playing video games has gotten a lot more complicated. Before, you'd put in a cartridge, hit the power button, and play. Your only real option involved the possibility of a second player. These days...man, the list of options for our entertainment is just crazy.

It's not just about pressing a button anymore.

There are several different kinds of motion-sensing possibilities on multiple platforms. There are headsets for talking and headphones for surround sound. There's the massive world of multiplayer gaming, either online or offline. There are editing features that let us feel like designers. There are dozens upon dozens of accessories. Our consoles are basically computers with a zillion different features. There are different resolutions. There's 3D. We can download and play entire games without moving from our chairs. Our games can be expanded upon after we've bought them.

And I really haven't mentioned everything. I didn't even come close. I don't mean to imply we've lost "purity" or anything like that; I just mean to say things are far more complex, and in some ways, that might act as a barrier for new initiates. Before, in order to get someone to play a game, we'd just hand them a controller and say, "try it." These days, it ain't that easy anymore. On the other hand, that newcomer has more options to make him or her feel more comfortable. What's your take on the matter?

7/1/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (46 posts)

thj_1980
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 10:15:29 PM
Reply

I agree with you know in video games there is so much more things to do. Like almost every shooter game has intel or something to find which annoys me because it detrracts me form the game with having to find those things to get a single trophy(i am a trophy hunter).

There's just so much to do know.

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 10:30:30 PM

But intel docs dont detract from the game unless you let them. You dont *have* to find them to complete the game, but you choose to and then say it is a distraction...?

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kingjose
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 12:08:08 AM

Im a trophy hunter too. But my problem is that I jump from games and shooters I get crush so I don't get them

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thj_1980
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 1:36:36 AM

but i'll feel like i have to get them for that trophy.

but it does since i spend a lot of time watching videos on youtube where to find them which detracts from the game since i'll be pausing and stuff doing thins at a time and stuff.

I wish shooters had other things besides intel all the time, it's old and boring.

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Beamboom
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 4:56:16 AM

Oh man I love those intel pieces, it's fuel to my imagination! Like the tapes in BioShock... The game would not be the same without them.

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Dreno
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 10:27:27 PM
Reply

Personally, I think that all the extra little options gaming offers today, may be overwhelming to new gamers at first, but eventually after they get the hang of everything, it has more to offer each different person as a gamer.

Maybe some people might like all the little intel stuff that sh4dow mentioned, and some don't. It may make people feel more into the game.

As far as motion, while I'm not the biggest fan, I do enjoy it a little.

With the headsets to speak with olther players around the world, it allows for gamers to feel that their sitting next to. Another person just bs'ing like we would do before online mp. Back when it was you, a buddy or two and a console.

I liked the simplicity that gamming offered then ( well the options anyways, as not all aspects of gaming are simple ) but I also like how advanced the industry has gotten and all the little options it has to offer newer gamers and older gamers alike.

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Beamboom
Sunday, July 03, 2011 @ 2:37:19 PM

I agree in what you are saying here, I'd just like to point out that I don't think new gamers debut on consoles nowadays, they debut on their mobile phones or via their web browsers.
So, chances are that once they start playing on a console they are no longer considered "new gamers".

Last edited by Beamboom on 7/3/2011 2:39:20 PM

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Highlander
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 10:39:33 PM
Reply

I think that is one of the things that Sony has done well with the PS3, the DS3 controller layout is familiar to just about anyone that's picked up a controller in the last 20 years. The motion control thing, especially the Wii, did simplify things for a lot of new gamers, and perhaps that is a sign of things to come.

Remember Sony was talking about the PS4 and made comments that worried some because they focused on more casual or mainstream gamers. But I think that the key thing to remember is that the platform is the platform, Sony's XMB, for example, is simple to use, and not scary complex for beginners. Yet the PS3 is home to a very great deal of AAA hardcore gaming.

So I think that as we move forwards the console will remain a powerful beast, but there will be games for all audiences. I don't mean simply one game to cover the widest possible audience, I mean different games targeted at different audiences. The difficulty will be for the gaming world to adjust. A game that appeals to newer and/or more casual players might get completely destroyed by critics who want something more hardcore. But, the thing is, if a game is for a particular audience, it should be fairly reviewed for that segment, and everybody including the hardcore crowd should be happy it exists since it brings in new gamers, and new gamers are the lifeblood of the future gaming industry.

I hope that we see that greater sophistication by developers and publishers realizing that they don't have to sell to everyone to be a success. That will result in more consistent and 'pure' games that work for the audience they are made for. It will result in an industry that works for all gamers. The one size fits all philosophy of game development must end.

Last edited by Highlander on 7/1/2011 10:40:07 PM

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Killa Tequilla
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 11:01:40 PM

You're right about the Dualshock, Sony really thinks ahead.

I've always had this crazy idea that instead of buttons the Dualshock would use the same type of idea as buttons like the one you use to eject or power on/off the fat Ps3s.

You know the metal sensing thing (I don't know what you call it). So, instead of pressing a button, you'll just tap them.

Last edited by Killa Tequilla on 7/1/2011 11:07:29 PM

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556pineapple
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 11:05:29 PM

Agreed on the Dualshock controller, but part of me still wants to give the boomerang controller a shot, just to see what it's like. Even though it's basically the same controller, the different shape seemed to displease a lot of people. Like they say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Last edited by 556pineapple on 7/1/2011 11:07:39 PM

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Killa Tequilla
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 11:10:51 PM

556pineapple, The boomerang Dualshock was going to originally be the default Dualshock for Ps3? Why do you say you wanted to try it? Did people complain or something?

I remember seeing pictures before Ps3 launched that had those boomerang Dualshocks.

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Jawknee
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 11:28:41 PM

I hope Sony never changes the Duel Shock 3. Best controller in my opinion.

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556pineapple
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 11:30:57 PM

The boomerang controller was the controller they showed off at E3 when they announced the PS3. It was shown in all the promotional images and grabbed the attention of many gamers. When it came time to officially unveil the Sixaxis (DS3 didn't come out until around a year after the system launched) they had reverted back to the controller design we all know and love. I remember there being some discussions among gamers whether the boomerang design was good or bad. That's why I'd like to try it out for myself, to see if it actually worked well as a controller, or if they sacrificed ergonomics in favor of a flashy design.

Last edited by 556pineapple on 7/1/2011 11:31:57 PM

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 1:18:36 AM

On the controller issue, I liked the idea that was floating about of a break-apart controller that one could use as standard, though split it for motion games. If Sony do that for the PS4, I think it'd be awesome, but how would it work on the DualShock format?

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 4:32:25 AM

The industry is in a really weird place right now. Hardcore gamers are the ones looking for the big expensive games like Battlefield and Assassin's Creed while the new more casual crowd is looking for games like Wii Sports that are much cheaper to make. So while us hardcore gamers are continuously pushing the cost of making games up, most of the new money entering into the industry isn't interested in these expensive games. It's nice to talk about ending this one-size-fits-all-game-design philosophy but can the economics of this business really handle that right now?

In a perfect world all games would be designed in a way that was truest to the developers initial intent, if that means it appeals to a small niche, so be it. But modern games are extremely expensive and that very likely is a great way to go out of business very fast. In my opinion until the cost of making games starts to level off (they're just constantly rising at this point) developers have to design to appeal to the broadest audience or not make their game at all. As I said, the industry is in a weird place. The film industry has a similar problem, but they have a well respected indie film scene where filmmakers can take risks and do more interesting things and still make money (less money, but money is money). It doesn't seem downloadable games have the same level of respect as indie movies. I know plenty of people who know all about the next Elder Scrolls or Halo but can't name a single PSN or XBLA game.

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Highlander
Sunday, July 03, 2011 @ 12:30:01 AM

Shadow,

I think your point about the budget of games is a sound one, but I always question the sheer cost of some games. I mean, do they really have to cost as much to make/ Is it realistic to spend $100 million on development?

So, let's say you spend $100 million on a game, to make sufficient revenue to break even how many copies need to be sold? Well, let's assume that you are also the publisher, that makes it a tad easier. If we assume that you get about 33% of every game sold, then your total revenue for 5 million copies is $100 million. That assumes that you get 33%, if it's only 20% then you need to sell a little more than 8 million copies - to break even. So, spending large on development is only sensible if you can guarantee mega sales.

What if you only spend $10 million, you can afford to only sell perhaps 800k copies to break even, what if you spend $5million, which is still a respectable sum according to most people. Suddenly you only have to hit 400k copies to break even.

If you take a good, experienced programmer and figure twice their salary for their total overhead that's about $200k per year, 5 of them add up to $1 million. If you throw in sundry expenses and a few other team members and spend perhaps 2 years developing a game, you can burn 2.5 million a year. Since not everyone involved will be full time on the project, and it's a fair bet that not everyone will be paid 6 figures, a budget of $5 million isn't too unrealistic.

So I guess what I'm going back to is that there is this weird economics question that surrounds games like MW2 which has mega sales, and games like WKC which has not sold anything like that number. Are games like WKC financially sound? Can a game succeed without mega sales? Should the industry bother with games that sell relatively piddling numbers?

I think that the question is a crazy stupid one. Not every game can sell like the Call of Duty juggernaut it's just not doable. The kind of massive sales seen in that franchise distort the market beaus they raise an artificial expectation in the eyes of many. but if you think about it, ti's just not possible for every half decent game out there to sell millions upon millions of copies, no one has the money to keep that kind of market alive.

But does that mean that we are doomed to a very few huge games that sell huge numbers, combined with huge numbers of simple, casual games that are nearly free, and micro-transaction supported? I don't think so, but the industry and the gamers and journalists need to start getting used to seeing a greater variety of game, genre, production standard, and price, and expect and review accordingly.

WKC for example, may not be FF in the visuals, but it has it on a lot of other areas, and I doubt it has even a tenth of the budget of FFXIII. WKC can be profitable for those that made it without matching FFXIII sales. I just wish that we could all see that common sense with the entire game market.

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Beamboom
Monday, July 04, 2011 @ 6:55:07 AM

This is the first time I've heard about the Boomerang - had to Google it. And OMG that was one COOL looking controller! Looks like it's taken straight out of a Star Trek episode.

A shame they didn't release it as an accessory, alternative controller. I'd buy it for sure!

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556pineapple
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 10:54:56 PM
Reply

Yes, I agree that all the options we have may be confusing, but they've also helped improve the experience. For example, I appreciate the option of lowering or raising the game difficulty after you've started, so you don't have to start a new game (even if my pride usually won't let me lower it.) I would be more interested in trying the Move, if the price were a little bit lower. Though reasonable it may be, I have a hard time throwing down $100 on something I'm not completely sure I'll like yet. Even if I don't like it, it would be nice to have as an option for less game-inclined guests.

As for the cons of the complexity, one thing you missed was installation times. Yes, game installs and patches help the game run smoother, less load times overall, and fix bugs, but I really miss getting new games for my Genesis or Playstation, popping them in, and being able to play them RIGHT AWAY! It always bugs me when I get a new game and need to wait up to 45 minutes longer just to play it. I miss the simplicity of the old games in that respect, but I do like the added complexity of more gameplay options and, in cases, a more immersive experience.

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Killa Tequilla
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 11:13:50 PM
Reply

BTW Unreal Engine now has some epic realistic looking grass! How far we've come from Mario.

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 12:09:01 AM

UnrealEngine FTL

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NLCanada
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 11:56:00 PM
Reply

Gaming, just like anything has grown over time. We have online games, headsets, movies on demand etc etc on gaming consoles, which is fantastic. With all of these features, users still have the option of buying games like killzone, uncharted, gears, mario, LA Noire, and while they all have extra features, you still can just pop the game in and play single player. Not even hooked up to the Internet and still have fun. That's not for me but the simplicity is still there.

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 12:08:48 AM
Reply

Call me biased but all these new "flashy" games that offer a gazillion different enemies don't even compare to the pleasures I had during the SNES/PS1 days.

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Jawknee
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 12:21:24 AM

TRUTH!

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Beamboom
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 5:04:09 AM

What's happened is that you've grown older.
My kid at 13 yrs have just as much fun, if not more, with todays games as I had with my games when I was a teenager. In my opinion it's more or less purely an age thing.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/2/2011 5:05:26 AM

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Clamedeus
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 5:31:20 AM

I have fun with both games, I'll switch back and forth between them because you can't get what's going on on either side.

Yesterday I was playing Parasite Eve, I haven't played that game in ages!

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SoulController
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 9:23:57 AM

One of my buddies still has his genesis and occasionally we'll give it a spin. I wish sega would put eternal champions on psn already. I miss those days..

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BikerSaint
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 12:44:27 AM
Reply


At 58, I'm kind of on the fence on this topic.

Half of me just wants to just play Burgertime & Stampede on my Intellivision.
And the other half is loving almost all of this new tech.
Hell, I've already got my Move & Navigation controllers, along with swords, shields, baseball bats, golf clubs, tennis & table tennis rackets, steering wheels, a archery bow, & a couple of different pistols set up for my future of Move gaming.

I don't like some of these loading times, waiting for a long installation, then update, then install that, then patch, etc, etc, that a lot of games have done these days.

I can't remember what game it was that I just bought(that had been out for a while), & I only had a hour to try it out before bed.
But once I popped it in, it took well over a hour to install & then do 17 updates, yes, I said "SEVENTEEN UPDATES". So I never did get to try it out that night & plus it made me late for bed too.

But what I really hate the 2nd most is what's happened indirectly to gaming, like those unscrupulous developers or publishers who are chopping up games for future DLC.

And I also blame the shady business tactics of Microsoft for trying to hindering growth, hindering it's competitor's, & hindering the quality of gaming in general.

In the history of gaming, console makers were always competitor's but they stayed friendly towards one another, and we never had to contend with one company trying to cut-throat another company.
That was, until M$ decided to get into the gaming market, & then all hell has broke loose ever since.

But, as a gaming collector, my number-1 hate is how we're heading down a horrible slippery-slope of "digital only" sometime in the future.
Which will most certainly cause my physical disc collecting to cease altogether.

And sadly, that will be the bitter end of a crucial era of gaming.

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 4:40:16 AM

"And I also blame the shady business tactics of Microsoft for trying to hindering growth, hindering it's competitor's, & hindering the quality of gaming in general.

In the history of gaming, console makers were always competitor's but they stayed friendly towards one another, and we never had to contend with one company trying to cut-throat another company.
That was, until M$ decided to get into the gaming market, & then all hell has broke loose ever since."

I really think you should back up and explain what you mean by this. Are we talking about Microsoft buying it's exclusive games/DLC? Is that really that big of a deal? Sure it's annoying, but if you're an Xbox owner who thinks Uncharted looks cool it's just as annoying that the game isn't available to you. As it stands right now Sony has a very strong set of first party titles and Microsoft has a lot of money, both get their exclusives both fan bases should have a bit of jealously towards the other. I don't think one way of getting exclusives is somehow holy while the other is detestable.

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Underdog15
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 9:33:08 AM

Well, I liked both Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. They were competitors. You couldn't play Mario or Zelda on Sega and you couldn't play Sonic or Streets of Rage on Nintendo.

They were competitors, but they didn't go after each other's products. They were creative enough to just simply come up with their own. Instead of Sega vs. Nintendo, they just simply both gave you a reason to own their system. There were no timed exclusives or special deals to make a game also come out on your system.

Instead of being outwardly focused on getting all the good stuff on your system, they simply focused inwardly and made their own good stuff. That's a major difference. The competition these days are ugly.

Maybe I was too young to have noticed, but I have absolutely NO recollection of console wars back then. Even in the handheld realm. (Gamegear vs. Gameboy) Again, I owned both. :)

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PharaohJR
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 2:37:36 AM
Reply

i see what ya saying. i dont have a problem with the way gaming is advancing as long as the use of a controller like ds3 is available in further systems.

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___________
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 3:43:59 AM
Reply

and quite frankly thats whats spoiled them!
games use to be about escaping reality, having fun, doing things you could never do in real life!
now there quite the opposite!
there trying to cram so much crap into one game that they spend there whole time adding things, then come release time oh sh*t we spent so much time adding things we did not get to test them.
oops!
like GT5 or infamous 2, so many freaking features but none are as good as they should,or could be!
as ive said many times, ill take 1 glass of purified water, over 50 million glasses of muddy water any day of the week!
as one great man once said.....
KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 5:19:48 AM
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What I miss is just popping a disc in and playing the game, now you have to consider so much, installs, firmware, Is the game actually a full package or is the DLC on the store meant to be in the game originaly. DLC is the most annoying feature of all this gen, as developers are just exploiting it now >:(

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Excelsior1
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 6:16:07 AM

no kiddiing. mass effect 2 had lengthy process you had to go through just to get the content that ea advertised on the box. half an hour hd intalll, go online and create an ea account so you can use your one time code to unlock all the bonus missions locked away on the disc. download the interactive comic off of psn. talk about taking the fun out of gaming.

i despise dlc. it's just just an artificial way of inflating the price of games. short games games spammed with early dlc needs to end.

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 7:47:54 AM

Don't get me even started on ME2 again....

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RebelJD
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 6:18:28 AM
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"Playing games used to be simple". I agree.

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Beamboom
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 10:19:01 AM
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The simplicity is still there, it's just moved to Android and iPhone.
The consoles is for more "serious" gaming and I'm fine with that!


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/2/2011 10:30:49 AM

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DVE2k
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 11:11:30 AM
Reply

For Example I was playing the NCAA 2012 Demo the other day and I was like WTF I got to do all this S**T to do a audible, hot route, etc. As to were it use to be real simple to do all those things just buy pressing L1 or R1 with the direction u want to line up your O or D. The easiest games to play or shooters now a days IMO. ALL you got to do is just aim and shoot xD

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Douchebaguette
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 11:33:22 AM
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We're getting old, that's the problem. Kids nowadays will probably find this more simple than what they're about to face in the future of console gaming.

However, you speak truth in the pick up n' play department. The transition this generation has been prominent, however I don't see much change for the next one except maybe touch-screen, concentration on 3D? Eiiiw...

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Beamboom
Sunday, July 03, 2011 @ 4:34:43 AM

"We're getting old, that's the problem." -> That's exactly it. Kinda sad of course, but it's the whole truth.

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Jian2069
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 4:50:34 PM
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"Before, you'd put in a cartridge, hit the power button, and play. Your only real option involved the possibility of a second player."
Hahaha, just the other day i was playing super mario world and i was thinking 'it'd be cool if i could just turn off the music' cause i wanted to listen to music, but i can't fly without sound (you'll know what i mean if you played the game, and who hasnt?)

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Qubex
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 10:20:53 PM
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Flimbo's Quest... those were the days. It was an excellent game on the Amiga platform... who remembers it?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Beamboom
Sunday, July 03, 2011 @ 3:16:34 AM

I remember the wonderful machine, but not the game. Never had it.

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poboy975
Sunday, July 03, 2011 @ 3:44:03 PM
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"Before, you'd put in a cartridge, hit the power button, and play. Your only real option involved the possibility of a second player." LOL don't forget on the NES you put in your game, pushed it down, closed lid, turned on power.....nothing...hit reset..nithing...turned off power, opened lid, ejected game, blew on contacts, reinserted game, pushed down, pushed power.....dang it! rinse and repeat until it finally worked. :)

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Ather
Monday, July 04, 2011 @ 2:17:05 PM
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Too much mulitplayer indeed. But some like the extras, and their welcome to it. A fun game that offers a new level is quite inviting. Motion when done right is good. When not, it's just a gimmick that gets old fast.

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Spanky
Monday, July 04, 2011 @ 11:04:43 PM
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Not big on multi-player, and I HATE DLC! Just put it in the blasted game and charge me a couple more bucks if you have to!

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CanuckOldTimer
Monday, July 04, 2011 @ 11:45:57 PM
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When I read the comments I realized I had taken the context of the article the wrong way. My immediate thought was just the complicated button use of the damn controllers! Thats what puts me off most games right away. But I am a middle aged man so I am not the target market. You definitely lose dexterity as you get older, which sucks. When I was a teen 6 or 7 buttons you would not even think about being a problem. Watching my two kids game (9 and 14) the controllers are definitely not an issue.

I can see them getting flustered sometimes with gameplay complexity as well. Those days they just switch to easier games "that dad plays" . Whatever....ZEN PINBALL games freakin rock!

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