Monday, October 10, 2011

Gamer Journal Ep 4 - A tale of two FTUES

First Time User Experience, for those of you unfamiliar with the term.

Spent some time playing Animal Crossing : City Folk on the Wii. It takes about fifteen minutes to get through all the game's exposition and actually start playing. And a further twenty or so minutes doing mundane, boring stuff until the game finally lets you get on with it. Weird design decision for what is, once you get to play it, an engaging and entertaining game with tons of stuff to do.

Why wouldn't you show the player, right up front, all the cool things the game has to offer? The only explanation I can think of is that they designed it for children, and decided that young players need a little time to get used to the controls and other things before venturing deeper into the game. I can't help but feel that if this is indeed the case, then the designers grossly underestimated children's ability to learn.

However, my son did play, and didn't seem to get bored at all, staying with the game for many hours and enjoying it thoroughly. So maybe there's something in that.

While on the topic of first experiences, something I've been doing a bit of last week (and generally enjoy doing in general) is getting people to play Uncharted 2 for the first time, and watch their faces. Never fails.

In start contrast to games that start off slow and pick up momentum, Uncharted 2 simply throws you into the deep end (seemingly) with nary a word of exposition, and leaves you to fend for yourself. The first ten minutes is an exhilarating, thrilling experience that takes you right to the heart of the core gameplay within seconds of starting up, and sets a cracking pace that doesn't let up until the game ends.

Games like Uncharted 2 and the unforgettable Shadow of The Colossus (which starts off with a fight that would be an end boss in most other games) are pitch-perfect FTUEs - taking the player to the heart of the game within minutes of starting off, and showing off what the game has to offer so that players will be itching to see what comes next. These two games are perfect for introducing people to gaming - I've been using them for years, with very good results.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, yes, Uncharted 2. I need to get on with that game. Still stuck at that bloody firefight in the streets.