Kids Can't Handle Old-School RPGs Anymore

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mjc0961:
To be fair to you, the reason you can't get into FF7 is likely because it's actually overrated to the extreme. It's actually not a classic or anything, it's not one of those "must play" games like people make it out to be.

Seriously do we have to have people trying to rip one out of FFVII every single time it is mentioned in a thread. I love it other people and every damn game is overrated by its fans. If you don't like i t fair enough as the first person who quoted him mention fairly that the plot is love or hate it is a marmite type plot and the combat is a bit easy. In fact I actually consider FFVI to be the most over rated in the series especially on this site. You never really get someone going on this site "OMG FFVII BEST FF GAME EVA" but you always get someone saying I like FF[insert number] but I didn't like FFVII aren't I quite the rebel being different just like everyone else.

So fair enough if you personally do not like the game I don't care about that but don't be calling it overrated especially on this site where it is probably the least overrated game. Personally I do think it is a classic of PS1 JRPGs and one that everyone should try along with Chrono Trigger and Breath of Fire 3. There are plenty of other Classic PS1 JRPGs as well but FFVII is one of them.

I think I'd like Ultima4. I mean, I just got into D&D(edition 3.5), and no way can it be more complicated than that.

It has to be recognised that just because the game is old, and top of its class at the time, does not mean it's any good.

A quick for example:

What in the article has been described as "leading the players by the hand" has a more accurate definition as a difficulty curve, and not an unforgiving one. If having an accessible difficulty curve makes a game poorer by design, then should we keep trying to be an accessible medium?

Now I'm one of those youngsters who've never played an 8 bit RPG, but at the same time, I've played inaccessible games such as Dungeons and Dragons. (Don't believe that it's inaccessible? Give a non-roleplayer the first edition sourcebooks and let them flounder), ones that demand the player use their imagination and own wit, and to a much greater degree than any roleplaying game on a computer.

There's no reason to assume from that correlation that a younger audience is unable to understand those games. They simply have access to superior games today.

Let the nostalgic rose tinted flames begin.

Clik:
It has to be recognised that just because the game is old, and top of its class at the time, does not mean it's any good.

A quick for example:

What in the article has been described as "leading the players by the hand" has a more accurate definition as a difficulty curve, and not an unforgiving one. If having an accessible difficulty curve makes a game poorer by design, then should we keep trying to be an accessible medium?

Now I'm one of those youngsters who've never played an 8 bit RPG, but at the same time, I've played inaccessible games such as Dungeons and Dragons. (Don't believe that it's inaccessible? Give a non-roleplayer the first edition sourcebooks and let them flounder), ones that demand the player use their imagination and own wit, and to a much greater degree than any roleplaying game on a computer.

There's no reason to assume from that correlation that a younger audience is unable to understand those games. They simply have access to superior games today.

Let the nostalgic rose tinted flames begin.

I sense truth in this one.

Its not fair to label all younger generations. Those morons should have read the manual.
I always read the manual.

I miss the older rpg's. (And im only 17!)

Tom Goldman:
Kids Can't Handle Old-School RPGs Anymore

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A college professor that teaches the history of videogames has noticed that kids simply cannot grasp Ultima IV.

Michael Abbott teaches a course called The Art and History of Electronic Gaming at Wabash College, and is known for spreading the videogame love to another course where students must study Portal. In an interesting article he's written on his blog Brainy Gamer, Abbott discusses the trouble kids have with playing older RPGs.

Abbott exposes his students to older titles like the original Fallout, Rogue, and Planetfall in his course. Most of the students handle being taken out of their comfort zones with the isometric strategy title, ASCII roguelike, and text-based adventure, but there's one game in particular that they don't seem to be able to handle: Ultima IV.

Origin released Ultima IV on the Apple II in 1985 and it's acclaimed as one of the top RPGs for its time. Instead of having players focus on killing orcs, it required that they reach enlightenment within eight virtues to become the series' Avatar. Its character creation system, conversation system, and huge world are examples of what players liked about it.

But Ultima IV is very different from World of Warcraft and other modern games that hold the player's hand and point an arrow at their goals. Abbott provided all the documentation that his students would need, but they didn't seem to realize that the reading the game's documentation was necessary.

One student said: "I've been very confused throughout the entire experience. I've honestly sat here for hours trying to figure out what to do and it just isn't making much sense to me right now." Another: "When I start a game I like to do it all on my own, but it's been impossible to do so with Ultima." A third: "I tried for awhile without any walkthroughs to get the full gamer experience sort of thing and within the hour I gave up because of a combination of bad controls and a hard to get into story for me at least. It reminded me of a bad Runescape."

The comments don't seem to be indicative of one of the top RPGs of all time. Students also call the game "boring" and "unplayable," but when Abbott questioned whether they read Ultima IV's documentation provided in PDF format, it turned out that not a single one had. "Wow," one replied when Abbott told him that the game's designer, Richard Garriott, expected players to read the manual first.

Abbott believes the "gap separating today's generation of gamers from those of us who once drew maps on grid paper is nearly unbridgeable." Indeed, this seems to be true about a lot of games from the 1980s and 1990s. While certain games were revolutionary for their time, even I find it hard to go back to older titles that I once enjoyed immensely, so it's unlikely for the average teenage Halo player to be able to realize the impact of a game like Ultima IV. Abbott no longer assumes "the game will make its case for greatness all by itself," and says he may take a more hands-on educational approach in regards to the classic RPG.

Source: BrainyGamer

Permalink

It's not news... Speak to any young gamer and they all have a hard time with old school game.

oranger:

Dexter111:

mjc0961:
1985? Oh good, so I wasn't even alive yet. Now I don't feel bad about having never heard of it before.

Also, those students seem a bit silly. Sure, I'd probably try to play first without the manual too, but once I was confused as all hell, I'd go back to the manual and read it instead of just giving up.

You've never even heard about Ultima? Seriously?
It is a series of 9 games between 1980 and 1999 (Ultima IX even being in 3D but not doing that well because of the high system requirements at the time and lots and lots of bugs) and it gave birth and made the "MMORPGs" of today possible with "Ultima Online" back in 1997 and was a really popular franchise till EA managed Origin Systems to death in the late 90s/early 2000s.

Wasn't that the starting point of EA becoming the bloody mawed, indie-eating behemoth it is today?

Yup, they killed off quite a few of my favorite developers around that time...

Origin RIP 2000, Bullfrog RIP 2001, Westwood RIP 2003, Maxis (only doing "The Sims) etc. xD

Hah, yeah its a good point, when I was younger the first thing I would do after buying a computer game would be to read the manual which could sometimes take ages. I think the game that stopped me doing that was Baldur's Gate because the manual was more like an actual book which while interesting I don't think it was much help playing the game apart from pages and pages of baffling tables at the end. Fortunately Candlekeep was a pretty good 'tutorial'.

Can't really relate since I grew up with 8-bit era games but even back then some were horribly designed and impenetrable. Games like Ultima might be too far towards the geek level of table top gamers by the sounds of it.

Though I must admit I only completed Fallout last year and damn is the turn based system clunky. Still very enjoyable and worth playing but you need to be very patient in comparison to most other games.

Still I don't think people are unable to enjoy extremely hard old school RPGs, Etrian Odyssey is extremely popular.

I've always read the manuals of new games unless it's part of a trilogy of games that I have played before, in which case it will likely have similar controls to its counterparts.

I remember playing on my parent's old Coleco vision when I was ridiculously young.

The only old gaming device I had played with for a very long period of time was our Commodore Amiga. Games like Desert Strike, Cannon Fodder, Lotus Challenge (I still remember the cheat 'peasoup' for the wet London stage for some reason), Walker, Swiv, Fruit Salad and loads of others.

yeah, now the books that come with games contain about as much information as loading screens, and if you install the games to the hard drives of the respective consoles, you hardly get to see those. I remember a golden era around the PSOne era where you could read a manual and have some entertainment, for example FF7 having character bios in the booklet, even being so kind as to put a walkthrough for the first level in the back.

Uhm, if they expected the students to read the manual, why didn't they PRINT IT OUT. Ideally on quality paper.

What, is that unfair? A waste of paper?

Well, it sure as heck beats judging some students because they didn't desire to screw around Alt+Tabbing between a PC box emulator and an Adobe horror-show and enduring the inevitable crashes. I mean, really. Those who critically acclaimed the game had a nice manual, so why not duplicate that so the "comparison" between now and then is valid.

Bad social science right here.

Edit: Please don't argue that some students used a walkthrough:
a) They had no reason to understand or expect without guidance that the manual would be comprehensive.
b) The walkthrough was likely plaintext HTML, not a PDF landmine.

I come to think about a little game called Civilization. I grew up watching my big brother play that game and when I was maybe 7 or 8 I tried it myself. By then I knew the basics, even though I had never read the manual. But the thing is: the Civ games are so big and have so much going on in them but they're still very playable, even if you only know the basics of it.

I'm 18 now and I still learn new things about it, and that is quiet a reward in itself. And the fact that you don't fully understand and grasp game and probably never will, and that there's always something new you'll find out about it.

I'm feeling rather old right now at 30 lol yes i too played Ultima in the old days might still have it somewhere in the basement with heaps of other games on flopy disk my first "computer" was a commodore 64C ( basically a atari emulator )
Later i stept over to the pc when it first came out because of the company my dad worked at ..

Old skool games like commander keen were awesome back then and even if the graphics were basic the story was great.

Some of my personal OLD CRPG favorites would have to be The Eye of the Beholder and the Lands of Lore series.

well im 14 and i maneged to get through the game fine when i read the pdf books for hints

JaredXE:
Am I the only person who ever reads the manual? I love reading the fluff that comes with videogames, and when it comes to CRPG's, you often NEED to read the manual.

Stupid children.

EDIT: Then again, it might be because I'm so damned old. 29 isn't exactly a spring chicken anymore.

OMG I thought i was the only one.
Get new game, put in xbox/pc. Finish reading manual, its one oclock and i havent started the game yet. goes to sleep

The medium evolve. They CAN handle the old, overly complicated games.. but its a chore compared to the ones today.

I had a similar feeling when I tried to play Wasteland, Fallout's spiritual predecessor (wait what?) from ca. 1989. Although what got me off it was the high difficulty level, there were some thing I couldn't really understand. For instance, in one case you had to get past a door, and to do that you could either use a stat (Strenght to break it down or, um, Speed I think to vault over it) or a skill (like Lockpicking). And you could use skills and items anywhere and it would usually do nothing. If you stopped to think a modern game that did that would be downright revolutionary - it's as close to pen-and-paper as RPGs get - but I just couldn't wrap my mind around that.

Of course, that modern games give the players enough hints for him to find his own path is also a good thing. Documentation existed back then because the games just didn't have enough memory to hold it (Wasteland, that I mentioned, essentially had the 'cutscenes' in a separate book you had to read when prompted by the game). Reading the docs back then was something that came easier to the players' minds.

Though I do still read all of the manuals that come with the games. All of them. (They all suck, but so far none has sucked more than the one for N64's San Francisco Rush, which read like a San Francisco tour guide.)

Iron Lightning:

SnipErlite:
Mostly I don't read manuals these days because I steam a lot of games. No manuals...

Sir, you are mistaken, Steam has manuals. If you wish to access them simply right-click on a game's icon and select "view player manual" from the context menu.

I mean real, physical book manuals. I dislike reading through entire blocks of text on a computer screen, and it isn't the same.

I think gamers by default today typically take a game on its own merits, and expect not to have to read manuals, lengthy menu screens, tutorials, etc. This isn't to say we won't engage in an older game on its own terms, if promised it provides a strong experience . . . maybe next time mention to the students that they should read the manual before playing...before you have them play?

So much bullshit in this article, ultima was unintuitive as hell, impossible to complete the earlier games without a guide, easily broken if you knew what you were doing, the further we move from that archaic game design the better.
I suggest looking up the spoony one's videos on ultima for a detailed review.

I'm sorry, I just can't seem to understand the sentiment that a game should require a written walkthrough. This has been my problem with FF games and it's no different for any other game. If one can't be reasonably expected to even know where to go without having to look somewhere other than in said game, then the game is badly designed and stuck up its own ass.

I have a big problem with things breaking the so-called "flow" of gameplay, something that I believe is important in games and especially in RPGs. Any time you have to divert your attention away from the game world, the immersion breaks. A game should feel like it wants you to get involved with it, and not have to pause every five minutes to read about where you should go next. If I wanted to read, then I'd get a book. I love reading. But I play video games to, well, play video games, and the two don't really have much overlap. It's different if the information is presented in-game and mostly optional - my characters are humans and therefore curious, they're just as likely to read things as I would be. But when I, the player, am expected to gain all the knowledge whole the character I'm playing is all-knowing, then something is disconnected and wrong.

Clik:
It has to be recognised that just because the game is old, and top of its class at the time, does not mean it's any good.

A quick for example:

What in the article has been described as "leading the players by the hand" has a more accurate definition as a difficulty curve, and not an unforgiving one. If having an accessible difficulty curve makes a game poorer by design, then should we keep trying to be an accessible medium?

Now I'm one of those youngsters who've never played an 8 bit RPG, but at the same time, I've played inaccessible games such as Dungeons and Dragons. (Don't believe that it's inaccessible? Give a non-roleplayer the first edition sourcebooks and let them flounder), ones that demand the player use their imagination and own wit, and to a much greater degree than any roleplaying game on a computer.

There's no reason to assume from that correlation that a younger audience is unable to understand those games. They simply have access to superior games today.

Let the nostalgic rose tinted flames begin.

This, so much this.

And FYI I am one of the few in this thread that was actually alive back then to play 8 bit RPGs. They were enjoyable back then, but looking at what we have now there's no reason a player should have to read a manual to play a game. It's simply bad design.

Those that think the added complexity of a bad UI and unintuitive menu systems are "more hardcore" are just plain wrong.

theshadavid:
I think this is true with a lot of old games. I downloaded Final Fantasy 7 over PSN and I could not get into it. It's not even very obscure like Ultima IV. I'm 16 I feel a little shafted not getting being able to play some of these awesome old games (I just can't get a grasp on Mega Man).

In your defense it is hard to see what is going on in old 3D games if you didn't grow up on the stuff.

There was a progressive adaption of the players as 3D was growing which made it easier for early gamers to figure out where the character ended and the map began.

There are a few Sega CD games that I cannot even play anymore because the characters were 3D and parts of them were the exact same color as the wall.

Like trying to follow a chameleon.

Booze Zombie:
We're too used to good graphics and intuitive interfaces, I guess?

Yeah, we're also used shit gameplay now too.

People, READ THE LITERATURE, you might just learn something. Really just cause what you're doing isn't obvious don't bitch about it. Like with Red Dead, had I not read the manual I would of been clueless as to how the deadeye system worked.

bismarck55:

Booze Zombie:
We're too used to good graphics and intuitive interfaces, I guess?

Yeah, we're also used shit gameplay now too.

To be fair, Ultima IV was never known for amazing gameplay. It's mostly famous for being the first RPG that didn't basically amount to "kill the big evil guy".

My earliest gaming memories was watching my dad play the Ultima series. Underworld, 6, and one based on Mars (I remember, fondly, scouring the game for oxyrocks).

I went back and played them again a couple years ago and wouldn't you know it...I had a hell of a time understanding where the fuck to go without manuals or looking at online help (Free downloads)
The last time I used a gamefaq for a modern game was for breeding purposes for Pokemon.

Anyway, I believe the Spoony One has his retrospective on several of the games in the Ultima series, so that's worth checking out if you haven't heard of them.

It's rare to find a game these days that even really comes with a manual. Sure games for consoles do, but thats usually just to tell those silly enough not to have already figured it out how to place the game in the system and how to turn the system on.

Manuals used to paint a rich back-story for the game. They would have full color illustrations, have footnotes, history lessons, comic books, they would be 50 or more pages long, have maps, spaces for notes. Games that where out when I first started playing almost always came with the same crap you know only find in "collectors editions" they would have art books, and trinkets. Sometimes those trinkets where required to play parts of the game as well.

well for the most part shit just gets more and more streamlined, as thats alot of what technology is, how hard was it to start a fire wayyy back in the day? it took alot of work, now a days we can flick our thumb on the lighter and it is good to go. most things cant stand the test of time, especially video games, so this is highly expected, i dont know what he is suprised about.

Why would I want to play some outdated old video-game? Technology advances for a reason. In 25 years will I want to play Fallout 3, MW2, GTA4, or anything that comes out this year? I think not. For me it comes down to graphics. I want new, better looking graphics year after.

There is a different mindset when it comes to manuals. Back in the day they held the flavor text that couldn't fit in the games. Now we have close to infinite space so the idea of having to read a document in order to play a game is insane. And with Steam and downloadable games I haven't touched a manual in over a year.

Also I'm 20, and I can't play Fallout. Which is a shame because I really want to be able to enjoy it, but my expectations are different. I don't want to have to work at a game, I want to play and relax. Sure I love a challenge, but the challenge shouldn't be trying to figure out what the developers wanted you to do.

Though not being able to play Megaman is silly, though now it's more like a Flash Game then a full game to me. Something to play while I'm waiting for something to load or while I'm out and about.

mrx19869:
Why would I want to play some outdated old video-game? Technology advances for a reason. In 25 years will I want to play Fallout 3, MW2, GTA4, or anything that comes out this year? I think not. For me it comes down to graphics. I want new, better looking graphics year after.

Tell me this is sarcasm. PLEASE!

Ontopic, that game actually looks pretty interesting... I love games that require out-of-game thinking, like an awesome free Steam game I forgot the name of where you're given a bunch of control points, etc, and you have to draw out a map, scan it, and use it to your advantage.

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