Kids Can't Handle Old-School RPGs Anymore

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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.

I'm only eighteen, and I read the manual. Heck, I got Roller Coaster Tycoon when I was ten, and I read the whole 90 page manual before even installing it.

sooperman:
Honestly, I don't think that kids not reading the manual is an excuse for the game being hard to get into. If you can't explain yourself in-game, then how well can you possibly explain the rules in the manual? And if you simply feel like not explaining how to play inside of the game, you are being lazy.

Having a manual is fine, requiring a manual is bullshit. What if you lost it? The game would have been nigh unplayable at the time, right?

Our opinions are diametrically opposed, then.

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.

Nada, I'm 20 and I read the manual, hell for some games I memorize parts of the manual (specifically fighting games).

This seems disappointing that these students weren't even able to challenge themselves.

why are so many people in this thread confusing manual with walkthrough?

I can't really blame them. That game looks boring.

Wow, don't they know that you take that kind of reading material with you when you take a crap and they you know what you're doing? I mean, really, when I get a new game objective one when I get home is, open case, take instruction book, sit on toilet until I've read book cover to cover, objective two, play game.

Therumancer:

The point of a role-playing game is for it to be an entirely intellectual exercise with the outcome based on the numbers and what you decide to try and make happen. When you put "gameplay" into the equasion reflexs and such destroy the entire point.

Storyline, dialogue, etc... have nothing to do with something being an RPG. After all the very first RPGs simply involved two units beating the crud out of each other with dice and numbers emulating the action while nerds guffawed at the idea that they had reduced combat to mathematics to their satisfaction.

So you want a ROLE PLAYING GAME to have no actual "gameplay", or "role-playing".

You just want a timesink filled with stats and math, without any skill or player choice necessary. Those are called MMOs.

Ridiculous that they wouldn't read the manuals, considering that's the first thing I do in any game. Ultima 4 doesn't have fantastic 3D ultra-realistic graphics so i'm sure they wouldn't enjoy it when they usually play Call of Duty or whatever the newest FPS is.

Damn, I want to follow that course.

Learning how to play a game is more like driving a car than taking a math test, and as such it is properly communicated by a tutorial lesson, not several paragraphs of text.

Not to mention that Ultima IV is not the most approachable game even if you did read the manual. The controls are awful, the graphics have not aged well, and completion requires heavy use of taking notes, solving riddles, and playing find-the-pixel.

I love reading the books and stuff, but i usually play the game first. Don't think i would like ultima, but i know that after 10-15 minutes of confusion, i would go read the damn manual, if it was for a class, or stop playing, if it wasnt.

How I miss the old-school RPGs!

So many years having my party wiped out by the floor in Ultima III, doing good deeds and learning about the Virtues in Ultima IV, running from the Shadowlords and being tortured by Blackthorn in Ultima V, killing gargoyles and cleansing the shrines in Ultima VI, listening about the Triad of Inner Strengh all the time in Ultima VII, getting killed by Mordea in Ultima VIII, getting stucked in a bugged dungeon in Ultima IX. Not to mention the Ultima Underworld and World of Ultima subseries! Ahh the good old times!

By the way, I recommend checking out Spoony's Ultima Retrospective here: http://spoonyexperiment.com/2010/09/19/ultima-5-warriors-of-destiny/

I'm 19 years old. Officially not a child any-more even though I refuse to accept it. And no, I would get bored with that game I guess. Though I did (Proudly) learn how to play "Dominions 3" without a guide.

I played FF6 and kind of enjoyed it. I played Dwarven Fortress and it was kinda nice for a little bit of my time.

I'm a rather impatient person with my games I guess.

Well, those games wasn't easy to grasp or easy to play back then either... It's just now we have games which are fun on a completely different level.

So, quickly skimming the topic I find myself detecting this: Kids these days don't read manuals.

This is not entirely their fault. Look at Super Mario Galaxy 2: A DVD, a chart with controls explained AND a regular tutorial!

In general games have a pretty good tutorial, so reading becomes redundant. Can't blame them for it, since I don't learn the same trick twice either.

With my respectable 20 years of experience in living, I have played some games that killed me over and over, even when reading the manual, didn't have a tutorial or any clue as to what to do, and I've played SMG2, that gently took my hand, pulled me from the dirty floor, and enlightened me with the knowledge of everything I allready knew since I played SMG1.

I was too young for the ultima series, so I don't know whether they were especially hard, but I do think that times have changed.

I just found out why:

Back in the day of cardridges and 1 GB being a lot of memory, a fancy tutorial took up memoryspace. If, however, we printed it and put it in a box, there was more room for actual content. Nowadays, where you can easily download your games through Steam, memory is no longer a problem, thus a lengthy tutorial can be included on top of the content.

Think about it. It sorta makes sense...

I don't think this is anything special, or worth mentioning.

It's like handing an old TV to a kid. He'd complain about the remote not working, until you tell him that it needs to be connected to the TV with a cord, ie. it's not wireless. Why on earth would he assume that there needs to be a wire, when he's never had to use one before?

Don't get me wrong, I used to love reading manuals. NES and SNES games had awesome manuals, I read the shit out of them. But nowadays they're full of ads for other games, and legal babble. If you buy a digital copy, you won't even get a manual.

mrx19869:
Why would I want to play some outdated old video-game?

Because you can?
That is the only true reason for playing any game. That and to have fun, which you easily can with an old game. I play rpg's from around that time still and have a very good time with it.

To those who claim something to the effect that kids today are stupid because found Ultima IV confusing (and they probably all play Halo anyway):

First, you're comparing apples to oranges. Old school games didn't necessarily require more intelligence, or have more complexity, unless you think that Pac Man and Space Invaders were more complex than Halo or MW2. Come to think of it, Splinter Cell is pretty much like Pac Man, since the focus is on avoiding enemies until you find an ideal moment to attack, so anybody who played Pac Man but finds Splinter Cell to be complicated and frustrating must be an idiot, right...?

Second, the article noted that the students were fine with games such as the original Fallout. Apparently, it's not so much a problem with old-school RPGs as this one, particular old-school RPG. Although I've never played it myself, from the description Ultima IV sounds like a game that I'd have tried for maybe two hours before quitting in bored frustration, loading the original Castle Wolfenstein and shooting a few Nazi guards (when I wasn't reading a book while waiting five minutes for a supply chest to unlock).

xscoot:

Therumancer:

The point of a role-playing game is for it to be an entirely intellectual exercise with the outcome based on the numbers and what you decide to try and make happen. When you put "gameplay" into the equasion reflexs and such destroy the entire point.

Storyline, dialogue, etc... have nothing to do with something being an RPG. After all the very first RPGs simply involved two units beating the crud out of each other with dice and numbers emulating the action while nerds guffawed at the idea that they had reduced combat to mathematics to their satisfaction.

So you want a ROLE PLAYING GAME to have no actual "gameplay", or "role-playing".

You just want a timesink filled with stats and math, without any skill or player choice necessary. Those are called MMOs.

Stories and such do indeed improve the enjoyment of an RPG, which is why they have been added. What I am saying is that the core of what defines an RPG are the stats and everything being resolved by mathematics and probabilities. That is why it's a "role playing game" since the abillities of the character determine success or failure rather than the skill of the player.

The point about storylines and such is not that they shouldn't be there, but rather that they have nothing to do with whether something is an RPG or not, since something can be an RPG without those elements. It's the storyline which is the addition, not the mechanics or how the game is played.

really ultiam

I thought we were talking about good rpgs

i can get my much younger siblings to play and enjoy snes and certian nes rpgs
but ultima bored me half to death

Therumancer:

The point about storylines and such is not that they shouldn't be there, but rather that they have nothing to do with whether something is an RPG or not, since something can be an RPG without those elements. It's the storyline which is the addition, not the mechanics or how the game is played.

Fine, then play an MMO or JRPG. They still focus on stat based gameplay.

Might I recommend Shining Force, or perhaps even an SMT game?

Hold on just a minute...There's a class called "The Art and History of Electronic videogaming?"

I don't really think this is a problem with his students, kids, or anything of the sort. It's just a case of bad programming. There's a reason today's games and actually all software is "holding the user's hand". Rather than new players being stupid, it was the old programmers who were the "stupid" ones (not that they were, it's just that programming came a long way since then).

Sure there's a point where hand holding can go too far (but as Stephen Fry puts it "of course too much is bad for you, too much of anything is bad for you, that's what too much means for God's sake"), but for the most part, it's just intelligent programming and UI building. Accessibility is a good thing, don't think otherwise just because some programmers sacrifice other aspects of games/programs to make them more accessible.

I was going to go on an angry rant about how RPGs have just gotten better, but that actually brings up a good point I remember having to take time to read and figure stuff out about a game. Now I become pissy or quit playing if I can't just hop in and figure it out.

I usually read the manual first, hoping its nice, if im disappointed (looking at you Starcraft 2) i buy the strategy guide just cuz i love background flavour and reading to go along with my games.

Therumancer:

Jaredin:
Guess shows how much we have advanced in a way, and those who did not grow up with it, simply cannot use it

Games like "Ultima IV" were made to entertain people who could make a "Commodore 64" run properly. Today if you put a C-64 in front of someone they would freak when they saw the little cursor blinking at them. It's doubtful they would put in the effort to learn something as "simple" as Load "*" ,8 ,1 ..... Ready? Run. Or the Apple 2 version which I didn't play much but if I recall required the use of Hidos. :)

My first gaming experiences were with the NES and the Apple 2c/2e. The 2c system in particular was interesting, because it had a RAM boost function which, when activated would switch the usable memory from 40k to 80k(That's what it said on the white box, above the white button, while in reality it should have said 48k/96k). If you used this playing a complicated text adventure game such as Zork, the text would switch from all caps to a combination of upper and lower case. After that, I started getting some experience in DOS. It wasn't major, just running exe files, configuring a game to run with a specific sound card setup(If you had one at least), video setup(XGA, CGA, VGA) and if it was complicated mouse and keyboard setup.

Console gaming hasn't changed anywhere near as much as PC gaming. Console gaming has gotten more complicated(more buttons and interactive features), while PC gaming(or at least rig building) has gotten a lot simpler. SATA is great. I remember having to dig up documentation on a HDD to see if I could find the correct jumper settings to slave it to IDE 2. After that, I had to make sure I configured the BIOS to recognize the proper configuration for the specific piece of gear. Now it's almost completely plug&play. The HDD is now about SATA configuration, as opposed to total system configuration.

Huh. Interesting, I suppose. Not surprising, though.

I want to be able to take that class, though! That actually sounds like it'd be a fun college class to take.

xscoot:

Therumancer:

The point about storylines and such is not that they shouldn't be there, but rather that they have nothing to do with whether something is an RPG or not, since something can be an RPG without those elements. It's the storyline which is the addition, not the mechanics or how the game is played.

Fine, then play an MMO or JRPG. They still focus on stat based gameplay.

Might I recommend Shining Force, or perhaps even an SMT game?

I'm a bit SMT fan, not too fond of Shining Force however, just never really clicked with me.

That said, the subject isn't so much what I play, but the issue of kids (and perhaps gamers in general) not being able to handle old school RPGs. My point being that with mainstreaming has come a reduction in the intelligence of the average gamer (lowest common human denominator) and the simplification of games to cater to that crowd. "real" gamers so to speak (despite what some people might choose to label themselves) have gone from being the mainstay, to a fringe within their own area.

I think "RPG" is used nowadays to try and describe anything that has any element of customization or storytelling. Typically because it helps to sell games, RPGs still have a reputation of being something for smart people and serious gamers, billing something as an RPG lets someone feel that are part of that, even if the game being billed that way isn't an RPG at all.

As far as MMOs go, I think the RPG elements there are dying as well. In the quest to make them approachable by the greatest number of people they are being greatly simplified. Starting with WoW (which is actually a very good game as a game in general) the attitude is pretty much that anyone who pays for a membership to the game should be able to advance to the highest levels and see all the content. There are very few truely hardcore elements to the game anymore (though they are still there), and the skills and talent trees have been changed greatly since the game came out to be more streamlined. You don't really have to have as much of an understanding of WoW's underlying mechanics to spec talents correctly anymore, especially seeing as there are typically only a couple of builds that are viable/competitive. This means that the talent trees provide the illusion of some deep stats and a lot of customization, but really your funneled into a couple of specific builds, leading to almost all characters being very "cookie cutter".

Right now the tendency among MMORPG developers is to try and further reduce the stats and so on and try and turn MMOs into persistant world action games. I imagine in a few years you'll find even less stats and such involved.

I guess what it boils down to is that while I am an elitist here (hard to say that I'm not) it bugs me that not only do the "findings" in this article not surprise me, but I think it's a travesty that those very same people who can't get their head around an "Ultima IV" represent the target audience for computer games (and video games in general).

wabash college indiana? All boy's school? full of awesome sauce? Balls deep, my friend goes there.

My generation sucks balls at video games it seems...

i loved colony. that game was fun.

This is an amusing article, and I think part of the point that I get from it applies to more than just video games. People don't want to read anymore. They just want to dive into things. I've become the "handyperson" of my family simply because I will take the time to read instructions that come with new games and gagdets.

I'm also thinking that either this instructor didn't tell the students they needed to read the pdf file, or that this must be his students' first semester in college. Why wouldn't you at least read a few pages of a handout? Even in a course about video games, I would assume that something I was being given would be on an exam at some point and I would need to have a general idea of what it was about. Hell, if I didn't know what Ultima was until that class, I'd be interested enough to at least skim the pdf for more clarification.

I grew up on these games.

And honestly the NES version was a lot nicer to navigate....but seriously...

Today most rpgs are now NOT rpg's... to much on graphics not enough on storyline, consequences or anything for the imagination. If it's not a hand holding connect the dot game, a airship at the end to go back to the starting towns in a thin disguise of freedom, they are giant sandbox games so large they leave out the obvious hint on what the man quest was (Oblivion).

Think I might fire up my old NES and ultima for the hell o it.

I'm more stunned at there's a course for this type of thing. I want to take that course, so freaking badly.

Blind Sight:

I'm always disappointed with manual sizes nowadays, back when I bought Age of Empires 2 you got a manual the size of a freaking book, detailing everything, unit stats, upgrades, actual historical value, etc. Now I'm lucky to actually get a manual, or to get one over twenty pages (the first five describing how you install the game).

I was going to say almost the exact same thing. I used to love reading manuals while the game installed. Slowly, install times got longer and manuals got shorter. The original Red Alert had 2 full on, several dozen page manuals, one for the USA and one for the Soviets. Half-Life had like half the backstory in the manual. I miss those days. Now, you're lucky to get a tech tree or a chart of what the different guns do.

This is why I'm glad I'm a tabletop gamer, as well. Games in general intrigue me, discovery intrigues me. I don't think whether I am up-to-date on the latest hardware and part of some illusory cyberspace community defines me or grants me status.

Thus, my son has been exposed to all our old games and tabletop games. He loves to draw maps as much as he loves our PS3. He rocks old Sonic games and weird desktop stuff, but he's also always on the hunt for the new. He never rags on either. He often asks me what age I was when I played whatever game the first time.

The current "it" generation is not the first to have had this stuff all their lives. I am 40 and video games have been around all my life, too. But - no offense - you are the first generation to think in large numbers that video games are the solution to all the world's problems, and a defining aspect of your entire existence. This site (which I still like) laughably proves it all the time.

What you don't know, because you don't have kids, is that we previous generations are teaching our children coming up behind you, to have all the respect and the well-rounded gamer education you guys just don't seem to care about having. My FLGS are all packed with guys my age bringing their ten-year-olds in to become the next generation of old-school gamers.

So old-school values of actual thought, story, creativity, imagination, and so on, will live on. And that's just fine.

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