03.22.12

Should games have a fast forward button?

Posted in Video games at 2:09 am by kyrias

Let me preface this entire post by stating that I believe the entire hoopla over Jennifer Hepler’s comment that she would like there to be a fast forward option for video games to be mostly angry male reactions to what they perceived as a female coming into their territory and daring to tell them that what they loved and knew best should be changed — for what they see as for the worse.

That said, back to the question at hand: should games have a fast forward button?

I believe that they should have that option, but possibly with certain caveats, such as having previously unlocked the game or having to jump through some hoops to unlock the game in such a fashion as to render that option not easily accessible.

At the very least, if I’ve run through a game once already, it seems utterly reasonable that I should be allowed to go through subsequent playthroughs with the option to skip all non-essential combat.  As more and more modern games seem to be going the route where the plot branches out into radically divergent paths — I find that it kills the fun of replay when I need to whack my way through trash mobs two or three or four or (god forbid) more times just to see alternate possibilities.

What I don’t understand is why the backlash?

Iddt, my friend, says that having easy access to the ability to god-mode the game kills enjoyment for many people. Lack of effort put in makes the result not as worthwhile to these people and they would essentially be cheating themselves out of their fun without even realizing why.

To put it bluntly?

I don’t really care if people manage to ruin their own fun by doing things that kills their enjoyment. I suppose we could attempt to save people from themselves by making the fast forward mode something that needs to be unlocked rather than having it simply right there as a button you can hit without thinking twice about it. Then again, it’s not like engaging god-mode via the console is actually hard. Hence my not caring if there’s an even easier way to let the people who would find ez-mode not-fun to get into ez-mode.

Next argument?

It makes the game shorter. It’d kill the game because then the devs wouldn’t bother balancing the game so that it skirts the line between too hard and just challenging enough to pique people’s attention. It’d take the meaning of games right out.

Where to start? There’s nothing wrong with a shorter game. As I grow older and gain more responsibilities and leave the age where all I had to do was to show up for class and do my laundry once in a while behind, the less inclined I am to grind my way through endless mobs in a long-ass dungeon just so I can get to the nitty-gritty of what I want. Killing mobs that don’t actually offer any real challenge doesn’t actually improve my enjoyment of the game and I see no reason to do it, much less repetitively.

To be clear, I do not advocate skipping boss fights. Those are usually worth it and where real gameplay comes in. Trash fights which can pretty much be done while eating, fapping with one hand, and afk-auto-shotting? Not particularly useful to anyone and hardly what I would call a shining example of the gameplay that certain people seem to be holding up as some sort of sacrosanct trust.

Also? Dude, if say, Bioware decided to do this, and decided to shit on their main, devoted, established fan base in order to pursue the potential business of the *girly girl useless gamers* — I highly doubt this, by the way, since I doubt they’re that dumb — then people would just quit buying their games, which should send them a really pointed message. Are we really worried that Bioware is going to shit in their pie, so to speak?

In response to someone’s statement that perhaps there should be a fast forward button for those people who have actual difficulty playing prolonged games, such as those people with carpal tunnel, cerebral palsy, and so such, here’s this gem by a certain Dan:

If you are unable to play due to a disability, then hey, that sucks, but lets not obliterate the challenge for the majority. Perhaps you should play something that you are physically able to? I’m not fit enough to climb Everest, should the mountain shrink, or perhaps I should be carried up and back? I’m not skilled enough to play in the NBA, perhaps they should adjust the rules in my favor?

There are _many_ gaming alternatives out there for individuals with physical and mental handicaps, that will offer them a compelling challenge, use what is accessible to you.

Uh-huh.

This argument is sort of along the lines of the one that says that people who cannot manage to eke out the time from chores, childcare, two jobs to pay the bills, laundry, dishes, and so forth should just GTFO and find something else to entertain them.

Well.

Surely, if we’re going to decide that only those who are truly fit for some form of entertainment then we shouldn’t stop at just video games. For that matter, forget about DVD fast-forwarding. If we cannot desecrate the vision of the artists of video games by speeding through their opus, then surely it’s some sort of sacrilege to skip past the boring parts of a movie you’ve seen a couple million times over as well.

In that case, I vote that we should do away with wheelchair accessible basketball courts. Or we should get rid of all subtitles for movies. If you can’t watch a movie in its original language, then clearly either you need to learn that language or you shouldn’t be able to get some sort of magical ability to gain access to content you otherwise wouldn’t have.  Oh hey, why don’t we disable all forms of locomotion not our own two feet or what we can reasonably propel via human methods? Surely if evolution/god wanted us to be able to see places further than what we could travel to on our own, he would have given us wings, right?

Any other arguments? Any other petulant “we don’t want change” whiners?

Guys — this would be an option. Furthermore, since not all game companies do the same thing or have the same systems — not even all game companies would necessarily pick up this idea unless it was statistically proven to give them more sales.

Just how is this very reasonable suggestion going to throw your world into chaos?



1 Comment »

  1.    Thene said,

    March 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    I definitely think that long RPGs would benefit from having an unlockable fast-forward button for repeat playthroughs. That way you could skip tutorial areas and get on to the parts that are fun to play. I don’t see how this is different to starting a tabletop campaign at higher power levels than usual.

    Many games DO effectively have unlockable fast-forwards – you can often repeat areas/levels/quests at will after you’ve fulfilled some prior condition (finishing the game, reaching a certain point or whatever). The oldest game I remember doing this is SuperMarioLand for Gameboy, which lets you select any level after beating the game twice (on both normal and hard). It’s not a new idea. It just rarely shows up in more plot-driven games. I guess that’s what comes of taking the fourth wall too seriously.

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