Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Is Frustration In Games Increasing?

I have been a gamer for well over 10 years now and I'm beginning to see an increasing frustration level in the games that I play, I know you are probably thinking I'm just getting worse at gaming but this isn't the case I can still complete any game that I play I just seem to get frustrated more quickly.

When I was younger I could play the same parts of games many times until I got them right but now if I fail more than 5 times I can happily throw the controller down and walk away is this due to games being harder than they were? No I don't think so as it's not a fact that they can't be done just that very stupid things happen while playing. I'll start by looking at some of these frustrating things.

It seems no matter how hard developers try they will never eliminate randomness from their games, for instance Mirrors Edge. You can play this game fine until long jumps appear then the randomness begins, you will run up jump and think yes I've made it only to see the main character drop like a stone without even reaching out, when if she had would have caught the ledge, so you reload do the same again and she time she reaches out it seems completely random as to weather she will save herself or let herself drop to her death like a stone. Fallout 3 was another when it came to reloading, your probably thinking yes we all know reloading is frustrating right? Well the reloading isn't the frustrating part its the randomness that occurs just after, the main character will sometimes tap the gun or open the clip and put it back in, this
lasts a few seconds and isn't to bad if no ones around but when he/she starts doing it in the middle of a fight and you die as a result it gets frustrating as hell as their is no way to stop it and no reason why it happens, it doesn't happen everytime it's just random!

Computer AI in videogames has always lead to frustration with gamers and as the time has gone on more powerful AI has been introduced that can think logically and therefore avoid all those stupid running infront of machine gunner moments, however this is not the case AI has just found more cleverer ways to be stupid such as getting stuck in impossible to reach places just when you need them most, at that pivotal moment in a game where you require your partner for survival only to see him stuck behind a rock in a place you can't even reach as you see the game over screen fast approaching.

As your partners have got smarter so have your enemies the only problem is game developers seem to have given all of the intelligence to them. I'm going to fall onto Mirrors Edge again here and the SWAT team enemies these guys are super human and can rip you apart in seconds thy have amazing accuracy so even if you run away you will have bullet holes in seconds. The game developers give you a 2 second window to disarm them get it wrong and you will have more holes in you than a grater. Another AI annoying game is Midnight Club Los Angeles, mainly due to the AI in this again being not of this world, they always beat you off the start line and always have superior acceleration. However if you manager to catch them up and pass them even pull out a lead guaranteed they will catch you up no matter what you do and then one quick press
of the NOS and you see them taking you on the last corner. Thankfully a patch was released to address the AI issue in this game as even the developers released that they had created a monster.

Anyway these can all add up to an incredibly frustrating time that can have you flinging your controller across the room and accusing the game of cheating you within minutes. I say bring back Crash Bandicoot 3 and lets go back to a simpler lower blood pressure time.


Anonymous said...

Uh, try holding the A-button at the start line in Midnight Club: LA. You just might get a big facepalm moment. Also, the problem isn't that the AI is "not of this world", but that you aren't up to the challenge. This series has always had a fairly high difficulty lavel and the latest instalment isn't even the hardest one.

Lex said...

i have also noticed that. when i was younger i could play the same level for many many times, and even complete the whole game for many times, without boredom. but now its like when i have to do the mission 3 times im like "what the fuck". maybe its because im getting older and more stressed, since i work and run a small ad company and there is a lot to do. maybe its just that we have become to expect more, when i get to this point i always think "okay, this is frustrating, i do want a challenge, but its just plain frustrating, i dont want that in a game", then again, how can you avoid it?

the most reasonable explanation i can come up with is that we are more stressed, therefore it takes less to piss us off.

Anonymous said...

The reason you fiddle with your weapon on Fallout 3 is due to it being in poor repair, it shouldn't do it if it's in good condition.

I have a level 20 char with 100 in repair and I haven't seen this since the start of the game.

So it isn't random at all.

Anonymous said...

Blimmin ek! A gamer for over 10 years. You're a noobie my friend, and it shows in your article.

Gaming has never been so delightful in the frustration stakes. You really can't moan about this. Try loading up a game like "Daley Thompsons Decathlon" from tape cassette, waiting 40 minutes for it to complete, then seeing your Sinclair Spectrum or Commodore 64 crash before your eyes. Now that's freakin frustrating!!!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say it is the games. I would say it is time. Now that we are adults you don't have hours to sit in front of a TV to get every jump right. You have at best one hour a night and you don't want to spend it trying to get through one room in COD 4. You want to advance the story and move on.

Nada Nuff said...

I sold Midnight Club: LA (a game I loved) because I kept re-doing yellow missions. I never even attempted orange and red missions.

Yeah, I found it hard, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Now that the patch is out I might (MIGHT) consider gettin' it again, but it's not likely.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that some games are ridicule in the hardest settings, for example, in NBA 2k9 you play Hall of Fame and the CPU doesn't fail a simple shot, the 3pt % goes a 90% average, it's just not right.

By the way, i am a very good player, so you can save the bash.