The modern video game industry
This has been and will be a recurring topic on these forums. So I think it is best that we have a thread where we can list our grievances with the modern game industry and discuss things that we would not like to see in LB and BB.
Many Kickstarter projects are oriented towards retro gamers because they see them as their primary audience and many people want to relive the good old days. One of the KS comments said that a good way to market a KS project is to appeal to a disenfranchised group. Retro gamers have not been the gaming industry's primary audience for the greater part of the last decade. The industry now sees us as dead weight because we do not buy their products and they are not interested in appealing to us in the first place.
By nature of its relation to Ecco, The Little Blue will naturally be attracting retro gamers. One of the reasons that BB failed was because it had a torn audience. It attracted the retro gamers because it is a spiritual successor to Ecco, but at the same time it repulsed retro gamers with the notion that it would be a phone game, MMO and feature microtransactions. Maybe Ed has a different audience in mind, but I see retro gamers as LB's primary audience and the best chance of it getting funded. One of the comments even suggested getting the game covered in Retro Gamer magazine.
There are two ways to market to retro gamers: retro-style games, and sequels to retro franchises. The latter is harder to get right, because if you do something wrong you risk stepping on an emotional land mine and it will blow up in your face. Retro style games do not have the same emotional strings attached, but if you force any modern gimmicks on the game, retro gamers will fight back and view it as a cheap, distasteful attempt to market to them and dismiss the game as not retro. The Little Blue can use modern graphics and come to modern platforms, but if you want to market it to retro gamers, the game has to be as traditional as possible and avoid the problems plaguing the modern game industry.
Anyway, these are some things I do not want to see in The Little Blue.
FMV (Full Motion Video / video files)
Unfortunately, this fad has never gone away. I have always preferred real time graphics and cut scenes. I like being able to admire a game for its graphics,knowing that it's actually being generated by the hardware and that the developer put effort and spirit into making it. I don't want to watch some movie that was rendered on a powerful PC and slapped on a game disc. If I wanted to watch a movie, I'd go watch a movie, not play a game. When you're playing a game and an FMV starts playing, often looking totally different from the actual game, it ruins the immersion, pace and feel of the game. FMV is also a notorious waste of disc space because video files take up so much space. The reason why so many PS1 games are multiple discs is entirely because of the overuse of FMV.
Games using real time graphics also age better than games that rely on FMV. For example, the graphics in the Megaman Legends series for the original Playstation are drop dead gorgeous for their time. The fact the developers made such good use of the hardware is one of the things the fans appreciate about the series even today.
My disdain for FMV is for the same reasons that I prefer pixel art in 2D games to pre-rendered visuals. 2D consoles used pixel art to show off the power and their use of the hardware. This is one of the things people admire about the Ecco games, they look gorgeous on the Genesis when many developers struggled with the console's limited colour palette. Contrast Ecco with other games from the time like Mortal Kombat and Donkey Kong Country, and the latter two look terrible because they used pre-rendered visuals, which always age horribly.
Back on the subject of FMV, I honestly do not understand why it still around today. Sure it was all the rage in the 32-bit era, but there's no reason it still needs to be used today. Even new releases like the latest Uncharted and Final Fantasy games use some FMV for cut scenes even though the hardware is more than powerful enough to provide the look they are going for. The only reason it's still around today is because it's lazy development. It's much easier and faster to render a scene on a powerful PC, make a video out of it and put it on the disc instead of actually using the console's hardware to make that scene. Besides being a fad in the 32-bit era, the only justifiable reason it could have been used was because games had low polygon counts that could not be used to make what developers wanted to do and most companies struggled to make 3D games that even looked decent. There is however, no reason that FMV should still be used today.
Re-releases of games that are not old.
This often takes the form of "HD" re-releases. This generation has seen a constant flood of of re-released Dreamcast, PS2 and Gamecube games. Not only that, we often see re-releases of current generation games in the same generation with next to no new content or justified reason for their re-release. Companies do these re-releases for a quick buck because they're easy to make and slapping "HD" on the end of the title will make people think it's prettier and worth re-purchasing games they already own. For example, look at Deadly Premonition. Deadly Premonition originally released for 360 and PS3, but the PS3 version was Japan only. This year the developer released "Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut" as a PS3 exclusive in the west. In addition to being a butchered port, the game featured none of the content that was cut from the original game. The only new content that the game featured was 5 minutes of "new" cutscenes that added nothing to the game. This does not justify the $40 price tag. The creator, Swery, even lied about the reason for the game's re-release. He claimed that they did not make much money off the original release which is a flat out lie: the original game literally outsold the latest Call of Duty game when it came out (they both came out around the same time). I am not going to be happy if a year after release, I see "The Little Blue HD" for PS3 with all of $10 of new content.
I've spoken about this in other threads, but this is a point I forgot to add. One of the reasons you can not include microtransactions in free games is because of stuff like this happening:
While the stuff in those articles is the result of poor parenting, if something like that does happen with The Little Blue, it will make Playchemy look bad as a company.
I am in discussions with someone who may fund the Little Blue, if this happens it will have so called "micro transactions." Since I invented them back in 1999 I am not afraid of them.
I agree with you partially on the FMVs, but i've made them in the past and liked them a lot. The FMVs for mr. Bones were great (back then) and I never had more fun working on a game than doing the VO on the 3 Dirty Dwarves FMVs... :)
Its not going to be long before the "retro gamer" will be fondly remembering their iOS games. All my games going forward will work on phones and pads whenever possible. LB will probably work on iOS and android if I can nail a good touch based play mechanic.
Nice blog article.
I feel like the Little Blue's success won't entirely rely on retro gamers, but maybe it will? A game with hyper realistic graphics and such is far from the sort of game retro gamers are into (same reason that Endless Ocean probably isn't something this audience would be enticed by).
If we want to attract retro gamers as a main audience then we need to set some goals with the trailer and such to enforce this.
I don't mind FMV's. I also don't see it as "lazy" on the part of the developers to use them, (and quite frankly I don't think you should refer to developer as lazy without knowing how much work they put into their games). They're also not easier to make compared to using the in-game engine, they're simply used because they look better. They'll disappear over time as the in-game graphics approach CGI quality, something that's already happening. I see this as a non-issue.
Re-releases: I'm in favor of re-releases since there's plenty of Saturn and Dreamcast games that nobody had a chance to play. I'd also love to see a widescreen, 60fps version of Ecco for example (like the Sonic 1 remaster on iOS/Android). Of course, I'm against rereleases that cut or alter content, or otherwise are just an emulated version of the original, but in that case it's up the consumer to vote with their wallet.
Micro-transactions: I don't agree that they shouldn't be put in free games. If anything that's exactly where they should be added. There's a good side to them. You make your game available for free, meaning more people get to play it. And the people that want to spend money to upgrade their experience can still do so. The problem is: micro-transactions are very easy to mess up. For example here's what you don't want to sell:
- Exclusive in-game areas: this is bad. I didn't like the idea of an "exclusive sea" in the pledges for the Big Blue for that very reason. You don't want to lock people out of areas in your game, you want them to play it. The longer they're around, the more money they'll spend.
- Exclusive items: even if they're just cosmetic, this still isn't a good thing. All items should be obtainable in-game. A typical way to do this is to allow people to buy in-game currency for real money. That way, you can let people earn the in-game currency by playing the game, or give them a shortcut by using real money. But again, never lock people out of content. Otherwise you'll give them the feeling that the game isn't fair. Remember, you want people to keep playing the game.
- make players more powerful: you never want to sell items that make players have an advantage over others.
I think if you go with those rules and make micro-transactions more of a convenience than a necessity to your game, you can find a setup where you have as many people as possible playing your game while still getting them to spend money.
@Draikin: Almost all major exclusive Dreamcast games have been ported to other platforms by now. Many of them are inferior ports for PS2, Gamecube or Xbox, (for various reasons) but most of the console's main games are playable on other platforms.
The reason you do not see Saturn games re-released that often is because that console is borderline impossible to emulate. Even the emulator enthusiasts have yet to make a half decent Saturn emulator that works nearly 20 years after the console came out.
There are various issues with re-releasing 128-bit games on modern consoles.
-With the exception of Xbox which can do HD, Dreamcast/PS2/Gamecube games were designed to be played on CRT televisions with scanlines in their original resolution. They are not going to look good if you stretch or crop the picture and make them run on LCD screens.
-Those games work just fine on their original hardware. Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner, a fast paced mech fighter, runs at 30FPS on its native PS2 hardware and I have had no issues with slowdown or laggy gameplay.
-The ports are often butchered and extremely buggy. Recent examples are the Sly and Zone of the Enders "HD" collections which had game breaking bugs and horrendous technical problems.
-Lower resolutions and CRT fuzziness help mask visual imperfections (jaggies, low quality textures). This is also the case for 2D games (pixel dithering is less visible at lower resolutions)
-These re-releases often stretch the picture then have some arbitrary visual or texture filter smacked on top to try to mask the visual problems. Just look at the Wind Waker port for Wii U, it's the same game but stretched and with hideous bloom lighting... seriously?
-"HD" re-releases are not new. We saw this with the Dreamcast when developers started shoveling over their PS1 and N64 games to run on the Dreamcast's 640x480 resolution (the maximum resolution some CRT televisions can display). It did not make the games look or play any better.
-The vast majority of these re-released games are not rare. For example, Square is re-releasing Final Fantasy X and X-2 in "HD" when you can buy both of the originals for less than $10. Most PS3s also come with PS2 emulation and a PS2 console itself is less than $50 today. You could buy the original hardware and both games for less than what it would cost to get the "HD" versions.
When it comes to re-releases of retro games (not remakes), I do not like re-releases that do not emulate the original hardware and I will nitpick them to death. For example, the Megaman Anniversary Collection for PS2 is a good example of a bad port collection:
-Terrible load times for games that can not be larger than 2MB in their native format
-Washed out colours
-Slippery controls not present in the original games
-A PS2 controller can never hope to keep up with the input from a NES controller so the developers added in a turbo button of sorts to make up for this.
-Lack of slowdown and sprite flickering means the levels and enemies move faster than they are supposed to in the original games and it feels unnatural and effects the balance of the games. For example, in Dive Man's stage in MM4, the fish enemies charge across the screen before you even have a chance to react because there's no slowdown. Slowdown/flickering in old games could be a blessing or a curse depending on the context, but the games were designed to be played that way because of the hardware limitations. The Megaman games were known for pushing the NES to its limit.
All those technical problems were noticeable when playing the Collection on the same CRT TV that I play the originals on my NES on.
I also do not support widescreen versions of retro games. Retro games should be kept in their original aspect ratio or you risk breaking the game itself. Those games were designed to be in full screen, so if you remake/port the games in widescreen, you have to stretch the physics and get it right, which is very hard to do. It gives the player more horizontal but less vertical space to move around in. For example, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, a PC Engine game, was remade in widescreen for the PSP as "The Dracula X Chronicles". And it had all those problems, the hero's whip was longer but it did not get the physics of the original game right, and the game was either harder or easier than the original in certain parts because of it. Another problem with remaking retro games is that they're usually 2.5D, and hit boxes are easier to do with sprites than they are with character models (this is one of the reasons 2D fighters still use sprites).
As for Dreamcast, one of the best reasons to own the console is you get the technically superior versions of games in the form they were originally intended. PS2/Gamecube/Xbox also do not allow VGA support like DC does. Some examples of bad ports:
Shenmue 2 (Xbox)
Lower quality textures.
Grandia 2 (PS2)
Lower quality textures, horrendous slowdown and framerate issues, worse loading times, major technical problems with shadows and polygons on character models. The PC version was also notoriously broken but apparently some of the bugs have been fixed.
Evolution Worlds (Gamecube)
Port of Evolution 1 and 2. 90% of the content was removed from the first game and the textures are lower quality in the second game. Worse load times than the originals.
I've also read about issues with the ports of DOTF (PS2) and Crazy Taxi (Gamecube) that people do not like.
Some games would also be difficult to re-release. Seaman was made specifically for the Dreamcast's microphone, so the game would have to be completely reworked from the ground up (and the Sega humour removed from the game).
There are also other challenges. Developers loved the Dreamcast for its 2D strengths (it is one of the last consoles that can do true 2D with pixels) and because its hardware was close to the latest arcade boards of the time. Sony consoles for example, are difficult to develop 2D games for because they can not do true 2D and it takes up a lot more system resources than on a 2D-friendly console like the Dreamcast or the Saturn.
The Dreamcast version of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure was recently re-released on PSN as "Jojo HD". It's technically inferior to the original because the picture is stretched with an arbitrary visual filter on top, the Sony controller is terrible for 2D games, and it gets LCD input lag which is game breaking for fighters.
Some developers are also not interested in moving their games off the Dreamcast. In one of his last interviews, Kenji Eno was asked about the possibility of re-releasing D2 on the PSN and he said that it would be difficult to turn into a digital download because it is a four disc game.
My personal opinion is that going HD has done a lot of damage to the industry. Not only was the hardware not even ready for it (PS3 games have weak textures), but because of the SD/HD barrier and LCD/widescreen issues, it makes it extremely difficult to re-release old games on newer machines because of all the technical issues involved.
@James: Retro gamers don't have anything against good graphics. The graphics in D2 and Seaman made my jaw drop and I think Dragon Quest VIII is one of the most beautiful games of all time, looking better than any RPG the PS3 has to offer. Personally my favourite look for 3D games is 128-bit because it's stylized and you can tell from looking at it what's a Dreamcast, PS2 or Gamecube game. They all have a certain look to them: Dreamcast games have great textures, PS2 has lower quality textures but higher polygon counts and Gamecube gets the best of both worlds. Wii is also 128-bit because it's just a Gamecube with a few chips swapped out, but I do not really find any of the games in its library visually pleasing.
Endless Ocean does not have a big audience for two reasons:
1) It's for the Wii. In addition to the bad reputation the console has among core gamers, everyone hates the arbitrary motion gimmicks forced upon the majority of the Wii's software. I also do not like the low quality controllers and the fact they run on batteries and the signal dies off randomly every 2 minutes and needs reconnecting. It is rage inducing.
It is so irksome that I am actually looking into buying an actual Gamecube console just to play the original version of Harvest Moon: Magical Melody. I love the game, but I only have the inferior Wii version with the forced motion gimmicks (you can not turn them off). In this case the gimmicks are actually game breaking: if the controller moves even a little bit (even with the sensor bar unplugged), it automatically makes your character swing his tool. So I will be tending to my animals then because my real world arm moved ever so sightly, my character will automatically swing his axe at my cows and I will have to reset the game and start that day all over again. It is completely unacceptable that I should have to put up with something like that.
2) It's made by a developer with a negative reputation: Arika. These are the people that botched Megaman Network Transmission so badly.
@Ed: I understand you are fond of mobile and touch platforms, and that is fine. I'm not saying you can't develop for them. If you develop LB/BB for mobile/touch platforms, will you make all versions of the game visually identical to them to be "fair", or will you take advantage of each platform's hardware? That is my main concern. This was one of the questions asked in BB's KS comments which you did not answer.
Taking advantage of each platform or making all versions equal are two different design philosophies. But with the large tech gap, people are not going to be pleased, myself included, if you make all versions identical to the mobile ones. This approach is also increasingly unpopular in the current generation with the large power gap between Wii and PS3/360. Because it begs the question: why should I bother playing a game on a computer when it's designed to be played on a dinky little mobile device? Same with the Wii/PS3 issue, why bother spending $200 more on a more powerful platform when the game can be played identically on a less powerful platform. This is why the Ouya will fail. Nobody wants to play phone games on a television or a computer.
These are the reasons why I do not like mobile/touch platforms for video games.
-I hate touch and motion gimmicks for video games. I just want to play my games with a controller, not be forced to have to use arbitrary gimmicks that do not work efficiently and are completely unnecessary for the game itself.
I understand that mobile platforms lack a controller, but I just do not like the touch gimmick itself. The reason I chose PSP over DS was because the DS featured two forced gimmicks I hate: the two screens that were never used for anything useful and the forced touch/drawing gimmicks. If I want to pull up a menu, I'll press the Start button. I don't need a second screen for it. Looking up and down at multiple screens is distracting and annoying. This is also the reason why I will never be going anywhere near a 3DS or Wii U.
-Unlike handhold consoles like the Gameboy Colour, Touch/mobile is not a dedicated gaming platform. The reason phones and other mobile devices have lousy battery life is because they're doing all sort of functions they're not supposed to. Cell phones should have nothing more than a built in address book and number pad to call people. I don't want to play games on them.
I don't like handhelds more powerful than GBA because they have bad battery life and don't run on AA's. Lithium batteries only last so long before you have to replace them, which is expensive ($40+) and it won't be sustainable forever. I had to buy a new battery for my PSP after a year and a half because by the end it was only holding a charge of 5 minutes.
-When I play a video game, I do not want to be interrupted by the likes of this:
*Beep* you've got mail
*Beep* new text message
*Beep* marketing spam message from your service provider
*Beep* incoming call
*Beep* missed call
*Beep* you are leaving the signal area
*Beep* you are now out of signal range
-I do not have to worry about my Gameboy pocket dialing because I can turn it off and easily get back to the game in seconds.
-You do not legally own the games you pay for because they are digital only. When the servers go down or companies/service providers stop supporting the device, all those games are going to disappear.
-The device you play the games on is legally the property of your service provider and in some jurisdictions you face fines or imprisonment for modifying the device or using unlicensed software on it.
-99% of the library are Flash style games. I have yet to hear about one serious game for a mobile platform that core gamers actually care about.
-I do not like Apple. I have never understood this religious cult surrounding their products. They all line up outside the gadget stores in the middle of winter to spend $700 on the Ipad 4.1 when they already have the 4.0
-Modern electronics in general and mobile devices are not designed to last because of planned obsolescence. I do not know anyone who still has their original phone, laptop, MP3 player, or other mobile device because they're designed to only last a short time and die right after the warranty expires so you will go out and buy the latest model. When I was a kid, I accidentally dropped my Gameboy Colour on concrete a few times and it still works great and plays games just fine. I've had my GBC for 13 years and not only does it still play games flawlessly, but I still get 20+ hours of gameplay out of it on AA batteries.
-I do not like the look of the games. For some reason, companies who make games for iOS have some bizarre aversion to pixel art. The iOS re-releases of Phoenix Wright and Megaman X had the pixel art and sprites removed and replaced with static anime imagery like cheap Flash games. I understand most of the mobile market is aimed at the 10-14 demographic that won't remember "low tech" 2D games, but you have to be 18 to sign a phone/credit card contract to even play those games. It's not like people born in 1995 won't remember 2D games.
Phoenix Wright DS:
Phoenix Wright iOS:
Mega Man X SNES:
Mega Man X iOS:
This comes down to personal taste. Some call it giving the games a more modern look, I call it taking the originals and applying a blur filter on top.
@Draikin: I realize I'm in the minority on this, but I like hard games. The payoff at the end is much, much higher when you finally beat a hard game. When I finally beat Little Nemo: The Dream Master in a 4 hour endurance run after owning the game for a few months, I was absolutely euphoric. The same can be said of the feeling I got from finally beating Castlevania 3, nailing the final boss in Actraiser, finally beating the original Dragon Warrior after dozens of hours of grinding, or beating Mega Man 1 in an extended on/off 8 hour single sitting. If I beat those games using cheats, they would be nothing but hollow victories to me.
Sure, when I was a kid I used a Gameshark to cheat in games that were too hard for me, but I've since gone back and replayed all those games to beat them fairly. When games are hard, I believe "If I have to suffer, you should too" and I scoff at re-releases of retro games that dumb down the difficulty or add things that make the game easier (generally this comes down to which version of a game the individual played first). I believe that if people truly like a game, they will play it through to the end, not cheat or pay their way through it. Sure paying real money is a way to penalize the player (and net money for the developer), but I can not fathom why anyone would actually pay real money for it.
I'm not trying to come off as nor do I consider myself a "hardcore" gamer, but I simply like games that were intentionally made to be difficult on their standard setting. I'm not the kind of person that goes through and plays a game on every level of difficulty, but I like games that are hard by default. When I was growing up with the Genesis, it could be disheartening at times, but I liked that the games destroyed me. It motivated me to try harder, and trying again and again was part of the magic of the games for me. We didn't have a Genesis at home so I didn't get to play the games everyday, I only got to play them at my babysitter's house. So when the opportunity did come, it was a treat and I would ask myself "How far am I going to get today?".
Naturally I'm in the minority on this today, but oh well. I like games that are soul-crushingly hard and make you question if you will ever beat them.
The problem with FMV is that it is rarely used properly. More often than not it is used as an unnecessary gimmick that adds nothing to the game.
Did Uncharted 2 really need a 15-second FMV of Drake hopping over some bricks to hide behind a wall?
Did Evolution 2 really need a 10-second FMV of the Ulticannon firing off energy beams when I'm going to watch the same thing in real time 10 seconds later anyway?
Did Final Fantasy X really need a 10-second FMV of Auron taking his coat off or Tidus uttering a single line of dialogue?
Does every modern Japanese game really need an arbitrary anime FMV intro in the nasty modern anime art style that often looks worse than the art in the actual game?
FMV also has the historical baggage tied to it from all those trashy Sega CD, 3DO and CD-I games that were interactive movies with cut scene selections and quick time events.
Kenji Eno's Enemy Zero for Sega Saturn is one of the only effective uses of FMV I've seen. He said that the Dreamcast was the first console that was powerful enough to actually accomplish his original vision. So it makes sense that the game would rely on FMV because the Saturn could not generate the visuals in real time that he was going for.
It looks aged today, but at least it's a full adventure game and not an interactive movie. The exploration and combat are in corridors in real time (and look good for Saturn 3D), but the puzzle solving and cut scenes are in pre-rendered areas with FMV (the pic above). For example, each room has a number of anchor points and objects to interact with, and every time you move or interact with something a different FMV plays. An interesting effect of it being on the Saturn is that the console's low quality video gives the game a gritty look that adds to its atmosphere.
Kenji Eno also found some interesting work arounds since FMV takes up so much space. Enemy Zero is a four disc game. The intro cinematic and all the extras are on "Disc Zero", while the actual game is on discs 1-3. So after you watch the intro, you pop in disc 1 to start the game. This way he could progress the story and put the disc changes at the exact points he desired.
His next game, D2 was for the Dreamcast. With the exception of a few certain scenes, all of D2's scenes are in real time and actually look better than the FMV. The opening and ending scenes of the game are in FMV. I won't spoil it, but there is a certain reason why certain scenes in between are in FMV. Also, D2 uses the same structure as D and Enemy Zero with the adventure sections being in rooms with anchor points, so it's interesting that it was the style of game he was going for rather than being the result of technical limitations. D2 also did something interesting with the discs. The opening movie for the game is on disc 4 (the disc with the least amount of content on it because it's the very last section of the game) and the actual game starts on disc 1 and goes to the end of disc 4.
The original version of D2 was to be for Panasonic's M2 console, but when the console was cancelled, the game was moved to Dreamcast and Eno chose to remake the game from scratch as a new project which became the final version of D2. The M2 version would have been an action adventure game with sword combat set in a medieval European setting. It would have used FMV for the cutscenes so it would have been very interesting to see how the game would have turned out.
@Ed: I've been curious about checking out Mr. Bones but I don't want to pay $50+ for the English version. Would the game still be playable or would I miss out on a lot if I don't understand all the dialogue in the Japanese version? I've heard it's not that long of a game.
I hope there are no quick time events in this game. It does not make a game more cinematic, immersive, tense, or exciting, it's just plain annoying. It also distracts away from the scene itself. To put it informally, people do not like "PRESS X TO LIVE!!!" games.
If possible, I'd like there to be some sort of way to pause during cutscenes.
Are you sure you are not abusing the discussion thread? I feel that Ed and his team should be free to design, not limited by "We don't like this, the public doesn't like this, don't do it." sort of comments. I feel that Ed and his team are well aware of their field, especially having already had multiple games out there.
Nothing can be perfect. Some people may appreciate the games that force them to pay attention and press a single button. Press X to live, though it is different in your context, is just the same as "Press Up to swim out of the death ray" (i.e. Press Up to live) or "Press Down to swim away from jellyfish". In fact it is worse in most games since you have to "press multiple buttons" to avoid attack.
End of mini-rant.
You seem to be misunderstanding the point of the forum and this thread. My posts are simply my view. Everything ultimately is up to Ed and the team, but it's the people posting here now who are going to get their voices heard, not the ones moaning about the game on obscure forums after the game is already out.
You are making a huge generalization. There's a big difference between "pressing buttons" in actual gameplay, and QTE in cut scenes. There's a big difference between Ecco the Dolphin and Dragon's Lair. If people thought "pressing buttons" was an issue, then there are plenty of movie games for them to play. Name me one good game where QTE was actually implemented in a meaningful way that added something to the game. People do not like having to watch the same scenes over and over to wait for the "PRESS X TO LIVE!!!" prompts.
Having to press "A" at every pause in the voiced, non-text dialogue in Shenmue was not "cinematic", it was plain irritating:
"Oh. Hello Ryo"
"Did you see a black car?"
"But you should ask the person down the street"
"Thank you. I'll see you later."
Having to mash the A button while a not-so-exciting soccer ball flies across the screen at you in a cutscene added nothing to the game.
The fact of the matter is, most developers force QTE on games in the worst way possible and on top of that are horribly designed. The Uncharted games even have horribly designed boss battles which are entirely QTE.
Are you going to tell me some crap like this actually adds something to a game?
Even the Resident Evil fans ripped the latest game apart for its reliance on QTE.
My favourite game of this generation, Red Seeds Profile, featured QTE and it did nothing but drag down the game. It would have been a lot more exciting running away from the killer in real time or watching it as a cutscene, rather than doing it in poorly implement QTE sections where you do nothing but spin the analog sticks until the button prompts pop up.
I don't feel that I was making a generalization, though I agree I should have defined my point more. I just fear that you are picking on some obscure topics that don't need to be picked on. As a considerable exaggeration of my point, Ed knows that 1 + 2 = 3 and that 2 + 1 = 3, 2 + 2 = 4 and 3 + 2 = 5.
Ultimately all games are press buttons, but I see you single out the cutscene variety of press buttons, but I personally see little distinction. Some games like a few Kingdom hearts games and Bayonetta had cutscene PRESS X TO LIVE scenes, but it suited the game in that respect.
I think all we can say is that nearly everything has a tendency to be abused, not suit the game and derail the game playing experience, but I think you too are making a generalization by assuming all PRESS X TO LIVE scenes are negative. But oh wow that shaving scene is just...
On a more important topic: no, I don't think The Big Blue should have these scenes, that I agree, but they do have their place.
This is going to come off trivial and nitpicky, but oh well.
I really do not like unskippable health&safety and corporate splash screens that require you to press a button to get past them. With modern games, I like to boot them up, then go make food or do something else while I'm waiting for them to finally get to the title screen. It's really annoying when I come back and find out it's stuck on a screen because it requires you to press a button to get past it.
It may seem trivial, but for those with hacked Wii's there are special mods that specifically disable the health&safety screens in the system menu and when games boot up. That is how much stuff like this annoys people. I understand this may be some legal thing to cover your bases in case somebody has a seizure from not cluing in that video games may be problematic for people with epilepsy, (or not reading it printed on the very first page of the manual), but for the average gamer it is irritating. While the epilepsy warnings have always been there (though 10-20 years ago they were kept confined to the manual), one of the things I see in newer games are warning screens in the actual game itself telling you to take a break every X hours. I understand that also might be a legal thing, but is it really necessary? It's not like television stations air commercials telling you to go to sleep so you don't have a heart attack or die of exhaustion from watching their station for too long.
A nice feature to have in the game would be a soft reset function that takes you back to the main menu or title screen without having to sit through all the splash screens and animated logos again. All Dreamcast games have this feature (hold A+B+X+Y+Start) and I have never seen the same feature in any other console. PS3 games have a soft reset but not in the same way: it just restarts the entire game as if you had just popped it in the disc tray and you have to watch all the splash screens all over again because the game is rebooting from scratch.
Just a little something to add about QTEs. QTEs nearly ruined Killer is Dead for me. Very early in the game, the second boss has a mandatory QTE sequence where you have to mash the Square button after you deplete his health bar, and if you don't clear it you can't progress in the game. If I didn't already like that game, I wouldn't have gone back to it and finished it. The difficulty in games should come from skill and mastering the mechanics, not pressing buttons to cutscenes.