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A Thread About Markets, Not Marketing
March 30th 2002, 11:46 CET by Post-It

Recently at the Game Developer's Conference, Warren Spector stressed the need for better study and hitting the mass market. "We're not hitting the mass market." he pressed. He followed up by saying "Games can become a mass medium, or they can be a medium like comics." He pointed out that games could become a niche market of 15-year-old boys.

I think anyone who has played any popular game recently would agree with this statement. Medal of Honor:AA and Freedom Force are clearly aimed at young males. So are Jedi Knight II, Unreal Super Alpha Disco Beta 2, Warcraft III, etc. The vast majority of PC games are targeted towards young males. Consoles are worse. Grand Theft Auto, any fighting game, Metal Gear, Halo, you name it, most games are targeted towards the 14-24 year old male bracket. Yet the two best selling PC titles of all time are The Sims and Myst. Regardless of how you personally feel about either of the titles, there is no denying their success.

More people own computers and video game consoles now than ever before, the untapped potential market is huge. What must be done to get these people involved into electronic gaming? The obvious answer is that, no one is making games that appeal to these people, and someone needs to. Latest estimates done by the Nielsen//NetRatings Internet measurement service puts the number of Internet homes in the US for May 1999 at approximately 38 million(the figure is now twice as high).  These Internet households represent approximately 105 million people who have access to the Internet. It has been repeatedly pointed out in various studies that these households are more educated and have higher incomes than non-Internet households do.

And with this large of a potential audience, a PC title that sells a million copies is an astounding success. I think it is apparent that game developers are moving in the wrong direction. True, it is posssible to crank out another derivitave FPS or RTS, which admittedly pay the bills and put food on the table, yet they do nothing to move the industry forward or to try and broaden its appeal. What are type of games do you think would appeal to men & women of the 25-40 years old demographic? What do people with disposable income and college degrees want to play? Free form exploratory worlds like Myst where they can relax and enjoy themselves or constant non-stop action fest that challenge them after a long day of dealing with customers, managers, etc? Something must be done before the electronic gaming industry becomes a medium similar to comics. I doubt it will because I  believe the medium has so much potential to convey emotions and meanings, something that has not often been attempted.

-Summary Questions:
1. What needs to be done to bring the mass audience to gaming?
2. What games do you think would appeal to 25-40 year old men & women (think Friends and other popular televison shows)?
3. What do people with college educations and disposable income want to play?
4. When people of the above demographic have leisure/free time do they want to read a book/see a movie/watch TV( all passive experiences) or enter into a fragfest?
5. Ignore genres and games made before, come up with the craziest, off-the-wall, pie-in-the-sky, never-been-done-before game idea that you can come up with that would appeal to the "mainstream"? (Soap Opera games, stuff like "The Stepmother" but only in game form somehow)?

(okay this involves marketing, sue me)
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#1 by HoseWater
2002-03-30 11:47:27
barneyque@hotmail.com
w00t!

First.

© 1968-2002 Robert 'HoseWater" Lloyd
#2 by Bailey
2002-03-30 11:57:55
First lam3z0r?

You are making my being drunk at one in the afternoon a less pleasant experience.
#3 by crash
2002-03-30 11:58:29
my opinions only.

1. What needs to be done to bring the mass audience to gaming?

a: lower system requirements.
b: eliminate patches.
c: lower the violence--frequency and/or intensity.
d: lower the price point.

2. What games do you think would appeal to 25-40 year old men & women (think Friends and other popular televison shows)?

subject matter is irrelevant, more or less. delivery and requirements are key. see 1a-d above.

3. What do people with college educations and disposable income want to play?

games that work, that they can derive entertainment from in chunks of 15 minutes to roughly two hours, that don't require them to upgrade or install anything other than the game.

4. When people of the above demographic have leisure/free time do they want to read a book/see a movie/watch TV( all passive experiences) or enter into a fragfest?

see 1a-d above. gaming is last on that list of things to do. (btw, the concept of leisure/free time is... not invalid, but overrated. that's an entirely new thread, however.)

5. Ignore genres and games made before, come up with the craziest, off-the-wall, pie-in-the-sky, never-been-done-before game idea that you can come up with that would appeal to the "mainstream"? (Soap Opera games, stuff like "The Stepmother" but only in game form somehow)?

no idea. not a creative type.

- if you can laugh at it, you can live with it.
- "Hey, how 'bout this: fuck you." -LPMiller
#4 by Bailey
2002-03-30 12:04:08
It was a joey-heavy episode anyway.

You are making my being drunk at one in the afternoon a less pleasant experience.
#5 by Marsh Davies
2002-03-30 12:50:41
www.verbalchilli.com
A mixture of high profile pap like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and story heavy, puzzle solving games like Myst will bring a mass audience to gaming.

More importantly, though: do we want a mass audience?

Does the games industry need a mass audience? I thought it was doing okay as it is.

I'd be interested in seeing more mystery/rpg games like a mixture between Anachronox, Deus Ex and Grim Fandango. I think such a blend might go down well with the teeming masses.

-- ex Spatula Man --
#6 by None-1a
2002-03-30 12:51:03
a: lower system requirements.
b: eliminate patches.
c: lower the violence--frequency and/or intensity.
d: lower the price point.


I think you left out a big one there. e: intuitive controls, and clear instructions/reminders. The tutorial should cover any thing more complicated then point and click (and in some cases that should be covered as well). There should always be an option to display some commands on the hud (weapon numbers for example), and objects should have gentle reminders of what commands are avalible or what activation item/skill when highlighted.
#7 by LPMiller
2002-03-30 15:14:13
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Mind control.

The Suns rays are made up of many atoms.
#8 by Morn
2002-03-30 15:16:30
morn@planetcrap.com http://hmans.net
Porn.

Hendrik "Morn" Mans • morn@planetcrap.com • admin/coder/lover/kraut
#9 by Gunp01nt
2002-03-30 15:45:19
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Games not hitting the mass market? Well that's because there is a reserved market FOR games.

Sure, 30+ year old people will buy Myst and the 7th Guest (long time number one seller, right?) because they like to puzzle, and because there is only one of those games every, what, 3 years?
So everytime a Myst-like game comes out all the 30+ people jump on it, and yes, then it sells millions.

Now take a look at, fe. the FPS market. Individual FPS games don't sell as much as any Myst, but in comparison: there are a lot more FPS games than Myst games. Every FPS fan doesn't buy a copy of every FPS, they stick to one title. Therefore the whole FPS market is stretched across a large number of titles.

The 30+ market is not stretched because it only gets one game every now and then, and nearly everyone in that age group buys that game because it's the only game for them.

OK, so what's my point? That the mass market has already been reached. Every person in the so called 'untapped' potential market already buys games. The high sales numbers are basically fake because they're all concentrated on separate games. If the Myst market would be expanded to the size of the FPS market (+/- 6 games a year) the sales per game would probably fall below the FPS sales per game.

"I'm not sleeping with a junior high-schooler, I have a life sized doll that looks just like one."
#10 by Warren Marshall
2002-03-30 16:18:45
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
crash
a: lower system requirements.
b: eliminate patches.
c: lower the violence--frequency and/or intensity.
d: lower the price point.

The most important points, in my mind, are a and d.  I know someone who worked in budget software and he says that $20 is the sweet spot.  $20 is disposable income for most Americans.  They'll take a chance for $20 and buy something on a whim.  Any higher than that and they start asking questions ...

I am a magnificent three toed sloth.
#11 by JP
2002-03-30 16:33:54
absolute agreement with warren on crash's part 1d.  i'd love to hear publisher / retailer arguments as to why we can't just lower the base price of current games to $20.

really, i think the whole question of "how do we hook the women and over 40 crowd" rather distracting from the real issue: the industry has configured itself to crank out 14-24 white male pap at maximum speed with minimum creativity.  make something different, and sooner or later you'll have something that clicks with those other demographics.  as much of a mass-market juggernaut as the Sims was, you can bet your ass they weren't trying to rehash previous successes with that... even if it isn't the most conceptually daring game out there.

to conclude, it's time for another one of my stupid, facile answers: don't be content to rehash the same goddam thing over and over again.  jedi knight 2 doesn't click with the mass market (although it arguably does by way of license-milking) because it's every FPS that came before it with a new paintjob and higher polycounts.  i get shivers thinking about a game that's MADE to pander to a certain demographic.  it barely works with 14 year old boys, it's sure as hell not going to work on adult women or older people.  make something that doesn't insult people's intelligence, doesn't stoop to "demographic-specific" appeal (look, it's a game with girly stuff for you girls!  you like that right?), and just give them something different for chrissakes.

the words of Poochie the Dog (of itchy & scratchy fame) hold a valuable lesson for us all:

"ALWAYS RECYCLE.  TO THE EXXTREEEEEME!!"
#12 by HoseWater
2002-03-30 17:09:43
barneyque@hotmail.com
Can't argue with the 20 dollar sweet spot.  At that rate, I'd be much less of a bitchy bastard with my 10 rules about buying games and all that crap.  But at $80 bucks a pop around here, I need guidlines before I shell out the dough.  Mistakes are expensive, and make me bitter.

© 1968-2002 Robert 'HoseWater" Lloyd
#13 by Neo-Reaper
2002-03-30 17:10:36
neoreaper@excite.com http://octobermoon.homeip.net
#3 by crash
a: lower system requirements.

I honestly think focus needs to be shifted away from how pretty a game can look via the latest hardware releases.  I'd like to see more effort put towards things like streaming to remove load times.
Also, most of the main stream already has their computers now, and they won't be upgrading every year. By rights, shouldn't the number of people with current top of the line hardware be starting to diminish? I think designing software for lower end systems is going to get more and more important.

Of course, having the games at budget-point prices always helps, too (I still see quite a few people picking up Duke Nukem 3D thanks to its low, low price).

c: lower the violence--frequency and/or intensity.

Or at least, stop feeling the need to focus games around violence.  The concept of genres seems to hold a lot of creativity back.

"Dream of me... and maybe, just maybe, this nightmare will end."
#14 by Marsh Davies
2002-03-30 17:12:45
www.verbalchilli.com
Hosewater:
But at $80 bucks a pop around here

Yikes... where the hell do you live?

-- ex Spatula Man --
#15 by Neo-Reaper
2002-03-30 17:15:19
neoreaper@excite.com http://octobermoon.homeip.net
#14 by Martin Davies
Yikes... where the hell do you live?

Let me guess... he's a fellow Canadian?

"Dream of me... and maybe, just maybe, this nightmare will end."
#16 by HoseWater
2002-03-30 17:16:08
barneyque@hotmail.com
Toronto.  The quoted price is after taxes I should add, but it's all comming out of the same wallet, so it counts in the pain factor.

I have my reciept for Bridge commander in front of me, picked it up at FutureShop on March 17th.

Heres the breakdown:

Item cost: $69.99
GST: $4.90
PST: $5.60

Total price: $80.49

© 1968-2002 Robert 'HoseWater" Lloyd
#17 by Desiato
2002-03-30 17:25:48
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com/
If it doesn't have one button on startup (meaning, put cd in tray, close) that says "PLAY", then most of the mainstream won't understand it. If you have to put effort into it, most people won't bother. There's a reason why AOL does so well, its because you can put the CD in, click on install or just randomly mash keys - and pretty much get online. The only reason it goes to hell is the rare configuration problem (I can't have two screensavers at the same time, AND my windmodem?) or something else, like say - trying to run WindowsME on a 486, *then* installing AOL.....

But most companies probably know this, witness the "Millionaire" franchise.
#18 by deadlock
2002-03-30 17:40:40
http://www.deadlocked.org/
HoseWater:

What are GST and PST ? Are they like value-added tax ?

you think you're funny ? I'll cut a hole in your head and piss through it...
#19 by Warren Marshall
2002-03-30 17:42:27
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
PST = sales tax
GST = goods and services (read : gouge the public) tax

I am a magnificent three toed sloth.
#20 by deadlock
2002-03-30 17:44:36
http://www.deadlocked.org/
Ah... Double taxation... nice...

you think you're funny ? I'll cut a hole in your head and piss through it...
#21 by Hugin
2002-03-30 17:51:05
lmccain@nber.org
Less contempt in the industry for the kinds of titles that the masses seem to like.  I see so much whining about the lameness and suckitude of the Sims and Deer Hunter and Myst, coming from people who evidently feel that Quake is high art.  

Look, technically ,yeah, high poly counts and advanced engines are nice and all.  But it's as if you had a movie industry where the pinnacle of the form was considered to be the action movie, and dramas were pooh poohed.  Or a book industry where Tom Clancy was considered fine literature. I'm not saying "mainstream" equals quality.  Just that the thematic/genre snobbery of most gamers is ridiculous.

Games are crap.  I enjoy them quite a bit, but I don't pretend that 99 percent of them, even the games I love the most, even the games that are considered the best examples of the genre (Starcraft, Civ, Deus Ex, whatever you happen to like best) aren't simplistic, hackneyed and repetitive.  The game industry will reach the mainstream when the game industry strives to make a Titanic or an English Patient, or strives to make something relevant to Oprah's Book Club readers or readers of People.  As long as talent and money in the industry think cool= Blade 2 or John Woo or Darth Maul, forget it.

I'm not saying you can exactly make The English Patient, the game.  But no one is trying to even grope in that emotional/thematic direction. In general, 35 year old women do not give one shit about guns.  Or spaceships. Or location based damage or pain skins.  35 year old women do not, in fact, have a pathological need to blow up or frag anything. Go to a game store and take away all games where the plot can be summarized as "25 year old white man saves the world" or "Unseen godlike being/emperor conquers the world" or "Everyone is trying to kill you, kill them first", and see what's left for my mother and father to play.

 I'd love to lock Warren Spector or Brian Reynolds or someone in a room and say "Don't come out until you have something vaguely resembling a Japanse dating sim/RPG that an open minded 35 year old american woman who devours romance novels and Ang Lee movies and Sex in the City would enjoy playing on an iMac."
#22 by HoseWater
2002-03-30 17:51:11
barneyque@hotmail.com
Yep, Warren pretty much nailed it.


Mark your calendars folks w00t!

And of course, we do have 20 dollar games...at least until you add taxes again.

© 1968-2002 Robert 'HoseWater" Lloyd
#23 by EvilAsh
2002-03-30 17:57:45
evilash@eviladam.com www.eviladam.com
You know its kind of funny. I talked to a canadian vacationing in Florida and after he explained to me the economy the 80 dollar figure is not as bad as they make it out to be.  He explained that if he took 80 bucks into the us and converted it to us dollars. guess what.. drops down to the 45-50 dollar figure.

Now if you take 50 bucks to canada you see what happens to the us dollar.  Canadians make it seem like they are paying 80 us dollars for a game. Not true.
#24 by Neo-Reaper
2002-03-30 17:59:12
neoreaper@excite.com http://octobermoon.homeip.net
#22 by HoseWater
And of course, we do have 20 dollar games

Heh, I like the description posted for Duke Nukem:

Duke is a can-do hero who realizes that sometimes innocent people have to die in order to save Earth, so accuracy of gun fire is not a real concern to him.

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrright.

"Dream of me... and maybe, just maybe, this nightmare will end."
#25 by Sgt Hulka
2002-03-30 18:00:57
No kidding Desi.  If AOL game out with a $19.95 product called "AOL - The Game" they'd sell millions of copys to their subscribers alone.   The game could be nothing more than minesweeper, but they would still sells a lot of copies.  Hell, it could be multiplayer pong and they'd sell a few copies.

There are many reasons games are so expensive, but a majority of the reason is marketing the title.  I think there are so many games coming out now, that in order to get yours recognized and bought by the public is to advertise the hell out of it, and buy shelf space in the major stores.  This cost money, and a lot of it.  To recoup these costs, you have to have ridiculous price tags on games.  In the long run, this may end up closing a lot of game companies because they can't all survive such a system.  I can see it  turning into a hollywood type system, with a few major big companies who have 3 A+ titles a year, and 27 B+ titles to support themselves each year.  

I know from personal experience that making a better mousetrap doesn't always catch mice.  Meaning, I have produced some fantastic games, at least that's what the fans of the games I have produced have said.  This praise does not equal sales.  There were many factors working against me.  For example.  The poor sales of the two Official Quake II mission packs hurt my ability to get get Zaero onto store shelves.  Retailers wouldn't pick it up, and actually used that reasoning to tell me no.  It had nothing to do with the quality of my product at all, just the poor quality and/or sales of it's predecessors.  It doesn't matter if my game was $19.95 or $149.95, unless you can get the message out by marketing it, nobody is gonna buy it regardless of it's price.

.....Yet Another 0l$en Twin Approved +12 Post!
#26 by Neo-Reaper
2002-03-30 18:01:02
neoreaper@excite.com http://octobermoon.homeip.net
#23 by EvilAsh
Now if you take 50 bucks to canada you see what happens to the us dollar.  Canadians make it seem like they are paying 80 us dollars for a game. Not true.

You know, if all the jobs up here in Canada paid twice as much as American jobs, you might actually have some sort of point.

"Dream of me... and maybe, just maybe, this nightmare will end."
#27 by HoseWater
2002-03-30 18:06:45
barneyque@hotmail.com
Thank You Neo-Reaper.  You said that much more politely than I was preparing to do.

© 1968-2002 Robert 'HoseWater" Lloyd
#28 by jjohnsen
2002-03-30 18:09:16
http://www.johnsenclan.com
2. What games do you think would appeal to 25-40 year old men & women (think Friends and other popular televison shows)?

In the four years we have been married, my wife has sat down and played three games I own and came back for more.  Rollercoaster Tycoon (but not Simcoaster, too complicated), SSX Tricky on PS2, and the Sims.  If she see's or hears shooting, there is no way in hell she's going to try it.  If there are zombies or pumpkin heads with chainsaws she would rather watch an Everyone Loves Raymond rerun.  When  I say shooting Storm Troopers in JKII relieves stress, she thinks a bubblebath would be a lot cheaper.

More importantly, though: do we want a mass audience?

I think selling more to the masses will give developers money and resources to work on the quirky or less-mainstream games they might want to .  Kind of like Robin Williams making crap like Patch Adams so he can afford to make movies like One Hour Photo.

#29 by LPMiller
2002-03-30 18:09:20
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
first for everything, I suppose.

The Suns rays are made up of many atoms.
#30 by Neo-Reaper
2002-03-30 18:20:41
neoreaper@excite.com http://octobermoon.homeip.net
#27 by HoseWater
Thank You Neo-Reaper.  You said that much more politely than I was preparing to do.

Funny, I thought I was being a little harsh. I don't think I have the right attitude for the internet.

"Dream of me... and maybe, just maybe, this nightmare will end."
#31 by deadlock
2002-03-30 18:41:20
http://www.deadlocked.org/
jjohnsen:

I haven't quite worked out what my girlfriend likes to play, but I suspect that it's Tetris or Solitaire, though it's hard to know. We're moving in later this year, so it should be interesting to see what happens when my PS2 takes up it's residency in the living room.

As we speak, my mother is downstairs struggling with Jak And Daxter, having completed all of the Lemmings games (yes, even the ones that suck by any definition of the word), the Monkey Island series and the Discworld games - the latter with a little help from internet walkthroughs - along with a few others which I can't think of right now. One of my aunts managed to get through both Quake and Quake II before technology finally left her P120 behind and is apparently halfway through NOLF on her brand-spanking new PC.

My point ? I believe that the biggest obstacle to computer games becoming a mainstream activity is actually encouraging people to participate. There's still this belief among sections of the wider population that computer games are none of their business.

EvilAsh:
He explained that if he took 80 bucks into the us and converted it to us dollars. guess what.. drops down to the 45-50 dollar figure.

I see what you're saying - we have (or rather had) a similar thing here because we called our currency 'pounds' and 'pennies' and the British do as well. Hence, we had a tendency to think of both currencies as being exactly equal, when in fact they're not. For example, the exchange rate on a given day might be STG£1 = IR£1.2. People tend not to think about it like that and they'll think they're being fleeced when they only get STG£100 for their IR£120 at the border. What they didn't realise was that the quoted Sterling price was generally a little cheaper than the quoted Punts price and when you apply the exchange rate to the item, it works out at roughly the same price.

But what you should bear in mind is that people in Canada may not be paid as well as their US counterparts; US$50 means more to a man with US$100 than it does to a man with US$150.

you think you're funny ? I'll cut a hole in your head and piss through it...
#32 by Scott Miller
2002-03-30 18:57:51
scottmi11er@hotmail.com
Recently at the Game Developer's Conference, Warren Spector stressed the need for better study and hitting the mass market. "We're not hitting the mass market." he pressed. He followed up by saying "Games can become a mass medium, or they can be a medium like comics." He pointed out that games could become a niche market of 15-year-old boys.

I find this interesting because Warren is one of the poster children for the non-mass market game.  He's games are wildly hardcore in nature, and that's a big reason none of them have been a bonafid big-time hit, they've only been mild hits at best, even with all the press praise and awards.

Warren seems to be saying one thing, but doing the opposite.  Perhaps he doesn't really understand what makes a game mass market -- I suspect this to be the case, otherwise who would be making such complcated games (especially with overly complicated interfaces).
#33 by Scott Miller
2002-03-30 18:58:56
scottmi11er@hotmail.com
And I'm the poster child for not spell checking before posting!  ;-)
#34 by Duality
2002-03-30 18:59:34
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
Nah that's wzrd or LPMiller, I think.
#35 by Matthew Gallant
2002-03-30 18:59:48
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Boy, if only Warren Spector was as smart as you, imagine the kind of games...

Marketing is a crutch for mediocrity and a handicap to excellence.
#36 by "broken"
2002-03-30 19:20:47
The thing about Warren is that he managed to release System Shock II and Deus Ex, while other people haven't released anything after four years.
#37 by LPMiller
2002-03-30 19:26:54
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
spelling is optional, so long as the beer is chilled.

The Suns rays are made up of many atoms.
#38 by Steve Gibson
2002-03-30 19:58:32
http://www.shacknews.com/
Scott, I'd give Warren the benefit of the doubt considering how smart the guy obviously is. Perhaps he's just re-evaluating what his work has been up to this point and is now looking to change his direction a bit. It does seem pretty darn funny having that message come from him of all people.

Or, he's delusional!
#39 by "Evi|ivE"
2002-03-30 20:33:25
Scotts Quote:
"Warren seems to be saying one thing, but doing the opposite.  Perhaps he doesn't really understand what makes a game mass market -- I suspect this to be the case, otherwise who would be making such complcated games (especially with overly complicated interfaces)."

Warren's Quote:
"We're not hitting the mass market."  He followed up by saying "Games can become a mass medium, or they can be a medium like comics."

Perhaps Scott doesn't really understand reading comprehension.  I don't think Warren was saying his games have been aimed at the mass market.  Seemed more like he was speaking of the way things should be done in the future.  I don't think Warren needs a lesson in game development from someone that hasn't made a game for the Win9x platform, or 3d acceleration.
#40 by Bailey
2002-03-30 20:37:34
deadlock

having completed all of the Lemmings games (yes, even the ones that suck by any definition of the word)

Even the Adventures of Lomax?

You are making my being drunk at one in the afternoon a less pleasant experience.
#41 by jjohnsen
2002-03-30 20:39:13
http://www.johnsenclan.com
My point ? I believe that the biggest obstacle to computer games becoming a mainstream activity is actually encouraging people to participate. There's still this belief among sections of the wider population that computer games are none of their business.


So maybe my problem is I'm not giving my wife a turn trying to hit those stormtroopers with that craptacular aiming rifle?

#42 by JP
2002-03-30 20:45:20
making games of substance and lasting merit, and making games that earn money in the mass market are often contradictory aims.  it's reeeeally hard to do both with the same title.  spector is just acknowledging that failed to do the latter just as much as he succeeded at the former.

everyone in this industry who's not a complete chimp (i.e. openly embracing the lowest common denominator without any regard for quality or vision) is caught in the middle of that paradox.  perhaps spector is ruminating upon ways to accommodate both sides of it.  it's a tough problem, if it were easy then we'd also have arthouse movies that earn billions at the box office.
#43 by "Calanctus"
2002-03-30 20:52:31
OT: Does anyone know what's up with Blue's News? It's been down for 3 days or more.  I'm worried--I might have to resort to the Shack for my news!
#44 by Sgt Hulka
2002-03-30 20:56:44
There's always www.evilavatarbaby.com and www.geekgirlhatesscottmiller.com

.....Yet Another 0l$en Twin Approved +12 Post!
#45 by Steve Gibson
2002-03-30 21:11:37
http://www.shacknews.com/
Calan, Blue's is still hosting at UGO.

According to Frans we prolly wont see the page back online until Monday some time because of the lack of support staff at UGO. I've been furiously hitting ctrl-c going through withdrawal.

No idea why they are still hosting there. Seems like playing with fire.
#46 by "Calanctus"
2002-03-30 21:15:40
Thanks Steve. BTW I was kidding about the Shack--at least you have comment filters.
#47 by Greg
2002-03-30 21:29:43
We need more games like Snood, er, i mean Bust-A-Move. Simplicity and fun are what draw people in, not 80 hours of gameplay, or l33t online multiplayer. You can argue that The Sims is not a simple game, but it is simple enough that you can avoid controlling anything, and just watch your characters get out of hand.

Greg

-Swallow it all and be glad, for a shilling I've paid and a shilling's worth I'll be having!
#48 by InsideWhat'sLeft Behind
2002-03-30 22:49:35
I need SS3.

"It goes without saying that technical proficiency should be the first acquistion of a student who would be a fine pianist." - Sergei Rachmaninov
#49 by crash
2002-03-30 23:28:54
None-1a:

I think you left out a big one there. e: intuitive controls, and clear instructions/reminders.

a good tutorial and good design will cover this. to ask the question: how many people you know have problems operating The Sims, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Myst, or Deer Hunter? few.

Neo-Reaper:

I'd like to see more effort put towards things like streaming to remove load times.

i'm not so sure about this. look at load times as a ratio instead of a flat number. i don't mind sitting through a 3 minute load as long as i know, barring fatalities, i'll be playing on that load for a half hour or more. it's when the ratio gets too high that it becomes an issue, i think. but yeah, long load times tend to knock one out of the game, and that's never a good thing. (for the record: jk2's load times are slllllightly on the long side. not by much, but they're a hair too long.)

Desiato:

If it doesn't have one button on startup (meaning, put cd in tray, close) that says "PLAY", then most of the mainstream won't understand it.

careful. your elitism is showing. The Sims is not a simple game. neither is Rollercoaster Tycoon, nor Diablo 2. don't underestimate your audience's capabilities. the error thus far is overestimating how much shit they're willing to go through to play your game. remove the obstructions to play. don't dumb it down.

Hugin:

35 year old women do not, in fact, have a pathological need to blow up or frag anything.

case in point: my wife's three favorite games right now, in order: KISS Pinball, Bejeweled, and El Dorado (the Disney adventure game).

- if you can laugh at it, you can live with it.
- "Hey, how 'bout this: fuck you." -LPMiller
#50 by Warren Marshall
2002-03-30 23:32:19
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
crash
careful. your elitism is showing. The Sims is not a simple game. neither is Rollercoaster Tycoon, nor Diablo 2. don't underestimate your audience's capabilities. the error thus far is overestimating how much shit they're willing to go through to play your game. remove the obstructions to play. don't dumb it down.

Case in point : I was trying to install the version of Dark Forces that came with my JK2.  The installer comes up in Windows, but then takes you to a DOS install routine.  Not cool.  This goes OK until it reaches my sound card configuration ... now it wants me to specify the IRQ and so on, like I have any idea these days.  I use Windows so I don't have to think about this stuff.

Granted, it's a DOS game that they updated to work on Win95, but come on ... how long would updating the installer take?  I spent 15 minutes fucking with the sound card config, and have yet to get clear sound of Dark Forces (yet, this same sound card works with every other game I have).  *sigh*

I am a magnificent three toed sloth.
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