Do You Come Here Often?

I started to play Zelda: The Wind Waker the other day. Or rather, I started to play it again. I hadn't touched the game in months. Getting back in to it was a little awkward. Firstly, I'd forgotten what I was supposed to be doing. Secondly, I'd forgotten how to do it.

I knew I had to ask a boat for assistance. It could give me a hint about my next task. The boat told me what to do. Had I been playing the game regularly I might have understood the hint. As it stands it might as well have asked me to milk an owl with three nipples.

Perhaps I'd have more luck controlling my character than remembering why he was stuck on an island in the first place. "Link, sail the boat." The boat stood still. "Link, bring up the sea charts." Link yelped, jumped out of the boat and swam around in circles. He had ADD or I'd been manhandling the joypad.

Eventually I figured out the controls and was back in command of the adventure. I was getting to grips with the game, going where I needed to and solving all puzzles thrown at me. You know what else I was? I was completely detached from the narrative.

It'd had been so long since I'd played the game that I had, literally, lost the plot. When I'd first played Wind Waker, I was doing things because the story wanted me to. Now I was doing things because the game's structure dictated them. It was a bit like watching the last half an hour of a murder mystery; yes there was danger and excitement, but without a backstory it wasn't as pleasing as it should have been. I wanted something to bring the game back into focus for me: a reminder about what I'd done before.

Often at the start of US TV serials are clips of what went on in previous episodes. These give new viewers a background to the current plot and remind existing viewers what had already happened. The programmes always start with a particular phrase. That phrase is what was missing from the game. Wind Waker needed a Previously On.

I can't commit large blocks of time to games anymore. Sometimes I don't play games for months. I think the situation might be the same for many gamers with jobs. We've got other things to do. More important things to worry about. Is it too much to ask for, then, that as gamers (and lifestyles) change, that games designers pay attention to this?

Wouldn't it be great for a game to be released with a selling point that it will remind you about where you've been, what you've done, what you're supposed to be doing and why? A title you can put it down in February, pick up in July, have a "˜Previously On' and get back into playing, remembering and enjoying the game?

Yes, some games allow us to view cut-scenes again. That's not enough though. Our interaction with TV shows is passive. Our interaction with games isn't – so why should our reminders of them be? I want to see cut-scenes and footage of my character fighting or solving puzzles. Give me a show reel of my victories and agonizing defeats. Let me use my scenes as training aides so I don't have to refer to a manual. Let me get back into a game that I enjoyed once and want to enjoy again.

Help me remember what made me start playing in the first place.

- 1Dgaf

Comments

i totally agree - im lost on wind waker too. and metroid prime - which i s a crying shame cos i LOVED metroid prime when i was "into" it. now i cant even remember the controls.

Driv3r actually has that, when you load up your mission it says "Previously on Driv3r" and goes on to show you what you did last in the replay/directors mode and show the last cinematics.

That phrase is what was missing from the game. Wind Waker needed a Previously On.

Wow, that's a great idea.

I was playing PS Torment the other day, and I have so much crap in my journal, I don't even remember where I'm supposed to go in a catacomb. So I just started over (I also wanted to change a few answers... )

Good suggestion. Action games are easy to implement, but where it really needs to be used is in RPGs.

I've suffered the same fate in Prince of Persia. TWICE I've started the game and played fairly far into it (the second time getting over half way through), and twice, for one reason or another, I've had to stop playing for extended periods of time. This wouldn't be so bad if not for the complete suckiness that I have in trying to pick back up the game. I get killed left and right, and feel like I'll have to start over just to relearn all the stuff I had forgotten.

With Wind Waker I also had a 6+ month down time. I eventually started back up, frustratingly relearned most of the fight techniques (although I was never as good as when I stopped playing), and finished the main quest. I had forgotten all the side quests I was involved in, so I just focused on the primary quest. It was fairly straight forward. I did have a butt-load of things related to side quests, though, that I never got to use.

I'm in the same boat with both Wind Waker and Metriod Prime. I got about halfway into them more than a year ago and quit. Im waiting for a good VGA converter for the gamecube before I pick them up again. I reckon I'll start from scratch.

I have the same issue. I cant always devote large blocks of time to a game as well as suffering from "oh a new game - must go and buy" or as I like to call it "oooohhhh shinyyyyyy" syndrome. This in turn has me forgetting the last game I played or not finishing it at all. I think this is why I have gravitated towards the coop shooters and games where I can play for a bit and stop - come back etc... A "Last time you played" feature would be great - especially for someone like me who loves RPG's, but rarely finishes them... I have started and restarted BG2, Morrowind, and Dungeon Siege so many times I have lost track. Same with Planescape and several others... I have bought several games - especially for consoles that I have "rarely" played if at all.... Journals in games are good, but perhaps a save game feature - could capture "gameplay footage" and replay it as part of the saved game - I dont know design, but it seems to me it could be done, but would likely soak up a of "storage" and processor time throughout the game - although many RTS let you "record" your game and share - perhaps it is viable.

Does an owl have 3 nipples ? Can you milk an owl? Has anyone ever tried? Dont they bite and scratch? (Brought to you by wandering mind theater)

Edwin wrote:

Driv3r actually has that, when you load up your mission it says "Previously on Driv3r" and goes on to show you what you did last in the replay/directors mode and show the last cinematics.

That's probably the ONLY decent thing about this game.

A. Prince of Persia... you're not going to miss much. Just finished it and the ending was like... riiiiiiiiight... sorta like playing Red Faction.

B. I believe Metal Gear Solid did this. Everytime you loaded, it had a little paragraph or three telling you what you've learned from the previous boss and where you're headed and why you're headed there.

C. I seriously beat Wind Waker with a rental... so shame on you Ely. That said... the best parts of the narrative didn't really occur till like the last parts of the game (well that and right before the Bird Boss). The rest of it just felt like a normal Zelda game with your typical cliche.

*gasp* You mean Ganon is in this one?! No waaaaaaaay!

B. I believe Metal Gear Solid did this. Everytime you loaded, it had a little paragraph or three telling you what you've learned from the previous boss and where you're headed and why you're headed there.

Ahh, Metal Gear Solid. A 12 hour game, 11hrs and 45 minutes of which was NPCs talking.

so shame on you Ely.

Umm, 1Dgaf wrote this. Or are you talking to your own personal Ely?

Right. I'm getting an avatar done.

Swaaaayyy!

I thought the longest journey does a pretty good job at this with quest logs and a diary.
(I find myself playing once every month or so, so its really handy)

I've probably given up on a dozen games in the past two years simply because I forgot what the hell was going on. The ones that stand out:
Final Fantasy X
Warcraft 3
Freelancer
Eternal Darkness
GTA: Vice City
Simpsons Hit & Run
I'm getting to that point with Metroid Prime and Resident Evil.

Wow, I was thinking the exact same thing while playing Twin Snakes a little while ago. Silent Hill 2 threw me for the same loop, but in that case I'm glad I made the extra effort to recall what the game was about, and actually finish the game.