Quickie: Either Very Smart Or Very Dumb

Hey Gamers,

I hadn’t officially done a “quickie” in awhile, for a number of reasons. I generally go on at great lengths about video games, which is something I’ve been trying to moderate in recent days. Speed isn’t relative to quality, but something easily digestible can sure be a treat.

You Know, A Real Pick Me Up

You Know, A Real Pick Me Up

I can’t guarantee you’ll feel as ready to “seize the day” as much as Max would after downing some meds, but….

You probably don't have to deal with anything as horrifying as this on a nightly basis, either.

You probably don’t have to deal with anything as horrifying as this on a nightly basis, either.

Today’s quickie was just some thoughts I had on an article related to enemy A.I in video games. This is a topic I’m familiar with, and one I’ve read about and engaged with before. Much like I’ve encountered before, the article in question details how players may not really “want” smart A.I, but A.I just smart enough to make them feel like they’ve beaten the system. The article makes mention that in play testing, players actually became frustrated when the enemies were able to flank them, and then used boring tactics (like funneling them into a hallway) in order to beat the level.

At it’s worst moments, made the game too hard. At it’s best moments, made the game too boring, based on the reliance of cheap strategies to win.

Cheap Strategies: Or What Dr.Wily Refers To Mega Man As

Cheap Strategies: Or What Dr.Wily Refers To Mega Man As

At the end of the day, the developer had to make the A.I more stupid to make the game more fun. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who plays video games on a regular basis: forgoing realism almost always makes a better game. It’s why you can drive off a cliff in GTA in excitement, and why you can move Sonic at 700 miles per hour and not be worried the mother fuckers face is going to rip off.

Dr.Robotnik: "I Don't Get It. Why doesn't that little fuckers face rip off if he's moving so god damn fast. It's bullshit.

Dr.Robotnik: “I Don’t Get It. Why doesn’t that little fuckers face rip off if he’s moving so god damn fast? It’s bullshit.”

While I could probably go on at lengths about this subject (but will moderate myself from doing so), at it’s core it’s about ease of play. A lot of people don’t like difficult games, and design is at it’s best when it effectively teaches the player how to improve themselves, without excessive force. Over time, the enemies will get smarter (based on the game of course), but you don’t want to make any player feel like they can’t win a game they just started.

Also, as far as “smart” goes, you have to understand and respect the spectrum of intelligence that exists, in all its beautiful forms. Since there are so many different kind of smart, and so many different types of learners out there, you really have to try to start in middle of the road of rudimentary, to try to give everyone a chance at having fun.

Or You Run The Risk Of Having People Feel Like They Are Really Playing This Game

Or You Run The Risk Of Having People Feel Like They Are Really Playing This Game

And yes, that picture does show an arcade game (Boong-Ga Boong-Ga) where the goal is to ram a finger up someone’s ass.

Talk about a

So, take note. While many of us have a desire of something, it is perhaps the infinite pursuit of the desire we are attracted to, and not the object itself. While smart A.I may seem like “the next step” or a “welcome challenge”, we perhaps haven’t considered what we really want from every day obstacle and challenge.

We want the chance to be challenged, but not necessarily to be faced with it.

Happy Gaming.
~Pashford

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