Tutorials, are you too stupid for them?

I’m 12 hours into Mario & Luigi: Dream Team and the tutorial complaints have been lost in the wind somewhere. A small batcave of manchildren on the internet has been raging about how things are explained too in-depth with endless text, much to the burden of their active lifestyles. Many reviews have also docked the game for this apparent intrusion of text in an RPG. I recently finished Bowser’s Inside Story just before playing this game, and I can say for a fact that Dream Team is flowing much smoother, like a dream is supposed to. The new concepts are easy to grasp, the gameplay is more interactive and it’s a much better designed game all round. The only difference is people complain more in 2013 than 2009.

poorweegee

I was a bit down after the intro, because I thought there was quite a lot of text and that maybe these people were right and it was going to be a bad game. Thankfully, after the intro sequence the tutorials are practically gone, unless you’re too impatient to listen to characters talk. Expressive characters who are integral parts of the game world and make the game what it is. When you arrive at a new place the characters are going to tell you about it because THEY LIVE 100% of their existence there. I’m OK with that, the characters in this game are funny, unique, have bizzare manners and there’s some excellent facial hair to be admired. If they didn’t talk to me I would never know them.

Here’s a giant moron complaining about Pikmin 3’s tutorials, which are nonexistent. It’s a podcast bitching about the hand-holding nature of the game, which by the way this guy has no clue how to play. It’s a shame because the title “Where All The White Pikmin At?” showed great promise of intellectual discussion.

pikminhello

This is the “tutorial” of the game, a word I’m beginning to hate because it’s simply the introduction. You crash-land on a new planet and you’ve never seen a Pikmin before. You see a Pikmin, learn they respond to a whistle, and then you can throw them. Done. In fact it’s cool to see the reaction of the little dude, this is part of the game. You can’t just jump in and start throwing them like a pro basketball player, it would make no sense. Story mode means there will be a story, and in this game it’s a pretty fascinating one with a lot of subtle details contained in the 3 second cutscenes (and there’s a Pikmin anime on the way which I’m really excited about). If the mere existence of story makes you angry, you can do Mission Mode instead which plunges you straight in. I suppose this Mark MacDonald fellow from Giant Bomb needed a tutorial to show him that. He also complains that there’s an animation when you bring home fruit.

Fuck me dead.

How else would you know it arrived back in time? This is the sole collectable in the game that is essential to your survival, it’s a nice moment of relief when you salvage some. Sometimes it’s an entire days work. The alternative would be a loading screen, because the map is changing with the fruit gone.

I didn’t intend to beat up on this guy too much, but I’m simply laying out his attitude for everyone to see because it’s a common one. Looking for problems and finding them up your arse. I love Pikmin 3 so much I’ve finished everything and put in 50 hours game time so far (all Platinum medals, hidden files, fruit, beat story mode twice) and then booted up Pikmin 1 and 2. Guess what? Their tutorials are exactly the same. In fact, Pikmin 2 takes slightly longer to get started. It came out in 2004.

pikmintaunt

Here’s my theory on why people are making a big deal out of it all of a sudden – poor attention spans. Games have an alarming amount of “interruptions” now that we’re always playing online and getting notifications, and that’s in addition to whatever Facebook / Twitter / Mysandwich apps you have open on your phone / iPad / Laptop / Microwave on your lap. This is MUCH MORE APPARENT for game journalists who live at their desks and have 5 things beeping and flashing while they complain about a tutorial, or curse their difficult lives while watching a beautiful cutscene in DuckTales. Having to “wait” has become more difficult for their brains to approve.

Another theory is the uprising of the “Dark Souls” gamer who think they’re a hardcore expert on every game now after mastering its very basic (and easy) mechanics which ironically rely on patience more than anything else. I love Dark Souls but not for its difficulty, for its sense of wonder and exploration into the unknown (also present in Pikmin). It seems like Dark Souls is the only slightly difficult game some people have played, and I’m sick of it being used as an example. If we follow the vocabulary of the modern forum-dwelling gamer-journalist whatever-the-fuck species I’ve lost track of, a new game is either;

1) Metroidvania (has exploration, items or bars, maybe a suit)

2) Dark Souls-style (you might die once)

3) Japanese (Nintendo, Vanillaware)

4. Western (Capcom, Namco, Square-Enix, SEGA, Open World, Shooter)

5. Indie (got 5 million dollars from Sony to make a game)

weegeetired

OK, I’m getting way off track and Indies are generally being treated well to their credit. My bottom line was lost somewhere in the 6th paragraph, but just as I’m losing sight of how to write articles; we’re losing track of how to enjoy games. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is a fantastic game full of colourful, hilarious characters, interactive environments, an amazing art-style unlike anything I’ve ever seen and inspiring new music to match. If you’re going to let a few lines of text ruin that for you, then good luck finding stimulation elsewhere. Load up a porn site or open the fridge. I’d say Dream Team is the best in the series so far but it’s still early, so far it’s definitely raised the bar with its music and environments. Back to my videogame now, thanks for reading and I hope you get back to yours.

11 thoughts on “Tutorials, are you too stupid for them?”

  1. Haha. I’m glad you brought this up. I’ve been absolutely baffled by the complaints of Pikmin 3’s tutorials. The only things in the game that is tutorial-like and will slow you down are the data files, but you can just skip them if you want (though why would you want to? They’re funny).

    Can’t speak for Mario and Luigi, however since I haven’t played it yet. Probably won’t play it for a while. Pikmin will keep me pretty busy trying to get all the platinum medals (only 3 so far).

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  2. This article gets a 10 out of 10 from me. Dang. People just complain WAAAAY too much these days. I think a lot of it has to do with this instant gratification mentality that’s plaguing the gaming world where people want everything NAOW! Doesn’t seem as though people want to take to time to read instructions anymore, which is sad considering how no publisher puts much effort into instruction booklets anymore, (The last well made one I got out of a game was in 2011).

    Anyway, I for one actually PREFER games that don’t have you diving in right away. I like how you begin to grasp the controls And I personally never found the Mario and Luigi’s games dialogue incredibly annoying. I loved Bowser’s Inside Story, and if your article is anything to go by, I think Dream Team won’t be a problem either. I think another problem is that a lot of today’s “journalists” are really nickpicky, conceited 25-35 year old gamers who think it’s cool to hate on everything. That and gaming in general isn’t as great as it used to be so people must be so low a spirits that they’ll pummel any game they pick up.

    Honestly, I think gaming critics today spend more time finding the tiny faults/things that bother THEM in great games than discussing their great traits.

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  3. I heard the same sort of complaints about Skyward Sword, that the first hours of the game were just the tutorial, it held your hand the entire game, FI IS SOOO ANNOYING GLARGARGAH.* I guess setting up the plot, the world you live in, the characters that inhabit said world, and teaching you how to use the new-fangled motion controls was just too unbearable to tolerate. Of course, considering how many reviewers failed to understand how the controls actually WORKED in the game, perhaps there should’ve been MORE tutorials.

    I do wonder if a lot of these journalists (using the term loosely in some cases) are perhaps a bit too jaded at this point. I mean, they do realize that not many people spend 4-8+ hours a day playing every game released, right? Someone who is picking up Dream Team may not have played the previous games, and may appreciate being told how the game works.

    (*And I actually liked Fi. The way she kept spouting off the obvious and providing statistics made me think of her as the Spock of the Zelda universe.)

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    1. Dream Team has less tutorial moments than both Partners in Time and Bowser’s Inside Story, although the intro isn’t the best. The entitlement train has arrived too late for this just like the Region Locking one which departed in 2011 with nobody on board.

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  4. I am actually curious to see what you guys think of the difficulty in Monster Hunter. I have only played MH3U (and plan on getting MH4U), and from what I have seen the controls have a bit of a lag (doesn’t bother me a muc nowh, finally made it to G-Rank). The input lag is a bit annoying at times though, especially when a rather large monster is about to land on my head. XD Also, some of the monsters are hard to fight, depending on your weapon (Plesioth + Hammer = Too slow to fight…).

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    1. Fellow Pietriots Bill, Deguello, Matto, and myself have played MH3U (Wii U) for a good year. We specialized in different weapons, played G-rank to death, made most of the gear we wanted; had a blast voice chatting over Skype the entire time. We officially retired the week before MARIO KRAT.

      I think the difficulty initially begins from the game doing an unusually bad job of teaching you how to play and do… everything. The insane amount of poorly labeled menu screens beneath menu screens, the tiny text box on the corner, the constantly changing gameplay/menu contexts and prompts, the slow introductory missions, and an overwhelming lack of explanation for what various buttons/functions do make this game a pain in the ass to start up on your own. I was fortunate to have my buddies point things out and ease me in, otherwise you’d need an internet faq nearby to help you thru. Mechanically, I wish the game made a lot more use of the GamePad (even 3DS) touchscreen to simplify menu navigation instead of relying on the shitty D-Pad-driven menu system that was inherited from the PS2/PSP legacy. Granted, the old system does work, but there’s so much friction I could live without; multiplayer voice chat made it tolerable by letting us inform each other, and more importantly, sharing laughs.

      Next topic – the gameplay. I recognize there’s a decent amount of checks/balances among the weapons, as they vary in utility and present obvious shortcomings by design — no one weapon will reliably do everything considering speed, reach, smashing, slicing, etc., so you’d better hunt with friends or make different weapons for different monsters/purposes. Following that, you then deal with the actual old-generation PS2-era Monster Hunter engine that ISN’T made by Capcom’s top development studio, so you often run into erroneous hit detection, obvious clipping, and unfair animation/attack routines that add unnecessary difficulty for the player. We end up learning these stupid “details” in addition to weapon and monster behaviors as part of our skill set.

      But I honestly had the hardest time getting into the series last gen. I had to change how I approached MH3U because my early experience with MHTri was terrible — I tried the demo, considered it a BAD Wii game, and cancelled my preorder. By 2010 I was already spoiled by quick, deliberate, precise motion games on Wii with decent menu design and a loving amount of Pointer Controls for aiming. Tri had NONE of that, making it a frustrating experience. I’m a Hammer user; back on the Wii demo I chose the Hammer first because it fits my personality, but it was slow as hell and relied too much on button combos and long-winded animations that seemed to go on forever (compared to the Wii gameplay I was used to). I WISHED I could use motion controls with manual control over what my next swing was; playing and mashing buttons at first only seemed to trap me in my own combo which left me vulnerable to disaster. Then I tried the guns and bow and learned the game had no Pointer Controls for such obvious shooting gameplay this late in the Wii’s generation — FUCK this. Overall, the WiiChuk controls were a mess and Item Selection/Usage was stupid but necessary if you had no choice but to make this game work on a PSP. But this was supposed to be a Wii game, and these shortcomings killed my interest before I could frustrate myself hunting the actual monsters with all the problems I mentioned earlier.

      It took the MH3U Wii U demo to change my mind thanks to the touchscreen for quick item access — usage felt right and made a whole lot of sense on top of the conventional button layout. At that point I started to look at the game more appropriately like an Action RPG with Zelda’s Megaton Hammer (and not a Wii Motion Warrior Simulator) and saw the touchscreen as a critical improvement to MH and a better interface for introducing newcomers.

      None of us have experienced input lag with the game, and 3 of us are accustomed to large, slow weapons (Bill suks and only use tiny quick weapons, cuz he suks) — I recommend checking your TV’s display settings to correct input lag. Yeah, lots of fights are initially tough if you happen to bring an inappropriate weapon (they’re tough if you’re new, period), but mileage varies and it’s up to players to try them out and make those determinations. Personality considered, I like the Hammer’s Risk vs Reward nature: slow recovery, limited defense, but great vertical reach and massive damage for breaks and knockdowns. I don’t mind Plesioth and the majority of monsters with the Hammer; I do mind Lucent Nargacuga.

      I recently replayed the MH3U demo and captured video of the missions. You can download my Plesioth/Hammer fight here (619MB).
      http://sixsidedvideo.com/media/wiiu/mh3u.html

      Until MH4U is announced for Wii U, I’ll skip the 3DS version and play Fantasy Life instead. October! Yeah!

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      1. Thanks. I played MH3U for the majority of last year. I played it with my brother. Initially we didn’t like it, even though we managed to beat the Lagombi and the Plesioth in the demo (I don’t know how), and we gave up on it for about a month. I started playing it again and I got hooked when I defeated my first boss (Greay Jaggi, I felt cool at the time… now I laugh at myself). I finally got him to pick it up again after that. We tried to do co op missions early but we were (way) too weak to win against the Royal Ludroth. Then, we decided to keep going in the main game until we figured out how to play better, which is how we learned how to craft supplies, weapons, armor, etc. (I didn’t use a walkthrough because…. I didn’t think about it… I mean because I am awesome!). I then had to learn about resistance, and why the Querepeco was owning my a**. It was because I had on all jaggi stuff, which was REALLY weak against fire. I look like a clown now, but I have finally balanced all of my stuff. Now we are both G-Rank and we both fight with Bows, Hammers, Axes, Dual Swords, and Swords and Shields (really anything that doesn’t need to be reloaded, and no lances).

        Also, I never had a problem with the Nargacuga with a hammer, but the Plesioth is hard as f*** for me. It’s that stupid fish flop that throws me off. XD

        Hopefully a Wii U version of MH4U is coming too, so you guys can enjoy it. I will be getting the 3DS version because I play mainly on handhelds. That’s why I think the Wii U, 3DS, and to a certain extent, the Vita, are so great. I will always choose handhelds above all, which is why I was disappointed that the Nvidea Shield wasn’t a handhled gaming PC (I can dream… *sniffle* 😦 ).

        Oh, and don’t be so hard on Bill, I used to use nothing but tiny weapons, too. We all suk at some point, XD and thanks for the advice on checking my cables for my TV. It was the Wii U version I was worried about. 🙂

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      2. Right, understanding the upgrade system the first time is what slowed many of us down; we could’ve “played better” sooner if the game communicated better. Figuring out what you really want to upgrade then understanding the improvements/consequences is a rough process (and very time consuming). The Interface is one of the most important things they could improve.

        And note that I mentioned Lucent Nargacuga, not the regular ones…

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