128 Tutorials After Prolonged Absence

I’ve been known to play multiple games simultaneous, typically of a variety of genres. But there does come the occasion that I’m playing two third-person adventure games, or two side-scrolling platforms, or two first-person shooters (you get the point). When this happens, I’m prone to forgetting the nuances of a game’s control scheme. Yes, I know that L1 aims, and R1 shoots; but I’ll never remember the complex button dance I need to be able to use a special ability while crouching behind cover while throwing a grenade while eating a sandwich.

Games need to remember that our time is precious, and not exclusive to only them. I’ve seen many modern games make small strides to alleviate this; sometimes if you try and fail too many times at a specific task, or go too long without progressing forward, a prompt will remind you how to do it. While this is certain a step in the right direction, it’s also immersion breaking.

I’d much rather be reminded of a game’s control scheme immediately when I pick it up. And no, a loading image with 600 buttons intricately labeled and flashed on the screen for 8 seconds doesn’t count. A system needs to be implemented that determines the length of time that has passed since the player has last played, and creates dynamic content to adapt to that.

It may be as simple as the game saying “We see you’ve been away for a while! Need a refresher?” and it launches into a 30 second tutorial on catching up.

It might also be more dynamic than that, as the system simply monitors the player’s actions at the start of a play session (if it’s been X amount of time since the last play session), and offers on-screen prompts based on need, to jog the players memory.

May 8, 2015