A guide to finding happiness in your life and in your games.

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A blog about finding happiness in your life, and in your games.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hold my Hand?

Hand holding brings comfort and guidance into our lives and experiences.

Hand holding; it's generally a desirable thing right? Everyone likes hand holding. Unless you're some kind of macho bro who doesn't know what feelings are (c'mon even Marcus Fenix won't resist a good hand hold).

But what about hand holding in video games? Booooo! Right? That's something that most people don't like or are at least a little conflicted on.

Hand holding in games is essentially the game giving you a hand. It is some game mechanic or aspect that makes the game a little easier for you or failure less punishing.

Hand holding can lessen the challenge that the game presents. And often the challenge is the most important aspect of the gameplay. A game can't be too hard nor too easy. Game designers constantly try and hit the sweet spot of difficulty.

Many 'hardcore' gamers lament hand holding that has become much more common in modern games. Early video games were brutal affairs full of challenge without any assistance from the game in sight.

This is in stark contrast to many modern games that give you an endless number of retries often without any consequence. Bosses will feature giant glowing parts that are practically screaming 'SHOOT HERE' and if you can't figure out what to do after a while an in game character or an on screen prompt will tell you how to succeed.

These are things that are common in games these days that can be considered examples of hand holding.

Is it a good thing?

It depends. It depends on what you're playing for.

A while back I picked up Star Wars: Bounty Hunter for the PS2. It came out in 2002. I had never played it  before but had always wanted to. I wanted to learn more about Jango Fett and jet pack around blastin' people. Pew pew pew.

I was in it mostly for the story, but I was also really enjoying the gameplay. Up until I got stuck. Unlike most games nowadays you can't just keep restarting at a checkpoint until you prevail. In Bounty Hunter you got a set amout of retries before you had to start the whole level over again.

Some of those levels got HARD. These levels ended in me failing over and over again, and then loosing motivation to continue after being disheartened that I had to start the whole level over again.

I never beat Bounty Hunter.

To some that might have made the game more fun, more challenging.

To me it was frustrating. And we know that here at It's Just a Game we pride happiness and enjoyment out of our games over frustration and anger.

I wish Bounty Hunter had more hand holding. Easier levels, infinite retries. Those are modern hand holdy things that kept me from fully enjoying Bounty Hunter.

Hand holding keeps you from getting frustrated or mad at a game. Like real life hand holding video game hand holding can increase your happiness.

Hand holding shouldn't be dragging you along telling you what to do and how to do it. That's not fun hand holding. Nice hand holding is when the person holding your hand is right next to you. There for you when you need them, but not leading you along, yet also not falling behind.

How do you feel about hand holding in games?

Enjoy your game.

Enjoy your life.