How far are you willing to go to learn a game?

For me games are for enjoyment. If I have to pore over guides just to get the hang of the game then chances are I won’t bother.

I remember trying to play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind once. It came with my graphics card and I’d heard such glowing reviews that I thought perhaps I should give it a go.

Hopping into the game it asked me to build my character. Erk.

I didn’t know what the different stats were for or how relevant they’d be to my adventure. I had no idea what to do.

In Fallout and Fallout 2 not putting points into “Small Guns” on a first run through is asking for trouble. That skill alone determines a huge number of things in the game. “Explosives” on the other hand is basically irrelevant.Nordchargen

Having zero experience with the series I pretty much gave up after that. I wasn’t interested in the setting and it was as user friendly as a two legged stool.

screenshot1To contrast this with another old game, Dungeon Keeper, sometimes the learning curve is too shallow. I found myself constantly asking why the game was withholding units. How many damn levels until I get to play with the more advanced creatures mentioned in the manual?!

I don’t like tutorials. In fact I loathe them.

They’re virtually always terrible, patronising, and pointless. Really? I crouch like that? I’d never have guessed!

The option of a tutorial is fine but most of the time I find tutorials simply get in the way and try to teach me things I already know how to do from spending a few seconds with the controls.

Amusingly in both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas my characters are hand to hand combat powerhouses. I ran out of things to put the stat boosts into.

Do I know how to fight in melee combat in those games? No!

The games completely failed to teach me that.

To return to the question though I would have to say my answer is “Not very far”. If I want a challenge I’ll have a bash at sculpting something or writing another blog post. If I want cheap fun I’ll play a game. If a game is work then anyone gifting me a game gets the following response:


Receiving a video game as a gift shouldn’t be akin to forcing another job onto someone.

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