“To Get Help, Please Press X” The Rise of the Assistance Paradigm in Video Game Design


DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play
DiGRA/Utrecht School of the Arts, January, 2011
Volume: 6
ISBN / ISNN: ISSN 2342-9666

The first generation of video games are known to be tremendously challenging. On top of the classic “easy to learn, hard to master” arcade games, the development of the domestic market saw the rise of more expansive and varied game worlds, in computer RPGs or adventure games. This added complexity is often synonym with a more steep difficulty curve due to the amount of information to assimilate early on. In this paper, we will try to understand how game designers have organised the challenge and complexity of their games through the development of assistance systems: tutorials, check points, adjustable difficulty, etc. The historical evolution of these systems supposes a major change in the way players are addressed by the medium, from the highly competitive environment of early days to the seemingly more cooperative attitude of contemporary games.