I started playing Dragon’s Crown recently for the first time ever. A 2013 beat em’ up style game with RPG elements developed by Vanillaware and iws on the PS3 as well as the PSVita. The game opens up with a repetitive, stupid tutorial and I suddenly realized how so many games have just awful, stupid tutorials that need to be changed. One of the biggest issues I have is separating the tutorial from the game itself. To me, the best way to do a video game tutorial is not to make it a separate entity that feels disconnected from the game itself, it needs to be implements right INTO the game. One studio that does that really well is Naughty Dog. The Last of Us and Uncharted are giving you quick bit-sized tutorials AS you play the game itself. It doesn’t take me out of the experience but it still teaches me what to do to actually play the game itself.
We also have another pathway taken by the game Journey. No tutorial at all. It just throws you right into the world of Journey and focuses instead on immersing you as much as possible into this world and boy, is it effective. Journey completely immerses you because it has no “video gamey” stuff (if that makes sense), it doesn’t acknowledge itself being a video game because it avoids tutorials and avoids button prompts or anything like that. It just gives me a game and lets me play it. Personally, I think this can be the best path for the vast majority of games. It allows no break of immersion and frankly, it isn’t that hard to figure out how to play a damn game. I realize that can be an issue for people playing for the first time which is an understandable perspective and that is why I would highly support Naughty Dog’s method of giving quick tutorials as you play the game as well. It makes the most sense for an in between method of giving tutorials to the non-gamer and still giving one for the gamer, if necessary.
Regardless, we really need to stop these separate tutorials. It usually just interrupts the experience and makes me really antsy, as all I want to do is play the damn game! There isn’t a real reason to have a completely separate tutorial unless a game is incredibly complex (which is exactly what Dragon’s Crown isn’t, it is a completely simple to play beat em’ up). I don’t think it should be too hard for developers to completely abandon the world of separate tutorial segments and I hope they do, because frankly, I don’t want to play them anymore and I don’t think anyone else does either, they’re in the way and need to go, I don’t need a dumb tutorial for books and movies, why do I need to still have this silly thing for video games? If video games want to be taken more seriously, I think it’s a necessity.
Author of this post (and the only author ever on this blog):
Jesse Jordon is an aspiring faux writer who writes this garbage on these blogs to make you laugh or learn something I guess. (Wait, why am I mixing 3rd and 1st person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) You can follow him on Twitter @jjordon96 (if you want I guess). You can also purchase his first self-published book On Human Empathy for only $5.00 (you can buy literature or coffee, it’s up to you to decide. I’d go with the coffee personally). (I think I just said my book was shit.)