Of Video Game Tutorials

Double Jump Kris MiiJanuary is flying by, isn’t it?
The new year brings about new games from the holidays, and something many games have at the beginning of them are the tutorials. For experienced gamers, they can be annoying, but for the new players, tutorials aren’t bad to have around, right?
I enjoy scrolling through Tumblr whenever I get a few minutes during the day or just winding down at night. I tend to follow blogs that mainly deal with writing, art, animals, and, of course, video games.
There was a thread on there a couple of days ago that piqued my interest, and I’m facepalming that I didn’t save it. The thread was regarding how games nowadays are created with people who are already “gamers” in mind rather than new players. The original poster, and subsequent replies, mentioned how newer games they’ve played seemed to cater to the audience with the intent that the player had enough intuition to know what they were doing in the game.
In other words, instead of a tutorial telling the player the controls, the game dropped the player in the world expecting the player to instinctively know where to go. Or, at the very least, figure out what they were supposed to do.
Honestly, as someone who’s grown up playing games for the better part of her life, I don’t mind games that do that. I’m coming into the game with a gamer’s mentality. If I’m playing a new game and find land across a chasm, my instinct is to run toward the chasm and see if my character auto-jumps. For new gamers, though, it may not be that simple. They may run around to find a bridge or mash buttons to find a combination that let’s their character jump.
Exploring and experimenting is well and good for video games — in fact, they’re some of the primary reasons why we game in the first place — but for those just trying to break into the scene, it can be a little intimidating. Considering how much emphasis is put on multiplayer games, especially global MMOs, the idea of not figuring out how to play quickly enough can dissuade new gamers from joining in on the fun.
Almost a year ago, I did a post about how I would prefer to have tutorials be optional, especially for certain franchises like Pokemon. Seeing that thread on Tumblr about how tutorials seem to be disappearing from games in the original poster’s opinion, reminded me of my post long ago, and it took me a minute to figure out if I agreed with the Tumblr user or not. I grew up with Nintendo, a company that is known for being family-friendly and wanting everyone to be able to play their games, which means that they’re pro-tutorial. I’m curious as to what kind of games the original poster plays, what company they general flock to, to prompt the thread.

What do you guys think? How often do you go through tutorials when starting up a new game? Do you feel that certain game developers and companies utilize tutorials more than others?

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  1. I think Nintendo in the 3-D, N64 era really paved the way for tutorials in games.
    Games back in the 8- and 16-bit days often would throw you in at the deep end, expecting you to have at least read the manual.
    But now the early levels of almost every games are effectively walk-through tutorials, getting you accustomed to the basics. And I think that’s a good thing!

  2. Ideally, it’s best whenever tutorials are optional, but as long as they don’t take up too much time, I generally don’t mind them. I just accept that if they’re in a series I’m familiar with, they’re just not for me.

  3. I don’t think they are going away. Certainly some games just dump you in to the world and tell you to go but many of them, even ones as simplistic as say a Call of Duty style corridor shooter often have some form of tutorial. They generally just aren’t called out now and are integrated in to the game. For instance, the entire opening section of Breath of the Wild and Assassin’s Creed Origins are tutorials. The first level in Battlefront II is a tutorial, it is just done from a storytelling angle that slowly eases you in to how the game is played. Skyrim and Fallout, very free open world games, have a scripted start that serves as a how to play this game. And even Dark Souls, a game mostly unfriendly to players, starts off in world with a level that is basically a tutorial.

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