Why Can’t I… Skip Ahead In Games?

By John Walker on September 10th, 2009 at 11:11 am.

The future, my friends.

There was a comment made by comedian Adam Carolla, many years ago, during an episode of the American late-night radio programme Loveline. He had been given an Xbox 360, because celebrities get given stuff like that, and decided he’d buy a game for it. One which involved fighting in the Second World War in some capacity. It interested him as a fan of History Channel documentaries on the subject, and he liked the idea of recreating classic battles. But when he tried to play he couldn’t get out of the opening area.

This isn’t a comment on gaming inaccessibility, or how cackhanded Carolla must be, but rather it’s about something he said after this. He said, “Where’s the button that lets me just skip to the next level?”

This thought has stuck with me for ages. It’s a thought that comes back to me every time I encounter a section of a game that’s extremely difficult. Especially when it’s a stupid stinking boss fight. With the recent announcement of all three Metroid Prime games getting remade for the Wii it reminded me that I’ve finished neither of the first two because I couldn’t get past bosses. In the first one it’s the final fight, but worse, so much worse, in the second it was a fight midway through the game. (Everyone I’ve asked about it says, “Yeah, you need to use a guide to get past that, and then be very lucky.”)

Which leads me to think: why isn’t there that button?

Oh Samus, I've never been all the way with you. NO NOT LIKE THAT.

Clearly there have been cheat codes for as long as there have been games, and very often there’s a level skip in there. But these are fewer and farther between these days, games very often offering no such ability. Which is another interesting angle on this all. What changed where developers decided their games should be exclusively for those capable of beating them?

So let’s say you’re playing a vast RPG. It’s forty, fifty hours long, and you’re absolutely loving it. You’re halfway through, you completely adore your character and companions, and then you reach a sequence you can’t get past. You go off and do some side quests, try to level up a bit, and return to find it equally impossible. Perhaps you specced your character poorly. Perhaps the game’s difficulty is screwed up. Perhaps you’re just not good enough at the game to successfully complete this section of it. Whatever the reason, whoever’s fault, I’m not convinced it makes a difference. Right now, across all gaming, that’s you done. Game over, move on.

Which strikes me as madness.

My primary purpose for writing this is to hear the counter-arguments. I’m certain there are positions to ridicule what I’m saying, or people who would state that this exclusivity is important. I can’t see that this is the case. If I’m not good enough/levelled up correctly/meeting some really poor design, why should that mean I don’t get to see what’s on the other side of it? Why can’t I press the button that skips it, moves me on to the next bit?

You could argue that it’s cheating. Well yes, clearly it is. So it was when I put on God mode in that bit of Doom II I couldn’t do. Or when I used the level skip commands I’d found for whichever platformer. Sure it’s cheating. It’s cheating your way to having more fun.

No one minded when you cheated at Doom!

You might say that it would ruin the game – that once you knew you could skip ahead, you’d lazily do it before you were genuinely stuck. I think there’s a wealth of truth to that. I know for sure that if I’m playing an adventure game and get totally stuck, once I’ve looked up that first hint I’m going to be tempted to return to the guide far too quickly. It’s a real discipline not to. (An aside: this reminds me of how I’d get past bits I was stuck on playing adventure games in the early 90s. My dad’s friend Ted. Somehow he’d always played all adventure games and finished them before I got them, and I’d nervously phone this smart, sensible man I’d only met a couple of times, and squeak my question to him. He’d give me splendidly cryptic clues to push me in the right direction. It’s far easier to resist phoning your dad’s slightly scary friend Ted than looking at GameFAQs.)

But you know what? So what? So what if it means someone could cheat their way through the game to the end, possibly losing out on a lot of the fun on the way? They paid for the game! It’s theirs! If you buy a murder mystery film on DVD and immediately fast forward to the end to find out who did it, you’re an idiot, but it’s in your right to be!

People seem to get very cross at the idea that someone else is taking a shortcut when they worked extremely hard to walk the long way around. I think instead this should be converted to pride. Rather than being cross with the other guy, be pleased with yourself. From your perspective they lost out.

So what’s the good reason why there shouldn’t be a button to skip to the next level/next area/other side of the boss fight?

Perhaps it’s something to do with loot/XP in my RPG example. When you kill the Terrible Giant he drops an amazing sword. If you press the SKIP button (which will be on all keyboards), you’d have to get that amazing sword automatically. But again, that’s fine! No, it wasn’t earned. But to hell with that – it’s important for enjoying the game, and it’s a damn sight better to have a sword you didn’t earn than turn the game off and never play it again because the bastard giant kept killing you no matter what you did!

So let’s have that button. What harm would it do? Let people enjoy a game some more?

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189 Comments »

  1. Dominic White says:

    Arcade games got this right many, many years ago. You can continue as many times as you like, which’ll let even the most inept player get past the toughest boss. It’ll just cost you YOUR ENTIRE SCORE.

    It’s a very simple mechanism. Bring back visible scoring systems, and let people trade all their glory for progress if they just want to get to the end.

  2. TotalBiscuit says:

    There is a strong argument in favour of allowing players of single-player games to do what they want, since their cheating is not affecting anyone else. There is however a counter argument that suggests a dumbing down of gaming could hurt the advancement of the medium as a whole. “Lets make games easier because easier games sell more” is a nasty precedent to set.

    I think we can make a solid conclusion however, in that people who call Loveline are idiots.

  3. Rinox says:

    Didn’t the new Alone in the Dark allow you to skip levels? I recall it was pretty generally smirked upon by reviewers too…

  4. Tei says:

    Is simple. Having such button, is like having a “who is the killer” line in a mystery novel. It will totally spoil the reader/player.

    You can’t have mistery withouth.. hee.. mistery. Competition needs Challenge.
    If you want a no-competitive videogame, you sould buy a sandbox simulator like Garrys Mod, or a sandbox RPG like Morrowind, most FPS’s are competitive and designed to have a challenge.

    Still.. is … somewhat… possible… do add a tiny bit of “skip this level” interaction. World of Gog did it OK. But I don’t think it may work for other games. It worked for WoG, because every level gameplay is “experimental” and the game is cheap.

  5. Mike says:

    This kind of links back to something I wrote a few months back about doing it the first time, because there’s a big difference between dull repetition of a task and actual challenge. Challenges are best when they’re being completed, not when they’re a wall you’re trying to knock with using your face as a hammer.

    I reference Mirror’s Edge in the post because I think it does it extremely well, and by doing it well you get the pleasure of moving forwards. Skipping a level does have the issue that it never quite feels satisfying, I think. It’s not as good as just being capable of doing it.

    But it highlights a problem that games have, which is that challenge is a very subjective idea.

  6. drewski says:

    But surely if games become too dumbed down to sell more, I can simply not buy them?

    It’s hard to find a balance between the two points of view but, in general, I think games are hard enough to finish already, so anything that makes bits that can be easily missable, missable, can’t be a bad thing.

  7. Bananaphone says:

    @Dominic White
    The equivalent now is losing achievements, cheat and you don’t get the points.

  8. CMaster says:

    IN a game fiction sense, the ability to skip sections doesn’t make a lot of sense. If at the end the people are cheering you for defeating the big bad and saving the world, it doesn’t make much sense when you didn’t actually do that. When all the big tasks that noone else could do, you didn’t actually do either. (obviously, this exact situation doesn’t fit all games, but you can transform it for most).

    Then you have the issue that if players start skipping big chunks of content, they’ll get to the end really quickly and feel dissapointed in the game. Despite the developer’s intention (and possible sucess) to improve player experience, the player feels they got a short and unsatisfying experience.

    The final one is technical. What happens when you hit the skip button? HOw does the game know just what you want to skip? How far does it go forward? Does it just fade to black and fade back in at the next level/other side of the monster/whatever or does it in fact involve the computer taking direct control of the game and doing it for you in front of your very eyes (solves my first objection in some ways). Because then we literally have an “I win” button.

    It’s an interesting idea, not sure that I like it. But anyway, there are some counterarguments for you.

  9. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Alone in the Dark (the new one) has it and it is quite useful… I, for one, WOULD really love this feature as I haven’t finished way too many games, because I got frustrated and/or bored.

    BTW: That Jim’s Google Chat status scares me…make what?!

  10. Pavel says:

    I am now playing Tomb Raider Underworld.

    I use youtube walkthrough about 3 times every level.I am just too lazy to run around the environment and search for that one piece of stone I have to move or cliff I have to climb.I play it for the nice environments, but the gameplay itself sucks for me.

    On the other hand, I finished all Fallout games, Witcher, Vampire Bloodlines, Deus Ex..etc etc without ever needing or using walkthrough.

  11. Radiant says:

    Why isn’t there a skip button on Gradius or Ikaruga?
    It’s called progression; have we become that lazy?

  12. Yargh says:

    Have it a feature of the easy mode of the game, too many games no longer have difficulty levels and this feature certainly belongs in Easy/Wimp/Noob mode.

    With that in mind I’m all for it in single player games, the simple fact that you ‘own’ the game means you should be able to play it however you want.

  13. Dubbill says:

    I’m always cheating my way past anything that irritates or frustrates me. I rationalise it the same way as John – I want to get to the fun bits. Recently I’ve been giving myself extra ammo in System Shock 2 in order to get past an endless stream of respawns. I’m sure purists will be outraged but for me the fun comes from exploration and advancing the story, not battling Cybernannies over and over.

    Maybe it’s a messaging issue. Let’s rebrand them as “Progress Codes” and avoid the stigma attached to cheating.

  14. Agrajag says:

    Fair point, there’s plenty games I’ve stop playing after getting to such points. Tried reading the guides and said “oh come one” and went playing different games.
    Skip.
    World of goo has it, it appears only after you fail 3 times or so. It’s not infinite, but it lets you enjoy the game. Even the stage shop in Aaaaaaaaaaaa(…)h! is a wonderful example oh how it can be performed differently.

  15. Turin Turambar says:

    idclevxx !!

    But apart from that, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to cheat to pass from level 1 to level 2. If you were stuck in level 1, chances are you will be stuck again in level 2, 3, 4, etc.

    And you still can “cheat your way to having more fun.” That’s modding. Tweak the game for yourself to have more fun. From console commands to real mods to modify a .ini. Yay pc gaming!

    I know i have tweaked the AI in Arma 2 to have more fun ;)

  16. Yghrt says:

    I admit I don’t get the whole article. Many games have consoles which let you do whatever you want, and the games without consoles have cheat codes to let you skip whatever part you dislike.

    The system as it is seems fine to me. Make cheating easier than it is, and you’ll end up with people who cheat themselves and then feel cheated, because they finished that game which was supposed to last ten hours in about three hours.

  17. David says:

    Contender for gaming quote of 2009: “It’s far easier to resist phoning your dad’s slightly scary friend Ted than looking at GameFAQs.”

  18. God Mode says:

    All games should have god mode as a feature. Problem solved.

  19. Phlebas says:

    Over the last few years I’ve played quite a number of adventure games over the last few years that seem to have been produced expressly to be played with walkthrough in hand – I’m not talking about difficult puzzles, I’m talking about impossible ones. Riddles rendered insoluble by poor translation, object puzzles with no pointer at all to the correct solution – but the line from most of the adventure community is that it doesn’t matter because the story’s what’s important and you can always use a walkthrough if you get stuck.
    Which is to say there’s a whole pile of games out there that weren’t designed to be played at all. And a generation of gamers who don’t know any better. If the game is designed to be cheatable in the first instance, there’s less pressure on the designer to make it playable. And the player learns to have less faith that the game can be beaten ‘properly’, so is less likely to bother. It would be a shame for more genres to follow that line.

  20. Kitt Basch says:

    I agree with the overall sentiment, stopping players from progressing doesn’t help anyone, but having an almighty skip button seems like putting a plaster on a bloody nose.

    Developers just need to work on difficulty balance and giving enough hints for players to help them figure things out for themselves.

    I’m thinking of Pure, where the AI is so brilliantly balanced, it always provides a challenge, but never feels unfair.

  21. jalf says:

    The last Alone in the Dark allowed this, and once I’d gotten over my initial reaction, I thought it was a great idea. It makes sense.

    If I, the customer, the one the game is supposed to entertain, would rather start from level 3, why shouldn’t I? If I lost my savegame, and don’t want to start over, why can’t I just pick the level I’d got to? If I’m unable to get past a boss fight, why can’t I skip it?

    I think it makes good sense. And depending on how it is presented, I don’t think it would ruin the game. In AiTD, it was simply presented as a scene selection at the main menu. So you had to quit the current game and go out to the main menu if you wanted to skip ahead. I think it’d have been too tempting if it had just been a little “press X to skip this fight” message while playing. But something outside the actual game, in the main menu is fine with me.

    Of course, AiTD also provided summaries so if you skipped to a later bit, you’d get a quick resume of everything that’d happened so far.

    Of course, this only really makes sense in singleplayer games, or when you might play the game for the story.

    And I think it’s important to think the feature through, because there are some obvious pitfalls:

    It mustn’t be too easy to use, it should require a conscious decision, and probably not be something you can do in-game in realtime, since that becomes too tempting.

    The player shouldn’t miss out on important story developments. If you skip an important event, the game should at least tell you about it so you’re not completely lost.

    Then you have the issue that if players start skipping big chunks of content, they’ll get to the end really quickly and feel dissapointed in the game

    Well, it’s their decision. If you’re interested in the full experience, you are not going to skip big chunks of content. And if youdo, you can always start over and play the full thing. But is this any worse than players getting stuck and giving up on the game because they’re unable to skip the bit that’s annoying them?

    As for your “game fiction” argument, that’s nonsense. Plenty of games start you out as having *already* done a bunch of heroic things. You never did them, because they happened in the intro, or earlier still, but in the game fiction you have, and people will praise you for it. Hell, Half-Life claims you’re a MIT graduate, but you never even saw MIT. You skipped that part of Gordon’s life. So why shouldn’t you have been able to skip the bit where people kept firing rockets at you and you were low on health and out of ammo too?

  22. qrter says:

    Completely agree with mr. Walker.

    To me this seems (more or less) the same discussion as to having quicksave at any time vs. having checkpoints etc.

    Just make it an option. If you use the option, you have no one else to blame but yourself. I don’t buy the “if it’s there, I’ll use it” argument – surely it would only take the most basic form of self control not to use it if you don’t want to. (I mean, if you can’t manage that, you must be fun to spend a night with in the pub, quaffing any pint you find within reach. ;) )

    And yes, most games do already have cheats, but surely that’s only more reason to stop trying to pretend it’s not there and to just formalise it?

  23. Ian says:

    I think I’m in the “let people skip stuff” group.

    Those who don’t want to don’t have to.

    Those who do it once and find themself falling back on it should be able to stop themselves if they realise it’s reducing the fun they get out of it, lessening the satisfaction of getting further or whatever.

    Those who are happy to have a chance to skip to the next part and keep playing get to do so and the value they get from the game isn’t diminished by earlier mistakes or a lack of ability.

    The problem is that it would annoy the angries who didn’t use the feature to think of others who did.

    Re: the final Metroid Prime boss, it appears to be turning into the sole existence of a part of a game that many people seem to find hard but I don’t. I remember my friend at the time saying he couldn’t do it and he’d completed more (and got more kit upgrades, etc.) of the game than me and still kept dying where I managed to beat the thing. I hadn’t realised until recently that I maybe be in a minority as I’ve seen a few people bring it up as an example of a final boss fight that’s an absolute bastard. It’s strange, ’cause usually I’m in the “that was too hard” camp and give up like a pansy.

  24. dave says:

    I always thought some sort of timer or count of how many times you’ve reloaded doobry might work. After a while the game simply sais “OK you suck I’ll half its hitpoints” then after another few reloads “OK you really do suck heres a plot item to get past it”.

    One thing i got stuck on bizzarely was the first time through BG2:TOB (my favourite game of all time!) where after getting through the sewers in Althkatla you have a series of encounters heading up the tower/castle thingy. It took me about 2 weeks of constantly reconfiguring different parties (thats half the reason why BG2 is so mighty imo) until i eventually sussed it and beat Gromnir to death with his own arm. That was one exulted day. i was so chuffed i took my housemates to the pub and bought them a pint.

    In one respect the “cheat past a solid bit” button would be awesome but i still keep coming back to stuffing a +3 longsword up Gromnirs bum and being over the moon about it.

  25. bansama says:

    It’s cheating your way to having more fun.

    That line right there begs for an entire article by itself.

  26. Nick says:

    I think the issue is the fact that some games are easier, some games are harder, Usually regardless of difficulty settings. When I select easy, I want easy. Off the top of my head I can name three games that do this well; Halo 3, Oblivion and Fallout 3. I want to be able to go back and do it again when i’ve finished it, and I certainly don’t want better items going to better gamers. Easy should be easy and hard should be hard.

  27. Ragnar says:

    @Tei
    Is simple. Having such button, is like having a “who is the killer” line in a mystery novel. It will totally spoil the reader/player.

    And yet there are people who begin reading a mystery novel by looking at the back to find out who the killer is. What harm does that do? Why can’t you let people enjoy books/games the way they want it instead of the author/developer dictating how it should be read/played?

  28. SirKicksalot says:

    The new Zelda game has this option. Or Zelda prototype, whatever that is.
    It’s an option any game should have, next to an option to pause or skip cutscenes.

  29. notlimahc says:

    No mention of Nintendo’s proposed “Kind Code” system yet? It supposedly allows a player to kick the game into “auto-pilot” or skip forward at the cost of the ability to save any progress made.

  30. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    It would be SOOO useful in Prototype with all these super-long and mostly super-boring storyline missions…I temporarily stopped playing due to the “destroy all the patrols before they reach the hideout…” mission, yawn..

  31. notlimahc says:

    Bah, SirKicksalot mentioned it as I was reading this.

  32. Malagate says:

    Definately agreeing with Turin, modding can make games so much more fun, as I found in Mount & Blade where I made cattle follow me instead of having to chase it around, made cattle collecting quests actually possible.
    I will also use console commands to get a better experience, most recent example I can think of is in Fallout 3 where I spawned a fusion battery to get past a bug in the hotel (only exit is the lift that needs a fusion battery, only battery in the hotel is in a robot, robot didn’t spawn, ergo trapped forever unless you already had a fusion battery/use console).

  33. qrter says:

    @Tei
    Is simple. Having such button, is like having a “who is the killer” line in a mystery novel. It will totally spoil the reader/player.

    And yet there are people who begin reading a mystery novel by looking at the back to find out who the killer is. What harm does that do? Why can’t you let people enjoy books/games the way they want it instead of the author/developer dictating how it should be read/played?

    Exactly.

    There will always be bits of a game that will be unexpectedly hard for some players – you can playtest a game to death and those spots will still exist. Nothing wrong with giving the player the tools to make their experience more enjoyable, if he or she so chooses.

    Gamers need to take responsibility for how they approach a game, accept how big their own part is in the enjoyment of a game.

  34. mouj says:

    Well i remember that back in the Atari / Amiga days, you’d have all kinds of cheats, but games where all in all much harder to finish, so at times the cheats would really be a blessing; nowadays, it seems to me that some games feature particularily hard moments or bosses to compensate the lack of overall difficulty in other areas, thus resorting to cheats at time seems really necessary if you want to finish the said game. I just clearly remember going throught almost the whole RE 4 game only to meet a boss i could not pass (damn quick-time events, too), and dropping the game without finishing it.. feeling rather unsatisfied.

    Now, is it me, or has there already been games where the overall difficulty adapts to how well you fare in the game ? Because that could be a angle to try and offer a way to beat hard areas / bosses in a game, without having to resort to cheating : try a couple times, and each time or every once in X times, the game dumbs down the difficulty for that specific passage..

    All in all, i guess it also depends on the game : i found Half Life 2 so enjoyable because i’ve never been stuck anywhere, while it would really turn me off a RPG / RTS if difficulty was not improving over the course of the game.

  35. Turvy says:

    I’ve had this thought while trying to finish Gears of War again this month. I’m still stuck at the ridiculously hard end boss, so after another hour or so of trying, I just youtubed the ending.
    I think this gen’s introduction of public achievements was pretty much made for this. Allow people to skip ridiculous boss fights or fiendish puzzles, just don’t give them the corresponding achievement. Then the ones that DID beat the boss can still point to their trophy list/achievement score and go “see, I earned this”, and the ones that didn’t might have incentive to try again at a later time, but still get to enjoy the rest of the game they paid for.

  36. Xocrates says:

    I don’t think the real question here is “Why can’t I skip levels” but “Whatever happened to cheat codes”.

    But keeping it on the context of the first question, there are several reasons, but I think perhaps one that may be easily overlooked is as following: Nowadays, when games usually go on for around 10 hours, the game has to be easy and/or compelling enough to allow the player to progress through the whole game before he gets bored and moves on. If some section can not be completed by the average player in a reasonable amount of attempts then the game is clearly broken.

    True, sometimes the player is so poor that even a excellently balanced game isn’t enough. But the point stands, there should be at least one way to set the game difficulty as such that anyone can be reasonably expected to finish it (difficulty options exist for a reason, game developers could use them to a bigger extent than they do). The reason games don’t have a “skip button” is because if they need one then there is something wrong with them.

  37. RogB says:

    metroid prime is the #1 example of a game having a section so hard I gave up, even though i wanted to see and play more. I do remember at the time thinking ‘why cant I skip this?’

    Yakuza on PS2 had a built in system where if you failed a fight 3 (or5?) times it asked you of you wanted an easier skill level. the problem with this is that you could never switch it back afterwards, so I resisted. After getting past that part, it was a difficulty ‘spike’, the bits after it were far easier, so if I’d put it on the easier skill level, the rest of the game would have been ruined since I couldnt swap back. So this was a good idea, but flawed execution.

  38. Lewis says:

    I’ll rant forever about how most games are too difficult, but I think the answer is in dynamically adjusting difficulty, rather than level skip codes. Max Payne pulled this off to an extent many years ago, yet for some reason, it never caught on.

    Games are clever enough these days to work out when we suck at them. Surely they could be made clever enough to work out we want to enjoy them.

  39. Clovus says:

    If you enjoyed Loveline, Adam Carolla now has a free podcast. It’s like a good bits only version of Loveline. Anyway, having listened to him for years, I can say that Adam knows nothing about gaming and finds its popularity bewildering. He’s also semi-illiterate and racist. But still… very funny.

    There is a somewhat awkward episode where he first interviews an MMA wrestler and then Jick from Kingdom of Loathing. Jick was pretty funny, but Adam clearly could not understand what KoL is.

    Also, I like the system used in Oblivion. Just let me change the difficulty level any time I want. Then I can still defeat the big bad without simply skipping. Make the easiest mode super easy (but not god mode). I can see no good argument to not including this in games. The ability to easily change the difficulty at will in Guitar Hero World Tour was really great, for example. As opposed to the “you fail the whole set and fans hate you!” of Rock Band 2. Then there’s that “Prince of Persia” system that I haven’t tried yet. Similar to being able to just “continue” over and over again until the big bad dies.

    Oh, and what about Mario Galaxy? Make getting to the end of the “story” fairly easy, but then have tons of other really difficult levels to do for a challenge. Award hats or something for finishing them.

  40. roBurky says:

    I strongly think there should be no restrictions on starting a single player game at any point the player chooses. In games that are already split up into chapters that are selectable from the menu, it is maddening when they lock off all but the first chapter when the game is first installed or bought.

    Why can’t I reinstall a game and replay my favourite level? What possible reason is there for denying that?

    You can’t claim that you have to stop first time players from ruining the story for themselves, because books and films function perfectly well without locking pages or the fast forward button.

  41. Wilson says:

    I agree that it’s foolish not to provide any way around awkward areas of the game, be that cheats, guides or some kind of skip function. Most adventure games I play I end up using a guide, because there is one or two puzzles in there where I’ve missed something or just can’t figure it out. Doesn’t spoil the game, just lets me progress rather than being stuck for hours. Adventure games with hint systems are good, but don’t always go far enough.

    In more action related games (FPS, RPG etc) I think some kind of system to help you in bits you are clearly finding hard (like dave suggested). It would ask you first if you wanted some help, and gradually make it easier after the first 4-5 times you get slaughtered maybe.

    I’m sure everyone has heard stories about or experienced games which include a bit which is just far harder or more irritating than anything else in the game, and I doubt it was a positive experience. The fact games can have guides and cheats built in is surely a wonderful option for making sure people never have to give up on a game against their will again. I think that would be worth it even if it reduced some people’s enjoyment because they cheated/skipped through everything. Those people probably wouldn’t have had the patience to force their way past the really difficult sections anyway, so they probably haven’t lost anything overall, and at least got to see the end of the story.

  42. pkt-zer0 says:

    How would you design a difficulty curve when you let players just jump to whatever part of the game? If you only skip having your ass kicked so you can get it kicked even worse, then why is there even a skip function? Better selection of difficulty levels is the solution, not a “skip ahead” button.

  43. Alistair says:

    Freespace did something along these lines – if you failed a mission five times, they asked if you just wanted to skip to the next one. Worked very well. Instantly-selectable levels could be an intall-time option – do you want to install tv (one at a time) or dvd box set (any order you like) mode?

  44. Tony says:

    KoTOR Lightside is FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE without Destroy Droid.

    Badly built characters are a staple of mine…

  45. Brian says:

    I’m playing Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars for DS these days and it’s a splendid point and click adventure game. I play DS in bed before sleepies which is not the ideal place to to searching for hints if I get stuck, but thankfully that game has a full incremental hint system I can access whenever I’m stumped.

    Equally as good is the on-demand hint system in Lucasarts’ remake of Monkey Island. Not so good is Telltale’s system in its adventure games for which you can only choose the frequency of autonomously, occasionally spewed hints which might not be offered by the game for 10 minutes after turning the feature on.

  46. Martin Coxall says:

    I dunno, I always watch films and books in a random chapter order. Should be the same with games.

  47. Christian says:

    This also might make MMOs a bit more fun (at least for me..). Example Age Of Conan, which I really enjoyed for some time. Every time you start a new character, you’d have to run through Tortage, the starting area, and do the same quests again, just to level up to something between 15 and 20 and start the *real* game.

    Why shouldn’t I be able to start outside of the starting-area with a fresh level 20 and take my time to distribute the skillpoints all at once? Seeing that a class only starts to show it’s real potential after lvl20, trying out new classes is a real chore.

    But a skip button functionality would depend on the game, really:

    Example Fallout 3: where would a skip-button make sense here? Only in the main quest, as all other quests are optional. So a skip button would mostly result in the item you have to find being given to you (or the location of somewhere you need to go being revealed without you having to speak to person xyz). Of course that’s cheating, but who cares..if I want to spoil my experience (or don’t find that things like that spoil it for me): why not.

    In a game like Bioshock for example..why would I need a skip-button? In this case, it would be really hard to implement because you’d also lose out on the story and everything. The development effort to implement a (in this case) rather complex functionality should rather be devoted to making the game better (or bugfix or whatever..).

    Arcade-style-games, where I really just go on in linear levels (e.g. Serious Sam): yeah, give me a skip-button so that I can just skip that one frustrating and mildly unfair boss so that I can keep on shooting stuff.

  48. soylent robot says:

    Im playing two games right now. Theyre great and I like them, except Im really stuck at two very hard bits where the difficulty has just spiked.

    In the first, I’ve got use a crappy pistol to kill a tough badguy who can fire grenades at me. I cant get close to him because we’re on different platforms. There’s enemies spawning all the time around me so if I’m firing at him his minions are easily killing me. Also I have to kill him in under a minute or I fail the mission.

    In the other I must protect a metal box thing from two giant tentacles and two ridiculously tough monster things. The monster things often get caught in a “curb stomp” loop where one knocks me down, and as soon as I get up, the other one knocks me down, and it repeats from there until I’m dead. I’d defeat them easily if I could get some air, but the tentacles knock me down. Also I can’t steal military vehicles or equipment to help because I’m “on their side” for this mission despite them trying to kill me up to this point. Did I mention that in addition to the health of the box im supposed to protect theres a time limit for some reason?

    So, yeah, I’d like to skip these parts.

  49. panik says:

    95% of games are too easy as it is. Lets not make them any dumber.

  50. phil says:

    Grand Theft Auto’s approach of allowing you to drop bullet proof APCs from the sky, but then disabling achievements whilst you ride around in the monster, works for me.

    Equally, Neverwinter Nights OC was impossible to complete for my character build (the penultimate fight with six Darth Maul lizards and their mage friend), after sinking 20 hours into the game I felt completely justified in turning off damage.