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Wednesday, September 29, 2010
 
Torturing Students With Ultima IV
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 16 comments

The Brainy Gamer recently published an article about the growing generation gap between gamers. The article focuses on the reaction of students to the classic RPG, Ultima IV. Considering the gameplay, interface, and storyline to be both confusing and boring, the students found the game to be "pretty much unplayable."

They had five days to play U4, and I asked them to make as much progress as they could in that time. When we gathered to debrief in class, a few students explained how they'd overcome some of their difficulties, but the vast majority was utterly flummoxed by the game. As one of them put it, "I'd say for gamers of our generation, an RPG like Ultima IV is boring and pretty much unplayable." After removing the arrow from my chest, I asked them to explain why.

It mostly came down to issues of user-interface, navigation, combat, and a general lack of clarity about what to do and how to do it. I had supplied them with the Book of Mystic Wisdom and the History of Britannia, both in PDF form, but not a single student bothered to read them. "I thought that was just stuff they put in the box with the game," said one student. "Yes," I replied, "They put it in there because they expected you to read it." "Wow," he responded.

And as much as I hate to say it - even after they learn to craft potions, speak to every villager, and take notes on what they say - it isn't much fun for them. They want a radar in the corner of the screen. They want mission logs. They want fun combat. They want an in-game tutorial. They want a game that doesn't feel like so much work.
Visit the site below to read more.

The Brainy Gamer: Unplayable


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