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Nintendo's "Kind System"


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Interesting shit came up this week, specifically with a patent Miyamoto recently filed.


Nintendo is working on a gameplay system meant to ease the pain of completing a difficult game, without watering it down so much that it turns hardcore gamers off.


The new system, described in a patent filed by Nintendo Creative Director Shigeru Miyamoto on June 30, 2008, but made public today, looks to solve the issue of casual gamers losing interest in a game before they complete it, while still maintaining the interest of hardcore gamers.


The solution would turn a game into a full-length cut scene of sorts, allowing players to jump into and out of the action whenever they wanted. But when played this way, gamers would not be able to save their progress, maintaining the challenge of completing a game without skipping or cheating. It would also allow players to bring up in-game hint videos and skip directly to particular scenes in games.


While the patent doesn't describe how the automated gameplay (referred to as "digest moving image" in the patent) would be presented to gamers, either as a true cut-scene or as a recorded play-through, it does state that the playthrough will likely come from a game developers playing of the game.


In a game, this new play style would be broken up into three options: Game, digest and scene menu, according to the patent.


Game allows gamers to play the game in the normal way, though they can bring up video hints whenever they get stuck. These hints will appear in a screen that pops up in the top right corner of the screen.


Digest allows gamers to watch a video of a game developers play through of the game, which lays out the storyline and "flow of the scenario" from beginning to the end. At any time a player can press a button to jump into the action of the scene currently being shown. This is done by loading game saves downloaded automatically through a network.


Players will start the scene with the appropriate character attribute boosts and items for that part of the game. Saving is not allowed in digest mode.


The scene menu allows gamers to skip directly to a specific scene to play, without having to watch the digest or load a saved game.


This patent, if implemented correctly, could successfully help gaming make the leap from narrative fun, to something more open-ended and free range, the first real sandbox video game.


Imagine being able to play a game with all of the benefits of characters, story and goals, but without having to spend 10 to 20 hours of your life to enjoy doing so.


Of course, that's the best case scenario. The worst, is that this turns gaming into an interactive cut-scene, removing all of pleasure of achievement from gaming and instead turning it into a glorified demo.


that's a bit wordy, might not have summed up the system as succinctly as you mighta liked. to borrow from another kotaku article, involving this system & education:


"Kind Code," to bring everyone else up to speed, would ride shotgun in a game experience and, when activated, would animate the game forward showing the player how obstacles are cleared and enemies overcome, which items to collect and who to speak to, that sort of thing. It's been blasted as a cheat mechanism, or something that reduces a game to a passive, cut-scene experience. Others have said it can be useful for defeating the frustration that leads a gamer to quit.


i know, im apprehensive too - and it doesnt sound like itd work for every game/genre out there, but to me, the mere fact nintendo's looking at ways to bridge the gap from casual to hardcore is about the most fascinating thing theyve done since talk serious motion controls.


on the plus side, such a system, were it integrated, would allow you to return to your favorite bits in any game, without relying on save points to do so, which is pretty cool. For another, and i know this wont reach the ears of people like maldron-bot, but some of us do reach a brick wall and end up putting the controller down: like gabe from penny arcade said, there's a difference between difficult and just hard to play, and after years of gaming, ive less respect for the latter. I may think Zelda's water temple was challenging, but i know others who just gave up for lack of inclination. Such a system would clearly remove that.


The downside, of course, would be the complaints that you're possibly detached from the game. There's surely a few mediocre RPGs i wouldn't mind watching someone else advance the story in, but that's what youtube is for, right? knowing that beating any game in such a system (again, i could be reading this wrong?) is simply an inevitability, its hard to see how to get around the anti-climax such a scenario could create for the player.


Still, interesting shit. thoughts?

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  • 1 year later...

heh, turns out nintendo wasn't flying solo in the "autoplay" dept.


<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RULv6HbgEjY?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param'>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RULv6HbgEjY?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RULv6HbgEjY?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>


<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWbLOFGSEDo?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param'>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWbLOFGSEDo?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWbLOFGSEDo?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

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Wow, this missed my ears for a full goddamn year. Pro status, NZA.


There is a difference, yes, between difficult and impossible. They're called difficulty modes. I don't rightly think that this is a solution - it merely makes a game only a game if you want it to be. That shoves off a lot on how interesting the gameplay is to watch and the quality of the story, and neither of those things are terribly interesting for the average 5-10 hour lifespan of a game.

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yeah, on reflection...i mean, if you're in it just for the story (many RPGs...), you can just youtube it. taking the interactivity out was bad enough with games getting more & more needlessly cinematic sometimes, but with Prince of persia 2008 for instance, a lotta people complained it was on tard autoplay or something, because you'd jump and run across a wall a bit just pressing one button. i didn't mind as much (didnt enjoy the title really, but art style + nolan north meant i had to try it), but i too dont want to see more games/genres turn into PRESS X TO BE A BADASS mode either.

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