April 22, 2009

The Girlfriend Experiment (Part 2)

After the first experiments, she asked me to find her “cute” games (which got a friend’s reaction “doesn’t she want good games instead?”). So, what was the next type of game she tried?
Women <___<… EXPERIMENT 3: Horror/Survival

Left 4 Dead (PC):
So… On the left, a game where you must aim and shoot at zombies using a mouse. Running zombies. With creatures with special powers. On the right, a girl who gets easily lost and never aimed with a mouse. A girl who gets easily scared. Or grossed.
Can you guess the result?
I saw, during that experiment, a lot of ceiling. And a lot of floor. I heard screams, too. But she kept on, and kept on, and kept on. I think it’s the game she played the longest time “alone”. I only took the mouse once because she was completely lost.
What is sure is that she had a LOT of fun. She even, ultimately, insisted that I buy it. She hasn’t played it again yet, but she wants to.

What I learned:
- The keyboard is VERY complicated for her. She kept using one finger to move instead of three, and lost much time (and health) because of it. Using the arrows was less alien than WASD, but still.
- She clearly loved to freak in front of the running horde, and hates boomers…

Resident Evil 4 (Wii)
They were two. And they screamed like banshees. My ears do still hurt, but it was a fun session.
In RE4, the zombies are slower. And the game is far less forgiving than L4D. And the fear is different too. It’s the fear of turning around and seeing something that crept on you while you were not watching.
She was more in control than in L4D even if the aiming mechanism of RE4 is very strange.
She wants to play again, too. But she did not keep on as much as in L4D

What I learned:
- Clearly, the Wii controller is easier to get…

EXPERIMENT 4: Kingdom Hearts (PS2)
This time, it was a cute game. With the Disney characters. How wrong could it get?
Well, plenty. The main problem came from the controller: there were far too many buttons for her to keep track of, and so she was constantly forgetting what did what. And, truth be told, the pacing of KH at the beginning is very very slow… She lost her concentration more than once, and I ended playing a good portion of the beginning. She hasn’t played it again yet, and does not show any intention of doing so. Or, if she can meet Mickey. And we all know (at least, those who played it through) how difficult that can be.

What I learned:
- Too many buttons = too much complexity. As of now, it’s the only game she has played on the PS2, and the only one she had shown any interest in. I must find that post on another blog where the author said that each generation brought more complex controllers, as if there were no new gamers out there (beside the young generation, who understand things far more quickly than we do, dagnabbit!!)
- “Cute game” does not mean “I’m sold”
- The pacing of a game, especially at the beginning is VERY important to keep someone interested, ESPECIALLY someone who does not play often and lose concentration quickly…

Well, this is starting to get TLDR, so stay tuned for part 3, where we’ll speak of Mario Kart Wii and Boom Blox. I tell you, Wii is the console to get people gaming !

April 6, 2009

The Girlfriend experiment (Part 1)

As I said on Wiqd blog, I have a great girlfriend, cute, bubbly, brilliant, you name it. And I really like being with her.
What’s the point of this? She’s not a gamer. She almost never played any game, a few Adventure or city building games here and there, like Caesar 3 or Monkey island. But it’s now been years since she played any. And she’s willing to try again, as she sees it’s a major hobby of mine.
So, I have at home an almost complete newbie of the female kind. What an interesting test subject, isn’t it ?

EXPERIMENT 1 : Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii)

I started with SSBB, figuring the Wii controller was easier to get than others (Must find the link of the blogger who was saying that controllers got more complicated with each generation). SSBB may not be the best game to ease someone back in that hobby, but it has a secret weapon : Kirby.
If you don’t know who Kirby is, it’s him, on the left, cute as hell, with the ability to gobble his enemies and steal their powers. He can also fly, and has starred in many games since 1992. He’s also a strong character in SSBB, in my opinion.
Long story short, the first games were a slaughter for her… She would make him jump and then fly, happily laughing at the noise he makes while flying (a sort of « Poit ! Poit ! Poit ! »), not caring one bit about the fights going on downstairs.
Then, she discovered she could eat people. That became phase 2. She would try to gobble everyone, once again laughing while doing so, and would do nothing else, trying to see the different haircuts it gave to her character.
But when she really tried to fight, we were far too strong for her…
It left her wanting for more.

Experiment successful.

What I learned :
- She would not play without me, or at least without other people playing with her. Games are more of a social moment for her
- She would not always play the game as it was intended

EXPERIMENT 2 : Mini-games (Rabbid Rabbits 1, 2 and 3 & Wario party) (Wii)

To that day, the third game is her favorite game, I think, particularly the snow race. She clearly has a hard time getting the games, but improved herself over time (by comparison, another friend, who was a gamer but stopped a long time ago, understands more quickly what’s to be done, but reaches an improvement plateau much more quickly). She loves it and wants to play it every time we see the friends who possess those games.

What I learned :
- She needs time to understand how a specific game works. Wario Party games are horrible for her, for example, leaving her no margin for error and no time to improve
- I get pounced when I win too often <___<

Bear in mind, I'm not saying every new gamer is like she is. But I find it interesting that she needs much more time than I do to understand a game and then play it.

Part 2 will deal with horror/Survival games, with Kingdom Hearts and with PC and PS2 games...