Structural Problems

Can’t talk, editing audio-

Wait, no, a quick break.

Earlier today I asked the question: If a game is 95% good, would you prefer that awful 5% to be concentrated at the end, or smeared throughout it? Mostly, my friends came down on the side of ‘smearing,’ which seems reasonable and unpleasantly graphic now I think about it in hindsight. But poignantly, it was brought to my mind by Natalie, aka @DrPalutena, that it depends on what that 5% is.

See a bad system or a bad tool or a bad kind of puzzle often won’t stop me playing a game. A bad story very much will. Bad characters will. Sometimes you’ll find games like Nier or for contrast, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Nier is full of imperfect bits, trying hard to do interesting things but sort of messing a lot of them up – on the other hand, the whole, the story and the characters and the music, the things you deal with all the time are pretty good. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is almost always of very high quality but features four complete show-stopping boss encounters and an awful ending. I find one acceptable, but quietly feel like I need to kick the latter in the shins and run away from it.

I think the issue is structural. DXHR has structured itself so that its problems are very concentrated and evident. The original Deus Ex was structured so that its concentrated moments were enjoyable, not awful – and the awful it had was mostly smeared out.

I’m not sure if this is a UX issue or not. It’s just on my mind.

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