Instructions or no instructions?

Posted by
April 30th, 2013 2:14 pm


So it seems the comments for my game are split down the middle: half seem to like that there are no instructions, and it’s a bit more rewarding once you figure out the visual clues for the gameplay, the other half think that that instructions would have made it less frustrating to jump into the gameplay and just start chopping guys in half right away :)

One of the problems we face as designers, is we always know what to do when we test our games. Boss battles are always easy since we know the pattern, and hints are always clear, because we know they are there. In this case, I took the minimalism approach to the instructions as well and just left a hint above the first battle.

So try it out, and let me know: more fun observing and figuring it out, or add instructions so you can jump right into gameplay.



4 Responses to “Instructions or no instructions?”

  1. LoneStranger says:

    I think as long as you give them a chance to learn with clear and positive feedback, and in a timely manner, you can do without instructions.

    If they find it frustrating within the first ten or twenty seconds, they are going to move onto one of the other games. They’ve made no financial investment, and are therefore not going to try very hard when there are other things to spend their time on.

    For my game, I knew that I wanted a minimal amount of instructions, but I added a hint to the game over screen depending on how far they got to hopefully get them to try again. The problem with LD reviewers is that they won’t always understand that you are going minimalism with the explanations and they’ll ding you for having to ‘explore’ (i.e. work) to learn the rules.

  2. kidevil says:

    Yea, I think the shortened attention span that comes along with a contest like this (so many games, so little time), that if you don’t get it instantly, you move on before you get it at all :/

    Might have been a miscalculation leaving the instructions out.

  3. LoneStranger says:

    I think if you can logically guide them through hints in the design it becomes a more powerful reward when they do figure it out. But you also have to fall back on other methods if they still don’t understand.

  4. kidevil says:

    That was my hope :) Good news is, my dad (who I don’t think has ever played a videogame) tried it out and figured it out right away so it should be cake for a gamer.

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