Hand-holding in Super Paper Mario vs. Bowser's Inside Story

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  • JinTypeNoir 13 Nov 2012 01:47:49 4,392 posts
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    Since its one of the few Japanese-made RPGs that has a Western release before its Japanese on, I've been reading up on Super Paper Mario.

    One of the issues brought up in reviews and impressions is the amount of direction given in the game. It seems that the majority of reviewers at the moment feel they aren't given enough direction on what to do. In contrast, a lot of reactions from gamers seem to be seeing, its not hard if you pay attention and that the lack of direction and tutorials and overall hand-holding is refreshing.

    Quite apart from that, there's the stickier issue of sticker mechanics. As you may know, Super Paper Mario abandons some of the traditional of how RPGs are put together, and one of them is leveling. Instead of levels and stats, everything is dependent on the stickers you find and buy. Apparently, for those who get into this system it is a refreshing new way of doing the whole character growth in an RPG since it ties entirely into exploration, inventory management and item selection tactics in battle. Obviously, those who do not enjoy those elements may find it less exhilarating and as such, a lot of reviews claimed that you need certain stickers to win against certain enemies, but there are no hints on where to find them. While, at this time, it seems from impressions that Nintendo doesn't tell you which you may need ahead of time, but you can still work your way past the bosses with a different strategy. Apparently, dialogue will change depending on what you did, which I find interesting.

    Contrast this to Bowser's Inside Story which was clearly made for first time players to RPGs to introduce them to the basics, going so far as to have a sign in the menu that says "Touch the stats to find out what they mean" and that game's guide (Chippy in the Japanese version) even went to explain what HP were. It had tons of tutorials, many of them skippable, but quite a few that weren't. It also absolutely made 100% sure you always knew what you had to do next.

    Bowser's Inside Story was made during the height of Nintendo's focus to get new people into gaming. Sticker Star is coming at a time when Nintendo seems to be aiming a great deal of their retail releases at gamers who have been there and done that. It seems obvious looking at the critical reaction and the game's design themselves.

    So the question if Nintendo gets damned in some quarters for hand-holding too much and then hold back on it in the next game and get damned for not hand-holding enough, what are they supposed to do? I don't think its as easy as saying "find a balance," because there will always be games designed to be easy to get into for those who aren't accustomed to our knowledge and always games designed specifically for people who don't want any hints. You can see this anytime you see someone say, "Why are they forcing you to play through this tutorial?" or "Don't want to make it clear what I have to do next? Want to be obtuse? Then I have no time for you." A lot of people obviously take it as if the game was designed for them and them alone.

    Is there something you can even do about that perception?
  • Deleted user 13 November 2012 01:49:12
    Probably stop buying games designed for kids.
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Nov 2012 02:03:47 6,521 posts
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    @meme I hope that was a trolling comment.
  • Deleted user 13 November 2012 02:14:39
    If you use it as a general "Nintendo is for kids" comment it's a troll, sure, but I don't think there's anything really incorrect in saying that Paper Mario: Sticker Star, a game where you collect stickers by peeling them off the screen with your finger, under guidance of a fairy after they get scattered following a Sticker Party, released on a handheld console that's mostly successful with children, isn't really designed with adults in mind. That doesn't mean adults can't play them, granted, but you shouldn't really overthink them.

    Edited by meme at 02:37:53 13-11-2012
  • mal 13 Nov 2012 02:46:51 22,608 posts
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    I'm confused. Isn't Sticker Star the 3DS game, while Super Paper Mario was the Wii game.

    In regards to the question, providing the right amount of direction does seem to be a thorny issue for everyone at the moment, not just Nintendo. Personally, I often get pissed off when tutorials get dressed up as the first level of a game, and it insists on teaching me the controls and then giving me a painfully dumbed down bit of trial gameplay. I've played too many games where I've turned them off disappointed after the trial run, not realising the game proper hadn't started yet as the fact you were still in training mode wasn't clearly deliniated. In general I'm more forgiving of helpful hints though. Even the fairies in 3D Zeldas don't seem to annoy me as much as they do some people. In most fields it's very hard to avoid being condescending to some while providing enough hand-holding for others. In games, we have interactivity though, and games should use that to ensure they default to providing the most help, but make it easy for more experienced people to skip it.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • PazJohnMitch 13 Nov 2012 03:05:46 8,148 posts
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    To be honest I think Nintendo generally do the opening sections of games better than others. They usually give you the tools and let you play with them at your own pace. (Skyward Sword is the only Zelda I found patronising and annoying).

    I like the way Nintendo normally put in notice boards that you can read if you want to. The tutorial is not forced upon you but is available for those that want it. (Ironically these 'games for children' are the only ones that require you to be able to read).

    I enjoy taking notes during games. When I see something I cannot reach or looks odd I make a note of it so I can return later. Very few games seem to require you to do this anymore which I think is a shame. The last game I remember taking notes on was Kingdom Hearts.

    Exploring the likes of Metroid or Zelda is one of the best bits in gaming. So the main critism of Sticker Star does not appear to be that big of an issue to me. (However I have not played it yet).
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Nov 2012 03:06:42 6,521 posts
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    @meme For me the humour in the Paper Mario series has always made it very much a mixed game, aimed at both kids and adults.

    I would imagine it has a higher average age of player than the main Mario series games.
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Nov 2012 03:07:37 6,521 posts
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    Also, while some hand holding might be annoying, let's be very very happy they aren't Zynga...

    http://www.hiwiller.com/2010/04/29/if-mario-was-designed-in-2010/
  • Deleted user 13 November 2012 03:15:40
    RobTheBuilder wrote:
    @meme For me the humour in the Paper Mario series has always made it very much a mixed game, aimed at both kids and adults.

    I would imagine it has a higher average age of player than the main Mario series games.
    That's true enough, but the gameplay that people are complaining about (amassing lots of stickers by hunting around and finding out effects by experimenting with them, rather than being told what they do) are ostensibly kid-inspired mechanics. Seems more Pokémon than Mario, to be honest.
  • JinTypeNoir 13 Nov 2012 05:01:28 4,392 posts
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    Ooops, you're right, Mal, Super Paper Mario is the Wii game. :D I get so confused with these series, because nearly all the games have different names in Japan and elsewhere.

    BTW, I never really got the fascination with stickers. I mean, yeah, stickers are neat, but when my teacher would be like, "Here's a....STICKEEEERRR!" I would in turn be like, "Oh, thanks."

    If anything, stickers make me think of women because whenever I go out with friends who are girls they always drag me to photo machines or give me stickers to stick on things and I'm like, "What am I supposed to do with this?"

    Scratch and sniff are nifty though. I like those.
  • PazJohnMitch 13 Nov 2012 05:44:25 8,148 posts
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    @JinTypeNoir Stickers are used even less in Europe than Japan.

    On an entirely different subject. Have you ever been to China Jin? I know the two countries are not exactly best buddies, (to put it mildly). But I would expect to see more Japanese tourists as they are geographically so close.

    In the UK you can pretty much guarantee at least 5 Japanese street pass hits if you go to a major tourist destination. On Sunday I spent all day in Shang Hai and went to a large number or tourist spots but only 3 Japanese street passes.

    In fact having managing to get 3 hits surprised me as I do not think I actually saw a single Japanese person despite the huge numbers of people around.
  • Tonka 13 Nov 2012 06:19:27 20,579 posts
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    JinTypeNoir wrote:
    Scratch and sniff are nifty though. I like those.
    Now you're talking about nickers, not stickers.

    If you can read this you really need to fiddle with your forum settings.

  • mrpon 13 Nov 2012 06:36:11 29,003 posts
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    Scratch and sniff porno mags. There's a concept that never took off.

    Give yourself Ł5 or ˝ gig, you're worth it.

  • Deleted user 13 November 2012 09:03:54
    Stickers are amazing, but I used to just hoard them. Couldn't bring myself to using them.


    I have no idea what this thread is about.
  • neilka 13 Nov 2012 09:07:13 16,106 posts
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    It's the Super Mario PhD course

    Lastly, I am gay, disabled, and a liberal.

  • Deckard1 13 Nov 2012 09:18:38 28,265 posts
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    They have hand holding in it!? Whats next, french kissing?!! Anal sex?!!! Rusty tromboneninging?!

    This is far from the nintendo I know and love.
  • RyanDS 13 Nov 2012 09:33:26 9,437 posts
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    mrpon wrote:
    Scratch and sniff porno mags. There's a concept that never took off.
    True story. When I was 13 and we managed to get porno mags in South Africa in the 80's there were silver stars over the naughty bits that you had to scratch off. Many was the time in my excitement I would be over zealous in the scratching and sccidentally rip the page as the stars were quite solid latex and the paper was shit.

    No sniffing involved though.
  • neilka 13 Nov 2012 09:35:42 16,106 posts
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    I bet you still haven't seen as many torn-up fannies as Deckard.

    Lastly, I am gay, disabled, and a liberal.

  • Armoured_Bear 13 Nov 2012 09:38:53 11,300 posts
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    After Skyward Sword being pretty much ruined by handholding I'm very happy with what I'm reading about Paper Mario.

    XBL : ecosse011172
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  • Deckard1 13 Nov 2012 09:45:45 28,265 posts
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    Armoured_Bear wrote:
    I fink papa mario sounds really really good as the colours are really reaally good and i watched this trailer and the trailer had this little bird in it and the bird went "wanc wanc wanc AWOOOOGA" and i laughed at this becos the bird had a funny look on his face and then i got to excited so i had my dinner it was my favourite fish fingers chips and beans and then i went in the bath and dad came in the bath with me and we played secrrect sausage and then i went to bed.
  • sport 13 Nov 2012 09:48:41 12,758 posts
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    RyanDS wrote:
    mrpon wrote:
    Scratch and sniff porno mags. There's a concept that never took off.
    True story. When I was 13 and we managed to get porno mags in South Africa in the 80's there were silver stars over the naughty bits that you had to scratch off. Many was the time in my excitement I would be over zealous in the scratching and sccidentally rip the page as the stars were quite solid latex and the paper was shit.

    No sniffing involved though.
    Scope?
  • mal 13 Nov 2012 14:48:20 22,608 posts
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    PazJohnMitch wrote:
    @JinTypeNoir Stickers are used even less in Europe than Japan.
    Is Panini not an Italian company? Or am I showing my age there?

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • RyanDS 13 Nov 2012 14:56:43 9,437 posts
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    sport wrote:
    RyanDS wrote:
    mrpon wrote:
    Scratch and sniff porno mags. There's a concept that never took off.
    True story. When I was 13 and we managed to get porno mags in South Africa in the 80's there were silver stars over the naughty bits that you had to scratch off. Many was the time in my excitement I would be over zealous in the scratching and sccidentally rip the page as the stars were quite solid latex and the paper was shit.

    No sniffing involved though.
    Scope?
    That's the one!
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