Rampant Games - Easy to learn but not dumbed down?
Jay Barnson expresses some frustration with the commitment required to play many older cRPGs - but also with the unsatisfactory solutions of modern designs. Here's a snip from Can RPGs Be Easy to Learn Without Being 'Dumbed Down'?:
Another issue I think most of us “older gamers” have to deal with is limited time to play games. We love games, but we have to get our gaming in small segments than we could as kids. I find myself going back regularly to a game of Slay, simply because I can play a complete game in fifteen minutes. My gaming time is usually in segments no longer than an hour, often less than forty-five minutes. If that experience ends with my having made little or no progress – due to dying and restarting, or simply wandering around talking to people trying to remember where I’d left off last time I played, or whatever – then I’m a lot less excited to double-click the icon again when I find myself in need of a gaming fix.
Again, the typical industry answer to this problem is hand-holding and linearity. Although the earlier love affair with fixed save points runs directly counter to this, and I find the inability to save and exit abhorrent in a PC game. But a decent “quest journal” and other goal suggestions can help here, without requiring an on-screen icon that tells the player to “walk here.”