Failure to Communicate

  By Shamus   Feb 16, 2007   23 comments

Some players see death or failure in a videogame as something that should only happen if you are careless. Other players see it as inevitable part of the process. (This article sums up a lot of my thinking on this subject.) Beyond that, different players have different expectations for the penalty they expect to endure for failure. Some players are comfortable with replaying the last five minutes. Others resent the setback and would rather simply retry the game from the point just preceeding their failure. (See also, Jay’s recent post on saving the game, which outlines the fiendish details of this problem.)

But the most overlooked thing that governs both difficulty and the enjoyment of the game is how well the player understands what the developer was thinking when they designed the challenge. It’s possible to have a game which does not require great skill, but which results in repeated failure until the player “learns” how to complete a particular scenario. Here is an example of this problem in action from the game XIII. (For those of you following along at home, I’m talking about Mission #25, “Bristol Suites Hotel – Surveillance”)

(I’m going to be really negative here because I’m focusing on a major weak spot in the game, but XIII has a lot of neat ideas and isn’t the train wreck you might think it is based on my comments here. I might have more to say on this game later.)


The goal of this mission is to eavesdrop on a conversation between a couple of leaders in a take-over-the-world cult. The bad guys are meeting in a hotel. The meeting is supposed to be super-secret, but the bad guys seem to have reserved an entire floor of a hotel for themselves. Not the most clandestine move, but this game has an over-the-top silliness to it and you just have to go with it. The pre-mission cutscene tells me I have to sneak around on their hotel level, go to a certain room, and listen in on them. It does not elaborate. Ummmm…. ok? I guess I’ll work out the particulars once I get there.

Attempt 1

I emerge from the elevator at the start of the mission. A woman is coming. The game clues me in that she’s with the bad guys, so I get the drop on her and knock her out. She falls right in the middle of the hallway. Hmm. I really should stash her someplace. I check the nearby doors. One is a broom closet, the other leads to a laundry room. One door is marked with the “you cannot open this door or pick the lock”. I recognize this as a plot-driven door. The rest of the doors are non-interactive, meaning they aren’t really doors at all, they’re just scenery to make this place look like a hotel. Since this place is a dead end in terms of gamespace, I leave the body where it fell and move on.

I don’t have a map or anything. I’m not even sure what direction I should be heading, so I have to bumble around a bit and feel my way through the maze of fake doors. I find that I have to go through a laundry room to reach the rest of the floor because of the locked doors. This doesn’t exactly make sense, but there it is.

I move on. Once I’m a few rooms away a little icon appears to let me know that someone has discovered a body. But how? The place behind me is a dead end! Oh right. The plot door. It must be scripted to release a bad guy when I move on, to make sure I’m hiding bodies.

The alarm sounds. Mission failed.

Attempt 2

I emerge from the elevator. I knock out the enemy. I grab the body. I move very slowly when carrying a body, so instead of dragging this thing all the way to the broom closet I drop it off in the laundry room on my way through.

I move on, defeat another guy, and before I can do anything else I get the “body discovered” message again. I guess putting the body in the laundry room wasn’t good enough? Fine. The broom closet next time.

The alarm sounds. Mission failed.

Attempt 3

I emerge from the elevator. I knock out the enemy. I grab the body. Haul it to the broom closet. Move through the laundry room. Encounter next guy and put him down. I’m in an area for hotel staff right now, but I’ve learned that it’s not a good enough hiding spot. I need a broom closet. There aren’t any handy, so I have to go all the way back to the one near the entrance. This takes a while.

Once I get him stowed, I run into yet another guy. He’s way down the hall from me, but he must have ESP because even though I’m in plainclothes he knows I’m an enemy and not a lost hotel guest. He starts shooting at me. I can’t knock him out from here, so in a panic I switch to my machine gun and blast him. The noise alerts people elsewhere.

The alarm sounds. Mission failed.

Attempt 4

Elevator. Enemy. Knockout. Drag to closet. Get next guy. Drag to closet. This time before going out into the hall I get out my silencer pistol. I drop the guy in the hall before he can cause trouble.

But now what do I do with him? Does the game really expect me to drag him all the way back to the original broom closet? That will take forever. I look around this hallway to see if there is another closet closer by. I can’t peek through doorways though, so I just have to run around kicking each door open all the way to see which ones are real doors and which ones are just scenery. As I explore some employees-only area looking for a closet I stumble into another bad guy. While we’re fighting, the body of the hallway guy is discovered. Sigh.

The alarm sounds. Mission failed.

Attempt 5

Elevator. Enemy. Knockout. Drag to closet. Get next guy. Drag to closet. Drop Mr. Hallway with silencer pistol. I don’t know what else to do with him so I drag him allllll the way back to the broom closet at the start of the level.

I return to where I was, and meet yet another guy who’s decided the best way to guard this super-secret meeting between criminal masterminds is to run around shooting civilians. He’s right outside of the hotel room where I’m supposed to go, so after I kill him I just drag him into the room with me and shut the door.

Cue scripted sequence. I’m supposed to be eavesdropping on these guys, but the mission never explained the particulars. One of the other characters starts talking to me (through my radio) and he lets me know that if I look out my window I should see that I’m right across from the target. Sure enough, the hotel is U-shaped and I can look out my window and see him in the facing room. My friend explains that I’m supposed to use the “shotgun microphone”, which was added to my inventory for this mission. It looks like a little satellite dish. I aim it at the guy dressed as an army general I can hear him talking. If my aim strays, the audio cuts out and all I can hear is static, so I have to be careful. Interesting. From the conversation, it sounds like they’re planning a coup. (Duh.)

He’s moving around his room. It’s hard to stay with him. I’m looking at him through a sort of sniperscope which zooms in too far, so when Evil General suddenly changes direction it takes a second to get on him again. My friend warns me that we need a complete recording, which I intuit to mean that if I don’t stay on him I’ll fail the mission.

Evil Senator shows up to talk to Evil General. They cross the room together, but as I follow them there is suddenly a wall in the way! Ah! I pan back and fourth, looking for him. I drop out of “sniper” view for a second so I can get a wider view, and the audio cuts out. For whatever reason, the mic only works when I’m looking through the scope. I instantly fail the mission.

Attempt 6

Elevator. Enemy. Knockout. Drag to closet. Get next guy. Drag to closet. Drop Mr. Hallway with silencer pistol. Then drag him allllll the way back to the broom closet at the start of the level. Knock out last guy and bring him into the room with me.

I again endure now-needless explanation of my goals and how to use the mic. While I’m ignoring that, I get my first solid look at these rooms and how they relate to each other. We each have two huge windows side-by-side, with a three-foot section of brick wall between them. I see that last time the Evil General was moving from window 1 to window 2. Because I was on the far side of my own window, the brick wall blocked me. Hmmmm. So, I guess this time I’ll try to stay directly across from him at all times. Instead of panning back and forth, I’ll move around my room to stay with him.

Evil Senator shows up and they repeat the conversation. They move towards window 2, but I keep getting caught on furniture as I try to move with them. It’s hard to walk around a room while looking through a dang sniperscope. I know I can’t zoom out even for a second or I’ll fail. As I move from window 1 to window 2 (and thus the wall is right in front of me) I get caught on a potted plant or something. I try to go around but it’s spoiled my aim. Mission failed.

This is really stupid. I missed five seconds of the conversation and I failed the mission? I imagine bringing the recording back to my boss:

EVIL GENERAL: Once we assassinate the president we will have total control, and then we can take over the wor- (hiiissssssssssss)

EVIL SENATOR: (hiisssssssssss) -agree with you. We will totally take over the world once he’s dead.

MY BOSS: Dang! If only you’d gotten the entire recording, we would know what they’re planning!

Stupid game.

Attempt 7

Elevator. Enemy. Knockout. Drag to closet. Get next guy. Drag to closet. Drop Mr. Hallway with silencer pistol and drag him allllll the way back to the broom closet at the start of the level. Knockout last guy and bring him into the room with me. This is getting old.

I’m not sure where I went wrong last time, so I’m not sure what to do different this time. I’m obviously not understanding how this is supposed to work. This conversation between the two Evils is both cliché and long. Listening to it once would have been fine, but it’s really grating on me now.

I try standing still again, only this time I’m at (my) window 2. Again, I lose Evil General behind the wall as he moves from window 1 to window 2. But this time I realize what I’ve been doing wrong. The mic can hear through the brick wall. I’ve been assuming the mic only worked through windows, and so I’ve been moving around trying to keep an unobstructed angle on Evil General. What I needed to be doing was intuiting his position behind the wall based on his trajectory when he went out of sight.

Nothing like a mission that assumes I’ll understand unexplained fictional technology. Jerks!

He goes back and fourth between the windows a few times, and I fail to track him properly. I miss a few seconds and the mission fails.

Attempt 8

Elevator. Enemy. Knockout. Drag to closet. Get next guy. Drag to closet. Drop Mr. Hallway with silencer pistol and drag him allllll the way back to the broom closet at the start of the level. Knockout last guy and bring him into the room with me. Sigh. I’m getting really sick of this.

I make it to my room and endure the tutorial. Evil Senator shows up and the show starts, but I have the hang of it now. I track them as they move all over the place. What is with these guys? Too much coffee? Hold still you hyperactive geezers!

Suddenly, the conversation ends. I did it! But now they’re running for it! I get orders to not let them escape. I’m told to not let them reach the elevator. A timer appears. I have two minutes. But where do I go?

They are on a side of the hotel I can’t reach. I can only get to my half of the “U”. I assume that one of the plot doors I passed earlier has opened, and I need to use it to go to their side of the hotel. I figure their side will be populated with guys I have to fight, since I’ve already cleaned out my half of the hotel. But which set of doors do I use to get there? There were several plot doors, and It’s been a while so I can’t tell at a glance which doors are real.

I run around like a madman. These hallways are long, and I can’t ignore little side doors. I remember that I had to go through a laundry to get to where I am now, and I may have to take another such employees-only route to get to where I need to go. So, I have to sprint down the hall, hovering over each door to see if it can be opened. Suddenly I run into bad guys. I’m not really ready for it, since I expected this side of the hotel to be empty, but whatever. Somewhere around here is probably a clown-car style room that spits out bad guys.

I find nothing, so I backtrack, moving closer to the entrance. I’m almost out of time and I don’t even know where I’m going yet!

The timer runs out and the bad guys get away. Finally I understand: I didn’t need to get over to their side of the hotel. They were coming to mine! When the game said “don’t let them reach the elevator” it was talking about the original elevator where I started. This doesn’t make a lot of sense. This is a really big hotel, and it’s ridiculous to think one little elevator would serve the whole place. There would certainly be another elevator on their side of the hotel, and it would make no sense for them to cross to my side of the U to escape.

Attempt 9

Uh, No. I’ve been at this for the better part of an hour, and I think I’m done now. (I’ve left out all of the failed attempts that were more or less my fault, such as when I was killed by enemies or repeated previous blunders. All told, I did this mission a lot more than 9 times.)

What we have here is the essence of DIAS gameplay. Now, there is nothing inherently HARD about this mission. Almost all of my failures were the result of me misunderstanding something that, in reality, my character would already know. The person who designed it would probably say it was pretty easy. They designed the shotgun mic, they set down the rules for when bad guys would show up, and came up with the idea of running back to the start location. I’m sure they thought it all made sense, and my own interpretations of what was going on probably never occurred to them. Yet this morass of misunderstandings led to repeated failure, and the penalty for failure escalated as I got further into the mission and invested more time into it.

The repeated failure finally drove me away from the thing, but that isn’t the my real problem with the game. My gripe isn’t that it encouraged metagame thinking, discouraged exploration, and harshly punished the player for failure. It did those things, sure, but the big fundamental problem was that it failed to properly convey the gameworld and bring the player into it. If I was allowed to save at any time I would have muddled through, but my enjoyment of the game was still ruined. It’s hard to stay “in character” when you don’t know simple facts that your character should know, such as how your tools work or where you are going.

Designing a game involves communicating with the player. I think what went wrong here wasn’t a lack of save system or a poorly calibrated challenge. This was, at the most basic level, a communication failure on the part of the storyteller. I’ve used XIII as my punching bag here just because it’s a glaring example, but this is a fairly common problem. The problem has actually gotten worse as games have evolved and become more complex and ambitious.


20323 comments. Highly cototient!


  1. Three words:
    Lack Of Feedback.

  2. Yunt says:

    I muddled through Splinter Cell in much the same manner. The ridiculous ESP of certain NPCs aside, my biggest problem was not “feeling” the game. I didn’t know when my toes were sticking out under the curtain… that sort of thing.

    The stealth meter, unrealistic though it was, meant the developers had realized the problem but their fix just didn’t do enough to alleviate the problem. I just didn’t perceive the world the way their NPCs did.

    Moreover, when I succeeded in an unanticipated way, the game just got weird. Sneaking past an auto-gun into a save point, then starting every subsequent save-game being instantly machine gunned in the back wasn’t exactly a high point for my gaming.

  3. AngiePen says:

    I agree 100% Too many game designers seem to think that the major obstacle for the players to overcome, the major challenge of the game, is just figuring out the mechanics and routines and all the little crap your character would already know. I was working on an online mystery game for a while and the product manager told us, “Don’t bother putting red herrings into the mysteries — the mystery system itself is enough of a challenge.” Ummm, you say that like it’s a good thing…? [sigh]

    As a player, I rarely finish games. Too often you get to a point where making the game harder just means making it more and more deadly so it takes more and more attempts to complete each task. I don’t find restoring and retrying over and over and over to be fun, so when it’s not fun anymore I wander off and start a new game. [shrug]

    Angie

  4. Hal says:

    This is the same problem I had with 007:Nightfire. At some later mission, the game just dumps you into the lobby of some building. Your goal: Sneak up to the umpteenth floor and do something.

    I never made it out of the lobby. You couldn’t be seen by the cameras. You couldn’t be spotted by the security personnel. You couldn’t kill the security personnel.

    If the game had guided you at this point, that would be fine. But I tried for the better part of an afternoon to find my way to a set of stairs or an elevator. I tried endlessly to find a path that wasn’t being watched, figure out when the guards would have their backs turned and time that to the motion of the cameras. And yet I failed the mission, over and over and over. Each failure happened after, I dunno, 30 seconds or so. It was miserably strict.

    I have yet to touch that game again.

  5. Michael says:

    I completely understand where you’re coming from on this one. I also have to say, if you haven’t beaten the game, don’t bother. OMGmostfrustrating ending ever.

  6. Myxx says:

    Problem I have with games like this is that the challenges aren’t so much about skill, judgement or intellect, it’s about a pointless system of trial and error that completely ejects you from the gameworld and really just sterilizes the experience. I used to love playing games, but I don’t have the patiences for them anymore. Either the games have changed, or I have. I’m willing to concede either point.

  7. Thad says:

    And this is why I resort to cheating so quickly…

    Actually, I remember playing ODT (great game but now M$ have managed to get XP to avoid being able to play it), and there was one sequence of jumping that took me ages to learn how to do it right. (Because I was looking for a lazy option, and actually had to learn how to play the game, dammit! :) )

  8. Fieari says:

    A lot of the difficulty of Shinobi (the PS2 one, not the older genesis versions) was from something like this. It’s not just that the various things are each hard, they are, but not impossibly so. It’s that you have to do each item, in sequence, perfectly (or nearly perfectly), and make a mistake at any time and you have to start from the beginning again, after waiting for the loading sequence to finish.

    Some of the levels were hard enough… level 3, with the ninja dogs, took me forever because I didn’t know how to do the “Dash Behind” maneuver– the game hadn’t exactly taught me how, nor required it until now. Suddenly, it was -required-. Other levels had nasty little jumping puzzles with instant death for failure. Each of these levels were pretty long, and often, that instant death jump would be right near the end, requiring you to start ALL over again.

    Frustrating game. Really really hard. I’ll admit a perverse pleasure in finally beating levels, but there comes a point where you really just want an easier mode, just to learn how to play the game! Without the endless repetition…

  9. I read through the links.

    One thing I really resent is game designers who decide that they really want to force you to play the game the way they want it played.

    For example, in Privateer it is possible to run away from fights through jump points. So, Privateer 2 made that impossible by fiat. A sort of plot door.

    Then, in “privateer 3″ — Freelance, they were irritated that players were skipping the scenery, so they took out the autopilot options. Gargh, getting places was worse than running place to place in WoW.

    The ruined much of the replay value of the game by crippling it with boredom (and requiring hacks to use a joystick with the game).

    I feel the same about save game restrictions. All in all I was impressed with DII and LOD (Diablo 2 and the expansion pack for it) and their approach to death, brute force, etc.

    Die, you lose enough that it is painful, but not so much that you resent the game. As a result, they were able to make do without any save game at all, yet the game was widely enjoyed.

    As for WoW, I find sites such as Allakhazam to bridge the gap — they tell me the things I would expect to be able to get from talking (e.g. ok, you’ve said go south, how far do you mean?). They reduce frustration.

    So far I’m still enjoying it.

    —————–

    As an aside, a number of the people you link to talk about Wing Commander I and the branching storylines and how they failed because of brute force repetition.

    They failed because the branches got harder if you played poorly. What a game. Do poorly and the game gets harder, do well and the game gets easier. Sure, that mirrors reality (if you do poorly and the war goes poorly, I’m sure that things would get rougher), but it doesn’t encourage anyone who does poorly to just keep playing.

    Not that people didn’t play out the bad end stories (and discover things like escort trips that were impossible to win, or that in WIII you could actually destroy the Kilrathi capital ship that spawned in the endless attack on Earth — everyone thought that was neat to do, though if you killed it and a thousand fighters somehow you should have gotten a winning ending of some sort), but no one who wasn’t already through the game found them any fun.

    The best part was that the “mission 13″ scenarios were all solvable. WI had a cook-book that would win it 67%+ (I was able to demonstrate the solution and teach people to do it). WII, 100% (tell your idiot wing man to attack the freighter — he will take it out before he bails out. then you take out the fighters and after that, it is just a typical Torpedo run.). WIII, the same. (I’ve written on those at http://adrr.com/wing/ ).

    Anyway, wanted to comment on the comments. Age of Empires, et al., does just fine with its save game system. WoW and the Diablo series did ok with their iterations. Doom’s save anytime, anywhere didn’t seem to ruin the game for anyone. I think designers need to give it a rest and quit trying to punish players by forcing a vision on them.

    Seems like XIII would have been a lot more forgivable if it had a better save game.

    I’m rambling.

  10. Telas says:

    I commented earlier on another thread about the mortality level of Wasteland (no plot doors; you just die if you go the wrong way). On the plus side, you could save just about anywhere.

    Why stray from this formula? Is there a valid answer?

    Telas

  11. Andre says:

    I agree, Shamus, that that’s annoying. There’s a game series devotes specifically to the DIAS style that is actually fun, though ridiculously nerve-wracking: it’s called Hitman. I don’t know much about the sequels, but the first one was loads of fun, once you got the hang of whatever level you were playing. The only problem was that each level was simply unbeatable the first time through. You HAD to blunder through the level at least once, and learn where all the enemies, cameras, hiding places, doors, rooms, shortcuts, costumes, weapons, and everything else were, before you could actually go through the level and beat it. The downside: I can’t imagine the game WASN’T designed specifically to be that way. The upside: when you were finally ready to play a mission “for real”, you could glide through it with something like a cold-blooded killer’s slick ESP, and it just felt utterly cool. And I’m sure if someone were watching you and they hadn’t seen you attempt the level 30 times before, they’d be amazed at how awesome you were too.

    So I don’t know. Yes, DIAS is incredibly annoying, but Hitman was fun, once I got the hang of it. There was a particular level, set in a hotel much like the one you described here, that was totally fun, when you knew where your objectives were. There must have been a ton of ways to get through it, depending on how you wanted to do it. Some of my friends liked to run through and kill everyone out in the open. The more skilled players among my friends preferred to slip through, secretly killing and disposing of everyone who got in their way. Me, I preferred to walk in like a normal guest, with not a single weapon on me, sneak past all the guards and civilians, take out my targets with my bare hands (or with whatever weapons were readily available AT THE SCENE), and then walk back out, without anyone knowing I was even there. And that made the whole thing worth it, in a weird sort of way.

  12. *** Dave says:

    The mechanics you describe, Shamus, are indeed terribly annoying. My preference (in a single-player game) is an any-time (or at least frequent) save point that doesn’t require doing several minutes of boring stuff *a*gain.

    When it comes to particularly difficult situation that I simply cannot figure out after several minutes of trying (how *do* I jump up there? how *can* I turn off that valve on the other side of the room? how *do* I keep the sniper mic on the bad guys?), I’ll admit I resort to looking up online guides (and, on at least one occasion, the cheat code to get past). I don’t call that a loss or a win, just a stalemate between me and the designer — though, come to think of it, he has my money.

  13. Andre says:

    “I don’t call that a loss or a win, just a stalemate between me and the designer — though, come to think of it, he has my money.”

    Made me laugh. Thanks! ;)

  14. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    Shamus, for the love of god don’t play the game “Marvel Rise of the Imperfects” You would loath it with every ounce of your body.

  15. JP says:

    FWIW, on that XIII mission, attempt 9 wouldn’t have started again at the first elevator. The point where the two bad guys discover you evesdropping on them is a save point. You would start over their, trying to stop them from escaping.

    I enjoyed XIII for the most part. The puzzles were’nt that hard, I don’t remember having to consult a walkthrough online. The NPC AI was pretty stupid at some points though.

  16. Shamus says:

    JP: I THOUGHT it should have given me a checkpoint there, but it didn’t. Bug? Need a patch? I dunno.

  17. Ryan says:

    Re: Andre’s comments about Hitman.

    Those games kept getting better and better. The current (fourth) has higher system requirements than any other game I play, but added several elements of gameplay that are worth having — like disarming people, or pushing them down stairs. They’re excellent games, in my opinion.

    I wouldn’t exactly call them a DIAS game either, unless you’re specifically trying for the Silent Assassin rating, and then yes, you generally have to try several times, learning where and when everything is. Though I do think that some people can get through the first time – you have a map, and on lower skill levels it shows you not only where people are, but what direction they’re facing. Not trying for the highest rating though, allows you to play the game at ‘easier’ levels, to learn how to use items, where things are. Levels can still be completed and storyline (when existing) can progress.

  18. Even the website for the game seems to have these problems. “Click here…” Okay, I don’t see any other buttons.

    “Make a whole bunch of arbitrary choices that seem interesting but are actually flipping a coin…” Umm… Okay.

    “This isn’t actually where you should have clicked. Hunt and peck around the screen until you find the hidden entrance to our Official Game Website.” Great. I’m so happy about this.

    Games like these need to acknowledge that some players don’t want to receive their briefing in the form of failed missions: I’d much rather know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, so that I can look super-slick doing it.

    Anyone remember the game Willy Beamish? This was the game that first introduced me to using cheat manuals and then rapidly alienated me from the adventure genre for all time. The graphics and animation and story were, to the young child I was at the time, utterly captivating. So I desperately wanted to get the next part of the story. But the puzzles were bone-crushingly idiotic in their design. (Hence the cheat manual.)

    Probably the most “incredible” thing about the game was the ease with which you could use up your inventory. Experimenting with an item almost always destroyed it, and the only way to get the item back was to restore your saved game.

    The game also featured the “amazing” design decision to include completely random and trivial things at the beginning of the game that, if you didn’t do them out of blind chance, would make it impossible to proceed later in the game. For example, in Willy’s room there was a Nintari game console. Using the Nintari would play a short little video clip. It was cute, but nothing special. So if you did it once and then reverted to a save game (and you were always reverting to a save game), you were unlikely to use the Nintari again.

    But if didn’t use the Nintari at this early point in the game, you would irrevocably fail at a task later in the game. The only way you could avoid that failure would be to go all the way back to the beginning and play through the entire game again.

    Adding to the insanity, some puzzles would have an apparently correct solution… but this solution would use up an inventory item you would need much later to the game. Even though your pseudo-solution would work and allow you to continue, it doomed you to frustration when you encountered the later puzzle.

    And the puzzles themselves were completely arbitrary: At the beginning of the game, with a limited number of inventory items, you could experiment and discover that, for example, you should combine a piece of wood and white chalk to get a hall pass that would fool your teachers. As your inventory items became more esoteric and varied, it became impossible to merely experiment.

    I’m convinced to this day that this was a game designed solely for the purpose of selling cheat guides.

  19. CyberGorth says:

    The 1st Hitman game was definately DIAS as there were so many ways to screw up and have to start again from the begining. The sequals, not so much, as they actually bothered to throw in a (limited) save option so you didn’t have to restart as often.

  20. I’d just like to note that the hitman games had a pretty good style of letting the players come up with at least one or two good ways of beating a level. This would help avoid the DIAS effect by letting the players choose the style that suited them. You could either go by the way they suggested (agent 47, get to the ater tower and snipe the informant) some hidden side path, (you can go into the sewers and come up out of a man hole to sneak attack the informant.) Or the way I most prefered, which was to take advantage of the blatently bad A.I. My friends and I would have hours of fun just playing the first level of hitman blood money (the mansion, not the annoying tutorial.) killing guards in front of one another and some such.

  21. Groundhog says:

    Not really game related, and certainly not on time, but I’d like to add a thing about the “shotgun mike”.
    It’s bullshit.
    A common laser microphone would pick up the entire conversation as long as it was pointed at a flat and relatively hard object. Anything that would vibrate, including the window itself. And you wouldn’t have to move it an inch.

  22. FeepingCreature says:

    I think this should be more accurately termed “DIAF gameplay”.

  23. […] to put these various missions inside a solo-only instance area. Then suddenly the game turns into a Do-It-Again-Stupid (DIAS) grindfest of frustrating […]

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  1. By Sisyphean Silliness « Serial MMOgamy on December 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    […] to put these various missions inside a solo-only instance area. Then suddenly the game turns into a Do-It-Again-Stupid (DIAS) grindfest of frustrating […]

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Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!