Hi. 

My snes has been out of commission for the last few months sinse I turned off 
power to my tv and lost the tuning, and sinse tuning my tv requires a visual 
menue I had to wait for my dad to visit to rejigger it so that I could play my 
snes again. 

This means I've been revisiting some of my favourite classics such as Mario all 
stars and Super metroid. 

By a coincidence, sinse buying esp pinball classic, I've also been replaying 
several audiogames I haven't been on for a while such as the esp pinball xtreme 
tables and alien outback. 

The funny thing is, I've found that while I can do almost as well as I used to 
at a game like Alien outback, and probably won't need to practice much to get 
back to where I was, even at super metroid which is a game I've been through up 
down and backwards innumerable times, i've found my skills have really! 
deteriorated. 

I started to wonder why, this might be, and believe I have come up with the 
answer. 

Sinse it is far harder to show a large amount of spacial information in sound, 
a lot of audio games, ---- even highly detailed and well put together ones like 
Q9 and alien outback, work essentially by presenting the player with sets of 
circumstances which the player must respond to more and more quickly and 
correctly. 

Eg, you here a ship on the left, you fly over and shoot it. 

These games increase difficulty by a, increasing the number of circumstances 
the player needs to be aware of, eg, different types of ships to listen for 
which move differently, and b, increasing the speed or complexity of the 
players' responses.

Pipe 2 is one of the best examples, by forcing the player to first learn and 
respond to the rythm of fitting pipes, then increasing more and more randomized 
factors on top. 

At base this is a similar principle to simon, though games like Q9 undoubtedly 
take it a lot further. 

The drawback of such a system however, is that once a player has learnt 
response time, the response becomes entirely automatic, and thus no longer of 
challenge or interest, and, when replayed, those initially learnt responses are 
stil in the players' mind and can be recalled as needed.

A game like Marrio however, does not just rely on the speed or complexity of a 
players response. 

yes, the player may have to respond quickly or in a prescribed fashion, but 
these responses are tied to a set of game mechanics which require the player to 
use judgement as well as learnt reflexes, and it is that judgement which can be 
renewed. 

For instance, in Q9, when you come to a pit, it's simply necessary to press 
jump and hit the right arrow enough times. In marrio however, the distance you 
jump is controled by a, how long you hold down the jump button, b, how fast 
your running when you begin the jump, and c, where you jump from. 

Then, there is the question of landing, sinse if you land from a long jump your 
stopping distance will not be immediate, meaning you might for instance jump a 
pit but slide streight into a monster just afterwards if your not careful. 

I think part of this difference is due to the fact that it's more difficult to 
show multiple objects in sound, and thus develope the sort of more involved 
physics which requires the players' judgement as well as their reflexes, 
however while showing information (paticularly what is above or below your 
character), could be difficult, i do certainly thing more could be done than 
currently exists, especially in the matter of altering the characters' movement 
and physics so as to be more complex. 

Of course, some audio games do have more complex mechanics to take into account 
such as the first person games like Shades of doom and Jim's golf game. 

But it does seem that we have rather too many games which go on the basic 
principle of here x, give response y, rather than considdering the physics and 
operation of in game objects.

Beware the grue! 

Dark.
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