Playing a game that’s only new for one person

Posted: April 25, 2011 by Cynthia 心雅 in Uncategorized

As you are probably aware, Protal 2 came out last week, and William got it immediately, and played through it both in single player and co-op. I played through the single player on his account, but didn’t have anyone to play co-op with (his account can only run one game at a time, so it doesn’t support playing co-op within it, and he played with his father) unless I got my own copy.

So, yesterday I got the game and we started playing together, and it inspired me to write this blog.

Sometimes you play a game for the first time with someone who’s played before, and sometimes you play a familiar game with someone who hasn’t played before. For some games, this is a non-issue because the game doesn’t have much of a story-line (e.g. RockBand and similar games.) Other times, it’s a big issue of making sure both players are enjoying the game.

Portal 2 is of the second batch of games. We’ve just started playing through it, and already we’ve been faced with three obvious issues.

The New Player Feels Like the Veteran Player is Giving too much Away.
-When you know the end of a story, and you’re playing through it for the second time, it’s hard to not openly notices points of foreshadowing, and “you wouldn’t get this if you didn’t already know,” references. What’s worse, though, is that it’s hard as a new player to not worry that ~everything~ the other person is saying is potentially a “spoiler.”

The New Player Feels Like the Veteran Player is “Helping” too much, or Rushing through Things.
-In a game like Portal 2, which is at it’s core a puzzle-solving game, once you’ve completed the game, you’ve solved all of the puzzles. They don’t change from one play to the next. Level 2 room 4 is the same no matter how many times you play. As such, the new player is fully aware that the veteran player knows the solution, so collaboration on solving it is sort of out of the question, because anything the veteran player says or does, is said or done with knowledge of the eventual solution. It certainly puts a strain on the “team-work” aspect of the game.

The Veteran Player Feels Limited on What They Can Do and Say.
-The previous two issues lead to a final issue on the veteran player. How do you play a game with someone, with the above problems without just mindlessly doing what they say, and letting them decide everything, regardless of whether you know that the decision is wrong and will only waste time, when you could just tell them the consequence of said decision, because you have previously made the same mistake. It’s hard to enjoy a game in which you feel very limited by what you can do without upsetting the other person.

We have yet to find a real solution to these issues, so I can so far offer you none. However, if we figure it out, I’ll certainly update here 😀

  1. Phil says:

    We could just try hitting Will upside the head until he forgets the solutions and ending. Then you’d be on even ground.

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