Arcaned Machine 8
Comment on this Comic
Subscribe to this Comic
January 9th, 2011

Arcaned Machine 8

I owe this gag to my TXcomics buddy Cameron Stewart. He’s the one I heard call Guitar Hero and their ilk “obedience games”. What a great term to get to the root of why I’m not a fan of pattern memorization games! It is also why I don’t like to play games like Street Fighter using an endless stream of combo patterns. Then it starts to feel like a game that you are forced to make up when you’re bored, like “see how quickly you can shovel a section of driveway and then try to beat that record”! Ugh.

12 Awesomes Comments!

  1. RavenBlack

    I have never played Guitar Hero and co as memorization games. Obedience games, sure, they are “do exactly as I say, when I say”, but they’re only memorization if you aren’t quick enough at obeying on-the-fly!

    A lot of modern RPGs are also effectively obedience games. Take a quest, your destination is marked on a map and you get an arrow telling you exactly where to go for the next step of the quest, marking who or what to kill, marking who to return to, then marking who to speak to for the next quest. On the one hand, nice to have available so you don’t end up flailing aimlessly forever, but on the other hand, I quite like to have to actually *think* and *make decisions* for my RPG-playing (which is why my favourites are Ultima 4 and 5, and Ultima Underworld 1 and 2.)

  2. ColdFusion

    SEeeriously, when it comes to fighting games, I want something where the moves aren’t hard to pull off, and the strategy comes in choosing when to use each one.. like a real friggin fight.. I’ve played only a FEW games like that.. they’re rare.
    Still, technically keeping a rhythm is something slightly different.. I think the colors are just to make it more challenging.. otherwise it’s just ‘how well have you memorized the song’ not like.. Simon.

  3. Golux

    The Holy Romaine Empire, lettuce pray for victory against white-fly, aphid and leaf borer! Lactuca Sativa, Lactuca Sativa, Lactuca Sativa Longifolia. Chaaarge!

  4. admin

    RavenBlack – You’re right that some RPGS really stand for Railroad Playing Games. Time saving things like automapping and automatic journal notes are great. Pointing you exactly where to go and telling you exactly how to beat the bad guy is boring.

    ColdFusion – What games have you played that are those rare gems?

    Golux – I can’t believe we both resisted a Caesar salad joke.

  5. Kim

    How does a creature with human teeth devour a helmet?!

  6. admin

    Kim – it’s just the top part. But it’s the important part that gives the soldiers the illusion of more height and is the symbol of their empire. Or to more directly answer your question: magic!

  7. ColdFusion

    barring the “try to pull off an invincible unblockable combo” strategy, Mortal Kombat often plays that way.. and to a lesser extent, Smash Bros.. Samurai Shodown tends to reward actual fighting strategy..

    but the best has to be FLYING DRAGON for the N64.. which nobody has ever played but me..

  8. Hoppy

    Actually, the top crest of the helmets were a symbol of the wearers rank, and made it easier for soldiers to see their commanders in battle. The crests shown in that last panel are totally unbeleafable.

    As for games, I vastly prefer the online RPG’s, especially City of Heroes, atm. Also flight simulation games. They actually require knowledge and skill.

  9. Tiki Snakes

    Smash Brothers is secretly one of the best fighters in the last few years. Don’t tell anyone.

    I tend to find Music games a lot more about reflex speeds than memorisation, but that’s partly because my memory is terrible! The difficulty often comes a lot more from simply being able to understand patterns at speed and physically contort your increasingly clawlike fingers to the necessary arrangement without killing the music by missing the timing.

    I can kind of see the obedience side of it, though.

  10. EveryZig

    This reminds me of the semi-related topic of how skill trees are terrible. RPGs should have more strategy than just choosing which of three or so viable builds you want to use. (Which is why I like the skill system in GuildWars a lot.)

  11. Anonymous

    I really liked the skill setup in Matrix Online, it was the only good thing about the game though, which is why it died.

  12. Steve

    I don’t mind a bit of railroading in some of my games, but I cannot stand simple execution challenges. I quite like the symbolic way that Vindictus uses railroading to show that war sucks and you don’t have much of a choice about anything.