I never understood sports games, they seemed pointless to me since you could, you know, just go outside and play regular sports? Video games create an amazing media with which you can create anything your imagination allows. So it always proved strange to me that one would put hours and years of work into a game that simulates something that would be cheaper to do right outside your own front door.
But Olli Olli 2 gave me a look into why one might play such a game, because, while I technically could put several months of work into learning to skateboard, I have no reason or wish to do so. And Ollie Ollie isn’t the same as riding a skateboard. Yes, there is a man and yes, he does indeed skateboard,but the game has more in common with a rhythm game than it does actual skateboarding.
But I never would have even picked up the controller if it hadn’t been for the amazing tutorial.
Olli Olli 2 is difficult game; you skateboard in various places with varying obstacles, but the main mechanic is timing: jump at the right moment, land in a very specific window of time. Every landing, every jump, every trick could spell a defeat.
And with such high stakes and difficulty a good tutorial is very important. Without one players could become frustrated, either by the difficulty or, even worse, by being babied.
The ‘tutorial’ itself is simply how to move forward, how to jump, how to land. It takes about a minute and is just to get in the basics, but when you take a good look at the game, from Level One the the final track, the whole game is the tutorial. Introducing just enough difficulty at a time to create a challenge, but not so much to warrant to use of helpful how to bubbles.
It’s pulled off so masterfully you don’t even realize it’s happening
More games need to be handled this way. The sea of information delivered by friendly bubbles needs to stop, it patronizes the player and often, with how many people simply skip the tutorial, you would be better off giving no tutorial whatsoever and just saying good fucking luck.