Wednesday, February 25, 2015

No floating for the S-team

They are N (14), A (13) and L (9) respectively. They have been asking for news about Bilou everytime we meet since about 5 years, now. At first, they would quickly ask me for another game, but nowadays, they will barely wonder whether there's something else than "School Rush" on my DS. They are the S-team.

I got quite surprised by how they reacted to the introduction of power-ups in the game, though. They essentially didn't care. They were focused on trying to beat the game at "normal" difficulty level. For that, they need to RUN, JUMP and GRAB from time to time. They are quite happy that ennemies are mostly things to avoid, apparently. They're not trying to take them out: that would simply expose them or slow them down. They welcome avoided battles.

La S-team ... 3 de mes neveux qui sont fans de Bilou, et qui se sont pris au jeu de parvenir à triompher du challenge de "School Rush". Je m'attendais à un engouement vis-à-vis de la possibilité de faire des vols planés avec les nouveaux power-ups, mais j'ai été plutôt surpris. Pour eux (en tout cas pour les plus âgés, 13 et 14 ans) , courir et sauter, c'est le principal. Les éponges sont un mal nécessaire, et si les ennemis ne sont que des choses à éviter, pour eux, c'est aussi bien comme ça. Tout l'inverse de leur cadette, en somme.

I chatted a bit with A about how I was surprised by her decision to ignore interplay with ennemies altogether. She replied she was focusing on her target. She had no time to toy with monsters: she wanted to beat the game.

Admittedly, doing a float-jump is quite demanding at the moment. You need to grab and carry a dumblador (that's quite easy, but may somewhat slow you down in some levels). Then you need to approach and dispatch a pendat with ballistic shot. With some luck (3 times out of 4), a power-up will be released, but you need to move without taking a hit until you reach the place where you can use it. Then you must remember to press (Y) mid-air -- and not during the ascencion phase of your jump -- to activate floating. Meanwhile, nothing is there during RUNs and JUMPs to remind you of your new power.

Je réessaierai après avoir réglé les problèmes de facilité de manipulation. Utiliser un troisième bouton, c'est réclamer un autre niveau de maîtrise du gameplay. Basculer entre (A) et (B) c'est passer son pouce de "ici" à "à-côté". Ajouter un 3eme bouton, c'est la situation où Super Mario World vous demande la première fois de retrouver le bouton qui fait le saut-toupie pour franchir un mur de blocs. Quand on y joue qu'une fois par semaine pendant une 20aine de minutes, ça veut dire qu'on a besoin de regarder la manette, trouver où est quel bouton. Ça veut dire qu'on devient vulnérable parce que découpé une fraction de seconde du monde virtuel dans lequel on s'était immergé. Ça veut dire aussi que l'on sera confus sur les boutons pour les quelques secondes qui suivent. Alors, il semblerait bien que mon idée [R] = roll, [L] = spin pour les mouvements complémentaires n'est pas compatible avec le gameplay de School Rush.

Bringing the game from 1.2 to 3 buttons is not a complete stranger to the issue. I recall those locations in Super Mario World where you had a vertical wall to break were leading me to misuse actions a lot. Would there be a mere goomba moving towards me in such a place, my chances to beat the levels within 3 lives became fairly slim. The reason was I would only play occasionally. I couldn't really learn where is which action with my bones. That would remain some "err... which button does what, again ?" as soon as I need to use more than "the one under my thumb, and the one just next to it".

For the next time, I will try to find some solution with e.g. double-(A) pressing. We shall see how L -- who has a more exploring gameplay -- will react.

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