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Nintendo Hint System Wants to Play Games for You

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 17 comments

If Nintendo follows through on a newly discovered patent, then the gap between video games and cinema will truly be erased.

According to a patent filed by Nintendo guru Shigeru Miyamoto, the company would implement a new "hint system" in their games. This Hint System would allow for gamers to watch a game being played by the console itself, either from start to finish or specific points in the game. Also, when the console is playing through a game, the user has the option of taking the game over with the push of a button.

So what does the development community think of this possible trend? Mixed feelings to say the least. Kotaku had a chance to ask several developers what they thought about the Hint System. "I'm in Fallout 3 and have focused energy on sneak and unarmed combat," said Prince of Persia Producer Ben Mattes. "If I'm in a particular point in the game I can't pass, and I use this system, what 'recording' could the game know to use? It can't possibly have developer walkthroughs of all possible configurations of a character and strategies to pass through each in-game challenge."

On the other hand, Todd Howard, who is a Game Director for Bethesda (who actually makes Fallout 3), sees it from a different perspective. "Most people stop playing a certain game because they get frustrated or confused by what the game wants them to do," says Howard. "It becomes work and frustration, as opposed to ‘playtime.’ This idea clearly tries to alleviate that. It’s much like passing the controller to someone who knows the game really well, so you can move ahead or simply enjoy the story."

Either way, the new feature would be optional, and even a fresh perspective for even the most hardcore gamers. Titles like Metal Gear Solid 4, if used in conjunction with this Hint System, could be played like the game that was so popular this year, or watched like a movie, with its plethora of cinematics.

If the Hint System does come to life, I doubt it will be on the Wii. Look for it on Nintendo's next generation offering...whatever that ends up being.

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  • 0 Hide
    coolgamer512 , January 11, 2009 2:46 AM
    If you ask me, I think that's kinda stupid for a game console/
  • 0 Hide
    trainreks , January 11, 2009 3:41 AM
    they probably got the idea after browsing through youtube.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 11, 2009 7:04 AM
    Kind of a dumb article. No one said it had to work for farcry and fallout 3... Sounds like it would work on 'simple' Nintendo kids games if you ask me.
  • 0 Hide
    Master Exon , January 11, 2009 12:41 PM
    This is actually a strikingly amazing ideas. You guys probably are not competitive PC gamers, so I'll have to explain this. In a lot of PC games, you can improve your skills by watching replays of much better players through the game itself. This will create two basic classes of users.

    1. There will be those who want to watch the game played flawlessly all the way through. This crowd already exists, people watch "speed-runs" on the internet. Now speedrunners can compete against the machine.

    2. Many casual players will get stuck at a certain part of game. They will be very frustrated and confused. They'll be in those situations where you say "How the fuck was I suppose to know I need to crouch with a specific item selected at this brick wall and wait for a tornado?" Since many casual gamers are not skilled enough in video games (like most of us here) to know things like that, they could really use a robot to get them across a small part of the game. More casual gamers will complete the game.
  • 2 Hide
    NuclearShadow , January 11, 2009 3:45 PM
    I can see so many flaws with this... With this option how do you expect the gamer to actually get any better? Sure they may learn what to do to get past a certain area but its not going to improve their skills at actually playing. They will simply become dependent on the help.

    I remember when I was three years old and was beating games on the NES and SMS it sure the heck wasn't easy for me and it took me a long time to do it but I still look back and am glad that I did. If I had this "hint system" (I would call it a cheat personally) I wouldn't have these fond memories nor would I be nearly as good of a gamer as I am today.

    Secondly this makes me wonder how the game would play itself without cheating in certain scenarios. Lets say its a turned based combat RPG your playing and you have 1 HP left only one character alive and no heals or revives. There's no way to kill the enemies all in one hit and they will get a chance to attack. Will you just watch as the console constantly fails over and over? Or will it cheat itself and put god mode on? If it does cheat what would be the point as it wouldn't be teaching the gamer anything other than to use cheats.
  • 1 Hide
    Tindytim , January 11, 2009 4:17 PM
    This is logistically retarded. As mentioned in the article, planning out all the hints would either be extremely tiresome, and it would add quite a bit of time into bug testing. And even if they had AI for certain situation, that just opens it up for more error.

    And as for the speedrun comment, that's retarded. Speedruns are most commonly acheived by doing things in an unorthodox manner, usually by sequence breaking. And you'd probably keep things orthodox for new players.

    Quote:
    Secondly this makes me wonder how the game would play itself without cheating in certain scenarios.

    It wouldn't. My understanding is, it would be for situations where a person might not know where to go, or where a certain aspect, or use of a weapon/technique/plot device, is needed to pass an area.
  • 1 Hide
    eklipz330 , January 11, 2009 5:52 PM
    nintendo's next gen console: the Yuu
    their motto: Yuu don't have to play

    but yeah i don't find it as a bad idea, people dont HAVE to use it, and i personally would never, but its not a bad addition for noobs i guess
  • 1 Hide
    NuclearShadow , January 11, 2009 5:54 PM
    TIndytimThis is logistically retarded. As mentioned in the article, planning out all the hints would either be extremely tiresome, and it would add quite a bit of time into bug testing. And even if they had AI for certain situation, that just opens it up for more error.And as for the speedrun comment, that's retarded. Speedruns are most commonly acheived by doing things in an unorthodox manner, usually by sequence breaking. And you'd probably keep things orthodox for new players.It wouldn't. My understanding is, it would be for situations where a person might not know where to go, or where a certain aspect, or use of a weapon/technique/plot device, is needed to pass an area.



    I understand that but your your leaving out the potential that there may be things that can hurt the player along the way. If the player is already is already unlikely state of survival the "hint system" would have to cheat to achieve its goal.
  • 1 Hide
    cappster , January 11, 2009 5:57 PM
    Two words: Cheat Codes
  • 1 Hide
    bf2gameplaya , January 11, 2009 9:33 PM
    Dragon's Lair: 3D?

    /everything old is new again
  • 1 Hide
    Tindytim , January 11, 2009 10:14 PM
    NuclearShadowI understand that but your your leaving out the potential that there may be things that can hurt the player along the way. If the player is already is already unlikely state of survival the "hint system" would have to cheat to achieve its goal.


    Maybe you remember back in the day of old adventure games, you could end up at a dead end in progression, making it impossible to continue without restarting the game, or going to a previous save game.

    I would considering that bad game design. But I would think I better idea of a hint system would be less, doing it for you, and more showing you how it's done. For example:

    You're playing a platforming game, and you can't figure out how to cross a gap. You start the hint, and an AI takes over, and a small picture of the face of the controller, and the buttons unseen from the top next to it. You'd be able see the button presses, and it's actions.

    Then you'd regain control right back at the start.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 11, 2009 10:42 PM
    In games like Prince of Persia, I think this could be possible.
    It's no different than seeing a movie played back, with a world created by a graphic card.

    I doubt the 'demo' will show all the bonus stages or extra's.

    On WOW, that would be rather impossible. I think WOW and POP don't exist on Nintendo,but perhaps there are similar Nintendo games.

    It definitely defeats the purpose of some games like eg: Zelda, or Myst, where the clue of it all is to search and find.
    Maybe there will be lots of people who normally would spend 5 minutes searching, now use the 'demo' to help them out (out of lazyness or whatever), and may find the game in the end disappointing...
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 12, 2009 3:21 AM
    Wow thats a good idea because when you do get to watch someone fight its like studieing a fight and your know all the moves the opponent can do
    and also teach you things you never knew before.
  • 0 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , January 12, 2009 4:18 AM
    It might be more productive to compare and contrast this with buying a strategy guide book, or looking up a walkthrough online. For example:
    Similarity - get you out of a tough situation, find out where to go, etc. without you having to figure it out.
    Difference - the text guide doesn't actually play the game for you.
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , January 12, 2009 7:48 AM
    this is pretty nintendo stuff only, you know, games for kids.
  • 0 Hide
    Phosters , January 12, 2009 6:38 PM
    I agree that it could produce "lazy gamers" but if we are dependant on games as a society to teach a work ethic I think we have bigger problems to worry about.
  • 0 Hide
    wilyry , January 12, 2009 7:52 PM
    Master ExonThis is actually a strikingly amazing ideas. You guys probably are not competitive PC gamers, so I'll have to explain this. In a lot of PC games, you can improve your skills by watching replays of much better players through the game itself. This will create two basic classes of users.1. There will be those who want to watch the game played flawlessly all the way through. This crowd already exists, people watch "speed-runs" on the internet. Now speedrunners can compete against the machine.2. Many casual players will get stuck at a certain part of game. They will be very frustrated and confused. They'll be in those situations where you say "How the fuck was I suppose to know I need to crouch with a specific item selected at this brick wall and wait for a tornado?"


    Castlevania 2 for NES anybody? I was one of the people pulling my hair out especially at a time when the internet was crawling out of it's primordial soup, and walkthroughs were non-existant.