6/18/07

Pattern Recognition VS Skill

It's official, I am absolutely, totally hooked on Ninja Gaiden. This game is so great because the level of difficulty is high but not for the typical reasons most NES titles are hard. One thing in new games these days (at least the good ones) that people take for granted is the fact that enemies don't react the exact same way with every interaction. There are slight differnces in the way enemies move even if you're doing the same actions to them. This really keeps you on your toes because you can't just pull some "one step to the left --enemy moves to the perfect spot-- then you stomp him" repetetive movements to defeat a vilain. Ninja Gaiden is not the type of game that allows you to memorize enemies movements and simply learn the pattern to beat the level. Obviously certain enemies have certain weapons and movements, but it's when they use them and how they move that makes it great. In order to defeat the number of enemies that come at you, especially in the later levels, you really have to become skilled at the game. The Knife Guys (that's what I call them) never throw the knife with the same pattern, and for that matter, neither do the Flying Ninjas With Stars (oh how I hate them). This is when you really get rewarded from a game, you know you're good at the game and not just the pattern.

One perfect example at this is the simple change between Pacman and Ms. Pacman. Here's looking at you Pinky, Blinky, Inky, and Clyde.

4 comments:

mndrix said...

Good point. Once again we see that gaming is about challenging humans not robots. If a robot can be trained to beat the game, it's not worth playing.

TanookiTravis said...

That's a good point, there are a ton of games, old ones in particular that you could simply program a character to beat the game for you. Never thought of it that way but it's true.

"I AM NOT A ROBOT... and i am not a man..."

JJGames said...

I used to love Contra back in the day, but now it isn't as much fun because I have memorized the pattern. I can beat the game without dying not because I am that good but because I know when to duck, where to shoot, and at what times. You are so right that pattern recognition does not a great game make.

TanookiTravis said...

I think that's the main thing that has gotten me to fall in love with Ninja Gaiden all over again. The fact that I've purchased multiple Virtual Console games (ex. Punch Out!, Golden Axe, Bonk's Adventure) since the Wii launched I have discovered that so much of gaming is just that, pattern recognition. But when I stumbled upon this whole random enemy thing, it just hit me.