Casual mode should be the DEFAULT difficulty setting (marked with a red cross)

I just came across a player who presumably didn’t use hints and took 20 hours to beat casual mode. From here on, most people who will buy the game won’t have any real experience with the point-and-click realm and I believe that Casual mode is a great and apt introduction for them to the genre. The player I came across is now replaying the game on hard mode, which will surely keep him occupied for another 20 hours or more. I think most new players won’t QUITE take 20 hours, but will take long enough to have a very substantial and satisfying playthrough and should generally be compelled to then attack hard mode which will take them longer again than casual mode took them (it’s very much more difficult and Casual does not truly prepare one for Hard mode… and it builds in assumptions too which cannot be relied upon in the harder setting).

This is essentially a two-in-one game (by adventure standards) for the “new breed” who pick up this game. Casual is plenty hard enough for them and we shouldn’t be too blinded by collective experience and meta-understanding that we as a community have on the whole regarding these adventures.

I actually think this game would now be best served in having Casual mode marked with the red cross when a player chooses their path. They would be able to of course change it on that screen immediately to hard mode, but the initial selection should already be set to Casual mode IMO. Also, Casual mode should probably be renamed to Normal mode.

This requires removing yourself from our elite little PnC bubble and appreciating where the newer gamers are coming from and what they are getting themselves into IMO.

While it gives me shivers to think that a version deprived of a good chunk of elements that contribute to the story should be called “Normal”, I can understand your opinion and in large part I agree with you (except for naming it “Normal”).

The only doubt that I have is: are we sure that this larger audience would actually prefer the casual version? Would they actually enjoy it more? Is it actually correct to assume that the hard version would frustrate most of them to the point that they would abandon the game?

I’m quite sure they would as a first playthrough, which would lead them to enjoy hard mode more than they otherwise would have in most cases.

I saw a presentation by the LOOM Developer, and he said its the most popular game (forgot under what condition) because people managed to complete it. So yes, if he is right, then we know.

But now the chance of completing the game in hard mode has become more achievable to that larger audience thanks to the hint system. In my opinion the hint system has profoundly changed the way people will perceive the difficulty of the hard mode, so I tend to think that the Casual mode can be a good choice for those who want a shorter game but not necessarily because it’s easier than the Hard mode.


But then they might not feel the acomplishment of finishing without helpline. Not sure if this affects the perception of them game of the common player.

I have no sure answers, but the more I observe other players, the more I tend to believe that “finishing without any help” might not be a very common goal. Many people prefer to use a walkthrough than to feel the frustration of being stuck. Hint systems and walkthroughs exist and are very popular because many people want to be helped and to them it’s more important to progress the game and see how the story evolves than solving puzzles by themselves.

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Mental note: make an adventure game where hints are in-app purchases.

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Sounds like the modern form of Sierra hint book sales. :wink:

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