Editorial: Curiosity Killed the Gamer

There used to be a period in gaming history when gamers were rewarded for their diligence. Gamers were rewarded for exploring every little nook, gap, and pebble within the RPG environment. Items were plentiful. In FFIX, for example, there are a plethora of hidden items within many of the cities just waiting for the curious gamer to stumble upon them.

OMG A CHEST!
OMG A CHEST!

So what happened? Why is it that now, in some of the newer titles, environment exploration is discouraged. Well, discouraged might be too strong of a word. It is, at the very least, very rarely rewarded. One game that stands out in my mind is FFXII. Items are handed to players on a silver platter– in the form of large, randomly appearing chests that just scream to be opened. No excitement here, ladies and gentleman. No thrill of discovering that someone has placed a mythril buckler in a flower pot, or a potion under a pillow.

0 comments

  1. Lol my favourite is Tinctures (I think?) in clocks. XD

    Probably the starkest contrast that you’re going to find between the two schools of exploration you mention, would probably be between KH I&II. In KHII I couldn’t believe how confined the levels were or how obvioulsly its treasure chests were placed in contrast to KHI where finding treasure always felt rewarding.

  2. It was Elixirs, you hippy!

    My personal favorite in “stuff in every nook and cranny” (kind of taken to an extreme) would be the King’s Field games (and their spiritual sucessors). You literally had to do a Wolfenstein 3D-esque hammer on the action button in every corner to find a wall that slid away to reveal a new area or treasure.

  3. The worst part about this change is that even the new games that offer exploration are sadly being weeded out even more. For Eternal Sonata they have a lot of score pieces that you have to find throughout the game, however they also have it as a downloadable item from Xbox Live. So instead of going and finding every piece of music in the game you can just pay 800 Microsoft points and get all the items that way.

  4. @SN – I absolutely agree about Kingdom Hearts. What a major difference between the two titles. I’ll play and enjoy the second title, but I don’t feel the need to explore at all because I know it won’t be rewarded. Also exploration is practically impossible in that game.

  5. Yeah I absolutely adored KHII, but I wish it had more secrets. I remember how rewarding it felt finding stat boosting items in KH1, as you really had to search for them, and combat was difficult enough for them to feel like a substantial find.

  6. @SN – Yup, I adore KHII as well, but I can’t even say it’s an amazing game. I just have a soft spot for that series. That game really turfed what the first game did so well. Let’s hope KHIII has the best of both worlds. When it finally comes out in 398729482 years.

  7. Oh man, that was splendid…

    I remember walking through towns bashing the X-button
    in search for hidden items in pretty much every old console RPG.

    In times where the economy crisis still was but a legend,
    japanese developers hid commercial items plentiful and everywhere.
    They stuffed them into clocks, drawers, bushes and wells.

    But then the dire times of the economy crisis came,
    and they couldnt afford as many items anymore they
    narrowed those hiding places down to chests, closets and barrels.

    I really like games that reward exploration – be it with items, optional scenes or hidden dungeons.

  8. @SN perhaps you were not understanding my point, it is okay because I know you are slightly handicapped. My point was nothing about Eternal Sonata really in storyline or game play but the fact that most games seem to be drifting towards a system that is rewarded not by effort but by money in pocket.

  9. @Ethos- KH 358/2 days, according to RPGFan’s import review, has the difficulty set somewhere between the two console games. I know that has no direct baring on in game exploration, yet the increase in difficulty would seem to suggest that they’ve come to the realization that dumbing KHII down only served to detract from the experience, and that combined with the recycling of some of the KH1 levels looks promising for exploration in 358/2 (lets just hope they get the platforming right, it was a little fiddley and unforgiving in KH).

  10. @Reetin- I never pass up an opportunity to express my extreme distaste for Eternal Sonata.

  11. Actually I am wondering who the hell hides all these
    treasure chests in the most extreme corners of the world.

    Sounds awfully like some rich vendor is trying to
    avoid paying tax to the king !

    The whole “Mc Item” chain of shops was always a bit
    suspicious to me.

  12. This seems to be another article using JRPGs as a paradigm for all games. There is still exploration to be had in games. I use FPS games like Killzone 2 and the Resistance games as an example. You could probably blast through the game without much exploration, but peeking around tends to reveal ammo caches, intel, and other collectables. Works for me, as I absolutely suck at ammo management. *Laughs*

  13. @MC – Ashley did give the RPG context off the top, although I’m in the same boat as you for the ammo thing. I don’t often play shooters, but I just went through Gears 2 on co-op and I was definitely picking up ammo boxes twice as often as he was.

  14. hello people

    it is great pleasure to write here
    i enjoy podcast of you big

    i listened to interview with me and i dont remember
    but it was day of busy worker for us
    we had great presentation for completion

    podcast brought to mind that we concentrate effort on
    put more exploration into metroid in future

    thank you for feedback i look forward to next
    podcast and i wish you of fortune supreme

    -Miyamoto

  15. i forget to say i like nate he look like
    happy little panda on facebook

    -Miyamoto

  16. Well Miyamoto’s english sure does seem to have regressed since he gave his interview, narry a Guv’nor to be found.

  17. Hm, yes that is strange indeed.

    He probably just sucks at writing in english,
    at least that is what I assume.
    Such things happen if you only run audio courses on
    the plane.

  18. Ah well that perfectly explains everything, no more suspicions from me regarding the discrepency between Miyamoto’s english accent and his broken hiku prose, my quandries have been satisfied.

  19. English accent? What are you talking about? Miyamoto-san sported a perfect Japanese accent in our EXCLUSIVE interview with him on the podcast last.

  20. hello ethos person

    i remember you from little picture

    at E3 when i enter structure of room
    you rest next to hairy guy with frequent saying
    “i hate my life” who manufacture interview on me

    i speak “ello guvner” to copy guy of podcast i always
    listen to. (megaphones ahoy podcast!?!?).
    in atmosphere of pleasant fun interview initiates operation

    after interview we make joke on hairy guys mom and
    he go to where exit lingers with mad spirit

    when next podcast meets time of release ?
    i look forward to consuming podcast with ear while
    work on next big game for creation

  21. Ah, Mr. Miyamoto, how excellent to have you here amongst us!

    I can report that our next podcast will be up on Monday morning. We do hope you will tune in and–dare I suggest it–consider some of our arguments about the state of gaming.

    We love your wonderful games and hope you continue to make them (through preferably with less waggle and more exploration).

    All the best, guv’nor!

  22. LOL!

    Hairy guy ? Do you mean Oliver ?
    What did you say that made him so mad ?

  23. Who cares about stupid Miyamoto, I can make good games too! Didn’t you guys like my dog in Fable II?

  24. hello lusipurr person

    superior quality news
    with desire i return at point of time when the sun that
    sets and listen to podcast that is from fresh crafting

    i inspect we share passion of the same
    me for game and lusipurr person for podcast
    both work like zealot with determination of extreme

    i too wish to obtain hat that is gracing lusipurr person
    specify of location where it be commercially obtained please

    hello emperor person

    hairy guy exclaim statment “miyamoto what game of new you show us at E3 please ?”
    i say “hihihi i show already my luigi to mom of you”
    he leave with mad spirit
    no fun to be found in hairy guy
    ethos person do not compare he laughs true with strong joyful expression of fun and i mimic

    i gather renown as clown that is of company
    but motivation stem from smile, funny worker work more better
    so it is consistant of good

    -Miyamoto

  25. molyneux person

    you are dog of street lousy so you have knowledge
    about making dog hihihi

    our product are of quality better and of sale better
    you only posess skill of talk with mask of lies

    -Miyamoto

  26. You think your so bloody big Miyamoto, I’d like to see you create a Natal! Oh yeah baby I’m all up into that shit! Peter Molyneux is number one.

  27. molyneux person

    nintendo do not need conjuring money
    with project of player fondling little kid that is
    of virtual nor do us product commit seppuku with red color ring of devil.

    mario as of plumber never been in contact with same amount of excrement that is all product of you creation. irony ?!?

    In japan saying survives “big men have big penis, small men have small penis”
    sale says im big man you are small man
    no questions for answer thank you

    -Miyamoto

  28. Just came back and it looks like Miyamoto and Molyneux are fighting…

    Man, this website sure is something.

    Its the communication crossroad of the industry,
    no doubt about that.

  29. Shigeru Miyamoto? More like Shit-head Miyalamo!!!!!! Booya you’ve just been burned by the Petemeister!!!!!! Microsoft rules!!!!!! Molyneux rules!!!!!!!! Everyone loves my fondle boy Losermoto!!!! Wooooooo go Peter!!!!!

  30. molyneux person

    wisdom opens my eye
    peasant of microsoft hold microsize genital
    wording spells truth

    you hold penis of dwarf, ego of mount fuji

    please leave quality website i love and disappear
    behind horizon in eternal vanish

  31. You vanish behind mountains of fail Miyamoto!!!!! M$ has the biggest dick, OH YEAH PETER RULES BABY!!!!!! HUGE DICK!!!! GREAT BIG FABLE DICK!!!! MOLYNEUX RULES!!!! YOU CAN’T MAKE DOGS AS GOOD OR GOODER THAN ME!!!!

  32. I really want to tell them to stop, but something…tells me…to…keep….watching…the madness…

  33. all person

    penile gnome make weird terminology below verge of tolerance
    lies gather in quantity and quality of comment is
    not sufficient for skilled webpage,
    skilled personnel of webpage and reader supreme with reflex of literature.

    departure of me is made on temporal point that is now
    with face dressed in mocking expression to molyneux person
    who holds miniature pickle instead of penis

    i return as sun rises again, gaze directed at fresh podcast ear is eager to listen.
    meet you on temporal point that is then

    i wish you of fortune supreme
    and a pleasant moon !

    -Miyamoto

  34. THERE’S NO STOPPING THE PETEMEISTER QUEERMO, OH YEAH!!!! ONCE HE DROPS THE FABLE BOMB, HIS RED RINGS GONNA BE PUMPING ‘TILL DAWN YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!!!!!!! GO TEAM MOLYNEUX!!!!!!

  35. Man, what a heated argument.

    I’m glad that this is over, I still cant believe it.

    Although it makes sense that such influental people
    in the game industry are interested in the professional feedback
    that lusipurr.com supplies.

    But who would have thought that both of them listen to the podcast ?

    Phew… man… what was the topic again ?

    “Exploration and Rewards”

    I like the excellent Editorial written by Ashley,
    mainly because I think its a topic worth discussing.

    So let me ask you, fellow Lusipurrians:

    Do you remember any moment in a game where your curiosity greatly paid off ?
    Did you find something very cool or useful while exploring ?
    A dungeon ? An item ? An easteregg ?

  36. Back in the NES days, in adventure games such as The Legend of Zelda, and in side scrolling exploration games such as Metroid, investigation always paid off–largely because it was one of the main ways to progress. You had to explore to find where to go next, to find the items you needed, and so on. Exploration was rewarded with treasure. It was one of the things I really loved about video games, and one of the things I am sad to see is disappearing. People are no longer being pushed to explore, but rather guided towards regurgitating on screen material so they can shuttle along from A to B at the fastest possible speed. Very disappointing!

    In RPGs one of the earliest moments of truly exploration rewarded with a truly fantastic item was the Crystal Sword in Final Fantasy IV. The final dungeon in FFIV (SNES USA release) did not have all of its passages displayed (unlike in earlier dungeons). Exploration was needed to find out how to reach that sword over on that platform. And what an awesome sword it was!

    Finding the Pink Puffs (in the same game) was pretty cool, too!

    There were many similar things in Final Fantasy VI; lots of hidden items and espers to get, and even hidden characters.

  37. MOLYNEUX DOESN’T HAVE GHERKIN, MOLYNEUX HAS GREAT BIG DICK!!!!! PETER RULES!!!!!!

  38. *cough*

    Looks like someone has just explored another area of their body.

    I remember Final Fantasy games as generally being packed with secret items and summons for players to discover.

    Just think of FF7 – you were able to randomly find the
    sunken shinra airplane on the floor of the ocean.

    Now hat was a surprising discovery for me.
    Surely not as rewarding as the Crystal Sword,
    but it still counts as an amazing exploration moment.

    Talking about that:
    What the heck happened to the good old FF world map ?
    I want to ride around on chocobos or my airship !

  39. @SN: For which we may ALL rejoice.

    The powers that be are conspiring to make certain all future transport is on rails with the passengers having no control. Depressing to see that this has been the case in video games for a while now.

    Someone should put Molyneux in charge of the FAA. Then he can promise us that next year’s planes will not only fly twice as fast, but will run round-trips to Saturn for those who wish to escape the Summer heat.

    He can partner up with Miyamoto, who will design the controls for the aircraft. By jogging in place on top of a Wii Fit Board, and by waving your arms up and down like a bird, you can encourage the plane to lift off!

    The future is NOW.

  40. Wow, I spend a day holed up in the basement off the internet and I missed such an epic battle! It’s not often you get to see two titans of industry in such a raw, uncensored environment. Thank you lusipurr.com!

    As for exploration, I, too am glad to hear about the return or a world map in FFVsXIII if it’s true (No offense SN, but do you have a source for this info?). For all of FFX’s grandiosity, it really would have been nice to get a more open world to explore (although there are a few good examples of exploration rewards, like the extra summons and all the ultimate weapons, but I digress).

    For examples, I hop back to FFVII because, like Oliver and Blue Dragon, I was born upon it’s release and it was the first game I ever played. Great Gospel was an AMAZING reward for exploration. I’m convinced one of the reasons ***FFVII SPOILERS REMOVED BY AUTOMATED INTERNET DRONES*** was because GG would have made any boss with a reasonable amount of HP a cakewalk.

    FFVII also had one of my classic examples of punishing exploration, however, in the form of Emerald Weapon. I know at least 3 people (including myself) who’s first reaction to the giant green thing swimming around was “Hey, I wonder what happens if I run into it”, followed promptly by the FF equivalent of tentacle-monster rape.

    The problem is I don’t think I’d have nearly enough time for such games today, but that’s a topic for another time.

  41. I wouldn’t exactly call Molyneux a titan, charlitain more like.

    As for exploration, I, too am glad to hear about the return or a world map in FFVsXIII if it’s true (No offense SN, but do you have a source for this info?)

    They have mentioned it in interviews and even released a picture at one point. Ultimately no one can be 100% certain about what is going to make the cut until the game launches, but given all of Nomura’s indications it’s fairly safe to assume FFVSXIII will have a world map (and zepplins apparently).

  42. I found that key thing in the bottom of the ocean not remembering it was there by accident when I played FFVII again not too long ago. My gripe with FF7’s exploration would mostly be that you had to do that horrid chocobo raising bullshit to explore much of the world.

  43. Yeah randomly breeding chocobos to get the golden chocobo was murder.