Thoughts on "Game Overs"

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Kinmoku
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Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#1 Post by Kinmoku » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:48 am

Hey all,

I was wondering what everyone's take is on "game overs"? Not "bad endings", but actual game overs, start again etc.

Personally, I find them quite annoying. I always get a game over the first time I play a VN and it's upsetting/ demotivating :( I guess it's because they seem a little sudden and out of the blue. If you can see things going badly but are given the chance to rescue it, then I don't mind that so much, but, to me, they seem to be there as gameplay mechanic to cause irritation. However, I think Katawa Shoujo used them well - I guess because they made a lot of sense - but that's all I can think of.

Maybe it's just me anyway! I'd love to know what everyone else thinks :)

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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#2 Post by Keinart » Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:20 am

They don't make that much sense in visual novels since you can't really punish the player just for picking a wrong choice. Every wrong choice should give you something, as you said, in Katawa Shoujo those bad endings were at least somehow elaborated making them interesting even if they are negative.

Now in your average game it's great as long as you make sure your game is fair. You lose because you messed up? Then Game Over, that way when you finally reach your goal it feels more gratificating because you have surpassed yourself.

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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#3 Post by SundownKid » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:34 am

Yeah, I feel like, assuming it's not part of some sort of gameplay, a game over in a straight visual novel is just plain bad. There should at least be some kind of effort put into making a "bad end" even if it's short, otherwise having no choice at all would be better.

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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#4 Post by Googaboga » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:49 am

For me it's like most game dev options, it can work and it can not work. It depends on the situation.

If there is a set goal you've got to achieve to reach any kind of ending having game overs along the way can fit right in, even if you reach or don't reach the goal by just making choices. A simple example would be some kind of mystery VN, if you didn't figure out x thing you can't go any further in the story and need to try again.
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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#5 Post by Katta » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:40 am

Is it like dying in the game? I love it, the more the merrier.

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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#6 Post by ketskari » Fri Nov 20, 2015 5:57 pm

I enjoy game over endings more when they're consistently clever or funny. I can think of a few text adventures and adventure games that do this, but not many visual novels off the top of my head. Quest for Glory IV comes to mind, when you could always watch the player character get turned into a slug or eaten by the be-tentacled creature guarding the monastery when you got bored or stuck.

However, making me put effort into reading all the way to a certain point in a VN, then handing me a game over that will require considerable backtracking, nearly guarantees I will never play the game again. And where's the fun if you have to play a game with a walkthrough? :\

So I wouldn't add game overs at all unless the player could easily rollback, or the game gave you an option to jump back to the choice that set the player down that path so they could try again, or fair foreshadowing allowed the player to guess ahead of time. In that last case, part of the puzzle of the game becomes predicting the story, and I can get on board with that.
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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#7 Post by Kinmoku » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:46 am

I meant purely from a VN perspective, but yeah, it really does depend on a case by case basis. They make sense with Virtue's last reward and Hatoful Boyfriend too, but they're almost designed around the mechanic.

It's interesting that it seems the majority don't like them when there's so many in VNs.

I ask because my game currently doesn't have game overs and I wondered if it's a bad thing? It doesn't make sense to have them though... bad endings, sure, but not game overs.

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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#8 Post by Anne » Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:09 am

It's interesting that it seems the majority don't like them when there's so many in VNs.
Like with any way to increase play time without adding content?

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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#9 Post by MilkChocoPanda » Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:05 pm

I'm not annoyed by game overs, but they don't really do much. To me, it's literally just a shorter version of a bad end. It's not demotivating either because with visual novels, you have to save a lot, and I always have a slot to load and just restart from where I got the game over. On the other hand, it would be better to not have them since they're usually abrupt. If it's a game over not relating to death, it becomes even more useless.

Basically, I'm neutral.

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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#10 Post by Kinmoku » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:07 am

MilkChocoPanda wrote:It's not demotivating either because with visual novels, you have to save a lot, and I always have a slot to load and just restart from where I got the game over.
Haha, that probably explains why I dislike them! I often forget to save, not just in VNs either, all games and work :-/ I guess frequent saving in VNs, for me, breaks immersion. I don't mind game overs that puts you back before you made the wrong decision, like Hotel Dusk, but even then it can be annoying if you keep selecting the wrong answer and have to keep reloading the game. Perhaps it also means less this way too?

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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#11 Post by MilkChocoPanda » Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:36 pm

Kinmoku wrote: I don't mind game overs that puts you back before you made the wrong decision, like Hotel Dusk, but even then it can be annoying if you keep selecting the wrong answer and have to keep reloading the game. Perhaps it also means less this way too?
Whoa, how many game overs do you mean? I'm fine with like one or two, but if there's more than that, it's probably too much. If there were a bunch of game overs, there should be a quick save button so the player can't break immersion. I agree that it's annoying sometimes, though. And yes, less is always better. Too much of the same thing seems repetitive and unnecessary (hopefully I don't sound harsh haha).

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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#12 Post by Kinmoku » Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:25 am

Well, in Hotel Dusk at least, you get a lot of game overs BUT they put you back before you made the wrong decision. That's ok, you don't lose your progress, but it almost seems unnecessary as there's no real consequence. However, I still find it annoying because I have to wait for the game over screen to come up, restart in the menu etc all for making the choice I felt was right. It almost feels like I shouldn't have had a choice in the first place.

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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#13 Post by Quelcezot » Sat Nov 28, 2015 6:51 pm

I think knowing that the visual novel can end badly and encourage the reader to choose their decisions more carefully rather than just whatever they happen to feel like at the time.

It's a good idea to utilize bad ends that way in theory, but the bad ends have to be fulfilling or their presence is only good when the reader avoids them.

In the VN I'm working on, finishing a bad end triggers a short explanatory scene followed by being returned to the last choice. In this VN it's always possible to live up until the very end, but making certain decisions will make some choices end fatally even when they otherwise wouldn't. I think considering how to cause minimum frustration with them is also a good idea.
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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#14 Post by reignrevonica » Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:31 pm

I find them extraordinarily pesky. :roll: They are, as you've said, demotivating and it's a large part of why I don't like them. It's like; "Now I have to start over?! It was going so well..." Well, kind of, anyway.
I don't hate them, but they are annoying.

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Re: Thoughts on "Game Overs"

#15 Post by Kumiho » Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:54 pm

I can see myself enjoying "game overs" that both (1) are well developed and (2) provide some additional detail(s) regarding the story that cannot be otherwise learned in a way that keeps the story consistent.

Imo it's important to note that there's a world of difference between hard and obnoxious, with game overs generally being the latter. A lot of devs/authors seem to incorporate game overs in order to arbitrarily make their game seem "harder", which generally ends up being counter-intuitive. Rather, game overs are best when they further (as opposed to hinder) the gameplay, plot, and/or characterization.

IIRC Kara no Shoujo & Nameless pulled them off fairly well, although admittedly a lot of their game overs were fairly gratuitous/fan-service-esque.

Edit/P.S.: Game overs are lowkey the whole point of & the primary source of entertainment in Long Live the Queen, and it works--damn well, at that.

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