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A grade-A ditz tries video games

So I had played like three seconds of Popeye on a home computer (guessing the C64) at a distant relative’s house and had two Game & Watches (Life Boat and a non-Nintendo space shooter, both of which I loved), but the first real video game I really played was Duck Tales.

Loved it, amazing game, kind of sad to start with one of the best games of all time since it was all downhill from there, but point of the story is that I play a couple of levels, get to Transylvania, start talking to Webby, and… I have no idea how to move forward. I was stuck on the same screen for an hour.

Because I didn’t know to press A to continue the dialogue.

I must’ve accidentally hit A without realizing it because I was stuck again the next time, a li’l bit shorter since that time I did figure it out.

That was winter of 90/91. Today, 32 years later I was playing OlliOlli World and first it took me a while to realize that once I’m done with making my character, I need to back out all the way using the B button (the actual making of the character was a li’l bit tricky, too; it says that A “selects” which I at first thought meant confirms that choice. “I don’t wanna confirm this dorky beanie, aren’t there any hijabs?”—and then, some select screens with sub-areas (like selecting your start runs for example) needed one more A to start selecting than the highlighting seemed to indicate, and throughout, “B” for backing out also means confirm).

Then after the first level the visual cues seem to indicate that A would restart the same boring push-five-times tutorial but nope. This time it’s A that’s moving forward. I remember that the original OlliOlli game, which I completed, also had misclick-prone UI with some unintuitive menu flows.

Conclusion: UX does matter in game dev. We want the game part to be challenging but we also want the systems around the game to lead us into that fun part of game.