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Link Between Worlds' Superb and Totally Optional Super Guide

by Neal Ronaghan - November 15, 2013, 9:48 am PST
Total comments: 6

Don't forget your Hint Glasses when you go on your next big adventure.

Early on in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, a fortune teller gives you the Hint Glasses. These weird, steampunk-looking specs are the game's version of Nintendo's Super Guide hints and it works in a fantastically underplayed manner. It's the least intrusive and easiest-to-access hint system Nintendo has done in recent memory.

The Hint Glasses are an item you can equip and wear. They darken the area around you and make the question-mark-shaped Hint Ghost appear near different puzzles. If you pay the friendly ghost in Play Coins, he'll then reveal a hint on how to solve the puzzle. Alternatively, you can visit the fortune teller (just outside of Kakariko Village) and ask how to access the different dungeons if you're stumped. The hints are very helpful if you need them. If you don't need or want them, then you can avoid it completely. It's ideal for a hint system.

The Super Guide first showed up in Zelda games in Ocarina of Time 3D as Visions. Available at Shiekah Stones, players could view short clips that gave a good hint as to what to do in certain situations. They were only available after you had reached the area. The process was clumsy, though. If you were stuck in a dungeon, you would have to leave the dungeon to go to a Shiekah Stone to access the Visions. The same process was used in Skyward Sword, though the only location to do this was in Skyloft. You could, however, get somewhat vaguer hints from Fi easily.

Unlike Fi, the hint glasses are completely optional. In my playthrough, I completely forgot about them until the second half. Even then, I only used them to check it out for this article. In the future, I hope more games feature a secondary hint system like the hint glasses in A Link Between Worlds. It's a wonderful crutch if you need it.

Talkback

Leo13November 15, 2013

If you pre-order this game you can get a free copy of either Zelda Oracle of Ages or Oracle of Seasons
for seasons pre-order from Game Stop
For Ages pre-order from Best Buy

Ian SaneNovember 15, 2013

I have a minor beef with the Super Guide in that offering the solution to every obstacle in the game at a moment's notice is kind of raising newer generations of gamers to keep cycling on training wheels.  New gamers are often kids and kids are huge wimps (I know I was) so they're likely to just give up on anything slightly hard in a heartbeat.  So if that's how they're raised what the hell do games become to cater to this audience?  In the past games were pretty damn obtuse and there was nothing but Nintendo Power to get you through it and that wasn't a good thing.  But then I feel we hit a good balance around the 16 bit era in regards to having a challenge that was reasonable.  Then suddenly everyone got scared that if you don't hold the player's hands every second no one will like your game.

But the era of hand holding has already come and there are kids in college who know nothing but.  In that regard the Super Guide is a great compromise because being able to ignore the hand holding is a lot better than everyone being forced to use it.  Skyward Sword was insufferable with that shit.  I was never given a second to even think about a solution without it outright telling me the answer.  Nintendo has gotten so bad at that stuff that I find it insulting.  We used to go on about Nintendo making kiddy games.  Well games that treat the player like they're a five year old ARE kiddy games.  What adult wants to play a game that treats him like an idiot in a condescending way?  If having this option gives me the freedom to figure things out myself, which is the whole reason I'm PLAYING a game in the first place and not watching a playthrough on Youtube, then that's awesome.

Of course the irony of all of this is that no one needs something that tells you the answer.  The "beat the game for me" Super Guide makes some sense since a player may lack the skills to beat a part.  But if you just need to figure out what to do you can always go online.  The funny thing is that the "treat the player like a moron" trend of game design largely correlates with the rise of the internet.  So why was ANY of this dumbing down necessary?  Anyone who got stuck could always go online to seek out the answer.  Gamers were going to start getting raised in an era where the answer was at their fingertips at any moment ANYWAY, so why did every videogame company feel the need to ruin the experience for everyone else?  Odds are any kid who needs to be spoonfed the answers is going to have access to a computer or phone or tablet that can access the answer he wants at any time.  These glasses are an idea that would have been brilliant 15 years ago but solve a non-existent problem today.

Though they solve one problem - that of Nintendo treating their audience like idiots.  Let Nintendo think this unnecessary idea is the greatest thing since sliced bread if it will let the rest of us play a game where we solve the puzzles ourselves.

I 100% disagree. I'd rather stay in the game as opposed to go online. I played Paper Mario: Sticker Star's later areas in front of a computer with a FAQ open. It was the worst gaming experience I've had in years.

And this doesn't treat the gamer like a moron. It's completely optional. I don't understand your point of it being tempting for wimpy gamers, because so is the internet.

Luigi DudeNovember 15, 2013

Not to mention ever since Nintendo create the Super Guide their games have gotten harder as a result, because they don't have to worry about scaring away kids or weaker gamers.  Every recent Nintendo game that uses a Super Guide of some kind is more challenging then their recent counterparts before the guide.

Unless people want Nintendo to start making games as easy as NSMB DS again, the Super Guides have been a good thing since its release.  Who cares if some people use it to get by easier, when for everyone who doesn't use it, the games are better as a result.

Ian SaneNovember 15, 2013

Quote from: NWR_Neal

And this doesn't treat the gamer like a moron. It's completely optional. I don't understand your point of it being tempting for wimpy gamers, because so is the internet.

Perhaps I didn't make it clear.  The mandatory handholding that games like Skyward Sword force on the player treat gamers like morons.  The Super Guide is a massive improvement.  The industry in general has moved more and more into this design where you never leave the player on his own for any length of time without telling him exactly where to go and what to do, even when the genre's very design is such that figuring that stuff out is the whole point in the first place.  This isn't necessary because it's never been easier for a player to find help.  It seems like this design became more and more common as internet access become more common, which really makes no sense at all.  They could do away with all that handholding and no gamer would ever be stumped at what to do next.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterNovember 15, 2013

Quote from: Ian

Quote from: NWR_Neal

And this doesn't treat the gamer like a moron. It's completely optional. I don't understand your point of it being tempting for wimpy gamers, because so is the internet.

Perhaps I didn't make it clear.  The mandatory handholding that games like Skyward Sword force on the player treat gamers like morons.  The Super Guide is a massive improvement.  The industry in general has moved more and more into this design where you never leave the player on his own for any length of time without telling him exactly where to go and what to do, even when the genre's very design is such that figuring that stuff out is the whole point in the first place.  This isn't necessary because it's never been easier for a player to find help.  It seems like this design became more and more common as internet access become more common, which really makes no sense at all.  They could do away with all that handholding and no gamer would ever be stumped at what to do next.

So wait you're basically praising Nintendo for going in this direction...?

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