Great Read: The Cult of the Peacock

A great read recently discovered about the conflict between design artistry and accessibility: The Cult of the Peacock. The author’s opening words describe it well:

It’s easy to forget that at one time all videogames had manuals. I used to like reading manuals. Manuals were cool. Now, instead of manuals, we have interactive tutorials. They take about fifty times longer to produce, three times longer to consume, and players hate them so much that their highest aspiration is to become completely transparent. Currently I spend most of my waking hours developing them. It should come as no surprise that I hate them too.

Some other choice quotes:

. . .  it includes things like airport signage, Bolshevik propaganda and of course videogames.

. . . the user exists perpetually in a state of ‘about to abandon your game in favour of watching cat videos.’

A designer is kind of like a Turing machine: Given enough iterations she can figure out how to teach any player any game mechanic without causing boredom or confusion.

And the finisher:

It’s okay to ask for trust from your users rather than just money; sometimes they even enjoy it.


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