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Design Notes: DS starting screens

I have been playing Henry Hatsworth for a while now, and have been somewhat enjoying it, though it definitely has its ups and downs. Something I cannot stand, however, is the starting screen.

I have been playing Henry Hatsworth for a while now, and have been somewhat enjoying it, though it definitely has its ups and downs. Something I cannot stand, however, is the starting screen.

Don’t put anything in your game that goes against the player’s wish to play. That’s a good rule to design by. And the very first thing you encounter when you turn Henry Hatsworth on seems to go against that.

It’s a very simple flaw: the start menu is located in the bottom DS screen, the one we are accustomed to interact with using the stylus. But for some reason the screen won’t take stylus input, so you must use the D-pad and buttons no navigate it. It looks like a minor detail, but the game definitely sends some mixed messages by not letting players interact with it in the most intuitive way.

The complete antithesis of this is Rhythm Heaven. That game is all about using the stylus to touch and flick, touch and flick. And the starting screen won’t even let you play them game unless you prove you can flick with the stylus. After you turn it on a little icon appears, prompting you to flick it. Want to play this game? You better learn how to flick!

I find it hard to believe that Henry Hatsworth’s starting screen was playtested much, if at all. True, it’s just a starting screen. But it’s precisely the first thing your players will interact with, so you better take good care of it.

I am more than happy to touch you, sir. Thanks for the offer.

 I am more than happy to touch you sir, thanks for the offer.

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