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Feature: How Not To Make Your Tutorial

In the latest in his long-running Designer's Notebook feature column, veteran Ernest Adams looks at eight don'ts of tutorial design, ripped from actual games -- and e
In the latest in his long-running Designer's Notebook feature column, veteran Ernest Adams looks at eight don'ts of tutorial design, ripped from actual games -- and explains why they are must-miss. "Recently I had the privilege of serving on the jury for the Extra Credits Innovation Awards, which meant that I had to play -- and therefore, learn to play, several games in a hurry," writes Adams. "One or two had tutorial modes so bad that I decided we'd better talk about them." A sample of one of Ernest's eight examples follows: Make the player read a lot. Give the player screen after screen after screen of introductory material to read, with nothing to do but press a button to move from one to the next. Write it in faux-medieval language full of anachronisms, or worse yet, as the monologue of some tiresome mentor character with a lot of irritating verbal mannerisms. ("The A button swingeth thy sword! Essay it now. Aye, 'tis well done.") Display it all in an ugly typeface that was originally intended for headlines or poster titles, but never for large blocks of text. That's just the tip of the iceberg, of course, and Adams further enumerates what's wrong with this example as well as sharing seven other prime examples of sins against tutorializing in the full feature -- live now on Gamasutra.

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