Long story short I am making a game, and I feel my game is too straightforward in making the user feel stupid (i.e : tutorial press button ... to move, etc). How can I make it feel more subtle, or even not offend their intellectuality with these learning phases of the game?

P.s : I am posting this question on the user experience question corner instead of game making corner, because this question is literally connected on a design perspective not mechanical ones.

p.s.s : Sorry for the bad English, it's not my first language. :]

  • 1
    most games offend users in one way or another, and I mean SERIOUSLY, including scamming them. Your case isn't even relevant to the possibility of offending someone , but not having it could be a very bad experience for those that need that onboarding stage
    – Devin
    Sep 29, 2016 at 18:04
  • 2
    You should watch this hilarious Egoraptor video, which includes an analysis of Megaman, which provides an example of what you are thinking. Sep 29, 2016 at 22:23
  • This reminds me of how my son Agustin would say literally "This is humiliating!" at age 5 when he interacted with silly kid-oriented pages. They notice it!
    – Juan Lanus
    Oct 4, 2016 at 21:16
  • Jon Blow has a lot of talks regarding this topic on YouTube. His game Braid is a very good example of teaching without words. Do not punish experimentation until you're sure the user has learned that concept. Introduce concepts one at a time. Layer concept usage. Never assume the person has never played a game, even if they haven't, that they can't derive basic information (bad guys are bad, falling in pits is bad, etc) Oct 6, 2016 at 19:58

2 Answers 2


One game that comes to mind is Super Meat Boy (SMB). SMB doesn't really have a tutorial, but the first few levels act like one. The player has to perform certain mechanics to complete the level, and these mechanics are emphasized by the level's design. Want to teach the player about long jumping? Give them a big hole where the only way across is a long jump. Want to teach them about wall sliding? Give them a level where most of the level involves wall sliding in order to complete it.

Keep in mind these levels are also accompanied with little tutorial popups that show what the desired action is, and how the player can perform it. The biggest thing to pull from these is that it doesn't pause gameplay and there isn't any text description of the tutorial. Pausing gameplay to teach the player something that they may or may not know kills the pace of the level. If they are seasoned, they will already know, and if they are not, then having a video demonstration, not a lecture, will provide the clearest and most player empowering way of teaching them.

Another game that I've seen do this well is Volgarr (disclaimer: I haven't played the game, but have seen a little bit of gameplay). Volgarr, if memory serves, doesn't have a tutorial, but similar to SMB, has obstacles at the beginning levels that require you to perform certain game mechanics. The interesting thing about Volgarr was that it didn't prompt the player with how to do it, but only presented the obstacle. It was up to the player to discover the solution, via pressing buttons.

These examples worked in their respective games, but keep in mind that context is key. They might have worked for one game, but it might not work for yours. Keep the theme of the game in mind, as well as the context of the situation.

  • Thank you for the answer!, this give me quite a bit of inspiration on how my games is going to be like :D Sep 30, 2016 at 6:15

This really depends on the kind of gamer you are targeting for your game. is it a more casual gamer,a mobile gamer or an advanced gamer that plays network games. Based on this the challenges you put in front of them is either going to feel stupid or challenging.

Also the type of game you are designing. does it geared towards faster reflexes or more towards thinking and problem solving. because these are 2 different types of challenges

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.