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      Gaming Gossip: Episode 9 - We take on and share our thoughts about the yellow paint debate

      We talk about how accessibility and tutorial mechanics have been managed in games as of late, and the positives and negatives of these recent methods.

      Audio transcription

      "Hello everyone and welcome back to I think this could be our eighth or ninth episode of Gaming Gossip. I've lost track. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter.
      We're here, the gang as usual, as I like to call us, the bad boys, Ben, Alex, David."

      "There we go. Today we're gonna be talking about a topic that's less sort of time-sensitive as we have done in the past. We're gonna be talking about the whole yellow paint debate.
      For those people who aren't familiar with what the yellow paint debate is, it's essentially this idea that game developers use yellow paint in games and amid of other different accessibility ideas to help people along the way."

      "And sometimes it's very useful. Sometimes it's very, it's something we like to highlight and talk about. And sometimes it's a bit of a negative and it leads to some criticisms.
      And there's a whole bunch of different reasons as to why it's a topic of debate.
      So that's what we're going to talk about today. So to kick that off, I guess, you know, what's sort of our general consensus about yellow paint?
      Do we think it's good for the video games? Do we think it's sort of holding them back?
      What's sort of the take on it?
      It's good for me. I like it. It works for me. You know, I'll take the name bad boy, but only, you know, with the brackets at games in between it, I think."

      "Because, yeah, I don't know, sometimes I will need something to be like, yeah, this is where you need to go. There was a lot of times, I was playing, the thing I think of is The Last of Us Part II Remastered, where I was playing that and I was like, OK, follow the light."

      "But then there's some sections in the series where I'm like, OK, there's a lot of bits where it just feels very, and then you'll get to a door.
      The amount of times you go to unlock a door and it's like, no, not that door.
      That door's locked. You have to go find another way into that."

      "And it's like, why do I have the prompt to even unlock the door?
      In any case, I need it because I'm not very good at many things.
      But, you know, I think it's a thing of like, it doesn't really, does it really break the immersion that much?
      I don't think so. I think there's cases where it can, but I think for the most part, I think that, again, we use the topic, it's yellow paint, right? That's the thing that we use as the thing that stands out."

      "You go into a game where the quite natural environments and then all of a sudden this yellow paint saying this is where you can climb or something.
      And that's the thing that people draw their attention to.
      But there are various different accessibility avenues that they use to, to help gamers along. And I, again, I think that, I think that they're generally speaking well done."

      "And I think that they're, I think that they're a benefit to players because, again, if you want that sort of hyper immersive quality, then you can go and find games that are like that.
      But for a lot of people, games are supposed to be fun."

      "You're supposed to be able to go in and be able to enjoy yourself, not get confused and aggravated and frustrated, not knowing where to go and what you can and cannot climb.
      So I think, I think that is helpful, especially for those who, again, you know, require those sort of accessibility features to be able to play games in the first place, you know, and we're not just talking about those with disabilities either."

      "There are younger players, people who need those things to help them along their way.
      We've improved a lot in that regard.
      And mostly thanks to games such as The Last of Us or God of War or Forza Motorsport. Right. But I think it's, I mean, lots of words be spoken about this matter because I think it mostly depends on the genre we're talking about."

      "So the main like sort of controversy came up after Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, if I'm correct. Right. So Yellowpaint, I think it all started with Uncharted-like games, like the very Uncharted and then Assassin's Creed-ish and, and God, Tomb Raiders, right."

      "That followed sort of the semi-open world plus Uncharted-like sections.
      And we briefly discussed how in a previous episode, how Roblox and new audiences needed to be hand-guided in a very different way, in a very fast, you know, like, you can do this."

      "I'm hand-holding you because I'm teaching you very quick the things you can do and how my friend Elena from Razer Games had this beautiful thread on Twitter explaining how audiences change things.
      But I think you mentioned something very important here, Ben, that is how, as I said, depending on the game and depending on the genre, it can be a little bit too intrusive or, you know, like breaking the immersion, missing the point, actually."

      "So, and it's not only like Yellowpaint.
      I've seen yellow leaves in Prince of Persia, the latest game, which seemed a bit awkward to me.
      I mean, it's a Metroidvania and I'm supposed to explore."

      "So, yeah, there is this wind and these leaves leading me to the next place.
      But then all of a sudden the following section is like proper labyrinthine sort of type of deal that you have to explore and find your way around.
      So I think for, and if you go more cinematic, it's for developers, their role is to teach audiences too."

      "So I understand when you sort of need some guidance.
      But for example, I recently started Viewfinder.
      If you handhold the player too much, part of the magic is lost.
      And in those games where you have to realize what's possible in the world, such as Viewfinder, so you start the game right off, you fall off of a bridge, of a broken bridge."

      "And that's the way the game uses to teach you, you can rewind by pressing circle on the PS5.
      So what if the game right off from scratch tells you, hey, you can use circle to rewind."

      "Then you won't feel as much of a part of the experience itself, right?
      And I think that happens a lot.
      And I think, yeah, yellow paint when it's generic, yeah, you can perhaps switch it on and off or perhaps have a brighter paint for those who require it."

      "But at the same time, sometimes it can be really intrusive in my opinion.
      Yeah, I would agree.
      I mean, I know there's a game coming up that I had a chance to play back at Gamescom called Botany Manor, which it's very similar to Viewfinder, right?
      It's those sort of puzzle games, first person."

      "Again, it's not very fast.
      It's all about picking up clues and figuring out how to solve these problems.
      It's not a puzzle game in the sense that we've seen some other puzzle games, but it's very similar to Viewfinder in that regard."

      "And again, they don't use those sort of accessibility features like that.
      If you get stuck on a puzzle, like you just have to sort of figure it out.
      You have to just sort of look at the clues and piece it together and figure out how it works."

      "And I think it's got its benefits to doing that.
      But at the same time, there are other games at a faster pace that need to have that helping hand to be able to ease them along.
      And it's not, again, it's not just yellow paint."

      "Like we use yellow paint as a prime example, but it's happened for decades now with things like red barrels, right?
      Everyone knows that a red barrel explodes, right?
      And you know that if something's red, then it's probably going to be explosive."

      "And games have done that for years. It's not something that's new.
      So it's not just like Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth with its ledges.
      Like, you know, you play a Resident Evil game, you know that you can smash the yellow crates."

      "It's little things like that that you come to associate with it, which I guess is sort of like an industry-wide effort to engage people that don't want these tutorials.
      Which, you know, tutorials have their benefits."

      "They have their weaknesses.
      I mean, I don't think the games journalism sector is ever going to escape the infamous cuphead thing.
      Like that was a tutorial that a man could not complete."

      Why don't you write that? Just on a wider point.
      If I got to that point and I was like, I can't do it.
      It's Dean Takahashi, for the record."

      "I've met him several times at Game Lab in Barcelona.
      Nice guy.
      I think it's an interesting way to communicate precisely just that.
      I mean, that's a hardcore game in a way, dressed up as a cartoon, right?
      So, yeah."

      "But I mean, Cuphead do it as well with the pink things, right?
      So you know exactly which one that is the one that you can sort of interact with to get your little bonus thing.
      You know, they have that color to stand out so that people can register it and understand it."

      "It's always been used in games in a multitude of senses.
      I think it's just used a lot these days, which people seem to pick up on.
      Accessibility features are in games more than they ever have been."

      "You go into the settings menu and there's the whole fleet of different options that you can fiddle with.
      Not just colorblindness and all that, but like a variety of different features."

      "And they're all great.
      You know, text to speech things and whatnot.
      I got into a bit of trouble at BlizzCon because I did an interview with the World of Warcraft guys and the new expansion is all about spiders."

      "And I was like, maybe not one for the arachnophobes then.
      And he looked at me very seriously.
      And he was like, we're working on that.
      We're working on that."

      "We're going to have that.
      We're going to claim that.
      You're going to sell the expansion.
      And I was like, yeah, okay.
      I was like, you know, maybe a little bit light."

      "But I think, yeah, so they take it seriously in all aspects.
      It's not just helping people who already love games figure out how to do things easier."

      "It's getting people who maybe are like, oh, I never would play that because really crippling fear of whatever, right?
      Spiders, certain bugs."

      "You know, we've seen arachnophobia settings in a lot of other games as well.
      I love Grounded's one.
      Grounded's one's an old-timer."

      "What's Grounded's one?
      I know the Lethal Company one, which is just big error signs coming in.
      Grounded's similar to that, isn't it?
      They sort of replace the big scary spider with a blob, essentially."

      "You're like, well, it does the job, I guess.
      It solves the problem, doesn't it?
      Grounded, they get very scary in Grounded as well.
      And I think when you said I run into problems, I thought you were going to say with the text-to-speech sort of assistant."

      "Because I run into problems, and I think many other people, but I don't know if Microsoft is aware, with Microsoft's own, very own text-to-speech, mostly with Forza Motorsport."

      "So you start the game, and somehow, I don't know if it was PC or Xbox, it's going to be turned on by default, and then there was no way to find the way to switch it off."

      "And the text-to-speech was like a very weird accent, and it was funny until it got very frustrating.
      But many other options, as you say, Ben, with, for example, text size, font size, finally."

      "Some games are still ignoring that.
      But come on, it's 2024.
      My screen size can go from this to 80 inches or 90 inches, right?
      And I need to be able to read."

      "And it's not that I have problems with that myself, and that people have to be helped, of course, as well.
      It's just screen size changes and distance changes a lot.
      So I think we have to be glad about this."

      "And for the record, I'm not against these measures when I said it sometimes can break immersion.
      They've always been there, right?
      So I'm just super happy about that."

      "It's just sometimes, I don't think it has to be insulting for some people.
      I think that's an extreme that we don't have to meet.
      But sometimes it's just not very subtle, right?
      Not very elegant, right?
      When it's an immersive experience, I mean."

      "I think there is an argument, definitely, for the way that games use their sort of tutorial mechanics.
      I think that the big topic of conversation, or one that's voiced a lot, is the Roblox generation, right?
      They're used to not having those sort of tutorials that teach them how to play the game, and then they're just let loose in the world, like just go and figure out the rest of it yourself."

      "I assume that the majority of the Roblox generation are going to face a huge amount of trouble when they become old enough and sort of coherent enough to be able to play a game like Elven Ring or From Software."

      "They're going to really struggle with those really demanding titles, which they don't tell you how to play.
      If you want to figure something out, you're probably going to have to rely on guides, or just figure it out yourself."

      "That's just the way those games are.
      Or Game Reactor.
      Oh, Game Reactor, yeah.
      For example.
      Yeah, Game Reactor, From, yeah."

      "So I think that there is an argument definitely there newer players are taught how to play games, because I think that there's a lot of new games that don't do that very well."

      "And yes, I understand that we're in this new sort of era of consumption, right?
      With how we sort of get our entertainment.
      It's quicker, it's faster paced than it ever has been, and people want to skip those sort of elements."

      "But there has to be...
      There's something there.
      I have a big question here.
      So if Roblox generation is the same as FIFA slash EAFC generation, where is the middle ground between both?
      Because if you start playing EAFC for the first time, you've never touched a football game before, or NBA 2K, for example."

      But then delve into the tutorial section, that gives you, at least would give me four weeks of playtime only focused on the potential, like the skill moves, the many things you can do by combining many buttons, etc."

      "So how does that audience specifically, like tackle, no pun intended, FIFA?
      How do they start?
      They learn, they absorb naturally how they can do the advanced moves, or they just play the very casual way?
      I wouldn't think that."

      "What do you guys think?
      Yeah, it's definitely a difficult topic really, isn't it?
      Because sports games in general, I think, sort of...
      They have this sort of weird dynamic where some of them, like racing games and golf games, they have all these systems baked in, and it's really easy to pick up and understand them even without that understanding of the sport."

      "But I think that with the sort of football games, and even games like Madden, for example, they don't do that.
      They don't really teach you the dynamics of the sport."

      "They teach you the core mechanics of how to play the game, but they don't teach you how to play the actual sport, like the actual game itself.
      And I think that there's definitely a topic of conversation."

      "I mean, I know that FIFA, or I haven't played EA Sports FC24, but I know that FIFA has those sort of elements in place, like the sort of training exercises where you can go and do the shooting mechanics and stuff like that."

      "So I know that they were always there, which sort of help a player understand those elements, but...
      They're deep.
      Very, very deep."

      "Very deep, yeah.
      So it's...
      Go on, Alex.
      I was going to say, I find it interesting that it's Gen Z and Gen Alpha being spooned together, and I think something that might be a sort of way that..."

      "Because we're technically Gen Z, I think, then.
      But the gap, I would say, between...
      Like, my brother is, like, four years younger than me, and even the gap between me and him and how we've played games and we've grown up with games is vastly different."

      "And I think a lot of that can come down to maybe, like, a second screen being always...
      Like, just sort of, like, always there.
      So you've always got your iPad to get up a YouTube guide, for example."

      "You've always got your...
      It's like, a kid nowadays, you've always got, like...
      You know, maybe even another monitor if you're playing Roblox on PC or something, to, like, watch your favourite YouTubers who play the game so you play it like them."

      "Maybe that's sort of the way that people might not struggle as much as they go forward with those, like, tougher games than...
      But, you know, Roblox, it can be tough, you know?
      I'm sure there's some game modes out there that are, like, you know, Elden Ring or whatever."

      It's like a metaverse, isn't it?
      So you never know what you're getting on Roblox.
      But no, it is interesting you bring that up, Alex, about the sort of Gen Z, Gen Alpha sort of thing, because I would agree."

      "I think that...
      You can go older too, right?
      You can go older.
      Boomers, for example.
      Yeah, go Boomers."

      It's interesting because I kind of see that generation...
      Don't leave me out.
      I kind of see that generation split a little bit with..."

      "For example, like, with social media, there's another interesting part where you sort of bring it in there.
      Like, I grew up in that sort of age where social media was really just booming."

      "Like, it was just really starting to click.
      You know, we went from that sort of MSN era where everyone was like, oh, social media, that's kind of quirky and cool."

      "So all of a sudden, it was like, you know, you're 13 years old and everyone has a Facebook account.
      And it's like everyone's on social media.
      Everyone wants a Snapchat account, a Vine account, and all these different things and stuff."

      "And like, you know, 12, 13 years later, I'm done with that.
      I'm past the point of caring with it all.
      There's so many social medias, I'm done with it."

      "But my sister, she's like six years younger than me.
      And it's her life.
      Like, she's...
      Yeah, TikTok.
      Yeah, it's all she knows."

      "And it's like, it's so different with the way that sort of lifestyle changed.
      I guess you can sort of implement that into gaming as well.
      But then again, we have said it before in the past as well.
      There is a severe distinct difference between the sort of mainstream gamer and the more veteran gamer, I guess you could say."

      "Like, between the people who, again, we talk in Roblox, you Call of Duty, EA Sports, FC.
      God, such a horrible name for a video game.
      Those kind of gamers are very fundamentally different to the ones that will play your sort of things like your Final Fantasy."

      "So you have to sort of then apply the yellow paint debate to that as well, you know.
      Do gamers who play those sort of Final Fantasy games, who play those sort of RPGs and whatnot, do they need the yellow paint as much?
      Because they're clearly more versed in the sense of what a video game is."

      "I don't know.
      It's a very complicated debate.
      I think we can all agree, though, accessibility is good.
      Doesn't matter what you take on it."

      "Maybe there should be options to be able to turn it off.
      But accessibility is good.
      So let's keep pushing for that.

      I, for a change, you know, ironically, I, for a change, would like to give a shout out to Nintendo.
      And two reasons here."

      "One is Princess Peach.
      I think that game is very, you know, it's very respectful in the way that you can show it to anybody who's not into video games at all."

      "And we would explain you in a very simple but not intrusive way how this whole thing works.
      It's a two button based game.
      All actions are very clear from the start."

      "And I think it's really nice for both kids and parents who are not acquainted with video games to start over.
      And if we were talking about non-intrusive yellow painting and sort of environmental tutorial sort of design, if you go back to the first Super Mario Brothers, they set this rule in stone that the first few platforms you see in a Mario game, in a 2D Mario game, like the first section you see, explains you what you can do in the whole game."

      "Like not just in that level.
      Or if they introduce a new mechanic, of course they use that method again.
      But if you see the first few platforms, you sort of realize I can jump, I can hit the block, I can enter the pipe, I can jump on top of the enemy, right?
      And I think some very simple games still miss that environmental, not storytelling, but you know, like mechanic telling."

      "That they teach you what you can do just by taking a look at it.
      And I think we miss that with very simple games too.
      So it's not just the yellow paint on the 3D more complex games."

      "So I think that feels off when it happens.
      Because we've been taught that way.
      Yeah, for sure.
      And I think there's definitely an argument the other side of that as well."

      "I think there's an argument that some games don't do enough.
      Oh, of course.
      You know, it's a bit old at this point, but one of the biggest and most immersive games that we've seen as of late is Red Dead Redemption 2."

      "And yeah, like, you know, it's so immersive.
      Everyone loves it.
      Because you go in, it's like a cowboy simulator.
      It's exceptional."

      "But it doesn't hold your hand.
      And I can imagine that for some players, it's a nightmare to navigate.
      So, you know, there's definitely an argument that's..."

      "I think that's the key thing to take from this.
      I think we all can agree that accessibility is good.
      And we need...
      We don't need more accessibility, but we need it to be constantly prioritized."

      "And we need people to constantly find new ways to make games more accessible for those who need it.
      But at the same time...
      Like, every game that you go into, you can expect the same options, rather than, like, someone who, you know, has a disability being like, can I buy this game?
      Or is it going to not have what I need?
      Versus, you know, recent Sony exclusives come to mind just because they've been really on it with, like, colorblind modes, extra ways to see enemies, extra, like, time for quick time events, stuff like that."

      "And you have to wonder, like, is it not possible for developers to incorporate ways that you can turn these features off?
      Like, you know, surely there's a way that in games that you can..."

      "Surely there's a slide that they can incorporate that says turn off yellow paint or something like that.
      If you want...
      How much spider?
      Yeah, how much of a spider shows up on your screen?
      How many legs?

      "Literally, Grounded is not...
      I mean, I have friends who can't play Grounded.
      Your small spiders are huge.

      "It's terrifying.
      They're cartoonish, but wow.
      Difficult to stomach.
      And in terms of Red Dead Redemption, I think..."

      "Perhaps it's just me.
      I've been into games for my whole life, and I found the way they mapped buttons completely non-logical."

      "Like, it didn't make sense to me.
      Like, you have to press this button.
      Why to...
      I don't know.
      I don't remember, like, to pet the horse or something."

      "Why would you map this here?
      And I think there are establishments and there are, like, sort of ways they don't follow.
      Sometimes, for some reason, when you're used to it, you also need, as you said, you also need accessibility and controls to make sense based on what came before, right?
      Not just based on your crazy ideas."

      "And I think, as a final point, then, can we all agree that controllers...
      Can we just have all the controllers, all the buttons, right?
      Can A, X, or whatever Nintendo has, can we all just agree that that is, like, the jump button?
      Because I know people who've gone from PlayStation to Xbox that have a nightmare adapting to controllers."

      "And I know people who go to Switch and it's like...
      From Nintendo and back.
      Yeah, it's so jarring.
      That's a problem."

      "It's so jarring.
      But that was a...
      How do you say that?
      The way it was established by Nintendo, you know, right button was the main button."

      "That was A.
      But then both Xbox and PlayStation decided that the button below, like X or...
      Was it A on Xbox?
      That's going to be confirmed and cancel is going to be B, right?
      Or circle."

      "So, of course, what you have to do is to offer...
      Same as FIFA versus PES back in the day.
      You have to offer the alternate or alternative way, which is like the Nintendo way."

      "And I'm used to confirming with the right button.
      And you guys are probably more used to confirming with the X or, you know...
      I've like subconsciously adjusted to all the different methods now and I can go between them seamlessly."

      Yes, exactly.
      But I know that some people, it's so challenging and I can understand where the frustration comes from."

      "But no, it's an interesting topic and I think we could talk about accessibility and the way that it's incorporated for hours, to be honest.
      Because it's so..."

      "There's so many different interesting elements to it.
      So maybe we'll come back to it at some point in a future Gaming Gossip episode.
      But otherwise, this has been..."

      "Yeah, I think it's either...
      I think it's episode 9.
      I've lost track because I think we're...
      I think so.
      Yeah, we're no longer in parity between Gaming Gossip and Full Frenzy."

      "So one's episode 8 and one's episode 9.
      Either way, this has been Gaming Gossip.
      That's been Alex.
      That's been Dav."

      "I've been Ben.
      Thank you for watching.
      We'll see you on the next one.





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