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Should "lives" be easy to get?


Rey Skywalker-Ren
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One thing I liked about Sonic 4 is that lives were easy to get. I got 300 lives in one game! one way they make lives fun to get is Casino Street when you do slots or turn over cards for lives. 

I wonder if lives should be easy to get in future Sonic games. For me they should be easy and fun to get. Not just for when you get 100 rings. What do you think?

 

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Honestly, I feel that if lives are plentiful enough to prevent a majority of people from getting a game over, then you might as well not have lives at all- it feels archaic, superfluous and retro-pandering in some cases. Especially since with many modern games, death is an extremely short punishment, at most you'll only be booted out of the level you're on.

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I'm not sure that lives should even still be in Sonic at all.  Or score.  But I suppose it depends on what you play the games for.  But the thing about lives is that they need to be just abundant enough that the average player will always have a healthy few in reserve, though not so many that they'll never need them.  Too few lives, too many lives - both problems to be avoided.  I agree that having a lot of them is fun, in the same way that having a high score is fun, but what even is their function?  At least score is consciously meaningless these days.

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As others has said, lives shouldn't be a thing anymore in Sonic.

It's a lot less stress removed for me personally since I like to max out on lives, not in Sonic 4 though those games aren't interesting enough for me to bother.

Like wouldn't it just be easier if Sonic games became a lot more about exploration without worrying about getting a good rank and stuff? It's one of the small things the Boom games did right; if you died, you just respawn and loose a small amount of Rings/Robot Scrap, which are easy enough to gain back anyway.   

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Lives really shouldn't be a thing in Sonic anymore. We get so many of them at this point, that the number hardly matters. I never find myself worrying about running out of lives because they come across so often and we get so many of them at a time, it's silly and defeats the purpose of them being there in the first place. Besides, the worst you get out of losing all of your lives is having to start that level over again, which usually don't go on for more than just a few minutes, so you don't lose much of anything.

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The problem with lives is they've so frequently been used as a meaningless satisfying thing to get.  Like I agree in your example that getting a shit ton of lives in Sonic 4's Casino Street Act 2 is indeed, very satisfying.  But I dunno what I'd replace that with in a game without lives, and like others in the topic, I agree that lives should be abolished.

 

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I feel that lifes in normal modern Sonic games would be better off as a hardmode challenge only kind of thing where it resets the whole game and deletes your hardmode save file if you lose all your lives. And I think that the normal game mode shouldn't have any lives which would leave it more for the gamer who just wants to have a casual good time.

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Dying in Sonic game should really just punish the player by either extending the total amount of time spent in a level (in terms of time trials or something) or by having the total number of deaths acquired in a level affect their finalized end rank.

When you die in time trials your run is bad anyway and when you die you also shouldn't get a good rank. No need for punishment there.

To be honest: I think the old school live system only really makes sense in games like Sonic 1 which you can complete in ~1 hour and where game over really means game over.

I think in any other game this element is broken. It's not fun when you play a game and then you lose a lot of progress and if you don't lose much like in a lot of modern games it doesn't make sense either.

Nevertheless lives need to stay.

Sonic has classic roots and they should preserve something of that. Lives and points (there is no good reason to remove points...) are a part of Sonics identity. Additionally, it feels rewarding to collect a live and to hear the extra live music, doesn't it? ;)

So to avoid frustration lives should be easy to obtain but not too easy. Players shouldn't get game over constantly but it shouldn't be "basically impossible" to get game over.

btw: I find it interesting how a lot of people complained that you didn't get a live when you collect 100 rings Sonic Lost World (they changed it with an update later on) and here people say that it's too easy to get lives. Shows how opinions can differ...

 

Edited by TheChris110
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There's really not much point at all in having a life system anymore.

At the most just make it a slightly harder difficulty choice e.g. 'classic mode' player is given 3 lives to complete the stage. 

But really there is absolutely no point in a life system in Sonic games. We have save files and can just load up the level so what's the point? 

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I wonder if lives should be easy to get in future Sonic games. For me they should be easy and fun to get. Not just for when you get 100 rings. What do you think?

I'm not sure. Maybe they could remove 100 rings = 1 live and instead offer other ways to get lives. 

In Colours you didn't get a live for 100 rings but for example you could get 1 live if you achieve A rank and 3 lives if you achieve S rank and you destroy the letters of the score during the finish screen of a level (if I remember correctly).

Also I like how you get an extra live in modern Mario games if you jump on top of a lot of enemies in a row without touching the ground. Maybe Sonic Team could implement something similar into their games. For example "defeat a certain amount of enemies with a wisp and you get an extra live".

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When you die in time trials your run is bad anyway and when you die you also shouldn't get a good rank. No need for punishment there.

I feel like you're restating what I said, just in a different manner.

Sonic has classic roots and they should preserve something of that. Lives and points (there is no good reason to remove points...) are a part of Sonics identity. Additionally, it feels rewarding to collect a live and to hear the extra live music, doesn't it? ;)

I don't think people think of the life system when they think of Sonic. Maybe for platformers in general, but not for Sonic. Most of what I'd assume makes up Sonic's current identity is probably just speed, loops, and checkerboards. And mediocrity.

I can't imagine the general gaming crowd would be up in arms if the next Sonic game didn't feature a lives system.

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Sonic has classic roots and they should preserve something of that. Lives and points (there is no good reason to remove points...) are a part of Sonics identity. Additionally, it feels rewarding to collect a live and to hear the extra live music, doesn't it? ;)

 

I don't think there's anything inherent to Sonic's identity that warrants a need for a life system.  The system is a relic of classic design principles, but not the design principles that were actually good or desirable.  The satisfaction of earning extra lives, especially in large abundance, is promoted by the perception that lives are not only scarce, but difficult to maintain.  Modern Sonic titles are not only significantly easier, but the lives are really easy to get, making the sensation honestly pretty hollow.

Edited by Tara
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I think it's a touchy subject when we're discussing this on platformers like Mario, but for Sonic, it should be gone. Nowadays, typical Sonic game design is more about performance. You'll get the best rank by getting through the level in the fastest time possible. This thus prompts players to really not want to make mistakes in the first place, removing the need of Lives. If the Boost-to-win games and evidently Lost World's time attack mode are going to play out like this, Sonic should drop the lives system since it's completely unnecessary. Just bring us back to the last checkpoint, maybe punish our score, because the need for lives seemed almost non-existent, especially with Sonic Lost World.

It honestly depends on how they'll design the next Sonic games. I think the removal of the lives will be a pretty controversial decision, but I'd be OK with it. I normally try to play Sonic levels without dying in a single run, since that's how the game was designed. You get the best rank by not dying and by getting the best time, so if you want to perform well and do constant restarts for runs you mess up, the lives counter shouldn't be there as it'd make the process a bit more complicated.

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I'm pretty firmly on the side of the traditional lives system being pointless in modern games. Before saving became the norm, games had to be beaten in one sitting, and getting a game over meant going back to the start of the world or even all the way back to the start of the game, losing a huge amount of progress. In that context, building up lives early on to have more chances at later, harder challenges makes sense (though it's not a system I'm particularly fond of anyway). But with longer games and per-level saving, that long-term resource management isn't necessary. You only really need to be concerned with getting past levels individually, reaching the next save point to make your progress permanent. Getting a game over after that point only loses you the relatively small progress you've made in the next level, and refreshes you with what should be enough lives for the average player to finish the level in anyway (note the perverse incentive that, if you finish a level with less than the default number of lives, it's in your best interest to intentionally game over in the next level to get more lives). At this point, if a game is going to have a lives system, it should have to justify its inclusion, not assume it as default.

What games really need is to come up with better ways to reward the player than feeding tokens into a broken, outdated system. It doesn't even need to be anything terribly creative. In a lot of cases 1-up items can just be swapped with a different powerup. For collecting 100 rings, maybe even just a fanfare? The NSMB games play a little fanfare for collecting all of certain groups of coins, and that honestly feels like more of a reward than a 1-up mushroom anymore.

...if a game is going to have the traditional lives system, though, I say just throw as many 1-ups at the player as possible, so it's merely irrelevant rather than potentially frustrating.

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Lives are useful when you cross the check point and you die in the middle of the game. There are levels that have parts i don't want to go through again (take casino street, theres a bridge with card that i spent 4 lives trying to get over), so the lives are there so people don't have to go through the whole level again

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I'm in agreement with everyone saying that lives shouldn't be in Sonic anymore. Nowadays lives only benefit games that are specifically designed around the game having them, which Sonic games aren't. They're only there because they've always been there. And, they're so common and easy to obtain, that you may as well have infinite lives anyway.

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