Why Do Text-Heavy Games Make Reading Painful?

In today's short-but-sweet instalment of Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter RevRain wonders why developers spend days filling their games with tomes of ancient lore without putting nearly as much effort into delivering a pleasant reading experience.

A lot of games require you to read lots of text be it in a form of a mystic tome of ancient lore, or an e-journal of the victim of thrilling crime... Yet why are so many games unfriendly to the reading experience itself? I mean such tiny letters in a black/white/gold contrast or whatever. I'm usually sitting 3-4 metres afar from the screen so the text is readable but not comfortable.

That's why I usually skip reading parts in games.

About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run.


    Think it was in the latest Myst game, you had the option of reading journal entries or using a magical pendant to have the entry read to you in the author's voice. Loved it!

    i recently upgraded to a HDTV because when i was i playing Xenoblade Chronicles the text was a bit too small.

    In Zelda SS it was even more annoying because everytime they change the text colour from white, it blended in making it impossible to read.

    It's so true. I'll often do my best to read all the extra stuff in games but it just strains my eyes after awhile even with my HDTV. And it could be so easily fixed by just letting me zoom in on the text. I'm no programmer but I'd imagine that's a feature that could be whipped up in less than a day by a single programmer and would make reading 1000x easier. Text zooming should be compulsory if you expect me to spend more than 5 minutes reading in your game.

    I haven't read any of the books in Skyrim, because the writing seems to be so damn boring...Just in the above example I'm snoozing already. It doesn't have to be written in pseudo Olde Worlde style.

    And maybe I would be more inclined to read them if they had illustrations.

    variety would help - normally when I see games with lots of readable books the books are all identical typeface/page texture/etc. - would be nice if for example there were more (or any) illustrations; different amounts of weathering; different fonts and layouts; etc. to make them seem like actual books instead of just one giant text document cut up into different items.

    Some pictures might be nice, but there are a gazzilion books in skyrim, so I guess they didn't think it worth it.

    Drawn out stories, forced 'old time' language and a lack of relevance put me off reading in games, so I don't read in games like Oblivion, but in Mass Effect 2 I read absolutely everything because it was intriguing.

    I, personally, love reading the books in games like The Elder Scrolls, it gives a lot of insight into the universe. Not to mention there are some funny books like The Lusty Argonian Maid.

    I know some people feel differently, but expansion on lore alone is enough to get me to read, I love the depth added to TES universe that we would not see anywhere else.

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