If you want to look at how much things have changed over the last decade and a half of gaming, look no further than the tutorial level.
I love tutorial levels. Everything’s new and exciting, and there’s a new trick or move to learn around every corner. And there were no more glorious tutorials than during the rise of the PC FPS in the late 90s and early 2000s.
One of my favourite tutorial levels is above. It’s the introduction to Monolith’s 2000 first-person shooter The Operative: No One Lives Forever. Longtime Kotaku readers will know that this game is near and dear to my heart, and after a lengthy Twitter digression last night I decided the time had come to dig up my old copies of it and its sequel and play through them again.
(I know, I know, I’ve already listed a billion games I’m playing during the July doldrums. But these ones need to be played.)
I’ll have more on both NOLF games soon on Kotaku, but for the time being, I just wanted to reflect on this glorious introduction tutorial. First, the game shows you how to open a door. Then, how to talk to a dude. Finally, how to skip a cutscene. That’s it! End tutorial!
While recent games have gotten some mileage out of tutorial-humor lately (I’m looking at you, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon), I can’t imagine a modern game doing something like this. Even No One Lives Forever 2 embedded its tutorial within its opening level.
But I’ll always love the tutorial training gauntlets of old. Especially when they feature NPCs wearing Groucho glasses.