Nintendo’s Kensuke Tanabe Really Hates Tutorials…

Nintendo’s Kensuke Tanabe Really Hates Tutorials…

And I sort of agree with him.

In a recent interview with US Gamer, Kensuke Tanabe, a key producer behind many of Retro Studios recent Metroid Prime titles, revealed that he “detests” tutorials, and tries to make sure that none of the games he works on feature any.

“Personally, I really, really detest tutorials,” he explained. “When I pick up a game, I want to play it! So when a game is holding my hand, telling me ‘Hey, do this,’ and ‘Hey, do that,’ I’m like, will you just let me play already!?'”

Having just finished Dark Souls, this is something I can relate to. After spending 50-60 hours being treated like an adult, it’s been difficult for me to go back and play games that insist on treating me like a child.

According to Tanabe, tutorials are inherently lazy. Games could teach you in more subtle ways, they simply choose the easy way out.

“Think back to the older generation of games — those games did not include tutorials,” he continued. “It could be because some of those games were really simple, but, players would learn the control scheme, they would learn what to do and how to do it, and all of that was very carefully calculated by the designers. I believe the addition text-based tutorials really is just a way for the developer to work around having to put in the work necessary to create a game that doesn’t need that tutorial in the first place.”

Interview: The Secret of Donkey Kong Country’s Redemption [US Gamer]


  • After Halo 3, Bungie made the smart decision of going back to health for ODST. But they had to teach the player this because of how complacent gamers can become. So what they did is drop you from up high, enough to damage all your stamina and health but without killing you. Right in front of a medpack as well for you to pick up.

    There was no, “Megaman Megaman!” popup explaining it. Which made the game much more immersive.

    • I used this as an example at uni for my game design course 😀
      Egoraptor did a great job with Sequelitis

      • In Halo 1, on Easy or Normal they take a moment to explain the shield system to you. But in case you didn’t fully get it (or if you were playing on a higher difficulty setting that skips this section) the game still teaches. After a brief moment learning how to jump over pipes (but still feels immersive) you might run into that door explosion or fire and get damaged. Showing you how your shields work in a controlled environment. Right after that you encounter Covenant who begin firing on you as blast doors close them off. Since you have no weapon your only option is to run, taking several shots before they’re locked off (it’s pretty much impossible to die here). Waiting for that marine to finish talking to you, your shields will regenerate and teach you how they fully work.

        Also, right before a doorway is a health pack in case you took damage, forcing you to grab it and showing you how to recover health.

  • Reading that story, the narrative is always steered towards Wii U hardware and or Metroid when discussing DKC.

    Almost like they’re fishing.

  • Games should have an option to turn them off. The first time around they are a slight annoyance, but if you decide to play again from the start and are forced to be retold how to do everything then it becomes a bit frustrating.

  • While most tutorials are boring and are repetitive if you play the same kinds of games all the time there are exceptions, the best being Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.

  • My friend and I were playing DKCR:TF this weekend and he got frustrated with the game’s mechanics and multiple buttons, he was saying the control scheme was unconventional (granted, he was using the Wii remote, where as I was using the Gamepad). He wanted a tutorial for clarity on how the buttons are laid out.
    I had this issue at first but after the first or second level, it worked out.

    • I do have one question though.

      Why can’t you throw your teammate like in DKC2-3?
      That was a sweet mechanic and its a bummer that they removed it.
      I understand if they were basing the game off the original DKC, where you couldn’t throw diddy, but still.

      • Wait, you can’t throw your teammate in the new DK games? I never got around to playing it, but I always just assumed it would still be there as it’s a major gameplay mechanic and pretty much a staple of the DK series. Such a missed opportunity.

  • Nothing worse than a game constantly stopping to “teach” you something. Seeing gameplay footage of the latest Need for Speed game and it literally stopping you about 2 seconds into your first race to “teach” you something, then doing it again a few seconds later, was enough to put me off buying the game completely. If you wanna tell us something, do it in a loading screen, or have it as a voiceover.

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