Stop Wasting My Time And Just Give Me The Double Jump

Stop Wasting My Time And Just Give Me The Double Jump

Double jumps are a wonderful bit of video game nonsense, something that appears in game after game because they are, honestly, pretty cool. Double jumps, as my colleague Heather Alexandra wrote, make video games better. I have never once played a game and thought, this would be better without a double jump. I have, however, played many games where I immediately saw a ledge that was too high to reach with a single jump and thought, wow, what will it take for me to be able to reach that ledge I aspire to? If only I could jump…twice. I sure hope the game lets me do that.

It always does, eventually. My request is simple: Video games should quit with the theatre, stop playing hard to get, and give me the damn double jump.

The latest offender in video games’ grand campaign to withhold double jumps from me is Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a game that is downright impressive with how long it takes to give you that particular ability, given that anyone who has played more than two Metroid-style games could probably guess the game had a double jump in the works after about five minutes.

I hate this. For me, part of the joy of the Metroid format isn’t just discovering and exploring spaces, but also mechanics. You get to an area you can’t quite access, and you’re initially unsure how you’ll ever be able to. Will you somehow learn to teleport? Gain a new combat ability that also helps with obstacles? Change forms? Meet a new character? The game is going to change somehow, and that change will affect how you play and where you can go.

There is no goddamn romance in a double jump. I know when a game has a double jump in store, I know what kind of spaces need that jump to be navigated, and I know how the double jump will change my playstyle. And since it’s an ubiquitous gameplay ability, there is rarely anything distinct to a specific game about said double jump.

So why not just have the double jump at the start? There’s no need to stop using them—they’re fun and good—but it takes some real cheek to keep giving me a car that won’t start, only to pretend a few hours later that you’ve just invented gasoline.

Comments

  • Oooh, Can I be a lazy gobshite and haz ALL the top tier weapons/upgrades/mods/skillz n abillititties and armour-sets, etc from the get go without earning any of it too, plz? Because the sense of satisfaction from earning it through gameplay (or even just story pacing) is becoming usurped by my sense of instant gratification and entitlement. Plus I want to spit on the grave of its distant memory, because fuck patience and dedication, amiright? It’s too much like work/school/uni! All just to reinforce the delusion that I know gameplay better than the people who made this…right?

    Yes, I know this comment is dripping with hyperbole and snark (I’ll concede that my attitude is exacerbated by a horrifically slow graveyard shift I’m plodding through, ok?), but did articles like this even exist 10 years ago? If so, surely they were nowhere near as prolific as they are now.
    Sure, dude. Call out mechanics that are broken or menus/UI’s that are needlessly obtuse or complex along with glitchy graphics- that’s your job. But demanding reduced, simplified or accelerated gameplay features because you want it NOW? Without any challenge or payment? Nope, (I’m talking about in-game currency such as EXP points btw, NOT REAL MONEYS!) you do not speak for me there, mate. It may be an opinion piece, but opinions are like arseholes- most people’s stink and we really don’t wanna see it unless it’s genuinely talented! So would this idea of yours even make sense in the story to have it available from the start? Genuinely curious there as I haven’t started this game yet, but I am open to other readers’ thoughts on this.
    Yeah, I’m probably over-reacting to this, I admit it. But oh Lordy, boy am i sick of people bitching and moaning about how the devs should have made this alternate version of THEIR OWN DAMN GAME that’s bouncing around the cavernously empty brain case of this one lazy-ass guy. We get enough of this in forums and Reddit, so now it’s considered journalism too, huh? It’s shit like this that Douche-nozzle publishers like EA see and think *Ka-ching!* “Hey! We could do that for you! At the low, low price of 88 Star-COINS! Buy 100 Star-CONS for only- yada, yoda, yada…. 🙁

    • I think the argument is it’s not a reward. How often do you feel like you earned it compared to how often you feel like it just unlocked itself while playing? I don’t really care either way, but I can definitely see the argument for it being such a basic movement feature that games don’t benefit from gating it off. It’s one of those design choices that developers don’t put any thought into. They just default to ‘you unlock it later because you always unlock it later’.
      Again, I don’t really care either way, but I’d prefer it if they gave me the double jump from the start and found more interesting ways to gate content. Metrovania games that start with the double jump unlocked tend to be more fun because you can move quickly the second you enter the world.
      The Metroid games are great because they’re really good at judging this stuff. The Morph Ball for instances is neat but ultimately it’s just a basic movement mode. So instead they use it as a launching platform for the interesting stuff that comes later.

      It’s a bit like when games have a ton of really nice abilities that make stealth mode super fun, but instead of giving you enough to have fun they make you play using just crouch and slow movement for the first few hours. They make you play an objectively bad stealth game while drip feeding you the tools that will eventually make it awesome. Not everything needs to be unlocked in the tutorial but good design is just as much about recognising when something shouldn’t be gated off as when it should.

    • opinions are like arseholes- most people’s stink and we really don’t wanna see it unless it’s genuinely talented! My opinion is that this works better if you say “don’t wanna hear it”. I’m having trouble imagining what a genuinely talented arsehole would have to do in order for me to want to see it. But if it played music or something, I’d consider listening to it.

    • I have noticed another trend myself the latest decade: a pervasive generalized hostility against journalists and content writers that cause people to be overly and even aggressively critical of the more lighthearted, opinionated filler pieces that blog-style websites like these need to publish in order to maintain the stream of click during the lulls between bigger, more serious articles and keep the lights on. They are unfiltered, very personal opinion pieces. Subjective. They are meant to be agreed or disagreed with, but there’s no need for outrage or indignation. No need to think that they are the result of whiny victimhood or arrogant pedantry.

      Case in question: Double-jump is an inherently fun mechanic, and I am sure that you wouldn’t disagree. So why, in your contrarian opinion, must it necessarily be gated as a reward to be unlocked later in the game? Unlocking skills is a legit way to drip-feed game content and guide players through in-game or meta-contextual narratives and that includes double-jumping. But nowhere is it written that it means that double-jumping needs to be gated every time and, indeed, some games freely grant that ability from the beginning.

      So, if it is someone’s opinion that a given game should have double-jumping from the get-go, how it is automatically “whiny”? Why should it be interpreted as entitlement, laziness, and ignorant self-indulgence? Why extrapolate that what is being said is that no skills ever should be gated? You may agree or disagree at varying levels of enthusiasm but a self-righteous rant is wholly unwarranted, I think.

      To keep the conversation on topic, I agree with double jumping being fun and I too wish that more games implemented it from the get-go (mostly because I really like aerial acrobatics of the sort that you can do in Mario Oddissey or Ori), but I disagree that it should be the case for every game. Some games benefit narratively from the contrast between being a chumpy land-dweller at the beginning with the feeling of boundless freedom of literally reaching new heights later on. On the other hand, I fully agree with the author when he says that it’s poor showing when it is SO readily evident that you’ll acquire double jumping later on and you feel artificially rail-roaded and crippled. I much prefer when “reach further” abilities are more unexpected mechanics (rockets, grappling hooks, teleportation, etc) that require a bit more skill than pressing the jump button again.

      This is just my opinion, though. Don’t get angry. 😉 Also, sincere condolences for the graveyard shift, I don’t blame you for being on edge.

  • It’s like dad paying you an allowance for doing your chores as a kid- If you were just given money, then you wouldn’t appreciate the value of earning it. If they just give you the double jump, then you won’t appreciate the it nor the capabilities that it unlocks.

  • JFO uses the double jump to gate off certain areas, thereby forcing the player to complete other areas first. It’s not a great way of preventing the player from proceeding into a certain area prematurely and but it allows the player to explore the first half of that planet instead of gating it off entirely until all Force powers have been unlocked. More importantly, it works well with the story: Former Jedi Padawan Cal has all but forgotten his force abilities and the lessons of his master, suppressing them as he’s grown up on Bracca while attempting to hide his true identity from the Empire, so he/the player starts off with very basic abilities- just enough to get by. As the story progresses, Cal is forced to remember how to use the Force, segwaying the player into a flashback of Cal actually learning the new ability under his master’s tutelage, which works as a nice tutorial for each new Force power. The double jump is no exception and, while it is used to pad out the game, it’s done in a tasteful way. Its value becomes fully realized and appreciated when it’s used to unlock shortcuts.

    • It wouldnt surprise me if he wanted to (re)combine the Carolinas, Dakota’s, and Virginia’s into single states respectively. Lots of people think its a great idea. Most people do.

      They were telling him just the other day how great an idea it was. It would be something no other President was ever able to achieve.

  • This sounds stupid, but I’m on board. If you’re going to put a double jump into the game, don’t use it as an upgrade. Metroidvanias are only Good when you realise that weird environmental detail you didn’t know was important is actually very important, when the level you’ve already been through gains new meaning. When you know ‘oh, I have to come back here when I get the double jump’ it becomes a list of chores to tick off. (This is also why the Guacameele games weren’t great at being Metroidvanias – every single barrier suggested what power you were going to get, and you knew you were close when you started seeing a lot more of that block around.)

    Hollow Knight has a double jump as an upgrade, except it’s the very last movement upgrade and it’s already given you a vertical movement option and you’ve probably learned how to pogo off enemies. Most of its world is traversable without the double jump, so it’s easy to believe that the game doesn’t have one. When you get it, it’s genuinely a surprise.

  • Dear Video Games,

    Stop wasting my time and just give me the ending already please. I’ve played a lot of video games, I know how they’re going to play out and that I’m going to be getting things in them and doing stuff. I don’t want to jump through the hoops of engaging with your systems and looking forward to seeing how you tweak the formula, there’s just no romance in it anymore. Just give me ending niaow.

    KTHXBYE,
    Jaded Gamer

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