Nintendo confirms implementation of 'demo play' tech

This holiday's New Super Mario Bros. Wii will be the first title to implement auto-play tech

Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto has confirmed that it will introduce a new, patented help system into future titles, starting with this holiday's New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Speaking to USA Today, Miyamoto explained that the "demo play" technology Nintendo patented earlier this year will be introduced in the four-player Super Mario title revealed during E3 earlier this month.

"In New Super Mario Bros Wii, if a player is experiencing an area of difficulty, this will allow them to clear troubled areas and take over when they're ready," said Miyamoto. "And yes, we're looking into this for future games, too."

The patent in question, "Method and apparatus for fraud reduction and product recovery", outlined a system for helping players through difficult gameplay scenarios by allowing them to have the game automatically play through them.

The patent's illustrations show a close resemblance to Miyamoto's The Legend of Zelda series, leading some to speculate that it would be applied to the next entry in the franchise. In a private press event during this month's E3 expo, Miyamoto confirmed that a new Zelda title is currently being developed, though he made no mention of whether the game would use the tentatively-named "demo play" feature.

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Latest comments (10)

Antony Cain Lecturer, Teesside University12 years ago

I might be in a minority but I really wouldn't want this in any of the games I owned; I can see why it's there but it completely removes the challenge.

Modern games are all way too easy anyway! Bring back Turtles for the NES :)
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Richard Gardner Environment Artist, Ubisoft Reflections12 years ago
I simply hate games that cause the average gamer to die or have to repeat sections. It completely breaks the atmosphere and experiance. I can understand those anoying situations where things don't make sense. But thats the whole point of an adventure.

I stand with Antony on this, I can see 'why' they would add it. But can't see it been attractive to the people who actually play Zelda or adventure games.

It just seems like a way to try and attract my mum into playing adventure games like Zelda or Metroid, but they forget that most casual gamers don't even have time to play those types of games as they work fulltime and have families.
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Sam Brown Lead Audio Programmer, TT Games12 years ago
I claim prior use! I've been putting autoplay in our games for years - it's cheaper than testers. ;)
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.12 years ago
For those complaining of this feature, this is nothing more than an enhanced difficulty level option. Just like selecting easy, medium or hard, you don't have to select demo play. The actual games' difficulty is not being affected at all (though see below).

Please don't follow into the same knee jerk, elitist, and narrow minded comments I keep reading on message boards.

The irony is that these gamers don't understand that developers may now make the games more difficult by default and use demo play to move along those less skilled.

Is this any different that a strategy guide in terms of implementation? Skilled gamers won't use them, those that need the help will.
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Antony Cain Lecturer, Teesside University12 years ago
I'm not against help for games at all, I just don't think it should be that readily available as you could easily resort to it in a moment of frustration.

At the moment you have to go out of your way to get strat guide or walkthroughs, so the implementation isn't the same. Having the solution a button away can just trivialise the content, especially as it seems it actually controls the solution for you rather than just telling you how to tackle it.

Stick the demoplay files on the net as downloadable content or something... but don't turn games in to films
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Emmeline Pui Ling Dobson Course Co-ordinator, National Film & TV School, Nescot College12 years ago
The link in the article appears to be to a different Nintendo patent.

I could have used this "demo play" feature to get past some tricky section of SNES Battletoads...
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Richard Gardner Environment Artist, Ubisoft Reflections12 years ago
I would disagree Jimmy, there are parts in games that are suposed to be more difficult then other aspects, like Antony said in a moment of frustration it would make the game so trivial. One thing about a gamer is that generally most people won't take the long road, even if it would give them more sense of achievment and fun, most people don't think about that logically and just take the easy option.

Again, with all this said and done its jumping to a lot of assumptions, I'm taking it fairly literally in thinking its pretty much a cheat button. If so, I can't think of many positive elements towards it once I put it into the perspective of playing games, but can see how it makes sense in terms of attracting more of an audience to a product.

But even with all this in consideration you would be suprised how little consumers know about many things. I would be suprised if most of Nintendo's audience even knew that you could cheat when playing a game.
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Its an excellent idea. Hardcore games won't use it, they will solve the level for themselves. Younger (or more casual) gamers get stuck, and it gets *very* frustrating for them - enough to stop playing the game. This fixes that issue.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.12 years ago
Exactly my point, Michael. I know plenty of people who have never completed a specific game out of frustration regardless of their skill level or number of tries, etc...

I'd rather have people enjoy 95% of a game having skipped 5% of it than enjoy 20% of a game and never finish it.
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Richard Gardner Environment Artist, Ubisoft Reflections12 years ago
May be having a specific part of a game insanely difficult is bad design over player ability. I understand not everyone is the same and its very difficult to balance games, but there are plenty of games out there that leave you confused as to what they where thinking when they made it in the first place.

Aside from that I can understand what you mean, I just think it would involve a lot of time and effort to actually do, with very little reward.

I can understand such a feature in the odd game or two, but every game? Imagen what that would do to games and the culture surounding them.
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