Buttons_64Pre-Order/Load madness:  I don’t really know what to say about this.  I like the idea of trying to ease the friction between the purchase of a game and then actually playing it, but the pre-loaded stuff… I’d posit that it’s probably a nice experiment on the way to a workflow that will shorten the time between game release, purchase, and play, but I don’t think it’s the final answer.  I regard it as perhaps a step on the path rather than as the new industry-standard method.  And pre-orders are crazy and it’s now financially irresponsible to try to purchase ‘all’ of a single game.  I think we’re past the point where the fragmentation of pre-order bonuses actually prevents people from purchasing an ‘entire’ game until the ‘GOTY’ edition is released a year after the game’s relevant.  They don’t influence me, and therefore a particular subset of their audience, but another audience subset is motivated enough to make it profitable so until it becomes unprofitable to the publisher, it’ll likely continue.

Celebrivoices:  There have been good ones, and bad ones, but to limit the pool to people who’ve already proven they can do voice work as well as act I think is a bizarre suggestion.  I agree that devs shouldn’t hire a celebrity simply because they’re a celebrity.  But based on the history of the medium, where it was looked down upon to do video game voice work, to now when celebrities engage the opportunity willingly, and sometimes enthusiastically, I think the history is influencing your opinion a little more than it should.  Yes, there are terrible examples.  But as time goes on, the more good examples we see, and I don’t see this trend slowing down.

Portal 2: My experience was somewhere between the two of you.  I recall lying on the floor and looking around for walls; like B McP, and then I looked up at the moon and recalled Cave Johnson’s stories about dying from moon dust, and that moon dust was used to make the white liquid, and then, since I didn’t see any other options, I went for it and shot the moon; and it worked!  Knowing that Valve does a lot of user testing, and having been through some sessions myself, I know that it’s almost impossible to create a scenario that 100% of players (in a game like this) will do the thing the designers want them to do 100% of the time.  I trust that Valve iterated on that scene many times until they reached a high enough percentage of players succeeding in that action.  I think B McP has a point about walls; the first thing I looked for was wall opportunities, but then I also succeeded like the designers were hoping I would.  And they likely specifically removed any wall opportunities in order to help players succeed with the moon shot.  Could it have been designed better?  Possibly.  But there comes a time to let it go even when you don’t reach a 100% success rate.  I’ve learned to strive for 100%, but to be satisfied as long as the majority of players succeed.