It might be just me, but I kind of dislike (hate) tutorials in game. I suppose the reason why I think this way is that tutorials are boring and don’t get me anywhere in the game. I’m the kind of player who wants “tutorials” to be “gentle tips for newbs” type of stuff. I guess I can sort of manage a tutorial that’s a quick one and has “skip” button available. But god heavens if there’s tutorial where I need to wait some voice to tell me “now you need to click there to move your unit and wait while I tell some story that took place seven thousand years ago and let’s order pizzas too and have a chit chat?” What’s this, I want play?!
I liked how Left 4 Dead does things: it gives you on-screen tips on what to do (pick up med kit, do this, do that). I like how Nation Red did this: they have separate tutorial but it teaches everything in 2 minutes.
I like how Zombie Panic has no tutorial, nor much hints at all. Instead, players ask each other “how you rotate the board”. In Zombie Master (for some reason I’m getting zombie game examples here) it’s cool how players ask each other “what to do next?” – sometimes the reply is “n000b!” but often time other people tell what to do. I think that’s tutorials in its greatest form: community interaction where everybody helps each other. People can enjoy the game in many different levels.
Of course there’s dangers in this type of no-much-help, no-tutorial approach as players can frustrate for not knowing what to do, but I think I must admit that the day when I learned how to rotate a board in Zombie Panic (you hit the reload button to rotate it, which goes against almost every piece of logic I can come up with, but that’s a story for another blog post) – thanks to fellow players – was much more rewarding to me than the day when I learned how to use medic in Left 4 Dead. Rotating the board required thinking, trying, effort and social communication to understand it. It required nothing to learn to use medic stuff in Left 4 Dead (since they told me how to do it). I guess the effort used to learn something can also affect to the amount of how much you appreciate that knowledge.
Of course this comes from a not-so casual game developer’s mouth, so take all this with a grain of salt.