To: The Game Industry
From: Gen Katz, Editor
Topic: Timed Out
Date: Feb 2005

When you think about it -- a timed puzzle is a way to make something that is relatively easy - hard. Now, for some gamers, solving hard is a badge of success, and gives them bragging rights. For the casual gamer (read untapped market) whose thumbs are out of training and whose reflexes are not those of a 17 year old this is a dead end scenario.

Stuck? Need a hint, a cheat? Nothing will help you get past a tough timed puzzle. Two puzzles famous for their difficulty, the Spire Spider Chair and the Mangree Playground in Myst IV have spawned endless pages on the internet till finally UBISOFT issued a PC patch that eased the time restraints (tough luck Xbox). Listen designers -- this is not a sign of success. This is a failure on your part. This is reason to return the game as defective unless it has the notice on the box, "This game contains ridiculously difficult timed puzzles".

If designers got past their macho mind set which gives them strokes for creating puzzles that bests their competition, we could expect better treatment at their hands. Games now keep track of how you play and can increase the difficulty as your skill increases. How about keeping track of the number of attempts at solving a puzzle and then making it easier? If the gaming industry wants to expand to other markets they will have to play like the rest of us -- girls included.