News Article

DuckTales: Remastered Focus Testing Reveals That Kids Don't Know Jack These Days

Posted by Damien McFerran

Capcom speaks on the challenges of selling old titles to new audiences

The original DuckTales NES title is over twenty years old now, and the cartoon which inspired it just as ancient.

While the announcement of DuckTales: Remastered clearly put a lot of smiles on the faces of 30-something players who recall when they first experienced the 8-bit edition, publisher Capcom is clearly hoping that they won't be the only people to download it — hence the need to test the game on younger players.

Speaking to Siliconera, producer Rey Jimenez revealed that trying to sell an old IP to less mature gamers isn't as easy as you might imagine:

Siliconera: A show that perhaps we grew up with, but I don’t think many kids these days know who "Unca Scrooge" is.

Rey Jimenez: They don’t. They absolute do not and that is no joke. We did focus tests when they played the game. They had no idea who the character was and didn’t know what Ducktales was.

S: What did kids say during the focus tests?

RJ: They go who is this "Grandpa Duck?" They didn’t have a real connection to him apart from him being part of the duck family in Ducktales.

S: Did they get the pogo stick mechanic or was that too old school for them?

RJ: It’s pretty old school for them. The kids we focus tested with are Disney fans. They appreciate Disney as it is. They find the barrier for entry is easy enough for them, so they enjoyed the game. But, the concept of a 2D platformer starring this person is very foreign to them.

We did a lot of tuning within it. There was some frustration among kids because they’re not used to playing a game like this, which can be hard if you’re not used to playing a platform game. Easy mode has a lot of tuning and features that were pulled out of these focus tests to make easy mode more accessible for players that aren’t as used to 2D platform games as older games are.

S: What about the secret passages? Ducktales is full of them. Did kids figure that out?

RJ: Kids nowadays do not think that way. That’s why we needed to have a cutscene in there to explain you have to look in the walls for a secret.

Hopefully the game won't be dumbed down to cater for newcomers, otherwise it's likely to lose some of the audience which has been waiting patiently for a new DuckTales title for more than two decades.


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User Comments (93)



TwilightV said:

You can blame Disney for that. How long has it been since Ducktales (or anything with Scrooge for that matter) was last aired on television?



Damo said:

@TwilightV Can't blame Disney for kids not knowing about secret passageways, though! That's modern gaming's fault.



JLSniper said:

Dang, I'm only 20 but I remember the show. Didn't play the game though, but I want this game. I hope it won't be to easy. And how young are the kids their testing?



Savino said:

Blame the parents!!!
Why my both kids know and love ducktales?! They're only 3 and 5 years old!!!

The parents that are lazy enough to search those old cartoons, even if they are available at itunes or netflix!!



photofool83 said:

I grew up with this game, among other classics.

We didn't have our hands held through everything. There wasn't easy modes or tutorials.

Half of the fun was figuring out the game on your own.

Maybe if we offered this chance to a younger audience we would stop dumbing-down the newer generations.



TwilightV said:

@Damo: True, but to be fair we also had strategy guides and the occasional television show, which are way more accessible to kids for these kinds of situations than the Internet.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

Exactly! Games nowadays treat the player like an idiot who can't come up with anything, so the young gaming generation is completely oblivious of hidden secrets unless somebody flat-out tells them - because people want an easily accessible experience, not thinking for themselves.
Egoraptor explained that phenomenon really well:



Einherjar said:

This might come out a bit mean but for me this article says:
"Classic gaming is dead because kids these days are too dumb to tie their own shoe laces"
Seriously, a cutscene to instruct them to look for...ahem "secret passages" ? Why not call them "once secret, now obvious passages" then ?
I knew that the level of intellect was shrinking drasticly, but getting a result like "too stupid to think of secret passages" is even shocking to me.
What do they need ? A "quest marker" pointing right in 2D platformers ?

Parenting these days must be the hardest thing imaginable, seeing how dumb this generation can get -.- But there are countrys bannig "Kinder Eggs" to safe children, but allowing guns in every household, so what am i wondering about...



DreamOn said:

No platformers, secret passages, or Duck Tales?? What kind of childhood is that?D:



Trikeboy said:

just goes to prove how dumbed down games have gotten lately. There is far too much hand holding today.



Trikeboy said:

That egoraptor Megaman video is a perfect example. One of my favorite in game non tutorials was figuring out the space jump in Super Metroid where a bird runs, crouches and jumps up in the air.



rodoubleb said:

Over the years I've considered it my parental duty and responsibility to make sure my kids are exposed to Ducktales, Tailspin, Darkwing Duck, and Rescue Rangers. I've seen season DVD sets in Walmart for about 10 bucks.



Mk_II said:

Life just wouldn't be the same without secret passages... that's where the fun is at!



hypercoyote said:

Is it really that the games are dumbed down or that the challenges have shifted to other areas. I hate to say that all games are dumbed down, though I do feel DS titles tend to be a lot easier than console. I feel like most console titles make up for challenge with length of games. I remember beating Super Metroid in a couple of days, but it was difficult the first time through. But it would take me a couple of weeks to beat Assassin's Creed because there so much dialogue and cutscenes.



Geonjaha said:

We really don't need more developers thinking that all gamers now are complete idiots. Please, just give us some respect and try to resurrect this classic without a tutorial or cut scenes - for god sake it doesn't need them.



NintyMan said:

Don't even get me started on how much kids have missed out on the golden age of cartoons in general, not just Disney, and how they have fallen for the likes of Hanna Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place even though it was Disney who pushed it. I might start acting like Cranky Kong if I get too deep into it.



Einherjar said:

@hypercoyote But what has lenght to do with difficulty ? Why cant games like AC be long and also challenging ? The AC series bored me to tears because it offered no challenge at all. And look at the 16 bit era. the standart lenght of RPGs these days where 40h+ and thats without hours upon hours of cutscenes and scripts.
Making a long game is no excuse for it being stupidly easy. Why not make a movie if all the game has to offer is cutscene after cutscene and the gameplay is as difficult as navigating a DVD menu.



TimLatshaw said:

The way Disney has catered to youth has changed quite a lot over the years, but I'm sure the kiddies will love the new "Dog with a Blog" game.



Geonjaha said:

@Electricmastro - Nah, they said that it would lead to too much happiness so they're not doing it ever (Seriously though they confirmed that it wouldn't be happening).



hypercoyote said:

@Einherjar Oh, I agree, I don't think length is a substitute for difficulty at all. I'm actually the opposite, I'd rather have a great, challenging, short game than one that drags out. I mean seriously, who wants to go watch a move that's 6 hours long and sucks over a 1 hour masterpiece? Metal Gear Solid 4 is a great example, as you mentioned, of a game that should've been a movie. I forget how many HOURS of cutscenes were in that game (like 9 or more), with the last cutscene being over an hour and a half long. I loved the story, but that game was brutal to play, it was just annoying and I found myself trudging through the gameplay just because I wanted to know the story.



Einherjar said:

@hypercoyote exactly. Though MGS can get quite challenging on the right difficulty setting. So what little there is to play is still quite enjoyable, but its really a borderline case here.



seronja said:

@MrWalkieTalkie dude how can you even say that? do you really think it's children's fault for not knowing what a damn cartoon is? blame the lame parents, brothers & sisters for that not the children! i mean look at me i'm a kid from 94 and i am supposed to enjoy cartoons, music, toys, movies and so on from 2000 and on, but it was my brothers that showed me what was really cool ( like gremmlins, ghostbustes, he-man, transformers beast wars, donkey kong country, 80's TMNT, NWA, 2 unlimited, mr x & mr y, prodigy and all the other 90's cool stuff )



Giygas_95 said:

@seronja MrWalkieTalkie was just joking. Because getting rid of all children would mean that there wouldn't be any future generations.

I don't think they should dumb games down though. At least challenge the player's mind to find secrets on his own. Kind of like how the NSMB platformers don't tell you where the secrets are at all. They have some rather deviously hidden ones!



Grumpalo said:

Really looking forward to this. Hopefully all this dumbing down will be kept soley in the easy mode.
It is a shame the original version won't be included though. although io appreciate the new artwork and VO's!



C7_ said:

I've heard of the issue with young gamers being oblivious to secret paths. The cool part about the NES and SNES days were that secret paths were designed to be found only if you were paying a lot of attention, and contained completely optional upgrades. Nowadays secret paths are marked by a different color entrance, some alcove, an enemy walking out of it; it kind of sucks that the younger ones can't think to look but that's what you get when games encourage linearity that much.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

Well it's not exactly a problem if it's like one cutscene at the beginning of the game that tells them that secret passages "exist" since not every game out there even has secret passages (including a lot of the older games). However, if that happens multiple times, where they just point out every single secret passage it'd be pointless to call them secret passages.



nomeacuerdo said:

The people who knows who's Scrooge is the people with the money. Also, I think (hope) efforts like these will help to bring back some good stuff like Ducktales to the spotlight. Even better, push more quality stuff like Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck or Marsupilami.

On the other hand, are the games dumb because the children don't get it, or are the children dumb because the games are too obvious? Nice video the one from Megaman, BTW



hiptanaka said:

"Kids nowadays do not think that way. That’s why we needed to have a cutscene in there to explain you have to look in the walls for a secret."

Sad. Secrets were such a magic part of many NES games I played as a kid.



HeroOfCybertron said:

You see, the kids these days, they play the FPS games, which gives them the brain damage. With the first person views and the head shots, they don't know what the platformers are all about.



rjejr said:

My kids - 8 and 10 - don't know anything at all about DuckTales et al, but they do know who Beany and Cecil are, and Underdog, and Gumby, all of which would make better videogame heroes than Scrooge McDuck.

Also, it's not about difficulty, it's about attention span. Growing up we had Pong. We played that for hours and days and weeks. Today my kids have 3DS, PC, 500 channels on tv, Dreamcast, Wii, PS3. and DVD movies. An dmy 7" tablet for touch games. How long do you think my kids are going spend playing Pong? I don't even bother hooking up my Atari 7800 to the tv.



retro_player_22 said:

Well it's not exactly their fault, more like it's the media's fault for making cartoons and television shows feel like crap nowadays. Shows like Aladdin, Duck Tales, Chip 'N' Dale, Darkwing Duck, and TaleSpin needs to be brought back so the new generation could understand.



Nareva said:

I don't think children are less intelligent. It's just that gaming has evolved. Fortunately, at least from my perspective, it looks like nostalgia for days gone by from gamers who grew up in the '70s and '80s is causing the pendulum to swinging back in that direction as indie games are becoming increasingly popular.



Tasuki said:

Wow this just proves that kids today are dumb but honestly thats more on the parents and schools not the video game industry. How could they not know who Uncle Scrooge is? My kid has never seen Ducktales but he knows who Uncle Scrooge is. Let me guess these kids know who Sponge Bob is. Seriously I weep for our future.



siavm said:

Not the kids fault. I am 25 and I remember ducktales but I was seeing reruns. And those stopped in the mid 90s. And Disney pretty much has not introduced them again until now. And games you all love now are not the games you grow up with. Sure they make resurgences on of modern 2d games on app stores, xbla, psn, and the eshop. But those games lose the hardness of the ones from the 90s. But a bigger reason those games were so hard is because saving and check points were not very possible until memory cards were introduced. Even then it took a few more years to get it were you have it now. So leave the kids alone. Your just getting old and you need to know the world changes and you just have to deal with it. So if the game is easier deal with it.



sonicfan1373 said:

Not knowing who Uncle Scrooge is not really disturbing to me. However, kids needing cutscenes to show them they need to explore is a bit disheartening, although I think that the developers are overreacting a bit I am sure kids will start looking for different paths once they get a hint in the game that they exist (for example walls that might not look as if they blend with the rest of the environment or weird ceilings that appear to have something above them, etc).



Late said:

Everyone knows Scrooge here in Finland. Most of the kids and teens read Donald Duck comics and they still show DuckTales 3 times a week + 5 more episodes on another channel (which costs money). And I'm pretty sure they have it on Disney Channel as well.

It's just a shame they mostly show dubbed episodes again. They didn't dub even half of the episodes and the ones they dubbed are in weird order. I don't understand why they couldn't just dub them in order. Sometimes it jumps from one season to another and then back again. Same thing happened with TMNT.



Gold_Ranger said:

Well, there goes the hope of ever getting Chip n' Dale, Darkwing Duck, and TaleSpin remakes!



Wilford111 said:

I honestly think it wasn't a very good decision to remake this game. Releasing it on Virtual Console would have made more of a profit.



Dpullam said:

I used to watch Ducktales episodes on Youtube since they hardly air them on television. I can easily say that this show is just as good as I remember it being.



DarkCoolEdge said:

@Einherjar actually that's because many parenta are dumb and teach nothing to their children. I see it too often, it seems like they decide to have a kid like a pet.

People=dumb. It has always been that way and it won't change. The bigger problem is the lack of moral values and manners.



bofis said:

They should convince Disney to give Netflix the rights to the series for streaming, that'll introduce the show to a new generation if that's the issue...



ultraraichu said:

Can't say I blame them. On Disney XD (U.S version btw) 2/3 of the programs is live-action and 1/3 is modern cartoons. I don't think they even show original Disney characters (Mickey Mouse and friends, Aladdin, Kim Possible, Lilo & Stitch, Timon & Pumbaa, etc.) unless it's a movie.



nocode said:

bah.... kids haven't changed at all....

I read this article and immediately think that Capcom really underestimates kids these days. Some kids will enjoy puzzle solving and a challenge, some will want the game to hold their hand or they'll give up.

If they did a focus group back in 1989 with the original game, they would have had the same results.



Burn said:

"...focus testing reveals that kids don't know quack these days."



Ryno said:

This was one of the bigger reasons I was really surprised when they announced this game



allav866 said:

Disney, bring back Duck Tales, if not for nostalgic folks like me, then for the younger generation who never got a chance to see the best show you had.



Gnoll said:

Everyone knows Scrooge in Italy, too, even if they'd not been airing Ducktales for decades 'round here. Our lil ones mainly know him through Italian-made comics like "Topolino" (ie the Italian name of Mickey Mouse).



Ketchupcat said:

I've never even seen Ducktales, but somehow I know about it and the characters. And luckily I am immune to the FPS plague that infects the youth of today. and now I'm talking like an old man for some reason. GET OFF MAH LAWN!



Bobhobob said:

I've known about DuckTales for a while, but that's because my parents are awesome. Maybe if Disney would show DuckTales, or maybe put it on Netflix Instant Queue, kids would get to know the characters better, leading probably to better sales from Disney's target demographic.
This has been marketing strategies with Phin.



Kyloctopus said:

I don't know all that about Ducktales, whatever I learned about Ducktales, I probably got from House of Mouse, or IGN.



Luffymcduck said:

I guess people just don´t read Donald Duck comics in USA anymore. It´s a whole different thing in Europe though.

Ducktales episodes were mostly watered down versions of Carl Barks´originals. At least the Ducktales games were great.



Stu_Dee_Jay said:

Looking for secrets is what makes a platform game a platform game to me: I was quite shocked to read that kids these days don't know to poke about for secrets. I guess things have been dumbed-down to such an extent without me even noticing.

As for kids not knowing what DuckTales is: I'm totally not surprised. I'm twenty-nine now, and I haven't seen or heard of DuckTales re-airing since it was originally popular.

The same, unfortunately, applies to Darkwing Duck. Indeed, I've only revisited these two series myself in recent years by tracking down old episodes online.



tripunktoj said:

Kids nowadays don't actually think while gaming and most even find it offensive when a game requires them to do so, they'd rather just shoot everywhere or sit and watch a game full of cutscenes in their nowadays games from new IPs (most of them, not all)



Klinny said:

I'm not sure it's fair to call a kid stupid for not thinking to look for secret passages XD

I mean, when none of the games they've played until now have had secret passages, why would they think to look for them? We don't wander around the streets in the real world looking for secret passages, because we have no reason to think that they would be there. Because there probably aren't any, because nobody builds them XD

If anything, blame the game developers for continually making games easier and more accessible, and not adding anything like the secret passages we used to know into childrens' games anymore.



MagicEmperor said:

Kid: "Who's Scrooge McDuck?"
Tallahassee from Zombieland: "I've never hit a kid before... I mean, that's like asking who Gandhi is."
Kid: "Who's Gandhi?"



masterLEON said:

I was at PAX East when Capcom showed it off. The line to wait wasn't that long but the wait time was about an hour. I didn't know why (also, it was the only way to get a DuckTales poster short of taking from the pile when a rep wasn't looking). By Sunday, I finally dove in for the hour wait and found they were limiting gameplay for 5 minutes. Ok, at least they're cycling. But the one of the problems was that the demo was Magica's Castle, with the notorious hidden passages and Magic Mirror teleporters. I'd see people go around a few times, get lost, check the map (now they put in a map), bounce around, generally not knowing where to go, and this went on for at least the 8 people ahead of me. They weren't kids, they were teens and adults. When it got to my turn, I went right for the point on the map which had the skull (boss room, obviously). The "hidden passage" through the wall actually goes transparent when you get closer to it, unlike the original game. Then the game goes and crashes on me, the music changed before reaching the big mirror but the screen action stopped. They let me stay on and play after the restart, I was only on for like 20 seconds when it crashed, and I got to hear the wonderful voiceovers. Frankly, I was good after hearing that. But yeah, the new generation of gamers need to be reintroduced to some staples of old school, like searching and exploring. They can't be constantly handed in-game tips and achievements on a silver DVD/BluRay like what's going on nowadays. That's the most disturbing part of this whole thing for me.



Gnoll said:

Today I played my VC Sonic Blast: in Blue Marine Zone (Act 2) you are REQUIRED to find a secret passage through a seemingly-solid wall to reach the finish line!!!



Gameday said:

Ducktales , Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers !
If you dont know these then... You will probably have no love for these games to come.

A few of favorite Cartoons back in the day and even now so you can see where im coming from:

Megaman , Rescue Rangers , Mighty Max , Sailormoon , G.I. Joe , The Real Ghostbusters , Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles , Muppet Babies , Doug , X-men , Spiderman , Sonic , Captain Planet , Ducktales , Darkwing Duck , Goof Troop , Mr. Bogus , Widget , Beast Wars , Bots Master , Dragonball , Tiny Toon Adventures , Batman The Animated Series , Aladdin , Stunt Dogs , Gargoyles , Care Bears , David The Gnome , Heathcliff , Inspector Gadget , Mighty Mouse...

I could keep going but you get my drift !



Capt_N said:

@YellowHare91: "I can't say I blame the new age children. The whole rise of popularity of the FPS genre with integrated online multiplayer filled with trash-talking players on headsets and even the overrated garbage on YouTube (coughAnnoyingOrangecough) created a bad influence on our modern culture."

I agree.

@DarkCoolEdge: "actually that's because many parenta are dumb and teach nothing to their children. I see it too often, it seems like they decide to have a kid like a pet.

People=dumb. It has always been that way and it won't change. The bigger problem is the lack of moral values and manners."

Precisely. As for the kids needing a cutscene to figure out secret passages exist, I remember Super Mario World having one message block in-game, that explained in less than 15 seconds to look for alternate exits in some levels. The map screen showing stages having 2 distinct colors helped make it clear, & possibly (so) w/o being too obvious, that there was something unique about the stages of a certain color.

To me, there are some video games, where hand-holding needs to be there, but be only just enough to give the player a decent start into the game, & be the right kind of hand-holding, like in Mega Man X's intro stage. It also doesn't need to be patronizing. I agree also w/ what @Klinny: said to an extent, if the kids never played games that have alt routes/secret passages, then it makes some sense for them to be unfamiliar to the concept, but they shouldn't be completely oblivious to it, to me at least. The kids need to learn to think innovatively.



Emaan said:

I was born in 1996, and I definitely know who Uncle Scrooge is, then again, in my young years Toon Disney featured a ton of classic Disney characters. I find it sad that the kids these days wouldn't know to look for secrets in platformers, since most of their mobile games hold their hand all the way through.



Zombie_Barioth said:

Its not that kids are dumb, its that the standards within our society have changed. I was born in the early 90s when kids knew very well that misbehaving resulted in some form of discipline, expensive toys like game consoles were reserved for holiday or birthday gifts, and we learned to be happy with what we had.

Kids today are actually spoiled in comparision to when we were growing up, and thats due in part to many former luxaries becoming very common place and many parents becoming very lax about such things. Why just the other day I saw a 3 year old carrying what I can only hope was her mother's smartphone.



Henmii said:

Here in Holland, Disney XD did air Ducktales a while back! And a German tv channel recently aired almost the whole series! And they aired the Ducktales movie several times!!



U3N said:

Siliconera wrote:

What about the secret passages? Ducktales is full of them. Did kids figure that out?

Rey Jimenez wrote:

Kids nowadays do not think that way. That’s why we needed to have a cutscene in there to explain you have to look in the walls for a secret.

And this is why I think each generation just gets worse and worse. People don't critically think anymore. They give up at any sign of difficulty.



softserve said:

I'm not worried about the game being "dumbed down". The interview clearly states most of this is for the Easy Mode. I wish more games had difficulty settings as it is — although I'd prefer Hard Modes lol



softserve said:

As for the secret passages — this is a game where you literally just try to walk through walls or hit things. Games so rarely do this anymore, they've found other ways to handle these mechanics. I don't think it's bad to tell a kid that, hey, this could happen... they still don't know where those things are.



WindWakerLink said:

(Chuckles) "Oh kids today... (Chuckles).....oh boy." -__- Its hard to blame someone for this... A new "past practice" is being established here and it looks like I'm just gonna have to deal with it..."what a drag but...oh well."



TheAdrock said:

I don't understand why they don't show Duck Tales (or any of the cool shows from the 80s) on TV or even Netflix? It doesn't cost the studios anything to play old shows, which would seem "new" to a kid. If Duck Tales (show) was a mega hit in the 80s, why wouldn't kids today love it just as much?



Shambo said:

sad. just,... sad.
while games used to 'make people lazy', nowadays they ask too much of an effort, apparently. i blame lazy parenting by putting kids in front of disney channel -which is pretty much braindead nowadays- and telling them to be quiet.
furthermore it's probably the fault of dumbing down this medium to qte's, regenerating health and checkpoints every two steps. and online gameplay where headsets are used to scold one another instead of planning tactics.



JaxonH said:

So here's what I don't understand. Apparently the accepted wisdom is that kid gamers nowadays find the games we grew up with "too hard". But when we played these games, we ourselves were kids, and we figured it out just fine. Difficulty never stopped US from loving these games- if anything, it drew us toward the games even more (after all, even kids need a challenge, otherwise they get bored too easily and will lose interest). So, why wouldn't that same principle apply? As a child, I beat games I could only DREAM of beating now- games like Mega Man, Mega Man 2, Mega Man X, Contra, etc... I never lost interest playing these games because they always offered a challenge- they always tested my abilities to the extreme. So, am I to believe that children nowadays are different than we were 20 years ago?

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