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Super Mario Bros.

Game starts, start going right. There’s a Goomba there. He’ll kill ya. 
But wait- you can jump. And if you land on it YOU kill IT. Nice.

There are bricks, you can jump on them. But also under them and they sort of bounce. There are shiny blocks with « ? », jump under them. Mushroom comes out wtf. Touch the mushroom and now Mario is big, ok. Big Mario can break the bricks.

And now you know everything you need to know to get through the entire game. The rest is gravy. And there is plenty of gravy there.

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1 hour ago, WhyNotZoidberg said:

Super Mario Bros.

 jump under them. Mushroom comes out wtf. Touch the mushroom and now Mario is big


Not only that, but the first pipe is specifically designed to send the mushroom back towards you to get you to touch it to show the difference between enemies and powerups.  

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Lots of old games do a good job of not having obvious tutorials. SMB gives you like 5 key things just on the first screen. Castlevania's first boss is annoying to hit with the whip, but is a breeze with the axes you'll probably have, so it teaches you the importance of correctly using subweapons. Mega Man X has enemies that put you in a ditch in the first minute, forcing you to learn how to wall jump out without saying anything.

Having an explicit tutorial stage means you did a bad job, but there are memorable tutorial stages I like such as Thief: The Dark Project and Driver.

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Wow every good example I could think of got covered pretty much for more brief examples of what you need to know from the small games like SMB to the big ones like Breath of the Wild.  It's basically non-explanatory(or minimally) and seamless into just learning by example without being anger inducing or obtuse and forceful.

Another would be back when Lucasarts was making great games like 30 years ago when both X-Wing and TIE Fighter games came out they had this genius way to handle it based on your tolerances.  Both had combat learning simulators going over every button, function, etc step by step if you needed that much pity.  But, campaign 1 on each basically under a pretty simple to start trial by fire learn the controls, learn the screens, and the buttons, how to follow orders, all of it.  It either showed you or told you without locking you into some forced level of hell and it was great.  If there ever was a question one push to the menu and all the key commands were there if you wanted them too.

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