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December 11, 2000


"SNES Populous Screenshot"

This image shows the main play screen of Peter Molyneux's first game, Populous. I bought the SNES cartridge for this game at a used gamestore, sans manual, for about $7. Now imagine trying to determine what constitutes gameplay looking at the above image, by pushing random buttons. Good luck!

I spent around an hour poking at it before I admitted that I'd have to find help. Fortunately, a little work with Google turned up this text-only hand-typed manual. Now all I need is the time to read it and correspond as many of the icons on the screen with the text descriptions as possible. Still sketchy, as not all icons are described (from my first quick read), but much improved over guessing.

Why did I buy the thing in the first place? I didn't know it would be so cryptic! I thought there'd be menus with descriptions. Silly me. Designers, GUI's (graphical user interfaces) are not automatically intuitive! They are at best intuitable.

Posted by dpwakefield at December 11, 2000 05:42 PM