A great article over at Gamasutra entitled “Off With Their HUDs!: Rethinking the Heads-Up Display in Console Game Design” in which they think H.U.D.’s actually limit the ability for users to get into the game.
Call of Duty 2 (Xbox 360) provides a good example of eliminating one type of unnecessary information. Although the game does feature some elaborate HUD elements, it’s also notable for what it doesn’t feature: a visible health meter. It seems illogical for a first-person shooter to not include a health meter of some sort; and yet, the game plays beautifully, relying on a very simple and intuitive visual cue that warns the player when health is dangerously low: the screen periphery turns red and pulses. It doesn’t take long for a player to realize that this means, “Take cover and give yourself a few seconds to heal, or you’re going to die.” This not only removes unnecessary onscreen information, but also creates a much deeper sense of immersion in the game world.
I totally agree, with the claim as I find that the less elements are on screen the better, but I do think there is a point when this is just too few, as with King Kong, I almost never knew what I had, or what was going on with my character.