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(Sydney Morning Herald)   Why video games are becoming too easy   (smh.com.au ) divider line 236
    More: Obvious, motion control, Game Boy, Warren Spector  
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8205 clicks; posted to Geek » on 21 Jun 2012 at 11:11 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-21 10:19:39 AM  
I'm just here so I can read Lowell's impending rant later.
 
2012-06-21 10:31:39 AM  
I was expecting this to be another insipid rant about casual gamers. Then I read this:

"My thinking is that it's not that people are more casual [players], it's just that we have so many more gaming options and entertainment options," he said. "For example, when I got a Nintendo game or a Game Boy game as a kid, it was this cherished thing that was my new game. And it was expensive, and my parents were like, 'You're going to play this thing.' I had no other options. And I was happy to beat my head against the wall, because that was my one new game."

Nowadays, of course, there are lots of free games online or available on smartphones.


My expectations. You've exceeded them, article.
 
2012-06-21 11:15:59 AM  
supply is high and hardware limitations are a thing of the past
 
2012-06-21 11:17:21 AM  

SkunkWerks: I was expecting this to be another insipid rant about casual gamers. Then I read this:

"My thinking is that it's not that people are more casual [players], it's just that we have so many more gaming options and entertainment options," he said. "For example, when I got a Nintendo game or a Game Boy game as a kid, it was this cherished thing that was my new game. And it was expensive, and my parents were like, 'You're going to play this thing.' I had no other options. And I was happy to beat my head against the wall, because that was my one new game."

Nowadays, of course, there are lots of free games online or available on smartphones.

My expectations. You've exceeded them, article.


I'm glad you said something, cause after this part:

I mean, this is Nintendo, the company that once brought us some of the most difficult games in the world - brutally tough fare like "Mega Man", "Battletoads" and "Castlevania".

I was pretty much done with the article. Kept reading after your post.
 
2012-06-21 11:18:03 AM  
Casuals are takin' mah epics!
 
2012-06-21 11:21:24 AM  
They seem to have left out one thing. In the early days of gaming, a lot of games were created for both home and arcade use, and there was an incentive to create games that were more difficult, since that would increase arcade revenue.

Even during the decline of arcades in the mid-90s, there's still the same mentality, but at the end of the SNES's life and the beginning of the N64, you can see a gradual decline in difficulty starting as the focus shifts to a purely home market.
 
2012-06-21 11:26:17 AM  
i'm still trying to beat this on my C64. it's only been 25 years! if only i had the instructions (thanks Bandit Boy)


edenindustries.ca
 
2012-06-21 11:26:58 AM  
I have no problem with casual mode being an option, as long as it's part of a sliding scale with a high end difficulty that is actually challenging.

As for the saving issue, to hell with all that. I'm an adult, and as much as I'd like to play videogames constantly, I have responsibilities, and they sometimes come up unexpectedly. Being able to save at any point has a huge effect on my enjoyment of a game. Having to choose between losing half an hour of tough progress on a game and having a woman go from slightly angry to thermonuclear in the time it takes to find a save point is not my idea of a good gaming experience.
 
2012-06-21 11:30:38 AM  
Super Ghouls and Ghosts. That is all.
 
2012-06-21 11:33:25 AM  
Oh, shut up, Australia. You're just sore kos your most prominent video game company went under after putting out Blade Kitten. Stop taking it out on the rest of the world.
 
2012-06-21 11:36:44 AM  

imontheinternet: I have no problem with casual mode being an option, as long as it's part of a sliding scale with a high end difficulty that is actually challenging... Being able to save at any point has a huge effect on my enjoyment of a game. Having to choose between losing half an hour of tough progress on a game and having a woman go from slightly angry to thermonuclear in the time it takes to find a save point is not my idea of a good gaming experience.


You have a woman?! Hmmph... casual gamer, indeed. Seriously, though, I agree... most of the games I play (on PC) have difficulty settings. Is this not the case for consoles?
 
2012-06-21 11:39:30 AM  
Ah, the days when I would bash my head because

MEGAMAN 3 WAS SO farkING HARD!!! AAAAAAGHHH!!!

Also remember the rage induced blackouts of Donkey Kong Country when I tried to get the 100% if items and when I tried to get the Golden Armor on Megaman X3...

/Loved the wasted time of my teenage years...
 
2012-06-21 11:40:19 AM  
img.photobucket.com
 
2012-06-21 11:41:05 AM  
Since Warren Spector was also in TFA -

img.photobucket.com
 
2012-06-21 11:41:47 AM  

asciibaron: i'm still trying to beat this on my C64. it's only been 25 years! if only i had the instructions (thanks Bandit Boy)


[edenindustries.ca image 500x313]


I always wondered what would happen if Elvin Atombender woke up in the middle of the night needing to take a leak.
 
2012-06-21 11:42:27 AM  

justtray: Super Ghouls and Ghosts. That is all.


pft.

finalbossfight.co.uk
 
2012-06-21 11:42:54 AM  
There is also the shift in focus moving games more toward competition with film and TV. If the designer and player's goal is to tell an interactive story, it gets frustrating for both when the player keeps getting killed by the same zombie that he just can't figure out how to kill.. or gets stuck for three days on a puzzle.

Back in the day, the focus was on the zombie killing and the puzzles, now it is more on the overall story and you don't want the obstacle elements to bog down the experience.
 
2012-06-21 11:43:14 AM  
A: because we won't put up with cheap deaths, crappy controls, and insane troll logic when there are better, more satisfying things to do?
 
2012-06-21 11:43:39 AM  

cyrus_hunter: They seem to have left out one thing. In the early days of gaming, a lot of games were created for both home and arcade use, and there was an incentive to create games that were more difficult, since that would increase arcade revenue.


Insert another quarter to continue.

From the article:
I mean, this is Nintendo, the company that once brought us some of the most difficult games in the world - brutally tough fare like "Mega Man", "Battletoads" and "Castlevania".


No they didn't. Capcom, Rare, and Konami developed those games.

And forget invincibility: Most old-school games couldn't even save your progress. They had to be completed in one sitting (or not at all). Gamers still invoke the phrase "Nintendo Hard" as a nod to those hard-core roots

Most old school games, as mentioned, were built on the principle of separating you from your money. They call that the 'Free-to-play' model now. Saving within a game had advanced with the technology and length of games.

And no one uses the phrase Nintendo Hard.



What was going on? Had video games succumbed to the modern "everyone gets a trophy" mentality?


Motherfarker has never apparently heard of Achievements, or Trophies within games now. Yes, everyone gets a trophy.

Nintendo declined my request for an interview.

Probably because they thought you were on crack, or were worried that you might've become feral from all those years you spent under a rock.



"They're harder to figure out. There's a much higher learning curve on just learning how to hold and use the controller and all the buttons, you have about 10 different buttons to figure out ... and so just getting the hang of it takes quite awhile."


and then


"They - we - were much more forgiving then. We didn't mind taking notes, drawing maps by hand, dealing with interfaces that proudly used every key on an Apple or PC keyboard.


So inputs have grown more complex, but gaming is easier because technology has adapted to the point they we are no longer forgiving of terrible user interfaces.

Writer of the article doesn't have a clear message or focus for what he's trying to get at. The title asks a question which isn't answered in the article, and the article itself wanders aimlessly between quotes which just confuse his message.

Dumb.
 
2012-06-21 11:44:33 AM  
Because back in the day hellish difficulties were something we tolerated rather than something we wanted. Games made up for a lack of content by making it so difficult that you would never see half the content. Nowadays the average person playing games doesnt have the time to beat their head against a brick wall for entertainment, especially when a game can provide something more than that difficulty in the way of content. So a subsect of gamers has romanticized the difficult games of their youth into something they want.

dnrtfa

Moral of the story. Some companies still make hard games. Players that want those games will seek them out. theres no need to make all games hard.
 
2012-06-21 11:44:43 AM  
I'm fine with quicksaves and all that, but how about we get rid of regenerating health? It's the worst thing that's ever happened to the FPS genre.
 
2012-06-21 11:44:43 AM  

asciibaron: i'm still trying to beat this on my C64. it's only been 25 years! if only i had the instructions (thanks Bandit Boy)


[edenindustries.ca image 500x313]


'Broken by the Bandit'

I had a few of those disks. I never did solve that game either.
 
2012-06-21 11:47:14 AM  

DarkPascual: MEGAMAN 3 WAS SO farkING HARD!!! AAAAAAGHHH!!!


You need to play the first Mega Man. MM3 was super easy compared to the first one.
 
2012-06-21 11:47:24 AM  
To be fair one of the reasons games used to be harder was it was the only way you could make them any reasonable length, but modern games really are too easy.
 
2012-06-21 11:49:42 AM  

imontheinternet: I have no problem with casual mode being an option, as long as it's part of a sliding scale with a high end difficulty that is actually challenging.

As for the saving issue, to hell with all that. I'm an adult, and as much as I'd like to play videogames constantly, I have responsibilities, and they sometimes come up unexpectedly. Being able to save at any point has a huge effect on my enjoyment of a game. Having to choose between losing half an hour of tough progress on a game and having a woman go from slightly angry to thermonuclear in the time it takes to find a save point is not my idea of a good gaming experience.


fine point indeed. other candidate for unlimited saves would be:

slightly angry baby to thermonuclear baby (complete with poop!)

&

'hey, does the dog look like he's about to shiat?' (complete with poop!)

also agree with the fellow's point about console games just being a variant of arcade games. the latter of course being designed to drain the quarters from your pockets.

my submission for 'blast from the past':

www.gameclassification.com

perhaps not the 'hardest game' list, but a dang lot of fun. i thought it was waaaaay ahead of it's time.

/csb
 
2012-06-21 11:51:11 AM  
I beat Impossible Mission when I was about 14. I tried playing it again recently on the DS and was like you gotta be kidding me, I have a life.
 
2012-06-21 11:52:35 AM  

wildstarr: DarkPascual: MEGAMAN 3 WAS SO farkING HARD!!! AAAAAAGHHH!!!

You need to play the first Mega Man. MM3 was super easy compared to the first one.


All of those old-school games are ridiculously hard. It seems like every couple of years I get the itch to play Mega Man again, and I get beaten down. I did manage to beat the old school Kid Icarus a few years ago, though, which isn't exactly easy.

I just hope we see more games along the lines of Dark/Demon's Souls. Best games of this generation, IMHO.
 
2012-06-21 11:56:43 AM  
harder than Battletoads 2?
 
2012-06-21 11:57:04 AM  

IrateShadow: I'm fine with quicksaves and all that, but how about we get rid of regenerating health? It's the worst thing that's ever happened to the FPS genre.


Agreed. I liked the tension of trying to survive the last tough firefight you know is coming up and manage health packs.
 
2012-06-21 11:57:11 AM  
Something not mentioned yet (unless I get ninja'd for lack of refreshing comments) is that most of us played NES games as children. It's not just romanticizing them as part of our childhood, it's also the fact that we've had lifetimes of practice and improvement in our hand-eye coordination, strategic thinking, etc. We're just better at games now, and few of those games are truly as "hard" as we remember them.

/Yes, some are still bastards to finish
 
2012-06-21 11:57:18 AM  
Also, the example the author used in the beginning of the article is terrible, and isn't much different than unlocking an easy mode after dying a few times. The level of difficulty in the game doesn't change, you've just chosen to use a handicap to make it through a level.
 
2012-06-21 11:58:04 AM  
www.gameranx.com

Too easy for my liking, but still a rather cute game,

/Hot like the magnificent sun
 
2012-06-21 11:59:48 AM  
I sat my neighbor's kids (5 and 6) down in front of my NES and they would play for 5 minutes before wanting to play something else. Apparently Duck Hunt and SMB is too hard...
 
2012-06-21 12:00:17 PM  

IrateShadow: I'm fine with quicksaves and all that, but how about we get rid of regenerating health? It's the worst thing that's ever happened to the FPS genre.


Amen to that.

wildstarr: DarkPascual: MEGAMAN 3 WAS SO farkING HARD!!! AAAAAAGHHH!!!

You need to play the first Mega Man. MM3 was super easy compared to the first one.


This too. Of course, MM1 also kind of sucked (art wasn't that good, music wasn't that good, weird level designs.) MM2 was so much better than MM1 I was surprised to learn it was all the same designers. MM3 was even better than that, but a lot harder than MM2, even on Difficult. I think that's why people love MM2 more than MM3. No "dark levels," Quickman is way easier in 2, and no farking Cyclops.

/my deepest shame is I never beat Megaman 4
 
2012-06-21 12:02:12 PM  
Because they have people actually testing games nowadays?

On a side note, I've been playing through Kid Icarus since it's on the virtual console and I decided a good name for it would be "Unfair: The Game."

Games are easier because people would like to finish their level and then sit down and have dinner sometime in the next few hours.

/spent all day in the third world boss level
//still haven't beat it
 
2012-06-21 12:02:31 PM  

DarkPascual: Ah, the days when I would bash my head because

MEGAMAN 3 WAS SO farkING HARD!!! AAAAAAGHHH!!!

Also remember the rage induced blackouts of Donkey Kong Country when I tried to get the 100% if items and when I tried to get the Golden Armor on Megaman X3...

/Loved the wasted time of my teenage years...


I experienced difficulty with none of the tasks that you have listed. Attaining 100% completion in Donkey Kong Country was tedious, but the task was not insurmountable.

I play the entirety of the Mega Man series semi-regularly, and I play through Mega Man 2 (on the "Difficult" setting) at least once per year.
 
2012-06-21 12:02:51 PM  
"...certain kinds of games just started selling better while others (harder, less elegant ones, mostly) started selling worse."

This

and

"But newer games are the opposite, Kaelin said.
'They're harder to figure out. There's a much higher learning curve on just learning how to hold and use the controller and all the buttons, you have about 10 different buttons to figure out ... and so just getting the hang of it takes quite awhile.'"


That

If you have a much more difficult interface, then the difficulty of the game needs to go down. The problem with the 25 button options that newer consoles offer is that in most games you end up using only a few outside of the directional sticks. Like in Madden, why do you need anything other than the directional stick, 4 receiver buttons on passes, and spin for your runner? That makes 6, but the Gamefly instruction manual lists 15, 16 if you count the directional stick that it doesn't list.
 
2012-06-21 12:02:53 PM  

wildstarr: DarkPascual: MEGAMAN 3 WAS SO farkING HARD!!! AAAAAAGHHH!!!

You need to play the first Mega Man. MM3 was super easy compared to the first one.


That´s the funny thing... I didn't had THAT much of problem with the first one...

Don't get me wrong, that biatch was HARD to beat and I bashed my head against the wall many times... but as tough as MM was, I felt that MM3 was farkING UNFORGIVING!!!

Will admit that I always liked the X series more than the original, but Megaman series overall was amazing. Should get a Zsnes (no way to find an original SNES where I live)

/Love the delightful frustration of die over and over again... why I still play LoL despite sucking so much...
//New games are tons fun... just crank up the difficulty...
 
2012-06-21 12:03:22 PM  

DanZero: Since Warren Spector was also in TFA -

[img.photobucket.com image 640x512]


I complete a run of that game once per year since its release.
 
2012-06-21 12:04:07 PM  

desolation15: [www.gameranx.com image 638x387]

Too easy for my liking, but still a rather cute game,

/Hot like the magnificent sun


I enjoyed Demon Souls more, as it seemed like a much more polished product. But they are good games.

/looking forward to playing Dark Souls on PC, even though I already own it on console.
 
2012-06-21 12:04:23 PM  

Barricaded Gunman: Is this not the case for consoles?


If console games have difficulty settings, they usually go from Normal to Hard. Sometimes they'll have Easy and Normal and you have to beat normal to unlock Hard.
 
2012-06-21 12:04:36 PM  
Really the reason games are so much easier is because you actually have control over your charactes now.

Before - Jump in the air - "oh crap, that guy is moving right where I'm going to land" *dead*

Now - Jump in the air - "oh crap that guy is moving right where I'm going to land" *moves in mid air the other direction to avoid death*

Simplistic, but that's the basic jist of why games are easier. Controls are more fluid and semi-realistic (moving in the air isn't exactly real)
 
2012-06-21 12:06:11 PM  

Dimensio: DarkPascual: Ah, the days when I would bash my head because

MEGAMAN 3 WAS SO farkING HARD!!! AAAAAAGHHH!!!

Also remember the rage induced blackouts of Donkey Kong Country when I tried to get the 100% if items and when I tried to get the Golden Armor on Megaman X3...

/Loved the wasted time of my teenage years...

I experienced difficulty with none of the tasks that you have listed. Attaining 100% completion in Donkey Kong Country was tedious, but the task was not insurmountable.

I play the entirety of the Mega Man series semi-regularly, and I play through Mega Man 2 (on the "Difficult" setting) at least once per year.


Well, I'm sure that I just plain sucked back then... Hell, I still suck now...

My relationship with videogames is an abusive one... I love them, they just don't seem to love me back...
 
2012-06-21 12:07:09 PM  
well back in the day difficulty was the only reason games had value, take away the difficulty and you realize how simple/lazy/repetitive level design was and how short games really were

what attracted us to video games were the interaction and possibilities of control over a virtual avatar in a virtual world, so when technology and design got deeper/better over time the emphasis slowly grew further away from difficulty as a crutch and more difficulty as some kind of immersion

the problem nowadays is nobody can be immersed in anything anymore, we're too distracted or we don't have enough time, the only solutions the video game industry have for this problem is either A) make everything absurdly easy, B) make progress the desirable trait of video games (f2p/mmo) or C) up the action and sensory overload exponentially every year

all of the above are creating problems for the future such as A) if everything being absurdly easy kills the reward function of games, B) making progress the reward in games kills the ease-of-access of gaming and risks wide-scale burnout, and C) upping sensory overload increases costs which in turn decreases risk taking which in turn leads to more samey experiences across the board, leading to burnout/boredom/franchise fatigue/bankruptcies/you name it/etc.

we look back on the old days with nostalgia for how simple it was - you buy 1 game and played that game until you were amazing at it, it didn't have to be a perfect game it just had to work (most of the time), and that was all there really was

difficulty is really more of a symptom not a cause
 
2012-06-21 12:07:38 PM  

The My Little Pony Killer: On a side note, I've been playing through Kid Icarus since it's on the virtual console and I decided a good name for it would be "Unfair: The Game."


I have never understood the classification of the original Kid Icarus as "difficult".

The Legend of Zelda's Second Quest is "difficult". Kid Icarus and Metroid are "challenging".

Disturbingly, I have likely spent more hours playing those three games using my PSP than I have playing actual PSP games.
 
2012-06-21 12:09:15 PM  
I never did beat the final level of this

i.imgur.com
 
2012-06-21 12:11:47 PM  

Dimensio: The My Little Pony Killer: On a side note, I've been playing through Kid Icarus since it's on the virtual console and I decided a good name for it would be "Unfair: The Game."

I have never understood the classification of the original Kid Icarus as "difficult".

The Legend of Zelda's Second Quest is "difficult". Kid Icarus and Metroid are "challenging".

Disturbingly, I have likely spent more hours playing those three games using my PSP than I have playing actual PSP games.


I get it, you're unnaturally good at video games. Kid Icarus is still tedious, if for nothing else than because I'm doing all these maps blind and have to memorize as I go along.
 
2012-06-21 12:13:16 PM  
www.cheatingdome.com
 
2012-06-21 12:15:43 PM  
B.C.s quest for tires for the Atari 800xl. Fffffffffffuuuuuuuu
 
2012-06-21 12:16:10 PM  
You die...
Do you want your possessions identified? [ynq] (n)
"killed by a soldier ant"
 
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