Why are games so easy these days?

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT
 

You're older now and your reflexes are much better developed. It's the same reason why Super Mario World was a challenge when you were a child but now you can blow through it in about 45 minutes.

Hm, well, maybe I am just really bad at playing video games; but normal/hard difficulties are more than enough for me. Perhaps it's my reaction times. *single tear*

Well, lets think about a few things here.

1st: Historically, video games were originally difficult for the simple reason that most people didn't own consoles, the simply played in arcades, and if a game was too easy in an arcade, they would never make money. Difficult games kept the quarters coming. With consoles however, if you make every game Nintendo hard then eventually people aren't going to drop $60 on a game they know they won't finish.

2nd: Also, take in to account that games in the past had a limit means of making something difficult. A lot of very early games were about pattern memorization and timing and reaction speed. And that was about it. Modern games have more advanced AI that can do things that earlier games couldn't. However, if you add in this Modern AI with the other difficulty increasing mechanics of past generations, games would be unbeatable. So some stuff gets tweaked. You don't have to memorize the positions of every enemy. You don't have to have perfect timing and reactions.

3rd: Difficulties exist for a reason. The fact is that giving someone else the opportunity to enjoy the game does not hurt you the player as long as there is a difficulty level that challenges you.

getoffmycloud:
You have to remember old games were often harder due to bad design decisions not because they were developed to be intentionally difficult like dark souls and as developers have more experience this generally doesn't happen and I find most games on the hardest difficulty are usually very challenging anyway.

And alot of them actually expected the person to think for themselves a little or actually read the fuckin manual. Now you barley have to be paying attention. ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Elamdri:

3rd: Difficulties exist for a reason. The fact is that giving someone else the opportunity to enjoy the game does not hurt you the player as long as there is a difficulty level that challenges you.

I'm personally of the opinion that games with difficulty settings should be designed to be hard, then given progressively easier difficulty settings. It's easier to make a hard game easy than vice-versa.

Because they were never hard. They were merely less accessible. Not the same thing.

edit

A lot of older games are hard because of bad design or controlls or the total lack of a direction given to the player, more recent games tend to allow you to save whenever you want, having less confusing or disorienting level layout and tighter controlls. Take the first or second RE games add in an option allowing you to save wheneer you want and a more responsive controll system and those games wouldn't be nearly as challenging.

Because games are no longer heavily influenced by, if not built directly for, Arcades.

The idea with incredibly hard games with limited lives (for example) was to fleece you of your money. Games moved past those tropes.

OR

Games are given an easier base because the experience of the entire game has become more important than the challenge of the gameplay. I'm this kind of gamer, I don't like an exceeding amount of challenge in my games to the point where I have to practice and invest undue amounts of time and patience - I Play games to relax, to be entertained. The moment I find playing a game a chore I no longer want to play it; My life is FULL of chores which require skill and effort to do and I don't need to add more to it. If I wanted to spend my free time honing skill, I'd pick a slightly less pathetic skill than "Being able to pull off headshots in Halo 3".

Dara O'Brien also raises this point about Difficulty beyond the abilities of the player - It locks off content you've paid for until you're "Worthy" to view it, something no other medium of entertainment does

From 2:32 to 7:28

Games from the older era in video gaming history are not known for having "Better difficulty curves" or being able to balance Challenge and fairness, they're not known for being designed well. They're simply known for being difficult. Absurdly, unfairly, hair-pullingly difficult.

And that is not something to be proud of, that is not something we should wish to put back into gaming.

scar_47:
more recent games tend to allow you to save whenever you want

This is certainly something that makes games easier. I'm not, however, convinced it's an advancement. Would Dark Souls play the same with checkpoints and the ability to quicksave/quickload? Having an actual penalty for death beyond slight annoyance means that risk and resource management are actually important.

Imagine you have just made a game... it's big and long and has taken you countless hours to make! In fact, you are incredibly proud of your game, especially the story, that you took ages writing, and you are really excited to treat your fans with what you think will be the new big thing... you can't wait to see the feedback of the clever twists and turns in the plot, and you cant wait to see what people thought of your feindish, but unexpected final boss...

Why would you then go and stop most of the players of this game being able to get to that point...?

im of the group that believes that games should have a casual mode (most of todays games) and a hardcore mode ( which harkens back to the "before times" when games were so hard you had to sacrifice your testicles to see the final boss)and an inbetween mode that balances accesibility and difficulty. hell, the higher difficulty could change the HUD up, so it would really be harder. for example, on shooters you would have only 2 or 3 mags, and full auto would be uncontrolloble, and there would be no bullet counter, you'd have to check (google the G36C, it has a transparent window on the mag).

Al-Bundy-da-G:
You're older now and your reflexes are much better developed. It's the same reason why Super Mario World was a challenge when you were a child but now you can blow through it in about 45 minutes.

Actually, this is damn true too...

I cant remember how much I played Super Mario Land on the gameboy, over and over... and how proud I was to reach the end one day! I was over the moon!

Then I download is on the DS last Nov, and complete it first try... Couldn't beleive how short and easy it was!! :/

Kahunaburger:

Elamdri:

3rd: Difficulties exist for a reason. The fact is that giving someone else the opportunity to enjoy the game does not hurt you the player as long as there is a difficulty level that challenges you.

I'm personally of the opinion that games with difficulty settings should be designed to be hard, then given progressively easier difficulty settings. It's easier to make a hard game easy than vice-versa.

My one complaint about difficulty settings is that usually it only involves upping the health that enemies have and the damage that enemies do.

Now, take a game like Halo, I really felt that when playing on harder difficulties that the enemies played SMARTER. That's not something you see very often.

Or look at Mass Effect 3's multiplayer.

Not only are the enemies on multiplayer in Mass Effect tougher the higher you up the difficulty, but there are MORE of them. Kicking the difficulty up from Bronze to Silver is a SIGNIFICANT increase. I have yet to beat a Gold match.

This is off topic, but I hate this new Captcha thing. The ads are so annoying. What was so bad about ReCaptcha?

mad_mick:

Zhukov:
[snip]

Stop twisting my words, I'm not saying i want the most hardcore extreme game mankind has ever seen, (dark souls can suck my dick) i just don't see why games have to be spoon fed to people who don't want to accept that they may die in the trial and error that is gaming. the Alone in the dark remake they did a few years ago, if a level was too hard you could SKIP THE ENTIRE GAME and get the same pay off as someone who completed the game for real, what the fuck is the point of that. Games can be fun without being easy enough that a blind toddler could knock it over in an afternoon.

I am not trying to twist your words.

You asked why games are so easy. It's so they can be sold to people who haven't been playing for years and years.

I do not understand this attitude of derision that gets directed at unchallenging games and those who play them - that is to say, games that are unchallenging by the standards of people who have played many, many games.

If someone wants to skip the hard levels then I have no problem with that. Hell, if they want to watch the opening cutscene, then skip everything and watch the credits roll then I have no problem with that either. It's a leisure activity, not a job. There is no such thing as doing it wrong.

Lastly, my point about difficulty levels still stands. Unless you're playing on the hardest difficulty and still finding the game childishly easy (which does happen, Kingdoms of Amular comes to mind) then complaining about it not being hard enough looks silly. It's like someone saying their food isn't salty enough while there is a salt shaker right under their nose.

More emphasis on story means "average" gamers want to be able to finish the game. There are still difficult games and difficulty settings for pros, but the market for near-impossible, truly punishing games is limited.

Elamdri:

My one complaint about difficulty settings is that usually it only involves upping the health that enemies have and the damage that enemies do.

Now, take a game like Halo, I really felt that when playing on harder difficulties that the enemies played SMARTER. That's not something you see very often.

I really like the way Halo does difficulty. The enemies actually have more capabilities on higher difficulty settings, and a big part of what makes easier difficulty easier is that some of those capabilities are taken away. Worlds better than the "difficulty means stun-locking enemies to death takes 10 seconds instead of 5 seconds" of Jade Empire or the "difficulty means you have 1 second to get back into cover instead of 2 seconds" of Call of Modern Battlefield.

bullet_sandw1ch:
the higher difficulty could change the HUD up, so it would really be harder. for example, on shooters you would have only 2 or 3 mags, and full auto would be uncontrolloble, and there would be no bullet counter, you'd have to check (google the G36C, it has a transparent window on the mag).

I really like this idea, too. Combined with higher difficulty = smarter enemies with more abilities, it could make for a much more interesting way to vary shooter difficulty than the way most of them do it now.

Zhukov:
Naturally, you are playing all these games on maximum difficulty settings. Right...?

Maximum difficulty usually means that enemies have more health, you have less health or they even aimbot. I can't speak for ME3 but this is pretty much the trend.

I am sorry, but how harder is it to just play trough a game waiting for your body to regenerate from the damage you took? It forces the action to slow down a bit, but doesn't mean mores skill is required.

getoffmycloud:
You have to remember old games were often harder due to bad design decisions

Hey, don't forget that there were GOOD decisions. Many games were very short because we couldn't fit a lot of data on older mediums, and difficulty was a way to make games longer and more replayable to justify their cost.

I'm sorry but playing games like COD and its ilk and complaning they're too easy is like watching transformers and complaining it's not intellectually stimulating enough. It's not designed for you! If you want something hard play Dark Souls or Super Meat Boy, stuff that doesn't have the mainstream audience in mind.

EDIT: that last sentence wasn't meant to be a patronising recommendation by the way, just a rhetorical statement. Sorry, I just felt the need to clarify that...

mad_mick:

scorptatious:
Two words:

Dark Souls.

But yeah, personally I usually play games for fun. Sure challenge is nice, but I kind of prefer a game that has an interesting story or fun gameplay mechanics rather then raise my blood pressure. Hence why I stopped playing the original Rayman. That game is absolute bullshit in terms of difficulty curve.

I also kind of resent the statement about how people who enjoy those kinds of games are of "lesser intellectual capability". Sure, I can agree that most games are trying to appeal to a wider audience, but is that really such a bad thing? We were all casual gamers at some point.

I agree. And that's what im getting at in a round about kind of way, no middle ground. either death at every step or paper mashie ai. We need more games like ico, or shadows of the colossus. Amazing games, not too hard, not too easy.

I agree, the first time I played SotC I got killed a few times by different colossus. But after each death I learned how to avoid it. And if you REALLY wanted a challenge you could do the time attack mode or Hard mode after beating the game.

I do think "easy" modes on games are a bit too easy but I don't have a problem with it. When I first get a game I almost always play it on easiest setting first. I like how Resident Evil 5 put it "for those who enjoy the journey" or something like that. I don't suck at games or have a hard time with them, but the first time I play I want to get used to the controls, maps, enemies, combat, etc., and just be able to enjoy the story. Then after I beat it I usually put the difficulty up.

They said Mass Effect 3 was harder and required more tactics then ME2, but I was just going through the motions by the end. Oh look, another enemy squad. Just let me shoot them a few times with my insanely high damage gun, rarely touching the power wheel. The only fight that really kept me on my feet was at the end where you had to defend the Thanix missiles. I kept moving from the shop to outside to the other shop to outside as the enemies came in huge numbers and overwhelmed my squad. Yes the A.I is better, but it still doesn't change the fact that enemies can be pewpewed through the entire game. And this is all while I'm in the process of going deaf and I can barely make out sounds from the tv.

Most of it has to do with the fact that we've been playing games for years. We know all the controls, we've seen most of the challenges. There isn't much a, say, shooting game can do to impress somebody whose beaten Halo: Reach on Legendary. Heck, even notoriously difficult games like Dark Souls and Super Meat Boy aren't that bad once you know what to do. I'd even go so far to say that Dark Souls is only TRULY difficult on your very first playthrough. Once you've beaten it once, it doesn't have any new tricks beyond making the enemies hit harder and more aggressively.

Let's take a look across the room at my collection, and think of the games I have that I'd consider pretty difficult. These are mostly 360, but you get the idea.

Call of Duty: World at War on Veteran
Bayonetta Infinite Climax
Catherine
Dead Rising 1/2 (first playthrough/low level)
Demon/Dark Souls (ditto)
Dead Space 2 Zealot
Resident Evil 5 Professional (even if you carry your stuff over, it's tough. Try a brand new playthrough sometime, it's a bitch)
Halo 3 and Reach Legendary
Ninja Gaiden 2 Master Ninja
Vanquish on higher difficulties
Devil May Cry 4 on Dante Must Die

And a whole mess of PS1 and 2 games. Really, gaming hasn't gotten that much easier, it's just gotten more accessible and easier to play. You can check the percentages; a surprisingly few number of people have actually completed many of the challenges I listed above.

While the question of what makes games difficult and how to improve difficulty settings is certainly worth discussing, I find the attitudes of the aggressively hardcore types saddening.

We're a community traditionally (not exclusively, I know) comprised of people who's hobby is belittled by large numbers of non-gamers. Why do we turn on ourselves with the same snobbish, exclusionary behaviour? Sure, maybe it's irritating to you that some people are having it "easy" or "not doing it properly," but why would you *want* gaming to remain marginalised and limit its audience? Why would you want to ignore those who share your hobby but enjoy it for different reasons to you?

Sometimes I think us nerds like to perpetuate the image of ourselves as separated from everyone else. I'm all for nerd pride, but maybe we're all a bit too keen to make ourselves feel special or superior, like we're part of an exclusive club. Which is really no better than what the "popular" kids back in school used to do. (I admit that I am sometimes guilty of thinking like this, by the way, not trying to personally attack anyone).

OT: there's a broad spectrum of games. Don't tell me none of then are up to your standards. Gamers are diverse these days, why should you expect most games to cater to your particular requirements? As a rule I personally tend to pick out games with particularly interesting characters and/or stories or engaging worlds. Just play games aimed at the more "hardcore" crowd if that's what you want. Simples.

mad_mick:

if a level was too hard you could SKIP THE ENTIRE GAME and get the same pay off as someone who completed the game for real, what the fuck is the point of that.

I see absolutely no reason for you to be bothered by this. No-one was forced to skip anything. What does it matter to you how someone else chose to play *their* game?

I've never personally skipped anything in that way (I'm a completionist), but you know what? I've been known to turn the difficulty all the way down to easy if I've been having trouble with a boss and just want to get on to the next part of the game. Or if I'm just not in the mood for that sort of challenge. Or even, god forbid, I'm just plain not very good at a game but enjoy it enough that I want to get to the end. No doubt this invalidates me as a gamer in your eyes, but I play games for fun. Sure, I love a bit of Super Meat Boy every now and again, and sure, I'm no stranger to grinding in WoW, but a lot of the time I just want to be entertained without the slog.

mad_mick:
Why are games so easy?

Well, there's this.

Also, realize that there's a decent degree that games aren't getting "easier" so much as you are getting better while games are staying the same.

When I play Mass Effect I want to know what happens net in the story, I want to see new planets and be immersed in the atmosphere. I want to gain new abilities and different play styles that result from them. Dying gets in the way of all of that and so I'd rather never die at all.

On the other hand when I play Binding of Isaac I want that level of challenge because there's otherwise not much to it.

That's basically why games difficulty split into divergent paths. Challenge focussed games are really really hard, narrative, exploration and spectacle focussed games are often quite easy. Though for my tastes not easy enough.

Eamar:
While the question of what makes games difficult and how to improve difficulty settings is certainly worth discussing, I find the attitudes of the aggressively hardcore types saddening.

We're a community traditionally (not exclusively, I know) comprised of people who's hobby is belittled by large numbers of non-gamers. Why do we turn on ourselves with the same snobbish, exclusionary behaviour? Sure, maybe it's irritating to you that some people are having it "easy" or "not doing it properly," but why would you *want* gaming to remain marginalised and limit its audience? Why would you want to ignore those who share your hobby but enjoy it for different reasons to you?

The argument is not "games should not have an easy difficulty setting." It's that "more games should have a setting or combination of settings that presents an authentic challenge."

I played Silent Hill 1,2 and 3 pretty recently and they are easy as piss. If anything, Silent Hill games have gotten harder.

It's true there was a time, somewhere around the NES era, where very short games had to create durability by being ridiculously hard. As games became longer and longer, there was no real reason to make games that challeging. Also, most gamers (myself included most of the time) find no enjoyment in frustration.

Besides, there's always the difficulty setting that you can adjust however you like.

PS: Talking about other's "intellectual capability" makes you sound like a total dick. A lot of gamers nowadays don't have the extensive, excrutiating training in beating videogames that us old-school gamers have. There's nothing shameful about not having spent +10.000 hours alone in your room, bashing buttons and cursing to yourself.

Kahunaburger:

Eamar:
While the question of what makes games difficult and how to improve difficulty settings is certainly worth discussing, I find the attitudes of the aggressively hardcore types saddening.

We're a community traditionally (not exclusively, I know) comprised of people who's hobby is belittled by large numbers of non-gamers. Why do we turn on ourselves with the same snobbish, exclusionary behaviour? Sure, maybe it's irritating to you that some people are having it "easy" or "not doing it properly," but why would you *want* gaming to remain marginalised and limit its audience? Why would you want to ignore those who share your hobby but enjoy it for different reasons to you?

The argument is not "games should not have an easy difficulty setting." It's that "more games should have a setting or combination of settings that presents an authentic challenge."

And I accepted that in my opening statement. Look back at some of the OP's posts and you'll see that some of his comments do come across as rather "anti-easy setting," it was that attitude I was bemoaning, not the legitimate discussion about how to make games more challenging for those who want that (something I can certainly get behind).

Revolutionaryloser:
Also, most gamers (myself included most of the time) find no enjoyment in frustration.

I think the question devs are asking themselves is "how can we prevent gamers from losing?" when the question they should be asking is "why is losing a frustrating experience?" Losing can be fun!

IMO, games with good death mechanics make dying/losing an entertaining part of the experience. See also: Dwarf Fortress, Cat Mario, Super Hostile maps in Minecraft, the roguelike genre, Super Meat Boy, and so on.

Kahunaburger:

Revolutionaryloser:
Also, most gamers (myself included most of the time) find no enjoyment in frustration.

I think the question devs are asking themselves is "how can we prevent gamers from losing?" when the question they should be asking is "why is losing a frustrating experience?" Losing can be fun!

IMO, games with good death mechanics make dying/losing an entertaining part of the experience. See also: Dwarf Fortress, Cat Mario, Super Hostile maps in Minecraft, the roguelike genre, Super Meat Boy, and so on.

I'm not saying you are wrong, but you have to understand a lot of gamers aren't so interested in being challenged or proving their skill as they are in achieving something tangible. A lot of gamers for example just want to get to the rest of the story. One thing recent Silent Hill games have gotten wrong is that increased difficulty for higher tension essentially detracts from the original games' main appeal; the bloody story. If I'm dying over and over again and eventually have to dig up a save from 2 hours ago so I can clear a section without using any medkits just to see the next cut-scene, that is really annoying. Even Super Meat Boy doesn't force you to complete every level.

I like playing Super Meat Boy and I find achieving a grade A+ run on a certain level to be quite cathartic, but the game never forces you to complete any specific level you might just be sick of. Of course, you have the choice to either complete every level, skip the ones that tire you or anything in between. I don't see any problems with that, but apparently there is still an underlying feeling of supriority from part of the community who think anybody who can't complete or would opt to not complete every level of Super Meat Boy shouldn't be allowed to play videogames.

Two words "dice rolls"

Old games had them, newer games, thankfully, don't, at least as much.

Back in the day YOU didn't actually play games, you told the computer to do something and it used random uncontrollable dice roll to determine if you, really it, won an action.

Now that we get to actually play the games its considerably easier because its based on you ability to do something, not a computers ability to pull numbers out of its ass.

Revolutionaryloser:

Kahunaburger:

Revolutionaryloser:
Also, most gamers (myself included most of the time) find no enjoyment in frustration.

I think the question devs are asking themselves is "how can we prevent gamers from losing?" when the question they should be asking is "why is losing a frustrating experience?" Losing can be fun!

IMO, games with good death mechanics make dying/losing an entertaining part of the experience. See also: Dwarf Fortress, Cat Mario, Super Hostile maps in Minecraft, the roguelike genre, Super Meat Boy, and so on.

I'm not saying you are wrong, but you have to understand a lot of gamers aren't so interested in being challenged or proving their skill as they are in achieving something tangible. A lot of gamers for example just want to get to the rest of the story. One thing recent Silent Hill games have gotten wrong is that increased difficulty for higher tension essentially detracts from the original games' main appeal; the bloody story. If I'm dying over and over again and eventually have to dig up a save from 2 hours ago so I can clear a section without using any medkits just to see the next cut-scene, that is really annoying. Even Super Meat Boy doesn't force you to complete every level.

I like playing Super Meat Boy and I find achieving a grade A+ run on a certain level to be quite cathartic, but the game never forces you to complete any specific level you might just be sick of. Of course, you have the choice to either complete every level, skip the ones that tire you or anything in between. I don't see any problems with that, but apparently there is still an underlying feeling of supriority from part of the community who think anybody who can't complete or would opt to not complete every level of Super Meat Boy shouldn't be allowed to play videogames.

I agree - games shouldn't require only hard difficulty settings. There should be an option to make them easy. It's more that I wish genuine challenges were more common in video games :)

RE: survival horror and difficulty, I agree with you on that as well - dying repeatedly isn't scary, and in games that don't incorporate death well is mostly just irritating.

Speaking of games where death is part of the mechanics, I wonder if the survival horror genre could benefit from lifting a pair of complementary mechanics from the roguelike genre: procedural generation and perma-death. Procedural generation in horror games would do what it does in Minecraft - make enemies genuinely unpredictable, and unpredictability is scary. Perma-death works well with procedural generation, because dying permanently is less of a penalty when you won't have to play through the same levels again. Perma-death also interfaces well with the resource management aspects of the survival horror genre, and would definitely keep players on edge.

Most importantly, though, it would keep a sensation of difficulty and danger without significantly interrupting the narrative. If the game's balanced around perma-death, the threat is less that you miss a QTE 10 times in a row and get frustrated and more that a combination of attrition and bad decisions backs you into a corner you can't get out from. Thematically, this seems much more like the sort of difficulty a horror game should have. As a bonus, having an option to perma-death off leaves us with the sort of game that is balanced very effectively around people who want the experience, the atmosphere, and the story without having to reload 20 times per story segment.

This is probably because I've played games for 15 years, but I often find that I beat a game on the hardest difficulty in a day or two. There needs to be more difficulty levels like Dead Space 2's Hardcore mode, where you were only allowed to save your game 3 times throughout the game, and there were no checkpoints; If you died, you went back to your last save. There needs to be more of that in games these days.

When I usually hear this question, I have to ask the person what they found was so hard about a game back in the day, and more often than not, it comes down to something that today would be a broken game mechanic or if it was from the person's era of gaming they wouldnt dare take it. EDIT: and of course if they're playing every new game they play on the hardest difficult or not, and usually hte answer is no and but if moderate is this easy then hard wont be much more challenging.

usually thats immediately drown out by "well people are so used to easy now they couldnt takea challenge, and all games have to hold your hand or you hate it" and thats true to the extent that if youre used to a certain way then its going to be challenging, but its for the better in the long run.

would games be as popular of a medium if every game decided to fuck the player and drop them off somewhere with no hint of direction or idea of how to play? or if every game was like the "hard" games of yesteryear? doubt it.

Personally I dont care for difficult, but then agim im on of those people that plays a game to play it, so i always have a first go on easy just so i can experience the game in full wihtout having to worry about it beating my ass and frustrating me so I dont get to finish it.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked