Difficulty and games, and games being difficult


Games are hard sometimes. That’s a fact. More of a relative comparative fact, though, between skill level and expected challenge. It’s also generally hard to ask a game to be easier without changing the difficulty on it, through settings or cheats or hacking. Sometimes patches might balance things out or add more modes. Sometimes you also just have to practice.

I’m not the best at games but I’m willing to put in some effort if it’s a good one. Generally I’ll go for normal level to start with, if it’s ridiculous I might turn it down, if it’s a pushover I might crank it up. Online is another story, you’re expected to be at your best there. Or at least be with people who just want to mess around as much as you do.

When it comes down to it, generally a well-balanced game is challenging but has new and interesting curveballs every so often. A not-so-balanced one has crazy difficulty spikes in situations encountered before, just with a lot more piled on. This doesn’t mean a game has to be easy or hard to fall into those categories, it should generally follow its chosen level in a sort of gradual ramp as the player is anticipated to improve as they play.

That being said, if someone can’t play a game from the difficulty of it, they can either keep trying or not play it. If they still want to see the game, nowadays there’s the recorded video and livestreams of games which can also provide some commentary. There are also things which essentially act themselves out as movies, Telltale, as I’ve mentioned before, so if you’re really just in for the plot with a little bit of input, those would match up. With the abundance of them, though, particularly from Telltale, people just seem to expect games to hand themselves over sometimes. That won’t always happen, games might be designed as games.

Video games came from more of an arcade setting. With the limited space and power, they had to last, and therefore could be considered pretty difficult by today’s standards, through whatever means necessary. Limited lives, lack of health bars, strong and changing patterns of enemies, sometimes just even throwing random stuff for no good reason other than to impede progress. Old adventure games are pretty notorious for disregarding what one would consider logic.

Now, with advances in technology, there can be a lot more in a game. And even so, it’s up to the creators to decide how hard they want it to be. To keep things tense, or lengthen the gameplay, or make the player learn just how the world works. There’s an intent behind it. Sometimes not done in the best way, and other times it becomes clear after a bit of play.

The main point I want to make here is that someone will either play a game or they won’t. They need to have their reasons, and patience, to go through with it, and it’s really more up to them. Skill plays in that as well. There are some games I’m interested in that I’d play if I knew I had the skill and patience for it, but I can just build up to it for later on, as well as find enough free time to clear out the backlog. Of course a major reason here is cost, overall.