The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
jacjon
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Re: Why are games easier? My take on the subject

by jacjon Thu May 03, 2018 7:27 pm

I think so much of it is probably subjective
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Gunstar Green
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Re: Why are games easier? My take on the subject

by Gunstar Green Fri May 04, 2018 11:58 am

NeoTechni wrote:I'd argue because user interface design has improved.

We have things like checkpoints and auto-saving to make death less of a punishment/annoyance.


Basically this. I don't think games have overall become "easier" I think quality of life improvements have simply made them less frustrating.

We also have a lot more choice today. If you want a challenge you don't have to look hard to find one. If you want a game that basically plays itself they're everywhere too.

Also let's not ignore the rise of online multi-player gaming. A lot of challenge gamers have moved to that and not just "player versus player" but extremely difficult MMO raids.
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Re: Why are games easier? My take on the subject

by Erik_Twice Fri May 04, 2018 7:29 pm

Oh dear, this refloats reminds me I should reupload my old articles again. But they are so poorly written compared to my new ones that I never do it D:
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Gunstar Green
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Re: Why are games easier? My take on the subject

by Gunstar Green Fri May 04, 2018 7:50 pm

Didn't even realize this thread was a necrobump. :lol:

Shows how much I was paying attention.
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isiolia
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Re: Why are games easier? My take on the subject

by isiolia Mon May 21, 2018 11:04 am

PresidentLeever wrote:Surviving a whole level/area without checkpoints and/or saving is in itself legitimately harder than surviving parts of it at a time if the rest of the game is the same, regardless of if we find it more frustrating.


True, though if nothing else, modern games tend to be far bigger than the ol' 3 lives/3 continues type of experiences. Games, as a whole, are not the same.

There has been a shift towards less trial & error-based gameplay over the years, which I think is good, but also hidden aids that make games easier while tricking the player that they're good, which I generally don't care for.

Some examples of the latter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YdJa7v99wM


Most of that is just good design, and some form of it is always going to be present. Even on a base level, you tend to have dead zones on joysticks and debouncing on buttons, and things to compensate for latency in displays or network connections. Then they're taking a machine processing millions of instructions a second and trying to create a convincing experience for a human. On a basic level, we can't keep up, and need any game to cater to us. If most players are coming away from a game feeling like they succeeded due to their own skill, then that's probably the result of good design and tuning, considering the only reason we ever win any game at all - PVP aside - is because (effectively) the computer let us. If it was fun, well, all the better.
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Re: Why are games easier? My take on the subject

by Curiosity Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:05 am

BRIK wrote:...But probably the biggest reason (that may or may not intertwine with the first reason) is that as the video game industry evolved and grew, the audience became a lot larger. To appeal to a larger audience, the games have gradually become easier and easier so they're accessible to more players...


Absolutely agree. I think this is the main reason. Also, most people and children now do not like difficult games and do not like to read. They do not want to read manuals that help to play. They do not even read quests. Reading is harder than watching. How about a new (for me anyway) genre of visual novel? Can this be called a game? Will children who play visual novels become hardcore gamers in the future?
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isiolia
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Re: Why are games easier? My take on the subject

by isiolia Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:58 am

Curiosity wrote:Also, most people and children now do not like difficult games and do not like to read. They do not want to read manuals that help to play. They do not even read quests. Reading is harder than watching. How about a new (for me anyway) genre of visual novel? Can this be called a game? Will children who play visual novels become hardcore gamers in the future?


Accessibility doesn't necessarily mean that a game can't end up being difficult. It might be a more gradual ramp up, allowing more players to get a handle on the mechanics. It might be via optional content or a hard mode. It's not like every game every until recently was extremely hard either, or that nothing modern is.

Again, as mentioned, assuming this about the playerbase in general is really glossing over the sheer popularity of multiplayer gaming. Potential toxicity aside, you're often looking at an evolving game against constantly-improving opponents. So, sure, maybe folks are happy with a 15 hour romp through a single player game where they don't need to repeat much...and then get back to honing their PVP skills in an effort to stay competitive. It's just a different thing than practicing a 30 minute sequence of levels to get a high score.

Visual novel stuff I think has evolved a bit. First, much like "RPG elements" it's something that may be fused with some actual gameplay, or otherwise mix things up a bit. There are plenty of indie games (particularly) that'd fit that mold. At a higher production level, there are things like Quantic Dream or Telltale games. There are also all the walking simulator/interactive experience/whatever type titles, or newer forms of adventure games.

The biggest factor for people sticking with gaming is actually finding them fun, which circles back to accessibility. There's always going to be that segment that'll be drawn in by a vertical learning curve and practicing or memorizing patterns until they get it. It's just a relatively small segment of potential gamers out there, and even then, subject to individual preferences. Grabbing the attention of everyone else means finding a different way to engage them, and that's more what the industry has done.
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Re: Why are games easier? My take on the subject

by marurun Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:51 pm

I don't know that games are easier, writ large. I do actually think that games are mostly more accessible, leading to people responding to the challenge curve better. In fact, a great many retro-styled and indie games are actually harder than many classic games, even with modern usability conventions. The thing is, a lot of older games were harder for the wrong reasons: bad design, cryptic or no clues as to where to go or what to do, broken game code, or artificial challenge inflation to pad game play time in response to the US rental market.

And to second Isolia's point, there's a lot of on-line gaming going on, and no opponent is more challenging than another human who's got stills and practice.
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Re: Why are games easier? My take on the subject

by Sarge Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:45 pm

I don't know if it was here, or somewhere else, but someone made the point that games often fall into a couple of different categories when it comes to difficulty. They revolve around the combination of how forgiving they are, and how fair they are. The example was that Ninja Gaiden would be an example of a game that was unfair, but forgiving because of the unlimited continues. Something like Dark Souls might be an example of a game that is unforgiving, but fair. (And still difficult, of course.) Then you get to stuff like Battletoads or Ninja Gaiden III's US release, which were both unfair and unforgiving.

I think we've gotten away from as many titles that are blatantly unfair, and the ones that are are typically very forgiving. Think of something like the Mario games, even. There are sequences where you'll die quite a bit in a new Mario game! But since lives are so copious, they are quite forgiving. Same deal with Shovel Knight; you're gonna die a lot on the first time through, but the only penalty is losing cash, and depending on how you play, a chunk of the stage.

However, even with these things in place, I do think there are a lot less games that really challenge the player significantly in the AAA game space. NES-hard is still absolutely a thing. But they're not completely gone, they just changed their structure a bit.

Apologies if I ripped off what someone else said here! I seriously can't remember where this argument was made, but it makes a lot of sense to me.
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isiolia
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Re: Why are games easier? My take on the subject

by isiolia Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:59 am

Sarge wrote:I think we've gotten away from as many titles that are blatantly unfair, and the ones that are are typically very forgiving. Think of something like the Mario games, even. There are sequences where you'll die quite a bit in a new Mario game! But since lives are so copious, they are quite forgiving. Same deal with Shovel Knight; you're gonna die a lot on the first time through, but the only penalty is losing cash, and depending on how you play, a chunk of the stage.

However, even with these things in place, I do think there are a lot less games that really challenge the player significantly in the AAA game space. NES-hard is still absolutely a thing. But they're not completely gone, they just changed their structure a bit.


I think a lot of this goes back to what at least a couple folks mentioned about checkpoints/saving. Like you say, games with unlimited continues and the like are more forgiving, in a sense, and that's basically the norm these days. Even many of the more difficult games on the market today are unlikely to dump you back to the title screen to start all over if it isn't a core part of the genre (roguelikes for instance). There are reasons for that beyond making things more difficult or not, but it is still a difference.

To a fair point though, even that is creating a narrow focus on what constitutes a challenge in a game. NES hard is still a thing, sure, but there are entire genres now that were basically science fiction when the NES was king. The ways that those games could be crushingly difficult, in turn, may not be the way a massive open world game, MMO, survival game, or whatever else has the potential to be.
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