Greetings all you web surfers, welcome to my blog about all things video games. My name is Jarett Gillingwater and I am a 19 year old college student who just happens to have been a gamer since birth.
For my first post I am going to talk about something that has bothered me for a long time, the difference between video games that are genuinely difficult and ones where the developer has purposely added difficulty to a game to alter the experience in some way. The most common difference between these two different types of difficulty is that one takes legitimate skill, the other just takes time.
Difficulty Done Right: Dark Souls
First we are going to talk at one of my favorite game series that is known for being extremely difficult, Dark Souls. The Dark Souls series is known for having enemies so tough they can kill you character in one or two hits. I’ve even on occasion get so mad at this game that I can’t play it for a while. But the reason I always come back is because of how fulfilling it is once you finally beat that enemy you were stuck fighting. The game gives you all the tools to succeed, you just have to use them properly. Those attacks that kill you in one hit are complete dodge-able as long as you are skilled enough to time it correctly. When you die in Dark Souls it is your fault, not some cheap game mechanic that is used to add “difficulty”.
This is why the games have been so successful. The Dark Souls trilogy received near perfect reviews online and the third game was so popular it became the the fastest selling game ever released by Bandai Namco selling more than three million copies in a month.
Difficulty Done Wrong
However, a lot of developers try to add difficulty to their games so that the can artificially extend the playtime. These methods include: forcing the player to “grind” (play the same part of the game continuously until they get what they need to progress) and having the game break established rules
Nothing makes me more annoyed when I have to complete hours of in-game tedious chores so that I can get back to my game. Whether you are spending hours trying to level up a character so you can beat a boss or get an enemy to drop a rare item that you need, you can guarantee that it wont be the last time you have to do this either.
2. Unfair Design
Unfair design is when the game manages to cheat you out of victory by breaking its own rules. Imagine playing a game of monopoly with your friends, having a good time until suddenly they whip out a bunch of money from another monopoly game and team up against you. That is what these games do, it isn’t fun and substitutes providing the player with a challenge that requires skill and thought with a task that demands the player slowly chip away at it.
Video games are made to bring enjoyment to the people playing them, part of this is providing a challenge that can be overcome. However, these challenges shouldn’t come at the expense of the player. Difficult games shouldn’t be difficult to enjoy