When Patrick posted that saving zelda story, I completely know what the author was talking about. I understood his points, agreed that it's changed, and that designed difficulty is a thing rarely seen today(Demons/Dark Souls). And I disagreed with his main point. Strongly. Maybe from after the second game Zelda should have changed titles, as it changed it's purpose. It became a formulaic ride, as most games of today are. But at this point asking it to go back to what it once was is a broken plea. There's a reason Zelda is still critically acclaimed, and that's because from the perspective of a player the games are still good. It's tried to go new places from art style to collection quests to now motion control, but at their core the games are the same. Although in the perspective of buying these games it's ridiculous to continue unless you're content with surface level changes. The problem is most people just want more, and that keeps Nintendo staying in the safe zone. As in Patrick's review, it's a great game with changes in gameplay not design that he felt made it worth going through another Zelda adventure. Most people would agree. And sure Tevis's points about how it's just different locks and keys is valid, but it's designed to not be challenging to the mind. Kids do love figuring out things and don't mind hard things(if they're fair like Punch-Out or Rhythm Heaven) but they have so much else they can play, that making the same kind of challenges as the old Zelda games would drive them away. It's no longer a puzzle but figuring out a mindset. And it's partially the fault that so many games are rides, that kids expect them to be. I feel that instead of Zelda going back to it's roots, we should look for new games to fill that void. Kind of if 3D dot game heroes had more thought put into the puzzles and difficulty than the art and references. And there's definitely a market for that designed to be hard but fair stuff, which is getting more and more apparent with games like Bit Trip, Super Meat boy, and Souls(Again). There's not much at the moment and the biggest stuff is indie, but there's a good market for it as long as it doesn't get flooded.
Now on actual difficulty(and to get rid of that nasty looking text block) and not just focusing on one game. Difficulty is something I always have enjoyed as an option. Hardcore mode in Torchlight, Crushing in uncharted, legendary in Halo, Veteran on CoD. But more and more games are designed to be punishing. Sometimes fair sometimes not(binding of isaac). But this slow growing love for normally difficult games is because of the group that wants difficulty as a standard. I personally think a lot of them really just want games with more deeper design. The old games were hard but designed to make it possible to win in the game's logic. I found beating Battletoads without cheats to be my personal hell. Newer games have become designed to be approachable and more of a ride. A lot of people say that they should be challenges not rides, but I believe both can exist. It's like having The Expendables and I am love in movies, they can both exist in the medium and be great in separate ways. It's just that we have too many rides right now. And both are designed to have the player's experience in mind. It's just that we as people can experience so much, that we shouldn't hold ourselves to one or the other. Anyway, the problem with rides, is they're designed to be easily winnable on normal difficulty. And everyone wants to win on normal. I wanted to win on easy as a kid, but I feel I can handle more now. But when making it easy, they take out a lot of player control. They make it straightforward. One example is the Mcdonalds shoot out in Call of Duty(I know it's not really MDs just go with it). Technically this would be a great place to send a bunch of troops in at once from different directions. You would have to quickly take out the groups separately, choosing which one to go after first. But instead they sent waves one at a time from the same area(even if it differed between waves). This made it a 3D eye spy with shooting. It's an understandable situation to make the scene more straightfoward and for the player. But it's a missed opportunity for strategy and depth in player control. Really in the rides the only problem is we need more depth, and we can have the challenges as well.
So that's my opinion on difficulty. I think we need more difficult games, but saying we should have them over what we have now isn't the right answer(to me). Also we need to explore the depth in games we have, to make them better and more like the older games in design quality. Thanks for reading and not getting angry at my huge text blocks.