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#51 Edited by SethPhotopoulos (5390 posts) -

In ten years we are going to get stupid threads about how games in this generation were better because the young gamers growing up now will be blinded by nostalgia in ten years time. "Nothing is as good as it was when I was a kid." Yeah that's because you were a fucking kid. Games are more than just how hard they are. There are games that revel in it like the Souls series but people also play games for the power fantasy, the story, the characters, the multiplayer, etc. There is a lot more to video games. If you want it to be harder then tweak the difficulty or play games that were made expressly to make you want to throw your controller. Not all games are geared towards you but there are some fantastic ones that are. So get over it and play those.

@owl_of_minerva said:

I feel like this argument would be better phrased in terms of the depth of modern games, not necessarily difficulty (though they're related). Difficulty based on depth is what is important. Difficulty settings won't make a game any more deep, unless they're specifically designed to do more than adjust armour, health, and damage. And I fail to see how modern game design is intrinsically better. Restricting the scope to mainstream developers, I see a major contraction of genre to action games or action games masquerading as other genres. And it's nonsense to say gaming is more varied now. Are you kidding me? RPG genre: dead. Adventure genre: dead. Turn-based strategy: dead. Staples like space sims no longer extant. Puzzle games and strategy games marginal.

So I guess Tell Tale, Nis, Atlus, From Soft, Valve, and numerous other companies don't exist at all or make those games any more. Amazing that Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed wiped them off of the face of the planet. No games like that exist at all anymore.

#52 Posted by stinky (1553 posts) -

@YI_Orange said:

Ugh, I hate this mentality. Games didn't become easier, they became less shit. Most old games that are difficult are that way because they're designed poorly or control poorly. The difficulty is artificial and in most cases not really fair.

bought some old genesis games, this was the case with a lot of them.

get to the end of the screen (goal) get shot by a rocket launcher from a guy off screen. only way to avoid is to know that that area is a trap.

games were short so they killed you to make it longer, oh and you couldn't save so if you get tired be prepared to play stage 1 again.

i mean any of us can go back and play those old games that had "challenge" but we don't cause they also sucked.

#53 Posted by YI_Orange (1172 posts) -

@Alkaiser said:

Any dang way, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this discussion doesn't really have to do with difficulty as much as mechanics and your feeling of control, your being the player that is. To take some modern examples, I felt that Ninja Gaiden Black was very difficult but I felt like any mistakes made were my own and that I could get better at it with practice. It felt like learning a new skill, as opposed to Ninja Gaiden 2 where I felt that no matter what level of competence I achieved in that game I would still fall prey to cheap hits or being ambushed by guys I couldn't see and it just felt frustrating. Even though your health regenerated a certain amount out of combat in 2 it still felt unfair and that the game was giving me that handicap because it knew that I would be taking a certain amount of unavoidable damage.

Yes! I guess I got caught up a bit in the raw difficulty discussion, but this is the point I was attempting to make from the start.

#54 Posted by JoeyRavn (4983 posts) -
Online
#55 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (1825 posts) -

I still think there are plenty of challenging games out there. Of course, design principles have changed a lot over the years, and the difficulty in games today is significantly different than the difficulty in games 20 years ago. A lot of has to do the fact that most games aren't like like 30 minutes long anymore. I've been playing games my whole life, but I know that as I've gotten older that my patience for difficulty has waned. I don't enjoy having to re-do a bunch of shit I just did, and cheap deaths piss me off to no end. That's the benefit of having multiple difficulty levels, though. They're there to try and please everyone. However, when the highest difficulty level on a game is almost devoid of any challenge, like FEAR 2 for example, that's something to take issue with.

#56 Posted by Alkaiser (366 posts) -

@SethPhotopoulos said:

In ten years we are going to get stupid threads about how games in this generation were better because the young gamers growing up now will be blinded by nostalgia in ten years time. "Nothing is as good as it was when I was a kid." Yeah that's because you were a fucking kid. Games are more than just how hard they are. There are games that revel in it like the Souls series but people also play games for the power fantasy, the story, the characters, the multiplayer, etc. There is a lot more to video games. If you want it to be harder then tweak the difficulty or play games that were made expressly to make you want to throw your controller. Not all games are geared towards you but there are some fantastic ones that are. So get over it and play those.

@owl_of_minerva said:

I feel like this argument would be better phrased in terms of the depth of modern games, not necessarily difficulty (though they're related). Difficulty based on depth is what is important. Difficulty settings won't make a game any more deep, unless they're specifically designed to do more than adjust armour, health, and damage. And I fail to see how modern game design is intrinsically better. Restricting the scope to mainstream developers, I see a major contraction of genre to action games or action games masquerading as other genres. And it's nonsense to say gaming is more varied now. Are you kidding me? RPG genre: dead. Adventure genre: dead. Turn-based strategy: dead. Staples like space sims no longer extant. Puzzle games and strategy games marginal.

So I guess Tell Tale, Nis, Atlus, From Soft, Valve, and numerous other companies don't exist at all or make those games any more. Amazing that Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed wiped them off of the face of the planet. No games like that exist at all anymore.

I wouldn't say that they're completely dead, but they are extremely different now and that can be good or bad depending on what you like in those games. I enjoy the RPG genre, but I'll be the first to say that most modern RPGs are, and again in my own opinion, ass awful. The only console one I've liked is Xenoblade Chronicles, and the rest is either PS2 and back or they come out on the DS. Other then that, there's nothing I enjoy or that I can bring myself to try because of either its mechanics (rarely) or its pandering otaku bullshit (very commonly.)

#57 Posted by Korolev (1724 posts) -

The Challenge went away for two reasons:

1) We have jobs now. The Average gamer is around 30 years old. We all have responsibilities and jobs/classes and some have families. We simply don't have the time to master games like we used to. I have Clinical Coaching, Lectures, Online Discussion topics, PBL sessions and housework to do. If I can't finish a game within a week or make noticeable progress in 2 hours or less when I play it, chances are I'm not going to play it for very long. I simply don't have time anymore.

2) Increased competition. In the old days, it didn't matter if a game had terrible controls - you played it because mum could only buy you one game every three months and that was all you had. Games didn't have to control well in order to be played - they just had to be there and they would be played. Nowadays? We have games everywhere.

I'm not saying that some challenge isn't good every now and then. I liked Super Meat Boy (didn't finish it though). I liked Dark Souls (didn't finish it though). I liked Max Payne 3 (did finish that one, but on the PC, where the head-shots are easier to get). All those games offer a decent to extreme level of challenge. I certainly don't want every game to end up like Torchlight (and I liked Torchlight, but come on - that game was so easy my grandparents could play through it with ease).

But a lot of the "old-school" challenge wasn't good Challenge - it was awful control challenge, bad design challenge and it was hardly fun for the most part. And actually, I disagree about Sonic the Hedgehog - the old games were never that hard (although I still remember having a ton of trouble on one level - sky fortress? Sky fort? You know, that huge sky fortress and the chicken-robots and there was something with lasers but it's been a while, as you can tell).

#58 Posted by Gamer_152 (14109 posts) -

I don't think the highest difficulties in games are to be dubbed as the "difficulty for gamers". The majority of people who regularly play games don't seem to jump onto the highest difficulty immediately, they're perfectly fine with easy, medium, or hard. You call the highest difficulty in AAA games these days "a grind", but the exact same could be said of any difficult game, when you're playing on a high difficulty you're going to get set back and have to replay the same sections repeatedly. The concept of a "veteran difficulty" also has nothing to do with whether the deaths in the games feel like your fault, that's entirely to do with larger issues within the game design.

I've heard a certain amount of people speak out against the way games handle difficulty and treat players these days and I'm afraid I can't agree. I can see why retro gamers miss some of the ways older games did things, but I think games these days are still doing a good job of providing a bigger challenge for those who want it, while being reasonable in their difficulty and making themselves accessible. I think one of the worst things games could do would be to take the elitist attitude of walling themselves off to the general public by making themselves inaccessible to anyone who didn't want to repeatedly butt their head against a wall to experience them. Personally when I play a game I don't want to be repeatedly reset without a good reason, but I don't think that makes me lazy and I don't think I should be ashamed of that in any way. Most of the time I play a game I'm there to feel like I'm playing or achieving something, not to be repeatedly told that I'm failing and not doing good enough.

Moderator
#59 Posted by BeachThunder (12390 posts) -

@JoeyRavn said:

Well, this thread turned out awful.

Now everybody go play I Wanna Be the Guy.

That game is the epitome of difficulty through unfair design =\

#60 Posted by mandude (2669 posts) -

While I'm not a fan of the dying and starting the whole game again type design, I do hate the hand-holding being put into some games nowadays.

I also dislike the whole now they take 5 bullets to the head to kill difficulty settings. That's not a good way to add challenge to a game.

#61 Posted by Subject2Change (2966 posts) -

@SomeMist said:

play some bullet hell shmups. espgaluda II, muchi muchi pork/pink sweets, mushihimesama futari ver. 1.5, ikaruga, radiant silvergun, crimzon clover, dodonpachi daifukkatsu, akai katana shin, under defeat, etc...

then there's the rail shooter sin & punishment: star successor, the action rpg/hack-n-slash muramasa: the demon blade, the rpg/dungeon crawler baroque, and so fourth lol

there's a lot of games that offer that "old school" challenge. you just have to look in the right places.

Hey Baby.

#62 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5390 posts) -

@Alkaiser said:

@SethPhotopoulos said:

In ten years we are going to get stupid threads about how games in this generation were better because the young gamers growing up now will be blinded by nostalgia in ten years time. "Nothing is as good as it was when I was a kid." Yeah that's because you were a fucking kid. Games are more than just how hard they are. There are games that revel in it like the Souls series but people also play games for the power fantasy, the story, the characters, the multiplayer, etc. There is a lot more to video games. If you want it to be harder then tweak the difficulty or play games that were made expressly to make you want to throw your controller. Not all games are geared towards you but there are some fantastic ones that are. So get over it and play those.

@owl_of_minerva said:

I feel like this argument would be better phrased in terms of the depth of modern games, not necessarily difficulty (though they're related). Difficulty based on depth is what is important. Difficulty settings won't make a game any more deep, unless they're specifically designed to do more than adjust armour, health, and damage. And I fail to see how modern game design is intrinsically better. Restricting the scope to mainstream developers, I see a major contraction of genre to action games or action games masquerading as other genres. And it's nonsense to say gaming is more varied now. Are you kidding me? RPG genre: dead. Adventure genre: dead. Turn-based strategy: dead. Staples like space sims no longer extant. Puzzle games and strategy games marginal.

So I guess Tell Tale, Nis, Atlus, From Soft, Valve, and numerous other companies don't exist at all or make those games any more. Amazing that Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed wiped them off of the face of the planet. No games like that exist at all anymore.

I wouldn't say that they're completely dead, but they are extremely different now and that can be good or bad depending on what you like in those games. I enjoy the RPG genre, but I'll be the first to say that most modern RPGs are, and again in my own opinion, ass awful. The only console one I've liked is Xenoblade Chronicles, and the rest is either PS2 and back or they come out on the DS. Other then that, there's nothing I enjoy or that I can bring myself to try because of either its mechanics (rarely) or its pandering otaku bullshit (very commonly.)

RPG's do expand beyond JRPG.

#63 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Twiggy199: A BioWare game on the hardest difficulty. That means full friendly fire in Dragon Age! Go back and play games like the original Doom games, and Marathon, also on hard difficulties. They are great games on XBLA.

Try doing a no-guns run of Mirror's Edge on Hard, maybe a no-kills run of Deus Ex: Hoomon Reyvolooshun

#64 Posted by JoeyRavn (4983 posts) -

@BeachThunder said:

@JoeyRavn said:

Well, this thread turned out awful.

Now everybody go play I Wanna Be the Guy.

That game is the epitome of difficulty through unfair design =\

Exactly. And it cracks me up every single time.

Online
#65 Posted by Sin4profit (2999 posts) -

@Twiggy199 said:

The veteran difficulty was more of a grind than it was a challenge, more frustation than stimulation.

This is my frustration with game design. I'm currently playing Darksiders and regretting playing it on normal just because i wish the enemies would die faster, it's the environmental puzzles and such that make that game interesting and combat in these games just feel like an obligatorial chore, Mass Effect is a prime example of combat feeling like a chore against a compelling story.

One game i look back to as having a great dificulty switch is the Thief series, basically the more you ratchet up the difficulty the more you were responsible for, (steal more loot, sneak back OUT after you complete your mission, don't kill anyone) the combat mechanics stayed the same regardless of what difficulty you played it on.

Another interesting take on difficulty is the original Max Payne series where they dynamically controlled the difficulty based on how well/bad you were doing.

Online
#66 Posted by Alkaiser (366 posts) -

@SethPhotopoulos said:

@Alkaiser said:

@SethPhotopoulos said:

In ten years we are going to get stupid threads about how games in this generation were better because the young gamers growing up now will be blinded by nostalgia in ten years time. "Nothing is as good as it was when I was a kid." Yeah that's because you were a fucking kid. Games are more than just how hard they are. There are games that revel in it like the Souls series but people also play games for the power fantasy, the story, the characters, the multiplayer, etc. There is a lot more to video games. If you want it to be harder then tweak the difficulty or play games that were made expressly to make you want to throw your controller. Not all games are geared towards you but there are some fantastic ones that are. So get over it and play those.

@owl_of_minerva said:

I feel like this argument would be better phrased in terms of the depth of modern games, not necessarily difficulty (though they're related). Difficulty based on depth is what is important. Difficulty settings won't make a game any more deep, unless they're specifically designed to do more than adjust armour, health, and damage. And I fail to see how modern game design is intrinsically better. Restricting the scope to mainstream developers, I see a major contraction of genre to action games or action games masquerading as other genres. And it's nonsense to say gaming is more varied now. Are you kidding me? RPG genre: dead. Adventure genre: dead. Turn-based strategy: dead. Staples like space sims no longer extant. Puzzle games and strategy games marginal.

So I guess Tell Tale, Nis, Atlus, From Soft, Valve, and numerous other companies don't exist at all or make those games any more. Amazing that Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed wiped them off of the face of the planet. No games like that exist at all anymore.

I wouldn't say that they're completely dead, but they are extremely different now and that can be good or bad depending on what you like in those games. I enjoy the RPG genre, but I'll be the first to say that most modern RPGs are, and again in my own opinion, ass awful. The only console one I've liked is Xenoblade Chronicles, and the rest is either PS2 and back or they come out on the DS. Other then that, there's nothing I enjoy or that I can bring myself to try because of either its mechanics (rarely) or its pandering otaku bullshit (very commonly.)

RPG's do expand beyond JRPG.

True, but I was referring to the example you gave such as Atlus and NIS. I guess its all up to personal taste really. I personally don't really like games like Dragon Age or Bethesda-made games so I pretty much steer clear of the western RPG scene.

#67 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5390 posts) -

@Alkaiser said:

@SethPhotopoulos said:

@Alkaiser said:

@SethPhotopoulos said:

In ten years we are going to get stupid threads about how games in this generation were better because the young gamers growing up now will be blinded by nostalgia in ten years time. "Nothing is as good as it was when I was a kid." Yeah that's because you were a fucking kid. Games are more than just how hard they are. There are games that revel in it like the Souls series but people also play games for the power fantasy, the story, the characters, the multiplayer, etc. There is a lot more to video games. If you want it to be harder then tweak the difficulty or play games that were made expressly to make you want to throw your controller. Not all games are geared towards you but there are some fantastic ones that are. So get over it and play those.

@owl_of_minerva said:

I feel like this argument would be better phrased in terms of the depth of modern games, not necessarily difficulty (though they're related). Difficulty based on depth is what is important. Difficulty settings won't make a game any more deep, unless they're specifically designed to do more than adjust armour, health, and damage. And I fail to see how modern game design is intrinsically better. Restricting the scope to mainstream developers, I see a major contraction of genre to action games or action games masquerading as other genres. And it's nonsense to say gaming is more varied now. Are you kidding me? RPG genre: dead. Adventure genre: dead. Turn-based strategy: dead. Staples like space sims no longer extant. Puzzle games and strategy games marginal.

So I guess Tell Tale, Nis, Atlus, From Soft, Valve, and numerous other companies don't exist at all or make those games any more. Amazing that Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed wiped them off of the face of the planet. No games like that exist at all anymore.

I wouldn't say that they're completely dead, but they are extremely different now and that can be good or bad depending on what you like in those games. I enjoy the RPG genre, but I'll be the first to say that most modern RPGs are, and again in my own opinion, ass awful. The only console one I've liked is Xenoblade Chronicles, and the rest is either PS2 and back or they come out on the DS. Other then that, there's nothing I enjoy or that I can bring myself to try because of either its mechanics (rarely) or its pandering otaku bullshit (very commonly.)

RPG's do expand beyond JRPG.

True, but I was referring to the example you gave such as Atlus and NIS. I guess its all up to personal taste really. I personally don't really like games like Dragon Age or Bethesda-made games so I pretty much steer clear of the western RPG scene.

I'm sorry then.

#68 Posted by ThePhantomnaut (6201 posts) -

Fighting games against actual people.

#69 Posted by amiirasri (14 posts) -

@Sin4profit said:

@Twiggy199 said:

The veteran difficulty was more of a grind than it was a challenge, more frustation than stimulation.

This is my frustration with game design. I'm currently playing Darksiders and regretting playing it on normal just because i wish the enemies would die faster, it's the environmental puzzles and such that make that game interesting and combat in these games just feel like an obligatorial chore, Mass Effect is a prime example of combat feeling like a chore against a compelling story.

One game i look back to as having a great dificulty switch is the Thief series, basically the more you ratchet up the difficulty the more you were responsible for, (steal more loot, sneak back OUT after you complete your mission, don't kill anyone) the combat mechanics stayed the same regardless of what difficulty you played it on.

Another interesting take on difficulty is the original Max Payne series where they dynamically controlled the difficulty based on how well/bad you were doing.

I don't know about this...

While I agree that games like Thief can do nifty things (i.e. non combat changes) with difficulty it seems a tad unfair to expect other games that are difficult purely based on combat to have such changes with difficulty as well. Games like ME, CoD, GoW... Those would be stuck if you expected this kind of difficulty change.

I disagree in general that changes to damage, armor, or health are 'difficulty without depth'. This CAN be true but not always. To take your ME example, on lower difficulty the angles of battle are much less important. If your cover is exposed it's not an urgent problem. This is because you can tank hits for longer time. Enemies have less armor so you can shoot it down fast and then go easy mode by using your battle powers to disable them. At hard difficulties you need to engage in the cover system a lot more because you can't take hits and you need more time to use your abilities to get rid of their armor. Just by forcing you to treat enemy fire as actual dangers and cover as a necessity to buy additional time (for power cooldowns, more shots, etc.) the combat shows a lot more depth. At normal difficulty I would easily blast their armor down and then disable them. Combat was just a way to advance the story. At Insanity I actually used the heavy weapons when I found that I was stuck in a corner and needed to just brute force my way out.

I am not saying necessarily that everyone will enjoy messing around with the cover system, because I do agree that ME does not have the best combat system (for example, it could be frustrating to move around in battle with the controls). Some people would much prefer to just enjoy the story and blast through enemies so they play on lower difficulty. But often times changing 'only numbers' can have a huge impact on how a player plays the game.

#70 Posted by Zleunamme (704 posts) -

Real life isn't hard enough? In general, people's priorities change and do not have much free time as they use to.

#71 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -

@SethPhotopoulos: The existence of Portal does not mean puzzle games are suddenly on the map again. Some solitary examples evidence just how far gaming has fallen in terms of a healthy ecosystem of genres. And you've missed the point somewhat, as I restricted the scope of my statement to mainstream games development only. I purposely excluded vast swathes of game developers from the discussion, because indies and other less prominent (in terms of game development) regions of the world don't dictate market trends and direction, unlike say a game that does massive numbers like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and so on. It is readily obvious that Japanese gaming, at least in the West, has become increasingly marginal, certainly a far cry from the days of NES or SNES/Genesis. Companies like NIS and From aren't relevant to what I was arguing.

#72 Posted by Devil240Z (3429 posts) -

Ive never liked games I have to try over and over. Except for Gran turismo games. I can play them endlessly for some reason. But most other games bore me if I cannot make progress in them.

I prefer games where I know that if I keep trying I will make it through, even if its by sheer grinding. And not games where I can get stuck and the only way I can progress is if I get better at the game.

#73 Posted by DocDino (5 posts) -

I think "easier games" is more of a symptom than a problem in itself. Simply put, it's a lot more difficult to develop games with intelligent difficulty, especially considering how complicated and expensive game development is today. It's a lot easier to hide lazy design in a level you only die twice in as opposed to ten times. Especially if whatever killing you feels cheap (monsters with broken hit boxes or ridiculous HP pools, for example).

Additionally the average age of a gamer is now in the 30's. Generally people at that age have a higher disposable income but less time to actually devote to playing games, so people become pickier about what they actually want to invest time into. I love a good challenge, but personally, I've been in situations where I know I only have a few hours during the week to play something and end up picking Game Easy over Game Hard because I know I'll finish it, enjoy it, and not give myself a stroke in the process.

Don't forget a lot of the extremely difficult games from the 80's-90's were specifically designed to eat quarters in the arcades (and were directly ported to home consoles), not necessarily because there was a demand for a ridiculous challenge.

#74 Posted by Nottle (1915 posts) -

I know i bring up Bayonetta quite a bit, but i really do think its a fantastic modern example of challenge. The controls were not frustrating, they simply had to be learned properly. There became a point where the hard mode was easier than my original normal play through because I got better. There is depth there. The hard mode puts late game very tough enemies earlier in the game as a curveball. The hardest ability even takes away witch time which was one of the primary mechanics that was your reward for a successful dodge. The challenge was different, it wan't just "we made this enemy have more health," it mixed things up, made the enemies more fierce. The play through was interesting because you had to take on every encounters differently.

#75 Posted by legendlexicon (97 posts) -

For me with this whole argument, the difficulty isn't what is important, its the depth. That depth can be filled by other things, such as story elements, atmosphere, etc. Difficulty should be about overcoming hard but understandable obstacles. While in many games, game mechanics may have been streamlined, there are many others where they haven't. Depth has certainly increased in games over the years. I understand the argument that difficulty has decreased, but I believe that the focus should be on the triumphant moments rather than achievement measuring. Also a lot of that depth, especially in games systems and difficulty, can be found in multiplayer games.

#76 Posted by A_Talking_Donkey (262 posts) -

@BeachThunder said:

@JoeyRavn said:

Well, this thread turned out awful.

Now everybody go play I Wanna Be the Guy.

That game is the epitome of difficulty through unfair design =\

I want to address this point since nobody else has really at all. What the Hell does that even mean? How can a game be unfair? When you play a game you're playing within the game's rules; if in the game's rules you die from apples falling upward than that's just the rules of the game. Simply by playing the game you're agreeing that apples falling upward as you jump over a tree is fair. If you decide that isn't a thing you enjoy than you can call it a bad game. However, it isn't the game's fault the player failed to realize such a thing would be part of the gaming experience. The player can dislike the game, they can dislike all of the rules of the game and deem it an awful game, but it's also important to realize the game didn't scam the player out of time or money. The game has no contractual obligation with you. The game simply is.

If you mean that the game plays by different rules than the player than that is something intrinsically true for everything AI related since AI does not have the adaptable thought processes of a human mind. That seems like an entirely different discussion though.

#77 Posted by legendlexicon (97 posts) -

@A_Talking_Donkey: I think what the point unfair means is that the challenge isn't related to gamer's skill and ability to overcome it, but is related to mechanics designed to be impassible without previously failing at them. I agree though that the word is thrown around too much.

#78 Posted by WarlordPayne (705 posts) -

I just got finished playing Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and man, that game throws some shit at you. Once you get the ability to freeze water they start giving you some really demanding stuff to do and I found it quite challenging and incredibly fun.

I also wouldn't write off the Halo games on legendary. They don't just up enemy health and damage like most shooters do, though they do do that, they also adjust enemy AI and modify a few other things.

The Trauma Center DS games are no joke, either. I never even tried them on hard because I barely cleared a few of the levels on normal.

It seems like there aren't many challenging games out there anymore, but if you look you can find a pretty decent amount.

#79 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12101 posts) -

@owl_of_minerva said:

I feel like this argument would be better phrased in terms of the depth of modern games, not necessarily difficulty (though they're related). Difficulty based on depth is what is important. Difficulty settings won't make a game any more deep, unless they're specifically designed to do more than adjust armour, health, and damage. And I fail to see how modern game design is intrinsically better. Restricting the scope to mainstream developers, I see a major contraction of genre to action games or action games masquerading as other genres. And it's nonsense to say gaming is more varied now. Are you kidding me? RPG genre: dead. Adventure genre: dead. Turn-based strategy: dead. Staples like space sims no longer extant. Puzzle games and strategy games marginal.

If one looks outside Western AAA development there is a lot more variety, but it's still comparatively weak and always under pressure to become more streamlined and accessible in order to move more units. Objectively speaking, it doesn't matter what type of game you like, but the claim that gaming is intrinsically better betrays ignorance of gaming history and design. It's blasphemous to write off all older games, like say X-Com: UFO Defence or System Shock 2, as lower in quality or depth that what exists now.

I agree with what this man is saying and thus I quote him to share the truth.

#80 Posted by legendlexicon (97 posts) -

@owl_of_minerva: I agree with most of your points except arbitrarily focusing on mainstream games. None of those genres are dead. RPG is not dead at all, even in mainstream gaming, unless you have a very narrow definition of it. Look at most of the recent quicklooks, they are are adventure games. Puzzle games aren't dead either, one was just quick looked. So was a space sim. And for strategy games you have many other games, unless I'm getting your definition incorrect. Paradox are doing fine. Narrowing your focus onto mainstream games is akin to saying that Lady Gaga is representative of all of western music culture and that music is dead. Unless all you care about is numbers. Either way your argument is on very shaking ground in that area.

#81 Posted by Humanity (10035 posts) -

I don't miss playing games from the late 80's one bit. Contra was a magical experience for me as a wee child, but I don't want that anymore. I want to play a game like Bulletstorm or Hitman or anything modern really. LA Noire was not an especially balls deep difficult game but kept me engage far more than Rygar when I played it on my Famicom.

#82 Posted by A_Talking_Donkey (262 posts) -

@legendlexicon said:

@A_Talking_Donkey: I think what the point unfair means is that the challenge isn't related to gamer's skill and ability to overcome it, but is related to mechanics designed to be impassible without previously failing at them. I agree though that the word is thrown around too much.

I still think that even by this understanding that "unfair" isn't the right word. A player's ability to manipulate the mechanics to get desired results is a skill, even if those mechanics are bad ones. That's a totally fair measure of skill. Trial and error is, to some degree, a test of patience and ability to predict the unexpected which are fair things to measure. Neither of those things are necessarily bad things to measure either. To me it seems that the "unfair" crowd simply want a different experience out of gaming than those who think older styled video games are fair play. Calling something unfair because you personally don't like it seems like really unnecessary whining. Not to say that I think video games haven't improved over time, just saying that difficulty hasn't changed in an objectively measurable way and that there is still room for games that measure different kinds of skill.

#83 Posted by legendlexicon (97 posts) -

@A_Talking_Donkey: I agree I was just clarifying what I think the general definition is.

#84 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -

@legendlexicon: I have a strict definition of RPG, yes, since genre definitions should take into account mechanics, and there are a lot of straight action games or action hybrids that claim to be RPGs these days (almost all of them). While it is not dead per se, the number of releases that could strictly be speaking considered an RPG each year can be counted on one hand and most of those are amateurish or simply lacking in budget. The adventure genre is doing a lot better thanks to the availability of freeware engines, for instance Gemini Rue. But again while these are fine efforts the genre is far from what it used to be, the production values are non-existent, and it mainly survives thanks to the European market. There are, however, a lot of indie puzzle games, I will concede your point there, although I've only seen a few I would consider worth the time.

There is a reason I focus on mainstream games development though: (a) it requires a LOT of capital to take advantage of the hardware we have now and the larger publishers are best equipped to do it, which in theory could produce absolutely mindblowing games and (b) locked up in these companies are extremely experienced and talented developers, the best and the brightest. It's not like music where someone with talent and a vision can save up for some decent recording equipment, or even fillmaking now where a camera that costs a couple of grand can shoot in HD. It takes sizeable teams and a million dollars minimum to develop HD graphics and that figure is probably for a modest project.

So for gaming the focus on the mainstream is of greater urgency compared to other media, where the markets are much more diversified and the relative cost of production is much lower. It's not that I can't get my gaming fix from non-AAA games, but I hate to see the greatest developers of our era producing unambitious and rote games.

#85 Posted by legendlexicon (97 posts) -

@owl_of_minerva: In every industry you see great minds go to bad places. But to state that certain genres are dead in our day and age when technology is trickling down to other coming up minds is a bad stance to take. Dead is a very strong word, and implies that those genres are completely gone. AAA games are based on general interest from the public because they need to be a sure bet in order to get their money back. They don't like to take risks even though sometimes it would be good for them profit wise to do so. I agree that mainstream gaming is stale, but these genres are far from dead, and public interest in them hasn't waned, they just aren't in the upbeat of "the gaming fashion" which is fps/ action games at the moment. They are niche markets that are filled by other minds who create decent products that are bought by the people who want to play them. And some of these mind blowing games have been created for certain tastes, just not yours. When I go into a multiplayer game of BF3, I'm still immediately impressed at the polish and the scope of what is being filled. To discredit a lot AAA products because they don't fit your taste, rather than actual glaring deficiencies in production value based on monetary input isn't correct in my view.

#86 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

*Alex Kidd

#87 Posted by Freshbandito (689 posts) -

@owl_of_minerva said:

@SethPhotopoulos: The existence of Portal does not mean puzzle games are suddenly on the map again. Some solitary examples evidence just how far gaming has fallen in terms of a healthy ecosystem of genres. And you've missed the point somewhat, as I restricted the scope of my statement to mainstream games development only. I purposely excluded vast swathes of game developers from the discussion, because indies and other less prominent (in terms of game development) regions of the world don't dictate market trends and direction, unlike say a game that does massive numbers like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and so on. It is readily obvious that Japanese gaming, at least in the West, has become increasingly marginal, certainly a far cry from the days of NES or SNES/Genesis. Companies like NIS and From aren't relevant to what I was arguing.

So your entire argument hinges on people ignoring the "vast swathes" that contradict your argument? doesn't seem the kind of thing a username invoking wisdom would do.

#88 Posted by DeF (4975 posts) -

@believer258 said:

Bioshock (with the Vita chambers off),

BioShock on Survivor difficulty with Vita Chambers off to me was how the game must've meant to be played. Big Daddies are an actual threat and things are really tense. Same goes for BioShock 2.

#89 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -

@Freshbandito: Since my argument hinges on referring to a specific subset of the games industry, the most advanced and well-funded part of it, and I gave my reasons for doing so, then how exactly does the existence of other kinds of developers contradict my argument?

@legendlexicon: The polish in BF3 is undoubtedly impressive, but I wasn't impressed with the mechanics and design choices. However, I would argue that yes, while difference in taste is all well and good, I'm not talking about taste per se. I would make the argument that the deeper and more layered a game is, whatever the type of game is, the more rewarding it is to play :. the better it is. The depth and possibility for reward based on well-constructed challenge is the most important goal for good game design. Is it the only thing games can or should be? No, of course not, in some cases games may require a lower degree of challenge because they prioritise something else, such as narrative delivery, but not all games should be considered equal just because people happen to enjoy them. Enjoyment =/= thinking something is the greatest thing ever, if one is being critical.

#90 Posted by Freshbandito (689 posts) -

@owl_of_minerva: Why? because it's an incredibly flimsy and ill thought out basis for an argument, in the same vein i could say "Restricting the argument to games in the Resident Evil series base building and volleyball are not being given attention!"

If you're going to argue that genres are dead then you first have to back that up wholesale not just disregard the fact that there is a healthy supply and demand for the genres you cited still.

#91 Posted by Tylea002 (2295 posts) -

Some times you want to climb a hill, some times you want to slide down it. Both options are now open to you.

Online
#92 Posted by believer258 (12176 posts) -

@owl_of_minerva said:

@SethPhotopoulos: The existence of Portal does not mean puzzle games are suddenly on the map again. Some solitary examples evidence just how far gaming has fallen in terms of a healthy ecosystem of genres. And you've missed the point somewhat, as I restricted the scope of my statement to mainstream games development only. I purposely excluded vast swathes of game developers from the discussion, because indies and other less prominent (in terms of game development) regions of the world don't dictate market trends and direction, unlike say a game that does massive numbers like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and so on. It is readily obvious that Japanese gaming, at least in the West, has become increasingly marginal, certainly a far cry from the days of NES or SNES/Genesis. Companies like NIS and From aren't relevant to what I was arguing.

Like what? I can give quite a list of modern games that are different and varied. You might not like the current market, fine, but you can't say that it doesn't have variety. Rayman Origins, Diablo 3, Borderlands 2, Darksiders 2, Halo Reach, Saints Row The Third, Red Dead Redemption, Skyrim, Dark Souls, Mass Effect 2, Portal 2, Fallout New Vegas - all of those great games, all of them given a reasonable budget and released on store shelves (except Darksiders 2 - I can't confirm if it's good or not yet but it's certainly proof as to variety), and all of them released recently enough to consider them modern.

And chopping out Indie and lesser-budgeted, lesser advertised games is sheer folly. What does market direction have to do with the variety of games out there? Yeah, the big dumb blockbuster action games (surprise!) sell like big dumb blockbuster action movies while the more interesting stuff stays behind them. That's how it's always been and, probably, how it's always going to be.

#93 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -

@Freshbandito: False analogy. In any case, I've given my reasons for talking about the larger developers and if since I was talking only about those developers - and they are the most significant, let's get that right - and if you don't want to accept that delimitation of my argument we have nothing to discuss. The fact remain that the number of good indie titles and middle-scale publishers do not do much to counteract the glut of action titles, there's still not that much that is good (or even competent necessarily if indie) being released. I am well aware that there is much more that exists than the mainstream releases, certainly enough to stay occupied with, but they don't change the general market trends and direction. The fact remains that many genres are on life support, and wouldn't exist AT ALL if there hadn't been a resurgence of indies and midtier publishers or for regions such as Japan and Europe.

@believer258: Except for Portal, every game you listed there is an action game (or action-focused hybrid). Market direction has to do with the variety of genres because if a genre isn't profitable it effectively ceases to exist: as I mentioned the RPG, adventure, and TB strategy genres are some examples.

#94 Posted by Demoskinos (15129 posts) -
@believer258

@Twiggy199 said:

@YI_Orange said:

Ugh, I hate this mentality. Games didn't become easier, they became less shit. Most old games that are difficult are that way because they're designed poorly or control poorly. The difficulty is artificial and in most cases not really fair.

Your mentality is the kind i hate, games definitely became easier, old games weren't poorly designed or had poor controls, they worked with what they had and made the best games the possibly could.

You sir, are blind.

No. You are blind. It's probably not worth bothering to explain to you why modern game design is generally superior to that of older game design. You're stuck in your nostalgia, get out of it and realize that gaming now is better and more varied and more interesting than it has ever been in the past.

Accessible yes.... I dont buy that it is "better" though. They were about the gameplay then not this dumb fascination with trying to turn them into movies.

For all the grandeur Uncharted brings to the table most events in the game require almost no skill to pull off as its way more interested in being a movie rather than a game.
#95 Posted by Galiant (2195 posts) -

If you can't find challenging modern games, you're not looking hard enough.

#96 Posted by believer258 (12176 posts) -

@owl_of_minerva said:

@Freshbandito: False analogy. In any case, I've given my reasons for talking about the larger developers and if since I was talking only about those developers - and they are the most significant, let's get that right - and if you don't want to accept that delimitation of my argument we have nothing to discuss. The fact remain that the number of good indie titles and middle-scale publishers do not do much to counteract the glut of action titles, there's still not that much that is good (or even competent necessarily if indie) being released. I am well aware that there is much more that exists than the mainstream releases, certainly enough to stay occupied with, but they don't change the general market trends and direction. The fact remains that many genres are on life support, and wouldn't exist AT ALL if there hadn't been a resurgence of indies and midtier publishers or for regions such as Japan and Europe.

@believer258: Except for Portal, every game you listed there is an action game (or action-focused hybrid). Market direction has to do with the variety of genres because if a genre isn't profitable it effectively ceases to exist: as I mentioned the RPG, adventure, and TB strategy genres are some examples.

Yes, but "action game" encompasses so many different things that the word becomes almost irrelevant. Kind of like how the term "RPG" is becoming irrelevant when it encompasses everything from Skyrim to Diablo to Dragon Age Origins to Xenoblade Chronicles.

If this is the part where you say "well, only two of those are actually RPG's...", that's just your definition. I'm not going by your definition, I'm going by what they're commonly considered, and they're all commonly considered an RPG.

For that matter, most of those games are hybrids of some sort. It's worth mentioning that music is full of genres that are formed by combining two older ones, and it seems like that's how video games are going to evolve. There are only three games in that list I made that are straight examples of a single genre; that, in and of itself, is proof enough that the video game market isn't stale and isn't resting on its laurels. It's still changing and evolving so that at some point we're going to have to apply some new names to genres.

You might be right about old Western RPG's dying (things like Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment, etc.) but then you need to remember that Dragon Age Origins came out a few years ago and sold quite well (though Bioware admittedly fucked that one up with its sequel), and then there's a Baldur's Gate 2 remake coming out as well as a Wasteland 2. We might be seeing a resurgence of those types of games. On the subject of adventure games, to ignore Telltale is (again) folly because they're releasing those games, not to mention a fair number of other ones being released. I've seen numerous quick looks recently of adventure games, so no that one isn't dead at all. Will that genre ever be on top of the world again? No, and it never was. It always has been, and always will be, a niche genre.

For turn-based strategy, X-Com: Enemy Unknown is going to be a AAA turn based game. Admittedly, I can't name any others, but that's definitely something. Real-time strategy is still doing pretty well with Starcraft 2 still popular and a new Command and Conquer game coming out.

All I've seen from what you've wrote is less a wise and learned view of things and more a narrow shrugging off of new things that you won't give another second's glance. Here's a fact: Video games are alive and kicking; they're more varied than ever before and there are more avenues for talent to shine than ever before. Do good genres die? Not really. You see the same things in music and movies; musicals seemed to be dead for quite a while but they have existed for a fairly long time in some form or another and still do. Do good games always exist in the form that you remember them? Not exactly, no; they change and grow. If you don't like it, that's fine, but you're losing out on so many wondrous games by simply writing things off if they aren't AAA. No skin off my back.

#97 Posted by HH (625 posts) -

Dragon's Dogma. While on my way to kill the Griffin I lost all my companions at the bandit's canyon hideout. If I did not make it the rest of the way on my own I would have to repeat the journey from the beginning. I was on half health, I was out of potions, pick-ups became essential, evading became essential, and all of a sudden the game came alive. This has happened to me a few times in games, and sadly it's a hard experience to replicate. I soloed the rest of the game, but, with potions so easy to accumulate if you're careful, I never again achieved that level of NEED.

So, question is: how to maintain that intensity over a whole game? One thing that I think is essential is the balance of profit and loss, in this case it was the threat of having to repeat the whole long journey, but there is a danger here of giving it a high quit factor, so, despite it's success in the Demon's Souls / Dark Souls games, I don't think forced repeats is the best solution. But LOSS has to come into it somewhere, there has to be something at stake, and without it, well... who cares.

The tendency to overpower players gives a watered down experience. Great powers should come at a greater cost of other powers or abilities or capabilities, there should always be a downside, and this duality, this weighing up of pros and cons, would make decisions more important, would maintain the game-world's stature over the player even to the end of the game, and would make games more of a challenge overall. Balancing games isn't getting any easier anyway, and it is consistently focused upon if flawed, so might as well make it more upfront and key to the design, rather than an afterthought.

#98 Posted by Freshbandito (689 posts) -

@owl_of_minerva: You're right I really don't think there's anything left to discuss, people are telling you that these genres are alive and kicking and giving you excellent examples whilst you scream "Not in my little world within a specific definition they're not!"

#99 Posted by believer258 (12176 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

@believer258

@Twiggy199 said:

@YI_Orange said:

Ugh, I hate this mentality. Games didn't become easier, they became less shit. Most old games that are difficult are that way because they're designed poorly or control poorly. The difficulty is artificial and in most cases not really fair.

Your mentality is the kind i hate, games definitely became easier, old games weren't poorly designed or had poor controls, they worked with what they had and made the best games the possibly could.

You sir, are blind.

No. You are blind. It's probably not worth bothering to explain to you why modern game design is generally superior to that of older game design. You're stuck in your nostalgia, get out of it and realize that gaming now is better and more varied and more interesting than it has ever been in the past.

Accessible yes.... I dont buy that it is "better" though. They were about the gameplay then not this dumb fascination with trying to turn them into movies. For all the grandeur Uncharted brings to the table most events in the game require almost no skill to pull off as its way more interested in being a movie rather than a game.

I agree that Uncharted is more interested in being a movie with button presses, but then that game's strengths lie in its presentation of awe-inspiring set pieces and not actually in the rather mundane gameplay. There's a place for that kind of game; I think it helps to introduce new gamers to more "hardcore" (I hate using that term, but I can't think of another umbrella term for it) games, and it gives us seasoned gamers a good if thoughtless time; something like a well-done action movie to a movie critic.

#100 Posted by newt (92 posts) -

@believer258 said:

All I've seen from what you've wrote is less a wise and learned view of things and more a narrow shrugging off of new things that you won't give another second's glance. Here's a fact: Video games are alive and kicking; they're more varied than ever before and there are more avenues for talent to shine than ever before. Do good genres die? Not really. You see the same things in music and movies; musicals seemed to be dead for quite a while but they have existed for a fairly long time in some form or another and still do. Do good games always exist in the form that you remember them? Not exactly, no; they change and grow. If you don't like it, that's fine, but you're losing out on so many wondrous games by simply writing things off if they aren't AAA. No skin off my back.

This is patently false, and obviously so. The genre collapse in the AAA space is a real and trivially evident phenomena.

2d games are essentially dead. The ones that do come out generally fail to match up to games released a decade ago (perhaps a reason few are released..).

Space Sims are essentially dead. The only one I can even name in the past several years is the continuation of the X series.

Flight Sims have a similar situation to Space Sims.

Arena FPS died with the migration to consoles.

JRPGs essentially no longer exist.

These are the styles of games that led the industry through the 90s. If you can tell me where I can find replacements for the following gems, please tell me:

Super Metroid, Castlevania SOTN, Mega Man X, Adventures of Lolo, Secret of Mana

Tie Fighter, Wing Commander, Freespace 2

Quake 3 Arena, Unreal Tournament

Final Fantasy (super nintendo through playstation)

There are several examples of indie games that fill some of those gaps, but there are others that are completely void. Notably arena FPS and Space Sims.