It’s no secret that videogames have grown increasingly fond of holding your hand as the years go on. In this age of glowing paths, regenerating health, and easy modes; it seems games are becoming more uninvolved while the industry matures into simplicity. Games used to be an adventure! Now they seem to be going toward an experience that emulates a night at the movies. Titles simply don’t provide the frustrating “oomph” that they once did in my personal experience. You know, a 6-8 hour romp through a linear first person shooter is the norm. Gone are the days of “Earthbound” where you are dropped into a game with minimal guidance and just told to figure it out. Now, this obviously isn’t the case in all games, “Dark Souls” made me angry enough to stop playing for a short while. And while I still enjoy most of the beautifully made, if not overly simple games that I get to experience, I find it strange that as a gaming culture, we approach this changing structure with open arms, while at the same time holding the term “Casual Gamer” in contempt. It’s also no mystery why. I can offer multiple reasons for this phenomenon.
(Alma, you were the bane of my young existence)
First of all, if your game is too hard, people aren’t going to play it. If people don’t play your game, they’re certainly not going to pay for your sequel. The simplest remedy there lies in thoughtlessness. If you make a game satisfyingly easy to trudge through; in this era of do as much as you can, as fast as you can, you’re going to hook more players and likewise, sell more copies of your game. This is sad business for us gamers, if you ask me.
I offer to you the evidence in the “Ninja Gaiden” series. While the original Xbox version is arguably one of most difficult games to complete in existence, its successors are the perfect example of games succumbing to the pressure of being “easy” to appeal to a broader audience. Again, I’m not pressing this as a bad thing; I just find it disappointing that the series clearly falls short in the eyes of such a large mass of fans.
I can also give the argument of accessibility. Look no further than the “New Super Mario Brothers” series to find that games sacrifice challenge and innovation in order to appeal to a younger and more “casual” generation of gamers. Compare the “New” to the “Old” and what will you find? You won’t find virtual demonstrations of how to execute the level (that’s what 1-800 numbers are supposed to be for!), you won’t find simplistic level design, and you won’t find invulnerability after failed attempts. All of these were introduced to the series (frustratingly present in the most recent iteration, “NSMB 2”) to make the famous platformer more accessible.
All hope is not lost though. There has been a resurgence of games that are impressively difficult, although remarkably less popular games. Games like “Super Meat Boy” and “Mega Man 9” are perfect examples of a challenging gameplay that draw gamers in because of the skill involved to drive you to success. I think it’s no coincidence that a lot of these games are taking a formula found in more traditional (classic, retro, whatever you want to call it) games. It was a formula that worked well in the past, and in my opinion is something that needs to resurface to the masses of game players.
I'm stoked about the 3DS XL announcement. Granted, I honestly thought it would take longer than a year from the system's release to reach this point, but all I can say is that a better Nintendo handheld experience is a better Nintendo handheld experience. So when Shigeru Miyamoto says that the current hardware is perfect for what the N has in store, (and this is still the same hardware, just bigger,) I'll trust him.
Seriously though, everyone keeps talking about how much of a let down it is that the 3ds doesn't have two analog sticks. Here's why I am not on board with that argument:
I can count the number of 3ds games that use the circle pad pro on one hand. I can count the amount of GOOD games that use the circle pad pro on less than that. When Nintendo starts to push the idea that a second analog stick is crucial to their handheld experience, that is when we should get serious about it. You could make the argument that it would improve the ease of manuverability of the camera, and on a game like "Kid Icarus" I would be inclined to agree. As a majority though, most DS through current 3DS games have gotten along swimmingly with the hardware provided. I don't believe there has ever been a time in my DS experience where I thought to myself: "Hey! You know what would make this better?'Nother stick!"A major problem here is developers not knowing how to utilize this idea of a second stick in a way that would be enjoyable I think. A lot of the DS success has been based off of what already works. So in theory, I could use the argument "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I wont though. That's silly.
So like I said, Once Nintendo thinks it's a necessity, then I'll be right behind them. They've never led me astray before
I'm serious. The interface now makes me angry enough to consider stopping all together.
Not only do I have to spend unnecessary time navigating extra menus; menus that used to be a simple task that has become daunting, but I have to put up with the failure of a metro UI. It's like Microsoft just wants to slap us all in the face. They updated the blade with a UI that wasn't even terrible. One that should have stuck. The avatar system wasn't even that bad, (although it was a blantant money novelty) but even THAT is now a useless feature given the amount of navigation you have to do just to see other peoples avatars. Not only that, but I now pay 10 dollars more a year than I did back then, and I have to sit there and take ridiculous amounts of advertisements. Advertisements that should NOT exist on a service I am paying a premium for. GET IT TOGETHER XBOX!
Check out what I found in the Gamecube rack at Gamestop! I figured that at this point there wouldn't be nothing but sports games now that lamestop has stopped taking trade ins, but I was quite surprised at the selection still available. They still had things like Double Dash, Gale of Darkness, Baton Kaitos, and Melee. I can't think of a better way to follow a trip to the Chinese food buffet than to stumble upon something this awesome.
So I was at gamestop today looking around. I've been missing the old Game Boy Advance days very much. You know, back when Nintendo made portable games that were fun to play because they were a good game? Not because they had a nifty touch feature. That's not a bash on Nintendo, dont worry.. I am probably the biggest Nintendo fanboy you will ever meet. Anyway, I was looking at some of their pre owned stuff and I noticed a nifty little item that I never really got around to.