Where has the challenge gone?.

The last three generations of console haven't really given us a great challenge and we've become lazy, our teenage/toddler/young adult selves would look at us in discrace, I mean, how many times did you have to start; Sonic, Alex The Kid, Mario, Toe Jam and Earl etc right from the beginning and still want to play it everyday?. Now days people die 5 times in a row and thats it "this games shit" . AAA titles killed the challenge, lowered the bar for entry and held your hand. Then, for the "Gamer" they added veteran difficulty and called us "Hardcore Gamers". The veteran difficulty was more of a grind than it was a challenge, more frustation than stimulation. Games where when you die/lose, it was your fault and yours only, there the real challenges. anyway i've lost track of where i was headed.

I must point out that i do like easier games, but every-now and then i crave a challenge, heres the games i know of this generation that fed my addiction.

Dark Souls, Demon's Souls, Super Meat Boy, Fez(without internet help if possible) and Spelunky.

If people know of any others to keep me or others going please feel free to tell us.

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Posted by Twiggy199

The last three generations of console haven't really given us a great challenge and we've become lazy, our teenage/toddler/young adult selves would look at us in discrace, I mean, how many times did you have to start; Sonic, Alex The Kid, Mario, Toe Jam and Earl etc right from the beginning and still want to play it everyday?. Now days people die 5 times in a row and thats it "this games shit" . AAA titles killed the challenge, lowered the bar for entry and held your hand. Then, for the "Gamer" they added veteran difficulty and called us "Hardcore Gamers". The veteran difficulty was more of a grind than it was a challenge, more frustation than stimulation. Games where when you die/lose, it was your fault and yours only, there the real challenges. anyway i've lost track of where i was headed.

I must point out that i do like easier games, but every-now and then i crave a challenge, heres the games i know of this generation that fed my addiction.

Dark Souls, Demon's Souls, Super Meat Boy, Fez(without internet help if possible) and Spelunky.

If people know of any others to keep me or others going please feel free to tell us.

Posted by gamefreak9

Well if Fez is in there I want to include Braid.

Posted by RecSpec

Trials HD, Binding of Isaac, and Dead Rising (especially the first one) off the top of my head. 

Posted by Jams

I think there might have been a bit of a casual revolution that happened around the middle of the PS2 era and it's finally starting to dwindle down, or at least I hope that's what's going on. It's like in the MMO genre where the developers are finally starting to realize that copying World of Warcraft isn't going to cut it anymore and neither is making the games really easy 1 button to win. It may get the initial box sales, but it isn't going to hold over for more than the initial 30 days. It's probably just the growing pangs of gaming growing up and becoming more mature.

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

Ninja Gaiden 2 is not easy. Give that a try.

Posted by YI_Orange

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.

Posted by JoeyRavn

I don't see how FEZ fits that category of "hard as nails" games... but if you like it, you can try any other puzzle/adventure game out there. I thoroughly enjoyed 999 on DS and it seems the point and click adventure genre is making a resurgence on PC. I've heard good things about Gemini Rue, for example.

Posted by GrantHeaslip

I'm not big on punishing unless they're done very well (a la Super Meat Boy, or the old Mega Man games). My impression has been that most of the hardest difficulty settings in modern games just force you to memorize and exploit the game, and I'm just not into that.

Also, remember that the gaming market is just a lot bigger than it used to be. I don't think the market for hard games has gone away so much as it just represents a smaller percentage of a growing market. Summer blockbusters haven't destroyed the market for art films.

Posted by Twiggy199

@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.

Posted by believer258

Bump up the difficulty. Play Halo Reach, Black Ops, Dragon Age Origins, Devil May Cry, God of War, Bioshock (with the Vita chambers off), Gears of War, etc. on their respective highest difficulties.

Posted by 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.

Posted by kgb0515

There are plenty of challenging games still out there. The problem is that they don't get as hyped as games that are more inclusive for a wider audience. That's not really a complaint for me since I enjoy some of the easier, story based games which tend to be easier, and then I play tougher games like Dark Souls when I am up for a challenge. You just have to know where to look.

Posted by Bigandtasty
Edited by Twiggy199

@believer258 said:

Bump up the difficulty. Play Halo Reach, Black Ops, Dragon Age Origins, Devil May Cry, God of War, Bioshock (with the Vita chambers off), Gears of War, etc. on their respective highest difficulties.

@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.

The Underlined comment is exactly the way i feel about the games you mentioned up top, Lower health, more enemies with added health and armour, how artificial can you get? . Bioshock not included. also im not talking about easy, medium and hard, im talking about the "challenge" of the overall game and how they added such difficulties to keep the "core" going.

Posted by YI_Orange

@Twiggy199: Name some old games that are hard and don't have terrible controls, unfair level design, or bad combat mechanics.

The only one I can think of right now is Punch out, but I also think the new Punch Out is more difficult.

Posted by BeachThunder

@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.

I hate to break it to you, but some old games were very poorly designed; I'm in the middle of playing Superfrog and it had a lot of trial and error, intant-death spike pits, limited lives, and the controls are very 'slippery'. None of those things I mentioned increase the game's challenge, they only make the game more frustrating. Also, none of those things were restricted by any limitations

Not to say, of course, that all new games are inherently easy or that there weren't older games with genuine challenge; but you have to make sure you're not confusing challenge with poor design or unfairness.

Posted by iAmJohn

@Twiggy199 said:

@believer258 said:

Bump up the difficulty. Play Halo Reach, Black Ops, Dragon Age Origins, Devil May Cry, God of War, Bioshock (with the Vita chambers off), Gears of War, etc. on their respective highest difficulties.

@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.

The Underlined comment is exactly the way i feel about the games you mentioned up top. Bioshock not included.

Oh, and the difficulties of those old games wasn't horrifyingly inflated as well by cheap AI with unfair tactics (sup SNK Boss Syndrome?) and actively inhibiting the player's ability to progress with certain design decisions like having to start entire Sierra adventure games over from the start because you missed one specific item somewhere?

As others have said, games didn't get easier so much as design got better. Most classic games were designed by people with arcade experience, and they designed those console games as such making the experience about giving you enough tools so that you can succeed with skill while actively trying to kill you so you put more money into the machine. Somewhere along the line, they realized that people actually want to beat the games they buy without putting in the eight millions hours to get good at a game like I would've for your average Genesis game when I was six. It's for the best.

Posted by Alkaiser

@believer258 said:

@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.

I think the answer for me kinda lies in between both. Yeah, there were a lot of older games that were bone-crushingly hard and unfair and a lot of modern games are better streamlined and offer a lot more choice to the user, but I also find a lot of modern games these days incredibly boring to put it bluntly. Especially in platform-style games such as Enslaved where you can't really experiment with the mechanics because the game pretty much does all the fine tuning for you to the point where you can't really make too many mistakes because the game doesn't give you enough control to. At points it feels like in certain games if I just hold a direction and press x every once in a while the game will play itself for me. And honestly, thats not very satisfying to me.

Also, I just really like 2d games more than 3d. It doesn't really have to do with difficulty, but I just enjoy the feeling of platforming in a 2d space more then I do in most 3d games.

Edited by Twiggy199

@BeachThunder said:

@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.

I hate to break it to you, but some old games were very poorly designed; I'm in the middle of playing Superfrog and it had a lot of trial and error, intant-death spike pits, limited lives, and the controls are very 'slippery'. None of those things I mentioned increase the game's challenge, they only make the game more frustrating. Also, none of those things were restricted by any limitations

Not to say, of course, that all new games are inherently easy or that there weren't older games with genuine challenge; but you have to make sure you're not confusing challenge with poor design or unfairness.

This is exactly what i am not doing. I didn't mean that all old games weren't badly designed, because lets face it theres always gunna be a few.

Posted by SomeMist

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.

Posted by TechnoSyndrome

Games became way easier in a way to appeal to a wider audience, and I hate it. The "games were hard because they were poorly designed" excuse is bullshit, and always comes from people who started playing video games in the era after they'd already become soft. There's still the occasional legitimately challenge game though, like Ninja Gaiden Black or God Hand, but they're few and far between.

Posted by Twiggy199

@Taku128 said:

The "games were hard because they were poorly designed" excuse is bullshit, and always comes from people who started playing video games in the era after they'd already become soft.

My thoughts exactly!.

Edited by Little_Socrates

@Twiggy199 said:

This is exactly what i am not doing. I didn't mean that all old games weren't badly designed, because lets face it theres always gunna be a few.

There were far more than a few, it was the wide majority. Those are not the "classics" that have survived the test time, for the most part, though a few of the classics did have that problem too.

I highly suggest you check out the PC space, 'cause it can be intensely difficult. Off the top of my head, you should be playing Kerbal Space Program, Jamestown, Legend of Grimrock, Dungeons of Dredmor, Dwarf Fortress, and The Witcher II, for starters.

Also, most of difficulty went to the multiplayer space, because beating live players is officially harder than beating the AI.

EDIT: I'd like to clarify that I've been playing games since at least '93. I was one at the time. NES, SNES, and Genesis fo life sunnnn.

Posted by YI_Orange

@Taku128: @Twiggy199: I've been playing games my whole life, starting at the NES, kind of ruins that argument for you. I still would like someone to back up the claim that old games were legitimately more difficult.

Posted by Nottle

I'd say a lot of older games were unfair, the difficulty stemmed from poor controls, weird checkpointing or limited lives or timers that didn't need to be there or knock back.

Megaman 2 is a good example of both challenge that is fair and unfair. Megaman 2 controls well, there is an interesting challenge of figuring out how to kill the bosses. But then i remember a time when i got to the final boss, the weird alien thing, and i didn't have any more bubble, i died and it never replaced the energy for the bubble. I think i just had to start over because no enemies were around to refill.

Also i'd recommend games directed by either Hideki Kamiya or Shinji Mikami, the usually have intuitive controls while maintaining a challenge that is satisfying to overcome. Bayonetta is a good example because the controls are simple but very deep. Y is for the hands, B is for the legs, X shoots, A jumps, R dodges, really you don't need to know much else if you know what your doing, The game makes the dodge so quick and useful you can get through most fights easily once you get your head in the game, but in the beginning i was getting destroyed. Everything in that game is instant and fluid, you can't blame mistakes on anything other than yourself.

Posted by TechnoSyndrome

@YI_Orange said:

@Taku128: @Twiggy199: I've been playing games my whole life, starting at the NES, kind of ruins that argument for you. I still would like someone to back up the claim that old games were legitimately more difficult.

That's not something easy to explain though, because it comes down to personal opinion. I'd say the first three NES Mega Man games (don't remember 4-6 well enough to comment on them) weren't cheap at all, but lots of people would say the opposite. I'd also say the same about games like Ninja Gaiden, Ninja Gaiden II, and Zelda II. (Outside of the bullshit final temple that is, fuck that place)

There were plenty of games that were hard BECAUSE they were cheap, but that doesn't mean that all hard games are cheap, or that the solution is to make games easy rather than make games not cheap.

Posted by Twiggy199

@YI_Orange said:

@Taku128: @Twiggy199: I've been playing games my whole life, starting at the NES, kind of ruins that argument for you. I still would like someone to back up the claim that old games were legitimately more difficult.

FFS im not basing this discussion on difficulty alone, theres a difference between Difficult and infuriating and difficult yet fun. If you dont understand, Play Call of Duty World at War on veteran and then play any old mega-man game and see which one you have more fun with.

Posted by imsh_pl

@Taku128 said:

The "games were hard because they were poorly designed" excuse is bullshit, and always comes from people who started playing video games in the era after they'd already become soft.

Talk about elitism. Wow. Why don't you get off your high horse? Praise 'ye olde times' all you want, and spit on the new shit all day long, I don't mind. And maybe I wasn't there during 'them good times' when 'them games' were still hard but this "everyone who's younger than me is just a whiny bitch" attitude is pathetic.

Posted by Alkaiser

@YI_Orange said:

@Twiggy199: Name some old games that are hard and don't have terrible controls, unfair level design, or bad combat mechanics.

The only one I can think of right now is Punch out, but I also think the new Punch Out is more difficult.

Uh, I'll take a stab at that. Mega Man 2 and 3, Contra, Ninja Gaiden 2, uhm... NES Batman from Sunsoft was pretty good, Castlevania 3 was pretty difficult but felt great mechanically in my opinion. Same with Super Castlevania 4 and Rondo of Blood if those count. Gunstar Heroes could get pretty difficult but felt fair and gave you some outs depending on your equipped powerups, Raiden 2 was a pretty cool shoot-em-up with the best weapon ever (the big purple homing laser) and was one of those games that you could legitimately beat on one credit on your first try if you had the reflexes. No real bullshit or bullet hell memorization, just kind of a nice twitch experience.

And I guess it depends on your definition of hard. I felt F-Zero was pretty hard but also incredibly fun and one of my favorite games of all time based on esthetics, music and its mechanics. I'm not trying to demean your argument, I just don't think its completely one or the other.

Posted by RedRavN

Well darksiders 2 is coming and that might be a modern game that has what you are looking for in terms of difficulty.

Posted by YI_Orange

@Taku128: Fair enough, and I think the first few Megamans are good example, though they did have some bullshit parts and edge guarding enemies, they were mostly fine. The later Megamans definitely got easier though. Aside from final bosses, fuck all of them forever. Also, I'm not saying ALL games were like that, I just honestly can not think of any that I would consider difficult that didn't rely mostly on being unfair or having poor controls/design to be difficult.(aside from previously mentioned). And I don't see making them easier as the solution, I see it as the inherent result of attempting to remove the cheapness and improving controls and design choices.

@Twiggy199: Sure. As I said above, Megaman is a good example. But then take things like Battletoads, that game is just retarded. Most side-scrolling beat'em'ups(golden axe, streets of rage, etc) are not difficult, just broken in some ways. Even Act Raiser, I game I played probably last year and actually really liked. I find a decent amount of those boss fights to be unfair at points, especially during the final boss rush where they're faster or whatever. And you're right, there is a difference between difficult and infuriating, and difficult but fun. I feel that most difficult older games fall into the former, where most difficult new games fall into the latter. So to take the same type of example you did. Go play Battletoads and God Hand and see which one you have more fun with.

Posted by JTB123

For this current gen there's Vanquish, Ninja Gaiden 2, God of War 3, Dead Space 1&2, Devil May Cry 4, Bayonetta, Geometry Wars RE 1&2. Plenty to keep you going there.

@BeachThunder: How are you playing Superfrog? I remember playing that when I was a kid and would love to play it again.

Posted by BeachThunder

@JTB123 said:

For this current gen there's Vanquish, Ninja Gaiden 2, God of War 3, Dead Space 1&2, Devil May Cry 4, Bayonetta, Geometry Wars RE 1&2. Plenty to keep you going there.

@BeachThunder: How are you playing Superfrog? I remember playing that when I was a kid and would love to play it again.

GOG; it's $3 for another 8ish hours.

Posted by Twiggy199

I notice the word unfair being used a hell of a lot.

Posted by JTB123

@BeachThunder: Thanks, can't believe I never thought of checking there before.

Posted by TechnoSyndrome

@imsh_pl said:

@Taku128 said:

The "games were hard because they were poorly designed" excuse is bullshit, and always comes from people who started playing video games in the era after they'd already become soft.

Talk about elitism. Wow. Why don't you get off your high horse? Praise 'ye olde times' all you want, and spit on the new shit all day long, I don't mind. And maybe I wasn't there during 'them good times' when 'them games' were still hard but this "everyone who's younger than me is just a whiny bitch" attitude is pathetic.

I'm 20 years old, and my first system was a Nintendo 64. I'm just saying, generally people who say "games were worse back then" are also people who didn't play games back then, and thus have different expectations that are rooted in the game design philosophies of when they started playing games. I didn't mean any disrespect any more than people who say old games are bad do. (And to clarify that statement, I don't think either side of the argument is trying to disrespect or shame the other side.)

Posted by Nottle

@Taku128 said:

Games became way easier in a way to appeal to a wider audience, and I hate it. The "games were hard because they were poorly designed" excuse is bullshit, and always comes from people who started playing video games in the era after they'd already become soft. There's still the occasional legitimately challenge game though, like Ninja Gaiden Black or God Hand, but they're few and far between.

I think the idea we all should be looking at is what makes a game fun (which is subjective, but whatever). A game can be fun and challenging or really ass and hard. God Hand is a great example, That game is hard, the better you do the harder it becomes, however, the game has other things that make it great, so even if i'm getting my assed kicked by Mr. Gold, I'm still having fun because how camp he is saying "WHIP IT GOOD." At no point did the challenge of God Hand become frustrating, because it constantly throws insanity at my face, and with enough skill your slapping dudes across room, dodging flying kicks, and unleashing the god hand to punch a demon in the stomach 54 time. But then you look at the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle game on the nes, and its really not that fun to navigate through electric sea weed.

I haven't played a whole lot of ninja gaiden, but i know you move very quickly, doing all sorts of impressive ninja moves. You feel like a badass because the things you are doing control well and it looks awesome, but it's also challenging to pull off because the enemies can be brutal. Personally that is the kind of difficulty i find perfect. The enemies are good but your better because you have the right tools and a better understanding of the game as a player.

Posted by Twiggy199

@Nottle said:

@Taku128 said:

Games became way easier in a way to appeal to a wider audience, and I hate it. The "games were hard because they were poorly designed" excuse is bullshit, and always comes from people who started playing video games in the era after they'd already become soft. There's still the occasional legitimately challenge game though, like Ninja Gaiden Black or God Hand, but they're few and far between.

I think the idea we all should be looking at is what makes a game fun (which is subjective, but whatever). A game can be fun and challenging or really ass and hard. God Hand is a great example, That game is hard, the better you do the harder it becomes, however, the game has other things that make it great, so even if i'm getting my assed kicked by Mr. Gold, I'm still having fun because how camp he is saying "WHIP IT GOOD." At no point did the challenge of God Hand become frustrating, because it constantly throws insanity at my face, and with enough skill your slapping dudes across room, dodging flying kicks, and unleashing the god hand to punch a demon in the stomach 54 time. But then you look at the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle game on the nes, and its really not that fun to navigate through electric sea weed.

I haven't played a whole lot of ninja gaiden, but i know you move very quickly, doing all sorts of impressive ninja moves. You feel like a badass because the things you are doing control well and it looks awesome, but it's also challenging to pull off because the enemies can be brutal. Personally that is the kind of difficulty i find perfect. The enemies are good but your better because you have the right tools and a better understanding of the game as a player.

Goddammit you said it perfectly!. This is what i was trying to say!.

Posted by YI_Orange

@Alkaiser said:

@YI_Orange said:

@Twiggy199: Name some old games that are hard and don't have terrible controls, unfair level design, or bad combat mechanics.

The only one I can think of right now is Punch out, but I also think the new Punch Out is more difficult.

Uh, I'll take a stab at that. Mega Man 2 and 3, Contra, Ninja Gaiden 2, uhm... NES Batman from Sunsoft was pretty good, Castlevania 3 was pretty difficult but felt great mechanically in my opinion. Same with Super Castlevania 4 and Rondo of Blood if those count. Gunstar Heroes could get pretty difficult but felt fair and gave you some outs depending on your equipped powerups, Raiden 2 was a pretty cool shoot-em-up with the best weapon ever (the big purple homing laser) and was one of those games that you could legitimately beat on one credit on your first try if you had the reflexes. No real bullshit or bullet hell memorization, just kind of a nice twitch experience.

And I guess it depends on your definition of hard. I felt F-Zero was pretty hard but also incredibly fun and one of my favorite games of all time based on esthetics, music and its mechanics. I'm not trying to demean your argument, I just don't think its completely one or the other.

I don't think it's completely one or the other either. The only point I'm trying to make is that games didn't get easier. For every legitimately difficult old game, I'm sure there's difficult newer games to balance the scales.

Also, to try and help that point, I'll address the games you mentioned. Mega Man 2 I agree with, and I can't really think of a good modern parallel for it, so I guess I'll just throw out a random difficult game and say Super Meat Boy. You know, for the sake of trying to make it 1:1.

Contra, I'll admit I haven't played a lot of it, and I was terrible at it. I can't say if it was due to fairness or not, but I'll take your word, and say Alien Hominid.

Ninja Gaiden 2. I tried playing the old Ninja Gaidens...got to some part with a boat and couldn't figure it out so I never went back. Again, I'll take your word for it. But the modern Ninja Gaidens are also difficult. Alma is the WORST.

I see that Batman as being for the Turbo Grafx? I do remember a Batman game for the NES, though I preferred the SNES batman game. Due to not really knowing what game you're talking about, I'll take it and use God Hand.

I was never a fan of metroidvania style games so I haven't really played any Castlevania's outside of SotN. Looking it up, it seems like one of those games that would fall victim to some knockback shenanigans or unfair enemy placement, but I'll take your word for it. Again I can't really think of a good modern parallel(mostly because I don't enjoy that style of game), so assuming my side goes back to the PS 1 I'll throw out Vagrant Story. If not, then I guess Devil May Cry(any but 2)

I don't know what you mean by "if those count" so I'll let them go for now.

I remember playing through Gunstar Heroes, I didn't find it very difficult until near the end. Even then it was only because I lost all my weapon power ups when I died. For the sake of simplicity(and subjectiveness on difficulty) though I'll just throw out another random game: Trials(either)

Raiden 2. Never heard of it, sounds pretty cool though. In response: Ikaruga

I only played a little of one of the F-Zeros, it didn't seem that hard, but I was also really bad at it so I didn't play much. I'll come up with a game anyway though. I remember Burnout: Revenge(I think?) getting pretty difficult. That could just be me though.

Edited by Gaff

Good god, when I turned 30 it was sort of a badge of shame, not some seniority you use to lord over your fellow gamers.

Older games ran on much, much, much simpler hardware. You can't program in harder AI when the system is already struggling with 10 sprites on screen. So what's a designer to do when he needs a bigger challenge? Up the health or speed on the enemies, make the timer run out faster, cheat etc. That's an artificial difficulty curve. Examples: Galaga, Super Mario Brothers, Centipede / Millipede.

There are more factors (every game having their own physics ruleset stemming from the lack of processing power, the arcade origins which were meant to eat as many quarters as possible from the players - most prominent example being the original Gauntlet, and more), but for the sake of brevity, let's make the lack of processing power the main cause.

And since we are, figuratively, slapping our genitals on the table and comparing them, I just turned 33.

EDIT:

@Taku128 said:

I'm 20 years old

Forget what I said, GTFO.

(Only kidding.)

Posted by owl_of_minerva

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.

Posted by killacam

@believer258 said:

@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.

QFT (did i use that right!?)

Posted by mtcantor

You want harder games? Nearly everything has a difficulty setting. Set it higher.

Games aren't as hard as they used to be because developers want players to actually experience the hours and hours of content they have built in. NES games were hard as balls because a perfect playthrough could finish a lot of them in less than an hour.

Posted by doobie

@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.

old games are the best!!!!

not there not new ones are!!!

rinse and repeat

Posted by Hunter5024

I think really hard games are a dumb relic of the arcade days, when they made everything impossible to get you to pump more quarters in. Back on the NES and stuff it was okay to have super difficult games because it artificially lengthened them, and since those games were so small in scope and good games were so few and far between back then, making everybody wring their moneys worth out of it was probably a good thing. This generation there's so many different things competing for my time that if I had to play one part in a game, over and over, and over again, then I would rightfully go elsewhere because I would have just as good of a time playing another game that didn't presume to be so captivating that it thinks it can hold my attention by forcing me to do the same repetitive task again and again until I do it good enough for them. Not that I think games should be piss easy, a little challenge makes gameplay more rewarding, but games aren't just challenges anymore. Sometimes I'm playing a game just for the story or because I think it's a beautiful world to explore, and being repeatedly knocked back down before I can get to the next chapter or find the next environment has a negative effect on the experience. That's why I think it's important for developers to find the right balance for whatever they hope is going to appeal to people playing their game, which I think they've done much better this generation then they did 20 years ago.

Posted by Silvergun

Something else to consider is that a lot of the 'hardcore' crowd can probably be found in competitive multi-player these days. Nothing is as challenging or potentially rewarding as going up against an actual human and coming out up top. I mean I think about playing Guild Wars 2 in the last few betas, and while the PvE aspect is pretty easy for the most part, the PvP aspect of it is really challenging and intense. A lot of games seem to be doing this, have the non-competitive side cater to more casual players, while relying on the competitive side for those who really want a challenge.

Posted by jozzy

@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.

Posted by believer258

@killacam said:

@believer258 said:

@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.

QFT (did i use that right!?)

Pretty sure you did. Quoted for truth is what you meant, right?

Posted by Joeyoe31

Games are easier due to better game design. Just turn up the difficulty to hard or something. Sometimes though I do feel some games today are entirely void of difficulty.

As for someone saying a game is bad due to them dying, it's probably because they're looking for a more casual experience and that's a common reaction. Thats unless the game is generally unfair in its game design and they're not adjusted to having to sort of think before they do something but then it's like "No shit, of course that's gonna happen". Either way just ignore them if it really bothers you that much. Not like they're ruining your "fun".

Posted by Alkaiser

@YI_Orange said:

@Alkaiser said:

@YI_Orange said:

@Twiggy199: Name some old games that are hard and don't have terrible controls, unfair level design, or bad combat mechanics.

The only one I can think of right now is Punch out, but I also think the new Punch Out is more difficult.

Uh, I'll take a stab at that. Mega Man 2 and 3, Contra, Ninja Gaiden 2, uhm... NES Batman from Sunsoft was pretty good, Castlevania 3 was pretty difficult but felt great mechanically in my opinion. Same with Super Castlevania 4 and Rondo of Blood if those count. Gunstar Heroes could get pretty difficult but felt fair and gave you some outs depending on your equipped powerups, Raiden 2 was a pretty cool shoot-em-up with the best weapon ever (the big purple homing laser) and was one of those games that you could legitimately beat on one credit on your first try if you had the reflexes. No real bullshit or bullet hell memorization, just kind of a nice twitch experience.

And I guess it depends on your definition of hard. I felt F-Zero was pretty hard but also incredibly fun and one of my favorite games of all time based on esthetics, music and its mechanics. I'm not trying to demean your argument, I just don't think its completely one or the other.

I don't think it's completely one or the other either. The only point I'm trying to make is that games didn't get easier. For every legitimately difficult old game, I'm sure there's difficult newer games to balance the scales.

Also, to try and help that point, I'll address the games you mentioned. Mega Man 2 I agree with, and I can't really think of a good modern parallel for it, so I guess I'll just throw out a random difficult game and say Super Meat Boy. You know, for the sake of trying to make it 1:1.

Contra, I'll admit I haven't played a lot of it, and I was terrible at it. I can't say if it was due to fairness or not, but I'll take your word, and say Alien Hominid.

Ninja Gaiden 2. I tried playing the old Ninja Gaidens...got to some part with a boat and couldn't figure it out so I never went back. Again, I'll take your word for it. But the modern Ninja Gaidens are also difficult. Alma is the WORST.

I see that Batman as being for the Turbo Grafx? I do remember a Batman game for the NES, though I preferred the SNES batman game. Due to not really knowing what game you're talking about, I'll take it and use God Hand.

I was never a fan of metroidvania style games so I haven't really played any Castlevania's outside of SotN. Looking it up, it seems like one of those games that would fall victim to some knockback shenanigans or unfair enemy placement, but I'll take your word for it. Again I can't really think of a good modern parallel(mostly because I don't enjoy that style of game), so assuming my side goes back to the PS 1 I'll throw out Vagrant Story. If not, then I guess Devil May Cry(any but 2)

I don't know what you mean by "if those count" so I'll let them go for now.

I remember playing through Gunstar Heroes, I didn't find it very difficult until near the end. Even then it was only because I lost all my weapon power ups when I died. For the sake of simplicity(and subjectiveness on difficulty) though I'll just throw out another random game: Trials(either)

Raiden 2. Never heard of it, sounds pretty cool though. In response: Ikaruga

I only played a little of one of the F-Zeros, it didn't seem that hard, but I was also really bad at it so I didn't play much. I'll come up with a game anyway though. I remember Burnout: Revenge(I think?) getting pretty difficult. That could just be me though.

The Batman game for the TG16 was this awful pacman clone that apparently was made out of spite by its developers, or so Frank Cifaldi says. The one I'm talking about was a pretty cool 2d platformer action game. You can read about it here.

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.

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