Give Me a Win Button

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Give Me a Win Button

Shamus wants his cheat codes and difficulty levels back. Oh, and a push-to-win button.

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Very nice article, I agree. Sometimes, the difficulty of a game is what I'm there for, but more often it's the story, or the setting, or the characters, you get the idea.

I completely agree. This is especially true for me in the GTA games, I loved breezing through Vice City and San Andreas using all the fun cheats and not having to worry about how much money I have or how much ammo I have left. The devs actually gave you freedom to pick and choose which missions you wanted to complete. Then GTA4 came along and the pissed off repeated mission attempts began, and after finishing the game I couldnt even mess around by rendering other people's cars weightless.

Well SORRY if my slideshow of Paris was a little boring!

Seriously, good read and I agree.

I get what you mean. About everyone probably knows of Demons Souls right now, and how it's VERY hard. I have it pre-ordered, but I'm a tad worried that it will be too hard to enjoy. There should be an Easy option, but there is isn't. And I'm willing to bet that fans of the game would oppose an Easy difficulty. That's simply illogical.

One more thing. There's no excuse anymore for a game not letting you switch difficulties midstream. "Easy", "Normal" and "Hard" are only meaningful relative to each other and tell me nothing about which difficulty is appropriate for me. If the difficulty i pick is too easy, i have to play through the game again to be challenged. if it ends up being too hard, i have to throw away my progress and start over.

Vanillaware games aren't really notable for their technical or gameplay design, but they implement difficulty levels perfectly. Muramasa's two difficulty levels are almost completely different games, but they still let you switch between them any time outside of battle.

if you have a game, and a few variables are the only difference between the difficulties, then there's no reason i shouldn't be able to switch them on the fly.

Blazing Angels 2 may have had an awkward adapatation to the PC, and overall the game was nearing bland and bad at points, but I am more than willing to repeatedly forgive it because not only does it give me a fantastically fun Arcade-style 3rd Person airplane shoot-em-up, but also the "trigger_damage" cheat that enables your machine guns to hit as hard as they would in real life. (single bullet to a Battleship exempt)
I find it justifiable to have a grand boss battle in the end but really it's just a lot more fun for me to know that I already have that baddie wrapped around my finger begging for mercy before I even open fire, giving me the opportunity to examine how cool and/or ridiculous their craft looks.
It's a fun game.

Shamus, you been talking to Susan lately? Because she wrote an article just about the same thing. We had a difference in opinion, and now she won't talk to me anymore... :(

She insisted on installing stuff into the core gameplay to make it easier for new players to stroll through the game, one of them was what she called the "What Should I Be Doing Now?" button, which is essentially the WIN button you described, in games where you need to figure out what to do yourself.

I said to her the same thing: this already exists. The things that help you finish a game without much effort. Trainers, walkthroughs, guides, stuff like that. If I can't find cheats to a game I stuck in, I just get a walkthrough or a trainer. Difficulty levels became very vague and arbitrary nowadays, you are right about that. The easy difficulty usually means a lot less and totally retarded enemies to fight, and the hard mode has a little more, tougher ones, but not like, say, ten years ago, when the easy meant "piece of cake for experienced players", and hard meant "totally impossible".

On the other hand, I'm just the gamer you described. In FPS games, I usually use the god mode cheat, or a trainer, just because I hate to die and load a game from half an hour before, just because I usually forget to save, and a LOT can happen in 20-30 mins in a FPS. But in RPGs and strategies I NEVER cheat, I don't know why, but it seems just wrong.

I'm more like the "tourist" you described, I like to stroll through some games, experience the story, meet the characters, etc, without pressure. In other games, I like the challenge more.

Very much agreed. I still go back and play some of my older games just to mess around with the cheats and so on, because while I love the games played normally, it's great to take a break from that and be silly.
I also think that if you have the pressure of difficulty on you all the time, you'll fail to notice interesting details in the game world and so on, because you're focussed solely on how to get past a certain section successfully.

Shamus will be buying a Wii yet.

I've got to agree.. There are games where hardcore difficulty is appropriate, but today ALL games are difficult.

Jesus, even final boss in Trine(((

Pffft, cheats are for pussies!

Playbahnosh:
Shamus, you been talking to Susan lately? Because she wrote an article just about the same thing. We had a difference in opinion, and now she won't talk to me anymore... :(

She insisted on installing stuff into the core gameplay to make it easier for new players to stroll through the game, one of them was what she called the "What Should I Be Doing Now?" button, which is essentially the WIN button you described, in games where you need to figure out what to do yourself.

I said to her the same thing: this already exists. The things that help you finish a game without much effort. Trainers, walkthroughs, guides, stuff like that. If I can't find cheats to a game I stuck in, I just get a walkthrough or a trainer. Difficulty levels became very vague and arbitrary nowadays, you are right about that. The easy difficulty usually means a lot less and totally retarded enemies to fight, and the hard mode has a little more, tougher ones, but not like, say, ten years ago, when the easy meant "piece of cake for experienced players", and hard meant "totally impossible".

On the other hand, I'm just the gamer you described. In FPS games, I usually use the god mode cheat, or a trainer, just because I hate to die and load a game from half an hour before, just because I usually forget to save, and a LOT can happen in 20-30 mins in a FPS. But in RPGs and strategies I NEVER cheat, I don't know why, but it seems just wrong.

I'm more like the "tourist" you described, I like to stroll through some games, experience the story, meet the characters, etc, without pressure. In other games, I like the challenge more.

You seem like a rational person so maybe you can explain why you are opposed to the "win" button as Susan described if it wouldn't affect you. It isn't like such a function would be in all modes just easy and optional. I can understand saying no way if it was in all modes of all games and there was no way around it. I just don't understand the opposition over something that is available but optional.

I understand your frustrations, sir. I've known many a potential gamer who stopped playing a game because they deemed the challenge level beyond their abilities. I have no objection to a level of challenge in a game suitable for the players strengths. Just as long as the challenge suitable to my own strengths isn't sacrificed in the process.

I, myself, see a challenging game as something to be "domesticated". But admittedly, there are some games I am never going to break like Starcraft, and I've been gaming for over thirty years. But, everyone has their own definition of difficult.

I have to agree I enjoy looking through scenery and such. I don't like some of the newer games that decide to make it harder to be a tourist through the game. hence why I am replaying old games that have cheat codes if i want them

One thing I do enjoy about L4D, is it keeps the cheats available, and you can change the difficulty in the middle of a campaign. Which can lead to fun of a different variety, when there is just one survivor, and the dead survivors vote to raise the difficulty to expert. Fun times.
There is still one everlasting constant: the computer cheats. With that there should always be a red button for the player, call it the manual override switch in case of 'computer l33tness'. If a game doesn't provide that, then how the hell did the testers get far enough in to know the game was done well enough?

i dont know what your talking about.... about 80% of the games that came out this decade were piss easy.... since halo we have regenerating health and checkpoints and stuff ....
games like mario and sonic were the challenge.. limited lives and no cheats .

I'm of two minds on this topic.

Some of my most memorable moments of my gaming career were overcoming great odds.

Recently, I beat Grand Theft Auto 4 (Say what you will, that last mission was a real pain in the butt). It was my first real Grand Theft Auto Finish, and I spent the better part of two days working on that last mission to get it down, and when I did it, I was jubilant. It was a great relief of stress.

I also beat Mass Effect on Hardcore Difficulty to unlock my final achievement, and that too was pretty difficult, but when I did it, jubilation.

I remember playing Breath of Fire 2 as a Youngin, and I remember fighting a boss for hours. I had a whole bunch of friends coming and going from the room, checking on my progress... Eventually, when I won, it was a huge event.

All of that being said, I usually will throw a game on the easiest setting if it's in a genre I'm not accustomed to. Shooters for instance, I don't have a lot of fun getting shot to ribbons, and most of my jubilant "omg hard" moments are from games that aren't particularly renowned for being hard.

So, I like overcoming a challenge, but challenges that are at my level of challenge - reasonably doable, but still takes a while to do.

I don't play enough recent games to know how their difficulty settings work, but games were plenty hard back in the day too. If you follow the TV Tropes explanation, "Nintendo Hard" existed to encourage more game sales by discouraging game rentals.

I do agree that I also have looked back at the times I was younger and spent hours trying to get past a single point and consider it wasted time. Nowadays, I'll just chuck the game rather than dealing with that kind of frustration. It's a shame, because I'd actually like to be able to see the end of the game.

squid5580:
You seem like a rational person so maybe you can explain why you are opposed to the "win" button as Susan described if it wouldn't affect you. It isn't like such a function would be in all modes just easy and optional. I can understand saying no way if it was in all modes of all games and there was no way around it. I just don't understand the opposition over something that is available but optional.

I'm not against the WIN button (or some definitions of it anyway), like I said, I use trainers and cheats my selfm if and when I feel like it. The argument with Susan was about getting into bigger AAA and hardcore games as newbies, making them "accessible" to the more casual crowd, learning the controls like analog sticks on the console controllers, learning core gameplay elements in different genres, etc. But in some games, the "What should I do?" button defeats the purpose, when the game's goal is find that out yourself, like in certain adventure games and RPGs. At some point in the game, you might get stuck, that what walkthroughs are for, it's not a new concept. But when it's incorporated into the game, new players tend to overuse that feature, rather than try to actually think. And in some games, even that button is pointless, when there are multiple choices and different ways to complete the game, based on your decisions. When the game tells you exactly what to do (in a game where the goal is for you to think), it becomes a simple game of "Simon says", going from point A to B without any effort on the player's part.

That's the problem with god modes and all-access cheats. In some games, it might be even considerable to use them, but, again, in some games, it defeats the purpose, when the game's main concept is to try and stay alive, like in survival games. Sure, you can god mode yourself through Silent Hill 2, but takes the Silent Hill out of the game.

So, yes, these things have a place in games, but enforcing minimal use would be a good idea to prevent the abuse thereby prevent the players to ruin the game for themselves, since games get entirely different when you play with cheats. It's a double-edged sword, because if the new players get used to these crutches and constant help, cheats, they end up depending on them, and they will never learn to play for real. They won't experience any game the way the creators intended, and they will constantly play a different (bleaker, watered down) game, and never experience the "real" deal. Like they say, give the man a fish, and he is fed for one day, teach him to fish and he is fed for the rest of his life.

Remember, back 10 years ago, easy difficulty wasn't even that easy, you had to try your best to complete them, and even then, some games scolded or ridiculed you for playing on easy mode, and totally scorned you for using cheats, labeling you a cheater and you wouldn't get your score (like in Blood 3D). You had incentive to try and play on your own, in normal mode. In adventure games, if you got stuck, without internet, you had no access to walkthoughs, you had no other choice but pixel-hunting and rubbing every inventory item against everything to see if anything happens. And don't get me started on RPGs, simulators and strategy games. THE HORROR!

Yes, these games were difficult to play, let alone master, but once you did, that tremendous sense of victory and accomplishment was our compensation, our trophy. Once you finally won that two hour long battle in StarCraft, once you managed to defeat Diablo in nightmare difficulty after the 1000th try, it's priceless. Lame and arbitrary achievement points and gamescores cannot compete with that. And these WIN button elements just discourage effort IMHO.

I agree with you on the difficulty part but not on the cheats part.
Back when most games had cheats, I would eventually reach a part in the game where it was too hard or too frustrating and cheat, and after that the game was basically ruined because I would just cheat the rest of the way through. I like the way it is now. Almost no games have cheats, but you can always get a trainer or a savegame if you can be bothered to look for one, download and apply it, which means I won't because I would rather lose 2 more hours on that level than 15 minutes to get a trainer on. That's how big a slacker I am.

A first time reader I really enjoyed what you have to say and completely agree. I would love to see the reapearance of cheats in video games, however mostly I would say games include an easy mode as well as normal and hard.

It's kind of interesting to look take all of this in context, for instance Guitar Hero + Rock Band. There are two major types of people who play those games, those who want to be challenged and those who like rocking out, and it's interesting to see how cheats, practice mode, and the like all serve to bridge the gap between the two.

But on the other end there are games that exist to serve as a challenge, and an "easy mode" or "win button" somewhat defeats the purpose of the game. Demon's Souls is the most recent example I can come up with - the game isn't about (theoretical) breathtaking vistas or the sweeping narrative, it's about an obstacle to be overcome. I mean, take away the challenge and what's left?

If Demon's Souls did provide an easy option, I do wonder how it would change the dynamic of the game. I wonder how many people would opt for an easier game, and of those who would be unable to beat the hard version and those who would have more fun at the hard version? (It should also be noted that, due to PvP constraints, something like Demon's Souls would have to work out a tradeoff system for the difficulty as well - something like worse loot for easier enemies, and switching difficulty on the fly would be difficult if not impossible, maybe at the level hub or something.) It seems like it would do more good than harm, but it's hard to tell.

Still, I do like the idea that most games should have an easier option (and a hard option that doesn't just give all the NPCs aimbots).

Belladonnah:
I agree with you on the difficulty part but not on the cheats part.
Back when most games had cheats, I would eventually reach a part in the game where it was too hard or too frustrating and cheat, and after that the game was basically ruined because I would just cheat the rest of the way through. I like the way it is now. Almost no games have cheats, but you can always get a trainer or a savegame if you can be bothered to look for one, download and apply it, which means I won't because I would rather lose 2 more hours on that level than 15 minutes to get a trainer on. That's how big a slacker I am.

If that was a reply to me, that's totally what I said. Cheats can ruin a game entirely, that's why I'm not so happy about incorporating them into the real gameplay. That's why cheats are meant to be hidden, only used when totally needed and only available through research. But I do know that some people couldn't get into certain games without them, so they are needed I guess. Hell, the first ever key sequence I learned when I started playing FPS games was IDDQD and IDKFA. It was fun for a while, but it got old quickly, since strolling through the game Rambo style, effortlessly ripping everything to pieces got boring after a while. Then some years later I started playing again, without cheats this time and I found a totally new and different, more fun game experience.

violentstatistics:
I completely agree. This is especially true for me in the GTA games, I loved breezing through Vice City and San Andreas using all the fun cheats and not having to worry about how much money I have or how much ammo I have left. The devs actually gave you freedom to pick and choose which missions you wanted to complete. Then GTA4 came along and the pissed off repeated mission attempts began, and after finishing the game I couldnt even mess around by rendering other people's cars weightless.

luckily I rented GTA 4 before I bought it. without cheat codes, it just wasn't a fun game for me. I used to play GTA games with cheats all the time. Say what you will, that game is more fun with cheats. Starting a huge firefight and not having to worry about running out of health or ammo just seems to fit the game so much better. I feel like, just like GTA, there are games where you're supposed to be this unstoppable force. but the whole experience can be ruined by some low level enemy getting a lucky punch/shot/whatever in while you're beating up a boss.
And I have problems with the difficulties in games recently, too. Games like Gears of War and Metal Gear Soild 4 is a great example. Play on easy, and they pretty much turn the A.I. off. Play on hard, and the enemies are like frickin demi-gods.
That's why I loved Crackdown so much. You were basically a God, but a well placed rocket-launcher could still do you in. and the A.I. adjusts to your skill. More games need to be like that

Playbahnosh:
And don't get me started on RPGs, simulators and strategy games. THE HORROR!

At least in (most) RPGs you can grid your way through.

The sad part is when grinding isn't an option. =x

Very nice article, I agree. Sometimes, the difficulty of a game is what I'm there for, but more often it's the story, or the setting, or the characters, you get the idea.

Then why not read the book? Or watch a movie? Or watch someone play the game for you?

You seem like a rational person so maybe you can explain why you are opposed to the "win" button as Susan described if it wouldn't affect you.

The more time spent helping out newbies by programming in a "win" button, the less time is dedicated to cuddling the "hardcore", or otherwise adding onto the gameplay by adding extra stuff to make it more fun.

Otherwise, I generally agree with the sentiment.

Gaming is a hobby IMO and it depends on what kind of game it is. If it's say a fighting game then it's SUPPOSED to be difficult that's like 99% of the point. That difficulty and depth is what makes the good games of the genere so competitive.

I'm all for the idea of basically earning your rewards as you play through games.

The lack of cheat codes is because as there are more games out there they have become increasingly competitive. You have things like "Gamerscores" and "Achievements" tied to everything from PC games to 360 games. The only format that doesn't have them yet is handhelds. While totally "pointless" a lot of people find them fun, and the entire ranking system (irregardless of what company runs them) is dependant on skill and your abillity to master games. To allow some "tourist" to get the same rankings as someone genuinely mastering the game is wrong and defeats the entire purpose of such systems (whether it should exist or not, which is another debate).

Cheat codes are not "gone", or "rare". Honestly I think you haven't played many games if you think that. Check out cheats on Gamefaqs and you'll see TONS of them. The thing about them though is that they tend to disable achievements/trophies/gamerscore. Sure, you can basically play Saint's Row 2 in god mode (to pick an example) but don't expect someone to claim doing so is an "achievement".

I get the impression on some level that what your actually talking about (without mentioning it) ties into achievements, with you considering them "part of the content" and honestly I have to disagree with you. *IF* achievements stay you should have to achieve something (like say winning without cheating) to get them.

Modern gaming has limited your abillity to play on the easiest level, turn on all the cheats you can find (which are NOT rare) and then claim your 1337. Today someone can call up your gamer score (somewhere) for most games and tell if your good or full of sh@t.

Now what I will spot you is that I do tend to think that the game industry is moving in the wrong direction to an extent. Let's face it, gaming is mainstream. A lot of the kids who grew up with it and helped MAKE it mainstream are increasingly turning into tired middle aged units. The same guys screaming "death to turn based", "real time rules", and "we need more difficult games for our 1337 skillz", just want to kick back and be able to accomplish something in a game they can play fairly casually. Unfortunatly the game industry is very much a young man's market right now, and has yet to "snap back" to older styles of games, or work on ones designed to appeal to an adult mind, with slower reflexs and time/inclination to deal with frustration.

Back in the days when eletronic dinosaurs roamed the internet, before such beasts were killed by 10 to 25 man raids of WoW players, there were these things called "Adventure Games" that were being produced by top flight developers as opposed to budget basement reject companies. Adventure gaming WAS a dominant genere in part because adults were playing a lot of video games and the youth culture had not really broken into it full force. Turn based RPGs and atrategy games also proliferated for similar things. Adventure games in paticular were designed for people who just wanted to play tourist. You could buy the game, and a strategy guide, and see all kinds of "purty" stuff and have your hand held through exciting moments without really any chance of getting lost of frustrated due to your trusty guide. In short pretty much the type of game your saying you want.

In general I think as the kids around now slow down you'll see a transition (gradually) back towards games for older folks. Everything is cyclical and you'll eventually see less mocking of turn based, and less of a demand for "it must do everything in real time and quick, quick, quick" at least in the mainstream gaming media. This is however still a ways away.

You either need to adapt to the current gaming trends if you want to game, or go grab an old 386, fire up Myst, and chase the kids off your lawn with your cane. :)

... Am I the only one who thinks that today "Hard" means Normal and "Normal" is pretty damn easy? Granted I haven't really played that many recent games and only own a PC and a Wii (the other consoles don't have anything that the PC doesn't have and/or that would interest me. Except for Gran Turismo.), PC is for proper gaming and Wii is for Tiger Woods and a media center (thank you Homebrew Channel).

Anyway, all the games I have played recently have been really easy. The most recent (Fuel) is almost laughably easy, and the only reason to play Mirror's Edge is to see how fast you can run through it, not if you can do it.

Bring back cheat codes? Absolutely. Weapons, ammo, restore health/infinite lives/infinite life, power-ups, costumes, money/gold, the works. Up up down down left right left right select start, anyone? Yeah. What's wrong with just wanting to coast through games to experience them? Nothing. If it's not your game type, then why struggle through something? Get the same experience, as long as you understand which parts are supposed to have killed you dead.

SilentScope001:
Then why not read the book? Or watch a movie? Or watch someone play the game for you?

Maybe they want to see that particular story? The last point is a good one though. There are many games I don't want to play but are really interesting to watch. The Silent Hill series comes to mind. Luckily we have YouTube and Let's Play videos. =)

I like hard games but sometimes it is too much. I feel confident in my ability to resist cheats when they are available and really savor the challenge, but apparently some people are not so confident.

I disagree.
But that's because I'm Hardcore and always play my games in the Hardest dif possible.

About cheats,
You should look up Die Hard Trilogy. The cheats in that game are pure solid gold in comedy value. Like making everyone fat, and when they die, they fly up in the air.

Therumancer:
You either need to adapt to the current gaming trends if you want to game, or go grab an old 386, fire up Myst, and chase the kids off your lawn with your cane. :)

Those damn kids, always gettin on my lawn...

I totally agree with what you said. When gaming became mainstream (and it's not an "if" anymore), all the games became increasingly easy and benign. Where are the hard games? I mean, trying to shield kids from the world around them doesn't do any good. When I was a kid, I watched bloody action movies, horror and gore flicks with my friends, "family" movies that had real violence and real nudity (bordering on porn) in them. We played games that had a lot of pixelated blood, guts and a lot of heavy cursing, and, again, nudity. Did we grow up to be mentally damaged psychopaths? No. We had the most cruel and explicit games, movies and music, and yet no one went on a killing spree in a high-school because of video games when I was a kid. Most of us have families and respectable jobs, and turned out to be nice people. And what did the overzealous censorship do the youth nowadays? They made them oversensitive, illiterate and emotionally unstable brats. Great job ESRB and MPAA!

Therumancer:
Cheat codes are not "gone", or "rare". Honestly I think you haven't played many games if you think that. Check out cheats on Gamefaqs and you'll see TONS of them. The thing about them though is that they tend to disable achievements/trophies/gamerscore. Sure, you can basically play Saint's Row 2 in god mode (to pick an example) but don't expect someone to claim doing so is an "achievement".

I get the impression on some level that what your actually talking about (without mentioning it) ties into achievements, with you considering them "part of the content" and honestly I have to disagree with you. *IF* achievements stay you should have to achieve something (like say winning without cheating) to get them.

Have you actually LOOKED at the "cheats" they offer on Gamefaqs? Check out the "cheats" for Overlord II:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/xbox360/code/952370.html

It's just a list of achievements.

Fuel had no cheats, although I was able to cheat on the PC by tweaking data files.

Silent Hill: Homecoming had no cheats.

Velvet Assassin has no cheats.

Riddick: DA has no cheats.

And that's off the top of my head in the last couple of months. I know there are more. In fact, I can't remember the last time I played a game where I wanted cheats and was able to find some.

I think turning off achievements is the perfect thing to do when the user enables cheats. It makes sense, and it lets the competitive players do their thing and the tourists do their thing. Everybody wins.

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