Jimquisition: A Different Kind of Difficulty

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This 'optional difficulty' has been around as long as video games have been. It used to be called 'high scores.'

Personally, I love Kirby's Epic Yarn, it's so adorable!

But yeah, there are parts of the game that made me swear like a sailor... Which I realize it pretty immature of me, but still, great point Jim!

You know, I surprised myself by watching his video this week... and liking it. The delivery of his argument this time around was much less grating. If he continues to make good arguments without talking down to us, I'll keep watching.

I think that developers have decided that doing optional difficulty things within a game expands it, making you gain more playable hours. Sure, you could easily breeze through a game, but add in hidden trophies, or attempting to finish at 100% completion, gives you more playtime without sacrificing casual players.

The thing is, back in the day, you could play games where death was a meaning, AND have hidden trophies, or find unlockable scene, or nearly kill yourself by trying to completely finish every side quest, every optional item, and gain 100%. That's something Jim didnt touch upon. Having a game that makes things challenging death wise, AND gives you an option for further difficulty, is what many hardcore gamers want. They want to feel like that achievement, is an actual achievement, not something that if they only try a smidge harder, they can gain. Beating those so called "impossible" or "hard" games, have rather meant something to gamers. Just by beating the game itself. Now, there are qualifiers, like "I beat Kirby's Epic Yarn 100%, every gold/platinum medal possible attained." Hardcore, as you called them Jim, want the basic storyline or goal in the game to be earned, not just practically spoonfed to them.

Uh, wow. He actually... Kept all the pseudo-offensive talking-to-the-camera schtick bookended on the beginning and end, and focused on the commentary.

If I say, "Thank you", is he honor-bound to never do it again? Because that would seriously be a pity. I like this a lot better.

On the issue itself, I largely agree. More to the point, I find it more than a little ridiculous how much some people rag on Epic Yarn like it was the spearhead of a movement that intends to take away their precious "getting killed every seven and a half minutes" forever. Spending less time looking at the reload screen is a good thing, and damn anyone who says otherwise. Games should be focusing on creating compelling content throughout the play-time, not making the player retread the same unforgiving segment twenty times over.

Now to be clear, traditional death is okay, I don't see it going anywhere, and I don't mind when it occurs in a stable and reasonable difficulty curve that genuinely challenges the player and makes them come up with new ways of using old skills or turn their reasoning on how to overcome obstacles ninety degrees. This is part of the reason I feel games like Half-Life and Portal are as impressive as they are. The level of challenge is awesomely well tuned to genuinely challenge without excessively frustrating- or, to put it more succinctly, without wasting the player's time.

I'll grant that as I get older my patience for wasting my time without giving me something meaningful in return is eroding. No one is required to play KEY. But if its difficulty is what's giving someone fits, I'm increasingly inclined to suggest that's a problem with the gamer's view of things, not with the game's design.

i prefer this video to your usual
maybe its coz you were talking to the camera about problems in the industy and how we can be more mature instead of yelling down it about why its my fault this industry is going down the crapper, speacking of which, enjoyed your poo?

jokulhaups:
Have a nice poo Jim. life is too short to only have bad poos. How do you define a good poo though?

Good question.

A good poo is one that isn't slimy- one that slips out in a second, leaving behind little to no gunk to have to wipe up. A good poo takes all the body's lubricant with it, saving one the tiresome process of having to wipe it. A good poo takes ALL the poo with it, so that you are free from needing it for the next while.

OT: Good episode.

As others have said, theres nothing new in it. Back in ye olde 'ardcore days we could make our own challenges and have to dodge death at the same time.

But Jim is right of course. Looking beneath the surface can be worthwhile. I just wish games would have more variety *sigh*. Sometimes I like unforgiving zombies beating me constantly, and sometimes I'd love to glide over a psychedelic landscape full of love and forebearance.
So many games look for the perfect marketing mix these days and they all end up the same.

The argument went off-track when he said that it's harder to accept the challenge in Kirby than traditional hard games. That's the difficulty of getting started, not the actual game's difficulty. It's harder to learn to play any strategy game than a simply controlled-platformer like Super Meat Boy, but once you do, many of them are much easier to beat than the very hard SMB. You might as well say that it's much harder to beat a game that's difficult to obtain because it's old and out of print and you have to work hard to even find a copy.

And I don't see the problem with the end of a level representing a finish line, a mark that you've overcome the challenge rather than a time to be graded for your effort to see if you've suceeded. This is important because he argues not for the acceptability of Kirby as a difficult game, but its superiority.

And I wish he wouldn't do those 1/10 trolls. "Kirby is harder than Megaman kekeke u mad?"

Yahtzee had a contrasting opinion ages ago: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/8753-Extra-Punctuation-Death-in-Videogames

He also talked about this in his review of Kirby; the only reward for doing well in Kirby is the ability to play with a house of dolls. Jim looks down his nose at death as a punishment mechanic, but it's instinctively understandable; death=bad. Is part of the challenge of Kirby getting yourself to give a shit about the toys you're rewarded with for success?

bringer of illumination:

The solution is quite simple, the developers could start putting in just a little bit of effort to make it so that changing the difficulty slider meant something other than enemies simply being able to take 11 bullets in the forehead before dying, because that isn't real difficulty, that's artificial difficulty.

Make the different difficulty settings actually change the game in ways that are just slightly significant, it can't be that hard, or that costly to do.

I agree with you there. It's the difference between being hard and being tedious and it's the easy way out for making difficulty. Spoils the experience, especially if they're grunt-level enemies that take a million whacks. Bayonetta was a game I know that did difficulty quite well without going TOO crazy. Instead of giving monster levels of health, the hard setting would make enemies hit harder, difficult enemies were given earlier in the game (ex the prologue had enemies you would normally seen in chapter 3, 5, and 10), and more importantly act more aggressive. Their "tell" was harder to catch, moved/attacked a lot faster, and punished you greatly for not dodging fast enough. The diffuculty level above it was more or less the same but gave you a handicap of not being able to engage in bullet time. Not impossible, but bullet time was a good way to safely get close and deal some damage. You've seen all these enemies before in both settings, but it does force you to make better use of dodges and parries if you want to survive (let alone get a good rank). Even on the normal setting it has the potential to be a little hard, but you have a BIG jump from the two easy settngs which practically spoon-feed.

OT: I'm a completionist (especially in many platformers) so part of me agrees with Jim. The additional challenges involved in collecting and ratings can be fun and sometimes difficult. Spyro 2 is a really easy game, but getting the skill point for beating Ripto and Gulp without taking damage? That's another story and took 40 lives (each) and calling upon my ninja skills. However, "optional difficulty" really depends on how you play (completionist vs "just playing") and I'm not sure if they can be compared. Or maybe I'm missing the point.

While i like hard games like shmups but jim kinda makes a point but a game has to be good. In most games if you take away the challenge you are left with a shallow and boring game.

And no im not saying saying that difficulty is something that lazy game designers use to pad out their game. So many gamers use to that arguement without fully understanding what makes a good or a bad nintendo hard game

Prince of Persia (2008) rings to mind here.

Yeah, you can't technically die, but there's an achievement to finish the game with fewer than 100 "deaths" (aka falling of the edge). I only got the achievement the second time around.

I understand that this sort of a feature would be frowned upon in a lot of games, but game devs really need to do something about those annoying as shit long load times between deaths.

The worst offender, in this case, is GTA4. Seriously, fuck that game.

INB4 "lolz you thought it wuz hard"; no I didn't. I finished it, the difficulty never felt rewarding; it was just plain annoying, mainly because that game had shit for a checkpoint system.

bringer of illumination:
And congratulations Jim, you have COMPLETELY missed the point of the people who complain about games being too easy today.

Of course Kirby's Epic Yarn is easy, Kirby games have ALWAYS been easy, and it goes beyond saying that the point of Epic Yarn isn't the same as the point of fucking Ninja Gaiden.

The people who complain about games getting too easy mean that ALL games have gotten too easy and that the "hardest" difficulty settings for games where the point is still getting to the end of a level without dying have become fucking jokes.

So this entire episode was basically a gigantic straw-man argument.

Bravo i say.

Congratulations, Bringer, you have COMPLETELY missed the point of this episode, that difficulty comes with changing your perspective, and making a challenge for yourself, and not relying on a a fixed set of rules that the game gives you.
Take Total War-series, for example. Most fights vs the AI are pathetic in open field, and you can get a "Clear Victory" from almost every fight, but nothing satisfies me as much as getting a "Heroic Victory!" after beating an army three times my size with nothing but cleverly maneuvered cavalry and putting pressure on enemy weakpoints.
The game doesn't force me to do this. The object of the game is not to win this fight with style, but to conquer the majority of the worldmap. I just changed my perspective, because othervise the game was "too easy".

With only a few exceptions, I don't really play games for their challenge/difficulty, so I tend to ignore optional challenges unless they're actually interesting. I appreciate having this choice. Hence, it irks me when you get hardcore gamers (not all of them) claiming to speak for the majority and demanding games to be more difficult on even the standard setting, not understanding they are not in the majority and most people quite happily play on what is considered normal now.

Take Dragon Age 2 for instance, when they toned the normal setting down to something more sensible compared to the first game. I remember seeing someone on here complaining that it was submitting to the 'mouth-breathers'. I breathe through my nose just fine, thank you.

I've got no problem with people wanting a 'hardcore' challenge, but it should stay at the 'hardcore' end of the spectrum.

Geeze I'm starting to really like this guy.

I know one of the biggest challenges I had on a game of this generation was Bayonetta. Yeah I didn't die often even on ultra hard, but getting a score higher than the turd-trophy was just brutally difficult.

Now compare that to FF-13 where death or sucking doesn't mean anything at all. You die? You start right before the fight and try again. If you just flat out suck at the fight, there's no penalty or incentive. Sure you get a "rating" but it doesn't matter. I guess you could just arbitrarily decide you want to perfect every fight but all that means is you need to grind for a few days.

Totally agree. Traditional difficulty is just a barrier to an experience you've already paid for to artificially extend its life and try and justify its cost. In many cases however, it just keeps you from enjoying the product in its entirety.

BabySinclair:
Have to say it's the first time I didn't find him grating. Must have dialed back his condescending manner a bit.

well sometimes its hard to NOT be condescending when addressing gamers, who can be a REALLY whiny bunch (ex: WHY THEY CHANGE THIS?! WHY GAMES SO EZ?! WHY PEOPLE ENJOYING WHAT I ENJOY?! CHANGE IZ BAD! just to name a few of the things gamers at large whine about whenever any information at all is released about any game)

OT: As always, there's nothing in this video I do not agree with. He's like a more suave and famous version of me when it comes to our opinions. We'd probably hate each other because we're so similar. I'll be sure to link anyone to this video whenever someone complains about "Streamlining" or games being too easy.

Realitycrash:

bringer of illumination:
And congratulations Jim, you have COMPLETELY missed the point of the people who complain about games being too easy today.

Of course Kirby's Epic Yarn is easy, Kirby games have ALWAYS been easy, and it goes beyond saying that the point of Epic Yarn isn't the same as the point of fucking Ninja Gaiden.

The people who complain about games getting too easy mean that ALL games have gotten too easy and that the "hardest" difficulty settings for games where the point is still getting to the end of a level without dying have become fucking jokes.

So this entire episode was basically a gigantic straw-man argument.

Bravo i say.

Congratulations, Bringer, you have COMPLETELY missed the point of this episode, that difficulty comes with changing your perspective, and making a challenge for yourself, and not relying on a a fixed set of rules that the game gives you.
Take Total War-series, for example. Most fights vs the AI are pathetic in open field, and you can get a "Clear Victory" from almost every fight, but nothing satisfies me as much as getting a "Heroic Victory!" after beating an army three times my size with nothing but cleverly maneuvered cavalry and putting pressure on enemy weakpoints.
The game doesn't force me to do this. The object of the game is not to win this fight with style, but to conquer the majority of the worldmap. I just changed my perspective, because othervise the game was "too easy".

But that's wrong, and here's why.

In the examples he gave, the "optional" difficulty is absolutely integral to the game. Jim didn't "make a challenge for himself" by going for gold medals, gold metal are a goal very clearly given by the game.

If the game can't provide some kind of challenge "optional" or not, that is actually integral to the game, then the game is probably pretty lousy.

Yeahhhhhh I was with you till you said Kirby is more difficult than Megaman. I understand and agree with you about your other points, but the same meta-game challenges can be had in Megaman, such as trying to get the trophies in Megaman 9. Beat the game in under an hour? Beat the entire game without dying once?? Those are DAMN hard, and that's only if the rest of the game is too easy for you.

So let's say, Kirby base difficulty: 1, Kirby meta-difficulty: 5, Megaman base difficulty: 5, Megaman meta-difficulty 10. And that's being very generous to Kirby by giving Megaman base difficulty of 5.

It's crazy to say that there is no challenge available to gamers in Kirby, but comparing it to something like Megaman is pushing it way too far.

bringer of illumination:

Realitycrash:

bringer of illumination:
And congratulations Jim, you have COMPLETELY missed the point of the people who complain about games being too easy today.

Of course Kirby's Epic Yarn is easy, Kirby games have ALWAYS been easy, and it goes beyond saying that the point of Epic Yarn isn't the same as the point of fucking Ninja Gaiden.

The people who complain about games getting too easy mean that ALL games have gotten too easy and that the "hardest" difficulty settings for games where the point is still getting to the end of a level without dying have become fucking jokes.

So this entire episode was basically a gigantic straw-man argument.

Bravo i say.

Congratulations, Bringer, you have COMPLETELY missed the point of this episode, that difficulty comes with changing your perspective, and making a challenge for yourself, and not relying on a a fixed set of rules that the game gives you.
Take Total War-series, for example. Most fights vs the AI are pathetic in open field, and you can get a "Clear Victory" from almost every fight, but nothing satisfies me as much as getting a "Heroic Victory!" after beating an army three times my size with nothing but cleverly maneuvered cavalry and putting pressure on enemy weakpoints.
The game doesn't force me to do this. The object of the game is not to win this fight with style, but to conquer the majority of the worldmap. I just changed my perspective, because othervise the game was "too easy".

But that's wrong, and here's why.

In the examples he gave, the "optional" difficulty is absolutely integral to the game. Jim didn't "make a challenge for himself" by going for gold medals, gold metal are a goal very clearly given by the game.

If the game can't provide some kind of challenge "optional" or not, that is actually integral to the game, then the game is probably pretty lousy.

I'm pretty sure that nothing in Kirby says that "these medals is what you should go for!", but something like "save the princess/save your friends/save whatever!" (Sorry, haven't played Kirby since NES, so I don't know what his deal is. Some evil Wizard, right?)

If I may make a parallel to Cut the Rope (yes, I'm bringing puzzle-Iphone games into this), the challenge comes with collecting all the stars of the level, but that just gives you extra score. The object is still to just beat the level and get to the next.

Halo has this too. In fact, to just GET the final difficulty (Mythic), you got run around and collect skulls in secret places, etc.
Okey, I don't think a shooter should be about fetch-quests, but still, it's an option.

bringer of illumination:
And congratulations Jim, you have COMPLETELY missed the point of the people who complain about games being too easy today.

Of course Kirby's Epic Yarn is easy, Kirby games have ALWAYS been easy, and it goes beyond saying that the point of Epic Yarn isn't the same as the point of fucking Ninja Gaiden.

The people who complain about games getting too easy mean that ALL games have gotten too easy and that the "hardest" difficulty settings for games where the point is still getting to the end of a level without dying have become fucking jokes.

So this entire episode was basically a gigantic straw-man argument.

Bravo i say.

Did you even watch this? His whole argument was "not dying alot =/= not hard." Most games boil down to getting from point A to point B alive but that is the absolute bare bones of the game. Even in ultra-hard settings, that part is easy because the programmers want the feebs who don't want to put any actual effort into the game to feel they accomplished something by seeing that end credit roll and tell their friends to get it. If they made just "finishing" the game hard, people wouldn't buy it since their ADD addled brains wouldn't have the tolerance to do so.

Now, the real challenge of games is getting from Point A to Point B but also doing it with a degree of perfection or completionism. Sure, "finishing" most games is easy. But "Completing" a game is much harder.

But hey, if you wanna shell out $50-60 just to rush to the end in less than 10 hours and see that credit roll, no one is gonna deny you that. Not everyone actually strives to be good at the game, just getting to the end is satisfaction enough. In fact, you're the publishers and retailers favorite kind of person. You hurry out, buy the game new, think it sucks/finish it, then trade it in for about half of what its worth so they can sell it again at a mark up.

You know, Jim comes off as an angry preacher with his suit, sunglasses, and pew. Kinda like a gamer sam kinsion.

I'd sort of half agree. On the one hand, there is certainly something to be said about having difficulty outside of the standard of "You die, you lose; you survive, you win", however it sort of really depends on the person playing the game as much as the game itself. For example, 100% a game is certainly a challenge in that of itself, but if one is renting a game or rather is playing through several other games, then is the 100% goal really a valid proof of challenge or difficulty? For me for example, I go through several games a month, and while I generally do like to come back and finish it too true completion, the base difficulty of the game is going to take precident over the intended difficulty that would come from 100% completion if I want to move from game to game. Take Flower for example. On the surface it is a challange in its own rights, collecting all the petals while also trying to get all the Trophies is indeed a challanging thing to do, but if I played Flower at a time with other games on my plate rather than when I had nothing else new to try I would think the game to be easy, as there is no death and there is no penalty to missing items or failing tasks if all I was trying to do was finish to the end and move on. I think thats the issue with Epic Yarn, in which while there may indeed be the issue of previous notions of difficulty coming into play, there is perhaps a distinct possibility that for most gamers who do play from game to game that if they're just interested in finishing Epic Yarn rather than Completeing it that Epic Yarn is indeed an easy game. I can't really say if it is since I haven't played it, but if as you say the only downside to being hit by enemies is losing gems and therefore having a lower score then I can easily see how gamers such as myself would find the game to easy.

While its true that degree of skill in victory is a suitable challenge, there's still a place for cold hard brutality.

Take MGS: PeaceWalker. After every single boss, there were two preceding versions of higher difficulty. And each of those individual levels had ratings S A B C.

The bosses as they stood were challenging, but nothing a few tries couldn't thwart. And yes, the rating system gave you something to aim higher for on later play-throughs.

However, when it comes to the last boss, Peace Walker, a massive steepness occurs in the difficulty. I don't know about everyone else, but Peace Walker took me 20 minutes to beat on the one go that I actually beat it. Given the limited equipment I had, I needed to remain fully focused that entire time, not wasting a single missile, not succumbing to a single counter attack.

It was frustrating as hell, but definitely refreshing given the prior status quo for difficulty. It gave me a sense of striving that I just don't get from the optional perfection of other games.

So, I think there's definitely something to be said for the necessity of challenge.

God dammit. Can't Jim Sterling go ONE fucking video without some childish comment clearly meant to troll his fucking viewers? Oh wait, it's Jim Sterling, a guy whose sole rise to e-fame is being a troll, so I guess I asked a rhetorical question. He was making sense until he had to insert some retarded comment about Epic Yarn being harder than Mega Man. It was a comment that contributed NOTHING to his video, and clearly there just to piss people off. At that point, I just kind of face palmed and realized he had thrown his logical arguing with a lot of good points out the window for fucking schoolyard taunts. Pathetic. The guy really can't say a line or make some kind of point without trolling people.

EDIT: I don't like Mega Man. Please don't tell me I am "butthurt" about his Mega Man comment. I just can't stand the immaturity of a tactic like that. It's pathetic.

The first game I played with that kind of difficulty was Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Dying was nearly impossible, and the true goal was getting enough bananas. But simply collecting them is not enough, you have to get them in the most stylish ways possible and building up a combo while getting them, THEN you have to fight the boss and not lose any. The hardest bosses were the one on one kong fights. God I wanna play that game again

Good point, yes, but meaningless in and out of itself, why?
Well let's see. He is saying that death penalties is one kind of dificculty while Kirby's is one of the completionist and perfectionist kind (a.k.a. don't get hit) and he even said that it is harder than MegaMan; to that I say: MegaMan Zero series, in those not only you're granted a score or "be perfect" if you will but you also have to be very skillful to not get hit repeatedly which decreases your score and if you die you also get lower score, not to mention the fact that you can't use Cyber-Elves (in 3 & 4 there being exceptions) or your score will drop so in summary:
If making a perfect run is one kind of dificculty and the other being the death penalty (between many others) we can say that MegaMan Zero is three times as hard as Epic Yarn and two times as any other MegaMan game...
God damn that is hard.

No. Sorry, but I don't agree with it.
I am not upset for the "lack of challenge in modern games", in fact, I welcome it. But the idea of challenge by default in every game with progress is very clear, its the difficulty to complete it. You can always add different layers of challenge to the game if you want to make it more difficult, but that is not within the design of the game. I can choose to play Limbo without dying once, but that doesn't make it more difficult than Super Mario. I can choose to play FF 13 without spending points in the sphere grid, but that doesn't make it more difficult than FF 6. To change the definition to something more subjective is equivalent to saying Killzone 3 has worst graphics than Haze because you played Killzone 3 in a black and white SD TV set and Haze in an HD LED TV instead.

Meh! Difficult is a thing to discus one case at a time.
For example I find Kirby EY easy and shallow at the same time I find Okami easy but awesome. As I say, one case at a time.

Very good episode. I can definitely agree about how we perceive difficulty in most games.

For example, Valkyria Chronicles, while normally not that hard a game if you're just going through the game without completing it, can be really hard if you're trying to acquire all A ranks in every level. (Especially in the DLC missions. Dear God.)

Sylveria:

bringer of illumination:
And congratulations Jim, you have COMPLETELY missed the point of the people who complain about games being too easy today.

Of course Kirby's Epic Yarn is easy, Kirby games have ALWAYS been easy, and it goes beyond saying that the point of Epic Yarn isn't the same as the point of fucking Ninja Gaiden.

The people who complain about games getting too easy mean that ALL games have gotten too easy and that the "hardest" difficulty settings for games where the point is still getting to the end of a level without dying have become fucking jokes.

So this entire episode was basically a gigantic straw-man argument.

Bravo i say.

Did you even watch this? His whole argument was "not dying alot =/= not hard." Most games boil down to getting from point A to point B alive but that is the absolute bare bones of the game. Even in ultra-hard settings, that part is easy because the programmers want the feebs who don't want to put any actual effort into the game to feel they accomplished something by seeing that end credit roll and tell their friends to get it. If they made just "finishing" the game hard, people wouldn't buy it since their ADD addled brains wouldn't have the tolerance to do so.

Now, the real challenge of games is getting from Point A to Point B but also doing it with a degree of perfection or completionism. Sure, "finishing" most games is easy. But "Completing" a game is much harder.

But hey, if you wanna shell out $50-60 just to rush to the end in less than 10 hours and see that credit roll, no one is gonna deny you that. Not everyone actually strives to be good at the game, just getting to the end is satisfaction enough. In fact, you're the publishers and retailers favorite kind of person. You hurry out, buy the game new, think it sucks/finish it, then trade it in for about half of what its worth so they can sell it again at a mark up.

Well that sure is a nice straw-man argument you have there, and an Ad Hominem too! You take after Jim quite nicely.

A lot of games, as far as i'm concerned most games actually, don't lend them selves very well at all to the kind of completionism describe by Jim in the video, and that exactly why i talked about difficulty settings, they should put some actual effort into making the different difficulty settings you know, DIFFERENT!

And i'll have you know that i haven't once in my entire life traded in a game at a Gamestop or any store like it.

And i'm also quite the completionist myself, to a near Autistic degree sometimes, but i'd like the games that don't have tons of side-quests and stuff to actually present a challenge too.

Realitycrash:

bringer of illumination:

But that's wrong, and here's why.

In the examples he gave, the "optional" difficulty is absolutely integral to the game. Jim didn't "make a challenge for himself" by going for gold medals, gold metal are a goal very clearly given by the game.

If the game can't provide some kind of challenge "optional" or not, that is actually integral to the game, then the game is probably pretty lousy.

I'm pretty sure that nothing in Kirby says that "these medals is what you should go for!", but something like "save the princess/save your friends/save whatever!" (Sorry, haven't played Kirby since NES, so I don't know what his deal is. Some evil Wizard, right?)

If I may make a parallel to Cut the Rope (yes, I'm bringing puzzle-Iphone games into this), the challenge comes with collecting all the stars of the level, but that just gives you extra score. The object is still to just beat the level and get to the next.

Halo has this too. In fact, to just GET the final difficulty (Mythic), you got run around and collect skulls in secret places, etc.
Okey, I don't think a shooter should be about fetch-quests, but still, it's an option.

Except that the Medals in Kirby's epic yarn are gained by collecting (and holding onto) gems, and these gems are the currency that are used for the games side-quest flat decoration thing, you are explicitly encouraged to get gems, and by proxy to get medal, as i said, the medals are integral to the game.

As is getting stars in Cut the Rope, do you actually think that ANYONE that plays Cut the Rope doesn't want to go for all the stars? That's like saying that killing enemies in Duke Nukem 3D or Half Life is "optional" because you can just speed run to the end.

Every time I died in Bioshock and woke up in a vita chamber, I reloaded my game. Later on they added a patch to turn off the vita chambers and I thought 'Huh? I was already doing that.' but users sometimes confuse 'having an option' vs. 'being forced to take that option', and complained that they were forced to never lose.

So, the developers had to roll their eyes and add a optional game-over screen.

When you get right down to it, these games aren't taking anything away from you when they give you the option to just coast without challenge. They're just adding something in, and giving you the choice.

In my opinion, there's no way to make a game better by taking something away, and there's no way to make it worse by adding something in, so long as you have the freedom to ignore it if you choose. (Hm.. I wonder if that applies to tacked on multiplayer as well?)

bringer of illumination:

Sylveria:

bringer of illumination:
And congratulations Jim, you have COMPLETELY missed the point of the people who complain about games being too easy today.

Of course Kirby's Epic Yarn is easy, Kirby games have ALWAYS been easy, and it goes beyond saying that the point of Epic Yarn isn't the same as the point of fucking Ninja Gaiden.

The people who complain about games getting too easy mean that ALL games have gotten too easy and that the "hardest" difficulty settings for games where the point is still getting to the end of a level without dying have become fucking jokes.

So this entire episode was basically a gigantic straw-man argument.

Bravo i say.

Did you even watch this? His whole argument was "not dying alot =/= not hard." Most games boil down to getting from point A to point B alive but that is the absolute bare bones of the game. Even in ultra-hard settings, that part is easy because the programmers want the feebs who don't want to put any actual effort into the game to feel they accomplished something by seeing that end credit roll and tell their friends to get it. If they made just "finishing" the game hard, people wouldn't buy it since their ADD addled brains wouldn't have the tolerance to do so.

Now, the real challenge of games is getting from Point A to Point B but also doing it with a degree of perfection or completionism. Sure, "finishing" most games is easy. But "Completing" a game is much harder.

But hey, if you wanna shell out $50-60 just to rush to the end in less than 10 hours and see that credit roll, no one is gonna deny you that. Not everyone actually strives to be good at the game, just getting to the end is satisfaction enough. In fact, you're the publishers and retailers favorite kind of person. You hurry out, buy the game new, think it sucks/finish it, then trade it in for about half of what its worth so they can sell it again at a mark up.

Well that sure is a nice straw-man argument you have there, and an Ad Hominem too! You take after Jim quite nicely.

A lot of games, as far as i'm concerned most games actually, don't lend them selves very well at all to the kind of completionism describe by Jim in the video, and that exactly why i talked about difficulty settings, they should put some actual effort into making the different difficulty settings you know, DIFFERENT!

And i'll have you know that i haven't once in my entire life traded in a game at a Gamestop or any store like it.

And i'm also quite the completionist myself, to a near Autistic degree sometimes, but i'd like the games that don't have tons of side-quests and stuff to actually present a challenge too.

Realitycrash:

bringer of illumination:

But that's wrong, and here's why.

In the examples he gave, the "optional" difficulty is absolutely integral to the game. Jim didn't "make a challenge for himself" by going for gold medals, gold metal are a goal very clearly given by the game.

If the game can't provide some kind of challenge "optional" or not, that is actually integral to the game, then the game is probably pretty lousy.

I'm pretty sure that nothing in Kirby says that "these medals is what you should go for!", but something like "save the princess/save your friends/save whatever!" (Sorry, haven't played Kirby since NES, so I don't know what his deal is. Some evil Wizard, right?)

If I may make a parallel to Cut the Rope (yes, I'm bringing puzzle-Iphone games into this), the challenge comes with collecting all the stars of the level, but that just gives you extra score. The object is still to just beat the level and get to the next.

Halo has this too. In fact, to just GET the final difficulty (Mythic), you got run around and collect skulls in secret places, etc.
Okey, I don't think a shooter should be about fetch-quests, but still, it's an option.

Except that the Medals in Kirby's epic yarn are gained by collecting (and holding onto) gems, and these gems are the currency that are used for the games side-quest flat decoration thing, you are explicitly encouraged to get gems, and by proxy to get medal, as i said, the medals are integral to the game.

As is getting stars in Cut the Rope, do you actually think that ANYONE that plays Cut the Rope doesn't want to go for all the stars? That's like saying that killing enemies in Duke Nukem 3D or Half Life is "optional" because you can just speed run to the end.

Actually, my ex-girlfriend never went for all the stars. She just said "fuck it" if a level bothered her.
And as for Duke Nukem..Speed-runs can be an optional challenge, you know. I used to play Halo 2 with the challenge of "never get hit". It was hard as hell, but kinda fun.
My only problem with these challenges is that they only work if you grind a game you like, or have no other games to play. Nowdays, when I make money and can play whatever I goddamn please, I wouldn't be arsed to put any extra challenges into a game, because I would just move on to another. The only real reason I did such with Halo 2 was because I owned like..Ten games, or so. Most of them being utter crap.

CM156:

bringer of illumination:
And congratulations Jim, you have COMPLETELY missed the point of the people who complain about games being too easy today.

Of course Kirby's Epic Yarn is easy, Kirby games have ALWAYS been easy, and it goes beyond saying that the point of Epic Yarn isn't the same as the point of fucking Ninja Gaiden.

The people who complain about games getting too easy mean that ALL games have gotten too easy and that the "hardest" difficulty settings for games where the point is still getting to the end of a level without dying have become fucking jokes.

So this entire episode was basically a gigantic straw-man argument.

Bravo i say.

My problem with that is it appears that hardcore gamers suffer from sadomasicism. They can only enjoy a game if it spanks them hard enough.

And what do they want devs to do? Make a game almost imposible to beat?

OT: Bravo I say, Jim. But you're not black.

The idea is you beat something others couldn't so you can brag a little.

but to say kirby is new in its choose your difficulty is bull, you could always play games for highscores, lego star wars has the exact same death equals less gems or whatever mechanic.

Jim is fucking incorrect on this issue. Difficulty doesn't come from death however challenge from slow as movement avoiding hits is not the same as dodging attacks and quickly disposing of enemies to earn a platinum medal on bayonetta.

kirby might have had some tension but it wasn't hard.

I love 'optional difficulty', and this really sums up why... my primary goal when I play a game is to actually play the game. Nothing will make me shelve a game faster than being forced to repeat a segment over and over again becuase I can't get it quite right and die(and I'm not the greatest gamer, so it comes up.) Forced repetition is NOT fun. At all. It just results in an angry gamer and possibly a broken controller.

I love games that lock their core challenge in perfection runs becuase I'm not forced to replay a stage repeatedly to see the whole game- if I get stuck, I can choose to take a lower score and move on, possibly returning later to get that mastery in. I find I do better at these kind of games, becuase I don't get as frustrated with the perfection challenge... knowing it's optional makes a huge difference. The game is not 'blocked' for me becuase my weak platform-jumping skills keep me from completing a nessecary sequence (I'm looking right at you, my old copy of God of War... maybe someday I'll get a friend to do the 'hard part' so I can actually see your story unfold.)

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