Jimquisition: A Different Kind of Difficulty

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT
 

Lets put Achievements everywhere, result will be the same. Oh wait, we already do.

pretty much every modern game has challenges beyond simple play through
even if it is only in the form of trophies that give you higher goals than it would be necessary in the game
it's a better way to challenge the gamer because it's optional and everyone who just wants a simple play through can have that too
and that's the thing, today's "hardcore gamers" have gotten lazy
they have to get the difficulty forced upon them or else they wouldn't do it

yay modern games

DuelLadyS:
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.

Strong agreement here.

It's okay for a game to give you a psychological punishment for failure, but it doesn't have to be to force you to spend minutes to hours doing some task you don't want to do. We get enough of that in real life.

In fact, the psychological punishment can be extremely subtle. Just a little 'click-twang' sound in Guitar Hero when you miss a note is enough to encourage you to push yourself as hard as you can to get a perfect game.

Or, more commonly, just having a list with empty slots for every item you missed throughout the game is enough to encourage you to go back and find them, and it didn't have to force you to replay anything.

Dammit Jim. You made me hate you so much on Destructoid, but with this you keep proving we think alike. I fully agree though, as some of my favorite challenges in games were never the ones outright put in front of me. Sure, games like IWBTG and Super Meat Boy are "hardcore difficult," but that doesn't always mean it's a fun difficult. They are to some people, but they became sadomasochistic in thier difficulty.

There are two problems with this view of difficulty:

1- Gold medals and the like aren't powerful enough motivators for some people. Not everyone can be made to care about getting 100% instead of 98%.

Witness the number of people who didn't care- at all- if they "died" in Fable 2 or 3. Giving the characters scars didn't work. Some people just resorted to spamming aoe spells over and over and not caring if they got killed doing it.

2- It's very difficult to balance a game around widely divergent difficulty levels. Taking a game system that was designed at a very low level of difficult and trying to force a higher level of difficulty in it is more likely to result in something that is just frustrating rather than challenging. In particular, doing this tends to reveal the weak spots in the system which were more easily ignored before because they could just be blundered over.

A good example is Metroid Prime 3 on high difficulty- the game is still obnoxiously easy (I beat most of the bosses on the first try, and I never needed a third), but becomes downright tedious because of how much health the enemies have, and how long you have to play the "duck in and back out from behind cover" game to kill them. None of the prerequisites for good challenge (like enemy AI or depth of offensive options) were designed into the system, and giving the enemies more health wasn't going to change that.

I agree completely. Any time I hear someone complain that Kirby's Epic Yarn was too easy, I instantly know that they did not go for gold medals and certainly did not do all the mini-games. That game was damn challenging at times if you actually took the time to sit down and play it all the way through instead of just beating the final boss and acting like you're a badass hardcore dude for getting to 50-60% completion.

And personally, I'd rather have that than have a "hard" option that doesn't change anything in the game beyond making the enemies tanks or giving them infinite grenades to throw at you. That's not harder, that's just more tedious. Enemies should get smarter on hard mode, not bulkier.

delete

Jimquisition is getting better and better. In my book Jimquisition is now easily in the top four best Escapist shows.

This is the first video I wholeheartedly disagree with.

To me, a good challenge is one that forces and pushes me into thinking or being careful. If I have to invent my own challenge, it's because the game failed to have adequate design to challenge me in some way.

When I am playing a game and trying to invent my own challenge, there's always that niggling little pest in the back of my mind that says that I should just take the easy road. I hate that and dealing with it is not fun.

Anyone who bemoans how easy games are today should never ever ever ever save their game. As soon as they screw up three times they have to start at the beginning. Boom. Every game made nowadays is now just as hard as the "good old days".

I don't know. I don't think the lowest rung should be set that low.

Optional challenges have always been a part of video games, but there's something offputting about a "show up and try" level challenge being the main goal. Have we sunk that far that we cater to people that need to be garunteed the "you win" screen? Okay, the main perputrators of this are Kirby Epic Yarn and the Lego movie games, and other kid / family fare, but still, I fear that direction (see Final Fantasy 13's instant battle restart).

I'll admit, I miss the time when beating a game was an acheivement rather than something done so quickly everyone will be spoling the ending online within two days. Castlevania, Ninja Gaiden, Battletoads, these were all still fun even though we never got the payoff. It might be more tolerable if the rewards were known to be better for doing the extra challenges. Take Mario 64 for example: get all 120 stars and what do you get? You see Yoshi for a few seconds and get a ton of lives to no longer need. Lame. Fianl Fantasy 7's optional bosses, win and get things you probably already got to beat the optional bosses. At least Kingdom Hearts gives us bonus ending movies. Some give nothing but bragging rights and weird looks from guys like Yahtzee that wonder why we bothered.

Fucking hell this guy is really really fucking funny every so often.

He's getting better and he is going to be a serious big player in a year or two.

Jimbo for God Emperor!

Most of misunderstandings here stem from the fact that many people confuse challenge and difficulty with cheapness. And think about this: optional challenge been done many times, but not cheapness - it's not fun, and therefore cheapness is never optional. Have you ever seen optional broken escort mission? Truly optional? Never.

Double post.

What I love is people who claim to hate Jim but watch his videos every week. Do they do it just so that they can come onto the boards and complain every week?

Thank you, Escapist, for continuing to bless the interwebs with more of Jim Sterling.

Well there we go. One minute of entertainment, five minutes of boredom.

It's true. Jim can be funny. He just doesn't bother most of the time and that is a shame. I get that this show is Jim's soapbox, and that isn't itself a problem, but if he wants people to listen he should make the speechifying interesting for the audience.

On a side-note, I totally agree that contemporary games can be just as hard as (and certain games even freaking harder than) Nintendo hard games. I'd still rather play Megaman than Kirby's Epic Yarn because Kirby is lame.

I've avoided the last few weeks of his videos but checked this one out and I have to say, racism, sexism and too much information about bodily functions.

I guess some people like what they're going to like but I find his attempts at humor to appeal to the lowest common denominator at best.

The actual "content" of the show this time wasn't badly thought out but again most of this comes out of "Thank you Captain Obvious" territory for anyone thats been a gamer as part of their lifestyle. Its not really saying anything that hasn't been said.

This is largely where a lot of my problems with this show come from, from the shows I've bothered to watch, he hasn't said anything 1000 other people more qualified than him have already said.

So whats next Mr. Sterling? "Just because a game is popular doesn't mean its bad"? Or do you need to let that John Carmack interview go cold for awhile before you bring this one up?

simply genius... that's the thing with lego games too... 100% comletion in lego star wars 2 is hard... oh and for you guys who want hardcore games: no one is stoping you to restart the level every time you take minimum amount o damage... ore is that to hard for you? make up tour mind God dam it!

Does he not realize that those kind of "get your e-peen as big as possible" challenges exist in other games to?. In Super Mario Bros. and MegaMan, there is both the difficulty of getting to the end of the level and also scoring as many points as possible. Getting gold medals in Epic Yarn is the same as getting Master Ninja rank in Ninja Gaiden, the only difference is that Ninja Gaiden makes both goals difficult instead of just one. That is the biggest fault of his argument, the fact that ranking and time trails extend to the games he saying don't have them.

It is amazing how every single time I can get 100% behind Jim when it comes to who or what he is rallying against, and then be 100% against him when it comes to his solutions, views or alternatives.

Like this time. I'm 100% agreeable to the notion that old-school hard games are not really hard. They are just exercises in repetition and conditioning.

Then he goes on with Kirby and the 100% completionist way of viewing difficulty, and that's even worse for me. I'm all for a player to gauge what he views to be difficulty, but in these particular examples it is just even more repetition and conditioning than just "not dying".

Conditioning is not equal difficulty. It just means becoming less of a human to mechanically perform a task exactly the right way.

Eh, but what do I know. Considering the number of people that consider the dastardly stuff in old-school platforms that are there just to instantly kill you the first time because it simply is impossible to predict what you should do before dying to it, to be A+ game design...

While I can see some fault for using Kirby's Epic Yarn, I see the point he is making. I don't get why some of the opponents of this really need to argue, but Jim has a point. Finishing a game well is a challenge and getting forced into a hard game is just one way of doing it.

I understand some people seeing that Kirby is too easy even with gold in mind, but think of other games that are in the moderate form of this. I look at Sonic Adventure 2. In order to get secondary costumes, you need to get a perfect S rank in every mission and follow up missions objectives for that mission. Meaning for every level you did, you had 5 missions that needed to be completed on S rank based on either time, accuracy, or just plain speed. This is hard, and I see SA2 as one of the hardest games I ever played.

Yet if you take some games like Mega Man, I find those games to be more on a giant game of simon says, then anything else. All you do in any mega man game is memorize patterns and stick with your guns. That's all there is to it. You die and memorize like you're taking a shower with shampoo, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. That is hard, but in the sense you need to do the same level several times.

I'm sure the points I'm going to outline have been said in an earlier post.

A)People who reminisce about the good ol' days are letting nostalgia getting the upper hand on their judgement. They were not good ol' days. It was an era of poor game design, spotted with a few gems that kept us going.

B)Modern games are difficult. People who deny this need to read the start screen where the difficulty setting is located. Or go play people who are actually good online, or try to be a completionist and do all the painful "extra stuff" to get all the golden eggs.

C)Old games are perceived as being more difficult just because the punishment for failure was VERY steep. This results in frustration and creating frustration is what creates the perception of difficulty. If you died, you often got sent back to the beginning of the level or worse the entire game. And you couldn't access content until you had mastered the earlier stages. If Kirby required you to get a golden medal of each stage before progressing to the next, it would be perceived as hard. If "insert fps here" forced you to play on nightmare mode then it would be perceived as hard.

I guess the argument is flawed a little because Kirby is "easy" because its easy to play all the content. While old games require pain and suffering to play all the content.

People think the Witcher 2 is too hard and frustrating, and yet you can turn down the difficulty at any point and enjoy a nice cake walk through any frustrating scene. You also crank up the difficulty for a hair pulling nightmare of an experience.

I gripe a lot about Demon Souls being overrated for the same reasons above. It's not good because it's hard, it poorly designed because you can't scale the challenge.

Games were never harder, they were just poorly designed.

I was expecting something like 'if it resets the game when you die, it's not hard - just irritating' - but this was a genuinely new idea to me.

Awesome :D

Death doesn't add difficulty to a game, a sense of loss does.

I'll give you the perfect example; Shadow of the Colossus. You can die in this game, but people that've played it will know that the difficulty of this game doesn't come from dying but from falling off of a colossi and having to climb the bastard all over again.

What death - and in SotC's case; falling off - adds is an interruption of the game, of your progress, of your flow... of your pride. And having to make your own difficulty doesn't add a sense of loss, it adds a sense of unnecessary completion.

If the difficulty of the game is something that the player has to go find for him or herself, then it's not a "difficulty"; it's a lazy design to keep little kids who play it from having their brain challenged.

a GOOD episode of Jimquisition?! I'm dumbfounded. I laughed...several times! Keep it up. If you're episodes continue in this direction, all the annoyance I have towards your earlier episodes will be forgotten :)

Now to the actual point of the episode..I don't agree with you. What you're doing is finding challenges in a game..but the game itself is not challenging unless you put on arbitrary restraints on yourself. Any game is challenging if you do that. Playing through mario is hard, but playing through it without losing a single life? Now thats hardcore.

With that said, some of the most fun I've had in a game was to be found in Need for Speed: Most Wanted. No, not the singleplayer champaign, but the extra, optional, challenges. I was sweating like a right nerd on the final challenge where you have to outrun the police, fbi, and if I remember correctly, the army..for 30 minutes straight!

Edit: as someone mentioned above, this is what Achievements are meant to do as well. The problem with achievements is that they are in every game, and you get them for watching through the intro, taking your first step, shooting your first enemy, etc. You get so tired off them, and you start taking them for granted, that you don't bother looking up the ones that actually brings difficulty, makes you play the game in different way, and is downright fun.

Casual Shinji:
Death doesn't add difficulty to a game, a sense of loss does

While I somewhat agree, this is not always the case. Its rather about game design. When you die in Amnesia: The Dark Descent, you don't lose anything. In fact, you start the next room over with full health. Yet I still went through the game, shitting my pants, trying not to die at every corner..because the game was so immersive I felt like I was really there.

That's right kids... Pretending a game is difficult is the new difficult!

...Or not.

Since Jim used Megaman as his example and i'm afraid its not a series I care for much so I can only use the ones I've completed as an example but... Last I checked you could do score runs through Megaman Zero... While still retaining the death difficulty... So that makes kirby what... half the game Megaman Zero is?

In an era of gaming where seeing a game over screen on your first playthrough is almost impossible without dilberately triggering it and where most additional content basically amounts to "Are you persistant enough?" this video is hilariously weak.
Especially when using a game where you essentially cannot fail. In fact you can literally compare kirby's epic yawn to modern day primary-school tests. Where the kids are told no one actually fails, just that some got better scores than others and some get gold stars...

Thank you. So much. I agree with this SO much and have tried to argue this point to several people.

Now I have a video to show people rather than typing it all out.

Excludos:

Casual Shinji:
Death doesn't add difficulty to a game, a sense of loss does

While I somewhat agree, this is not always the case. Its rather about game design. When you die in Amnesia: The Dark Descent, you don't lose anything. In fact, you start the next room over with full health. Yet I still went through the game, shitting my pants, trying not to die at every corner..because the game was so immersive I felt like I was really there.

Yes, but there's still an obstacle that keeps you from simply breezing through; The obstacle being the sense of fear.

I've never played Amnesia, but I've played plenty of other good horror games. Games like Silent Hill 2 were you basically have to fight your own anxiety in order to progress. And it's not an anxiety through fear of dying since SH2 is also a game were you'll be hard pressed to actually die, it's the anxiety of the atmosphere and sound design.

That's why people who aren't easily scared at all find these games boring, because without the fear there's no real challenge for them.

Rabidkitten:
I'm sure the points I'm going to outline have been said in an earlier post.

A)People who reminisce about the good ol' days are letting nostalgia getting the upper hand on their judgement. They were not good ol' days. It was an era of poor game design, spotted with a few gems that kept us going.

B)Modern games are difficult. People who deny this need to read the start screen where the difficulty setting is located. Or go play people who are actually good online, or try to be a completionist and do all the painful "extra stuff" to get all the golden eggs.

C)Old games are perceived as being more difficult just because the punishment for failure was VERY steep. This results in frustration and creating frustration is what creates the perception of difficulty. If you died, you often got sent back to the beginning of the level or worse the entire game. And you couldn't access content until you had mastered the earlier stages. If Kirby required you to get a golden medal of each stage before progressing to the next, it would be perceived as hard. If "insert fps here" forced you to play on nightmare mode then it would be perceived as hard.

I guess the argument is flawed a little because Kirby is "easy" because its easy to play all the content. While old games require pain and suffering to play all the content.

People think the Witcher 2 is too hard and frustrating, and yet you can turn down the difficulty at any point and enjoy a nice cake walk through any frustrating scene. You also crank up the difficulty for a hair pulling nightmare of an experience.

I gripe a lot about Demon Souls being overrated for the same reasons above. It's not good because it's hard, it poorly designed because you can't scale the challenge.

Games were never harder, they were just poorly designed.

Demon's Souls poorly designed? It was designed to punish recklessness it killed you when you legitimately fuck up. Few games do this, normally you die because the AI spamed explosives or kept spawning trapping you in an area. Demon's Souls concept was based in reality where if you slip and fell into a hole you'll die, you get crushed you die, you run into a fight with multiple enemies ill prepared you'll die. that's not bad game design it basically allows you to choose how to approach any problem your own way and not have a cookie cutter tactics that makes one way to play work while others don't. If you really wanted you could out run most enemies.

No matter how correct this video is (and it totally is), still, look at it from the perspective of some people like myself,

"I just outmaneuvered several nimble, tiny hunchback creatures and skeletons, swung around flying Medusa heads without touching them, sleighed a small army of highly-trained, heavily-armored knights, jumped over bottomless pits and killed the Grim Reaper all with the mighty power... of a fucking whip. I. Am. Awesome."

"Oh wow, I could have just jumped through this level all the way to the end extremely easy, and will already have the satisfaction of seeing the next part of the game, but instead I took my time and did it in one, perfect run that awards me with some imaginary medal that has no value whatsoever."

Some people--like myself--just aren't big on bonuses for the majority of games. We just want to get to the end, and want the challenge to be in getting there.
It's why you can call me a 'retro gamer', who adores old classic NES style games. But guess what? I was born in the mid nineties. I never had an NES, or an SNES, or any of the old school gaming systems. I don't like sidescrollers because of nostalgia, or 'conditioning', I like them because I like them.

iron skirt:
simply genius... that's the thing with lego games too... 100% comletion in lego star wars 2 is hard... oh and for you guys who want hardcore games: no one is stoping you to restart the level every time you take minimum amount o damage... ore is that to hard for you? make up tour mind God dam it!

My exact thoughts too. I just platinum'd Lego Harry Potter 1-4 (easy compared to previous Lego games) and was thinking about this exact thing.

Why is difficulty tied to death? Or why is difficulty tied to some binary setting, I like to be able to set my own difficulty. Similarly I'm replaying FF9 and FF12 together (as part of a thing to look at generational gaming and also for fun).
In both those FF's the difficulty is set, one can happily cruise through the game and though in parts it can be difficult (more so in 9 if you lack preparation) the story play is easy. In 12 I just toppled Pylraster, a nasty beast whose attacks hit for half my tanks health and would regularly chain attacks, the fight is entirely optional and I could have levelled up more to be on even footing with it but I don't like grinding.

Anyway, point is I went out of my way to look for the more difficult parts. I search all around in FF9, which means I get greater reward (loot) but have to face more enemies in a game where being worn down is the biggest risk, since instant healing is rare (though I've found a slight way around it with a means of restoring party MP bit by bit, that itself is risky against tough opponents who can cause me more damage than the restored MP would be worth since 1 warrior is busy stealing MP instead of attacking).

Anyway. tl;dr I like games where the difficulty is pretty set but can be altered by you by looking around for challenged, games with optional bosses/superbosses/challenges (like FF12's marks/rare game) or where searching areas can be costly (FF9 or similar games where searching costs resources) or just where getting 100% completion is a much bigger stretch than simply finishing. A child can obviously complete the Lego games but to get 100% completion takes some time and normally a bit of a think through what's going on.

This series is getting better. Yes games used to be harder back in the day. People tend to forget the fact that most of them sucked, and the only reason you stuck with it's bullshit deaths was becuase you had nothing else to play until your next birthday/Christmas.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here