HOW DID WE DO IT? (A DISCUSSION ON THE NEW GENERATION'S EXPECTATIONS WITH GAMES)

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Ratty524
The 524 is for 524 Stone Crabs
12986
Probably the most hilarious thing I see in recent YouTube comments on the first Kirby game is that it was "difficult." A. Kirby. Game. is. difficult!? I beat that game with my hands tied behind my back, and I was around 7 years old or so?

Even better with the first Pokemon game. Some deem it unplayable, and even developers have openly stated that they intend to make each game easier... Easier than what is already a wittle babby's furst RPG that just about every 8-10 year old could beat in my time. I think the only exception was how I was somehow able to impress my peers at around age 10-11 with the fact that I collected more than 8 badges in Pokemon Gold, because I could read I guess?

So aside from that rant, the overall point is that I'm failing to understand how kids these days seem to judge difficulty. I mean, did any kid complain about how games didn't give you a message box tutorial in game at around the early/mid '90s? Is giving a "tutorial" through clever level design and expecting players to try to figure out the controls and techniques on their own (that is if they didn't pick up the separate instruction manual) somehow not acceptable anymore? How is it that games made decades ago, that were intended to be beatable or playable for kids, is now considered near-hardcore?


If this is any indicator...

Discuss I guess?
In the first Metroid game you couldn't leave the first screen without figuring out how to morph into a ball. So that image might be forgivable. Nothing else though. I agree.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5354
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
32367
Big game developers are in the business of making money. Everything else, including video games is secondary to that goal. So they just don't give a shit about making a game. Easy games are easy sales.
I think that it's a change in perspective in the industry- back then, games were made to be very mechanically challenging in order to give the player more bang for their buck, as space limitations forbade the devs from adding large stories or cinematics or huge amounts of the stuff that dominates the industry today.

Of course, we have the luck of living in the industry now, when it's the biggest it's ever been, so now you can pretty much find the exact type of game you want to play, from easy to hardcore or what have you. So I think it's sort of unfair to say that "games are getting easier/dumber!" as a straight up rule, since you're not taking into account the large swath of games designed specifically for people with that problem. It's more of an issue of the major gaming series focusing on other things, or companies we remember changing the way they make games.

Another thing that always comes to my mind is that as a player, especially if we played these games as children, we might have forgotten just how much time we put into learning those games and getting good at them. I could say that Banjo-Kazooie or Banjo-Tooie are "so easy I could beat it with one hand", but I've spent like 4000 hours playing those games, so a new person finding them really hard is sort of legitimate to me.

Finally, I think you have to consider that everyone has a different inherent skill level and dedication when playing games, that can change between genres and time periods/controls/etc, so what one person finds or found super easy might be awfully hard to someone else.

I don't know. The issue of "Difficulty of Games" as a general scale thing for entire console generations has never seemed that helpful to me, when looking at how the industry changes over time. There are too many variables at play to just say that games are getting easier or harder now, I think.

EDIT: There's also the issue of what genre/type/era of games you're most used to, as well. For instance, I find old PC games like Fallout 1 & 2 completely impossible to decipher, and I just can't play them. On the other hand I love playing Super Ghouls n' Ghosts, a game popularly considered to be impossibly difficult.
I replayed DKC2 on Virtual Console with my teenage brother, which resulted in him continuously dying on the 4th stage... 'nough said.

~___~
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3214
There are so many games now. There are so many free games that you could play them for the rest of your life without ever spending a dime on a game that costs money. Steam sales have devalued games to near-worthlessness as so many people own more games than they will ever play.

As a result, hooking the player right off the bat is more important than ever before. If it takes too much effort to learn how to play your game, I have two thousand other games in my library that I could play instead. I don't care how good you promise me your game is, I own so many games and have so little time that if it's not engaging from second one, I'm already thinking about the other games I could play that might be more fun.

Oldschool games often rely on frustrating you into learning how to play by not allowing you to progress until you figure certain things out but without ever outright telling you how to do them. That might have flown back then, but annoying the player nowadays is a recipe for getting your game uninstalled.
InfectionFiles
the world ends in whatever my makerscore currently is
4622
A lot less expectation back then, too. And that kinda applies to a lot of entertainment in general.
Kids play COD and Halo now so it's extremely difficult for them to regress to older games!
It's like Pizza said with Fallout 1 & 2 for PC. After playing FO3, NV and now Fallout 4 it's hard for me to go back and enjoy or get into those games that I used to like.
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3214
author=InfectionFiles
A lot less expectation back then, too. And that kinda applies to a lot of entertainment in general.
Kids play COD and Halo now so it's extremely difficult for them to regress to older games!
It's like Pizza said with Fallout 1 & 2 for PC. After playing FO3, NV and now Fallout 4 it's hard for me to go back and enjoy or get into those games that I used to like.

That's especially true of RPGs. In the recent rereleases of earlier FF games, Square-Enix has listened to fan demands and added the ability to turn off random encounters. I saw an article the other day about how Dragon Quest... 7, I think? (I don't follow the series) is finally being released in the west and they're also cutting out the random encounters.

The more time goes by, the more games there are whose mistakes developers can learn from. If you grow up used to the high quality of game design that's ubiquitous today, I can only imagine how difficult it must be going back to primitive games.
Ratty524
The 524 is for 524 Stone Crabs
12986
author=Sailerius
There are so many games now. There are so many free games that you could play them for the rest of your life without ever spending a dime on a game that costs money. Steam sales have devalued games to near-worthlessness as so many people own more games than they will ever play.

As a result, hooking the player right off the bat is more important than ever before. If it takes too much effort to learn how to play your game, I have two thousand other games in my library that I could play instead. I don't care how good you promise me your game is, I own so many games and have so little time that if it's not engaging from second one, I'm already thinking about the other games I could play that might be more fun.

Oldschool games often rely on frustrating you into learning how to play by not allowing you to progress until you figure certain things out but without ever outright telling you how to do them. That might have flown back then, but annoying the player nowadays is a recipe for getting your game uninstalled.

This is a good point. I still feel like you can strike a balance with it as oppose to opt for one way, however.

The overall problem I have with spoon-feeding in general is that feels a bit like "cheating" in a sense that forbids experimentation on how to play a game, and I also feel that doing the opposite will allow players to truly "retain" that info on basic controls by testing waters and doing it themselves. Another issue is that at worse, they can feel highly condescending, especially in games with overall simplistic mechanics. I really don't need to be told which button I need to use to jump onto a ledge in a platformer, for instance.

I guess I'm a bit more patient when it comes to games, though, so what you and Pizza mentioned still stands, really.

author=InfectionFiles
A lot less expectation back then, too. And that kinda applies to a lot of entertainment in general.
Kids play COD and Halo now so it's extremely difficult for them to regress to older games!
It's like Pizza said with Fallout 1 & 2 for PC. After playing FO3, NV and now Fallout 4 it's hard for me to go back and enjoy or get into those games that I used to like.

True. I think people moreso than ever, however, take their expecations to near-insane levels. Like, I've seen a guy who quit a game and gave it a bad review just because the game had a few spots where the framerate dropped, and it was a turn-based rpg where framerate hardly affects anything with the game's mechanics.

It just baffles me.
Ratty leave the childrens alone. If you had Memeverse when you were 7 you'd be flooding it with your salty scrub tears, too. As would I, because I was an exceptionally stupid child when it came to the vidjyas (so, to answer the topic title - I DIDN'T).

How is it that games made decades ago, that were intended to be beatable or playable for kids, is now considered near-hardcore?
They were considered hard back then, too. Most of these games depend more on memory and reflex than intelligence, so an adult and a child with the same gaming experience will probably stand roughly the same chance. It's only when you become a "gamer" and think about things in terms of hitboxes and exploits and shit that these things actually become easier.

The issue of "Difficulty of Games" as a general scale thing for entire console generations has never seemed that helpful to me, when looking at how the industry changes over time. There are too many variables at play to just say that games are getting easier or harder now, I think.
Well, I'd say they've certainly become less mainstream. Most of the hardcore games are indie/doujin now, or at least not being put out by household-name studios. Hell, the studio that ported the Umihara Kawase games to Steam bankrupted literally month and a half after getting them on there...


The only thing I think is really "new" in the world of salty gamers is that we have a lot more internet communities where the DSPs of the world can chat with each other over the "omg terrible design" of games that are perfectly playable to folks who aren't Leeroy Jenkins.
That, and like Sailerius said, a lot of people have MASSIVE backlogs of games they're trying to push through, so they're probably not going to have as much patience for figuring shit out. It's to the point that I think most hardcore games might be better off going for the "endless" model if they want casual appeal - I mean, no one's going to care about not being able to beat a game if they can technically never beat it. Or, at least, that's my theory on half of Geometry Wars and friends' success.
Disposable entertainment. Too many options; no initiative to engage on a personal level.

Kids who grew up on video games, now adults, saturate the market with their own ideas, given life by easy-to-use middleware like RPG Maker.

Video games, now mainstream, are sold to mainstream minds, whose primary goal is not mastery of a game (or anything else), but bolstering social status. Video games are now "cool", where before they were the explicit domain of nerds, outcasts, and thrill-seekers. If a game can't honor these new consumers' self-perception of "cool", it goes in their garbage.
Err... make the game you want to see in this world?

Anyway, as was already said (repeatedly), it's a shift in the target market (or the majority of them, at least). If I were to blame something, I'll be pointing the finger at the mobile market, with their dumb rip-offs, cash-grab adaptations, and complete lack of care for anything aside the customers' wallets. But I suppose that applies to pretty much every other game developer nowadays. Especially those "companies" and "teams".
Games were the most fun after inputting the Konami code. Probotector and Turtles 2 became fun games that were beatable.

It's a good thing games are enjoyable these days. If I want to suffer I can always go achievement-hunting.
Some classic games do employ a good learning-by-doing, but it's not always a given (learning what you can do in Super Metroid is okay, but it's kinda iffy trying to figure out what to press for it). I think giving the players the controls in a tutorial or manual should always be a given, since it also lets the player know what they can do (particularly odd games like VVVVVV). Furthermore, old games also had excessive tutorials, they were simply dumped into the manual (I recall Terranigma giving you an exact description of every enemy in the game there).

It's far better to just give players advice than calling them out for being stupid.
InfectionFiles
the world ends in whatever my makerscore currently is
4622
The best was old games with limitations, hard difficulty curve and a two player option. I remember a summer in highschool I had a SNES and me a buddy played just about every awesome two player game and it took us awhile but was fun as hell.
Chip n Dale, Battle Toads, etc etc it was fun because it was hard and we had to work together but it felt more rewarding than some new MMO or multiplayer games where it's a hectic fuckfest for awhile then it's over.
I love both, and I guess I feel bad for those who haven't experienced both or worse those who out right will not play old games because of a coddled environment .

author=piatom
Big game developers are in the business of making money. Everything else, including video games is secondary to that goal. So they just don't give a shit about making a game. Easy games are easy sales.


I remember in an interview the creative director of Assassins Creed said that 80% of people finished it (AC2 or AC I forget). Which is abnormally high compared to most games (average is usually below 40%, something like dark souls is 10-20%). It kind of made me wonder if really players finishing the game is the goal of development. Does a high turn out of players finishing the game validate the game?

Because the player has already made the purchase, after about an hour or so they might put it down from dying too much and move on to something else or get distracted. It wouldn't always result in a refund, maybe a trade in at the very worst. So uh, wouldn't the optimal idea behind making money with games just be making a really polished beginning and the rest not really mattering? The other thing is at least when a sequel comes out the people who finished the previous games will without a doubt be hyped for it but I don't have any stats as most of this is just conjecture.

It's kind of weird to think, I generally don't finish many games myself. I'm especially bad at completing RPGs. But it generally comes down to lack of interest or the game being too long. So my personal perspective is really useless in this regard.
author=Darken
So uh, wouldn't the optimal idea behind making money with games just be making a really polished beginning and the rest not really mattering? The other thing is at least when a sequel comes out the people who finished the previous games will without a doubt be hyped for it but I don't have any stats as most of this is just conjecture.


Another thing to consider is reviews (and word of mouth). If a game sucks after the first couple of hours, this will get out, and this will affect your sales.

I think game design has shifted to providing an emotional experience rather than providing challenge (outside of the competitive scene and niche groups). Like other people have said, this is a way to reach a broader audience and keep the audience happy; after a gameplay session, a winner feels more satisfied than a loser. This might be one of the reasons why RPGs sold so well on the Super Nintendo; let's face it: the biggest sellers were easy and provided an emotional experience. So, I don't really mind this shift; I don't think it impacts the RPGs I want to make or the ones I enjoy that much. Giving players difficulty options is a fair compromise, I think, and you can make it clear what the intended difficulty is and/or give some incentive to play it.
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
32367
Darken
So uh, wouldn't the optimal idea behind making money with games just be making a really polished beginning and the rest not really mattering? The other thing is at least when a sequel comes out the people who finished the previous games will without a doubt be hyped for it but I don't have any stats as most of this is just conjecture.


At first, yeah, but if the rest of the game doesn't meet the player's expectations, then word gets around, gamers feel disappointed and it becomes a black mark on the company. Then if the next game does the same thing, it becomes a pattern, people expect the problem to persist and sales flatline. Next thing you know, you're EA.
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