You hear it all the time: video game veterans tell you games where a lot harder "back in the day." Like, almost impossible.

And they were. The arcade was a business; they wanted your quarters, so there really wasn't any "beating" a game (although in some cases, it was possible). And that mentality leaked into the home consoles, so you got games like Contra that became downright infamous. And these days, the mainstream requires ease and accessibility, so things have changed.

But the question is, should there be bigger consequences when you die? In the old days, you had a certain number of lives and once they were gone, that was it. Of course, given these huge adventures of today, that mechanic really isn't logical; we absolutely have to resurrect and keep playing…if not, Skyrim would be hellish and impossible. In truth, most games would be unplayable. But sometimes, developers make things a little too easy, in that failure is almost meaningless.

Would we really alienate the causal gamers if the consequences were more dire? Probably. But it would also impart a great feeling of accomplishment and immersion, wouldn't it? Remember that white-knuckle sensation we all got when a game challenged us in every possible way, and death truly meant the end? Remember the sweaty palms and the quickened breathing? Our parents thought we might be having health difficulties. These days, that's kinda rare, as this venue has become more and more about general entertainment and pleasing the masses.

It's not so specified anymore; it's not only about catering to the hardcore and the dedicated. Millions upon millions have to find it accessible and fun and hence, we can't go nuts anymore. It just isn't feasible. That being said, the added immersion taken from a game that demands so much of you, that asks you to take big risks, must still be worth something . Maybe if more people experienced it, they'd be more inclined to try more challenging adventures. …or maybe they'd just get frustrated and quit. I don't know.

It's an interesting question nonetheless. What do you say?

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bigrailer19
bigrailer19
9 years ago

I liked when games were difficult, or more so than they are now. Contra is ridiculous and I downloaded mega man demo awhile ago and completely forgot how hard that was, at least compared to what we have now.

But, if there were bigger consequences for dying the story could take a hit, and the flow and pacing of the game could get frustrating as progression is what keeps gamers involved. I really like the way games are set up now, I don't see a need to punish players for not succeeding. In fact I really really enjoyed how PoP was set up in that you really couldn't die, I always felt involved in the game and the game felt very well paced because I was constantly moving forward. That won't work in all games nor do I suggest it be implemented in every game. I personally just, enjoyed the fluidity.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

For some reason Mega Man 9 and 10 are ridicously hard. The previous weren't as hard. I can still pass the old ones with ease. It's just these newer ones that are insane. Contra on the other hand, I agree. I was actually playing Super C tonight on my Wii and I was having trouble to say the least.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
9 years ago

Yea it was mega man 10 I tried and I actually didn't remember the others being that hard, but needless to say it was frustrating!

johnld
johnld
9 years ago

i tried that first megaman game that was released on psn, the demo for it. the whole damn time i was thinking it wasnt this hard when i played it before. i may have died more times than i did that demo than i did playing uncharted 2 on crushing. i had all megaman games for the nes but then when i moved i had to leave stuff behind. then my family followed and left all my nes and the games. now i dont know where they are anymore. i had all megamans, marios, metroid, double dragons, bucky o hare, contra and super c, and a bunch more i loved to play.

i dont know about contra, i didnt find them that hard. i can beat both contra and super s with the standard lives they gave me no problem. i think i memorized where i'm supposed to be. like that boss where you had just stand on the eagle or wings of the eagle on the floor and you can beat it easy. just jump over the projectiles and thats it. or that dragon looking boss where you shoot his "arms" then mouth. i just stand where those vertical pipes near his mouth and jump over projectiles again.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Buckey o hare was a wicked awesome NES game. I loved it.

Also an example of a hard game. I don't think I ever beat it… I kept dying at that high speed level when toads would leap and haul your ship down. It was pretty far into the game too…. wonder if I'd be able to beat it now on a ROM or something….

I loved the ability to switch characters to exploit different strengths.

ZenChichiri
ZenChichiri
9 years ago

I have a hard on for Megaman games, so the new ones didn't seem as hard for me. I periodically brush up on my Megaman playing ability. I managed to get the trophy for beating Megaman 10 without getting hit. Took me 2 nights of playing, but it was worth it!

Warrior Poet
Warrior Poet
9 years ago

By now I'm probably known around here for saying everything is too easy 😛 Even though I grew up on PS2 and GBA, I just naturally started playing harder games because I was playing classic games. New games are so afraid of the player straying off-course and not following the expected behavior that their behavior is restricted in a way that doesn't make sense. This even comes up in games I love like Zelda (Wait, I can bomb through solid rock and not this old wooden door?). Other times it takes the killing tube approach like FFXIII.

But I think in long adventure games like you're talking about, failure should always be an option. In the newly revealed Zelda timeline, Oricana splits into 3 different scenarios, one of which involves Ganon killing Link. But this doesn't happen in the game; it's impossible for the player to fail.

I think I'll have to invoke Valkyrie Profile (again). Sorry, but there are just sooo many fresh ideas in that game. Even though it's not incredibly hard, it is very possible for you to fail. You train your warriors for Ragnarok, and if they're not strong enough, you LOSE. You don't see the good ending. You don't save Asgard. Nope. Your game is just over.

Same with old-school strategy games like Romance Of The Three Kingdoms. If your strategy sucks, your coup can fail, your army can be routed, whatever. You can totally lose even if you play the game. I'm all for storytelling in games – a big fan, really – but when I play games like Uncharted I feel like they're really cool – graphics, music, one-liners, etc. – but I never feel like they're even challenging. Insultingly easy, almost. And I don't consider myself some super-elite gamer. I'm just conditioned for older stuff. And if I do end up getting blindsided by a missile or something, it's just…oh well. Spawn again. Not like Romance or Valkyrie Profile where I've lost some meaningful chunk of time and I have to rethink my whole game plan…not that I've ever lost Valkyrie Profile 😛

I am talking about a certain kind of RPG or adventure game, though. The kind where you know what you're working for and how to do it. The kind that require forethought and maybe multiple approaches. Even games like Metroid have the option for failure, when the player simply can't figure out what to do. You really do feel helpless and alone on an alien world, especially when you have no idea what to do. That's one of the things that makes Metroid great.

Then we have platformers, shmups, one-on-one fighters, etc, where failing is another gameplay thing but the gameplay isn't really influenced by the story – besides, those can still be pretty difficult on their own. This is a different story entirely, though. Robotron and Uncharted aren't really comparable in that sense.

Anyway, yes – I think modern games should be harder. Modern casual players can stick with "easy" difficulty settings, if they even play the hardcore games – but the normal should always be an ample challenge. Did anyone else think "hard" in infamous was just embarrassingly easy? The only times I ever died was when a missile came out of nowhere and hit me in the face…

That's another issue, by the way. Random missiles and stuff are so beyond the player's control that the player feels cheated when they die that way – because they are, really. They had no chance to evade. Might work differently for multiplayer, though 🙂

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

At least in Zelda though if you die you have to start with minimal hearts if you just hit continue and no fairies and no potions of you used them. If you chose to quit you lose your progress if you failed to save before hand. I know you can just continue and look for hearts but if you play Hero Mode, you can't find hearts just anywhere so it makes it more challenging. I always save at the start of a dungeon and try to complete it without saving until right before the boss to give my self an extra challenge. Makes it more interesting for me.

shadowscorpio
shadowscorpio
9 years ago

@ W.P.

I take it you've indulged in games like Demon's Souls and Dark Souls? These gamse provide quite the challenge, hands down!

Fane1024
Fane1024
9 years ago

I have to disagree. IMO if I die and have to repeat a section of the game more than 3 times, that's a failure of the game design, not me. By that point, I have certainly figured out what it is that I need to do. If I can't just do it, that's bad design.

I don't object to harder modes for those who enjoy frustration, but I don't see any value in repeating the same actions over and over again. The character doesn't die in the story, so he shouldn't die when I play through it.

I would like to see more consequences for failure in games, though. Mission failure should mean mission failure, not another chance to get it right. Death should mean reloading a save, not a painless reset to the last checkpoint. But deaths should be rare and only due to player stupidity, not design rooted in quarter-sucking arcade games.


Last edited by Fane1024 on 12/28/2011 5:11:00 AM

SoulController
SoulController
9 years ago

@Fane

That's exactly what Dark/Demon's Souls is. If you do something stupid or aren't careful, more than likely you'll die. So how is that a failure of game design? That same design is exactly why all of us are still gamers right?

While were on the subject, I still don't understand why some folks around here can't swing dark/demons souls. Yea I know everyone has their own taste but it has most of what makes rpgs so great, not to mention its addictive. Yes its necessary at times to use a strategy guide or wiki but so was FFVII if you wanted to find all of the materia & kill certain bosses

Warrior Poet
Warrior Poet
9 years ago

Wait, what? If a problem challenges you and you have to try three different approaches, it's a design flaw? I really don't understand. That doesn't make any sense to me. Different players will react to the same situations differently…I might get it right the first try or it'll take me ten, depending on the problem.

It's not frustration I like. No one likes frustration. I like the challenge. Honing my skills…quick pattern recognition, solving complex puzzles, difficult battles, discovering secrets or logically deducing crimes, depending on the game. I really enjoy the more heady gaming. You'd think slaying the biggest dragon or assassinating the Emperor's sun or whatever WOULD be a difficult thing. Plus, the sense of victory is that much stronger.

I agree that poorly-made games that are hard for no reason or the wrong reasons suck. Nothing is worse. But if it's hard for the right reason, the difficulty is what gives you the opportunity to enjoy the game mechanics. Take a strategy RPG for example. You'll never use those obscure spells or conditional weapons if there's never a need. You can't enjoy an SRPG if there's not a ton of thinking and strategy required. Do you understand my point of view here?

Fane1024
Fane1024
9 years ago

@Soul

DS is probably the kind of "hard" that I wouldn't mind so much. I tend to be very cautious and methodical and might not die very often.

@WP

You did miss my point. I wasn't talking about trying different strategies. By my third attempt, I will usually have determined the correct strategy. What I hate is repeating exactly the same sequence of actions over and over because the margin of error is intentionally tight in order to "challenge" the player.

You criticised inFAMOUS because you didn't die a bunch of times. I objected because I don't see why anyone would expect–much less want–to die.


Last edited by Fane1024 on 12/29/2011 6:01:14 AM

Oxvial
Oxvial
9 years ago

Souls franchise has the perfect level of difficult, you die but learn and succeed.

One of the best moments of gaming in my life was when I defeated Tower Knight alone, no guides no multiplayer and was my second boss there c: .


Last edited by Oxvial on 12/27/2011 9:50:18 PM

PoopsMcGee
PoopsMcGee
9 years ago

Same here for the Tower Knight! It felt real damn good…

SoulController
SoulController
9 years ago

I screamed like a girl the first time I beat tower knight. Lol so satisfying

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

I beat him first try. But I was a magic user. Once I beat all his support, I was able to use cover up high to hide, then pop up and fire some magic his way. Other bosses that get on you quickly without a ton of cover were much tougher for me as a magic user.

Oxvial
Oxvial
9 years ago

Yes being a magic user made the match with Tower Knight different, I was full melee and when I won it was so epic that I couldn't help but put the controller down and make a dance…I'm sure I looked stupid xD

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Yeah, back then was all about playing for points. People would brag about hi-scores. In fact, it doesn't feel all that different from guys who brag about trophies and acheivements.

I see games back then as much more simple. Popular entertaining themes overlayed simple games of timing or chance, often times exciting by way of competitive play. Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Double Dragon, Contra and more could be likened to many of the kind of movies like Predator, and Speilberg stuff etc. I think death just meant game over and time to put in more coins because a player failed to overcome obstacles. Obstacles that with greater attention to precision could be overcome, in turn, netting that higher score.
These days in more experience forward games, it seems obstacles are there more to stimulate a response from the user, and not so much to obtain competitive gain. That is, games of this nature need to have handholding and carefully tuned difficulty so a player whose engaging the game for more generalized entertainment purposes doesn't feel too frustrated by failure.

eh, anyway, I'll stop here. I have to constrain my mind or I could think about this all night.

Rogueagent01
Rogueagent01
9 years ago

I agree and disagree completely. The hardcore can be catered to at the same time as the casual. Its just that the developers don't program the games properly. When I first read about the "Hardcore" mode in fallout New Vegas I was smiling from ear to ear, then I played it and found that Bethesda's idea of hardcore was a joke.

I believe it is very simple to make a game accessible to both types of gamers. A game like Sacred 2 is an example of catering to both. On the lower difficulty levels the game is accessible to every level of gamer, but when you get up to Platinum and Niob level only hardcore RPG'ers stand a chance at completeing the game. Unreal games are another franchise that caters to both, on the higher difficulties you have to have a complete understanding of your surroundings and have lightning fast reflexes otherwise game over.

If developers would just take their time when putting these games together they could easily make almost every game out there fun for all types of players. Yet in todays day and age we "have" to cater to those who have little skill in gaming, thus dumbing down games in general for the rest of us, in which we hardcore players have become the minority.

I want Fallouts and Elder Scrolls to have a option for a one death type of play. That would be the only way I would play, every single decision you made would be a nail-biter and almost literally scare the crap out of you. Heavy Rain took this approach if you made poor decisions your game was OVER in just a few hours and it was great. Demon's Souls was another die enough and you'll regret it because the game the bosses difficulty increased slightly each time you died, again great job!

firesoul453
firesoul453
9 years ago

Ya I've noticed that.

But thing is, people rather a games be too easy than too hard

Amnesiac
Amnesiac
9 years ago

Sure- I agree with all of you. I've always wanted games I play to change with the difficulty setting. So if I were to play a game on hard as opposed to say beginner I should get a different storyline or a harder game that has been built from the ground up around the desired difficulty-unlike the way it is now:
{ easy }you take less damage/ things die easy
{medium} you take more damage/things a tad harder to kill
{hard} you take the most damage/things are harder to kill.
How fun it would be to play a game but are given 3 different stories that are all intertwined because of the difficulty setting?

FM23
FM23
9 years ago

Impossible. Too many resources needed to pull that off…plus I dont wanna miss out on story pieces

FM23
FM23
9 years ago

Personally…I use to hate arcade games due to the limited lives, but those games have nothing similiar to todays modern design. Today we have experiences, not simple win or lose type games minus multiplayer. With that said, Demons/Dark Souls embodies the death with consequence principle, but I dont need every game to play like this. If so, I wouldn't even care to play games anymore. Not enough time in the day to dedicate to trial and error gameplay. Im young…I aint trying to be in the house all day playing the same level over and over….lol I did beat both Demon Souls and Dark Souls, but both came during times where I was either unemployed or had no other games to play. Games are enjoyable and I'd rather keep it that way. Most games are challenging enough to be rewarding except Assissin Creed….easist game ever made.

Fane1024
Fane1024
9 years ago

…except the fight against the 12 (?) templars. That was ridiculous, especially considering the rest of the game.

p.s. The ease is one of the reasons I rate the AC games so highly.

Warrior Poet
Warrior Poet
9 years ago

It's not like games back then weren't "experiences." Everything's an experience. Being difficult for all the right reasons can be really enjoyable, anyway. If you took the time and effort to beat Dark Souls you must have liked it, right?

SmokeyPSD
SmokeyPSD
9 years ago

This is something which I think really is a let down of modern gaming. I would go even further and say it's rare that you feel a real consequence of your actions in a game at all too.

Warrior Poet
Warrior Poet
9 years ago

I agree completely here. Games with great stories nowadays tend to take control away from the player because they're afraid of them going off course. I LOVE stories in games, so I'm not completely against this sometimes necessary evil. I just wish there was a better way. I just wish there was some option for failure, or at least something for the player to do that changed the game. Playing campaigns in random shooters make me feel like the same thing would've happened whether I was playing or not. Not the same in R-Type.

Multiplayer's different, actually. I don't like modern shooters mostly because of the floaty controls and lame level design, and I don't like online games much, but a LAN party with 32 people playing Star Wars Battlefront…so awesome. One of my favorite gaming experiences for sure. In multiplayer with even teams, one player can affect the outcome of the whole match. Multiplayer is superior in that sense, even though I generally dislike online gaming.

And, yes. Well-done difficulty settings rock.

Mog
Mog
9 years ago

If larger consequences were made for death, then the game would become too much about trying to stay alive or accomplishing the mission which would suck the fun out of it. You wouldn't dare take risks or try something new.
If people think a game is too easy then increase the difficulty.
If your still whining about it being too easy then play ninja gaiden sigma on the hardest difficulty.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Why would I want to play Ninja Gaiden if I want something like Uncharted to have greater consequences for failure? Besides, this isn't really about how many times you die just because a game is set to a harder setting. I got that with God of War III on Chaos mode. Just dying a ton of times gets old. This is about greater consequences for dying like GAME OVER or set backs like losing progress.


Last edited by Jawknee on 12/27/2011 11:31:36 PM

Mog
Mog
9 years ago

Ok fine, I take back what I said about difficulty levels.

In response to your last sentence read the first paragraph of my original comment.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

I like the consequence of dying in old Final Fantasy's. Especially in dungeons that had few save points. Made the game more interesting when grinding.


Last edited by Jawknee on 12/27/2011 11:14:07 PM

Warrior Poet
Warrior Poet
9 years ago

Yeah. The main challenge then becomes resource management. I had to rely on buffs and MP because I was stuck in some dungeons with only 10 potions in FFV. Coming out alive and beating the boss felt great, though.

iwillbetheone
iwillbetheone
9 years ago

Part of the reason the classic games were more difficult was that there wasn't any concept of save-games. People had to complete the games in one sitting. Now, whenever you die, you can always start from the previous checkpoint, which makes the games look easy, and dying look inconsequential. On of my favorite games of all time is an 8-bit game called Dead Fox. It had a password system, and if you unlock certain passwords, you could start playing from certain stages. It was a very difficult game, with the password system making up for the difficulty, in that you could restart from a near enough stage after losing all your lives. Thinking about today's games, we get so much more convenience than passwords, so isn't it more appropriate that the games be a little more challenging to justify these conveniences?

Warrior Poet
Warrior Poet
9 years ago

Functionally, passwords are no different than a digital save. They're just quicker. But yes, game should be harder.

Play Gradius III on some emulator and save every 10 seconds. That makes it a LOT easier ;P But the gameplay was a lot more difficult then, too.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

Yes, I do think there is something to be said about all the hand holding that is going on in games today. Add that to the length issues of a lot games these days and its a problem. I can't even begin to list the number of games I have beaten this gen in just a few dedicated sessions. If I don't feel challenged in a game I find myself disconnecting from the experience.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
9 years ago

Being challenged is one thing, while having more consequences is another. If I want to die a lot I'll play GoW3 on the hardest setting. But then there's actual consequences from dying, like game overs or reduced health, or whatever would be implemented.

SmokeyPSD
SmokeyPSD
9 years ago

There's difficulty then there's SOMETHING happening due to death. It's simplistic to think it's just a matter of lives or a matter of how hard a game is causing you to respawn. Death should be meaningful at this stage of gamings life cycle.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

Well, in that case I don't see a solution to the the consequences aspects because of the way games are designed today. You can just reload from your last save point and try again. I found myself doing that in Skyrim if events did not unfold to my liking.

In Heavy Rain you would lose a character if they died but I found a way around that by just quiting the game before allowing it to save. Dark Souls and Demon Souls have some stiff penalties for dying.

Warrior Poet
Warrior Poet
9 years ago

I like Fire Emblem where your characters die permanently if they fall in battle. Nope, no Pheonix Downs here! Spend another hour fighting the same battle, or go on without the princess? Your choice. Plus the game itself is awesome.

I feel like it doesn't matter if I die in modern games. I mean, you can go and die after a checkpoint before a boss just to get your resources refilled. Call of Duty – out of ammo? That's okay. Jump off a cliff and you're refilled. It makes no sense from a design standpoint.

Fane1024
Fane1024
9 years ago

WP, I totally agree with that. I don't think we're very far apart at all.

After re-reading it, I probably agree with more of your original post than not.

JLB1
JLB1
9 years ago

The makers of the games should definitely give us the option, of course. Games like Fallout: New Vegas added a Hardcore mode for people who found 'Very Hard' a little too easy for their liking. Though, the need to implement these things shouldn't be a necessity.

Amnesiac
Amnesiac
9 years ago

okay, then how about achievements then? And not some bogus "you just pressed start earn a trophy" kind of way either. That is so lame when all you have accomplished is the required method of playing the game. Achievements and trophies should have been about something more than bragging rights: Try not to get killed more than 10 times –boom–trophy. Then these trophies would act as monetary credits on the PS store ( $1,$5,$10, play GOW3 on extreme mode collect everything unlock all trophies $25 credit ps store) because its hard as hell!
That way everything that makes up the gaming experience would be more meaningful and challenging with an actual value at the end as the reward.


Last edited by Amnesiac on 12/28/2011 1:45:19 AM

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Actually that's one of the things IGN suggested in a "wishlist" article they wrote for the next gen consoles: That trophies work as some kind of currency to buy smaller downloads like avatars, weapons, outfits etc.
I think that is an excellent idea.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

I saw that article as well on IGN. I don't ever see it happening but wish lists are always nice. Like I said before there are some good things going on over at IGN. That's a good idea for an article…a wishlist for what gamers would like to see next gen. I know what is near the top of my wishlist. Bigger levels and maps. More player freedom in games. Better download speeds. No more mandatory HD installs. Hardware based anialiasing, and ofcourse face melting graphics.

Warrior Poet
Warrior Poet
9 years ago

I feel like the new Achievements are kind of stupid. I know there are a lot who will disagree, but hear me out.

Do some obscure and difficult thing and get a sticker for it. Well, that's cool. But the focus should be on genuine difficulty, not necessarily obscurity. If you really do overcome a great challenge, you'll feel great about it whether you get a virtual sticker or not. I don't need a sticker – the game itself is what we enjoy, right?

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

@WP
True, but I also enjoy my friends seeing that I've accomplished things they couldn't.

johnld
johnld
9 years ago

if a treyarch call of duty had a limited amount of lives to beat the game veteran mode will be unbeatable. you know, with treyarch's super accurate ai, retarded ally ai, and infinite enemy spawns.

___________
___________
9 years ago

no, that would be too frustrating!
nothing more infuriating then dying and having to repeat half the freaking level!
games should go back to the good old ways how you could save anywhere you wanted and if you die reload exactly where you saved.
then bring back instant deaths.
like PoP, the originals if you were hit by a trap you would die.
now if your hit by a trap you loose 1% of your health!
difficulty and dying "punishments" have nothing to do with each other!
actually they do, and its called cheap lazy development!
i HATE it when developers just pull cheap tricks to make a game harder.
like giving enemies more health, or increasing enemy count, or giving them unfair advantages.
MK for instance, has always been infamous of automatically blocking attacks and that drove me up the wall!
just because a game is hard does not mean it has to be punishing.

Rogueagent01
Rogueagent01
9 years ago

Again Sacred 2 did it right! There is a trophy for reaching the Niob difficulty, BUT there is no trophy for beating it on Niob. That difficulty setting is there for the hardcore RPG player, only someone who fully understands how to set up a character will be able to beat it. It is a difficulty setting made for those of us that are gaming masochists.

If the developers set it up properly you don't have to play it on that level. This is not about making more casual gamers frustrated, it's about giving those of us that want an incredibly satisfying experience for achieving what many consider impossible or downright frustrating the chance to do it. I don't understand how anyone could see anything wrong with this, the more options the better. If you want to have fun there should be a setting for that, where as if you want a realistic experience it should also be there i.e. in Fallouts or Elder Scrolls there should be a hardcore setting that prevents you from saving and forces you to restart from the beginning if you die. The only thing is, it should be optional and have no trophy tie-ins either so that it really is up to you if you want to try it.