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?