Although this is more on the Nintendo side of news, the comments in question are relevant for all gamers.

Action games can be overly demanding. Some of the notoriously difficult titles include the Ninja Gaiden games, certain entries in the Devil May Cry franchise, and this year's Bayonetta ; all of which will tax most players to the max. But Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto told the New Yorker (via the Official Nintendo Magazine ) that such challenges don't necessarily translate to "fun."

"A lot of the so-called 'action games' are not made that way. All the time, players are forced to do their utmost. If they are challenged to the limit, is it really fun for them?"

Miyamoto would rather provide the player with a variety of different things; diverse forms of simpler entertainment, even if it means repetition.

"You are constantly providing the players with a new challenge, but at the same time providing them with some stages or some occasions where they can simply, repeatedly, do something again and again. And that itself can be a joy.

It's about enjoying something. I used to draw cartoons. I'd just show them to some of my friends, expecting that they were going to appreciate them, that they were going to enjoy reading them. And I haven't changed a bit about that. When I'm making video games today, I want people to be entertained. I am always thinking, How are people going to enjoy playing the games we are making today? And as long as I can enjoy something other people can enjoy it, too."

What do you say? Personally, I agree and disagree. I used to get great satisfaction from beating a game like Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry 3 but even then, it felt like too much of a chore. These days, I shy away from the overly difficult because as Miyamoto said, it's not exactly fun for everyone.

But at the same time, I think most all long-time gamers have noticed that games have gotten shorter and easier over time. They've been forced to adapt to an ever-growing mainstream crowd that wants to be able to finish the adventure; they're not interested in killing themselves like we used to do at the arcades. I do like the fact that I can finish most any game I buy, but I don't like this ongoing Nintendo implication that games have to appeal to everyone in the entire family to be "good."

Haven't bought the 100% kiddie mentality for some time, guys. A video game doesn't have to be too hard, true, but it also doesn't necessarily have to look like one of those cartoons you always drew, Miyamoto.

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Kevin555
Kevin555
9 years ago

I disagree. What is the point of playing a game when there is no sense of challenge or sense of self achievement to be had? That is what makes titles such as Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 & Demons Souls so rewarding. The sense of relief & accomplishment from overcoming a boss makes you feel like you've really earned it. Most of these games have easier difficulty settings anyway so its a moot point. Nintendo do realise people enjoy challenges sometimes instead of trading Pokemon cards or jumping on plants heads with obese overall wearing plumbers.

Axe99
Axe99
9 years ago

I think part of the issue is the degree of challenge – I found Demon's Souls and Ninja Gaiden tedious because of their design – Ninja Gaiden because it was so hard, and DS because it was so punishing. Both failed because they assumed a fixed state of ability of every gamer to take on a challenge, which is the same as assuming every car driver can handle taking a Viper around Laguna Seca at racing speeds. Which is silly.

On the other hand, too easy is not fun either. What most great games have these days is the ability to change your difficulty setting mid-way. I like to start on one notch above normal (which is normally a solid but not tedious challenge for me), and then work it up/down as required. But it's important that we all understand as gamers that one person's challenge is another persons tedious chore, and that people like different levels of challenge (and often like different levels of challenge at different times).

I think Ben's take is the most appropriate – respect the fact that different people enjoy different things (including challenging/punishing games). I have no issues with games like Demon's Souls or Ninja Gaiden being made, and think they should be as long as there's an audience for them, and think Miyamoto is being a bit closed-minded by suggesting everything should be for everybody.

spiderboi
spiderboi
9 years ago

there is logic to his statement. Why else would Angry Bird and Bejeweled be so overplayed these days? Heck, my aunt who's about 60+ and I not tech-savy got an iPAD and now can't stop from playing Plants vs Zombies…

Akuma_
Akuma_
9 years ago

He is just lazy!

Making excuses, action games arent fun anymore. Umm name some other genres that are? JRPGs havnt been fun for a long time….

Like Hideo said, Jap developers are losing their touch and their determination.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Oh man, he's cracked open a big can 'o worms. I understand what he's saying, but it's from a certain point of view. A point of view that assumes a one-size-fits-all solution for game design. The reality is people are motivated to play games for different purposes. Granted, their may be larger more casual audiences who prefer games to be easier and less dynamic in nature. But for me those games are less interesting. So bring on NG3!! …and leave Miyamato's thoughts out of it ūüėČ

Snorge
Snorge
9 years ago

I have to say I prefer a little bit of the easy (Mostly relaxing games) and alot of the hard. I like a challenge, and I agree with Ben saying the old school gamers are use to harder games, no save points, and limited lives. Now its recharging health, resurrection on the spot, unlimited continues, and easier difficulty levels. Come on!

Here's an idea, if ya cant stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen! Action games SHOULD be challenging, just like the movies. Would anyone want to see want to see an action movie where the hero jumps on all the bad guys heads and they poof into smoke and dissappeared and thats it? Not this guy, give the damn guy a challenge and make the goal that much more rewarding when acheived.


Last edited by Snorge on 12/14/2010 10:37:46 AM

bxshotboi
bxshotboi
9 years ago

He makes sense but to a certain extent. yes sumtimes the most demanding games become frustrating becuz I know that for myself and many others that getting te pure blade stone in demon souls by yourself took forever and at one point I turned off the system to calm my nerves a bit but once I got it I was sooooo dam happy to have done so.. Sumtimes the overall sense of determination and accomplishment is all u need to enjoy a game!!!! And yes there are many simple games with a sickening use of repetition that are fun regardless such as assassins creed. In the end it comes down to what the gamer wants at the moment not what a developer thinks and believes is the best way to have fun

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

lol no, I don't want them easier. And games are not more difficult now than they were in the NES era.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1? Uber difficult. Original Zelda games? Challenging. Freaking Metroid? Holy crap! Double Dragon…. also hard.

Action games have always had a couple easy and a couple hard. To me, this is just a really strange concept. Games are different, yes, but they are not more difficult than they used to be. If they are, then it's due to control issues.

EDIT: Also, at least nowadays, you can save your progress! Back in the day, game over was game over, man! A game that had a password to get back to a certain level was a blessing! And it almost never reset the number of lives you have left.


Last edited by Underdog15 on 12/14/2010 10:45:46 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Not easier, but at least to the point where they can be mastered. When i read the article, it seemed more like he was railing against cheap AI that cheats to beat the player. If the game uses smarter AI, I can still learn the AI's own tactics and tendencies and use that knowledge to master it. But if the AI cheats, I will never master it, and it will always feel cheap because I know it cheats.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Yes, Underdog, good point. There were some brutally hard games back in the NES/SNES era. Maybe Miyamato is just an old timer now and can't hack it these days =p

Kevin555
Kevin555
9 years ago

The thing is, you get games that are too easy & when people finish them they complain that the experience is too short. You get given a challenge however to expand the experience and you get bs like "It's too challenging"

It's good to have fun games too just to chill out & put a halt to venting but taking the challenge away completely ruins the whole idea of gaming as a whole imo. I enjoyed Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 because it WAS hard, even when you did complete it and unlocked all the weapons etc.


Last edited by Kevin555 on 12/14/2010 10:45:27 AM

Cuetes
Cuetes
9 years ago

I can't say I agree with him. IMO I think games have gotten too easy. I play ever thing on veteran settings and have still managed to pass every game in my collection, sometimes in a few nights and in some rare cases a few hours (looking at you, COD). That being said, isn't this reason they make difficulty settings?

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

Personally speaking, I am at the age in which frustration due to video games is something I do not want to visit any longer.

Yes, Gran Turismo's Gold trophies are very frustrating at times, but I let that pass due to my love for the genre.

I have always believed in selectable difficulties so the game can cater to the user. It's nice to provide an option for the consumer base.

alcrowley
alcrowley
9 years ago

But there is a difference between the games difficulty and trophies difficulty.

There are games that are easy but the trophies are insanely difficult or just too burdensome.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Getting the golds in all the GT5 licenses is an exercise in frustration, but the game is at least consistent, and can be mastered.

But as alcrowley points out, there are trophies that are overly burdensome, or just stupidly difficult. I see these as two different things. In GT5 the licenses are intended to be mastered, they are difficult, but do not really rely on luck, they simply demand skill and concentration. But then look at a game like White Knight Chronicles, to platinum in that requires an insane amount of time spent grinding away online.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

I understand, but in my book, the PSN trophies and the ones found in GT5 are a different monster.

A Gold trophy for lets say a license test in GT5 can get frustrating at times. Perhaps I should have clarified. My apologies.

DemonNeno
DemonNeno
9 years ago

Gt5 has beaten me senseless when it comes to golds. I've just settled with quite a few silvers because I simply want to explore the game while becoming better, not pinning myself to one event for however long it takes.

The difference is this. Games are easier today than a few console generations back. there were games that didn't even do a good job at hinting you to get this or that. Castlevania… I think it was 2? Where you'd duck by water, travel across mountains, etc. that was a hard frickin game! Not to mention darkness meant your enemies were twice as dangerous and less prone to damage. Is it any wonder why games back then were loaded with cheats?

Today is different. I'd say it's easier. Frustrating? Of course! But easier.

bxshotboi
bxshotboi
9 years ago

I think the feeling of how difficult a game is depends on the gamer themselves because there are old school gamers that can't get through newer games for nothin in the world and than we have gamers from the modern times that can't pass the genesis collection

Snorge
Snorge
9 years ago

Aint that some sh*t too?

Kiryu
Kiryu
9 years ago

It's because of the challenge that i come back the game.Shadow of the colossus,Uncharted series,Metal Gear Solid,God of War,Yakuza Series.These games are so challenging and also the story drives me back that is why i come back.


Last edited by Kiryu on 12/14/2010 10:55:04 AM

556pineapple
556pineapple
9 years ago

I think it's true, but it doesn't necessarily have to do with modern games. I think it's always been true to a certain extent but it just doesn't apply to every game. There were more than a fair share of nearly-impossible NES games back in the day, most of which were much harder than modern games at their toughest.

Hezzron
Hezzron
9 years ago

I'm a firm believer in being able to finish a game I payed for. Gamers will always have different skill levels, and that's what different in-game difficulties should be for.

Some games on their hardest difficulty settings are still fun, giving you that feeling that you can still do it with one more try. The Uncharted's and Ratchet & Clanks do this well. Other games, like the ones mentioned, make you wonder if they ever got play tested on hard. They seem to be plagued with un-fun, want-to-break-your-controller inducing jams.

I've come to know there's a difference between "hard" and "broken".

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Indeed, there is a difference between AI that cheats and AI that is simply smart. I hate those games with cheating AI that feel broken, precisely because I know that it's cheating and that I won't beat it through skill or understanding it's tactics. I've platinum'd bot Uncharted games and despite the difficulty level of crushing, it is possible to beat it with skill, not blind luck. There was one specific area in Drake's Fortune that was almost broken. It was possible to beat it, but extremely difficult, and felt a bit broken, but ultimately it's possible to beat it.

But on the other hand, I have played games that felt broken, and in the end I have given up on 'beating' these games because of it.

ZettaiSeigi
ZettaiSeigi
9 years ago

Which part of that game was it, Highlander? I'm curious as I just finished playing the first Uncharted game again.

Alienange
Alienange
9 years ago

Just run for the open door, it's not that hard.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

The part of Drakes Fortune that's difficult on Crushing is the flooded room where there are several set's of bad guys that drop in on a set schedule. You can take them down, but it's a real pain.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Yes Highlander, that part was cause of frustration for me. ūüôā very annoying on Crushing.

kraygen
kraygen
9 years ago

I refer to this dilemma as the video game AI lottery. Basically no matter how good you are, sometimes you can't beat that particular moment in a game until the program lets you.

It's blatantly obvious too, you try 30-40 times to beat this one particular part of a game and never come close, finally out of no where you beat it as if it was level 1 set on very easy.

Some games just have their difficulty controlled that way and it sucks, because it's hard to not get frustrated over the fact that the game won't let you win because on this particular difficulty the AI is set to lose only a tiny percentage of the time.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Kraygen,

Often the AI isn't set to lose at all, it is just cheap, cheating and crap. there might be a random element to how hard the AI plays you so on a rare chance you might get a suddenly dumb and beatable AI, but it's not generally set to lose. I'm not sure how many devs even would think to put something into their AI logic to allow the player to win eventually, especially for the equivalent of the 'crushing' difficulty level.


Last edited by TheHighlander on 12/14/2010 2:07:07 PM

coverton341
coverton341
9 years ago

Quite the opposite actually, Miyamoto. I think that most games now are a bit too easy. At least to complete. With variable difficulty settings comes…well, variable difficulty. But, when it comes down to it games are just about learning the pattern and programming logic. Has been since the early days, it's just now more complex logic.

What I absolutely don't want to see is the industry decide to take this attitude to the bank and start dumbing down games to suit the needs of the rising casual market.

Can anyone imagine a Ninja Gaiden you can 100% on the highest difficulty in the span of a Sunday afternoon? No thanks.

StubbornScorpio
StubbornScorpio
9 years ago

Your last comment sends chills down my spine…

And not in a good way.

Snorge
Snorge
9 years ago

I LOVED God of War 3. I completed the challenge of Olympus…Some of the most frustrating sh*t I've done in recent history….BUT….Although it took quite a few tries, I enjoyed the frustration in a strange way…Its the feeling of beating something you worked so hard on!

alcrowley
alcrowley
9 years ago

I agree with Ben, they are just catering for their customers, unfortunately they are not gamers, or just very young gamers.

I liked the 'Challenges' in the GoW series. I felt proud and great satisfaction after completing it because it was (IMO) very challenging.

But then again, I remember being young and feeling frustrated with the difficulty of a game then I'd cheat, cause I just liked to play a game for fun and look at the pretty screens (at the time).

But today I like challenging games, most of the games I set the difficult to high or hard because it demands mastering the gameplay.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
9 years ago

Agree and disagree. There are some games which are insanely hard for no reason "Oddworld" games for example.

It would have been a much more successful game and enjoyable game at that if it wasn't notoriously hard.

What makes Nintendo's games fun, specially Miyamoto's is the exeperience.

Miyamoto's games are kinda like rpgs but in different genres. You get to experience so many things in just one game. Let's take Mario Galaxy for example, you get to do so many different things in that game and visit so many different places with so many different puzzles and strategies that it all comes together. It's like what Jaffe said 'bout GOW, the battle system doesn't need to be overly complicated if it's fun and at the end of the day mixes well together with everything the game has to offer.

But I also love challenging games like Demon's Souls. Though the challenge in this game is rewarding.

I think it really depends on how rewarding/not rewarding these hard games are. There are some that are just hard for no reason, you get through it and you feel like you were forced through it all for nothing.

alcrowley
alcrowley
9 years ago

I agree with you. The GoW are a perfect example. Because I had to deal with frustration, some parts were tough, but I kept playing because I was being rewarded after.

The point is, if its difficult then it must provide the players the sense of accomplishment and not being difficult just to be…

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

A game that is difficult must still allow the player to master it if they become skilled enough in the game itself. If the ability to beat a game relies solely on repetition and blind luck, it's not challenging, it's just annoying.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
9 years ago

@alcrowley,
Yup, I also like the fact that GOW has so many difficulty levels, it lets you get better at it by giving you harder modes.

@Highlander,
Exactly!

That's the real difference right there, being able to get better at the game instead of the game just being plain broken (impossible to get better at). Thus blind luck…

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

As a 58 year old gamer, I think Miyamoto is a little bit more than just behind on the times.

I love how games these days are challenging us more & more & I myself, haven't encountered any real super hard challenges that I couldn't get past either sooner, or a bit later after sitting the game down for a spell.

(Disclaimer: I don't have Demon's Souls to change my mind yet though),LOL


Last edited by BikerSaint on 12/14/2010 11:16:46 AM

alcrowley
alcrowley
9 years ago

Yes. Although I only have a few games of this generation, I never came across a game that I wanted but couldn't finish.

But as someone already said in here, games are not becoming challenging just now. I remember in the NES and SNES days games that I though (at the time) being very challenging, like the Ninja Gaiden series, TMNT, Super Metroid, R-Type, etc…

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

What about games that ramp up the difficulty by cheapening the AI to the point where it's cheating? In those the only way to beat the game is repetition and blind luck. That is extremely un-fun and frustrating. That's the kind of thing I felt he was talking about.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

I know where he's coming from, and there have been a few games that fall foul of what he's talking about. There are games that are just plain insane hard, there are games that start out quite accessible, but challenging, and get more difficult to the point where the AI becomes very cheap and effectively cheats.

NGS2 is – for example, ridiculously hard – and get's harder. Bayonetta and Vanquish can both be very difficult, though I've not played any of those three to that level of frustration. But then you also have games like Soul Calibur 4 which starts off very well, but gradually becomes impossible. It get's to the point where the game characters and AI are executing attacks and moves is timing and response time that are far from being human or reasonable. Playing a human is one thing, because a human player has certain reaction times and anticipates attacks based on patterns. But that human is still limited to the speed of human reactions. The game is not, and often times it shows. The AI in Soul Calibur 4 becomes very cheap as it uses hard to block moves in rapid succession, and adjusts to the player instantly.

To me this is the kind of thing that Shigeru Miyamoto is talking about. I used to play Doom (original Doom) on the maximum difficulty, and there was a certain grace in blasting through the first 8 levels. You could anticipate the attacks, and there was an optimal pattern to follow. It's nice to have the challenge of real people playing, because they don't follow such patterns. But at the same time it's nice to be able to play through the AI opponents and master them. But if that AI is cheap and is allowed to cheat, you can't master it.

No AI should be able to see though walls, or other visual obstacles, nor should it be able to sense your control inputs any faster than the best possible human. But often times it can. Making a game more difficult by allowing the AI to cheat this way leaves gamers feeling frustrated, and is lazy AI programming. Increasing difficulty by allowing the AI to use more complex tactics, and pattern detection to exploit the player's pattern is just fine, because it makes the AI smarter.

I feel like this is the kind of thing he's talking about. while many action games have gotten shorter because of the focus on multi-player online, many of the game's AI has also gotten cheaper because less time is spent on making a good AI opponent since the focus of the game is not single player, but multi-player online action.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

That is exactly why all games should come with this —

Very Easy
Easy
Medium
Hard
Very Hard

That way, everyone is happy.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Agreed, but even then, if the game has a very hard setting, that should still be beatable with skill. I have no problem with games that set a Platinum trophy that actually requires skill to obtain. But if the maximum difficulty of a game ramps up the difficulty by allowing the AI to effectively see through walls, then to me, that's no longer about skill.

It's like on the old Doom, you could play on all the normal difficulty levels and beat it. then they added Nightmare difficulty that sped up the monsters, and made them respawn. That level changed the game, and was increasingly impossible to beat. You could still 'beat' it, but you could no longer clear a level, essentially you escaped to each level, but the Boss battles were excruciatingly frustrating because of the respawning.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

Highlander,
Well, if miaymoto is thinking along your same line of thought(a few posts above), then I'd have to agree with both of you.

BTW, I'm only going by the games I've played so far, and I'm not into any of those games you mentioned above, so my thinking may or may not be a bit biased or skewed overall.


Last edited by BikerSaint on 12/14/2010 11:40:46 AM

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

Highlander –

I agree with you on the faults that surround the AI on games. That's one of the reasons I don't mess with games on higher difficulties and games without a difficulty selector. Not worth the trouble to me.

I also believe that PSN Trophies should not be linked to difficulty levels either. In my opinion, the singleplayer games are getting shorter because of it.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Well Highlander, I do agree about cheating AI's. Although, I still don't think it's much different than before. I can distinctly remember playing games at high difficulties, where if I got knocked down, the AI would not make it possible to get up.

However, with games like Black Ops, for example, the cheating AI on Veteran difficulty is just stupid. Dev's just make enemies like gods. If they were truly GOOD developers, they would do other things to add to the difficulty, like give you limited ammo (Black Ops campaign, you always start with like 600+ bullets lightly attached to your belt), add more enemies and more of a variety of enemies, give the enemy better tactics, or force you to be more resourceful. As is, they just have better aim and you die faster. That's it.

Really? That's the best you could do, Activision/Treyarch? Make the game longer by adjusting a small code or two then attach trophies to it?

Also, racing games have a tremendous amount of rebound, but that too isn't anything new at all. I distinctly remember Super Mario Kart having rediculous rebound on both SNES and N64.

Cheating AI, although sucky, is nothing new.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

More on Miyamoto….

Nintendo's Miyamoto Once Hoped To Destroy Genres He Created

http://www.industrygamers.com/news/nintendos-miyamoto-once-hoped-to-destroy-genres-he-created/

Ludicrous_Liam
Ludicrous_Liam
9 years ago

Am I the only one who plays 'normal' difficulty first? I do that then go on hard. I don't like getting fustrated on my first playthrus.

ZettaiSeigi
ZettaiSeigi
9 years ago

You're not the only one as I do the same. I want to get a general feeling of the game. I mostly play story-driven action titles, so I want to know what happens in the story without getting frustrated about constantly dying.

Once I finished the game and feel that I've mastered it quite a bit, then that's the time to ramp up the difficulty and face the challenge.

PasteNuggs
PasteNuggs
9 years ago

Normal, Hah! It's always set on easy on the first playthrough for me.