Friday, March 3, 2017
Game Mileage Varies By Age (part 5)
The last aspect of a game that I can think of which might affect certain age groups is the difficulty level. Games like Dark Souls are known for their punishingly brutal levels of difficulty, but they have done very well and are quite popular. Perhaps difficult games for the “hardcore” gamer are welcomed because there are a lot of games that are too easy—designed for the totally casual gamer that plays games on their smartphone once in a while. With difficult games, mileage varies, because I think most gamers will give up quickly if there isn't a method for improving. Practice was mandatory for most of the arcade-style games in the 80's, with space-shooters like Gradius requiring actual memorization of enemy patterns to survive. Ghosts 'n Goblins was another game that required tremendous practice, but it was possible to solve...if you had insane amounts of time and patience. I'm glad that there are still games being made today with punishing levels of difficulty, because they teach kids perseverance and determination, just like practicing a musical instrument does. If the game is well-designed, fun, and rewarding, adults also enjoy extremely difficult games. But I'm also glad there are games that don't require as much of me to move forward—at the end of a long, tiring work day, I just want to have fun and feel like I'm accomplishing something without having to stress about it.