Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 29th Jun 2013 20:18 UTC
Games "In recent years, an odd consensus has arisen where many believe that games are easier than they used to be. In many cases it's true, and it isn't surprising, as extreme competition between titles has created the need for games to be immediately entertaining as soon as you press the start button. As a consequence, many older - and potentially newer - players consider these games of yesteryear much more difficult. The immense challenge Wii U owners have experienced with virtual console games is evidence of that. Are these newer adventures really easier? Or has the design philosophy for video games improved instead?" Interesting take. I will tell you this, though - take a game like Dragon Age (the only one that matters, so the first one). It's immediately accessible to newcomers at the easy and normal setting, but try stepping it up to nightmare mode, and you're suddenly back in old-fashioned hardcore territory where you'll need to apply every little bit there is to know about the game to be able to finish it (tip for DA fanatics: finish the game without a single character going down in combat, on nightmare. I did it. It's hell). My point is: sometimes, you have to up the difficulty or create your own challenges to find the rewarding difficulty of gaming yore.
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one game you need to play:
by smashIt on Sat 29th Jun 2013 21:06 UTC
smashIt
Member since:
2005-07-06

Super Meat Boy ;)

Reply Score: 3

They are easier, because money
by chithanh on Sat 29th Jun 2013 21:16 UTC
chithanh
Member since:
2006-06-18

IMO. this is the best take on this question so far
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1ZtBCpo0eU "If Quake was done today"

I think that the games are easier today because it makes them accessible to a greater number of players, which in turn increases business prospects for the game studios.

Reply Score: 6

RE: They are easier, because money
by Doc Pain on Sat 29th Jun 2013 23:42 UTC in reply to "They are easier, because money"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

IMO. this is the best take on this question so far
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1ZtBCpo0eU "If Quake was done today"


ALDI SÜD!!! :-)


I think that the games are easier today because it makes them accessible to a greater number of players, which in turn increases business prospects for the game studios.


In my (limited) experience, games offer more help for the player, more explanations, less "try and find out". I've started my "career" in ego shooters with things like "Wolfenstein 3-D", later DooM (successors and extensions), and then the original Quake. All of them were DOS games, played on a real DOS system. Then I encountered Quake II and found it easier because you did not have to remember certain things (what to pick up, where to go, what to do, and so on). With RTCW, telling a story inside the game (something the previous mentioned ones didn't really do), I noticed that gaming became easier. But with the "integrated story", they also became more interesting. I did not just explore all the level design, textures and enemies, but did also follow the story with the "What's next?" question in mind. This continued with games like "Jedi Knight". I've always started playing such games in the hardest mode from the beginning, and it really felt easier the newer the games got. Recently, I tried "DooM 3" and "Quake 4" (demo only), and regarding game play, they felt much easier and also much slower. Sure, better graphics, artificial intelligence and all, yes, but also more complex. Can I say "more complicated"? Not really. But the more complex a game gets, the more it tends to help you, usually without request (in order not to scare novice players who might feel lost and quit the game). This makes them appear easier because the player gets "pre-chewed" game content for a "more fluent" gaming experience.

(I'm far away from being a hardcore gamer, and my experience is very limited (genre and titles), so this is just a very individual statement.)

Reply Score: 6

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

I hardly play any games today, but in the past I did more so. The good difficulties (IMHO) are those when one needs to train one's skills (either mental or reflexive) to beat the challenges of the game. Other-times games were difficult because one didn't know what to do, this can be good if it's part of an intelligent puzzle, but very frequently old games over did this making progress dependent on pure guesswork, which sucked.


Wolfenstein was original, and that made it neat, but I wouldn't want to play it again, the player spends way too much time looking for hidden passageways which mandated the ridiculously boring strategy of hitting space along the contours of the whole map.

Doom had a good balance, none of the secrets were necessary and they were well designed to make the player think "how do I get there?", excellent.

Quake was very enjoyable, it could have had more puzzles but that would have detracted from it's fast pace. I will say I've always found it to be an easy game, and I say this not being a great player myself.


I was never able to beat prince of persia. The gameplay was somewhat challenging, but the problem was always with the timer taking away your ability to freely explore the maps, without having access to a walkthrough to cheat, the puzzles required a great deal of exploring but when you actually took the time to do so you'd have to restart from the beginning of the whole damn game, effectively making every level exponentially more annoying due to the restarts. Modern games would have checkpoints, which is nice for me because it allows much more experimentation.

RPG like king's quest series were difficult because when you got stuck ever so often, there was nothing left to do but try every item in the inventory on every pixel/screen in the game - the combinations were generally clever, the element of guessing for too long became tedious.

Mortal combat was difficult for one reason alone: skills, but was it any more difficult than similar games today?

Lemmings difficulty resulted from a combination of puzzles and execution skills.

The 7th guest was all puzzles, a couple were quite difficult.

Alone in the dark had some confusing inventory based puzzles but gameplay wasn't really difficult.

I played more too, I don't really know if the games today are easier, but when I've gone back to replay older skill games I often seem to find them easier than I did originally, maybe because the old AIs are more predictable to the trained eye?

Reply Score: 4

Savior Member since:
2006-09-02

I was never able to beat prince of persia. The gameplay was somewhat challenging, but the problem was always with the timer taking away your ability to freely explore the maps, without having access to a walkthrough to cheat, the puzzles required a great deal of exploring but when you actually took the time to do so you'd have to restart from the beginning of the whole damn game, effectively making every level exponentially more annoying due to the restarts.


While the problem you mention (having to restart every time, and beating a the first levels the hundredth time) is definitely there, I've never had that problem in Prince of Persia. Actually, I found it quite easy, but then again, that was one of my first PC games, and having come from the C=64, everything just felt so easy and comfy. ;)

RPG like king's quest series were difficult because when you got stuck ever so often, there was nothing left to do but try every item in the inventory on every pixel/screen in the game - the combinations were generally clever, the element of guessing for too long became tedious.


You mean adventure games, right? Then you are right, I was never very good in them -- solved Space Quest 4 and Kyrandia, for example, but could never finish Maniac Mansion (although it's true I was much younger at the time).

RPG is a completely different genre, though there you were also sometime faced with the big "what do I do now" question. But that was usually the case with older RPGs like the Ultimas before Underworld or, say, Magic Candle. Basically, if you had the manual, you could not really go wrong -- unless there was a time limit, like in Magic Candle.

I played more too, I don't really know if the games today are easier, but when I've gone back to replay older skill games I often seem to find them easier than I did originally, maybe because the old AIs are more predictable to the trained eye?


That definitely happens sometime. I think most of the difficulty from older games arise from three factors:
- bad design: guesswork; no real testing by someone other than the author; or just the fact that the game was originally an arcade and it was made difficult deliberately, so the player would have to throw more coins in to keep playing; etc.
- crappy controls: only some of them have actually stood the test of time
- we were younger when we played them ;)

Reply Score: 5

Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Sat 29th Jun 2013 21:53 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

Games are definitely easier. Hell, playing a current incarnation of the first Final Fantasy on a cell phone (Or even the somewhat older one on the GBA) is much easier than the original version on the NES.

It seems that as games started including far more cinematic content within the game, they've become easier to make sure that players are able to view it.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by zima on Sat 6th Jul 2013 23:29 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

They're easier ...and perhaps this is what we wanted, in a way. Remember when we were the misunderstood youth, hoping that "usual" people would understand our passions and hobbies? Well, now they do in the case of games, which are made largely for the general public.

Overall - easier, but also better designed: print magazines don't publish solutions/walkthroughs together with the review any more, like they used to (at least at my place)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by andih
by andih on Sat 29th Jun 2013 22:15 UTC
andih
Member since:
2010-03-27

chess and dwarf fortress ;)

Reply Score: 2

Games are much bigger these days
by No it isnt on Sat 29th Jun 2013 22:35 UTC
No it isnt
Member since:
2005-11-14

I'm not sure you would bother completing them if they were extremely challenging all the way. Besides, the feeling of progression makes a game epic much more satisfying. Valve perfected this already with the original Half-Life, a game that isn't extremely difficult, but leads you on while putting obstacles in the way, pretty much like any old fairytale. This kind of game design would be pointless in the days of isolated levels.

Then again, in the old days of the C-64, mastering a game completely was actually possible. All it took was perfect timing and the correct movement of the joystick. Perhaps some repeatable strategy. So although games initially were more challenging, they were also more predictable.

Reply Score: 4

FPS then and now
by Soulbender on Sun 30th Jun 2013 03:04 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

For sure there's some truth to it:
http://www.aspaceman.com/wp-content/gallery/blog_1/fpsmapdesign.jpg

and the post to go along with it:
http://www.aspaceman.com/fps-map-design-then-and-now/

Edited 2013-06-30 03:10 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: FPS then and now
by siride on Sun 30th Jun 2013 03:19 UTC in reply to "FPS then and now"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

I don't think you read the article you linked to.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: FPS then and now
by Soulbender on Sun 30th Jun 2013 03:27 UTC in reply to "RE: FPS then and now"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Actually, I did and that's why I didn't only link to the image.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: FPS then and now
by siride on Sun 30th Jun 2013 03:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: FPS then and now"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

You should make your post more clear. The article doesn't support the claim that the image is representative of truth, although it admits that some games tend a little bit more that way, but many good ones are still being made. And it talks only of FPS, which is hardly what I'd consider to be a genre of quality gaming, entertaining though it be to certain types of people. Where is the talking of Minecraft and Mario? Puzzle and logic games, Portal and Braid?

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: FPS then and now
by Soulbender on Sun 30th Jun 2013 18:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: FPS then and now"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

You should make your post more clear.


I thought "some truth" was pretty clear. Also, it's humour.

And it talks only of FPS,


That could explain why the title of my post is "FPS now and then".

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: FPS then and now
by orfanum on Sun 30th Jun 2013 19:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: FPS then and now"
orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

I was going to try to say something reasonably profound about this whole question re gaming difficulty but the perfect dryness of your humour leads me to say simply +1

Reply Score: 3

Comment by gan17
by gan17 on Sun 30th Jun 2013 03:16 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

I honestly don't know.

At first glance, I'd say yes, simply because I've yet to see any modern game ship with a manual as thick as those I got with Falcon 3.0 or 4.0, but flight sims aren't really that popular these days, and those that are generally come with on-screen help or tutorials in place of manuals. Maybe that doesn't equal better design, but it's definitely a better integrated experience.

I suppose it all depends on the genre and type of game. Mario Kart, to me, is just as accessible and well designed as it always was. Some of the old Contra-style games were insanely difficult, but most people seemed to be able to pick them up and figure out what needed doing (kill everything... duuh). Now you have LSD-filled colourful stuff that's overwhelming at first (I need to collect seedlings to build a kite.. huhwhat?), but quickly gets easy the more you play.

When I compare a modern first-person RPG to something like the old Ultima Underworld, it's 50-50. In the new RPGs the lands are richer, there's generally more stuff to do, more quests or whatever, some not at all obvious to a RPG newbie, but in the old Ultima Underworld, you had to find flour, find wood, start a fire and make bread, just to get something to eat that would restore HP (yeah, totally wtf, right?). But then again you still get newer offerings, albeit old-skool natured, like The Dark Spire (Nintendo DS) that are pretty difficult to get to grips with, even for seasoned RPG'ers. I don't even know how one could start debating design with comparisons like this.

Edited 2013-06-30 03:24 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by gan17
by Doc Pain on Sun 30th Jun 2013 23:43 UTC in reply to "Comment by gan17"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

At first glance, I'd say yes, simply because I've yet to see any modern game ship with a manual as thick as those I got with Falcon 3.0 or 4.0, but flight sims aren't really that popular these days, and those that are generally come with on-screen help or tutorials in place of manuals. Maybe that doesn't equal better design, but it's definitely a better integrated experience.


Remember an additional function of manuals, found in this statement:

A manual is the best copy protection.

When games came in boxes, usually some floppies or CDs, and a manual, you sometimes needed the manual to progress in the game at a certain point. I can easily remember two occassions:

"Star Trek 25th anniversary": You were ordered to take the Enterprise to a specific planet. Pressing 'W', you would engage the warp drive and select that star from a map. The map was printed in the manual (center page) with the names listed on the side, whereas the map in the game would only show the stars, not their names. When you chose the wrong one, you were attacked by (powerful) eneimes.

"Maniac Mansion II: Day of the Tentacle" (at least the floppy disk edition): When you found the plans for the super-battery, you needed to know the exact levels for the salad oil and the vinegar as well as the position of the toast bread, so the battery could power the Chron-o-John. The required combinations would be found in the manual. Without the correct combination, the game would not continue.

At those times, scanners and photocopiers were expensive devices, not likely to be found in homes. So simply making a copy of the relevant manual pages was not as trivial as copying the disk. Oh, and the Internet was not as we know it today, there was no google to ask, no game forums to visit easily.

A good manual, sometimes containing a "strategic guide" or other kind of help, would also make the game easier to play by providing that specific kind of instruction. This can also be seen as a copy protection.

NB that none of those actually prevents copying the disks or CDs of the game. It restricts the usefulness of the copies. :-)

The functionality of the manual as an aid for gaming has become part of modern games. They do not require the player to discover how the game works and what it goals are, instead a guide (however it is implemented) is integrated into gameplay. I think this makes modern games easier to play because all required additional information is integrated "on the go".

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by gan17
by jessesmith on Mon 1st Jul 2013 15:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by gan17"
jessesmith Member since:
2010-03-11

Star Trek did have an interesting approach. Though it didn't work all that well to prevent piracy. After all, most copies made when that game came out would be between local friends sharing a CD. When you can get a physical CD from a person it's not all that hard to copy a map too.

Oh, and the Star Trek 25th Anniversary game used "N" to bring up the star map, "W" was for arming weapons.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by gan17
by Doc Pain on Tue 2nd Jul 2013 00:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by gan17"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Star Trek did have an interesting approach. Though it didn't work all that well to prevent piracy. After all, most copies made when that game came out would be between local friends sharing a CD. When you can get a physical CD from a person it's not all that hard to copy a map too.


When games started being published on CD, the common "copy protection" was to require the CD being present. Before games got "cracked", you could sometimes fool the game because the "protection" was sloppily implemented. I remember that it was possible to play the "Dark Forces" (by Lucas Arts, later continued as "Jedi Knight") by putting a file on your hard disk containing the "drive letter" of that disk, instead as of the CD drive, and the game would happily identify the disk as the CD.

Oh, and the Star Trek 25th Anniversary game used "N" to bring up the star map, "W" was for arming weapons.


Correct!

Even though you could (both in "command bridge view" and "landing party view") use the mouse to trigger all actions, the manual lists keys. Sometimes, it would safe your life if you could remember "U I" (use, inventory) to select the phaser. This is something a player would hardly discover without the help of the manual (and possibly without further trial & error, especially today where the keyboard is considered a big scary thing with cryptic pressbuttons and anykeys and such).

Similarly, the ability to perform keyboard actions instead mouse actions has been used in "Day of the Tentacle". It allowed a more "fluent" gaming progress as the keyboard was used for determining the action, and the mouse for the subject and / or object of that action. Ego shooters also utilize this approach (and even improved it over the time), making the player "more flexible" as he can now perform more actions at the same time (walking and looking around while selecting or reloading a weapon).

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by gan17
by zima on Thu 4th Jul 2013 22:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by gan17"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Ego shooters also utilize this approach (and even improved it over the time), making the player "more flexible" as he can now perform more actions at the same time (walking and looking around while selecting or reloading a weapon).

Ultimately, it's still a rather simplistic game mechanic of pointing at things ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by gan17
by zima on Thu 4th Jul 2013 22:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by gan17"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Remember an additional function of manuals, found in this statement:
A manual is the best copy protection.

At least at my place gaming magazines, apart from reviewing a game, also typically provided a basic manual... (and in the case of adventure games or RPGs, even outright solution/walkthrough)

Edited 2013-07-04 23:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Sun 30th Jun 2013 04:19 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

Try playing Witcher 2. It's not easy.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by shmerl
by Novan_Leon on Mon 1st Jul 2013 16:50 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
Novan_Leon Member since:
2005-12-07

I hear good things about that series. I'll have to try it as soon as I finish beating the original Dragon Age on Nightmare.

Edited 2013-07-01 16:51 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Mon 1st Jul 2013 17:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

The series are one of the best RPGs in general. Though Witcher 2 suffered some drawbacks in the UI, becuase of the consolization compromises - interface in the Witcher 1 is much better. But CDPR developers promised to avoid such mistakes in the Witcher 3, and they'll tailor UIs for gamepads and keyboard+mouse options separately.

Also, all Witcher games are/will be released DRM free.

Reply Score: 2

Sure they are more easy.
by moondevil on Sun 30th Jun 2013 06:06 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

A quick list from the features early 80's games had, just out of my head:

- Platformers with pixel perfect jumps;
- Save only allowed between levels if at all
- One life
- Shooters with 1 second reaction time to avoid all bullets
- Boss fights only possible to win if special weapon X was available
- Adventure games with head breaking puzzles, without the possibility to access the internet or BBS to find cheats

Maybe someone else remembers more stuff.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Sure they are more easy.
by Morgan on Sun 30th Jun 2013 12:30 UTC in reply to "Sure they are more easy."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Dungeons of Daggorath, as far as I know the first Doom-style first person dungeon crawler, had a unique method of tracking your player's "life". You had a heartbeat represented by a visual heart graphic and a sound tick, that would normally beat at a slow, steady rhythm. If you ran for too long, it would speed up for a bit, and you could slow it down by resting. If you got into a fight or otherwise got hurt, your heart rate would rapidly increase with each "hit". Eventually you would die of a heart attack.

As a child I would play that game for hours at a time on my old TRS-80 CoCo2. I finally beat the game (barely) after probably 300-400 hours of play time over the span of at least a year.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Sure they are more easy.
by zima on Thu 4th Jul 2013 22:55 UTC in reply to "Sure they are more easy."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

- Adventure games with head breaking puzzles, without the possibility to access the internet or BBS to find cheats

Which ultimately largely killed the genre, internet/BBS or not. And BTW, at least at my place, solutions in magazines were common ...as were essentially manuals.

Reply Score: 2

A lot
by mr_pinsky on Sun 30th Jun 2013 06:34 UTC
mr_pinsky
Member since:
2010-09-06

They are a lot easier IMHO, probably because in the youtube age peoples' attention span keeps getting shorter and shorter. So if the game isn't rewarding right away people will just give up. Fortunately there's a comeback of old games like Wasteland, Jagged Alliance and now the new Syndicate / Syndicate Wars game (Satellite Reign http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/5livesstudios/satellite-reign ) that will hopefully bring back some of the old challenges.

Edited 2013-06-30 06:37 UTC

Reply Score: 2

There definitely is a problem here
by joeprusa on Sun 30th Jun 2013 07:10 UTC
joeprusa
Member since:
2006-05-25

Consider all those Kinect-driven games around.
Like this one
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KWbLOFGSEDo
Now, I know the game has to be at least somehow rewarding - but this level of hand-holding makes me laugh.
But there certainly are more challenging games. I usually shop at gog.com these days. Not only are the games there cheap, they are also pretty fun to play and often pretty demanding. And some of them bring back memories...

Reply Score: 2

Absolutely!
by TM99 on Sun 30th Jun 2013 07:38 UTC
TM99
Member since:
2012-08-26

The most recent example for me is the Tomb Raider remake.

I loved and played all of the older ones on multiple platforms including PC.

The newest incarnation has completely removed jumping and climbing. Seriously? Lara Croft can't jump or climb. That ain't Tomb Raider. *eye roll*

But hey it is more accessible to a wider audience and that's what is important, right? ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Absolutely!
by flypig on Sun 30th Jun 2013 14:11 UTC in reply to "Absolutely!"
flypig Member since:
2005-07-13

Tomb Raider is a great example, not least because there's actually some information about this available. You might find the following paper interesting: http://www.itu.dk/people/yannakakis/CIG09_IOI.pdf

This is about Underworld, so a bit older than the latest reboot, but still relevant. For example, for the 1365 people that completed the game, the death rates were 28.9% from NPCs, 13.7% from fire/traps/drowning and 57.2% from falling.

I'm just speculating now, but I'm sure they would have taken this kind of info into account when developing the reboot. It's amazing how much data about player behaviour games developers now have access to. If games seem to be getting easier, this probably has something to do with it.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Absolutely!
by smashIt on Sun 30th Jun 2013 15:16 UTC in reply to "Absolutely!"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

The most recent example for me is the Tomb Raider remake.


thaks for reminding me of that piece of shit
they should have called it "shootergirl 2013 - now with QTEs!!!!11"

i will never understand why it got a metascore of 86

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Absolutely!
by Soulbender on Mon 1st Jul 2013 01:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Absolutely!"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

i will never understand why it got a metascore of 86


Because boobs.

Reply Score: 4

challenge / entertainment
by SeeM on Sun 30th Jun 2013 08:04 UTC
SeeM
Member since:
2011-09-10

Games of the old days had a purpose to challenge you, kill you and it required money to continue. Early console games (Atari 2600, NES, Master System) continued this approach. Robotron, Mappy, Golden Axe, Contra, Fantastic Adventres of Dizzy, 1942 were super simple games in term of concept. Everyone can just sit down and play them. But not everyone can beat them. If you can deal with your own frustration, focus for 30-60 minutes and win with for the first time with barely 1 life remaining, you feel freaking GOOD.

Now a simple question: do you felt pride after beating Angry Birds, or Cut the Rope? No. It was fun and entertaining, like a good movie, or book. It was designed not to be challenging, but to be entertaining. I miss those simple, stupid and unbelievably hard games like 1942, or Galaga.

There are some gems in never games, like Space Invaders infinity, which should be dig up.

Edited 2013-06-30 08:10 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Seems that way
by Ultimatebadass on Sun 30th Jun 2013 12:14 UTC
Ultimatebadass
Member since:
2006-01-08

I'm replaying Aquanox 2 - a 10 year old game, and so many things we take for granted today (regenerating health, checkpoints, quicksaves) are absent - fuck up during a mission? You get to play it again from the beginning and there are some things that one-shot you if you're careless.

Now, I'm kind of on the fence regarding "old-school" game difficulty. On one hand, there's no feeling like the one you get after beating a game that makes you work for it, but it's very easy to cross the line from challenging to cheap.

Reply Score: 2

Games Are Easier Today?
by evilbastard on Sun 30th Jun 2013 12:26 UTC
evilbastard
Member since:
2006-03-22

Depends on what game you are playing, try Demon's Souls or Dark Souls. There is only one difficulty level, DEATH!

Reply Score: 4

collective knowledge, experience
by REM2000 on Sun 30th Jun 2013 16:22 UTC
REM2000
Member since:
2006-07-25

Games are easier to play now, a small point i would say is that after 30 odd years of video games, there is a certain degree of collective knowledge, that is many people around the 20+ year old game playing bracket will instinctively know how to play some games because of their experience.

Things like doom may seem a little harder as they were first of their kind gaming experiences. Level design is a lot simpler in some cases like the Call of Duty games, but others such as Dishonored are harder because the maps are larger and completely multilevel and much more open.

These are not definitive reasons just a couple more to think about.

Reply Score: 4

2D retro-twitch game vs 3D gaming
by bazaillion on Sun 30th Jun 2013 17:23 UTC
bazaillion
Member since:
2006-09-30

IMHO I think one of the factors is the older 2D platformer games, and game systems had per-pixel accuracy for sprite collision detection, where 3D is using a box model approximation technique, so all the movements and game play is more sloppy in nature in modern games, even modern 2D games because they are just 3D games in orthogonal view. You take a Defender, Donkey Kong, etc you had to be precise in play, where as most modern FPS you just need to be close enough.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sun 30th Jun 2013 17:27 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

I think the older days of gaming saw more diversity. A lot of games these days are more or less the same thing except for the color of the eye shadow and lipstick they put on them. That's not to say they aren't or can't be fun -- just that there are obvious similarities that weren't so obvious or dominant back in the day.

When I play a new game, I always start it on the hardest setting possible. I can't think of any game I haven't been able to complete doing this. If I feel the replay value is there, I'll start over. If a new harder level was opened when I completed the game, I'll select that one.

Reply Score: 2

Probably harder
by jessesmith on Sun 30th Jun 2013 18:11 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

I think a lot of modern games are easier, for two reasons. The first is that newer games tend to have more familiar controls and nicer interfaces. A lot of old games had really cryptic interfaces and learnign to play them was often trial-and-error.

The other reason is developers want their games to keep players' attention for a long time. In the days when games were necessarily small enough to fit on a floppy you padded the game by making it hard and with steep difficulty curves or by making th AI cheat. In modern games you keep the player involved with extra maps, more collectibles and a nice, slow difficulty curve. We now have enough disk space and memory to pad out games with content rather than difficult challenges.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Probably harder
by smashIt on Sun 30th Jun 2013 20:00 UTC in reply to "Probably harder"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

We now have enough disk space and memory to pad out games with content rather than difficult challenges.


and not enough manpower to create that content
in reality games today are as padded as ever (if not more)

when you entered a room with 10 enemies in doom, after killing 10 enemies you were done
today you have to do every enemy at least 3 times before you can move on

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Probably harder
by krinchan on Mon 1st Jul 2013 00:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Probably harder"
krinchan Member since:
2012-06-08

Not quite. Doom was infamous for it's traps. You could create an area of the map that once stepped in, would shut off the lights and open all sorts of secret doors re-flooding the room with a new army of mobs.

Even then, Doom II would go further and force you to Ping-Pong back and forth between areas gradually opening them up. Each new door you opened would trigger secret walls opening in previously explored areas. You'd walk into a recently emptied room and find it packed full of Revenants.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Probably harder
by WorknMan on Sun 30th Jun 2013 23:42 UTC in reply to "Probably harder"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I think a lot of modern games are easier, for two reasons. The first is that newer games tend to have more familiar controls and nicer interfaces. A lot of old games had really cryptic interfaces and learnign to play them was often trial-and-error.


Actually, I think there are 3 kinds of 'hard' in games:

1. The ones where the gameplay is so convoluted, you need a 300 page manual just to sort it out.

2. The ones that are cryptic, for no other reason than to be cryptic. A popular example that the Angry Video Game Nerd points out is in Castlevania 2, where you have to kneel in a random corner somewhere with a certain crystal to make a tornado appear. You know, the kind of thing that 99.9% of people would never find on their own.

3. The kind of game that just kicks your ass ;) These games, like Super Meat Boy or Robotron, can take less than a couple minutes to learn how to play, but still be hard as hell.

In my opinion #3 is the only good kind, assuming that the game isn't unintentionally hard, because of bad controls, or whatever.

Reply Score: 2

Are some of the titles even "games"
by matthekc on Sun 30th Jun 2013 18:34 UTC
matthekc
Member since:
2006-10-28

Red Dead Redemption undead nightmare is one of my favorite ps3 games, but in my opinion with auto aim on it's not a game it's an interactive story.

Edited 2013-06-30 18:35 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Wafflez Member since:
2011-06-26

Uhmmm, ehmmmm, turn it off?

Reply Score: 2

matthekc Member since:
2006-10-28

I wasn't trying to complain I am honestly asking should we really consider it a game if it doesn't really require skill and I was using Red Dead Redemption's default behavior as an example. At what point is it an interactive story instead of a game?
I did turn auto aim off and will continue to do so for games where the core challenge of the game is hitting the target.

Reply Score: 1

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

games where the core challenge of the game is hitting the target

Or, more broadly, pointing at things... :p

Reply Score: 2

More A Change in Goals
by krinchan on Mon 1st Jul 2013 00:17 UTC
krinchan
Member since:
2012-06-08

Having played Doom II for some nostalgia in the middle of playing through Metro: Last Light (free with my Graphics card), I don't find it a difference in difficulty, but a difference in goals.

Doom and much more so Doom II contained expansive, non-linear maps that were filled with traps and secrets. The fun came from learning how to handle enemies, strafing like a pro, and some really clever AI synergies with various enemies in the same room. Clearing out a room by turning the Imps on the Revenants and then finishing off a few Revenants with a quarter health is something to be proud about.

Metro: Last Light plays more like a "choose your own adventure" book, really. You get some story, then drop out of the story and play a "scenario." Imagine one or two of the more complicated rooms in Doom II with some extensions to the engine for stealth and sneaking.

You are rewarded for success by getting more story. It's fairly obvious that the design goals are very different. iD wanted to make a game. Deep Silver wanted to tell a story.

I really don't keep up with FPS anymore. I only play Metro: Last Light because it was free. Which is sad, because I really was a hardcore Doom and Quake guy. I got into Halo 1 with a friend on the Legendary Co-Op, but after everything went competitive multiplayer, I quit the genre.

Edited 2013-07-01 00:17 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: More A Change in Goals
by Alfman on Mon 1st Jul 2013 04:42 UTC in reply to "More A Change in Goals"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

I agree there was probably a change in development goals. The "problem" is that it's difficult to be original any longer. Technology may improve marginally, but pushing it further doesn't increase entertainment value IMHO. To me, incorporating captivating story lines is a good way to differentiate modern games and keep things fresh.

AI is the one area I've been particularly disappointed with in games. Enemies are often trivial state machines - mechanic and predictable. I've always thought they could be much better. However I haven't seen many games in the past decade so if anyone has examples of good modern AI I'd like to see it in action. Of course if the enemies were more intelligent and realistic, the odds individual characters winning "fairly" against numerous formidable AI opponents would approach zero and probably ruin the script.

Edited 2013-07-01 04:44 UTC

Reply Score: 3

A little bit of both
by dvhh on Mon 1st Jul 2013 05:13 UTC
dvhh
Member since:
2006-03-20

Of course during the years Game UI have evolved to offer a more streamlined experience.
But on the other hand publishers are trying to offer a less frustrating experience (so you would buy the sequel), and shorter game (so that you would buy the next game sooner).
Of course money spend on bells and whistles is also a huge factor in game budget, but I'm guessing that's also the reason that games are more linear spectacle rather than exploratory experience.

Other reason include the rise of the internet and the hint/cheat website which killed most adventure games, the gargantuan appetite of EA which killed some of the most creative game dev studios to focus them on one genre/franchise, and gatekeeper that let you enter the game market at a very steep cost (Except for Computers and phones).

Remember that "ancient" games were mostly developed by a small team that mostly survived on canned tuna before selling their games to publishers.

Fortunately "Smart" phone growth, and initiative like
Kickstarter show that more interesting game can be done on a smaller budget and smaller team and without the kickass graphics.

Reply Score: 2

RE: A little bit of both
by zima on Thu 4th Jul 2013 22:42 UTC in reply to "A little bit of both"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

the rise of the internet and the hint/cheat website which killed most adventure games

Adventure games killed themselves, precisely by having too convoluted, illogical challenges. Besides, earlier-than-internet game magazines also printed solutions to those (and RPGs), at least at my place.

Reply Score: 2

Following the curve back...
by TemporalBeing on Mon 1st Jul 2013 18:03 UTC
TemporalBeing
Member since:
2007-08-22

Honestly, I think games through the mid-1990's were generally playable by the majority even if people didn't "complete" the game. However, somewhere around Half-Life/CounterStrike games started becoming unbelievably hard, so unless you were a hard core gamer you just didn't play them any more.

So if they're swinging back on the curve to a more normal playability level, then yes - they'll be easier than games 5 or 10 years ago; but they'll also be more appealing, and ultimately not really any harder than those 20-25 years ago.

Reply Score: 4

Too many pretensions
by mkone on Mon 1st Jul 2013 19:18 UTC
mkone
Member since:
2006-03-14

One of the games I played the most was Serious Sam. While it was difficult to get past certain stages, it remained ridiculously fun to shoot the skeletons and headless monsters that it didn't matter so much when one as stuck at a specific stage. You just autoregenrated very close to where you died and went again. If you got tired of a specific stage, you just hit the cheat (usually activating God mode) and moved on. And you would have ridiculous fun at the next stage.

Reply Score: 2

Doubts? See this video
by protomank on Tue 2nd Jul 2013 12:12 UTC
protomank
Member since:
2006-08-03

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FpigqfcvlM

This video demonstrate how Megaman and Megaman X have a clever way to introducing commands to the user WITHOUT arrows pointing out "go this way". If you still think current games are not easier than old ones after watching this video, you are a real poor gamer ;)

Reply Score: 2