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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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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 5