Dear Developers

(This entry is part of the July Round Table at Man Bytes Blog. Check out the other entries here or via the drop-down menu at the end of this wall o’ text.)

I will probably not make it through your game if I have to play any given boss or section more than three times.

I don’t play games to be frustrated, and in my mind, when I’m playing a game, any frustration that lasts for more than five minutes can’t be “good” or “motivating” frustration. I will never play N+, or a hardcore roguelike. Wanting to break something–most likely the expensive piece of electronics in my hands–is not my idea of a good time. When a review says a game is “punishingly difficult,” I direct my browser elsewhere. When I get frustrated, I take a break from the game–sometimes for good.

There are plenty of games that I claim to enjoy or even love that I have not finished. Odin Sphere, Dragon Quest VIII, Shadow of the Colossus, the original Legend of Zelda, the first two Metroid Prime games, and more all sit stagnant in my collection, and every time I get the urge to play one of them I remember the frustratingly difficult section that made me stop to begin with.

Instead of the challenge, I play games for the experience. The story. To immerse myself in a world crafted by a team of creative and technological minds. I want to discover, to relax, and to have fun. Part of what makes games such an interesting medium is that people get different things out of them, and experience them in different ways. The best part? All these ways are equally valid.

Two games I’m currently playing are Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. I’m not particularly far into either, but even so, I can tell you which game I will get completely through and which one I will not. (Hint: it’s the one with an easy mode!)

So please, include that easy mode. It’s just considerate.

Please visit the Round Table’s Main Hall for links to all entries.

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6 thoughts on “Dear Developers

  1. Assassin’s Creed actually gets easier as you gain equipment and learn how to best manage crowds of guards. There were two or three frustrating moments at the end, but none as bad as I’ve seen in many other games.

  2. …if you can get over the hump of doing variations on the same thing that many times. Getting bored of the AC mission types seems a fairly common affliction too.

  3. That’s another component of the game’s non-difficulty ramp–the missions don’t vary or become more difficult for much of the game. Only the primary assassination goals require adjustment of strategy.

  4. Good to hear, but it’s usually those frustrating end sections that get me. By then I’ve put in enough hours to make it worth the purchase, so it’s easier to walk away. Eventually I might take Altair back to the assassin town just so I can hop on and run around on rooftops unencumbered whenever I get the urge.

  5. I feel the exact same way, very well put. I associate “brutal difficulty” with constant repetition, something I generally turn to video games to avoid. What’s more, when a game is that hard it becomes difficult to learn from your mistakes, making the repetition feel even more pointless.Some gamers get a lot of mileage out of very hard games, and that’s perfectly legitimate. However, like you, I am more likely to pop the disc and try something new.

  6. Pingback: While !Finished » And I Didn’t Even Use Tarot Cards

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