Failure in videogames has become too trivial

"The concept of being garbage at a modern videogame has become so eroded that failing in many contemporary titles is more often an inconvenience than anything else. A reason to sigh, slump back in your chair and check twitter while you wait for assistance...

Failure in videogames should always mean something."

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Mad_Mack2459d ago

While I agree with the points, I think it is more to do with the fact that players largely no longer have the patience to sit and work at a challenge for hours on end. Even I am guilty of it, looking up Game FAQs on the internet if I am stuck at a boss for more than a few goes or cant find the game progressing maguffin within 10 minutes.

However, I would suggest that the author might lack a certain amount of experience in gameplaying, as before you had checkpoints in games you had the quicksave button. The first Half Life (and I am sure others previous to it) could instantly save at the touch of a single button (F6) and could reload at the touch of another (F7) meaning that death, or even losing too much health in an encounter lacked any real significance.

It was still obviously an excellent game, driven by the fact that it, like a lot of games, was about the journey, rather than just the challenge. I for one find it more fun to be taken on a 10 hour fun ride instead of a 30 hour slog through arbitrarily difficult challenges. If a game is really good, then I will stick it on the hardest setting and go at it again and again and again.

Kurt Russell2459d ago

I agree with you, but not so much author.

I think there are still challenging games where death is something to avoid, as is there are games where survival isn't the main focus. Both have a place, and gaming is better than it ever has been. I don't miss the days where my games took 45 minutes to load on a cassette only to die 1 minute in and wait for that load again.

Dalagonash2459d ago

The article mentions the quick save button, there's a whole little bit explaining that 'checkpoints' are not the issue at hand.

Systematrix2459d ago

He obviously hasn't played Gears 3 on insane. Even on insane ( no going down, just dead) you're never to far from the last checkpoint. Nobody wants the days of old where you lose your 3rd life and the whole game is over, but there has to be a balance. This is what the different difficulty levels should be for.

LightofDarkness2459d ago (Edited 2459d ago )

The only reason games were so mercilessly difficult back in the day was to pad out their length and replay value. If you're good at the games, they barely take an hour or two to beat.

The real problem is the investment of so much time and energy into learning to be good at something that has no useful application in reality (IMO). I don't want to put in the time and effort to be, let's say, a master of Demon's/Dark Souls, because outside of those games there is no point to being that good at it. You haven't really achieved anything. And when you look at it, the game's seemingly impressive is length is tied directly to how well you know the areas and enemy patterns etc. A person has run through the entire game in 1.5 hours, which begs the question "how much is REALLY in this game?" It would seem to me that there's a dearth of content in a game like that, and the appearance of length is only created by illusory difficulty.

With that said, I sank an inordinate amount of time into Ninja Gaiden and Megaman games as a child, and mastered them all eventually. Nowadays, I simply don't have the time to devote to developing a skill that isn't applicable or useful to me in reality. It's not like learning a really difficult piece on guitar, where doing so means you now have a much tighter grasp of various techniques and many new tricks to apply to other songs/pieces and even other instruments. Playing Ninja Gaiden to completion really only meant that I was good at Ninja Gaiden, my skills there didn't apply to other games or anything in real life (maybe hand-eye co-ordination).

In short, I don't want to constantly fail in a videogame. Videogames are supposed to entertain and be cathartic, not add another level of frustration or stress to your life. They are supposed to be scalable to your skill level so you can surmount the challenges, people do not seem to understand the art of crafting a well tuned difficulty curve that develops with the player, as opposed to just making all the enemies harder to kill and powerful, while making you a fragile toothpick, ready to be blown away by a strong gust of wind.

Robotronfiend2459d ago

I think another thing that the author didn't touch on is that the old games where death meant starting over are still here. With so much culture and history available on the internet these days the games where death is meaningful are still around both old and new (Dark Souls).

The landscape and culture (if I can use that phrase) of gaming has changed and circumstances around death and expectations of gamers have changed as well.

I'm not against a death incurring some kind of resource loss, but I prefer it not to be time that I lose - gold, blood, credits, or even a timed stat decrease like an MMO are all okay with me.

LightofDarkness2459d ago

Exactly, I don't mind the loss of cash/exp/equipment and such (as long as you're given at least one chance to recover them).

Mad_Mack2459d ago

Difficulty curves are a tough one. I think the problem a lot of games have is a lack of a curve. Some games (notably but not exclusively sandbox games) will have very little in the way of a difficulty curve per se, and will instead rely on the core gameplay or story to be entertaining enough to captivate the player and keep them interested well into their 30th hour. Other games do increase the difficulty, but then it suddenly jumps and makes parts of the game an exercise in frustration to get through. And some games have difficulty curves that go all over the place (Dead Space, Ninja Gaiden) with the difficulty of the level or boss bearing little or no relation to where it lies in the game.

Does anyone remember that terribly Rise of the Robots on the Mega Drive? In the single player you could only pick one robot to play as, and he was pretty average. The first two or three robots were really easy to beat, and then you would come up against one robot who took all of your health in about two hits. That was not a difficulty curve, that was a difficulty wall!