How We Misunderstood Accessibility in the 2010s

Accessibility isn't about dumbing a game down, as John explains — it's about expanding their reach to a wider range of potential fans.

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CaptainOmega30d ago

I think the concept of difficulty in games should be applied on a case by case basis. Some people will want artifical difficulty, others want to play how a game is supposed to be played.

For me? I’d rather play a game at a certain difficulity that the developers think it should be played.

Tross29d ago

I’d actually love it if the kind of dynamic difficulty that some retro games had would be brought back. There were sometimes areas exclusive to higher difficulty settings, and in some instances, there were certain types of enemies that were exclusive to higher difficulties as well. If nothing else, a number of games just had more enemies as the difficulty increased. The same area in a game could feel quite different depending on whether you’re playing on easy, hard, very hard, etc.

29d ago
ArmyVetGamer29d ago

Exactly... some games arent meant to have an easy mode . I didnt hear anyone crying when destiny only had 1 difficulty setting. Dont like Sekiro? Find another game

KillBill29d ago

You are missing the point. It does not effect you in the least if others play at an easier level than you might play in a single player game. So the option of leveling that would open up a game to more gamers is nothing but a positive. It sells more games which in turn opens up the Devs to potentially being able to make a follow up game.

rainslacker29d ago

I want fun and challenging, but not frustrating. When I start getting to the point that I'm swearing over and over, or quickly getting frustrated because some new way to get through a section, then I think it's too hard or poorly designed. I dont play into this theory that it's a badge of honor to beat a particularly difficult game and that's the way the dev intended it to be played, because as the player I want to have fun. A dev can choose to try and support my demands or not, and I won't hold it against them, but I also won't support them if they dont have what I want.

KillBill29d ago

Yep the badge of honors are in the achievements earned if they have them. you will always see achievements garnered towards beating the game at harder levels.

l3w1s29d ago

How exactly a game having an easy mode prevents you from playing the harder difficulty?

29d ago
RabbitFly29d ago (Edited 29d ago )

Well what everyone that makes that argument fails to understand is that some games simply don't work without this so called difficulty.

Soulsborne in particular. The whole game is designed around it. Everything from how you progress to the lore. It is not there to be machoistic, it is there to create a certain experience.

l3w1s29d ago


Okay. Make a soulsborne game and add cheat codes, like invincibility or infinite souls. Why do even remotely care how other people play a game. You get your experience.

29d ago
l3w1s29d ago

It doesn't. It does however prevent some people from playing the game that doesn't have an easy mode. Are you stupid? That is the whole point of the conversation.
And fuck off with "actual adults". Actual adults do not gatekeep their games from having features that help other people and do not affect them in the slightest.

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ssj2729d ago (Edited 29d ago )

If is difficult but fair skill based sure!!! Hence souls game brought most wanted genre since 2010. Or online multiplayer like socom quake conter strike killzone COD Etc are or were so loved and played. Because it difficulty depends on your skills they are fair unless someone cheats. In many cases a lot of people cheat online and ruins the experience for most. A d many others cases the devs cheap and made the game difficult stupidly unfair and makes the experience unfair. Some may like that but i don't. Like playing re2 hardcore or time trails they are extremely difficulty unfairly to the limit that you got to do everything perfect or near perfect and i got no time for that lol.

Souls games are like the ones we most grow up watching in dragonball when goku get beaten or others they got the chance to get stronger and try it one more time and that's what souls ganes has and that's why it's so adictive. How many times we encounter a figjt in their games and got out ass kick? To later say ok i be back once i get strong enough and beat you. The pleasure to coming back stronger and winning is so nice. It give motivation to play the game level up and get better.

KillBill29d ago

The entire premise though of them adding harder levels is for gamers to be able to challenge themselves if they wish. Same reasoning is that many gamers are more casual and offering a less difficult playthrough offering is something that many games do... i.e. Witcher 3 offering up what they refer "Just the Story" difficulty while also offering up the complete opposite of the "Blood and Broken Bones!" and "Death March!".

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Gamehard29d ago

Sekiro difficulty was perfect imo. It was rough until you learned to parry and counter, and got your confidence up. Being too defensive in it wasn't the way to go. Sure I guess you could say it's inaccessible for casual gamers that don't wanna take the time to really get into it, but that model is what made it all the more rewarding.

ArmyVetGamer29d ago

Exactly what i said above... not all games are for all gamers. Dont like Sekiro or Dark Souls? Find another game. I hated Demons Souls at first, until i "got gud".

rainslacker29d ago

The developer can decide if they want to give the option for those who don't want to get into the more skilled modes. The consumer can decide if what the dev offers works for them.

It is what it is.

I thought Jedi: Fallen Order also did a pretty decent job at normal and the next step up. They were going for that Souls kind of skill, although failed a bit at it. The hard setting was just cheap and stupid, and the easy mode was stupidly easy. I had a bit of trouble at normal mode until I figured out that parrying was a big part of the game play. For the clean up of trophies I just set it to easy though, because I didn't find the combat too engaging either way.

RazzerRedux29d ago (Edited 29d ago )

The author is trying to equate accessibility settings and peripherals like color-blind modes and Xbox Adaptive Controller with the lack of the ability to reduce difficulty in games like Sekiro. No....sorry. These are not the same issues at all. The fact that someone is not good enough a gamer to beat Dark Souls or Sekiro is NOT a disability. Because the simple fact of the matter is that anyone can beat those games if they keep at it enough. Most simply lack the desire or succumb to frustration. That's on them. From Software's appeal to so many is that it does not compromise. You know what you are getting when you buy these games.

No amount of practice is going to make someone not be color-blind or remove a true physical disability like cerebral palsy. Lumping these disabilities in with the average gamer's unwillingness to get better at beating a game like Sekiro is a bit ridiculous. It is fine to discuss whether or not From Software should impose difficulties that gamers cannot change, but that discussion is light years away from discussing accessibility in the context of accommodating people with true physical impairments.

LucasRuinedChildhood29d ago

Yes. Game journalists are the ones that conflated accessibility options and difficulty in 2019 in order to try make the high difficulty in FromSoftware games some sort of moral issue. "Do you not want disabled people to be able to play these games? Disgusting!!!" The [contrived] misunderstanding is on them.

Journalists shouldn't use people with impairments as a shield for their op-eds. I have tendonitis in my hands so I really appreciate being able to remap buttons to make games more manageable/comfortable - but I also prefer challenging games. Sometimes games like Hotline Miami and the Souls games are designed around a concept that doesn't scale well to lower difficulties.

Games being too difficulty is an almost non-existent issue anyway. The far bigger issue is that AAA games are being dumbed down across the board. I find myself less interested in games than I used to be because of this. I'm just about in my mid-twenties so I'm not exactly a retro gamer either. If you're invested in a medium, you should be rewarded for that investment, not punished.

So many games introduce fun concepts but don't do enough with them because they're afraid to challenge players and as a result, games often lack depth that they could have easily had. A large amount of gamers complain about puzzles so that crowd is often catered to to the detriment of those who appreciate them. The puzzles/tombs were almost removed entirely from Tomb Raider 2013 (a franchise constructed around puzzles and platforming in tombs) to make the game more "accessible" and then they were brought back in Rise but made optional. And the thing is, almost no one who dislikes puzzles is too mentally impaired to perform them. It's not about accessibility. It's about taste and preferences.

rainslacker29d ago

Some motor skill disabilities may prevent people with them from being good at the Soul's type games. The accessibility controllers make things easier to control, but don't necessarily allow for more precision movements, just easier to press buttons for those who don't have fine motor control.

I don't believe games have to be designed to accomidate everyone though, and while I'm always for getting anyone that wants to play games into gaming, the percentages are low to think that every game has to support those with disabilities. Some things would be more common, like vision disabilities so the user can adjust the screen displays to see them easier. Stuff like that doesn't affect game play, and is just a quality of life thing, or make a game playable for those affected by vision. Borderlands 3 I find unplayable on the consoles since they don't allow you to adjust the UI or font settings except for subtitles. The game relies heavily on reading the stats of loot, and if I have to stop all the time to read that tiny text, it does ruin the experience. I don't have a problem seeing the screen in game play, but some of the color decisions do make it harder to play in some games, where too much photorealism makes it hard to see what may be firing at you.

There are all sorts of potential reasons why one may have trouble playing a game, and not all of them are considered disabilities. But not all disabilities can be accommodated in all games.

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