With games of the past seeming much more difficult than those of today, has the modern gamer grown complacent with easy more accessible games? Or has gaming as whole just moved on with extremely difficult and punishing games allowing only a few to float to the surface of the community’s mind?
With the recent release of Cup Head for the Xbox One and PC many gamer’s are arguing that the difficulty is too steep for most of today’s gamers. In today’s gaming landscape this can be both a curse and a blessing depending on which side of the coin you land on. On one hand there are those gamers who enjoy an extremely difficult game like the Darksouls series. On the other hand you have those that want to be able to relax and just enjoy a game with a menial difficulty who will be scared away from the punishing difficulty. It seems the the majority of the gaming world falls into the latter of these categories. This may scare many developers away from making their games too punishing for the gaming community as a whole.
While Cup head is just one example of a newly released game it’s more and more common these days for a game with a higher difficulty curve than the norm to garner more attention for their difficulty. You don’t hear people talking about the difficulty of a game like other big releases this year like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, or Destiny 2. Though we do about games like Cup Head, the combat in Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Nioh. Is this because the gaming community has been come a harbor for “baby gamers who only play baby games”?
No this isn’t the reason. The industry as whole as grown much larger in the past 20 years. Growing almost as large as the Hollywood film industry at time. With this growing interest in games and an influx of players over the years, developers and publishers have progressively made games more accessible to a wider audience. This has led games themselves to be less punishing and more forgivable to the uninitiated. Meaning more people won’t just play them once and give up, especially if it’s their first time picking up a controller.
There was a time when games were the punishing ordeal that would scare away many of the “filthy casuals”(this is in jest the gaming death podcast believes that all gamers are worth of the gamer title) but that day has come and gone. It’s the reason that these ridiculously hard games get the attention they do. Rather than being the norm of the old days, these are a rare breed, and the gamers that tackle them feel the same sense of accomplishment that those who spent hours playing Megaman or Ninja Gaiden on the NES felt. While this trend of easier games seems here to stay, it’s a good thing since more and more people get to play them.