Monday, July 30, 2012

The Disappearing Level of Difficulty

This fits perfectly into my Asperger's Everyday string of posts because it proves that when I get my mind on something I can become stuck and go on a rant. That rant has lasted a long time because here I am writing about it.

Last night I had a debate with my nephew over video game difficulty. Okay, I've had this debate many times over the past few weeks with various people and each time I have argued the same point; video games aren't as difficult as they used to be.

Sure, games today have sharper graphics and more bells and whistles than anyone could have imagined 20 years ago but something is missing and that's the harsh consequences that happens when one loses. Let's go back to Super Mario Brothers. When your lives were up that was it. There were no save points, no continues, and once the final life was over one would have to start at the beginning. So you want to talk about pressure? Try getting to the final castle with one life left! That's pressure and I did that at least a dozen times before I finally beat the game. And when I finally did, and I can still remember it perfectly, the sense of accomplishment was greater than anything that my six-year-old-self had ever done. And that's something that's missing now; when a game is completed there is no thrill and no sense of "wow, I can't believe I just did that!"

Games are much more advanced now and the AI in games are getting more human like each year. However, in many games now one can save their game every step they take. What this allows is a no risk atmosphere. If one makes a mistake the problem can be tried and retried until the year 2050 comes around. I will say this did fix one of the problems I hated; having to do and redo something over and over and yet, when the hurdle that was there was leaped over, the sense of achievement was greater than any achievement I ever got on the Xbox 360.

I'm thankful I grew up when I did because I think my tenacity at looking at a problem and not giving up was somewhat aided by the fact that I lived in that era of games. Gamers are now easily frustrated and if save points are too far between and if the difficulty is "too hard" a game is bashed over and over. I realize each era has its pros and cons but games today just don't have that same sense of achievement like they used to.

This was just a sample of the argument I made last night. The way this fits into Asperger Syndrome is that when I feel strongly about something I will let my voice be heard again and again (and again and again...) until I know I've said everything five times and I've convinced you that I am right. When an argument like this pops up the only thing I care about is getting you to vacate your former thoughts and agree that I am right. Remember, I operate on a "I think therefore you should know" so if you think otherwise I have no way to understand this. Well, since that is the case I better end this blog post here or I might just start giving more arguments as to why video games of today just don't have that spark like they used to.


  1. Like I said during our chat: I totally agree with you.

  2. Love this. I don't play video games but I feel the same way about a lot of things that are happening these days. It seems that a lot of people think anything they do is a fabulous accomplishment and anything anyone else does is really trivial. Interesting stuff. Thanks.