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Quit Gettin' Mad at Easy Mode in Video Games

There are many good reasons why someone might want to play a game in Easy Mode, and none of them impact you.

Op-ed by Nadia Oxford, .

Have you ever thought about what an enormous privilege it is to grow up in an era where playing video games is a popular pastime? It wasn't very long ago when simply finding enough to eat kept us locked to the land for twenty hours a day, rain or shine. And when we weren't pulling turnips from the dirt, we battled disease, fought in far-off wars for faceless lords, or popped out babies at a rate that'd make a queen ant salute in tearful solidarity.

That's why video games should always be respected as an outlet of artistic expression, but people determined to defend the pastime's honor through angry words and actions should dial things back a bit. Yes, video games are great. Yes, they inspire us to read, draw, and create. Yes, for many of us they were a form of escapism when our peers were attending parties we could only dream of being invited to. But they're not worth getting furious over on any level, especially now that actual threats to the medium's growth, like Jack Thompson, have been driven back to their caves.

The sooner we stop guarding the games industry like it's one of the hapless maidens we're called on to rescue within said games, the sooner we'll resist all temptation to perform harmful gatekeeping. For instance, maybe we won't fly into a frothy rage whenever a game developer includes some manner of "Easy Mode" or cheat or skip in a game.

When Nintendo first unveiled the White Tanooki suit for Super Mario 3D Land – a wholly optional invincibility cheat that pops up as a suggestion after you lose five lives – self-proclaimed hardcore gamers acted as if the world was coming to an end. "Mario games were hard when we were kids, and that's how they liked it," they barked while rubbing at their newly-applied Konami Code tattoos.

The latest backlash against gamers who refuse to "git gud" was sparked over news that the upcoming NiER Automata has an auto-mode for anyone who wants to use it. The argument was re-kindled yesterday when Bayonetta series designer Hideki Kamiya said over Twitter that putting anything similar in a Bayonetta game would be "nuts" (never mind that Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 have selectable difficulties).

In the olden days we usually had to rely on code-altering devices for our cheats, some of which were peddled via HORRIFIC ADS. Kids today have it easy.

Is there a single good reason to get angry over a game's inclusion of optional Easy Modes, or a single good reason to get angry at people who ask for them? Even if you take pride in your game-playing skills and are conscious of the number of hours it took to commit every twitch and button-press to muscle memory, how are those skills threatened by a White Tanooki suit? Nobody is asking for an "Everyone's a Winner!" bracket at EVO or MOBA competitions. It's just that no sane artist, no matter how skilled, would protest the sale of art supplies to amateurs. No sane film aficionado would call for subtitles to be eliminated from movies ("How can you really appreciate a film if you can't hear the dialogue?").

Video games already have accessibility problems. Subtitles aren't mandatory even though they should be, bad font choices make text illegible, God help you if you're colorblind, and control options for left-handed gamers often amount to "lol" and "eff off." Getting angry over people wanting (and needing) an Easy Mode is an extension of these problems.

People have mobility issues. They have slow reflexes. They have arthritis, coordination problems, or suffer from motion sickness. More commonly, they have kids. They have 80-hour-a-week jobs. They have chores and sick parents to take care of.

All these people have every right to play video games, and they have every right to choose how stressed out they want to be when facing down a marauding Frost Troll in Skyrim. Maybe they want to enjoy a life-or-death struggle. Maybe they'd rather sit back and survive long enough to thoroughly enjoy a game's story, music, and graphics. It's up to them to make the choice, though.

To re-iterate one more time: Video games are for everyone. And while it's ultimately your right to keep crusading under the "Hardcore" banner, don't forget to hide your childhood Game Genie behind some Blu-rays when your fellow soldiers come visiting.

[EDIT, November 6: A Platinum Games employee reached out to clarify that Kamiya actually meant that making a game for one type of gamer would be "nuts," and that Bayonetta 2 won Able Gamers' "Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year" award.]

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Comments 90

  • Avatar for VotesForCows #1 VotesForCows 9 months ago
    Bravo! Exactly right Nadia.
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  • Avatar for neufel #2 neufel 9 months ago
    This is so true. Great article
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #3 KaiserWarrior 9 months ago
    My only problem with Nintendo's "here let me do it for you" mode is that it does not distinguish between someone trying something weird/risky and it not working out, and someone just walking right off a cliff due to lack of video game specific skillsets. No, Nintendo, I do not need your help to complete this level. I didn't need it the last 20 times you nagged me about it, either. Please give me an option to turn off your prompts for Super Mode or whatever you're calling it this time.

    I've got no gripe with games having easier difficulties. That's exactly why they're there and selectable, for the player to decide on the level of challenge they want and switch as needed. I just get irked by game designers being so afraid of the thought that I might not see all their content right away that they feel the need to condescend to me, early and often, about getting their help the very moment I don't succeed at something.

    Leave it selectable in a menu or something, and trust the player to make their own decisions without needing you to remind them that easy mode is there every time they die. Treat them like reasonably-intelligent humans, not babies.

    Megaman 10 did it very well. They gave you a difficulty selection and even a graphic at the start to explain that Easy Mode reduced the number of enemies in the game and put extra platforms over spikes/bottomless pits. You got the prompt once at the start, and then the game left you alone and let you decide which difficulty was appropriate for you.

    Whether that kind of Advanced Game Easing is better than handing out an invincibility/fly mode powerup is a matter of personal taste; I happen to fall on the side of the former.
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  • Avatar for The-Mike-Staub #4 The-Mike-Staub 9 months ago
    No one would ever say "let's not let kids use bumpers" in bowling. We have training wheels for bikes, and student models for instruments. We facilitate any skill that you can learn or improve with training mechanisms. Why should video games be any different. If anything it should help the medium and get more folks to play, and make games seem less intimidating. There were so many games as a kid I was afraid to play solely due to difficulty level. White Tanooki Mario and Super Kong just allow people to enjoy a game if they don't want to spend hours of their lives annoyed.

    Haters will always be just that. They think they have a moral high ground for finishing a game on the hardest difficulty. While I will always salute the hardest of thecor, if it' not a competitive game, who cares. Games are meant for fun, not for you to lord over people about. Easy mode makes the medium more accessible. However, I gather the aforementioned haters grow apprehensive about the overall accessibility of video games because they then don't feel as special. It's a very strange dichotomy. As a gamer and a nerd all I've ever wanted as a kid was to be accepted and appreciated for what I liked, but there is a certain fear that if the grand populace appreciates these things that they'll lose their exclusivity and my interest is no longer unique. It's a bad mindset, and one we must get past. Easy Mode will most likely be a point of contention because of it. Wow...I got way to philosophical there. Sorry.
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  • Avatar for TerryDonnyJrSr #5 TerryDonnyJrSr 9 months ago
    I'd take it a step further to say that getting upset over anything in video games is ridiculous because it's just a game.

    However, I'm not sure I liked that easily accessible "turn off random encounters" button from the PS4 version of Final Fantasy 7. I just didn't have the self restraint to not use it and totally abused it.
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  • Avatar for PennStater #6 PennStater 9 months ago
    This reminds me so much of the idiot "Rainbow Six" players who were incensed that respawns were allowed (but not required) in Terrorist Hunt mode. Then we have the people who demand that physical discs go away because they're privileged enough to have an Internet connection that supports their streaming/downloading requirements and have no desire for tangible media.

    It's an option. No one is forced to use an option, but that doesn't give them the right to try to have those options taken away from others.
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  • Avatar for Thusian #7 Thusian 9 months ago
    Without easy settings in Fire Emblem I would be out. I can't do permadeath, I just can't.
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #8 Frosty840 9 months ago
    Additional difficulty modes plainly do affect players at other difficulty levels, though. Each difficulty level needs time and attention to be correctly balanced and tuned and any time spent doing that is time not spent balancing a notional "one true difficulty level", or that would otherwise have been spent developing non-difficulty-related features.
    There are already plenty of easy games out on the market. Difficult games are the exception, not the rule.
    You're asking the "hardcore", difficulty-focused minority of gamers to cede ground to the mainstream in the few games that cater directly to them because... because the mainstream already expects their games to have easy modes, and niche games upset and confuse them, perhaps? I don't know. I don't know why you think difficulty-focused gamers and difficulty-focused developers should waste precious development time on people who aren't interested in difficulty-focused games in the first place. You might as well encourage an open-world driving and shooting game series to include long-winded, irritating detours where you have to take people on trips to bowling alleys or play darts, or perform some other activity the vast majority of such a game's audience has no interest in performing.

    That said, there are some places where difficulty-focused games can successfully and easily integrate a lower-difficulty mode. The white tanooki suit is one of those; all it does is permanently fill the player's P-meter and turn on invincibility. There's barely any effort required for that at all, and it's a level-by-level choice for any player to make. It's not something that can be done in every game, but it was a quick and easy win for Nintendo and I'm very glad it's included in whichever games it's featured in.

    Megaman 10's easy mode, mentioned by another commenter, is much more of a problem for me. It takes a difficulty-focused, niche game and requires development time to be spent individually revamping every single level in the game to cater to the gaming abilities and attentions of a player who had no real business buying Megaman 10 in the first place.
    That player would have been just as satisfied playing Scibblenauts, or some other non-difficulty-focused, more mainstream, less-niche platforming game, but instead bought a game that wasn't really intended for them, and played a low-effort version of it that didn't challenge them with high-difficulty platforming, because they didn't want high-difficulty platforming in the first place.

    It's like demanding low-scare versions of horror movies for people who don't want to watch horror movies or be scared in the first place. There are plenty of non-horror movies out there for those people. The entire mainstream movie world exists for those people. The idea that the niche world of horror movies should cater to them by abandoning the interests of those people who are most interested in horror movies is (in my opinion) ridiculous.
    Why should we treat the niche world of high-difficulty games with any less respect?
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #9 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    Don't get it. I personally don't use Auto Mode, but whatever, if the developer includes it who cares.

    The funny thing is, Bayonetta 1 & 2 for the Wii U included an auto combo mode! Some people are responding that you still have to dodge and press buttons. No, you press one button and it does combos, meaning you never have to dodge cause the game executes it perfectly. Not only that, there is a GamePad control option where you tap on an enemy and it fights for you.

    The white tanooki suit is awesome because I play with my 6 year old. I don't use it, but she will slap that suit on and have a blast finishing the level. I do have to remind her she can still fall to her doom lol

    But why get upset that the suit even appears and you cannot disable it? You don't have to grab it. I reckon people don't like it because at least for myself, when I see that sucker pop up... I feel Nintendo is taunting me telling me I suck.Edited November 2016 by Modern-Clix
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #10 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    Hey! Videos games, huh? They're awesome!
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  • Avatar for Namevah #11 Namevah 9 months ago
    @Thusian You're not alone, either. Casual Mode is one of a handful of features that saved Fire Emblem, so it's always dispiriting when someone complains about it, even when it's pointed out that it is optional.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #12 VotesForCows 9 months ago
    @Frosty840 Hey, you make some good points there - the issue of development time is definitely pertinent. But I think your assessment of who a game is meant for may be a little off. Nobody is saying all games need selectable difficulty - but if a developer chooses to have that, then they're saying that their game is meant for a broader range of skill-sets.

    The other thing I disagree with you on is that anyone could possibly be satisfied with playing Scribblenauts... :o)
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  • Avatar for LunarFlame17 #13 LunarFlame17 9 months ago
    THANK YOU for this. I always play games on easy, because I simply have no interest in being challenged in a video game. That's not what video games are about for me. Life is hard enough as it is. I play video games to escape from challenges, not add to them.
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  • Avatar for Dusky #14 Dusky 9 months ago
    While I understand the point of the article something must be pointed out:
    There's a big difference between an "easy mode" and an "invincible mode". I have yet to see a comment getting angry at a easy mode, but the "god mode" you can switch on and off while in game is something else.

    An easy mode means the game will be a bit easier than it's Normal mode alternative, the core of the game is still the same. But turning on into an invincible being (Think the white tanooki of Mario games) may has other impacts.

    Being able to switch off some obstacle may pushes people who have no restrains to abuse this capacity and it may change the nature of the game for them, especially when an easy win is so easily reachable. My favorite example is how I abused turning off encounters in Bravely Default because I kinda wanted to go faster, in the end it completely offset my character progress and I had to farm more in order to advance further after a boss. The "god mode" changed my perception of the game, and now I'm a bit annoyed when I think how I had to farm for several hours because I just wanted it easy, but it isn't the developers fault, it's mine.

    A "god mode" may have unexpected consequences to a game, it's not always just an annoying passage you're skipping because it's hard, you may miss on some core elements of the game, while the "easy mode" preserve these, but just crank the difficulty an itch.

    Like said above, making easier difficulties need work, it's not free.
    Also the difficulty if something that can be a core principle the game must rely on: The director of XCOM2 realized toward the end of the project they had to raise the difficulty level by a lot, otherwise a lot of in-game mechanics wouldn't kick-in.
    Difficulty is also something that fuel game mechanics, it's not just about being hardcore or anything, sometime it's necessary to give value to certain things.

    Finally, if a game is hard, maybe it's not made for everybody, like the example given above using the horror movies.

    I think people ranting about the God modes are just afraid it will denature the game they like, or even afraid they might let themselves be tempted by the easy route and pass along other things.
    I really think the matter is more complicated that just a bunch of people hating on other players.
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  • Avatar for Lonecow #15 Lonecow 9 months ago
    Excellent article.

    Getting married and having kids meant sometimes, to get through a backlog I go Easy Mode. But I'm an adult now, so I don't really feel shame about it, and just laugh when I look in forums and people give a hard time over easy mode.

    But no matter your life situation, I think when there are a ton on entries into a game series that you completely ignored, and then all of a sudden, part VII looks like it is up your ally. Whatever it takes to get through those early games quick is fair game, be it Easy Mode, or downloading a New Game + save state, or turning of cheats. There are just too many games to get through and life is too short to struggle through needless hassle or restarting all the time.

    If you go to gaming sites frequently, chances are you are pretty decent at games, so no matter what we would be able to beat any game given time. Easy mode just shortens the inevitable in my opinion.

    AND when playing with your kids, Easy Mode makes it so much more fun. I can't imagine playing Wooly World with my 4 year old without Flying Yoshi being turned on all the time.
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #16 nadiaoxford 9 months ago
    @Frosty840 Comparing game difficulty to movie genres is a bit of a false equivalence. We *have* horror games, and nobody in their right mind would say "I don't want zombies in Resident Evil" or "Five Nights at Freddy's shouldn't have jump scares." If you don't want horror in your games, you wouldn't play a horror game. You'd play something friendlier, like Mario or Little Big Planet or whatever.

    But game difficulty is something that can vary enormously between two games in the same genre. GTA 5 and Skyrim (sorry, got Skyrim on the brain) play very differently, and two fans of the genre might want different levels of challenge.

    Since I've been playing Mega Man since '91, I'll go ahead and say I'm 100% OK with Mega Man 10 having adjustable difficulty. First off, a Mega Man game can deliver some of the industry's purest platforming fun without being teeth-gnashingly hard (the best game in the series, e.g. Mega Man X, does exactly that. And lest we forget -- Mega Man 2 had a built-in Easy Mode!!). Second, if the option to dial back the difficulty is what it takes to bring new blood into the godforsaken series, I'm OK with that.

    Third, some of us Game Genie'd the hell out of Mega Man to friggin' begin with when we were kids. Not me personally, but plenty of my friends did. Somehow they still managed to have a good time.

    "[Players] who had no real business buying Megaman 10 in the first place" is exactly the kind of gatekeeping I'm talking about, the kind that needs to stop. I've made countless friends through the online Mega Man fandom since the '90s, and many of them were glad to have access to difficulty options because they don't have the time to agonize over repeated deaths. Who is anyone to tell them they have "no business" buying a new installment of a franchise they love?
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #17 nadiaoxford 9 months ago
    @lonecow I think the shifting demographics in video games have also been a big factor in the advent of built-in difficulty modes. When I was young, games were primarily enjoyed by kids who had the time and energy necessary to memorize Nintendo patterns. Nowadays, people want to share games with their kids, and Easy Modes let them do just that without hassle.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #18 cldmstrsn 9 months ago
    Ya people who get mad at OPTIONS confound me. How dare a game try and appeal to everyone!! Blasphemy!!
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  • Avatar for Godots17thCup #19 Godots17thCup 9 months ago
    Yeah, the grumpiness some people express over the existence of easier/casual modes or optional hints is something that has always struck me as a little odd. They're not something I ever take advantage of, personally, but many gamers have wildly differing skill levels and/or just want different things out of a game than the challenge, so it's nice that there are options for them.

    So long as a person is getting enjoyment out of a game, it doesn't really matter to me how they went about playing it. Just because someone else breezed through one of the newer Fire Emblems just to experience the story doesn't cheapen the rush you felt when you beat it on Lunatic with permadeath on.* If developers were removing standard/harder modes, I think that'd be one thing, but plenty of games, even some Nintendo games, are still pretty darn hard if you want them to be.

    Actually, whenever the Super Hint option pops up in DKC or Mario, it sometimes serves as a motivator to keep going when I'd otherwise just set the game down for the night. It's probably an unintended consequence of the hint feature, but seeing that pig show up in Donkey Kong Country Returns often served to strengthen my resolve to beat the level myself.

    *Which, if you have, let me just genuinely say, "well done". I'm certainly nowhere near good enough at those games to do it.Edited 3 times. Last edited November 2016 by Godots17thCup
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  • Avatar for internisus #20 internisus 9 months ago
    Roughly since around the time of Hyper Light Drifter's release, I've been noticing an increase in the number of editorials from gaming publications decrying high difficulty and defending easy modes. I'm sympathetic to the idea that this is an issue of accessibility and that everyone should be able to experience all that a game has to offer, but ultimately I reject it.

    I view this as similar to someone complaining about complex vocabulary and challenging passages in a book. Yeah, theoretically it would be possible to convey those ideas at a lower reading level, but wouldn't that then be a different book? Assuming that the thing wasn't overwrought to begin with but actually had good reason for its difficulty, with a simpler version the language would likely lose its artfulness, the ideas would become less subtle, and it would result in a completely different experience for the reader.

    (I think that the comparison to the question of whether a film should provide subtitles is a very poor one, incidentally. That's not only hyperbolic but a completely different subject. It's more like asking whether a game should provide an alternate control scheme for left-handed players.)

    Because a video game is interactive, its challenge represents friction as the player moves through it. Reducing that friction creates a different game. Allowing a player to breeze through without learning to master its mechanics means that they didn't really play it at all. For example, if you played The Last of Us on its easiest difficulty setting, it might have allowed you to witness the entirety of its narrative, but its gameplay probably didn't convey to you the exhaustion and dread that I would argue is an essential part of its experience. You probably also can't appreciate its level design or combat balance as well as someone who played on hard. That surely sounds quite snobbish, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong, does it? And how dare we demand that artists produce watered-down versions of their work, anyway? Could you really justify demanding that Dark Souls have an easy mode? It seems to me that it would take a lot of nerve; that's clearly not the game that its creators wanted to make.

    And so I am usually against selectable difficulty modes. I want developers to decide what their intended experience is and set the difficulty accordingly. No options for puzzle element or enemy highlighting vision modes. No choices for a challenge that's easier or harder than "normal," whatever normal means. Decide how hard the game is supposed to be and make it so. I think that the white tanooki suit makes 3D Land a worse game. I'm not "mad" that there are people who were able to finish it because of that design choice, but I am sad. They didn't really experience the game. I would also argue that just knowing that there is a safety net makes a player lazier.

    Does this mean that some games would be inaccessible to some players? Yes. Unfortunately, you can't have it both ways; you can't have everything be accessible yet maintain its integrity. You can't lower a game's difficulty and experience all it has to offer because you just neutered its core and excised a fundamental part of what it has to offer. There's no simple solution to this problem. Not all art is for all audiences. If you can't handle a difficult game, you can either work at it or accept that you aren't its audience. That's not a sentiment born from elitism but rather from respect.

    "To re-iterate one more time: Video games are for everyone."

    No. They're not. The medium is, yes, but any given game absolutely is not for everyone.
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #21 nadiaoxford 9 months ago
    @Dusky I appreciate your comment, but rest assured, I've seen people raging over the inclusion of Easy Mode as much or more as Invincibility Modes. ;) "Git Gud" is a very serious mantra for some folks.
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  • Avatar for internisus #22 internisus 9 months ago
    @Frosty840 "It's like demanding low-scare versions of horror movies for people who don't want to watch horror movies or be scared in the first place."

    That's a good comparison. I like that. Being scared isn't always a pleasant experience, but it's an interesting one. A difficult video game isn't always fun, but video games aren't necessarily about fun.Edited November 2016 by internisus
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #23 nadiaoxford 9 months ago
    Since it evidently needs to be pointed out:

    I'm not demanding developers make Easy Modes mandatory (though it's something I wouldn't mind seeing more of for, again, accessibility reasons). I'm asking people not to pop an artery over their inclusion, because they're ultimately a good thing.

    PS I loved the hell out of Hyper Light Drifter and am not angry it lacks an Easy Mode. I don't automatically expect an indie developer can pour that kind of time and money into a passion project.Edited 2 times. Last edited November 2016 by nadiaoxford
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #24 Frosty840 9 months ago
    @nadiaoxford I don't really see how it's disingenuous to compare one niche interest (horror movies) to another niche interest (difficulty-based games).
    I could compare horror games to difficulty-based games and make the exact same points about horror games as I did about horror movies if it makes you feel better, though.
    Here:
    It's like demanding low-scare versions of horror games for people who don't want to play horror games or be scared in the first place. There are plenty of non-horror games out there for those people. The entire mainstream gaming world exists for those people. The idea that the niche world of horror games should cater to them by abandoning the interests of those people who are most interested in horror games is (in my opinion) ridiculous.

    Does that help? It's silly to demand "low scare" horror games and it's silly to ask for low-difficulty difficult games.


    As to your other point, the people who have "no business" buying a Megaman game are exactly some of those people you mention.
    They're they people who quite literally do not want to play the game that Megaman is. They used to like, and enjoy, the franchise for what it was, and now they don't. They are former difficulty-focused gamers who have moved toward mainstream games, aren't actually interested in playing the old Megaman games they used to play, nor in playing new, equally-difficult games in the franchise. They're mainstream gamers demanding access and development time from a genre they genuinely aren't interested in.

    That's not me "gatekeeping" the Megaman series.
    "Difficulty" is a niche genre of gaming, just like horror, driving or football games. They're games focused on providing a steep, but not unfair, challenge. They require a specific set of skills, interests and talents to develop, and a specific set of skills, interests and talents to play.
    Crafting a high-difficulty game is a unique challenge that is entirely different to a simple "hard mode" in other less-focused game genres. I've played far more than my fair share of broken, un-fun, unfair "hard" difficulty modes to know that "hard mode" is not so simple as just throwing out more enemies and increasing their HP. It's a skill in and of itself and it is something that can easily be gotten wrong.
    It's easy to make a game difficult to play. Asking a game to be difficult and fun is a different beast entirely.

    Asking that difficulty-focused developers and difficulty-focused gamers should take their small, unpopular niche of the gaming ecosystem and open it up to people who don't want to play it is like asking Madden developers to let in more FPS gamers by adding guns.
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  • Avatar for internisus #25 internisus 9 months ago
    @nadiaoxford Okay; that clarification helps. But... I still do disagree. :P I think that there are plenty of cases where a game has selectable difficulty simply because it's an expensive title from a big publisher and needs to cater to as broad an audience as possible, even if it's not the best thing for the game itself as a work of art (or merely of entertainment, if you prefer). A lot of times I think that the option to play that game on an easy mode makes it worse simply because it allows people to experience a watered-down version of it, and it's a shame that the developers felt the need or were forced by realistic circumstances to provide that option.

    (For what it's worth, I'm at least not especially swayed by the idea that development time has been taken away from balancing The One True Difficulty Mode or adding content or whatever so that an easy mode could be implemented. I'm concerned with the integrity of the final product, not the complicated and shifting priorities of development and speculating on what might have been.)Edited November 2016 by internisus
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #26 Roto13 9 months ago
    "The argument was re-kindled yesterday when Bayonetta series designer Hideki Kamiya said over Twitter that putting anything similar in a Bayonetta game would be "nuts" (never mind that Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 have selectable difficulties)."

    He was almost certainly asking the person who asked that question if they're nuts, not saying the idea of automatic mode in Bayonetta is nuts, since both Bayonetta 1 (the one he directed) and 2 have Easy Automatic modes. Like "Are you nuts? I invented that."
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #27 nadiaoxford 9 months ago
    @Roto13 Yeah, someone who works close to him said that was probably his intent, and he intends to get clarification. I'll add said clarification when it comes in.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #28 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    @Dusky That is not fair. So my 5 or 6 year old should just deal with it? The white tanooki suit is what makes her have fun playing with me. It does not affect the game at all. I don't choose to use it. She does. Harms nobody and she is having... fun?
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #29 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @nadiaoxford Doesn't it depend on the game? There are games where the inclusion of an easy mode is not necessarily a good thing.

    "Easy modes" can also be implemented poorly, and the white tanooki suit in Mario is a good example of that. It's fine to have a selectable easy mode. But it's really irritating to have the game suddenly provide a god mode option after dying a bunch of times. Wouldn't it be better to just have a separate mode that you can turn on/off? That's something worth complaining about.

    Easy modes may make a game more accessible, and sometimes that's good. But there's a downside: it can also lead the player into cheapening their own experience. More options in games are not always a good thing, the developer needs to make a decision as to what options serve the experience best. For example, if Dark Souls had an easy mode, probably a lot of people would have given in to that temptation, and a fair number of those people would end up missing out on the experience of discovering how much they enjoyed the game because of that challenge.

    Really it depends on the game. There are some games where easy modes make sense. But certainly there is something we need to discuss, and sometimes complain about. And that means that no, I won't stop getting mad if easy modes are out of place or poorly implemented.Edited November 2016 by brionfoulke91
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #30 Frosty840 9 months ago
    @Modern-Clix For what it's worth, I think the golden leaf tanooki suit (which I've only seen in Super Mario 3D Land, because I never remember to get round to playing my big-screen Nintendo consoles) is a piece of genius game design, because it takes a difficulty-based game (and Mario platformers can put themselves right up there with the best of them), rips out all the difficulty and challenge and leaves you with something that's still entirely possible to enjoy without a challenge.

    In other words, it removes all the "game" and leaves your four-year-old with a "toy".
    It's one of the few moments of genuine gaming genius I've seen, and it is wonderful.

    It doesn't work for many games though. It's very reliant on the fact that Mario is one of the most versatile and mobile characters anywhere in gaming and that removing the challenge from a Mario game still leaves you with a wonderful environment to explore in fun ways.

    Try the same thing in Super Mario Maker and you'll just break it.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #31 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @Frosty840 The flaw with it is that there's no way to turn that option off in advance. It'll always be there to taunt you, and it happens if you're struggling in a stage, which adds insult to injury. Having a separate difficulty mode called "toy mode" where you can't die, and just allowing you to select it for your kids would have been better.
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  • Avatar for buckupprincess #32 buckupprincess 9 months ago
    @nadiaoxford Thank you for putting this together. Having been physically disabled in the last few years, I truly appreciate you taking the time to articulate your thoughts on accessibility. I was previously against removing the hardcore from my preferred hobby but when I found out that I had to remove a handful of genres from my gaming library, it's been phenomenal to have variable difficulty to keep a few of them in the rotation. While I feel that designers should express themselves however they feel in their games, I'm always thankful to see difficulty and multiple control options.
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  • Avatar for Dusky #33 Dusky 9 months ago
    @Modern-Clix You missed the point, nobody is saying Mario games should be Super Meat Boy levels of hardcore, but more like the "almighty mode" is not always a good idea.
    And as a matter of fact, activating the tanooki suit changes the game: You even says your kid want to play with it. So it means the perception your kid have from the game is a different one than with regular gameplay.

    So I'm afraid to say, if your kid cannot kill this huge boss in a dark soulesque game, I guess you'll have to deal with that, yeah. It's not a problem though, maybe the game is just not suited for this kind of player. You're playing the emotion card but who knows, maybe your kid would enjoy the game more with the classic system?
    I'm just saying giving the free-ou-of-jail-card could worsen your game experience without even noticing it.

    I also think the tanooki suit kinda marked (At the time it was introduced) the moment where Nintendo abandoned the idea to make games with fair difficulties anymore, and it probably annoyed the "hardcore" segment of nintendo-fans.
    I think this mechanic is a good idea in the latest mario games, but surely not in a general way.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #34 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    @nadiaoxford Also keep in mind, Nadia, that games were also harder for us over here in the West than native Japan due to the rental and retail market.

    These people complaining reminds of of GameFaqs or NeoGaf, two sites that qualify heavily with that age old moniker: "You're the worst". Only on those two sites will you see so many users bragging they beat the original two Zelda's and a 5 minute SMB speed run... when they were 3 or 4. The equivalent of bragging about how much you lift.
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  • Avatar for StrwbrryJams #35 StrwbrryJams 9 months ago
    Thank you, Nadia!! I appreciate USGAMER for giving platform for this.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #36 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    @internisus Hmm, as lit major, I have to respectfully disagree. They comparison between a work of fiction and video games does not work. Outside of certain mental disabilities, anybody can grasp a complex novel by keeping a dictionary beside them. The lack of a knowledge of a complex vocabulary is more a failing of the school system, because lets also be real, even the most complex of novels is not that complex with its words, unless we are talking about works in middle English. And there is nothing wrong with having a dictionary beside you. I am not from this country, so I had to bust out the dictionary often because lets face it, there are words that are never used in most situations.

    Video games, like sports are entirely different. They require different skill sets. Not everyone can control said skill sets no matter how smart and able you are. Unlike sports, however, you won't get told "you can't play". Anybody should be able to play a game. Now should everybody build in a difficulty level? No. It is up to the developer. I only play on Normal myself. Harder difficulties to me are just as silly as the Easy difficulty because it is artificial and not part of the intended game design. I don't care if other people choose it, however, because maybe they don't have super fast reflexes and coordination.

    Look, I am 34. My reflexes and coordination is not what it used to be. So should I be locked out of gaming? Because one day, I may have to be able to do Normal mode anymore.
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #37 Frosty840 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 Meh. If you're setting yourself a challenge to play every Mario level in order, without ever skipping one using the gold leaf, then that's your self-imposed challenge. It's not a challenge in the game —the game provides a route around blocking levels— it's your challenge, and it's up to you to live up to it.
    If you're going to set yourself a wholly self-imposed challenge and then whine to me that the game makes it too easy for you to give it up then all I'm going to do is laugh at you.
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  • Avatar for Suzusiiro #38 Suzusiiro 9 months ago
    I think it's fine if a developer decides that the best thing for their game is to include easier difficulties, especially if the game is very focused on its narrative or if it's going for a younger/more casual audience. That said, it's also fine for a developer to put a sign on the proverbial door saying "YOU MUST GIT THIS GUD TO RIDE" and tell everyone else to get fucked, like the Soulsborne games do. There's no real difference between crying about either of those to me- in both cases you're basically just complaining that the game is being made for people other than you.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #39 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 So you are not upset that it is there, because in order for something to poorly implemented it has to affect the flow, gameplay or narrative.

    You don't like it... because it taunts you. It laughs at your failures. Yeah, I feel that way too. When playing alone, the Tanooki suit mocks me. But you know what? It just fuels my rage at the Mushroom Kingdom and makes me not give up. Because god damn if I am going to let a bunch of walking mushrooms and flying turtles have the last laugh.

    However, devil's advocate here. If the Tanooki suit taunts you... "Git Gud?"

    ;)
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #40 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @Modern-Clix Good reflexes are not really necessary to beat the vast majority of games. For most hard games, what you need to do is develop and execute strategies. As far as the execution part, memorization can almost always substitute for quick reflexes.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #41 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    @Dusky It's not worsening anything for her. Not one bit. She is enjoying the hell out of it.

    I am not advocating for games to be watered down. I like normal just fine. However, options don't affect me. Someone's enjoyment does not take away from my enjoyment of beating and grabbing every star in the Special Worlds in 3D World without using the suit.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #42 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @Frosty840 See, I'm actually the one who's asking for more "options!" What I'd like is the option to play a game like 3D Mario World in a challenging mode and have it feel like an accomplishment when I win. I'm fine with an easy mode or even a god mode existing, but the option for what I want doesn't exist in that game. And isn't it valid to complain about that? Don't you think it's not cool for you to mock it?

    @Modern-Clix Well, it's not just that it's inclusion feels insulting. It's also that it is interwoven with the main game mode. That tanooki suit is a tool that is provided as part of the challenge to beat the game, and not using it is a self imposed challenge. Therefore, if I beat the game without using it, I'm sabotaging myself because Mario 3D World is a trivial game for anyone to beat. So it doesn't feel rewarding. This can easily be solved by simply having a separate game mode. This is actually better for everyone! Not only is it better for people who want a challenging mode that feels satisfying to beat, but it's better for people who want a simply mode for their kids because they can just unlock it at the beginning, instead of having to die a bunch to use it.

    In other words, the way the Tanooki Suit is implemented actually TAKES AWAY options, rather than adding them. I am the one calling for more options here. The design is poorly implemented, and doing it in the way I suggested would be better for everyone. Don't you think that's a valid complaint?Edited November 2016 by brionfoulke91
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #43 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 I dunno. Patters will only get you so far. Hand eye coordination and reflexes, I feel get you farther, where patterns being reserved for bosses. There are games like Bayonetta and Demons Souls, in which every enemy has a pattern. However, even in those games I just dodge and counter everytime I see something coming at me because I find that easier to follow than patterns.

    I just have rarely seen pattern and memorization games like we had in the NES days, where the simplicity of the medium called for it.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #44 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 Well, I don't think it is part of the game in the sense that you say. Because it only appears when you die five times in a row in a particular level. It's the game trying to give you welfare. And yes, it can be frustrating to see it pop up when the difficulty ramps up in the last two worlds (not even counting Special Worlds here).
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  • Avatar for dburrola #45 dburrola 9 months ago
    My God, does everything have to be an argument nowadays? Play a game however you want. We all pay for them, and we should all be able to play/enjoy them the way we like.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #46 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @Modern-Clix I've played a lot of NES games (even recently) and I'm 37. I don't have great reflexes. You'd be surprised how many NES games you actually don't need good reflexes for... I can beat the NES Ninja Gaiden pretty easily simply because I have a good "route" for the super difficult levels, and the right strategies for the bosses. Modern games like Dark Souls and Bayonetta are very much the same. I think that most games can be beaten by most people with enough patience, although if you actually WANT to spend the time learning a game is another story.

    I see that gold leaf as being "part" of the main game mode, and I think a lot of people feel the same sense of irritation about it (and you seem to as well.) Is it nitpicking a bit, sure... but this is a website for discussing game design. All I'm saying, there's a better way to implement it.
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #47 Frosty840 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 The option to play without the leaf is right there in the game. Just don't pick up the leaf.
    Don't complain that you tried to play without the leaf and then decided to play with the leaf because the game didn't make it easy enough for you to meet your self-imposed challenge. That's just a ridiculous position to take.
    Hard mode (or hard games) is there to challenge you. You've got to push yourself to stand up to the challenge. Nobody's going to make you play a game that's too hard for you and nobody's going to force you to stick with hard mode if you decide that easy mode is more your style.

    Just stop complaining that the game made it too easy to pick easy mode, because that ain't how this works.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #48 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @Frosty840 The gold leaf being there is bothersome because it trivialized winning on the only game mode available, thereby making winning feel less satisfying. It also unneccesarily needles the player for failing. I'm not the only one who's irritated it.

    Look, it's fine if you're not interested in understanding why it bothers me. But I just want to point out again that I am the one calling for more options. You are calling for LESS options for the player. I have no problem with a god mode being part of the game, I just want it to be a separate mode. It's important to me for games to have a challenging mode whenever possible, that's an option I want to have. But because that option doesn't seem important to you, you're fine with not including it. Why don't you be more open to games giving people the option to play them how they want?
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #49 Frosty840 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 You want to not pick up the leaf. Don't pick up the leaf.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #50 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @Frosty840 I DON'T pick it up, but it's presence is still irritating. And again, I'm not the only one, it's a common complaint. Can't identify with that? Has a game never irritated you before?

    It's an issue that has an easy solution: a separate game mode. This only creates MORE options for the players. So again, why are you in favor of less options?
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #51 Frosty840 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 I completely understand your position, I just don't have any respect for it.

    "Why are you against more options?" you whine at me.

    Dude, there are a literal million games you could go and play that don't "irritate" you with an easily-reachable easy mode button. Go play one.

    You've set yourself a challenge of meeting what a game chooses to throw at you. That's it. That's your entire challenge. A self-set challenge.

    First hurdle: Gold leaf appears.

    Your reaction: Whine that the gold leaf appeared.

    Challenge status: Failed.

    Your options: Still infinite.

    Your argument: Still ridiculous.
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  • Avatar for One_Vurfed_Gwrx #52 One_Vurfed_Gwrx 9 months ago
    @Dusky My son when he was younger used to play Mario 3D World with the suit but as he got older he enjoys going back and doing the levels without it. He may not have enjoyed the game enough to do that without the option at the time that made him really fall for the game.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #53 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @Frosty840 "I completely understand your position, I just don't have any respect for it."

    Well, aren't you acting exactly like the "git gud" people? (Even accusing me of "whining...") You have no respect for anyone who doesn't play the game *your* way, and simply mock them for having different preferences. I'd call that "not cool."
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #54 Frosty840 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 I don't have respect for you choosing to play the game your way and then whining about the game.

    Resisting the leaf is a challenge you are imposing. I'm not doing anything to you. I'm not making you do anything, I'm not forcing you to choose the leaf or not, I'm entirely uninvolved in your enjoyment of the game.

    You're the one choosing to set your own limits in the game and then whining about the limits you set for yourself and it is ridiculous.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #55 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @Frosty840 You misunderstand. I'm not complaining about the limitations I've set, I'm complaining that they are cheapened.
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #56 Frosty840 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 What's cheap about not using the leaf? How is your victory lessened by the option of the leaf existing? You're the only person deciding the limits of your challenge. How does the leaf affect anything if you're choosing not to pick it up?
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  • Avatar for Mooglepies #57 Mooglepies 9 months ago
    The only time I would care negatively about easy modes in games is if they impacted on the other difficulties. This is exceptionally rare, to the point that impact on me personally is negligible. I can't actually think of a single example where it's happened - perhaps someone made a very silly choice with multiplayer integration before but I don't remember one.

    A clear mode selection in games with assist mechanics would be nice though - if I'm bleeding lives to make a tricky jump in Mario to save a few seconds on my best time I'd rather not see that special block with the super leaf to remind me of my failure and increase my salt levels further.

    Ultimately though there are far better ways of dealing with the issue of difficulty than a straightforward mode selection option. Adaptive difficulty combined with mode selection is far more effective and sadly underutilised, I think.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #58 MetManMas 9 months ago
    On the one hand, I totally get that there are games where the difficulty level is a big part of the experience and something is lost when you tone it down.

    But, on the other hand, I have absolutely no problem with lower difficulty levels* in games. Integrity schmintegrity, I'm not gonna hold it against anyone if they put easy mode options in a game. Mega Man 10 with platforms? Go for it. A "We'll just play the damn level for you" option in Donkey Kong Country Returns? Fine with me. A magic tranq gun with infinite ammo, stamina regeneration, and a really good camo index in Metal Gear Solid 3? Awesome!

    There's reasons people play games besides difficulty. Maybe someone likes Dark Souls more for the world, lore, and observational approach to its backstory. Maybe someone wants to explore Skyrim without having their day ruined by a dragon that popped out of nowhere.** Maybe somebody out there wants to play Bravely Default more for the characters and story.

    It's totally up to the devs whether or not they'll cater to other audiences, but I'm not gonna hold it against 'em if they do.

    * Except when the game makes fun of you for it, Ninja Gaiden Black. =/

    ** Truth: I switched to Novice difficulty once I got sick of dragons ruining my fun all the time. Never regretted it.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #59 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @Frosty840 Because the presence of the leaf makes beating the game feel like it has less value. Therefore less satisfying and detracts from the experience of playing.
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  • Avatar for tvsadam #60 tvsadam 9 months ago
    Very much agreed.

    Not unrelated: An old friend of mine (who will almost certainly end up reading this comment) has always been bothered by the fact that you can press a button to direct yourself to the location of a colossus in Shadow of the Colossus. He thinks the option to do this shouldn't be in the game because it detracts from the exploration and discovery that represent the core of that title.

    My impeccable counterargument of "just don't push that button" has fallen on deaf ears for more than a decade. He doesn't just want to play that game the way he wants; he wants EVERYONE to play that game the way he wants. Complaints about the inclusion of modes that nobody is required to use put me in mind of his absurd position.

    EDIT: He is of course already in the comments of this very article talking mess about selectable difficulty modes.Edited November 2016 by tvsadam
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  • Avatar for patrickchaffin87 #61 patrickchaffin87 9 months ago
    I wholeheartedly agree! No author in their right mind would make you pass a DPS check to read the last chapter of their book, so as games become more storytelling focused, there's less a point in such things. Granted, some games don't fit that type of scenario, but plenty do.
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #62 Frosty840 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 Nonsense. How does it make any sense at all that the challenges you overcame were any easier because you could have chosen not to overcome them?
    Does it become easier to run a marathon because you could have taken a bus? No. Is it any less satisfying to do so? Only if you choose to wilfully misinterpret your own running of the marathon.
    Again, ridiculous.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #63 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @tvsadam Well, although I personally like the way that Shadow of the Colossus handles guidance, your friend also has a point. It's not as simple as just "not pressing the button," because the game is designed to be played using that button. It's not designed to be fun without it. The game would have to be redesigned from the ground up in order to work without that button. So simply saying "just don't press the button" is not actually a good argument.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #64 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @Frosty840 Honestly, I don't think you're interested in understanding my gaming preferences, I think you're simply interested in berating someone for daring to enjoy games differently than you do. So let's close off this communication for now, because nothing productive is happening.
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #65 Frosty840 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 Dude. Dude. Seriously. You are literally complaining that a videogame doesn't provide you with enough external validation of your self-imposed challenge because the videogame contains an option to complete any level without god mode, and you can't get your rocks off unless the game provides a method to complete all the levels without god mode.

    That's still as ridiculous now as it was at the start of the conversation.
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  • Avatar for tvsadam #66 tvsadam 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 You're actually bringing up something that has come up in our (many) conversations on the topic before, because I've conceded that if the game were completely redesigned to replace that option with another means of guidance that didn't require the player to just wander blindly about until they stumbled onto a colossus, I'd be fine with it, and that might even make for a better game if done correctly. But the argument isn't typically about how Shadow of the Colossus could be made better if it were completely remade from the ground up to design around a different location mechanic; it's about how the game would be better as-is if this feature were excised from it.

    As such, he could play SotC the way he wants to right now by simply not using that option, but by removing it altogether he would potentially alienate players who might actually like being able to just ride off to the colossi instead of poke endlessly around an otherwise empty landscape. Even a replacement mechanic that was more subtle could be a barrier to entry for people who just came for the giant monsters and not for the barren rock faces and ruins and lizards and whatnot. It's possible for people to love that game equally well for very different reasons; I think the locator as it is makes for a pretty solid compromise between them.

    (Hey@internisus, feel like dragging this dead horse out in public for another beating?)
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #67 brionfoulke91 9 months ago
    @tvsadam Well, to me good game design is about limiting options. The lesson to take away from things like this is that ultimately you can't make everyone happy. When you're designing a game, you have to make choices, and no matter what you choose some people are not going to like it. That's why I always say the most important thing is for a developer to follow their own vision. Make a game that YOU would love, and most likely there is a niche of players who will love it too.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #68 Kuni-Nino 9 months ago
    I understand Kamiya's reaction tbh. The whole point of the game is to get good at the game and hopefully that will make you want to explore its systems to their absolute fullest. You take that away and what are you left with? Am weird story, with bombastic scenarios that don't make sense that are even dumber to play.

    Imagine if Dark Souls had a mode where your character dodge everything automatically. The skill bar is lowered and what's left? A game with an awful story and superfluous level design. Imagine a person played that version of Souls and then proceeded to bash the game. Wouldn't that be weird?

    Ultimately, I agree with you Nadia. If a developer wants more than just the "best gamers" to play their games, let them do it and without much controversy please. We gain a lot more by being inclusive rather than exclusive. For parents out there, it's really the best thing to be able to enjoy games with your kids and having games that take their beginners skills into account should be celebrated.
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #69 nadiaoxford 9 months ago
    @Modern-Clix Some of the things we were put through because of the rental market were silly as hell. I got Castlevania III as a birthday present when I was, like, 12, so getting knocked back an ***entire level*** whenever I died at Dracula (a three-stage boss battle!!) wasn't the worst thing in the world. Now, though? Forget about it. Time is money, my man.
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  • Avatar for theresacatalano27 #70 theresacatalano27 9 months ago
    @Kuni-Nino I like what they did in Bayonetta 1. There was that doll that gave you auto combos and basically made it easy mode. But using it tanked your ranking, and you couldn't use it on the harder difficulty modes. It was only useful for getting through normal mode. That way, the people who like challenge still have the harder modes that really matter to them, and people who are perfectionists and care about rankings still have to work for those.

    If Nier Automata does it the same way, I doubt most people will have a problem.
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  • Avatar for jeremycarrier12 #71 jeremycarrier12 9 months ago
    "Video games are for everyone"

    I take exception to this line of thinking. Not everything is for everybody. It would be a very, VERY boring medium if it was. Hell, it wouldnt even be an interactive medium any more, because it would have to accommodate all the people who can't play on controllers or don't like violence or partially blind or a million other personal problems and issues. That's not cold or heartless, that's just reality.

    An easy mode in Dark Souls isn't like adding subtitles to movies, its like changing the entire soundtrack of Die Hard to country music, because everything should be for everyone and goddamnit I like country music in my movies. Well, you can do that, but you're not experiencing Die Hard anymore. You're not getting the intended experience created by the director, producer, especially the composer Michael Kaman, etc...you're getting some weird, bastardized version of Die Hard.

    And that's what easy mode in Dark Souls is. Everything about the game, from its lore, to its environmental design, to its music cues and of course the overall difficulty, is in service of one vision. One aesthetic. This is a world of ruin and despair. Where the good are corrupted, and the light is blown out. If you were granted an insta-kill sword so you can just kill everything in one hit, then you're not playing Dark Souls anymore, at least not the one From Software made. You're playing some dumbed down, bastardized version of Dark Souls. Whatever your opinion about the game is basically invalid because you're not getting the intended experience.

    Nothing is for everyone. There are intended audiences and niches for everything, and that's the way it should be.
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  • Avatar for internisus #72 internisus 9 months ago
    @tvsadam A true friend wouldn't have publicly misrepresented my position on Shadow of the Colossus for the umpteenth time! The game isn't quite ready as it is for the sunbeam to just be removed. What I want is for the game's evil god to give you a (good enough) hint in his description of your next foe as to where it can be found. I don't want players to poke around the world aimlessly, but I want the world to have more purpose as an exploratory context for the colossus battles by having players at least need to think about which distinct environment they should seek instead of just pointing the sunbeam and zoning out.

    You have to understand that my ideal edit of the game sends you pretty plainly to the right area of the overall world map through whatever Dormin says. Maybe he describes the journey you take: "Beyond the wasted sands, upon a forested burial mound, thy foe keeps eternal vigil" or something. This gives you a trajectory and a starting point; the player knows where the desert is, so they go there and look for a forest adjacent to it. It's just that, once you are in the region, like the square kilometer perhaps, you have to explore to find the (large, obvious) burial mound rather than dumbly follow the light beam. A number of the colossi are already like that because of the locations they inhabit, like the one on the beach or the small bull in the sort of temple built into the mountainside or the tower with the salamander or the super tall skinny man with the stick on top of the platform in the sea; these areas are either small or linear enough that it is very straightforward to navigate into them to where the colossus actually is and that the sunbeam is actually pretty useless in their vicinity.

    A lot of the colossus locations are really landmarks in this way, and when I started out I stubbornly explored a lot of the world and accidentally found all of these places that would later be battlegrounds; but it was disappointing because nothing was ever there since you have to fight them in order. But I think that the player is naturally drawn to these locations because they stand out; they just need to be sent to the right corner of the map, and that's not so hard to do since there are all of these discrete biomes. The game just needs better hinting and for the sunbeam to be removed. You can keep it in the game as a way to highlight weak points, but not for navigation.

    As for the suggestion that I could just ignore the button: First of all, I'm not sure that the game gives you sufficient hinting for where to go as-is, so it might need a little bit of tweaking without the sunbeam (it's been a minute since I've played SotC). But more to the point, my objection is that, if it's an option in the game, then it's part of its design; you can't just pretend that it's not there or ask me to pretend it's not there and judge the game without it. Also, just because I don't ever press the button doesn't mean its presence doesn't impact my psychology. I know it's there, and I can't turn that off. Also also, I would still need to use it for the weak points, so you're really asking me to half-forget that it exists, which is even impossibler!

    Besides, as I wrote to you in an email four and a half years ago: What about the Shadow of the Colossus neophyte? The game encourages them to press the button and follow the sunbeam, and they have no way of knowing that it would be a nicer, more ambient adventure if they would just put a thumbtack over that button and instead listen to Dormin and explore "in the East, where the craggy rocks fall into the sea" or whatever, enjoying the experience of riding and being in this big world with a buried history you can never quite grasp until you suddenly come across your target. They could have had a better game, but because you weren't sitting there when they started it up to suggest that they avoid that sunbeam button they instead used it because the game told them to. They finish the game and realize what could have been. A single tear gallops down their cheek.

    By extension—and to bring it back around—I honestly believe that people often ruin games for themselves by selecting easy mode, which is why I say that the game is an objectively better work of art or entertainment without the option, even though I am not personally affected by its inclusion.

    Isn't there a podcast episode in which we shouted at each other over this that you would like to plug right about now?Edited 5 times. Last edited November 2016 by internisus
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  • Avatar for tvsadam #73 tvsadam 9 months ago
  • Avatar for internisus #74 internisus 9 months ago
    @tvsadam You're not wrong, Adam. You're just an asshole.

    (I voted you up. It was tl;dr.
    But you knew it would be when you summoned me.)Edited 2 times. Last edited November 2016 by internisus
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  • Avatar for Vonlenska #75 Vonlenska 9 months ago
    I am bad at videogames. But I love videogames! As such, Gameshark/Action Replay/Easy Mode are my friends. They've even taught me how to be less-bad at videogames! Imagine that!

    I've always seen cheats, cheating devices and easy modes (that don't strip actual content) more as accessibility options than "cheating" as such, and the controversy around third party devices and games nice enough to give us in-game difficulty sliders or extra help getting through an area has always been bizarre and slightly disheartening. These things help reduce frustration and make playing games accessible to wider audiences, many of whom are going to "get better" by having a gentler option available.
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #76 nadiaoxford 9 months ago
    Hey everyone! Just a gentle reminder to be excellent to each other regardless of how passionate you are about a topic. USG has a great community we're proud of. :)
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  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #77 Monkey-Tamer 9 months ago
    I thought we had achievements in most games for e-peen comparing. You get a different one for the hard mode, or whatever other requirement being complete. If you really want to whine complain about all the great feats of video gaming that weren't immortalized by an achievement system, like a legit play through of Contra.
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  • Avatar for Vonlenska #78 Vonlenska 9 months ago
    Also: I get how having a God-Mode-on-Demand button/item/thing can be too tempting not to push, but hey! Meta-challenge! Don't Push the Button!

    (Also also: videogames aren't for everyone--not even every person who loves videogames--but they should be for anyone, and that includes younger players, those with disabilities that impact their play or people who just want to see more characters like them in their games. This conversation reminds me of Real Sound: Kaze no Regret, an audio-driven adventure game Kenji Eno made to be enjoyed equally by blind and sighted players. Considerations like that are rare, but should be welcomed even by people not personally affected by them.)
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  • Avatar for mattcom26 #79 mattcom26 9 months ago
    Well said.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #80 SatelliteOfLove 9 months ago
    Was there like one dumb dude that did one screaming ranting in the night rant that brought this up? Cuz it is eerily like the claptrap not 10 years ago that spawned several of the nightmares that was last console generation's Dogma.

    Don't feed that beast again. Just don't.
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  • Avatar for docexe #81 docexe 9 months ago
    While I’m not exactly fond of how games have on the whole become easier as time has passed, I’m not against the implementation of optional easy modes. Indeed, I even welcome it to a certain degree. The way I see it, easy modes are useful to allow inexperienced players to learn the ropes of the game at a level they might be more comfortable with, so once they have developed better skills they can tackle harder challenges later.

    Now, some people above have made points about easy modes corrupting, distorting or watering down the experience, or preventing the gamer from enjoying the game the way the developers intended it. But honestly, I think there is a certain degree of obnoxious egotism (for not saying snobbism) there that leads to the gate keeping mentality that Nadia is talking about in the article: If ultimately, setting the game on easy comes down purely to personal choice, it ultimately doesn’t really matter if other people decide for themselves to play the game on easy or take advantage of options that make the game less difficult for them.

    “But they are missing on the true and proper experience” some might said. Well, the thing is that’s entirely the prerogative of those people, it doesn’t affect you at all (neither truly affects the developers either) if those people decide to play the game in a different way than you do. You have to respect their decisions, rather than only expect people to see things your way.
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  • Avatar for bengrande #82 bengrande 9 months ago
    I agree with everything in this article but the article itself is condescending and unnecessary. Of course we should appreciate that we live in modern times and aren't having to spend all of our time scavenging for food or dying of infectious diseases so we have more time to play video games. But that applies to everything, not just video games. For instance, nobody wants to live in a world where we can't gripe to our friends about traffic conditions because the fact that we have cars and can drive to work or to see friends that would have been a huge trip otherwise is basically magic.

    This site is focused on video games so of course the complaints are going to be focused around video games. They shouldn't be dismissed outright just because we should be grateful to even have video games. People have varied opinions on handholding in video games, that's fine. Some people are jerks about it, some people manage to keep things in perspective, and since most of the site's readership is mature enough to not be loud trolls about it these sort of self-congratulatory pointless articles don't really add anything except drawing attention to the trolls that can't handle easy modes in video games or whatever.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #83 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 Well, I find Dark Souls and Bayonetta more forgiving though. They are tough, but the patterns are more manageable I guess? The reason I say this, is because lets face, a lot of my favorite games from my youth were also more difficult due to restrictive controls and physics.

    These days, there is much more lenient room for error. I don't think games have become easier, but control and physics account for the biggest barrier.

    That is why, games that nailed it perfectly back then, to this day I can conquer. For example, Super Mario Brothers 1, The Lost Levels, and Super Mario 3. I pick it up today, and man, the controls and physics are super tight that when they ramp up, I can overcome.

    A few months ago I played through Mega Man 2. I have not played it since I was a kid. Man, outside of annoying slow down every once in a while, that game still controls beautifully.

    And you're right, the leaf and tanooki suit irritates me. But I don't mind it being there. It irritates me because family friendly Nintendo is pretty much giving me the G rated version of "Fuck you! Git Gud!"
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #84 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    And also, to posters saying if everything has to be an argument, can I just point out as is the case for the most part at USGamer, the discussion has been nothing but civil. So it's okay! We can have different opinions.

    One of the things I love about this site. Step into the comments section of GameStop, IGN, GameFaqs, GAF, or Polygon... and prepare to lose brain cells!
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #85 nadiaoxford 9 months ago
    @bengrande True, this site's readership is an upstanding bunch ... but the more people who read this sort of thing, the better, right? :) And though the intro might come off as condescending (I was aiming more for comedy, frankly, so I guess that's a failure on my part), there certainly *are* some gamers out there who are willing to ruin lives to defend the medium against every slight, whether real or imagined. Sadly, we've seen it happen several times. In which case, yeah, settle down -- life was once all about dying early, and you're getting angry over playing magic games on a magic box.

    So this is definitely one of those "If you don't think this should apply to you, it doesn't" scenarios.

    I wouldn't call the article "unnecessary," either. As the comments indicate, it's kicked up a lot of discussion from people who agree, disagree, and are glad to share their stories about how Easy Modes help them enjoy the pastime they love despite physical disabilities. It's important for all of us to be actually reminded that this is not a hobby where one size fits all.Edited 3 times. Last edited November 2016 by nadiaoxford
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  • Avatar for Iliya-Moroumetz #86 Iliya-Moroumetz 9 months ago
    @Thusian I know, right? I love Fire Emblem, but I cannot go back to the older ones and I'm glad that they added in the option to simply let defeated characters retreat instead of die. I like the characters too much to let that happen.
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  • Avatar for TernBird #87 TernBird 9 months ago
    I have my own story to tell with this.

    I'm currently going through the Mega Man Zero series via the DS compilation. Great games, but they're punch-you-in-the-face hard. The first MMZ had no unlockable attacks to help you gain an edge against bosses--you had to grind new "skills" out of your weapons. Like the freaking Charge attack. You had Cyber Elves to help things like, say, extending health... but using them was grounds for penalty via losing end-of-level points. Use just one Cyber Elf, and you'll never get an S-rank!

    I'm playing Mega Man Zero 3 now, and its standards are total BULLSH*T. See, it has a series of minigames you can unlock if you're a freak of some sort that can beat the game with a perfect score--multiple times. Or, y'know, only using your sword but never a charge-attack. Or likewise with the buster. Meanwhile, here I am struggling to get an A-rank.

    The DS compilation has an "easy mode" that lets you go through all four games in order with each game's "Ultimate Mode" activated, which does things like allow for charge attacks to be pulled off at any time via fighting game-esque "quarter-circle-forward" commands, as well as mod-cards for MMZ3 that strengthen weapons. Thank GOD for them, because these games can be fun but are like pulling teeth, even if you HAVE been playing Mega Man for decades.

    Self-identified gamers have serious persecution complexes. If it wasn't for Persona 3's Easy Mode, I'd have never beaten it. If it weren't for Fire Emblem Fates' Phoenix mode, I'd have given up. But so many gamers have bought into that freaking "git gud" Dark Souls mentality that it's just dumb. It reminds me of Tomonobu Itagaki, when he made the Ninja-Dog mode for Ninja Gaiden. "What, don't have the skill for this game? Here, let me degrade and humiliate you!"

    Video games are the only medium where the people who claim to be its staunchest "defenders" are knee-capping the industry, fighting off the people who could help make things better.
    @jeremycarrier12 The medium may not be "for everyone", but no medium should have a righteously-defended barrier of entry. That'll only strangle it in the long run--and too many AAA-titles maintain that mentality.

    The only thing keeping people from consuming a film like "La Dolce Vita" is their own desire to watch it. Dark Souls has a toxic community, steep difficulty curves, overwhelming options...Edited November 2016 by TernBird
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  • Avatar for GeoX #88 GeoX 9 months ago
    I dunno--I suppose I can imagine a game where an easy mode would obviate the entire point, but sure, they're fine in general; why wouldn't they be. I will SAY, however, that I was not a fan of that damn tanooki suit appearing to tell me, hey, it looks like you suck at videogames; why don't you just stop trying? You're clearly not good enough. THE FACT THAT I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH IS NEITHER HERE NOR THERE. I'm totally cool with them including it as an option, but being able to toggle the damn thing on and off from the start would've been appreciated.

    (Though really, the bigger problem with that game was that SO MANY LEVELS that were teeth-grindingly hard with regular Mario were rendered trivially easy by an ordinary, garden-variety leaf).
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  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #89 LBD_Nytetrayn 9 months ago
    @TernBird Comic book fans might arguably be another, but I digress.

    I did manage to get S-rank throughout Mega Man Zero 3, but it's not a feat I've ever sought to repeat (nor have I the time now I did then). The rest in their natural form prove too much for me sooner or later, though, so I do appreciate a way to experience all the sights, sounds, stories, and characters without killing myself (though admittedly, the Easy mode they employ might lean a little more in the other direction than I'd like).

    I like a good challenge in my games, but what makes a challenge "good" is going to vary from game to game and person to person (QTEs can die in a fire -- looking at YOU, Sonic Unleashed), so I don't mind being able to freewheel around some of that stuff so I can enjoy the rest of what a game has to offer, of which challenge is usually but one small part.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #90 Modern-Clix 9 months ago
    Another good example. I put around 88 hours into Persona 4 Golden. I did this, and that, and grinded out levels for those bosses that take forever, got the Persona summons I wanted, etc. Did the extra dungeon too for the ultimate ending.

    I did it all on Normal and I loved it and would never have done it on anything less.

    Now, I want to go back to it and do New Game Plus. I conquered the dungeons, the bosses, registered all the Personas I want so I can pay to use them again, did the secret bosses in each dungeon, etc.

    I love that game. Now, I want to do it again and just enjoy the story. Want to try to get the social links I did not have time to do on my first play through, and maybe this time court Naoto instead of Chie.

    So what am I going to do for New Game Plus? I am going on Easy, and doing Double EXP and Double Money. So thank goodness there is an Easy mode so I don't have to grind for 88 hours again just so I can date Naoto and join the soccer team instead of the basketball team.
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