Teens React to Mega Man: What We've Forgotten About "Nintendo Hard" Games

The Fine Brothers release a new video and classic fans wrongly lament the state of game players today.

Analysis by Mike Williams, .

Yesterday, the Fine Brothers' REACT channel released a new video pitting unaware teens against a game that near and dear to many classic gamers: Mega Man. That's right, teenagers who don't even play games against a challenging title from yesteryear. If you want to see how they fared, the video is below.

Suffice it to say, they didn't do very well. The Fine Brothers unleashed them on Bomb Man's stage - I would've started with Cut Man - with 3 lives and no guidance. Of the teenagers shown in the video, only (the stealth 30-year old) Jasser makes it to the end of the level, but he dies before he even gets the boss down to half health. Yes, the videos are edited to play up the ignorance of the teenagers, but for the purposes of this article, I'm taking what's shown at face value.

If you went by online discourse, you'd think the Fine Brothers found the dumbest teenagers ever. From their lack of knowledge about old platforming game tropes to their inability to reach Bomb Man. There are statements lamenting the state of gaming today, the lack of motivation in children, and the relative excellence of online commenters when they played Mega Man for the first time. There's a sense of arrogant superiority in many of the statements. I'm here to tackle a few of them.

Guts Man's stage makes baby Jesus cry.

How Did They Not Know about X?

Like almost anything else you can learn, gaming has a certain language to it. There are ideas inherent to how we build and play games that only make sense if you've learned the formal rules to each game world. Mario jumps on Koopas, which only really makes sense in Mario; other titles require you to avoid enemies completely. In this case, Mega Man is supposed to avoid and shoot enemies; some of the teenagers figure this out rather quickly, while others fall back on Mario platforming tropes. "Can I jump on them like in Mario?" Jeannie even asks.

There's a section where Josh finds out for the first time that when power-ups scroll off the screen, they're gone. If the others even twigged to this concept, it's not shown; maybe they did, but it's entirely possible he's the only one that noticed. Jasser loses a life because he didn't know he needed to hold Up to grab on a ladder. Jeannie is perplexed that spikes are a one-hit kill, but there are a number of platformers where they're not (Sonic the Hedgehog's spikes are less punitive). Even simple things like the physical design of the NES controller are foreign to these kids: watch how some of their fingers curl to reach shoulder buttons and triggers that aren't there.

A simple problem that can pose conceptual issues for some.

A similar thing happened when Super Metroid hit the Wii U Virtual Console. Beyond of the infamous "Y can't Metroid crawl?" question (that guy eventually beat the game), many players were stuck because they lacked the tools and expectations to deal with certain obstacles. Knowing that brown doors are completely inactive is a learned trait. Something as simple as taking a leap of faith is hard because other games have taught you bottomless pits are instant death.

These are all things most of us take for granted, because we grew up playing these titles. Concepts like wall jumping, double jumps, and charge shots, are familiar to us. We're more apt to sit down with a title and see what gameplay tropes form the backbone of a game's world. Imagine not having that knowledge to draw on? It's why I use the language metaphor; if you don't understand Russian vocabulary or sentence structure, of course you're going to be lost reading a Russian book, even if it's meant for children.

These kids lack the vocabulary to engage with something like Mega Man early on. Despite that, they take damage, die, learn, and improve. They get farther and repeated attempts see them getting deeper into the level. (Jeannie gets pretty far without even knowing she can attack.) That's how the game works. Many of us just forget that we had to learn at one point.

Ice Man's stage has the first appearance of this mess.

Mega Man 1 Wasn't That Hard When I First Played It

Yeah, it was. Maybe you were one of the special kids who beat every boss with only the Mega Buster without losing any lives, but I wasn't and neither were most of my peers. The first Mega Man is one of the classic "Nintendo Hard" games (It's not Mega Man and Bass or Megaman Zero 2, but you get the idea). Not only was it the introduction to this specific style of play, but it lacked the superior level design of its sequels.

Seriously, watch that video. Count how many obstacles are meant to damage you with absolutely no telegraph or hint. Josh loses a life because he kills an enemy that explodes and he happened to be too close. There was really no way to prevent the loss of that life. Mega Man is meant to be a game where you die and learn from your death. These teenagers are playing the game as its meant to be played.

Remember, Mega Man 1 is borderline evil at times. Guts Man and Ice Man's stages are still some of the hardest platforming experiences around. For a neophyte, things come at you from every direction and it only takes some knockback to find yourself falling into spikes or a bottomless pit. There's no charging, no sliding, and no Energy Tanks to ease the difficulty and the infamous Yellow Devil is waiting for you.

The boss weaknesses make little sense. Using Ice Slasher on Fire Man makes sense, but why would you think to use Thunder Beam on Ice Man or Rolling Cutter on Elec Man? Beyond that, Mega Man makes no effort to teach you anything or even hint at possible solutions. It's like a point-and-click adventure game in platforming form; things work because they were built that way, you just have to keep dying until you figure out the solution.

The much-maligned Quick Time Event.

Games Today Are Too Easy, Kids Rely on Hand-Holding and Tutorials

This is the one I'm willing to relent a bit on, but there are reasons. Games today are easier. Many of these Nintendo titles had designs informed by the arcade games of the day, which were meant to eat all your precious quarters. Designing a game that most of your player bases couldn't beat was the norm, and many of these older Nintendo games have been proven to be painfully hard. Hell, there's even one study that proves older Nintendo games are NP-hard, meaning they're even computationally difficult.

"For these games, we consider the decision problem of reachability: given a stage or dungeon, is it possible to reach the goal point t from the start point s?" asks that study. "If it is hard to decide even this question, then it is certainly hard to find an optimal path."

These early Nintendo games were also made by developers who designed the titles with only one audience in mind: themselves.

"Video games from that era are abnormally hard," Nintendo president Satoru Iwata admitted in a guest appearance on Japanese show Game Center CX. "Back in the NES generation, for example, let's say everyone debugs a game after it's finished. Everyone involved in the production would spend all night playing it, and because they made games, they became good at them. So these expert gamers make the games, saying 'This is too easy.'"

I daresay many of us did not actually beat all the games were played as kids. We certainly got deep into the game due to repeated playthroughs of early levels, but finishing it? That's was a surprise, the culmination of hours of effort and the help of the Nintendo Power.

Mega Man X improved on the Mega Man formula.

That changed during the Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis era when the concept of a home console was more mainstream and normalized. Games became more accessible, something I understand that many players feel is akin to hand-holding. Game mechanics were more likely to allow players to fail and learn without the harsh penalties older titles meted out. The jump in level design from Mega Man to Mega Man X is nothing short of astounding, with the introduction level going out of its way to teach you about game mechanics. We've moved from hit points in many cases to regenerating health; from games that only give you three lives to titles with frequent checkpoints.

The thing is, those older games still exist for the hardcore. Dark Souls, Super Meat Boy, and Spelunky stand as titles with harsh penalties and high difficulty. No hands are held, no quarter is given. If that's your thing, those games still exist for you. Yes, there's a middle ground between challenge and accessibility that we may have passed - the late PlayStation 1, early PlayStation 2 era, I'd say - but not every game today is a complete cakewalk.

Much easier.

This Is a Positive Thing

What many missed in calling these teenagers stupid is the fact that they enjoyed their experience with Mega Man. They had three lives and only one reached the boss, but they were learning. They were getting better. Given enough time to learn the ins-and-outs of the game, I'm sure they would've been fine. That's what playing games in the NES era was for us. Suffering our way to success.

If you think these kids are hopeless, here's a challenge: find an NES game you didn't play back in the day. Go play it. See how easy it is to learn its systems, or how well you do in the first 10-15 minutes of play. Or revisit one of those old classics that you haven't played in decades. Even drawing on the knowledge you already have as a gamer, I think what you'll find will surprise you.

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 46

Comments on this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

  • Avatar for Roto13 #1 Roto13 3 years ago
    A couple of those kids definitely play games.

    But Mega Man 1 is kind of bullshit. I've beaten all 10 of the main series Mega Man games and 1 is the only one I wouldn't play again because it's just not that well designed. There's a reason people only really started caring about the series with Mega Man 2.

    That said, these kids are pretty bad at recognizing patterns. And there's really no excuse for not trying the B button. There aren't that many buttons on the thing.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #2 jeremy.parish 3 years ago
    While I agree that it's gross that people are so quick to make fun of/lament the "stupidity" of inexperienced gamers, what I took away from this video is that kids are sharp, quick to figure things out through experimentation, and enjoy the process of learning. I mean, hell, the most popular game in the world is Minecraft, which consists entirely of discovery and shared/communal learning. Developers (or is it publishers?) would do well to give players a little more room to figure things out on their own. There's got to be a happy medium between being utterly opaque and unfair, and treating players like they've just been wheeled out of a brain trauma ward.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #3 SatelliteOfLove 3 years ago
    I say, have said for 6 years once the cold, dark revelation occured to me, and will till it's not longer the case that it's the EXPECTATION of success and the lack of responsibility that is at fault here. Winning is a "right" now, somehow.

    Also having dying, being frustrated, and setback in a game on an emotional level of a war crime (slight hyperbole) has made the very event of those a catastrophe, when they are natural states of mind, and natural byproducts of challenge.

    Those are the enemies of both good game design and good game playing. Those suckers right there, and what one should take from old, well-tuned merciless games.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Wellington-b #4 Wellington-b 3 years ago
    Wow.. Great insights. I was in 3rd grade when I was given the cart to play by a classmate along with Milons Secret Castle (which I never touched again after my taste of the blue bomber) I know that the ice man stage gave me an afternoon of pure anger due to the disappearing blocks. I was somewhat disheartened that most of the kids were like "never again" after they finished. But most probably due to my personal preference for the series and the memories I have.Edited December 2014 by Wellington-b
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Godots17thCup #5 Godots17thCup 3 years ago
    Considering that these kids were playing the original Mega Man, hardly the most polished entry in the franchise, without any of the context from the era the game was designed in, I was actually kind of impressed with how open-minded most of them were about the experience and with how well a couple of them even managed to adapt to the game's rules and structure.

    I played a fair amount of these types of games growing up, and I still struggle with Mega Man 1.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for TheDarkKnight9113 #6 TheDarkKnight9113 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish I agree with what you wrote, while watching the video I had flashbacks of my youth and having the same stuff happen to me the first time I played a Megaman game. I enjoyed seeing them get better as they played, I did get mad watching them die at the beginning I won't deny that, but by the end I could relate with them because we all sucked in our first time playing that type of game. Sorry if that sounded long winded.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for TotalHenshin #7 TotalHenshin 3 years ago
    "If you think these kids are hopeless, here's a challenge: find an NES game you didn't play back in the day. Go play it."

    I have to take some umbrage with this remark. I'm going through the show Game Center CX now, and a game that I was going to play (Gargoyle's Quest II) was the next episode. I wanted to play and beat the game before I saw Arino challenge it, and so I did. Having never played or seen the game, I beat it in two and a half hours yesterday.

    Not every NES game is going to be Ninja Gaiden, but let's not exaggerate. NES-era titles aren't the video games equivalent of eating glass or passing a stone.

    Otherwise, good write-up. I had similar feelings when I saw the other REACT video of kids using an NES for the first time. For me, the take away was how insular the internet's video games world can feel. I do begrudge in-game tutorials and the like, but the REACT video at least helped me really see why some of that stuff is there.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for MHWilliams #8 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    @TotalHenshin I loved Gargoyle's Quest II. The first for Game Boy is more painful, but I haven't revisited it to see if that was because of the game or the Game Boy.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for metalangel #9 metalangel 3 years ago
    I don't like these 'kids react' videos for this reason - they throw them in off the deep end and then expect us to laugh as they flounder.

    I recall one where they gave them a Sony Walkman. Just the Walkman, though, without the (absolutely crucial for its operation) headphones. In their usual fashion, they show us several perplexed kids before one bright girl says it plays music off tapes.

    But that's not funny enough! Wouldn't you rather laugh at the dope swirling his finger on the chrome-rimmed window thinking it's some kind of click wheel? Haaa! Stupid kids. They don't instantly understand something they've never seen before!
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Lord-Bob-Bree #10 Lord-Bob-Bree 3 years ago

    Between this video and the NES one (which I haven't actually watched), I get the idea that these videos are for making the people "in the know" feel like they're part of some exclusive group.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for ShadowTheSecond #11 ShadowTheSecond 3 years ago
    I'm guessing this article brings up some memories from all of us here. Maybe we'll see an article about what the editors (think) was the first game that they beat on their own?

    I certainly couldn't beat most of the NES and computer games that I played early on--and definitely not Mega Man. MM 2 and 3 were doable with some practice as a kid, but the original has some brutal encounters like Yellow Devil...

    That being said, I'm pretty sure that Ducktales 2 was the first game that I beat entirely on my own. My Dad helped me through Mega Man 3 (I had notable issues with Gemini Man as a child), and later through a couple of X-Wing stages that I couldn't handle when it came out. Those X-Wing stages were so long sometimes!
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for AxiomVerge #12 AxiomVerge 3 years ago
    Newer games also tend to be longer... If you make them too difficult they can end up taking way more time than most adults have.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for ob1 #13 ob1 3 years ago
    I was going to mock 'em,
    then I remembered how Mega Man wa... IS hard,
    and then, you got me at "Many of these Nintendo titles had designs informed by the arcade games of the day, which were meant to eat all your precious quarters"
    Great article, thank you Mike.

    PS : kudos to@gamespite for its anatomy of Megaman BTW.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for ob1 #14 ob1 3 years ago
    I was going to mock 'em,
    then I remembered how Mega Man wa... IS hard,
    and then, you got me at "Many of these Nintendo titles had designs informed by the arcade games of the day, which were meant to eat all your precious quarters"
    Great article, thank you Mike.

    PS : kudos to@gamespite for its anatomy of Megaman BTW.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for ob1 #15 ob1 3 years ago
    I was going to mock 'em,
    then I remembered how Mega Man wa... IS hard,
    and then, you got me at "Many of these Nintendo titles had designs informed by the arcade games of the day, which were meant to eat all your precious quarters"
    Great article, thank you Mike.

    PS : kudos to@gamespite for its anatomy of Megaman BTW.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Torden #16 Torden 3 years ago
    I beat this game fpr the first time when I was 11 or 12, and yes it was hard. I never found the disappearing blocks to be a problem, but those flying platforms that shoot on Iceman's stage had a glitch that made Mega Man fall through them from time to time, and that was really annoying. And when it comes to the Yellow Devil, I wish I knew about the Elecman pause trick at the time; instead I memorized the pattern.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for LunarFlame17 #17 LunarFlame17 3 years ago
    I've been playing video games since the late 80s. I grew up on the NES. And I much prefer modern games to NES-era games. I never appreciated hard games. I always searched for cheat codes or strategy guides or whatever. I had a Game Genie and I LOVED that thing. I never would have beaten the original Mega Man without it. I don't really have a point with all this. Just wanted to say that not everyone who grew up in that era bemoans the state of modern gaming.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for hal9k #18 hal9k 3 years ago
    @Godots17thCup Good points, and I think your post points to the strength of a lot of those early games - most are pretty clear on what you're supposed to do, they just make doing it difficult. It's the "easy to learn, hard to master" approach that I think most classic board and card games have.

    Maybe I'm showing some sort of bias, but when I look at the screenshot of the Guts Man platforms above, I can't imagine anyone not understanding what they're supposed to do - the trick is having the reflexes to actually do it. As@Roto13 said, there are only 2 action buttons, so the mechanics are much more simple than modern games. That absolutely facilitates trial and error, which is how you're supposed to improve, as Jeremy pointed out.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for troyheber21 #19 troyheber21 3 years ago
    My first mega man experience was megaman2. When I played one it was easy until I reached the stage where there was something buried in a wall that was necessary to continue. It took me days to figure out I had to break a wall to find the object. That was frustrating.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #20 KaiserWarrior 3 years ago
    It's fair to expect some adjustment period when people who've never really played NES games get thrown into one of the more obtuse and difficult ones totally blind. I don't begrudge them not understanding Megaman's mechanics immediately, and they do learn and improve as they play.

    But there are certain things that "oldskool gamers" can gripe about here, legitimately. Such as the one that took quite a while to figure out she actually had an attack. There are only two buttons on the NES controller for heaven's sake, why did it take that long to press the other one and see what it did? I could understand if it was something non-straightforward, like the fireball/run button in Mario that seemingly does nothing unless you happen to hold it down while you're moving, or press it after getting a fire flower. But in Megaman, it's a dead-simple, "Press this button and you get lemons" operation, and it took a WHILE before the notion occurred to even press that button.

    In fairness though, games used to come with instruction manuals. And it used to be fairly normal for people to READ those instruction manuals, and get information on the game's controls, its mechanics, its powerups, and sometimes even the behavior of certain enemies. So you may not have been equipped with "gaming language" right off the bat, but every game came with a handy-dandy traveler's translation pamphlet to give you a crash-course.

    Then there's the "never again" types, after it's over with. This is the kind of thing that people are talking about when they say that modern games are too easy, too hand-holdy. People these days expect victory. They paid their $60, so they deserve to win, to beat the game. If the game is challenging, they play it for one stage and then say "never again".

    When we played these games, we didn't say "never again", we said "alright, time for Stage 2". Games were a challenge to be surmounted, not a passive experience to be tugged through by the hand. We didn't always beat them in the end -- a good number of NES games were just nonsense-hard ala Battletoads -- but we played the hell out of them for a while, at least.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Active-ate #21 Active-ate 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish Agree here. They seemed to pick it up quickly given that they were inexperienced with older games. I didn't think they were stupid at all. Hard to say how much time they were allowed with the game, but if they made it most of the way through Bomb Man's stage coming in totally green and with only three lives, they were doing pretty well.

    Maybe it helped that they were prompted to vocalize their thought processes -- talk their way through each stage.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Thad #22 Thad 3 years ago
    I think you've nailed it -- people forget what it was really like when they were kids.

    My mutant power is that I've got a nearly-photographic memory. I remember what it was really like.

    I played Mega Man 3 and 2 (in that order) before I played the original. So Bomb Man's stage wasn't so bad because I'd already gotten the basics of Mega Man down. (I DID have a learning curve on the stuff that's specific to the first game, like health powerups respawning if you scroll offscreen and spikes killing you even if you've just taken a hit and are otherwise invulnerable.)

    But Lordy do I remember all the times I died at the beginning of Guts Man's stage. Dozens, easily. Or midway through Elec Man's. Hell, finishing Ice Man's stage is still a coin toss due to the random behavior of the floating platforms and the dodgy collision detection that sometimes sends you right through one even when it looks like you landed on it.

    And that's AFTER I'd played 2 and 3. I remember all the times I died on the spikes in the second iteration of Spark Man's stage, and how that skill transferred to "try to move toward the middle of the room" twitch memory that continued to serve me through spike-lined pits throughout the series, up to and including Mega Man 10.

    I remember all the times I died on Air Man's stage in Mega Man 2. Like, not late in the stage -- right at the very beginning. All the times I jumped, hit the horns, fell to my death.

    I can get all the way to the boss without taking a single hit on that level now. My reaction to that isn't "Man, this level is easy" or "Damn I'm good," it's "Holy shit I sure sunk a lot of hours of my childhood into this to be able to do that."

    And it was years before I could make it through Quick Man's stage, even with the Time Stopper. I jumped past Quick Man with a password and beat the game well before I ever managed to go back and beat that level.

    On a related note: I've beaten the original Super Mario Bros. exactly once. It wasn't in the '80's. Or the '90's.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for davidw38 #23 davidw38 3 years ago
    Imma go curl up in the corner and cry at memories of Battletoads, now.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for davidw38 #24 davidw38 3 years ago
    @Thad It took me until THIS YEAR to finally beat Zelda II (and I played it the first time the year it originally came out). And even knowing what path you're supposed to take to reach the boss, just getting to it was murder.

    @#$%ing Bird Knights...Edited December 2014 by davidw38
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for devenbenard00 #25 devenbenard00 3 years ago
    I am 22 now, and I remember playing Megaman for the first time in the 7th grade on my PS2 with the Megaman Anniversary disc. To be honest I gave up after a few days lol, but being a video game purist and having been around classic games my whole life, NES, SNES, I eventually went back and beat the game. Definitely one of the harder games I have played to date. This article is right on the money. Games now-a-days are much easier. Being used to modern games by that time I was not ready for the Megaman experience. Death after death after unavoidable death. I learned this was not a game of fast reactions like the Super Marios and Mario Brothers I had literally run through as a kid. This game was a puzzle with no instructions and you had to memorize all the pieces.( I mean you literally are supposed to beat the game in a certain order and use all the weapons as tools to get past the last level) Being a video game purist I actually looked back and thought this game was quite ingenious and lost a bit of respect for the lack of the "Game" factor in modern day gaming. Megaman rightly deserves the title of a "Classic."
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for devenbenard00 #26 devenbenard00 3 years ago
    To be fair though, after watching the video, these kids suck at video games and lack common video game knowledge and even common sense. Of course you can't kill him when his shield is up silly kids.Edited December 2014 by devenbenard00
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Thad #27 Thad 3 years ago
    @davidw38 Ha, I also replayed Zelda 2 this year. (Did you do it because of Jeremy's Anatomy of a Game entry too?)

    I've never played through it without using a Game Genie Infinite Lives code, and I didn't this time, either. It's fascinating how much more fair the game gets when you dispense with vestigial arcade-hard tropes like "three lives and then you have to start over".
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for someone3 #28 someone3 3 years ago
    I wouldn't call Mega Man, a Capcom title, Nintendo hard. That just doesn't make a lot of sense, even though it was only on a Nintendo console, Nintendo is not responsible for the difficulty of it. That being said, Mega Man and Contra's early iterations were very difficult.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for KakiOkami #29 KakiOkami 3 years ago
    Thinking back on the beginning of my own video gaming (Mario Bros.!) and comparing it to everything I play now, and then considering what games I actually beat and didn't beat, there's a bit of a difference.

    Mario Bros. was probably the first game I ever beat. We all grew up playing it and learning what you could and couldn't do in platformers from that game. There were plenty of other NES games that were tough as nails and gave you a limited number of continues and, in essence, were beat-the-game-in-one-go-without-turning-off-the-system. And when you think, "oh, NES games were shorter than games now", I think back to plenty of games that were still in the 10-20 hour range that still asked you to beat the game without being able to save. Then there were the password games and finally the battery back-up games.

    My favorite game to have beaten was probably TMNT 2: The Arcade Game. It was long, it was a challenge, had limited continues, and was really fun! It took most of the day to get through it and felt like a true accomplishment. I didn't absolutely *have* to beat the game, as long as I had fun with it, I didn't feel like the money I scrounged for it was wasted. I still don't, really.

    I've got plenty of games on my shelf that I've never beaten but I did play a ton of and don't regret a single dime of that purchase (Skyrim, didn't actually beat it yet as my game got corrupted; SpyHunter, got to the last stage and just somehow never actually beat it; most original Sonic games I played, loved, but I don't recall actually having beat any of them).

    Difficulty of games now and then aren't really what I'm looking for honestly. I play for fun and story. I don't play Uncharted on Brutal difficulty but I've had a blast playing CoD Modern Warfare 2&3 co-op with a buddy of mine on Veteran and still had fun despite some truly punishing enemies. Would I play the campaing on Veteran by myself? No, I'm mostly playing for story. Maybe that makes me a bit of an odd gamer compared to most...
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Mega_Matt #30 Mega_Matt 3 years ago
    Great write up Mike. I completely agree. I thought the video was great too. I didnt think the kids were that bad considering their experience with games. I think at one point one of the kids says something about how you would have to play this game over and over again until you could beat it. He is correct. It takes knowledge and practice.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for hal9k #31 hal9k 3 years ago
    @KaiserWarrior I agree about the importance of instruction manuals, reading those thoroughly would make a big difference. I used to love the anticipation of poring over those before I even started up a new game. It was always a pet peeve of mine to buy a used copy with a manual that was missing or in poor condition, or to rent a game and have only one of those hastily transcribed "quick start" cards.

    I guess it's easy to forget that we all had our little cheats back in the day. Just having a rapid-fire controller made a difference for me in many NES games, including the Mega Man series. I can't remember how many times I'd take damage on purpose and use the short invincibility period to cheese my way through hard spots (hello, Air Man stage). Or you could use things like Item-2, the Rush Jet, or Mario's flight ability to bypass parts of stages altogether. Even that magnet beam in the original Mega Man could be used creatively, and feeds back into that trial-and-error learning method that the best games encourage, both classic and modern.Edited December 2014 by hal9k
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #32 Monkey-Tamer 3 years ago
    Look at the modern fighting games. They aren't nearly as popular as they were during the 90s. If it involves more than pointing and shooting the standard arsenal kids say the game is retarded. That was the exact word my teenage cousin used. I'm not surprised by what I saw in the video.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for TotalHenshin #33 TotalHenshin 3 years ago
    @Lord-Bob-Bree Ah, they've done them playing more recent games, such as Outlast, and videos such as "Old people react to watching Nicki Minaj's Anaconda video." I think they in general just want to put people out of their "comfort zone" and show what happens.

    They don't always present them as doofuses either. Half of that Nicki Minaj one is them asking the older people why they don't like the video, what do they think about a woman empowering herself via her sexuality, etc. Some REACT videos can be genuinely interesting, whiles others can be Buzzfeed-level tripe.Edited December 2014 by TotalHenshin
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for docexe #34 docexe 3 years ago
    This reminds me why I tend to take issue with the “elitism” that sometimes permeates through hardcore gaming: That tendency to look down on casual gamers or inexperienced gamers who are still learning. So I agree with the central point of the article, many times we forget that we were in those shoes and how far we have come from them.

    And well, watching the video was actually entertaining. Those kids did relatively well, all things considered, and some clearly had fun. Shame on the one who got too frustrated and said never again, but I think if I had started with the original Mega Man instead of the 4th game, I probably would never had touched the series again.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Keldorek #35 Keldorek 3 years ago
    It's the arrogance you talk about, Mike, that makes me resent and/or avoid huge swathes of the gaming community (especially online gaming communities). They are so severely exclusive and off-putting and flat out rude. I really treasure the apparently small handful of people who aren't so self-absorbed that they still remember what it was like to be bad at something they know like the back of their hands now.

    This video was terrific, and your very insightful deconstruction of it was spot on.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #36 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    I think picking on the kids is a bit unfair, besides the kid who couldn't be bothered to try both buttons and discover that there is an attack button. Being thrown into a relatively tough platformer without any platformer experience is going to be just as tough as being thrown into an FPS with no FPS knowledge.

    Still, I miss this brand of difficulty in today's modern games. A lot of modern gamers have a mentality of entitlement, they feel like it is their right to beat a game and if the game doesn't let them win, it must be crap. This attitude is unfortunately very common. Part of it comes from how modern games are designed: even just being a "game" is something that many modern games are ashamed of, instead they would rather be "experiences" and focus on a narrative. And it's also disappointingly common to hear from modern gamers that they just play games for the stories. In other words, a lot of modern "gamers" don't actually seem to like the "game" part of games.

    What I like about older game design is that it comes with a belief that not everyone has to win. Not everyone is going to finish Zelda II, and that's okay. It is a GAME after all, which is another word for saying a "challenge." Accomplishment is part of the reason for playing. Games that are too "accessible" have no feeling of accomplishment... if everyone can easily beat a game, why should I feel any sense of accomplishment for winning? This is an element that many modern games seem to be missing, and that's a little sad.Edited December 2014 by brionfoulke91
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Sam-Derboo #37 Sam-Derboo 3 years ago
    Great analysis. At every comment from old guys sneering at those kids, all I could think was "Come ooon! As if your very first try at Mega Man went any different!" (or whatever comparable game from the same time frame you played first - if you've already mastered Ghosts 'n Goblins, chances are nothing else in the world will shock you)
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Daedalus207 #38 Daedalus207 3 years ago
    It struck me while reading this article and the preceding comments just how many different ways there are to derive enjoyment from a video game.

    The sentiment "if anyone can beat this game, how can I get any enjoyment from beating it?" sounds very reasonable and makes perfect sense to me. With the popularity of the Dark Souls games, it's pretty clear that many others feel this way, too. For me, however, I get little enjoyment from very hard games, and with no other incentive other than the "hardness" of a game, I'll stop playing and shelve the game.

    For me, it's all about the story, particularly if the characters are well-written. I'll happily put up with dodgy game mechanics in order to see how an intriguing story turns out. I suppose this is one of the reasons I like RPGs so much. "Dragon Age Inquisition" was, for me, the story of how my atheist mage made friends with a bunch of religious fanatics and ultimately saved the world from the Big Bad. If I replay the game with different settings in my Keep, I'll probably turn the difficulty down to the easiest setting, since I don't really care much about the combat - it's all about the story, and seeing how my decisions change the direction of the story.

    JRPGs such as the single-digit Final Fantasy titles are another example: Everyone who played "Chrono Trigger" got the same story and a very similar experience, wherein Chrono and co. save the world from disaster. Some of the boss fights were pretty hard (Golem Twins gave me a lot more trouble than I'd like to admit), but nothing on the order of Megaman.

    Visual Novels like "Analogue: A Hate Story" or "Danganronpa" or Kinetic Novels like "planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~" take this to it's most extreme form - there's nothing hard at all about these games due to their limited interactivity, but I enjoy them very much since they tell interesting stories in interesting ways.

    I don't think there's anything that makes "my" way of enjoying a game "better" or more legitimate than those who get more enjoyment out of really difficult games like Megaman. In fact, I like to think that I'm improving the enjoyment of those who like these games by being much worse than them.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Daikaiju #39 Daikaiju 3 years ago
    I love Mega Man but one was a bear riding shark with fricken' laser beams on it's head. Bless those kids for getting as far as they did. I would have at least offered them the manual and let them pick their own stages,
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for angelmartinez75 #40 angelmartinez75 3 years ago
    I fired Mega Man up once again to see if I was still any good. I beat it in 53 minutes and died three times. I'm getting old and rusty.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #41 SatelliteOfLove 3 years ago

    Exactly. There's supposed to be a science and an art about balancing, design, and tuning difficulty, but sometime around 2006 the roof blew off of expectations; even the best of the best of yesteryear had lower demands than so many do now for success.

    There's nowhere to go but down from that mindset emotionally, and the completion percentages and satisfaction feedback haven't gone up enough anyways. It's almost as people get too bored to finish...

    It also benefits the less skilled. Can't beat it? You weren't SUPPOSED to!
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for jeffcorry #42 jeffcorry 3 years ago
    After watching this video yesterday, I had to go and try Bomb Man's level on the 3DS (no save states!) I made it to the boss in one life and beat him the next. I could have played better.
    ...but I was a Nintendo kid...
    Mega Man was my bread and butter.
    So. Yeah.
    Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania on the other hand...they kill me. So many times.
    Bragging time though:
    I used to beat Gargoyle's Quest from beginning to end in one life.
    In the old days. Before new games made me soft!
    I actually don't appreciate super hard games anymore...I'm just kind of lazy.
    I say that and then think of some of the Kingdom Hearts battles that have taxed my limits...
    My post doesn't really make sense. It's been a long day and I just got back from a dance recital for two of my kids...Edited 3 times. Last edited December 2014 by jeffcorry
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for davidw38 #43 davidw38 3 years ago
    @Thad No, I picked up a Wii U over Christmas/New Years and it was one of the first games I downloaded on the Virtual Console (along with Castlevania, ANOTHER one I only JUST beat) because I WANTED to finally beat it (I find Zelda II an incredibly underrated game. It's really viewed kind of unfairly today since it's so different from the rest of the series).

    And aside from looking up which damn block the path to the final boss was hidden under I played everything straight with no cheats (well, I DID create a Wii U save point right before the Thunderbird, but only because I got tired of having to get ALL the way back down there again after every continue; and I only did it after making it to the boss with all my lives remaining).
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for hiptanaka #44 hiptanaka 3 years ago
    @jeremy.parish I also took away from the video that the kids were learning the game and enjoyed the process, and I was pretty surprised to see how excited some of them got when they finally cleared a part they had failed before. Developers, take note. Gamers are pretty smart and enjoy a challenge.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for richardhart31 #45 richardhart31 3 years ago
    My very first video game as a child was Mario 1 on the NES at the age of 3. My parents told me I could not get a new game until I beat it. It took me two years of playing everyday (not the least of which because of my difficulty recognizing patterns and inability to get the right pattern on the final castle to reach the right Bowser). When I finished that long, difficult journey, I had become very proud of that accomplishment, and immediately desired Super Mario Bros. 3 (which proved MUCH easier to beat).
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for NESPunk #46 NESPunk 2 years ago
    To be honest, I can pick up an NES games and play it well. (Except for Ghosts and Goblins, Dr. Jeykyll and Mr. Hyde, Silver Surfer, etc) Th first time I played Ninja Gaiden, I got to level 2-2 in one continue.
    As a child, me and my brother had the plug-n-play version of Contra. First try, we got to Snowfield. Second try, Alien's Lair. Second, we beat it. Mega Man wasn't all that bad. Not as hard as 3-10 and X. I picked up Excitebike (Note, I have Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man 2, Xenophobe, and MMX on cartridge. I played all the others on emulators.) and finished the first track on Mode B in a minute. Also, I'm only 13 as of now, and I prefer NES, Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, etc rather than XBOX 360 or PS3 and things like that.

    That goes to show that a lot of games nowadays are easier, and kids and adults even are numbed down to that level.
    Sign in to Reply