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July 22nd, 2007, 22:43
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
In some ways, difficulty can be a bad thing, especially when it is due to unfair stacking or cheating on the part of the AI…
I'm glad that you mention that and let me add that the so called "difficulty" of older games very often stems from retarded design decisions like the M&M age example that was mentioned before. If you don't pay very close attention to your character stats you get… *oops* sorry about that, dude, but you've just flushed 80 hours of play time down the toilet.
Or the limited saves example that someone else mentioned. Does it really enhance the challenge or does it just limit and frustrate people (especially those with family or other RL distractions)?
Or stupid death traps as in the Realms of Arkania games (otherwise my most favorite RPGs right after the Gothic series). That was just plain annoying when you reached the end of a path (most of the time near the edge of the map though it was hard to tell at times due to inaccuracies between the game display and the map that was included with the game how close you really were to the edge) and you got a pop-up message "HAHAHA U SIR R DEAD!!!!111". Ummm… yay. How… "challenging" that I get to reload out of nowhere now .

So, while I believe that it is generally true that games used to be slightly harder (I do not think that the difference is overly drastic), the good old times weren't actually as good as it might seem in hindsight. A lot of the "challenges" came from piss poor design, badly thought through "features" and technical limitations.
It's similar to the issue of cut features. Some people will argue that e.g. the necessity to keep track of your character's hunger and thirst levels adds depth to a game while others (like me) can very well do without this (IMHO) unnecessary micro-management. Likewise, I do not believe that instant death traps of the "Haha, boom, you're dead" kind really add to the challenge of playing a game. I'm glad that designers have matured and ask themselves more often (or ideally on every feature) whether it really adds to the fun and enjoyment of a game because -let's face it- games have always been and will always be just entertainment. They shouldn't turn into work or into exercises in frustration. Got enough of that crap in real life .
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