Power Overwhelming – Have games become easier?


Blizzard released Starcraft Remastered last week so naturally I spent the weekend diving into nostalgia tainted joy.

While it was great to see Jim Raynor cruising around in a Vulture and Sarah Kerrigan decloaking, there was something I was not expecting, and that’s how hard Starcraft is.

I had joked with a friend before firing up the game about the now iconic cheat codes but after failing to complete the same mission four times I was tempted to open up a Chrome tab to find them.

The game is hard and that’s just how it is because you can’t change the difficulty. It got me thinking that perhaps I was a better at playing games growing up in the 90s than I am today.

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Tips at my fingertips

Most of my youth was spent flitting between friends’ houses because I owned neither a console nor a PC. Eventually when the Playstation was released I had a console of my own. I had to share with my brothers but whatever, I had a portal to the world of games that didn’t require a bike ride.

My first game was MediEvil and to this day I have never played a more difficult game. The countless times I spent dying and reviving myself in that game became entrenched in my psyche. Then I discovered a walk-through and I – to paraphrase Dark Souls faithfuls – got good.

That was how it continued.

When I got stuck in Metal Gear Solid I turned to guides, the same went for Syphon Filter. Mind you, back them getting a guide required that my parents went to a book store so that I could spend my pocket money on a foreign magazine that contained a guide.

“Oh but you should have just figured it out,” some people will cry. Perhaps I was wrong to use a guide to figure out how to complete a puzzle but I had spent good money on games and I’d be damned if I didn’t see the end credits.

These days I find myself using guides a lot less than when I was growing up but I will admit to having dropped the difficulty down when games get tough. So maybe games are still as difficult as they were but I’ve opted for “easy” or “normal” difficulties. Yes, I play on these difficulties because there are times when I want to enjoy the R800 odd I’ve spent on a game.

EZ game

All this information floating around on the internet has definitely made games easier for me but I wonder if game developers aren’t just making their creations easier, and accounting for folks with a variety of skill levels.

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Gaming is a massive business and research firm NewZoo estimates that 2.2 billion gaming fans will generate $108.9 billion in revenue this year.

It makes sense then that game developers would be making games more accessible to more people. If you want something that tests you can have that, if you want a care free jaunt through a beautiful world you can do that as well.

It’s fascinating to be able to dive into Starcraft which tests me and then have a bash on a game such as Papers Please which is not as difficult but just as enjoyable. The fact that I can do the same with one game is even more incredible.

If anything Starcraft Remastered has shown me how far we’ve come as gamers; this weekend of mining minerals and gas has shown me that like with most things, when it comes to games, there really is something for everybody.

 

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