Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Minor Vindication on Game Difficulty

Back in the early 90's I always believed that games where too hard and now with the released of Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting (that's the first version of SF that allowed special moves to be preformed in mid-air) on XBox Live Arcade the SF Forum on if full of people complaining how difficult the game is. I played the trial version earlier, it is exactly as I remember it and I still barely get past the first opponent on easy.

Sometimes when playing games from that period I feel like it is only me that had a problem with them, but people complaining about SF being too difficult makes me feel a whole lot better.

It's funny how a lot of people complain how easy newer games are. Making a game very difficult was ok in the 80's where a game world consisted of just one level, but not now with large free roaming environments. The necessity of limiting a player's exploration no-longer exists so games can be made more fun by lowering the difficulty and allowing the player to explore the virtual environment that has been created for the game. Through this they can discover a lot of small nuances about the game and follow deep storylines.

This however makes old-school gamers feel somewhat frustrated because they aren't used to playing games where they aren't dieing every nine seconds. Well boo hoo to them, viva la revolution. No-longer do I have to play the same level day in and day out just to get my moneys worth from a title. I can actually sit down and follow the plot from start to finish and games actually HAVE plots now!
Ok difficulty balancing is a fine art, certainly the end boss in a game should be hard and the start of the game should be easy, but those days where everybody had three lives to complete a game with is dead, gone and good riddance.