“Dear Devs Games are easier then ever, allowing everyone and their mom to complete them and get access to all kinds of game content. You no longer have to work for your rewards. Flexibility and focus on pleasure is taking away from the real gaming. This is ruining both MY play experience, but also the purity and spirit of computer games as a whole! Sincerely, the Oldschool Gamers aka the Real Gamers.”
Ok, I am exaggerating here. But, its not far from where the discussion is going. If its complaining about new World of Warcraft players demanding to see all content in game, or players abandoning newer MMOs cause they are not easy enough – there is a underlying idea about games going away from something true. That the development of games to more accessible design is a step away from what MMOs were meant to be, or even games as a whole.I also recently read a game review where the game’s ruthless system that punished any wrong choice, invoked a sense of pureness in the critics eyes and it was only advised to be played by “serious players”.
It’s not like it’s the first time a subculture lash out in frustration as it takes a commercial and mainstream turn. Just using the last couple of years as an example, you could ask any heavy metal fan, hip hoper, skateboarder and goth about who the “real” ones are, and who are just posers and surely get very passionate (though different) answers.
In such, the gamer community is not being any different. This one just really bothers me as is effectively arguing against the very change that could get computer games more publicly accepted, and in such; get our passion for pixels accepted as a valued cultural activity. Or at the least: convince public opinion that gamers are not harmful to our soul or mental and physical well being.
It is not that I am against games that are difficult, or think that games necessarily are better or worse depending on how many time you have to try something in order to succeed. I am arguing against using it as a trait of quality, somehow separate real games and gamers – from the posers and noobs.
On a ending note I would then give a thumbs up to Nintendo with their “New Super Mario Bros. Wii”. In this game you can choose a Super Guide mode, which basically plays the game for you, when you get to that point where you are simply stuck. So, instead of ending the game cause you are stuck, it lets you see the solution being played through and you can move on. It doesn’t reveal hidden bonuses or levels, so the skilled player will still be the only one seeing and experiencing those. And for mainstream games, I think this is a step in the right direction.
Don’t think of it as cheating. Think of it as the golden ticket. A golden ticket to see the end game. After all, most players never play through games, they never get to see the last boss, try the final puzzle, see the lair of their evil nemesis. If it’s meaningless for you to face off against a boss if you didn’t get their entirely by “own hands”, then don’t activate the Super Guide mode. If you want to see how it all ends, for the love of God – please do.
I still have haunting nightmares about what was after that dreadful carpet ride and lava sequence in Aladdin on my SegaMega 16 bit. I’m sure I would have kicked Jafar’s ass if I just could get in range of him…