What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

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killbot
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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by killbot » Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:54 pm

Again, I'm not arguing that games should be harder than they are - it's specifically the diminishing consequences of failure that I'm railing against. I just think games have lost any... tension as a result of the fact that dying doesn't cost you anything.
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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by ToxieDogg » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:40 pm

Megamixer wrote:I think 'failing' in the old days wasn't totally down to a game being a 'challenge' though was it? How many games are hard to complete because of glitches, terrible counter-intuitive controls, bad design etc.? Lots I'd wager. I don't necessarily mind a game being difficult if the difficulty is based around pure skill but bad game design, technical problems and artificially boosted difficulty aren't acceptable.

Don't get me wrong, I like a challenge in a game but I wouldn't purposely play something that beat my face in just to say "I play tough games and am proud of it". Gaming is entertainment and entertainment is about whatever you enjoy. There is no right or wrong so whether it's a balls-hard arcade game or a 4 hour game mostly experienced through cutscenes, does it matter as long as we enjoy it?

If playing and beating really hard games is your idea of entertainment then that's cool; you're getting what you want from the medium. I personally get my kicks from experiencing amazing level/world design (Dragon's Dogma, Grand Theft Auto), soundtracks (Tekken 2, Spyro the Dragon, story (Final Fantasy VIII, Yakuza) or art (anything by Vanillaware).

Ultimately, difficulty and bearing the possibility of failure only works if a game is rewarding enough to keep trying. Unlocking everything on Timesplitters Future Perfect took me ages and ages because of the sheer difficulty of some of the challenges at gold trophy level but I kept going because the game was worth it. In other words, I was still enjoying the game as I was failing. Some tough games get this right, others are just hard with no incentive to carry on.
I agree fully with you. If you look at games like Jet Set Willy (which spawned hundreds of identikit tough as nails platformers back in the day), even though I enjoyed it at the time there's no way in hell I'd like all games to be like that again...brutally difficult, no checkpoints and (in the original release at any rate) a couple of game breaking glitches, a game that even if you used pokes to fix the glitches I'd say that only maybe 1% of people who bought it at the time would've been able to complete. That's why I used examples like Super Metroid and Duck Tales which only took a lot of gamers a few hours to get through back when they first come out. I do feel that back then, I'd say the majority of people who bought Super Metroid would be able to get through at least the first section of the game before getting stuck whereas now it looks like gamers are giving up only a couple of screens in at the first sign of a challenge. and it's a bit silly when you've got to handhold in games like that (and Super Mario Galaxy 2 like you said).

I don't think there's a right or wrong way to play games.....like you, I enjoy just exploring the game worlds as much as anything else a lot of the time, but I just think it's sad that a lot of games nowadays are much less 'here's a problem and you have to think a little to work it out' and more 'here's the VERY OBVIOUS solution of what to do, and if you hadn't spotted it already, another character will tell you about it in great detail and then there's a BIG GREEN ARROW pointing to it.' If a game's well enough designed, nonsense like that isn't required, at all.

I wouldn't mind hints appearing if I'd tried something a few times and died, but I don't really appreciate being told the answer before I've had a chance to attempt something. It's not how you learn things at school, and it shouldn't be how you learn things in games either.
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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by pratty » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:05 am

Megamixer wrote:
ToxieDogg wrote:The hand holding approach has gotten way out of hand IMHO.
Personally I thought it peaked with Super Mario Galaxy 2's bonus 'How to play' DVD. Totally unecessary in a game that anybody can pick up and enjoy.
To be fair it was also totally optional, you didn't have to use the DVD to learn the game, I think it's unfair to call it the peak of hand holding, when unlike other games, the game itself it didn't forcibly hold your hand.

(I agree though that I hate a game that plays like a tutorial from start to finish.)

As I said earlier options are the solution. At the moment I choose to fail at DKCR, if I change my mind I'll use the level skip. Those who want to be able to fail at the game can do so, and those who want to get to the end can do so aswell, everybody wins.
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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by Misery » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:12 am

Nemesis wrote:
Megamixer wrote: Gaming is entertainment and entertainment is about whatever you enjoy. There is no right or wrong so whether it's a balls-hard arcade game or a 4 hour game mostly experienced through cutscenes, does it matter as long as we enjoy it?
.
This. It's been a long time since gaming was about spotty teenagers locked away in their bedrooms for hours on end trying to beat a game. Whereas gaming used to be exclusive to those dedicated to facing hugely difficult games, it's now much more inclusive, catering for people of all levels not just thumb stick ninjas. Applying old school difficulty to games today as a rule rather than an exception, would drive many people away who do play now. I think it's great that modern games cater for all abilities & a major plus over retro games in which the ending may never be reached.

There are still games which test the dedicated enthusiast but thanks to varying difficulty levels, even a novice can get to see the endings of most titles. The Lego example given by the OP was a poor one really considering it was made for the younger demographic. Therefore, I don't agree in this instance.

That's the thing though: Alot of them DONT cater to everyone. They make sure to cater to those that want an easy experience, might go a little harder from there.... and then they just outright stop, in almost all instances. Heaven forbid there be a difficulty level that's too hard and causing people to miss out on completing their precious achievements. "Hard" in many games is usually still pretty easy. The same applies to the bazillions of cutscenes problem, and other stuff. These trends have become more and more pervasive over time, and finding games that DONT follow them becomes harder and harder. Games like Demon's Souls and such are rarities.

For me, this has become the very first generation where I have no intention of buying even one of the consoles or handhelds, as not even one of them can provide me with what I'm after. Oddly, nobody else I know seems to want these either.... which is interesting, because of the whole large group I'm the only one that wants the high difficulty levels and lack of boring cutscenes.

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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by Nemesis » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:06 am

Misery wrote:
Nemesis wrote: This. It's been a long time since gaming was about spotty teenagers locked away in their bedrooms for hours on end trying to beat a game. Whereas gaming used to be exclusive to those dedicated to facing hugely difficult games, it's now much more inclusive, catering for people of all levels not just thumb stick ninjas. Applying old school difficulty to games today as a rule rather than an exception, would drive many people away who do play now. I think it's great that modern games cater for all abilities & a major plus over retro games in which the ending may never be reached.

There are still games which test the dedicated enthusiast but thanks to varying difficulty levels, even a novice can get to see the endings of most titles. The Lego example given by the OP was a poor one really considering it was made for the younger demographic. Therefore, I don't agree in this instance.

That's the thing though: Alot of them DONT cater to everyone. They make sure to cater to those that want an easy experience, might go a little harder from . and then they just outright stop, in almost all instances. Heaven forbid there be a difficulty level that's too hard and causing people to miss out on completing their precious achievements. "Hard" in many games is usually still pretty easy. The same applies to the bazillions of cutscenes problem, and other stuff.
That's a nonsense thing to say. The amount of people that plays games far outweighs the amount during the 8-16 bit period. You're old school which is fine and dandy but there are plenty of games which are difficult and can be made that way in their settings. Ever played Left 4 Dead on expert? That'll have you in tears in no time. Going back to the kind of difficulty levels experienced back in the 80's & 90's will only result in people turning away from the pastime. Times have changed but some refuse to change with them.
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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by Fightersmegamix » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:13 pm

Nemesis wrote:Times have changed but some refuse to change with them
What a lazy and stupid comment to write, why bother thinking or discussing when you can just resort to cliché.

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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by nakamura » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:23 pm

Have recently picked up a N64, I have been playing Goldeneye and it highlights how FPS games have regressed in terms of design. The levels are superb and the objectives really well put together. You are given a clear list of what to do, a full briefing of the mission and then left to infiltrate each location. There are no waypoints, no checkpoints and no items are highlighted. You have to use your eyes. It's still gripping and exciting to play today.
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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by Nemesis » Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:57 pm

Fightersmegamix wrote:
Nemesis wrote:Times have changed but some refuse to change with them
What a lazy and stupid comment to write, why bother thinking or discussing when you can just resort to cliché.
Nice. Responding with insults. I thought I was discussing the issue, perhaps you'd care to add something rather than with drivel?
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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by Misery » Sun Oct 06, 2013 1:18 am

Nemesis wrote:
Misery wrote:
Nemesis wrote: This. It's been a long time since gaming was about spotty teenagers locked away in their bedrooms for hours on end trying to beat a game. Whereas gaming used to be exclusive to those dedicated to facing hugely difficult games, it's now much more inclusive, catering for people of all levels not just thumb stick ninjas. Applying old school difficulty to games today as a rule rather than an exception, would drive many people away who do play now. I think it's great that modern games cater for all abilities & a major plus over retro games in which the ending may never be reached.

There are still games which test the dedicated enthusiast but thanks to varying difficulty levels, even a novice can get to see the endings of most titles. The Lego example given by the OP was a poor one really considering it was made for the younger demographic. Therefore, I don't agree in this instance.

That's the thing though: Alot of them DONT cater to everyone. They make sure to cater to those that want an easy experience, might go a little harder from . and then they just outright stop, in almost all instances. Heaven forbid there be a difficulty level that's too hard and causing people to miss out on completing their precious achievements. "Hard" in many games is usually still pretty easy. The same applies to the bazillions of cutscenes problem, and other stuff.
That's a nonsense thing to say. The amount of people that plays games far outweighs the amount during the 8-16 bit period. You're old school which is fine and dandy but there are plenty of games which are difficult and can be made that way in their settings. Ever played Left 4 Dead on expert? That'll have you in tears in no time. Going back to the kind of difficulty levels experienced back in the 80's & 90's will only result in people turning away from the pastime. Times have changed but some refuse to change with them.

Hmm, in all fairness, my perception of "difficulty" is a little warped. I dont do FPS games myself, as I haaaaaaaaaaaaate certain trends in that genre far, far more than in any other... but I'm used to things that make that one look easy. It was however entertaining as heck to watch friends of mine (that ARE into the genre) play through that particular difficulty level.

Though, warped perception or not, it does work as an example of my point: Alot of games can be set to "hard" or whatever, sure, but "hard" or whatever often isnt actually that. Many people might FIND a particular game hard, but that is often simply because they're used to games that are stupid easy, or that do alot of handholding, so their overall skill level is low. This is one of the reasons why some of the more "hardcore" players, so to speak, tend to avoid consoles. The trends that make games as a whole too easy are pervasive throughout most games on those, due to the way publishers now have to do things. That is of course not to say that ALL of the games on those are that way, but the numbers that are, are far too small to really make a difference. .....and they're often imports, at that. Or purely competetive games such as fighters.

Not sure this is making sense; I think I may be phrasing a few ideas wrong, but whatever.

And all of that is my issue with it. Times have changed, sure.... but for me to change with them would require that my overall ability drop like a stone.

Oh well. I cant say I regret dropping the consoles. The PC pulls all of this off as I want it to. Except of course for that parts where Windows occaisionally goes berserk, as is it's nature.

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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by HalcyonDaze00 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:34 am

Times have changed but some refuse to change with them
spot on

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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by gman72 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:38 am

Agreed.
Basically what I said on page one. :D
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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by Nemesis » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:35 am

Misery wrote: Hmm, in all fairness, my perception of "difficulty" is a little warped. I dont do FPS games myself, as I haaaaaaaaaaaaate certain trends in that genre far, far more than in any other... but I'm used to things that make that one look easy. It was however entertaining as heck to watch friends of mine (that ARE into the genre) play through that particular difficulty level.

Though, warped perception or not, it does work as an example of my point: Alot of games can be set to "hard" or whatever, sure, but "hard" or whatever often isnt actually that. Many people might FIND a particular game hard, but that is often simply because they're used to games that are stupid easy, or that do alot of handholding, so their overall skill level is low. This is one of the reasons why some of the more "hardcore" players, so to speak, tend to avoid consoles. The trends that make games as a whole too easy are pervasive throughout most games on those, due to the way publishers now have to do things. That is of course not to say that ALL of the games on those are that way, but the numbers that are, are far too small to really make a difference. .....and they're often imports, at that. Or purely competetive games such as fighters.

Not sure this is making sense; I think I may be phrasing a few ideas wrong, but whatever.

And all of that is my issue with it. Times have changed, sure.... but for me to change with them would require that my overall ability drop like a stone.

Oh well. I cant say I regret dropping the consoles. The PC pulls all of this off as I want it to. Except of course for that parts where Windows occaisionally goes berserk, as is it's nature.
Part of the issue I think are achievements /trophies on consoles that tend to give the impression that gaming has become less punitive & more reward based. Getting achievements for the most mundane of tasks. Developers know that rewards makes people feel good & therefore they are more likely to continue to play. That's not to say there aren't really difficult achievements to obtain, because there are. However, if you're playing for fun rather than kudos, being rewarded provides more satisfaction that being frustrated.

As for the price of failure question posed by the OP, I can't say it has gone too far the other way but as the design and expansiveness of games changes then there may be a reappraisal in approaching player failure or death.
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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by Prof Mango B Coconut » Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:10 pm

Nemesis wrote:Hmm, in all fairness, my perception of "difficulty" is a little warped.
Mine is probably not quite straight either. My idea of a good time is Doom on Nightmare difficulty using only the pistol and punch weapons. It took me about 3 months to beat the game, but god did punching the Cyberdemon to death feel good.
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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by ncf1 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:30 pm

Girls is the reason. The Sims ruined everything. Now every single thing you do in a game requires emotional comforting, some kind of reward, trophy, backrub, telling you you're the best wife I ever had, etc etc. Back in the day you had to be a MAN in order to play them there games. Aint no girl gonna wait 45 minutes for a game to load/be told YOU DIED 3 seconds into a game/fart around with aligning a datasette just to make it even play a game in the first chance, NO WAY. These days its all catered to family, girls, kids.. they *know* the guys are already going to play, so they are in the back pocket already, so the smartest option is to cater for the female gender.

Damn girls. Ruin everything! ;)

but talking seriously here for a moment, rather seriously, I like how gaming has progressed. I loved the hard 8-bit gaming days, and I love whats to offer now. Usually games have easy/normal/hard so its absolutely fine.

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Re: What happened to the ability to 'fail' at a game?

Post by Misery » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:28 am

Prof Mango B Coconut wrote: Mine is probably not quite straight either. My idea of a good time is Doom on Nightmare difficulty using only the pistol and punch weapons. It took me about 3 months to beat the game, but god did punching the Cyberdemon to death feel good.

Yeah, same here. Been playing that alot lately myself. Though I lack the undying patience necessary to punch things to death with just the normal fist, so I always grab the berserk packs before I do that. Some things take way too long to kill even with that though. The Cyberdemon..... no, not happening in my case. He's pretty easy, but he takes long enough to kill with something like a shotgun as it is. Be more exciting overall though if enemies would fire more rapidly than they do.

Modern FPS games are bloody boring and slow by comparison. All the stupid cover and sniping and blah blah blah. My preferred tactic in damn near everything is just to charge at things.

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