For years, I’ve gamed by the mantra “easy difficulty is for pussies”, I’ve suffered through the most aggravating of moments to get to that next cut-scene. Sometime in early 2010, I gave up on my masochistic gaming-habit. It seems the things that made playing games on the hardest difficulty setting so rewarding have lost their flare.
I no longer have the buddy down the street to brag to, or the time to repeatedly attempt a boss battle for hours. I’ve learned – and not just by getting older – that most games are better experiences when played on easy.
Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE a cold, hard challenge. The difference with me, is that I don’t go to my story-driven games for that challenge. Ikaruga, Super Meat Boy, Mega Man, Trials HD, & Donkey Kong - to name a handful - are games I turn to: those that have been designed from point-A to challenge its players.
What good does difficulty do to experiences that revolve around the characters and world of a plot-heavy title? It doesn’t do a flake of good. Replaying key moments in games completely ruins how awesome they were intended to be, especially when they are being replayed due to missed key presses or frustration-heavy segments. Imagine how entertaining films would be if they consisted of sporadic loops of failed action sequences.
It essentially comes down to knowing where I can turn to get what I am looking for. If I want to spend an hour replaying the same sequence over again, I’ll play Space Invaders Extreme. At least with that, I can finish with my name plastered on its leader board. Call of Duty, Uncharted, Red Dead Redemption, Half-Life, Zelda - the memories that come to mind of these games are never about how challenging something was, and never will be to me.
To those who perma-death their Far Cry 2 runs or trudge through every FPS on one-shot-kill mode, I salute you. You keep a piece of the soul that once possessed me alive. You kick yourself in the balls repeatedly to show your friends how bruised you can be while still striding forward. I, on the other-hand, just want to sit on my couch and get through as much of this game as I can before my wife takes over the TV at 9:00pm to watch Gossip Girl. To puss, or not to puss…that is the question.