Friday, January 11, 2013

Why you gotta drag me down just to make me see

Ah, Tonic, a very under appreciated southern rock band.  And yeah, I've decided to make it a "thing" to use a quote as the title to each of my posts.  Kudos to those who know where it comes from, and bonus if you get why I use the quote that I do.  However, I use a "Who's Line is it Anyways" scoring method, so do keep that in mind.

Game difficulty is one of those grey areas in gaming that almost always comes up at some point, and everyone has a different take on it.  I find gamers of my generation are completely OK with insane difficulty in games.  I believe it comes from the lack of game options in our youth, which forced you to play Super Mario Bros. constantly as it was the only title you had for your new NES for at least a few months, before game rentals became a thing.  Also, home gaming was directly descended from arcade gaming, where an enforced difficulty kept the kids popping in quarters.  My kids got a lesson on this about a week ago when I let them tool around in a local arcade.  "But I only got to play for a minute!" is the clarion call that all mothers from the 80's through the early 90's is all too familiar with.

This doesn't just apply to console games either.  Computer games from the early 90's taught me to always have a notebook nearby the computer, well before the advent of the internet and sites like GameFaqs.  You wanted to beat a Might and Magic game without getting lost?  Graph paper was your best friend.  Nowadays games have automapping features and variable difficulty settings.  Is that a bad thing?  No, I don't think so, as long as you leave me a way to make the game as difficult as I want.Dungeons of Dredmore is easily one of my favorite games of the last year and a half.  I don't find it particularly difficult mind you, but I purposely make it difficult for myself by playing with permadeath options and only using random builds.  Give me a game with a valid hardcore or permadeath option, and I will play it that way.  Except Diablo 3.  I just can't forgive the game forcing me to be online constantly to play it, and between their notoriously iffy servers and my bad connection, I just can't bring myself to play the game much anymore, let alone as hardcore.  I'm good with dying because I fucked up, I'm not good with dying because of draconian DRM.  Maybe I'll get into Torchlight 2 a little more when I start a hardcore character, but I doubt it.  The Torchlight series, as a whole, is just too easy for me, and the mechanics aren't compelling enough to keep me going.  Din's Curse is still the pinnacle game in this genre for me.  "But the game looks like shit," is the complaint I hear the most, and I get that, but I remember when games looked worse and we still played them because they were fun. 

Now, don't mistake me for only playing difficult games.  I do enjoy the easier games, as long as the story is compelling, but I'm less likely to replay it, and depending on the game, even finish it.  And depending on why a game is difficult, I might just avoid it as well.  Legend of Grimrock is a delightful old school dungeon crawl along the lines of Wizardry and Might and Magic, but I just couldn't keep playing it after I got to puzzles that were based on reflexes.  I'm not going to spend hours trying to hit the buttons in a certain order at a certain speed just to progress.  I'm getting old, I have tendonitis, it's painful as well as frustrating.  So I haven't gone back to it.  The tendonitis has also affected my love of fighting games as well, but eventually I will be able to justify buying a decent joystick, which will alleviate some of that pain and allow me to dive into one of my favorite genre's again.

Now, you'll notice that yet again, I have no real conclusion.  I noticed it in yesterday's blog as well, but as part of my "don't edit a million times" therapy, I've decided I'm good with that.  You see, these blogs are just me, sharing my thoughts.  I'm not trying to write a thesis, or even really start a dialogue (although I'm not adverse to one).  I'm trying to sit and write something every day.  Follow through has always been something I lacked, and this blog is a way for me to work on that.  I'm not trying to get lots of readers, but if I do, great.  I can't guarantee I'll find time on the weekend though, so for now, just expect this to be a weekday only blog.  I mean, I do have a life outside of the computer.  Sometimes.

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