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Re(2):Kirby and difficulty levels: A discussi
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[QUOTE] I think for me the desire for "difficulty" is really dependant on what type of artistic or entertainment goal the game is produced with---this relates to play style to a large degree. Like, games like flOwer came immediately to mind as situations where the threat of death or penalty isn't really necessary or even desirable---the thrill is in "interaction with an environment" as opposed to "avoiding action-based or strategic obstacles." In other words, the point from which a game derrives its "fun" determines the need for difficulty. Genre is a silly contruct in many mediums, but maybe it's helpful here in that genre can sort of determine where the "fun" in a game is supposed to be coming from (exploration, strategic planning, reflexes, puzzle-solving, etc.)[/QUOTE]This is a very interesting case. Note, however, that sometimes I would be careful over analyzing some gameplay element as a form of artistic expression more than giving the player the needed exhilaration/tension. [QUOTE]On the other hand, when the penalty happens, is it fun? Not really. It's just something we've been conditioned to accept, and sometimes these punishments have gone a little further than they really needed to. A trend towards the elimination of lives and game overs wouldn't be a huge problem. The only real use those things ever had was limited to arcades, to show you when your quarter's up. On a console, the tendency is to continue playing until you're satisfied. Why interrupt that just because someone sucks? Why not just tell them they suck but let them keep playing?[/QUOTE]I think this is the main point I'm getting at: The concept of "death" in a videogame does not automatically equate to challenge, just as there are many cheap deaths in old 8-bit games (which is more a subject of early game design), yet at the same time a videogame must present its challenge [i]somewhere[/i], and a game without penalty just makes it seem like theirs the inevitable winning condition... ...unless there are actually two or more goals instead of just the one "win". We've arleady seen many games differentiate between the regular "Finished" ending and the "100% Completion" ending. For instance, the Castlevanias or Cave Story does that. Not only does it present you with three endings (one is technically a non-standard Game Over without statement), but the extramediate end is presented as a "bonus". therefore, the concept of "progress" changes depending on the eye of the beholder. People who do know there is more to the game than just getting to the end will see the "normal" endings as halfway progress. Most of these games even coax the novices into aiming for the "complete" ending via teasers at the end of the game (Sonic Adventure 2 comes to mind), and this is actually a fair way to present the player with a way of saying "the game is finished, but not completed". Yes, overcoming action-based challenges will remain part of a game. But I thinks the easiness isn't from the fact that it was designed easy, but rather from the fact that the player has become adept at a certain kind of gameplay. [URL=http://podcast.the1upnetwork.com/flat/Retronauts/R101410.mp3]Chris Kohler touches up on this in the last episode of Retronauts[/URL], when he discusses the code which brings them to Mike Tyson/Mr. Dream in Punch Out, and you actually have all the tools needed to defeat him in your arsenal, with the exception of perhaps knowledge and skill, aspects which you learn piecemeal as you progress through the game.
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