There has been a lot of controversy around a lot of things in video games. From violence to content, everyone can always find something to complain about. It seems that the arguments will simply never end. But among all of the squabbles, there is one that continuously crops back up. The debate between ‘hardcore’ gamers and casuals in regards to video game difficulty.
This year alone sparked huge controversy with one of its first big hits: FromSoftware’s ‘Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’. Some people wanted FromSoftware to add an easy mode. Diehard fans of the developer cried ‘GIT GUD!!’. They would go back and forth, sparking the largest debate of the year thus far and one of the shortest lived and funniest memes in ‘You Cheated Not Only the Game, But Yourself’.
This same debate often plays out in many forms for many games. People often complain that games like Pokemon and Kirby aren’t hard enough (you guys know those games are meant for little kids, right?) and games like Dark Souls and Super Meat Boy are too difficult. It seems like the debate will always be there, even if the battle isn’t as huge as it was for Sekiro.
Let me tell you something let will blow your mind. Whether an easy or a hard game is good is entirely subjective. You are free to prefer harder games or easier games. And if you like a game but find it too far in one direction that you don’t like, be it too hard or too easy, you as the consumer have the right to alter it to better fit your tastes. If you like Sekiro but think its too hard for you, then you are free to mod the PC version to make it easier.
Now, I can hear you cry out “What about the developer’s vision?” Well, let me tell you a shocking truth: as far as the developer is concerned, their vision has been fulfilled. They made the game they wanted to make, and people bought that game. You as the consumer absolutely have the right to do with it what you will.
Me personally, I resonate more with a challenging game than an easy one. I always select the hardest difficulty in any game that I play and power through it. For a while, I wondered why I’d do it to myself, as I’d often boil over in fury. Then I had the realization: I’m chasing a dragon. I’m an addict chasing the ultimate high. Because, for me, there are few highs more satisfying than overcoming an absurd challenge.
Aside from a ton of weed. But controller-smashing difficulty tends to be easier to get a hold of. As well as a bit more legal in certain states.
Fighting games are also the perfect level of challenge for me. Learning how to play the game itself isn’t hard. But mastering the game is a greater task than any other game! It takes a lot of time and practice until you can get to a high level. But once you’re there, the satisfaction is unparalleled.
Or so I imagine. I still kind of suck at fighting games.
However, I do find joy in simple and easy games. ‘Yoshi’s Wooly World’ is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable games I had played on the Wii U (as well as one of the only ones). ‘Stardew Valley’ is literally impossible to lose at and it’s my favorite therapy game for a stressful day. Even my favorite game of all time, ‘Psychonauts’, is about as difficult as pouring a glass of water.
None of these games are very challenging. But I still love them and frequently go back to them. I do so not because they’re hard. But because they’re fun.
People often forget that video games are supposed to be fun. Not every game needs to be an artistic masterpiece or a blood boiling challenge. So long as the player is having fun, then the game is good. That is all that they need.
If people want to play a hard game, then let them. If they prefer an easy game, that’s their right. If they want to play a hard game but they don’t want to/don’t have the time to get good at it, they as the consumer are allowed to take measures to make the game easier. If that’s what people do for fun, then they have the right to do so.
Remember: you’re allowed to disagree. Not every game works for everyone. If someone tried to make a game for everyone, they’d make the worst game of all time. A jack of all trades is the master of none.
You shouldn’t go out of your way to tear someone apart simply because they like something. Elitism in media is the most pointless thing a person can do. If someone mods Sekiro to make it easier to beat, or they prefer a Nuzlocke run of Pokemon over a casual run, that doesn’t make them any less or more of a fan than you. They clearly still love the game. Just let them enjoy it their way while you enjoy it your way.
You do you, they’ll do them, and I’ll do me. And we won’t do each other.