Author Topic: Difficulty in games - back in the days & today  (Read 200 times)

Difficulty in games - back in the days & today
« on: September 17, 2020, 09:03:15 am »
Hello everyone!

Me and my gaming friends often discuss about the difficulty of games and how it all changed in the flow of time.
Today's games often seem way more easier to beat than retro-games from - let's say - 1990 e.g.

The most logic explanation on why older games are more difficult is, that this was a very important part on replayability and long time fun. As the games and their programing and graphics where more simple than nowadays, developers tended to make them as difficult as possible to make a player try beating a game a 1.000 times before really finishing it. And when we think even further back, like into the 80's, making a game really hard to beat meant also, that players would need to throw coin after coin in those arcade machines.

What are your thoughts on this matter?
Do you also think today's games are easier than older ones?
And what are your opinions on why they are/were ?

I'm lookin' forward to your replies - thanks a lot!

Greetings

PS: Sorry for my spelling and grammar! I'm no native speaker!
ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US !!
WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM !!

Re: Difficulty in games - back in the days & today
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2020, 09:32:54 am »
I think you're right. Games in general were much harder before so that they would last longer since they were often much shorter than games today are.

Now that games are bigger and reach a much wider audience we have difficulty options in a lot of games. Crank up the difficulty if you want to be challenged.

Re: Difficulty in games - back in the days & today
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2020, 01:29:12 pm »
I think you're right. Games in general were much harder before so that they would last longer since they were often much shorter than games today are.

Now that games are bigger and reach a much wider audience we have difficulty options in a lot of games. Crank up the difficulty if you want to be challenged.

the above is true. in those days lots of people wanted a challenge and to experience the challenge of the arcade in their homes. gaming was younger and back then, most games were suited for that era. Gaming was aimed mostly at a younger audience Most people didn't have too many games to play. most parents could not afford that many games for their children to play.

« Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 01:33:00 pm by oldgamerz »


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Re: Difficulty in games - back in the days & today
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2020, 09:26:13 pm »
Anyone who thinks games of today are just as hard or harder than games of yesteryear are kidding themselves. Even the "hardest" games like the Dark Souls series are not as brutal as most NES era titles. But NES era games were meant to be hard.

A lot of early console games were carryovers from arcades, either ports of the same games or employing the same difficulty philosophy. Games back then we're generally short and developers needed a way to make them last for players. If everyone beat Mega Man on their first try, they'd be done with it in a weekend and never come back. But there is a genius behind the design choices of those hard games. Like, for instance, a game like the aforementioned Mega Man. It's a hard game but it's just hard enough to make you want to learn it and get better at it, leaving you to come back. The next time you play it, you get better at it and get a bit further. Sooner or later you beat it. Then when you beat it you find ways to best it even faster, thus creating a near infinite replay value. Of course not everyone likes hard games and not every old game is hard. But the ones that use this difficulty tactic well are the ones that keep us coming back for more. This is why we still play these old games over and over.

Now take a modern game like The Last of Us or Bioshock. Great games for sure. Maybe a little difficult for some but not the same kind of difficulty as an NES game. Newer games are designed for you to win whereas older games, especially arcade titles, were designed for you to lose. Today's games generally have you jump in, learn the game, experience it, and then when it's over that's about it. You might still think about it and talk about it. You might even replay it one day. But there's no endless loop of replayability like arcade and NES era games. Why have games like Pac Man endured for decades despite being simplistic in gameplay and difficult? Because it's rewarding to get just a little further than last time. It's satisfying to get better and when you get better the game becomes more fun. Nowadays aside from some retro inspired indies, there really isn't much learning involved as far as trying to get better and better.

So, yeah, the games of old are definitely harder but for good reasons. Most modern gamers are lost on that difficulty old games have. I know I enjoy easy games a lot of the time. But there's always something alluring about those old games and their difficulty that keeps us coming back for more. To this day I still play Battletoads and I still have not beaten it. The game makes me really mad sometimes but I revisit it over and over in hopes of getting better and getting further and maybe one day I'll actually beat it
Life's too short to play bad games.

Re: Difficulty in games - back in the days & today
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2020, 10:25:59 pm »
Retro games are absolutely harder. Some of this is probably due to devs trying to increase the length of the game since very few games pre-1990 took more than 10 hours to beat. However, I feel like a lot of this has to do with video games becoming more mainstream as well as advances in gameplay. A lot of older games are difficult due to their lack of balancing and refinement of gameplay that has since been ironed out. I can't tell you how many older games are just freakin cheap and it was obvious the devs either were trying to $%#@ with the player or they just weren't thinking about whether a specific part in a game was conducive of beating given the limitations of the gameplay. I feel like a lot of that has changed since we're long past the pioneering days of gaming, as well as IGN or Gamespot giving your game a 2-point deduction because "video game too hard!"


But yes, retro video games were way, way harder and only got easier overall since the 80s.

Re: Difficulty in games - back in the days & today
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2020, 03:04:43 am »
Newer games are designed for you to win whereas older games, especially arcade titles, were designed for you to lose.

I think this nails it down quite well.

It's funny, because when I was a child, those incredibly hard arcade games totally demoralized me due to their sheer difficulty, which is excellently explained by you guys' replies. I always wondered what kind of magic trick my mom performed to get that shuttle in Tetris  ;D

Now, as a "grown man", I have more understanding for what motivates to play a challenging game over and over in order to raise highscore or even beat that specific game. As soon as I started collecting retro games, I also tried a lot of such older, more challenging games, finding myself actually really entertained and challenged. And, after a longer period of playing modern titles (most of them got beat within one day or within two or three sessions), it's really interesting to test yourself against a late 80s or early 90s arcade game.

My actual titles I prefer are:

- R-Type (Game Boy)

- Solar Striker (Game Boy)

Do you guys have some specific games that come to your mind in terms of difficulty mixed with addicting challenge?

ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US !!
WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM !!

sworddude

Re: Difficulty in games - back in the days & today
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2020, 04:45:45 pm »

Newer games are designed for you to win whereas older games, especially arcade titles, were designed for you to lose.


It's because especially in the current era, casualizing a game gives more sales, Making satisfying and easy to play game to make them accesible to allot of people it's where the money is at. That's not to say that difficult modern games don't exist, but there is way less of a focus on that.

I've seen far to many people being spoiled by modern day QOL and see punishment as a point of critique, wich is superbly stupid imo. Majority likes feel good games and they want convenience. Mastery and punishment are bad things for most modern day players.

If where talking especially the indi sector you could argue that some games on the hardest difficulty settings are harder than those ultra hard nes games. so not all is lost the options are there, and some games give a bigger challenge than back in the day if you want to punish yourselves.

I will say I do disagree that games are longer than back than, 2d platformers especially modern ones have roughly the same content compared to older classics, 3d games are rougly the same amount of time aswell with the exceptions being the huge open world games wich weren't that much of a thing back than again morrow wind in the OG xbox era exists with hundreds of hours of gameplay

Look at sunshine, galaxy and 64. odyssey ain't that much more content.

Or look at GTA V compared to san andreas, a ps2 game that has more content unless you go multiplayer in GTA V.

2d games might be shorter, but even modern 2d games have pretty much the same amount of content, these games never where supposed to be that long. it's a genre that you really can't compare to 3d games. 2d games are supposed to be hard in wich you need to learn a pattern to progress.

If you make a 2d game to long, lvl designs might end up boring. aka the reason why even modern 2d platform games have the same time span. 2d games will never have the hundreds of hours experience would make no sense, let alone that especially back than pretty much no one would be able to beat it than.


so in conclusion 2d games in modern era roughly the same size as quality titles from back than.

3d era games from ps2 gamecube era onwards again roughly the same time depending on the genre

The only main difference in time are the new genre's that didn't exist back than. that's where the differences are at, but even in ps1 era hundred hour games exist.

action games will always end up short compared to rpg's especially in 2d era, but in reality, rpg's usually use simpler grapics, less action less movement so even if it has more content, it's more simplistic and spread out compared to the action packed experience of say megaman x. While in reality in terms of dev time that shorter 2d game took more time to make rpg's usually have way less details compared to those fast paced action games and for good reason.

These games would never have dozens of hours of new lvl's unless they literally copy pasted stuff and that's not a great idea. let alone the memory needed, action based games used a hell lot more memory for less game compared to rpg's
« Last Edit: September 19, 2020, 05:44:30 pm by sworddude »
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