In recent months/years, a discussion has been growing and growing concerning video games in regard to difficulty settings; one side is asking (or even begging/demanding) for all games to come with an 'Easy Mode', while another side (yes, there are often more than just two rigid sides) simply tells them to 'git gud' (and lord how I hate typing that). Insults and arguments get thrown around, most of which are beyond ridiculous (typically on the 'get good' side which is mostly rather large babies throwing a huge temper tantrum ironically calling out others as babies themselves).
Yes, as much as I personally do not care about the subject of this argument myself, I do find the 'get good' side (I am no longer going to lower myself to slaughtering language there) as the more pathetic of the bunch who really are crying like rotten little children, over something that has literally no effect on them what so ever. If you don't like a game on Easy Mode, there's a solution that is so simple that I cannot believe anyone is even arguing about this; DON'T PLAY THE GAME ON EASY MODE.
How does some random person out there playing a game on Easy Mode effect you in any way, shape or form? Don't tell me it's because they can bring your team down in an online match because I have yet to see a single online mode that will match up players using different difficulty settings; if one exists, please let me know. And guess what? Even if a game like that does exist, that's a massive
failure on the developers part in the first place! No game developer should ever think it's a good idea to match up a group of 'Ultra Mega Hard Mode' players with any player using an 'Easy Mode'.
Even online leaderboards tend to know to separate scores and rankings per difficulty setting! At least that has been the case for every single game with leaderboards and different difficulty settings that I personally have seen, and if there do exist games that do not separate them, refer to the previous paragraph because the answer is the same.
In my personal opinion, bitching and moaning about someone else needing an 'Easy Mode' is like people who bitch and moan about gay marriage. And just because it's so precise, I'll let Matt Albie handle that argument:
Flip that around to talk about gamers who want to play on Easy Mode and it's basically the same thing, just kind of unimportant (gaming). There are almost no valid arguments against 'Easy Modes' in games that don't amount to people too damned worried about what other people do with their time instead of worrying about themselves. It's gatekeeping at its worst, and gatekeeping is one of the most pathetic aspects to any fandom.
Now, I did say that there were almost no valid arguments, because as it turns out, there is one. Just one (that I am currently aware of). This one valid argument basically revolves around the experience that the developers themselves want out of their creation, their art. And THAT is the biggest question that would need to be addressed completely on a case by case basis. And yes, video games ARE in fact art. I said it 30 years ago, and I say it again now; VIDEO GAMES ARE ART.
At the very least, video games are just as much a form of art as movies are; if you are someone that doesn't believe either are art, fair enough. I absolutely disagree with you, I personally think you are wrong, but I respect your viewpoint. However, if you are someone that believes one is art and the other is not, well, fuck right off; your opinion means shit to me and I will NOT respect your viewpoint. I do have my reasons for that standpoint, but that would be another writing all together. Besides, it basically boils down to you needing to get your head out of your ass and view the 'non-art' (truly experience it) without your obvious bias.
Anyway, getting back to the argument at hand, if brutal gameplay is a part of the experience that the developers wanted and had in mind, then to me, the discussion is over. If a developer wants the player to be absolutely punished every second they play then that is their prerogative. However, I highly doubt that this is often enough the case, at least not as often as the 'get good' side seems to think it is; and I absolutely may be wrong about that.
Now, as I said in the beginning, I don't really care that much about a game's difficulty; I've never been one to go out of my way for a massive challenge, though I also don't shy away just because of a high difficulty level as long as something about the game appeals to me (as an example, I'm a massive fan of the Ninja Gaiden trilogy on the NES). At the end of the day, the two biggest reasons I will stick with just about any game are the gameplay itself, and the story. Fantastic gameplay can be difficult and if it is that fun to play, it won't matter how many times I die or fuck up. And if a story is just that good, I'll usually stick it out no matter how bad the gameplay is (hell, I stuck it through Heavy Rain and that was one of the worst controlled games I've ever played, outside of games that are just all around trash).
I've never been able to afford all the games I've wanted to buy anyway, so I look to get as much mileage out of any given game I do buy. A game that is being built up as horrifically brutal is one I doubt I'd get much mileage from so I'd most likely avoid it (with the exception of Cuphead, simply because that game looks SO AMAZING and for that reason alone it's worth buying even if it means dying over and over). So from my own perspective, when so many games are coming out every month, what the hell would I care that one or two slip by that are probably (possibly?) too difficult?
Which does make me wonder why others would care either. Why should it matter that Dark Souls exists without an Easy Mode, when, I don't know, Skyrim exists and is easy enough as is? The hardest part of Skyrim is not going insane from all the glitches and crashes... But simply asking for, or just wanting an Easy Mode doesn't effect me either (nor does it effect ANYONE crying over others not 'getting good').
(For the record, I have never played Dark Souls. The 'Skyrim' comparison was just based on a superficial visual observation from what little I've seen of Dark Souls.)
That said, I ALSO draw a massive line at actually insulting the developers for NOT adding one; THAT is too fucking far, and that shit needs to stop as well! If 'George' is telling you you need to 'get good', George needs to shut the fuck up and mind his own business (and you really need to ignore him). But if the developers do not want an Easy Mode, then THAT IS IT, and YOU need to shut the fuck up! Or at the very least stop insulting the developers for THEIR decision.
It baffles me that this is even an 'issue' and anyone would give the slightest shit that someone else wants an Easy Mode, or that someone else would actually INSULT a developer for not catering to them, but I guess that that is the 'Social Media' dumpster fire we have created for ourselves.
It's like this garbage that also goes around where someone will say “real gamers do this”, “real gamers don't do that” or some other crap. More gatekeeping bullshit. If someone plays video games regularly, or even semi regularly, guess what genius? They are a REAL GAMER. Someone is not disqualified as a 'real gamer' just because they play a game you don't like, or doesn't play a game you DO like, or because they are not as 'gud' as you.
In fact, the only real statement outside of simply playing video games that can be made is, “A real gamer doesn't care what the fuck other people are doing or playing or how good or bad they are because they are too busy enjoying THEIR games”. To put it another way, anyone who spends any amount of time worrying about what games someone else plays or how they play are pathetic, are NOT 'real gamers' and have WAY too much free time on their hands (time that should be spend playing games, IF they were actually any kind of gamer).
An exception of note is with online gaming; if you are not good at a game, you should probably stay away from online team based matches, at least until you do get better, so as not to bring an online team down. At that point, you ARE affecting others. Or stick to a group of friends only, or something like that. Online gameplay in general does change things and is way more complex than what I am talking about...
As an older gamer myself with kids, one who doesn't have the same amount of time I use to for playing games, nor the patience of my younger self (patience being that natural resource completely eroded away by my kids), I actually appreciate games that include easier modes.
If an easier mode can decrease the amount of grinding (padding) some games cram in, I'd be all for that. When I was younger I didn't mind spending hours upon hours collecting one thing or another (money or exp or materials); after all, what the hell else was I going to do back then? These days however? I HATE massive grinds. There's little in gaming that is more boring than random battle after random battle to get exp or gold, or mining over and over and over and over and over and over and over for some crafting system that only represents 5% of the game but takes up 75% of your time.
(Unfortunately I don't think that that is actually a thing. I can't think of any game I've ever heard of where the actual 'Easy Mode' decreases grinding time. But maybe I'm wrong on that?)
And as a parent, I am even more appreciative of easy modes for my kids, if and when they just aren't good enough to play something on normal mode but still want to experience the game itself. My youngest isn't the best gamer out there; she never got into the Zeldas or Spyros or Metroids. However, she watched me play Horizon: Zero Dawn and really wanted to play it herself. I highly doubt she would have lasted long on Normal mode, but at some point they added something called “Story Mode” (which I believe was even easier than easy mode) which ended up being perfect for my daughter!
It was amazing to be able to share that experience with her, even if it was an easier version (none of my other family members could be bothered to play it). And in my opinion, that story is one that SHOULD be experienced by any and all who enjoy not only great games, but great stories as well!
Easy Modes provide accessibility and consumption in an industry that, in my opinion desperately needs fresh blood; games are taking longer and longer to develop, costing millions upon millions of dollars, and just don't make nearly enough on their own most of the time to justify the expenses and pay all who deserve to be paid. Why do you think Loot Boxes and Microtransactions are so fucking popular? Because game sales just aren't cutting it on their own anymore, and the studios want as much money as they can get (I doubt it's the developers themselves wanting that bullshit in).
How can an industry that is already kind of niche in the first place expect to survive if it doesn't do anything it can to draw in new players and/or exclude those deemed 'not good enough'? Especially when, again in most cases, an 'Easy Mode' takes absolutely nothing away from those who wouldn't use it in the first place and can only add new blood?
I've read a statement or two that claims that easy modes take away all challenge of a game which defeats the purpose of playing a game (or something like that). I can't say that I've played a ton of games in Easy Mode, but I have played some. To say that Easy Modes take away all challenge is ignorant at best. Now, this was in regard (I believe) specifically to a game, Death Stranding.
I've seen the trailers for that game; I watched the reveal trailer many VGAs ago; I have NO idea what that game is and nothing I've seen has made me want to play it. I've heard people say that even after beating it they had no idea what it was or what it was about. Was that hyperbole? I don't know, maybe. But so far nothing has made me want to go out and play it, so I haven't, therefore I have no context.
Maybe the Easy Mode in Death Stranding is so easy that you literally just float around, invincible, with no way of dying or even interacting with anything in the game. I wouldn't know. But from my personal experience, no 'Easy Mode' has been so devoid of challenge that it makes playing pointless. But even if that IS the case in any game, if someone else wants to play it that way, how is that detrimental in any way?
Looking around it turns out that Death Stranding isn't even out yet, and as of right now won't be for a few months. So how exactly can anyone have beaten the game already? How exactly would anyone know (first hand) exactly how easy the 'Easy Mode' is in the game? Answer: the Internet is full of liars. Duh. Maybe there are legit answers, but honestly, I just don't care about Death Stranding (sorry) so I'm just not inclined to go out of my way for such a small aspect of this stupid situation/discussion. But I did want to point this out... Anyway, back to the posting:
Bottom line? I still cannot believe that this is even a discussion at all. Stop worrying about what other people are playing, or how they are playing, as long as it doesn't actually effect you. If you really are a 'true gamer', just enjoy your own fucking games however you enjoy them! And stop insulting the developers; even if they made a shitty game, find a way to tell them it's shitty without being a dick! Finally, I apologize for being so repetitive here. But hey, the discussion itself is pretty repetitive, so when in Rome right?