Flashback Zone – Dumbing Down Games

Another MediaSplat writer has talked about this topic before in; Identity Gaming – Let’s Talk Difficulty. If you want to read his views on this topic then click here.

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Are video games becoming too easy? It’s a question people have been asking for a while now, and I thought I’d throw my thoughts into the mix. No. They are not being made too easy. Rather, the games industry is evolving.

Over the last decade or so gaming has seen a change that occurred much more rapidly than people had anticipated and many who did not anticipate it have been caught off guard. You see, they’ve become popular. Perhaps I should elaborate, because they’ve always been popular to a select group of people, but now they are becoming universally popular across all demographics. Men, women, children, elderly, everyone. It’s a highly impressive surge of popularity and it misses almost no demographics.

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But therein lies the problem. It has gone from a niche hobby, to a universally enjoyed source of entertainment. No more can game developers stick to a handle of genres and play styles that before would be perfectly safe to rely on for overall approval from consumers.

No. Now there are a huge range of consumers that are all after different things and, most crucially, have a vast range of skill at playing games. For example, there are those that are obsessed with having a game punish them for the slightest mistake. They seek the thrill of the challenge and want to feel the satisfying feeling of finally beating something that at first seemed impossible. For them games such as Dark Souls exist. Then, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, there are the people that simply want to kill some time on a game that is simple to master and easy to pick up and play at any time. Those are the people that are constantly spamming your Facebook notifications with Farmville and Candy Crush invites.

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But this belief that games are becoming too easy has led to divides in the now vast gaming community. Many “old school” gamers believe that they are superior as they were there first when gaming was “in its prime”. There are the “PC master race” that believe those that play on consoles are inferior. But this is all nothing more than a “whose got a bigger d*ck” competition that exists in every form of society. What’s really happening is much simpler; gaming is evolving to meet its consumers’ needs.

That is why Candy Crush exists. That is why Call of Duty churns out sequel after sequel where the gameplay is the same just in a different appearance. That is why some game developers are opting for shorter games that are easier to pick up and play. That is why Dark Souls exists to punish all those that play it. This is gaming creating its own varying styles. It is no different to films being split into horror, slapstick, sci-fi, animation, etc. Or music being split into pop, rap, dubstep, classical, etc. Everybody has different preferences with movies, music, and games and each industry is trying to satisfy those preferences as best they can.

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Do I miss the old style of games that I played as a kid? No. They’re still there if I want them. Gaming is entering a new age, where it has finally been accepted as a genuine form of entertainment, and not just perceived wrongly as a fad or hobby that only those who have locked themselves up in their mother’s basement can enjoy. So let’s embrace this and look forward to what is coming next.


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