Interactive Annotated Bibliography : Difficulty Level of Modern Games

Salmon, C (2013) Are modern games easier or simply designed better?. VB [ONLINE] 13 June. Available from http://venturebeat.com/community/2013/06/13/difficulty-vs-design-are-games-now-easier-or-simply-designed-better/[Accessed on 15/4/2015]

Today’s games are very different from games of decades ago in regards to graphics, mechanics and more importantly the difficulty level. Since my project is more or less can be considered a game, I am interested to discover what kind of games will capture the modern audience of current time. Disregarding the mechanics and graphics and focusing on difficulty level, I want to take a look at whether modern games is actually purposefully made easier or simply it’s a new type of game designs. This will help a lot in designing our game with it’s pacing and of course, it’s difficulty level.

According to the article, current games are made easier due to “extreme competition between titles has created the need for games to be immediately entertaining as soon as you press the start button”. This is true as more games have turn mobiles and many current gamers have shorter attention span to spend time on a single games. Often, it’s more likely that we have multiple games to play at our disposal. This is such a huge contrast to the time where we could only have one or two choices and we would “poured countless hours into a single game in a desperate struggle to witness the ending”. I realised that it’s this abundance of choices that made us less willing to play a game through to the end. What makes it worse is if the game is hard to complete, further deteriorating the chances of many player to play through.

Our intended project is more of a visual story game that employs only clicking as main action input. This should be able to fit with current gamers who are used to clicking either on computer or on mobile devices, making our game technically ‘easier’ to play rather than having them input multiple buttons or special gestures. Also, I will put “offer some manner of hint” on how mechanics work, which is such a staple in current games like Angry Birds etc. If possible and I do not have time constraint, I would love to make our game ” take the time to make sure you understand as much as necessary before thrusting you into the main experience”. It is only with the good balance of these that will prevent us from “sacrificing the sense of achievement” that the player wants to achieve by playing such games in the first place.

If the current gamer has the tendency to rely on hints or in-game helps, we will need to add these features to make our game more appealing. I could start with, perhaps, an easier opening sequence where the game will explain the mechanics to the player, but the difficulty level will go up as the game progress to keep that ‘risk-or-reward’ feelings of  achievement in-check to encourage the player to continue the game till the endings. Furthermore, as we have planned to have multiple endings, it might even encourage them to replay the game to get all different endings as sense of achievement of discovering new stuff for each play through.

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