The difficulty of video games has waned

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 27, 2014

The difficulty of video games has declined significantly through the generations.
It’s a trend that, while not universal, seems to contradict what I would have predicted decades ago.
As a child with a Nintendo Entertainment System, I spent too much time attempting to complete a single level of Ninja Gaiden, Battletoads or any iteration of the Mega Man franchise. Even though the graphics don’t hold up to today’s standards, these incredibly difficult games required precise timing to beat.
At times there were cheat codes or warp points that could help ease some of the frustration, but, for the most part, if you wanted to beat the game you had to tough it out.
Now, in the days of movie-like graphics, difficulty has given way to storylines, character development and precise but easier gameplay.
There are some exceptions, however. The first that comes to mind is The Last of Us: Left Behind.
I fought through the main campaign, on the second hardest difficulty. There were times when the sheer number of enemies and shortage of ammunition caused severe frustration, but I made it through eventually.
Now that I’ve moved on to the side story of the game, it seems the difficulty has been ramped up, leading me to consider an easier difficulty level in order to see the end.
While that is only one example, it points out that not all modern games lack difficulty. However, too many games these days provide the player with a fleeting challenge.
While most modern games don’t provide the challenge level I am used to, it’s refreshing to still come across a game that forces me to try harder, instead of participate in mindless button mashing in order to get to the end

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