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Technology & Innovation

Are Video Games Just Easier These Days?

Writer Jesse Meixsell offers reasons why, in terms of difficulty level, today’s gamers may have it a lot better than their late-20th-century predecessors.

What’s the Latest Development?

Christmas ended only a week ago, yet some gamers who found new titles under their real or virtual tree may have already completed them by now. This may not just be due to the amount of vacation time available to them, according to writer Jesse Meixsell. He identifies several indicators that developers may be trading in challenge for user friendliness, including online tutorials, shorter narratives, and easier gameplay in general. With regards to shooter games in particular, he notes, “[Remember] the skimpy amount of health given to your character in old games, where taking damage a few times — or even once — would lead to certain death? No such dilemma exists in many modern games, where regenerating health is a standard feature.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Meixsell argues that gamers in the 80s and 90s didn’t have these kinds of handholding devices, at least not in the way they’re represented now. For example, tutorials were included in paper manuals, “but unless we were willing to take the time to read through them (and, let’s face it, many of us were not), we had to figure things out all on our own.” Ultimately, regardless of what these changes mean for the gaming experience, Meixsell notes that “our senses will never fail to assist us in finding new and improved ways to test ourselves.”

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