Video games have developed into the highest grossing entertainment industry in the world, but on the way, it has become a bit easier and sometimes unsatisfying in its gameplay and the challenge it presents. 80’s Games like Contra, Battletoads and even the original Super Mario Bros. were much harder than the titles we buy and play today.
In its attempt to attract a much larger crowd into the business, Video game developers might have made everything look slicker in the obvious technoligical advancments, but have also widened the appeal of games by simply making them easier to play and complete.
The tutorials are probably the best example of the way we’re being handfed the answers nowadays. There isn’t a game without a tutorial system, sometimes being part of the first level or the first few minutes of your gameplay. Old games, like this awesome Mega Man X rant explains, didn’t just throw you the answers. They taught you through your failures, not by writing that you need to press this and that when that and this happens.
Games today, even in the ever-popular open-world systems, have a strict narrative you can follow, the main storyline if you will, which makes for a very short, yet satisfying adventure. You’re not, at any time, feeling stuck as to where to go next and what to do next because you don’t know what the next step is. You only feel that way because of the lure of doing the side-mission.
And lets face it, gameplay is easier. many shooters of this generation feature an “aim assist” as a way to nudge players’ crosshairs in the right direction. Ammo and provisions used to be something that we needed to carefully use, calculating how much we’re going to need for the rest of the ride. Loot is found in abundance these days. Health stopped being an issue a long time ago, with the regenerating traits video games give their heroes these days.
I often compare GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption to the GTA: San Andreas title, which was immensely harder, longer, but much more satisfying to finish. Don’t get me wrong – RDD is one of the best games ever, Rockstar’s finest in my opinion, but it is because of an awesome story, not because the missions are very challenging.
Better or not, video games are changing. Just as geek culture has turned into something a lot more popular and diverse, so have video games broken out into mainstream and obviously underwent some changes due to that. I guess it depends on what you look for when you sit yourself down in front of a title, ready to plunge yourself for a few hours into a fictional realm. Feeling satisfied because you worked your ass off completing it or just having fun, not matter the level of the challenge.