With the leap from generation to generation comes new technology, which we usually see as a good thing. However after the introduction of battery-backed RAM in early cartridge-based consoles we’ve lost that which was once one of the most attractive parts of gaming; game over. Going back to my early gaming years I recall my Alex Kidd experience, the endless line of frustration losing to that stupid volcano boss over and over again. It’s rock, paper, scissors dammit! How hard can it be?
Regardless, I kept going over and over, and over and over; until I was eventually able to defeat the strange, fist-headed boss that populated the level that was the bane of my existence. But we’ve lost that now, no longer do we have to worry about returning to the start of the game, or facing that same boss over and over again.
So what’s left for those of us that actually enjoy punishments and consequences in games? Well, not all that much really. A few titles attempt to bridge the gap with challenging mechanics and perma-death, but these can sometimes be villainized by mainstream gamers.
A recent example of this is Dark Souls. A game that touched the heart of thousands of gamers that enjoy “hardcore” mechanics. A level of difficulty almost unheard of in this generation has been ruined by the votes of the masses. I use ruined lightly as everyone wants something a little different in gaming, so you can’t blame those for wanting to change a game they enjoy to fit their tastes a little better.
A petition was created by developers, with thousands voting to make Dark Souls II a more casual experience. This will most likely benefit the developers as appealing to mainstream usually means more revenue, which is the goal at the end of the day. But at the same time they may alienate the players that made the original popular enough to warrant a sequel.
So what do you think? Is there space for games that severely punish mistakes and poor choices? Or does the continued growth in the popularity of gaming mean aiming for mainstream is going to be the only choice for future developers? Leave your thoughts below.