What does it mean for a game to be hard?

To me, hardness refers to how much you need to learn to succeed at something. When I play a tough game, that game isn’t just tough inherently. It’s tough because I don’t yet have the knowledge to succeed. If I did have the knowledge, it’d be easy. When I play a hard game, it becomes less hard as I gain knowledge.

The knowledge can be any kind of knowledge. It can be muscle memory and intellectual cues (Shinobi, Megaman), factual memory (RPGs), logic and pattern recognition (Tetris, Minesweeper), or anything else.

The less knowledge I start with compared to the amount I need is what determines how challenging a game is. Hardness and easiness don’t really exist to me. How well I succeed is determined by what I know.

I think the only true difficulty in games are games that are competitive. What you say is still true to a very, very, very large extent - fighting games (my primary example, of course :P) don’t become truly fun and challenging until your execution of moves/strategies is practically 100%, and your knowledge of the character(s) you use and how they stack up against the rest of the cast is at 100%, also.

For example, I know that in Capcom Fighting Evolution, I know that it’s especially easy to Reversal (to execute a special move at the soonest possible moment after getting hit or blocking an attack) Light and Medium attacks with Zangief, or I also know that Zangief’s Standing Jab will completely whiff Karin on the ground, even if she’s standing. There’s where knowledge comes in for a fighting game. If I’m using Zangief, and my opponent is using Karin and doesn’t know these things, I can get a free Spinning Pile Driver EVERY TIME she tries almost ANY attack, and if I knock her down, I can walk up, throw a S. Jab meaty (meaty is an attack you throw out as a person is getting up so that they HAVE to get up blocking or get hit by the attack) and go into the SPD every single time, because this person doesn’t know that Karin doesn’t have to block the Jab when she gets up.

From then, the only thing you can rely on is being able to outthink your opponent - something that knowledge doesn’t go too far with. Now that my Karin opponent knows the ins and outs of what Karin can do, what Zangief can do, and more importantly, the specifics of this matchup, the game becomes completely different. Both players now know that they are at a disadvantage when they’re on the offensive, so they have to wait patiently for an opening, or try and trick their opponent into making one.

Fuck, I love fighting games. :stuck_out_tongue:

Depends on the genre. I’m not the most cosmopolitan gamer out here, so my experience is reduced to a few areas.

Action Platformers/Vehicle Fighters: Mostly like you said. When I started playing these games I thought that they were monsters, whereas now I can do a lot of what I considered impossible without even breaking a sweat. It’s usually a matter of playing enough until my reflexes adjust to the specific gameplay and I catch the usual patterns in my enemy’s movements. The difficulty depends on how much I am forced to concentrate mentally and physically on what I’m doing.

RPG: Quoting TD, ‘RPGs aren’t difficult by definition’. There’s really not much you can do here, either you create a level cruncher, designate a specific (And usually constrictive) fighting method that the player must figure out, or simply program hit-or-miss battles that are up to your luck. The absolute best you can do is a game that is doable without excessive planning but still makes you think about your moves (Xenosaga 2 would be a fine example if it were less of an exploit whore). Basically, battle systems that allow you to influence things beyond your stats (Grandia/Xenosaga 2) are about as good as I’ve seen.

TRPGs/RTS: This is interesting. In these games you should never be allowed to have the means to obliterate your enemy completely, but instead be forced to employ your resources with inventive way beyond what you would use in an RPG. The RTS genre has great examples while the TRPG genre fails horribly at it, at least in my limited experience. In this case, the difficulty depends on how much I am forced to think ahead and exploit all the resources.

Black Isle/Bioware RPGs: No matter what the heck you do, these either need extreme patience to chip away at your enemy from afar, or an extremely good combination of preparation and ability to respond at the situations. It would be an awesome genre if it weren’t for the fact that, no matter what you do, you WILL see the endgame/reload screen every five motherfucking seconds since they usually require you to experience the five hundred ways your enemies have for killing you before even having a shot at winning.

Graphical Adventures: Puzzles. Some games require me to use a lot of logic while some others demand a more imaginative, childish mindset. Difficulty depends on how many hours do I have to spend staring at the static screen until I figure that I have to use the burning wood to ignite the rum and therefore create a bomb near the rubber tree that would allow me to beat the Scottish pirate.

The satisfaction I draw from each genre is relative. RPGs are for the bragging rights, which I don’t give a crap about. Black Isle/Bioware games are so frustrating that I’m too numb to even have a reaction at my victory. The RTS and Graphical Adventures are satisfying in an intellectual level, but nothing, NOTHING beats that tingling feeling in my legs that I get after beating the Action Platformers’ do-five-hundred-movements-with-absolute-perfection-or-you-die challenges. Again, beating the Megaman Legends 2 Class S Test was one of the most satisfying gaming experiences I’ve ever had and weren’t related to a magnificent plot.

Want a hard graphical adventure? Try the Discworld games. The only real way of continuing is trying absolutely everything with absolutely everything else, because there’s simply no logic to any of the puzzle solutions.

I’ve undergone enough of that torture with Look/Think H-Games already. Unless you tell me the story is the greatest thing ever written, no thanks.

Where you save it accidentially on pro mode, after you have been doing good for a while, and you were low on ammo during the save. Which was right before a very hard boss on even easy mode while your remotes arent working.

I still managed.

No, but the dialogue’s hilarious. Eric Idle (from Monty Python) does Rincewind. I personally just played both games directly from an FAQ, and I had a blast.

Running out of ammo for all three of my grenade launchers against a high-ranked Raven in AC3 and having to finish him off with my dumbfire spread-shot howitzer; that’s hard.

Different genres of games could be differentiated by the different kinds of tasks that you’re called upon to perform in order to advance. Sometimes it’s strategy and planning, sometimes it’s the ability to track (twitch) and possibly take a lead on (anticipation) a target so that you can shoot it down, or tactical movement (platformers, scrolling shooters, good brawling games, etc.).

Players can and will differ; they’ll have comparative (I build multipliers like a motherfucker in Tony Hawk, but Frame and Jo the Mighty have faster reflexes) or absolute advantages (Playing SG at anything, for example) over other players. So difficulty, I think, will always be relative. I judge it by the satisfaction I derive from surpassing each challenge.

Don’t embarass me. :stuck_out_tongue:

The day Hades doesn’t post relating to Shinobi, how hard it is, or how good he is at the game, is the day I fuck Hulk Hogan.

Taking out the final boss in ANY game with just a knife.

I am so good that sometimes, it scares me.

I tossed a Graedus at Kefka once, does it count? :o


Ahem, some games are pretty much build to the basis that the CPU must cheat. Be it the gradually INSANE damage dealt by platformer enemies (Of course, some platformers make you die from one hit anyway… but I was thinking about Castlevania…) or places where only ONE impossible-seeming strategy would work after completing a stage full of death-defying and almost certain to get you damage jumps (Batman for NES…)

Of course, I needed the help of a nintendo magazine to kill off ganon in the first zelda game… (Silver arrow still hidden somewhere? TWO treasures in Death Mountain!? WOW! Silly me back then…) so information does a world of good. Those flute-sound-hating enemies needed a little hint too.

Lovely Reflex tests like TURBO FUCKING TUNNEL and Mike Tyson. just. needed. many. continues.

Dragon Quest 1, which I’m currently in process of eliminating, just needs better equipment and some leveling. Although that flute for the golem fight was a bitch to find since I didn’t realize you could circle around on the edges of Rimuldar and find that one guy…

__ Basis of “Difficulty”: Either you’re not oriented enough for the game, you lack information or the CPU just gets really lucky.

The best games are easy to learn but difficult to master.

Who said that?

There’s no such thing as a hard game. It’s merely you who a) haven’t played the game enough to perfectly time the buttons, b) aren’t insane enough to understand and solve the drug induced and completely random and illogical puzzles, c) can’t cheat like the CPU.