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Talking Point: Do Games Owe Us An Easy Ride?

Should games cater to those who don’t desire to be challenged in any form, or should they maintain a minimum difficulty standard that all players must be required to meet? Fire off your thoughts in the comments below.

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Talking Point is a weekly series that posits a question concerning the gaming industry. We encourage readers, as well as our writers, to offer their thoughts on the topic. Hence the name: Talking Point. Feel free to join in below.

One of the most identifiable features of gaming as a whole is the sense of challenge it provides to its players. Even after expending a significant sum of money in your local game shop to pick up the latest title, you must conquer its multitude of tests in order to experience the entirety of the protagonist’s grand adventure. Many of us accomplish this with relative ease, but a select few are not so lucky and sadly get disheartened along the way. So, this raises the question: Should somebody that spends their hard earned money on a game be granted the right to experience said title in full, regardless of their personal skill level? In short, do games owe us an easy ride (should we so desire it)?

With the recent release of Cuphead, the two dimensional platformer boasting white knuckle difficulty and gorgeous retro inspired animation, certain players have lashed out in frustration in response to its unrelenting degree of challenge. Being unable to experience the entire adventure unless you conquer its wide variety of intimidating boss battles on the standard difficulty setting (as opposed to Cuphead’s easier difficulty setting) grinds the gears of some. Only those possessing a considerable sum of talent will witness Cuphead’s true finale, which offers a riveting showdown with the devil himself. Do those that simply fail to fell the tougher iterations of Cuphead’s bosses deserve to endlessly wallow in their non-regular difficulty misery, or do they deserve the right to experience the entire adventure alongside the more talented players?

My personal opinion on this topic is somewhat molded by my own experiences when facing difficulty within gaming. Once upon a time I journeyed through the 2006 turn based adventure known as Blue Dragon. I had reached approximately two thirds of the way through the sprawling three disc long quest, but had reached what I believed to be an impenetrable impasse. Fight four bosses simultaneously, followed by a fifth boss immediately after. Every time I struggled through the ruthlessly tense four boss encounter, the fifth boss (he was a total jerk) would gun me down and grant me both a game over and an internal sensation of “How on Earth do I beat this guy?”. After two days of strenuous struggle, I finally discovered the solution. I revised my combat strategy, utilized alternative character moves, upgraded specific character attributes, and discovered the secret to dominating what I believed to be an impossible challenge. It was a magnificent feeling of total accomplishment, and a truly game defining moment. My fond memories of my achievement only exist for one reason however: Blue Dragon didn’t take a single scrap of pity on fourteen year old me, and forced me to try harder and harder, again and again. I applaud it for such a bold approach, because that very moment nine years ago was the last time I ever became stuck on a game for longer than one sitting. How can any of us ever improve at playing games should the games in question give us an easy way out?

To those throwing their controllers against a wall in frustration, the aforementioned Cuphead would declare the following: “Should you be unable to overcome the challenges laid before you on the regular difficulty setting, practice via the provided easier difficulty. Over time you will steadily improve in your capabilities, until one day you are sufficiently prepared to reattempt tackling me on my regular difficulty. Your dedication and hard work will reward you with extra content, and the true Cuphead experience as a result.” Yes, Cuphead rewards talent in its players. However, said talent is only acquired through the dedication and hard work mentioned previously. As a result, games such as Cuphead are simply not just exclusive clubs for those gifted with impressive reflexes and memory, but exclusive clubs for those who are willing to invest ample time into improving their own personal talents. If a team of game designers can channel themselves into many long years of creating a quality product through their sweat, blood and tears, why should players deserve the right to demand that such a product not expect a level of commitment from them in return? When fans of gaming are already stereotyped (whether fairly or unfairly) as lazy, why should said laziness trickle into the expectations of the very games they play?

Difficulty settings are always beneficial, and the majority of games make a conscious effort to tailor themselves to varying skill levels. However, games have the right to be tough as nails. They have the right to demand your focus on improving yourself, and they have the right to restrict content until you are of a certain caliber. Removing the challenge of games would be removing the beating heart of overall experience. The rich satisfaction gained from accomplishing a challenge you did not believe you could overcome is a special feeling, and one that I would personally never want to see eradicated from the gaming mainstream.

Still, my opinion is but one of many. Should games cater to those who don’t desire to be challenged in any form, or should they maintain a minimum difficulty standard that all players must be required to meet? Fire off your thoughts in the comments below.

I have spent my life in England finding entertainment in both video games and music. Whilst not indulging in the latter, I invest my time in playing all manner of video games, and as of 2017, writing about all manner of video games.Email: harrymorrisharrymorris@yahoo.com

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Ricky D

    October 10, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I see nothing wrong with offering players options. All games should have options and the more options, the more it will make a wider audience happier. I don’t think that a game should have a hard mode locked like they did in Metroid: Samus Returns. If Cuphead had an easier mode, people would be happier. That said, if it is the intent of the game developer and in their eyes serves some sort of artistic purpose, who am i to tell them how to design the game. But yeah, options are always good.

    • Harry Morris

      October 10, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      I agree that options for difficulty settings are very useful, but I disagree with a complete removal of challenge (e.g. options to skip content entirely). As you mentioned, I also believe that should developers wish to design games catered specifically to more skilled players, that’s totally okay (just as it’s okay for developers to design games catered specifically to less skilled gamers). I believe it’s okay for each and every game to have its own target market should the developers desire that, provided that all people and skill levels are in some way accounted for via the varied range of games available.

  2. Mel P

    October 11, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    I wonder how (or if) the overall aesthetic changes the perception of whether a game is “too difficult”. For example when I think of a game that I simply shrugged off as too difficult it was Dark Souls, aesthetically so different from a game like Cuphead. Now I haven’t actually played Cuphead, so maybe my comments are moot, but it certainly doesn’t have the look of such a difficult game. So in seeing critiques of the game claiming it to be something too difficult I can’t help but wonder if there is something else specifically about Cuphead that has prompted such a discussion. That being said, I don’t feel game devs have any obligation to create games with all skill levels in mind. As it’s been pointed out in previous comments, options are good, but very few games have sparked such a discussion as this one. So my question is what is it about Cuphead that has prompted so much discussion? Could it be the overall aesthetics of the game? I’d love to hear someone elses thought on this 🙂

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Watch Ninja On An Episode Of Family Feud

Don’t miss the moment Steve Harvey meets Ninja for the first time.

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Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins is heading up a team on Celebrity Family Feud this weekend, but it’s not the first time the famed Fortnite streamer has appeared on the show.

Long before he reached household name status in the gaming community, Ninja appeared on the televised game show Family Feud in 2015, when he and his family went on a three-day winning streak before losing to the Beams family of Hendersonville, Tennessee.

With Blevins now appearing on an upcoming episode of Celebrity Family Feud, we thought it would be fun to revisit those earlier episodes which have now all been uploaded online.

Regardless if you like Ninja and/or the show, you’ll get a kick out of watching his introduction when he tells host Steve Harvey that he’s a professional video game player who travels across the country and competes, playing video games. The reaction on Harvey’s face is priceless since nobody at the time could have ever guessed how popular Ninja, not to mention streaming video games, would eventually become.

Watch the videos below. Enjoy!

[via Dexerto]

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Check Out the Explosive First Gameplay of ‘Kerbal Space Program 2’

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Kerbal Space Program 2

Gamescom 2019 brought with it a host of surprising game announcements and updates on existing games. One of the most unexpected announcements was the reveal of Kerbal Space Program 2, the sequel to the viral, totally accurate space simulator that first released on PC back in 2011.

Now, shortly after its initial reveal, Gamespot has gone live with the first gameplay of this much-anticipated sequel. Fittingly enough, the footage showcases all the spectacularly explosive spaceships, interstellar exploration, and intrepid Kerbal explorers that the series has become known for.

It should be noted that the footage is pre-alpha, so although the gameplay does show some issues with frame rate and graphics, those should be polished up before the game’s full launch on PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2020.

Here’s the full description of the game, courtesy of its official website:

With the original Kerbal Space Program having become one of the most beloved games of all time and now bigger than ever, Kerbal Space Program 2 has been fully redesigned from the ground up to meet the demands of modern and next-generation space exploration, all while maintaining the monumental foundations of the first game. Build a space program, construct powerful spacecraft, design resource-gathering colonies, and much more to uncover the secrets of the galaxy. A plethora of exciting new features will captivate veteran and returning players, as well as usher in a whole new wave of Kerbonauts to the ingenious and comedic world that has entertained millions of players.

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Netflix Releases Teaser for ‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’

The Netflix Television Event will launch globally on Friday, October 11

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It was on September 29, 2013, that Breaking Bad came to an end with the final episode of that series, “Felina” in which Walter White evades a nationwide manhunt in order to return to New Mexico and deliver the remaining profits from his illegal methamphetamine empire to his family. Knowing cancer will soon kill him, Walt revisits his former acquaintances to settle his affairs and prepare himself for the conflict and his death. When the credits rolled, audiences believed it would be the last time they would see many of these characters and while we did get a spinoff show in Better Call Saul, one character who hasn’t returned in any other show as of yet is Jesse Pinkman. That’s about to change…

Netflix announced on Saturday that it will release a new Breaking Bad movie that will center on Pinkman (Aaron Paul), who was last seen in the TV series speeding off in a stolen Chevrolet El Camino to parts unknown.

The film, titled El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, was written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, and will be released on Netflix on Oct. 11. The film is also expected to be broadcast at a later date on AMC, the cable network where the TV series was originally shown from 2008 to 2013.

Official Synopsis:

The Netflix Television Event El Camino: Breaking Bad Movie reunites fans with Jesse Pinkman (Emmy-winner Aaron Paul).  In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future.  This gripping thriller is written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad.  The movie is produced by Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Charles Newirth, Diane Mercer and Aaron Paul, in association with Sony Pictures Television.

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Watch the Trailer for ‘The Mandalorian’ the First Live-Action ‘Star Wars’ Series

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Thanks to the arrival of the D23 Expo, Disney has revealed the first trailer for its long-awaited Star Wars original series, The Mandalorian.

Created by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), the series is set after the events of Return of the Jedi and follows Pedro Pascal as a mysterious, gun-slinging Mandalorian bounty hunter who navigates the seedier side of the Star Wars universe.

Along with Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian stars Gina Carano, Nick Nolte, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog, and Taika Waititi. The first season of episodes will be directed by filmmakers like Dave Filoni, Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, and Deborah Chow.

the mandalorian trailer

Here’s the official description of The Mandalorian:

After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.

The Mandalorian begins streaming on Disney+ on November 12, 2019.

Check out The Mandalorian trailer below.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Soundtrack Gets a Vinyl Release

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While we don’t publish music news or music reviews here at Goomba Stomp, we are huge fans of vinyl and since we cover film, we figured this announcement would interest some of our readers.

Back in 2017, Jordan Peele’s Get Out topped our list of the best films of 2017 and while the year isn’t yet over, there’s a good chance his follow-up Us, will land somewhere on our best of the year list as well. There are many reasons why we love Peele’s ambitious sophomore film including for the suspense, cinematography, performances, and direction, but one thing that doesn’t get enough praise is the soundtrack by Michael Abels. And if you like us, love the original score, you’re going to love this bit of news.

After giving his Get Out soundtrack a vinyl release last year, Jordan Peele is now doing the same for the soundtrack to Us.

WaxWork Records announced the news earlier today and if you’re planning on buying a copy, you don’t have to wait since it is now available to purchase through the label’s website.

The soundtrack, which received a digital release earlier this year, features composer Michael Abels’ score, in addition to songs from Janelle Monáe, Minnie Ripperton and the “Tethered Mix” of Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” that appeared in the film’s first trailer. The album artwork was created by illustrator Edward Kinsella and features an interactive die-cut mirror board back cover, a heavyweight art print and an exclusive essay from UCLA Professor, scholar, and activist Shana L. Redmond Ph.D.

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Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip. We are currently looking for Film, TV, Anime and Comic writers.

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