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Talking Point: Playing Games is a Privilege, Not a Right

Should all games be made as accessible as possible or should difficulty be dependent on the type of game being played?

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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.

For the past two weeks or so, a tired debate regarding video game design has been brought back from the dead: should all games be made as accessible as possible, to encourage all kinds of players to join in, or should difficulty be dependent on the type of game being played and/or the discretion of a game’s creators?

This has come in the form of articles voicing opinions about how skill shouldn’t be a factor in enjoying games regardless of genre, or proposing the idea that in order to force inclusivity to a game, games should have a “skip boss” button.

Recently, GoombaStomp’s own, John Websell, wrote a piece about how the Dark Souls-birthed “git gud” crowd represents a bigger problem with gaming. About how this “toxic” attitude by a portion of the gaming community online is linked with the idea of games of certain genres and types being more difficult than others. While I agree with John’s basic premise of why this crowd is not all that great to be around, I highly disagree that it represents anything more than the crowd itself.

Black Dragon Kalameet teaching a git gud class in “Dark Souls”.

The “git gud” meme started out, as most memes of the sort do, as a joke, about how punishing the Souls series is. A sort of celebration.

But, just like the “Glorious PC Master Race” meme – that started out as a self-aware, self-deprecating joke about how seriously some people take their PC building hobby – it eventually manifested as a circle-jerking, tribalistic community; a company of elites looking down on those who might disagree with them, or not act the way to do, regardless of what the nuances of the dissenters’ opinions might be.

However, whether it’s people being mean online, or as John mentioned, people making it annoying to enjoy online gaming with their obnoxious un-fun behaviors, there’s nothing inherently “wrong” with this.

It’s hardly breaking news that some people on the Internet can (and do) act like assholes. But, an important distinction needs to be made in arguments like the one John brings up: it is important not to compile those who oppose a viewpoint as one, binary, collective.

It can be said that “Super Meat Boy” was the start of the challenging game revival in the indie scene.

While the “git gud” crowd does exist, it’s not relevant when talking about game design and whether all games should be made accessible regardless of the vision of the game designer. The issue of how people behave in online games or what they type in in-game chat, forums or comment sections to grieve or otherwise bother other players is its own separate issue.

For example: some kid saying, “leave it to the professionals” on reddit is not representative of everyone who disagrees with the idea of games being universally accessible. The same way any two people can agree on something over entirely different reasons, not all people who think difficulty is up to the discretion of a game’s developers think this way because they perceive themselves to be superior gamers.

Still, it’s most important to understand that you have no “right” to be able to play and enjoy any game you would like to. If a game is designed in such a way that it does not meet your criteria for what you consider enjoyable, well, tough luck (or, if you’d like me to be annoying: git gud).

Game creators do not owe you a good time just because you want to feel included.

Fighting the evils of Hell in “Cuphead”. The recent release of the game has sparked debates about difficulty in games.

Often an argument is brought up that you can skip parts of books or movies as you please, and games should provide you with the same feature.

Ignoring that watching a movie by fast-forwarding, or skipping parts of books, is an option provided by the medium via which content is delivered and not how the work is meant to be experienced, this argument simply misses the point as to what makes most games, well, a game.

It’s antithetical to the central point of what makes challenge in games unique.

If you can’t find enjoyment in spending hours trying to beat all the levels and collect all the green stars in Super Mario Galaxy 2, or if you simply cannot derive pleasure out of the satisfying feeling you get after beating a particularly challenging boss in Bloodborne, or can’t appreciate figuring out basic patterns and telegraphs required to beat all the levels/bosses in games like Mega Man, Contra or Cuphead, then clearly challenging games simply aren’t for you.

The right way to play “Bloodborne”.

A good example, on a very basic level, is chess. You are not owed, and are definitely not entitled to, the ability to win in chess just because it’s difficult or if your opponent is better than you. You are expected to get better via practice and whatever resources you might be able to find. Some people will be inherently great at it, some people will improve very quickly, and some people just won’t or can’t get good enough to ever find it entertaining.

If it’s not something that you would like to spend time being better at, that’s perfectly fine. You can play checkers. Chess just isn’t your game, even if you like the idea of it.

Sports (including e-sports), collectively draw out millions of spectators to events. “Let’s Plays” draw in millions of views, and are widely available all over the internet. If the argument is that you simply want to enjoy the visuals or enjoy the game as an audience rather than a player, then the option is readily available.

Earlier this year, I had a discussion with YCJY about their challenging game, “The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human”, where we also talked about difficulty in video games.

Within a free market, you can choose to give money to and/or enjoy the games that better suit what you might like. There are so many types of video games available today. Simply play something that fits your criteria, instead of expecting a series like Souls to add an easy mode even though the game’s core is based around skill and challenge, which making easier would defeat the point.

Since it is often said that games should be treated like art, well, then asking an artist to change something about their work that goes against their own specific vision of how somebody experiences the game to get the point is very unreasonable and disrespectful.

John is right that the “git gud” crowd, when it takes itself seriously, is not productive.

But, thinking it represents why every video game should be designed to be as accessible as possible to anyone who might want to play, regardless of how the game is meant to be played or was designed by the creators, is not a realistic expectation to have from the world we live in.

Immensely fascinated by the arts and interactive media, Maxwell N's views and opinions are backed by a vast knowledge of and passion for film, music, literature and video game history. His other endeavors and hobbies include fiction writing, creating experimental soundscapes, and photography. A Los Angeles, CA local, he currently lives with his wife and two pet potatoes/parrots in Austin, TX. He can mostly be found hanging around Twitter as @maxn_

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Booski

    October 11, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Nice piece.

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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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Trailer for the Twisted Dark Comedy thriller ‘Villains’

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Alter has released the first poster and the official trailer for Villains, the upcoming dark comedy thriller which stars Bill Skarsgård (IT) and Maika Monroe (It Follows) as a couple who rob a gas station and scores enough cash to start a new life in Florida. Unfortunately for them, their getaway plans turn upside down and the young couple end up stumbling on much more than they bargained for.

Villains hits theaters on September 20th and was written and directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen. In addition to Skarsgard and Monroe, the movie also stars Jeffrey Donovan and Kyra Sedgwick. It’s co-produced by Bron Studios, Star Thrower Entertainment, Creative Wealth Media Finance, and The Realm Films. You can watch the trailer for Villains below.

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Beanie Babies: The Collectables with Heart

Toys We Love Spotlight

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For our Toys We Love Spotlight, I’m looking at one of my personal favourites: Beanie Babies. I had collected so many of these growing up, and households worldwide in the 90s and early 2000s were sure to have at least one Beanie Baby in their possession (was it even the 90s if they didn’t?). These plushie companions were cute, cuddly, and collectable, so it’s not a surprise that the Beanie Babies craze swept the globe, forcing parents and toy collectors everywhere to dig into their wallets.


Beanie Babies had a few aspects to them that made them stand out from your average plushie. Firstly, they did not have as much stuffing as most soft toys. Whilst some thought that this made them look cheap, it also made them light, posable, and gave them a realistic feel and look. The bear Beanie Babies were particularly good to pose, and this set them apart from run-of-the-mill teddy bears. Another element that made Beanie Babies more unique was their special tag. Each toy had a tag attached which had the toy’s name, date of birth, and a quotation etched inside. The former was something that could have been a risky choice, as although it wasn’t completely taking away the child’s choice of name — there was nothing stopping them from just calling their Beanie whatever they wanted — a pre-selected name can be difficult to sell, as kids can often take great pride and pleasure in naming their toys.

It was a great success, however, and worked as a nice finishing touch for the Beanie Babies, adding a dash of personality and flair (something much needed in the often critically over-saturated soft toy market), as well as making each Beanie Baby feel like their own creature with their own little stories. Adding to that was the wide variety of animals that were available, such as Tiny the Chihuahua, Pegasus the Unicorn or Swampy the Alligator. This means that the desires of each individual child or enthusiastic collector could be catered to (I myself favoured the dogs and bears).

The puppies were my Beanie Baby of choice. They were all such good boys and girls.

The Beanie Babies also had their own way of tackling difficult issues in society, showing them to kids through the guise of a soft toy. I’ll give you an example through my own experience: I had a Beanie Baby that (as odd as it may sound) gave me more of an understanding of the horrors of September 11th. Weird, right? Allow me to explain. I was only just nine years old on that now-historical day when the twin towers in New York were attacked and so many innocent people lost their lives. I had come home from school (it was afternoon time here in the UK when it happened), and I remember my mum watching it on television in complete shock. She had watched the whole thing whilst I’d been at school.

I didn’t really understand what was happening to be honest. Even when I was watching the repeats of the plane crashing into the side of the tower, I was somewhat oblivious the gravity of the situation (though as a nine year old child, I suppose I could be forgiven for that). The news continued to report the tragedy for a long time, and my school held assemblies to discuss the matter. I knew people had died, and that made me very sad, but I remember thinking that people died all the time, so why was this one incident reported on so much? About a month or so after, TY released three Beanie Babies as a tribute to those lost during 9/11. One of these was a Dalmatian Beanie Baby called Rescue, and I wanted him the moment I saw him, not really knowing the true nature of his purpose. My mum obliged happily, knowing what he represented. I remember taking my little Dalmatian with the red collar and American flag on his leg home and reading his tag. It read:

To honor our heroes
who lost their lives in the
national catastrophe that
took place on September 11, 2001.
We mourn for them and express our
deepest sympathy to their families.
God Bless America

Rescue the Dalmatian was joined by America the Bear and Courage the German Shepherd. The Beanies were a set of three released to honor those who perished in the tragedy of 9/11.

I found Rescue in my room recently, and the memories flooded back to me upon reading it again. I remember looking into all the acts of heroism and bravery after reading Rescue’s tag, and that’s when the situation really hit home to me. I looked into the stories of firefighters and first responders and those who had died, as well as all the search-and-rescue dogs attempting to save people among the chaos. As a child, it can be hard to see past your immediate opinion and truly consider the sheer weight of a situation, but with Rescue’s help, I was able to see just how this event was indeed very different to anything I had ever seen before, and how serious it was. It was the first time I felt like I was thinking like a grown up. I looked at the world differently from then on — obviously as I got older, but also from my ability to think harder and search deeper. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have even bothered if it wasn’t for Rescue reminding me of exactly how much was lost on that day.

Rescue, perhaps the goodest and bravest boy of them all.

Beanie babies will forever be ingrained in culture. They are still bought, sold and collected even now and will remain a timeless staple of most of our childhoods. They certainly are for me. Especially you Rescue, the bravest firefighting Dalmatian the world has ever known.

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‘Shenmue III’ Gamescom Trailer Details a Day in the Life of Ryo

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The original Shenmue games pioneered the open world genre, in part through their inclusion of many different minigames and side activities. The Kickstarter-funded Shenmue III looks to continue that legacy, as developer Ys Net and publisher Deep Silver have debuted a new trailer at Gamescom 2019 entitled “A Day in Shenmue.”

The developers provided the following description of the trailer via their latest Kickstarter update: “Exploring the town, playing minigames and battling! We hope it feels just how a Shenmue day should!” Sure enough, the footage showcases the series protagonist Ryo participating in a number of minigames, such as a boxing game and a pachinko machine. The end of the trailer also includes a good look at the series’ signature kung fu combat.

Beyond the new trailer, the Kickstarter update also noted that Yu Suzuki, the famed creator of Shenmue, will be present at Gamescom for autograph signings.

After numerous delays, Shenmue III will finally launch on November 19, 2019 for PS4 and PC via the Epic Games Store.

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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.

Contact us: Editor@GoombaStomp.com

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