Jimquisition: Dumbing Down for the Filthy Casuals

Jimothy Sterling

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Dumbing Down for the Filthy Casuals

There are valid concerns with the "dumbing down" of our entertainment, but as with so many issues, there are just as many invalid ones. This is especially true when "inclusiveness" and "dumbing down" are seen as the same thing.

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Orks da best

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I am just as sick of this idea that making a game easier or having a easy mode is the worse most evil thing possible as you are Jim.

Even if its just a vocal minority, still its vocal, and annoying, and makes the biggest scene to others.

Hmmm haven' done this before: FIRST!!! hmmmmmm, yea I see little reason why people do this.
 

gardian06

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eating your creation does not make it live Jim.

yes it is petty, and technically by bring up that point (you said you wouldn't) you still connected the arguments, and prepare for flames.
 

jehk

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Good video. I mostly agree with what you said. However, the default difficulty level is something developers have to pay attention to.

So many gamers have problems with changing the difficulty level. They don't see it as a tool for fine tuning the game's challenge to their skill level. I know some gamers that seriously feel insulted or putout by having to change it to easy mode. They also ***** if the game is too easy on the default mode despite having two higher levels of difficulty to select from.
 

GAunderrated

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Orks da best said:
I am just as sick of this idea that making a game easier or having a easy mode is the worse most evil thing possible as you are Jim
Yeah just look at the kirby games. They are considered to be very easy but I always have a huge smile when playing them because they have this great charm and are a blast.
 

TwiZtah

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Easy modes are not the problem. The problem is that games are now designed for inept players, making the experienced players experience of the game extremely easy.

Far Cry 3 was ridiculously easy at Hard, because it was catered towards the casuals.
 

Falterfire

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The problem with supporting easy modes is that it run directly contrary to my goal to be the only person in the world who has fun with anything. I've worked for YEARS to put EA and Activision in the positions they are now and Jim seems determined to undo years of progress in ruining everybody's day.
 

Penguin_Factory

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The thing that bothers me most about "dumbing down" complaints is when people ***** and moan about *optional features* implemented to ease new players into a game. In these cases the real concern isn't preserving the integrity of games but excluding certain people from playing them.
 

getoffmycloud

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My issue with the dark souls easy mode is what is the point in even playing it. It would be like playing LA noire with all the interrogations taken out.
 

GrimHeaper

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TwiZtah said:
Easy modes are not the problem. The problem is that games are now designed for inept players, making the experienced players experience of the game extremely easy.

Far Cry 3 was ridiculously easy at Hard, because it was catered towards the casuals.
DmC is another case of this DmD is terribly easy and you have to beat the game to get that.
You have to beat the even easier version to get to that.
DmD barely compare's to Bayonetta's Normal mode in difficulty and bayonetta has two super easy modes you can start out on before Normal mode that is actually a challenge.
And lets not forget Ninja gaiden 3 as well.
I'm with Jim on this, but I'm most certainly not with the current trend that has arisen because of it.
 

MonkeyPunch

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Looking forward to that 5 day video marathon.
Eating the child of your scientific labour Jim... tsk, tsk
 

jehk

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getoffmycloud said:
My issue with the dark souls easy mode is what is the point in even playing it. It would be like playing LA noire with all the interrogations taken out.
Who are you to say "what's the point" for other people?
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Really now Jim?
This is getting ridiculous even for you.
Most recent videos have been nothing but the same argument about varying things over and over again and its getting REALLY old.
Could you just please put some effort into a future video that isnt filled with your rambling about the same kind of bullshit argument i hear on a daily basis:
*Oh, it doesnt affect you, so why do you care?
*Oh, you already have access to what you want without being interfered by something else, so why do you care?
*Oh, this thing may or may not have a negative impact on the gaming community, but lets for argument sake say it doesnt, then why would you care?

I mean fucking hell Jim, youre a broken record by now.
 

Scyla

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Jul 26, 2010
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I'm generally not against this kind of "help" but as always in game design it has to be implemented correctly.

The NSMB system seems o.k. but I don't know all the details of the system. The real problem arises when the casual-mode affects the enjoyment of the other people.

A prime example there is WoW where you have to play through all the difficulties and raid sizes (especially during WotLK and also parts of Cata) to achieve optimal results and get all the achievements. Also the casual mode (aka raid/dungeon-finder) hindered the development of raid encounters because developers had do be able to downscale them for the other difficulties. It got better over time but still was super tedious.

So if the system does not affect the non casual-mode they are good tools for the player but I fear that this needs much more development time than the average developer can afford. So we get systems that are flawed and hindering the fun of player groups because these systems are resource consuming/hard to balance on other genres than a simple jump'n run.

That is the reason why players are angry about them. Good tool that is mostly used in the wrong way.
 

MrBrightside919

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Kinda of like what they did with the new XCOM game. The original was DEVILISHLY DIFFICULT and just plain unfair at times...where as the new one, I see it as more ACCESSABLE than DUMBED DOWN. I played it in comparison to the old one and found it to be more fun to play...
 

Waaghpowa

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Apr 13, 2010
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I don't think I've touched a difficulty lower than hard on a game in a decade. The only time I'll get upset this over "dumbing down" is if the game as a whole, regardless of difficulty, seems to suffer for it. So far the only games I can think of off the top of my head that do that are Dead Space and certain aspects of World of Warcraft.

Edit: I feel I should also add that I never thought Dark Souls was difficult, just that it's terrible controls and mechanics made it feel hard.
 

MichaelMaverick

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Adding an easy mode to Dark Souls DOES harm it, because the high difficulty is the very core of the experience and everything else is complementary, and it DOES harm everyone, because merely having the option of NOT exposing yourself to that grueling challenge destroys the experience utterly and misses the point entirely. After a while of getting your arse kicked you won't be able to "ignore" the easy mode, you'd be a fool otherwise to make it harder for yourself when you don't HAVE to. Except sometimes being FORCED to do certain stuff, or doing it in a particular way, is what makes it so enriching. Sometimes you find yourself enjoying a situation because you were pushed into it, otherwise you'd never willingly get into it. This is how human psychology works.

When it comes to this issue, I find so many people thinking that having an option is ALWAYS a good thing. It is not so. Sometimes it's not a good thing at all. It's a simple reality of game design, why can't you guys get it through your skulls? MovieBob did this shit as well. The fact that even accomplished and allegedly knowledgeable people in the industry think this way is depressing. There is nothing inherently wrong with easy modes and streamlining and making things more accessible and what-have-you, but there are types of games (fighting and strategic games especially) where the challenge and the competitive aspect holds everything together. Please learn to recognize this fact already. These discussions are too often plagued with people who haven't adequately studied challenge and balancing in video games, and how they affect the quality of the product. It's not an easy thing to grasp in the slightest, and I'm sick of you know-it-alls making light of it.
 

Canadamus Prime

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Jun 17, 2009
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Yeah, it's only when the whole game is overhauled to appeal to a wider or more casual audience that I get really annoyed. The inclusion of an easy mode isn't that big a deal. Games have had easy modes since the early days, why is this a big deal now? Although I was skeptical of Nintendo's approach to this, it's like you said Jim, you don't have to use it. Although I have...
 

Hargrimm

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That whole "books and movies don't deny you content" argument is a bit fallacious imo. If you don't understand the contents or themes of a book/movie, it will not explain itself to you past what is already in it. If that's not enough for you, tough luck.
Some games allow you to jump to later levels in order to see all the content, but if you do that, you probably won't enjoy it very much. Same with skipping certain parts of books or movies you don't understand. Yeah, you'll see all the content it has to offer, but you probably won't enjoy it, if you can't understand it.
But most importantly, games are not movies, are not books, are not games. A game is a set of challenges you have to overcome within certain rulesets. If you skip that, you're not playing the game anymore and you are not enjoying it as a game anymore, even if you might still enjoy it.

On Dark Souls:
I think the fear here is based on the "give an inch, take a mile" principle. Right now, adding an easy mode seems like a no brainer, since the game is designed around the normal, challenging mode. It would, like you said, allow less skilled players to enjoy the game too by making enemies weaker/the pc stronger or whatever.
But, come the next game, the designers might design it the other way around to reach a broader audience. By that I mean designing the game around the easy mode and just giving the players looking for more challenge a "normal" mode that bloats up the HP and damage your enemies do, like it is in most games nowadays.

This is not an unfounded fear, since it is pretty much what happened in every other genre. First, some things are "streamlined" away or can be activated/deactivated in the options/through selecting a certain difficulty to broaden the base. But the games are still designed with the core audience in mind. Then, when people see all that money coming in from the new players, they start catering to them more and more, to make more and more money.

Gradually, the focus shifts and the core audience gets the shaft.
 

fuzz

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Aug 27, 2012
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Whilst I agree there's no need for the elitism of 'hardcore' gamers, I don't think Dark Souls would benefit from an easy mode. Now I say that because as it stands there are things in the game that needed work (the bed of chaos, gwyn). There are also things that were left out of the game entirely such as Oscar being a minor character rather than going with you all the way through the game and Shiva just being a merchant rather than being a traitor seeking the blade of chaos. I'd rather From used their time to improve the core game and flesh it out rather than add an easy mode that the game really wouldn't benefit from.

Edit: If the main game isn't worse off by the time taken to add an easy mode then I really don't mind its inclusion. I just think an easy mode should be the least of their priorities.