In the last week, I’ve seen a few articles circulating in the games media that have made my head spin. Articles such as “Does “Assassin’s Creed” need murder to be fun?” (clue’s in the title), “Can we have our Skip Boss fight button”, “Gamers are elitist” (despite the fact, that we’re supposed to be dead) and just recently from none other than Polygon “When is exclusion a valid design choice?”.
So it appears as if the games media is having another “mental breakdown moment”…And truth be told, I’m beginning to lose count with all these moments that I/we have been experiencingin the last few years. So while my eyes roll at these articles, some of them are laugh out loud funny due to how ridiculous they are.
I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to have one week without having our hobby attacked time and time again? I truly wish that was the case, but reality had something completely different in stores for me/us. Please allow me to explain why that’s the case. As I was saying, we have just had the release of “Cuphead” on Xbox and Steam, a game which is absolutely brilliant!
However, it’s come under fire for its brutal difficulty (despite already being beaten by someone without taking damage). Furthermore, “Cuphead” has fallen in the sites of Ben Kuchera (Polygon writer), who fired off an opinion piece with an interesting sub header “The difference between what you ’earn’ and what you’re owed”.
An interesting thing to say, coming from the same people who called gamers “entitled” when they were disappointed with how “Mass Effect: Andromeda” ended up (you could say after investing £40 in a game, they should be owed a better experience?). However, here we have a game that’s had quite a lot of heart, and soul poured into it and looks exceptional. “Cuphead” is both charming and challenging and demands a decent amount of skill to beat it. You will likely fail and die a lot. Some of the bosses are hard as nails, but apparently the question is asked, is it really fair for someone who’s paid for a game but can’t actually beat it?
I’m not even sure where to start with this one. I’ve been gaming for quite a long time. I’ve played easy and hard games. I’ve failed repeatedly on games like “Dark Souls”, “Super Meat Boy”, “Smash TV”, basically anything that offers a continue, you know the type classic coin Op arcade games that thrived on an extra 50p. “Cuphead” harks back to those days where you’d spend hours in front of a TV or an arcade cabinet trying to beat a game or set a high score.
However, now it almost seems like that’s frowned upon, that its exclusionary and unfair, because it lacks training wheels for those who just aren’t good at those types of games, so I have to ask, why are you even buying it? In this day and age, of information it’s not hard to find out what you’re getting yourself into before buying a video game. Even then “Cuphead” is £16 and compared to higher priced games it’s not a bad gamble, but calling it exclusionary is inflammatory and nonsensical. It doesn’t need a Skip Button, or an easier setting. It just needs you to try harder if you’re willing to put the time in.
So, what can be done? (if anything is ever good enough) I mean, do developers now need to put in an invincible mode in for those who just can’t play the game at all? Well Super MeatBoy’s developer Tommy Refenes gave his thoughts on a Skip button by stating:
“Super Meat Boy Forever is going to have a skip game button. Basically, you pay for the game and I send you a link to the ending on YouTube.”
“I have no problems with devs doing “skip the hard part” buttons because it’s their decision. Don’t expect it from me though.” – Tommy Refenes, Co-CEO of Team Meat
You know, it’s nice to know some developers are sticking to their guns and want to make challenging games, because that’s a part of the fun, right? Beating a difficult challenge, conquering a tough boss, it makes those games memorable. So if you take the challenge away, then what’s the point?
When the game you’re playing is supposed to be challenging, and you ask for that to be skippable then why even bother buying the game at all? There are of course games that offer simpler experiences, Star Fox, for example, had an invincible mode, letting you just enjoy the story and combat eliminating any threat of dying. Nevertheless, does this really need to be in a game like Cuphead? Surely it would just cheapen the experience?
Well, be careful what you wish for journalists. You see, if I was a fat cat Publisher, then I would be rubbing my hands like that bloody Orc from Shadow of War. In fact, it’s all starting to make perfect sense now. So this might just be why we have Micro Transactions (yes, they’re already implementing it).
So the publishers might just be a step ahead, because before you know it £5 immortality packs will be available for games giving you invincibility, Easy mode plus for £5, where enemies simply don’t move a muscle so that you can kill them with ease. I have a feeling this is where things could go and while you can still argue whether that’s inclusive, I say we’re not the ones asking for special treatment!
Is it really elitist to recognize the fact that a single video game cannot be inclusive to every single individual? Whether you like it or not It’s an impossible feat, which is why we have this thing called “Variety” and anyone who tells you there’s no variety in gaming is lying directly to your face. Should these games be made easier for certain individuals? Well yes and no, easy modes already exist in a wide manner of games, so nothing really needs changing there, but as for games that are built on the offer of a challenge, changing that just undermines the entire point of them existing.
As far as I’m concerned “Cuphead” doesn’t exclude anyone, any more than the 20 Snes games you remember being amazing and beat all of them, and now after two decades, you’re completely rubbish at. At their heart, the games haven’t changed. It’s the people that have changed. Anyhow, I’m off to my local Warhammer store to demand that my dice have sixes on each side. So I’m guaranteed a hit and kill each go, honestly can’t believe how I get excluded because I don’t understand the rules or pick the right units. From this day forwards, I’m winning every game!
And with that said, what’s your take on this matter? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Robin Ek – Editor and co-writer
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
The Gaming Ground
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