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 PolygonWhen 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.

when is exclusion a valid design choice polygon

“When is exclusion a valid design choice?” – Game developers shouldn’t have to adept their games around so-called “games journalists” that suck so hard at games that even a little child could out beat them.

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”.

cuphead vs games journalists

“Cuphead” might be a rather hard game, but it owes you nothing. So git gud, or get rekt!

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.

cuphead the struggle is real

The struggle is real in “Cuphead”, but the game can be beaten without a skip button (patience, practice and stubbornness is the key to success).

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

ryan bloom vs cuphead

What a stupid comment about “Cuphead” (what an awesome game you got there, wouldn’t it be shame if someone injected some racist agendas and politics into it?).

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!

super meat boy

“Super Meat Boy” kicked my ass to the moon and back, but practice makes the game perfect.

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

Rock, paper, shotgun
Ryan Bloom

This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.

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Sharn Daniels
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @SharnOfTheDEAD

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15 Comments ON " Inclusion Vs design, whatever happened to just try... "
  • SnapperTrx

    This is beyond ridiculous. Why are men growing into such whiny babies? (I can answer my own question, but this isn’t that kind of response). My son and I have been playing Cuphead and, yes, it has been kicking our butts (267 deaths by the time we reached Inkwell island 2), but it is so fun! We laugh and die, and laugh and shake our heads, and laugh and high five when we triumph over a boss or level! You play, you learn, you win! Stop crying you bunch of pansy fingered babies! Stick to dress up games on your iphones!

    • Thank you for your comment, and well said =) From my point of view, I grew up playing video games in the mid and late 80s. So I’m used to playing rather hard games (“Ninja Gaiden”, “Double Dragon” with many more). That’s also why I suspect that these said “games journalists” are just used to very simple and easy games (quite a few of them seem to be rather lazy as well).

  • TheOnceAndFutureKing

    Remember as a kid when a game was too hard, and you threw a temper tantrum over it? Now imagine encompassing the emotions you felt during that tantrum into an article, and thats basically all the “muh difficulty” articles were seeing pop up now.

    • That’s a good way to put it, as I could actually see that image in my head as I write this xD In the matter of fact, I still remember the days when the young me got angry as hell at “Ghost N Goblins”. However, the important part here would be that I didn’t give up. Yes, I did indeed get angry (more so than my parents might have approved of *cough cough*), but I did get back into the game after each failure.

      • TheOnceAndFutureKing

        The more challenging a videogame, the more it stimulates the brain when a player accomplishes whatever challenge he faces(looking at you Phazon Mines).

        Taking away the challenge to the point of taking away the interaction will completely reduce whatever fun factor a game has to nothing.

        To me Donkey Kong Country is like the videogame equivalent to hiking, its risky every step of the way, but its all about that rush it evokes after you succeed.

  • hurin

    If these people just want to see the artwork, why buy the game? You can do that for free on YouTube.

    • Oliolioh

      Because if they don’t play it to completion, or extensively, they won’t feel smugly superior to others or think that they’re part of the Cool Kids Club.

      It’s especially peculiar when you FUCKING YOUTUBERS AND TWITCH STREAMERS making the exact same complaints.

    • Well, they could always get themselves one of these 😛

      • TheOnceAndFutureKing

        This joke aged like fine wine.

        I remember laughing at it at the time because it reminded me of people who abuse save states on emulators, now its about people who can’t even legit a tutorial level XD

        • I’m going to tell you a true story. I’ve been hearing that “Cuphead” is soooo darn hard for weeks and weeks. So when I finally sat down and played the game myself, I just couldn’t help to think “am I really playing the same game that those games journalists whined about being too hard?”.

          However, I would like to point out that I’ve slayed through tons of REALLY hard games since the 80s. So “maybe” the game just isn’t as hard as I thought that it would be?

          • TheOnceAndFutureKing

            Exactly, I’ve gotten through Dragon Quest 2, StarTropics, and Castlevania. I’d love to see these “game journalists” even get past the title screens of these classics.

            This is what happens when gamers don’t write about games. I’d probably sound like and idiot if I had to write about fashion or sports.

          • I have played “StarTropics” and most of the “Castlevania” games, but truth be told. I have just played a few of the DQ games. Nevertheless, I get your point. It’s a shit fest if you ask me. Hell, just read through some old Gaming magazines from the 80s and 90s. I had a blast reading through them as a kid, because they told you everything you needed to know about the latest games and whatnot.

            Furthermore, some of them even added anime, tech and a sexy babes section *cough cough* I miss the old days. So I’m trying my best to get some of that Gaming magic back with TGG. As for babes, I’m doing my best:

          • TheOnceAndFutureKing

            God I miss the “for men” sections in gaming magazines.

          • Don’t worry fam, I/we got you!

    • These “journalist” people should just f*ck off away from video games and review movies only instead. They would actually enjoy it, because movies are now full of SJW feminist crap, the garbage they like.

      Video games going mainstream was a mistake. The Western video games and tech industry are now infested with all these obnoxious blue-haired feminist whining c*nts with Gender Studies degrees.

      That’s why I’m glad that virtually every medium with SJW-feminist agenda in it fails. Cannot wait till these parasites are kicked out of these sectors for good.

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