Facebook Files: The Love Of Pain In Videogames



This week in Facebook Files, we’re discussing the love or hate of difficult games. Do you have games that you love because of how tough they are, or are you the type to walk away from a punishing experience? Or are there games that you feel are difficult but not in a punishing manner?


Steven wrote:

Do you love any games that are so difficult that you have a hard time completing them, if at all?


For example: Personally, I love Ikaruga, but I doubt that I could ever beat it without infinite continues. Moreover, I love game series like Metal Slug, Contra, Gradius, Megaman, and R-Type, but I couldn’t beat many of the titles without a ton of gameovers. In fact some of my all time favorite games are Gradius V, Ikaruga, and Contra 4 though I can honestly say that I suck at all of them. I desire these kind of games as they bring back a sense of nostalgia from the days where games were Nintendo hard. However, this discussion isn’t limited to these kind of games. I’ve had chats with people who suck at Demon’s Souls but go back for more and love every second of it.


Or do you avoid difficult games all together for something with a more moderate to easy difficulty?


Anton wrote:

Oh, man. I loooove Demon’s Souls. Admittedly, I haven’t completed it and I haven’t played it in awhile. Been way too distracted with other games and just life in general.


However, there are some games that are just so difficult it completely discourages me from playing them. Mostly shmups. I know that once you learn the patterns, and with a bit of practice, they can become a lot easier, but I just don’t have the patience for those types of games.


Ishaan wrote:

My favourite hard game has to be Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition on Professional difficulty. No competition. This sounds almost masochistic, but I LOVE seeing all the different ways in which you can get yourself killed. But more importantly, each time you die, you think about what you did wrong and how you could potentially be better prepared for your next attempt. I love the trial & error of different approaches and strategies in RE4…it’s such a well-balanced game, even when it’s difficult. I have a feeling Monster Hunter 3 is going to appeal to me in the same way, judging by the demo.


Antonio wrote:

As far as current generation games go, there aren’t a lot of games that provide that level of challenge anymore. Well, at least to me anyway. Armored Core 4 had a steep learning curve with missions that punished bad mech configurations, but those ended up being easy when everything balanced out from a design perspective. Even Bionic Commando: Rearmed doesn’t seem to be as hard as it was when I was little, which is really strange. Then again, sitting there playing the levels over and over probably helped in this regard.


Charles wrote:

I absolutely love games that are a challenge. I remember how proud I was to beat Contra: Shattered Soldier, or Battletoads, or Ninja Gaiden Sigma, or Devil May Cry 3. A friend recently told me he was playing Megaman 10 on the easy mode and I think I lost a little bit of respect for the man due to that. To me, the fun is in the challenge, in finding out how to overcome seemingly-insurmountable odds.


You can check out the significantly lengthier and more in-depth full discussion on the Facebook group.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.