I am currently playing Bloodborne (not even close being able to post about it yet though) and was talking in the office with Phil (@philcooper) the other day about it and Dark Souls/Demon Souls that he is sort of playing. The discussion about difficulty in games and how you feel that sense of success when you beat or boss, or get past that bit you have been stuck on…
The conversation turned to how you feel like you suck at one of these games until something happens and you feel “good” for about 5 minutes before the game knocks that feeling out of you by ramping it up a notch.
“We both play a lot of games..” Says Phil…
“Yup” says I.
“Any that you’d say you are good at?”
After giving it some thought, the best I could come up with was Tetris. The original. On the Gameboy. And only that because I can remember getting to level 99 and being the master in the house at the time (especially as it was my brothers GB). Phl’s laugh told me all I needed to know. That didn’t really count.
Neither of us could really say we were “good” at any game. Phil’s suggestion was WoW which he used to regularly stay up all night on a Friday to play with some Americans….so he must have been *pretty* good at that.
Sure, I’ve played a ton of games, and between us we’ve completed more than I think we’d care to count. I know I am no completist – just ask my other gamer friends, compared to them I’m a hobbyist, but I’ve completed the story arc in pretty much all the games in my recent collection. At least the PS3 and 4. More because I have the time and a lack of funds to buy each new game. But am I “good” at any of them? I don’t think so.
Used to be that back in the day the high score was king (and I know some games are heading that way again) but now that benchmark appears to be multiplayer. And I suck at multiplayer. So I tend to stick to the story. Complete it. Move on to the next game. I’ve done the story for all the main Assassin’s Creed games since day one, but go online and I’m dead straight away pretty much.
Now getting through the story arc on a modern game should qualify me as good right? But look at something like Call of Duty, where the story is basically a training level for the online side. Even Assassin’s Creed has a multiplayer now…
So my question is this… How do we know we are good?
Let’s have a look at trophies on the ps4. The percentage of people who get them gets lower and lower as the story progresses, so I must be better than some, because I’ve got that far. Right? Further in the majority of games is a good start but then I’ve never ‘platinumed’ a game.
I have completed some games that are tough, such as Rogue Legacy and the sense of achievement is exactly what I’d expect, but I wouldn’t say I was good at it. By definition the final boss is someone you defeat at the end of the game. Once. So I must be good… Or am I simply ‘good enough’?
Which brings me to the next part of the conundrum… Is finishing a game’s story arc good enough?
For me it is.
I’m happy playing through the story. I am happy being good enough.
I am happy treating a game as an experience, like watching a film. Games should be enjoyable, you should enjoy the experience. If it’s too hard (and I know I’m in a minority here) I am happy lowering the difficulty (where that is an option).
So… Coming full circle back to Bloodborne… It is the first game I have played where the experience *is* the challenge so no playing around making it easier. And no YouTube for hints.
I will not “gitgud” I will get good enough.