Games: Difficulty, Time

There’s an article on Slashdot about difficulty in video games that I wanted to comment on.


There is immense variety among video game players.  This has changed a lot over the years, mainly thanks to the maturity of gaming and the fact that kids who grew up playing video games are now adults playing video games.  I was 10 years old when Space Invaders came out 26 years ago.  It was mostly kids playing video games back then, but I think those kids grew up to be adults who still play video games.  Hence the focus of the XBox on the adult gamer.


One thing that happens as you get older is you have less “free” time (time that you have the luxury of spending on personal entertainment).  I spent a lot of time in front of Space Invaders, Defender, Paperboy, Robotron, and so on (and get a real kick out of reliving those memories with MAME).  I even bought a Galaga cocktail model arcade machine for my old apartment (it was cool having it’s attract mode sounds in the background). 


One noteable thing about all these games is that, by virtue of them being arcade games, they’re designed to be short.  You don’t need to spend a 3 hour session playing Space Invaders.


Compare this with today.  Arcades don’t really exist anymore except in Movie Theaters, but nobody goes there to play the games. Game design has changed, the focus shifting from replayability to depth.  Games are designed to take 30, 40, 100 hours to complete.


Most adults don’t have that kind of time.


I don’t, anyway.