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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:44 am 
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As a game designer, I have no idea how hard my own games are.

I consider myself a lousy gamer, yet I can run through my ninja game with barely taking a hit. And I've had several people tell me it was a "hard" game. As compared to what? You really have to work to beat Castlevania or Ninja Gaiden. I would rank my game as mild compared to those, and they were popular, which makes me think they were an expected level of difficulty.

Games were expected to be hard. If you beat it in under a week it was lame/boring.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:52 am 
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Sumez wrote:
I think Tetris as a general concept could be considered one of the hardest games ever due to how insanely high the skill level can potential be, even for people who have been playing it non stop their entire life. But there are many individual challenges in many Tetris games that are absurdly easy for anyone with some skills to beat.

You know, like the infinite spin and other "world" rules that The Tetris Company has been enforcing on most products since 2001.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:00 am 
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As a game designer it's an especially tough subject.

A lot of games got away with being difficult because it was the trend of the time, and being able to beat them gave people some bragging rights and a sense of satisfaction. Release a new game like Ninja Gaiden 3(US) today, and people are gonna give up less than halfway in. Once a game has a footing and people respect it, they will try to beat it, even today. But if the game doesn't have anyone playing it, it's just gonna get passed over.

Release a game that's much easier than NG3, and people are gonna just play it through and then move on to something else. They might judge it on how fun it was to experience, how cool the graphics or music are, but without a solid challenge few are going to care much about the core gameplay. It's a catch 22 situation, kinda.

In my opinion, if you want to make a game with the same qualities as the best action classics of the NES era, you gotta understand how to reel in the players, in a way that was hardly even necessary back in those days. You gotta give people an honest chance to get through the game without necessarily being particularly great at it. Maybe build in a continue system that allows people to get through the game and get some satisfaction out of it, but once they have done that, they can play it on a higher difficulty level, or go for additional challenges such as saving all the humans, or beating the game with less than a specific number of continues, in order to get to the final stage, or the real final boss or something like that. Tease them with something extra if they are cool enough dudes to beat the real challenge. But first you gotta prove to them that the game is actually good.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:13 am 
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tepples wrote:


Don't get me started on infinite rotations. :| Guideline games can be decent vs-games, but without the time pressure, a central aspect of the puzzle game is completely gone.
I have a HD user, but I don't find the forum discussions that interesting. I was active on Tetrisconcept for a short while, though.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:23 am 
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So what explains I Wanna Be The Guy, Dwarf Fortress, and Dark Souls series, games that have gained a following because they're hard?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:42 am 
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Dark Souls is not popular because it's hard. That series has a lot of qualities, which are mostly related to its challenging gameplay, but not exclusively.

It did take a while to get a following though. Demon's Souls was unoriginally unreleased in Europe until it became a sleeper hit due to several reviewers having discovered the qualities of the game.
You can definitely gain popularity through challenging gameplay, but it makes getting a foothold that much harder. For an indie developer without marketing dollars, even more so.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:48 am 
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Pokun wrote:
I'm not sure what you people mean by unfair? Ninja Gaiden is unfair because it respawns enemies? That's just part of the mechanics and can be prepared for (although it can still be frustrating). It's unfair because it requires memorization? I think about any hard action game requires quite a bit of memorization and preknowledge that can only be gained by practising a lot.

It's about the way these enemies appear. You have to know in advance what awaits you to avoid them.

Take this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIcOjUaf5P8&t=18m27s
If you wait to let the bird pass, it will hit you.
You have to know that not stopping and continuing to climb will put you into a position where you avoid it by a close margin. This is unfair because it requires pre-knowledge. You cannot know that the bird won't hit you if you keep on moving towards it.

Or this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIcOjUaf5P8&t=31m
As soon as you jump, there appears a bat. Not before, but as soon as you jump. So, you have to slash it during the jump.
Immediately afterwards, there comes a bird. If you stay still to attack it, it will hit you. You have to reach the ground and kill it there.
You have no chance if you don't already know this or if you don't have this sub weapon that the guy in the video is using.

Stuff like that doesn't appear in "Contra".

FrankenGraphics wrote:
DRW wrote:
I like it that in "Rush'n Attack", you actually fight against the Soviet Army in the 80s.
Just 2 guys invading a country, killing off a whole military base, blowing up an atom bomb... armed with a knife. 8-)

Yeah, a gun would have fit better in this scenario.

Sumez wrote:
The rest of the things you mention are just examples of challenges in the game. I don't see how any of them can be perceived as unfair.

By comparing it directly to the way "Contra" handles stuff.

thefox wrote:
DRW wrote:
A boss where the intended method of evading his projectile is basically impossible during normal gameplay, so your only tactic is attacking him and hoping that his energy bar gets emptied before yours.

I guess you're talking about Malth? I never knew there was an "intended method" to avoid the projectiles, what is it?

Use the platform on the right to jump over the projectiles:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4s3IHceAhY
I tried it. I didn't manage to do it during a real playthrough.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:03 pm 
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DRW wrote:
Take this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIcOjUaf5P8&t=18m27s
If you wait to let the bird pass, it will hit you.
You have to know that not stopping and continuing to climb will put you into a position where you avoid it by a close margin. This is unfair because it requires pre-knowledge. You cannot know that the bird won't hit you if you keep on moving towards it.

No. You can stop and let the bird pass, climb up and wait for it to pass again. The fact that the game has an awesome flow that allows you to continue up doesn't mean you have to make use of it. :)

Quote:
Or this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIcOjUaf5P8&t=31m
As soon as you jump, there appears a bat. Not before, but as soon as you jump. So, you have to slash it during the jump.
Immediately afterwards, there comes a bird. If you stay still to attack it, it will hit you. You have to reach the ground and kill it there.
You have no chance if you don't already know this or if you don't have this sub weapon that the guy in the video is using.

If you just jump ahead, you'll automatically jump over that bat. If you make it this far in the game you know to be prepared for anything that will appear, especially birds flying right at you. If they are at a height that will allow them to hurt you, a slash will be able to kill them too - your sword has a short hitbox, but it's very tall.

Quote:
Stuff like that doesn't appear in "Contra".

The tanks on the snow level that will crush you if you let them live for too long will probably kill anyone the first time they see them, as they would normally play defensively and try to dodge the attacks. That's a mistake you only make once.

I agree that Ninja Gaiden probably has more places that are much more likely to kill you the first time you see them because you aren't prepared for what is coming, but I don't think that justifies calling the game unfair. I never felt cheated by the game the first time I played it. Instead I learned from my mistakes and improved on my next attempt. There are much, much worse games on the NES.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:06 pm 
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Yeah Ninja Gaiden definitely has a lot of required memorization. But that's just part of the training you need to do to beat it. Not many hard action games can be finished on your first try unless you have extreme reflexes and get familiar with the controls extremely fast.


I'm surprised Sumez thinks the arcade version of Ghost and Goblins is easy for an arcade game but Rainbow Island is hard. I've spent countless hours for them both (although for Rainbow Island I've played the PC Engine version, but from what I can see in Mame it's pretty much identical to the arcade) and I'd say they both have quite normal difficulty for arcade games and Ghost and Goblins is harder with its random patterns that I just don't know how to counter. Rainbow Island is hard because the controls is a bit funny, and the bosses are very fast compared to the main character requiring very precise timing. Having played Bubble Bobble probably helps a lot though. I guess this comes back to personal experiences again.

But yeah Ghosts and Goblins for NES is only incredibly hard because they retained the arcade difficulty in a home console port. For an arcade game it's just damn hard.

For an arcade game that actually got harder after porting to a home console, check out the PC Engine (HuCard) version of Altered Beast.


DRW wrote:
FrankenGraphics wrote:
DRW wrote:
I like it that in "Rush'n Attack", you actually fight against the Soviet Army in the 80s.
Just 2 guys invading a country, killing off a whole military base, blowing up an atom bomb... armed with a knife. 8-)

Yeah, a gun would have fit better in this scenario.
Wouldn't had been as fun though. :)
But yeah I mean even Solid Snake can at least steal weapons from his enemies so he can fight tougher opponents. In Rush n Attack and Green Beret you only steal an occasional bazooka or grenade to blow up some things and then you continue to mostly use your knife even against the rocket.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:43 pm 
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Pokun wrote:
I'm surprised Sumez thinks the arcade version of Ghost and Goblins is easy for an arcade game but Rainbow Island is hard. I've spent countless hours for them both (although for Rainbow Island I've played the PC Engine version, but from what I can see in Mame it's pretty much identical to the arcade) and I'd say they both have quite normal difficulty for arcade games and Ghost and Goblins is harder with its random patterns that I just don't know how to counter. Rainbow Island is hard because the controls is a bit funny, and the bosses are very fast compared to the main character requiring very precise timing. Having played Bubble Bobble probably helps a lot though. I guess this comes back to personal experiences again.

Just for the record, I said Ghouls n Ghosts, which IMO is a much better, but also easier game. :)

I'd say both are in the "easier" end though, compared to the usual relentless onslaught of arcade gaming.
Also, I'm talking about beating the games here. Did you beat Rainbow Islands? (if not, I recommend going for it) It's not a particularly hard game to start out with, compared to Ghouls whose very first stage is probably its hardest, too. But around island 6 (robot island) it starts picking up and becomes constantly threatening, and that's where I start losing lives. It's a long game too, usually lasting over an hour for the "true ending", compared to both GnG games which both consists of two similar loops of a relatively short game, and yet still only runs you 30 minutes at worst.

I didn't say RI is harder than other arcade games, but it's one of very few arcade games I've actually beaten on one credit, and the hardest one I have personally done. So yeah, I'd say a game that I've spent over a year on is definitely much harder than one that took me a week. :) But like you said it probably comes down to personal experiences as well.

Quote:
But yeah Ghosts and Goblins for NES is only incredibly hard because they retained the arcade difficulty in a home console port. For an arcade game it's just damn hard.

I actually think the NES game is even harder than the arcade game. Though I guess it's likely someone who's more accustomed to the NES port will think the opposite.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:40 pm 
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Oops Ghouls n Ghosts? That's Daimakaimura? Sorry I haven't played that nearly as much and can't really judge it. I thought you where talking about the original game.

Yes I've beaten Rainbow Island for PC Engine long ago (doesn't cost any coins to credit feed). The port is pretty much arcade perfect although it has loading times because it's a CD-ROM2 game (a bit annoying when you reach the goal in every level and the game freezes for a brief time to load up the fanfare music from the CD). And also I just remembered that it allows saving to the internal BRAM while the arcade game probably needs to be beaten in one go. It's an incredible long game for an arcade game especially to get the real ending.

Quote:
I actually think the NES game is even harder than the arcade game. Though I guess it's likely someone who's more accustomed to the NES port will think the opposite.
I've played both Makaimura quite a bit, but I played the arcade version the most. For the Famicom version I probably never beaten the third level without continues (didn't know about the continue cheat in the Famicom version for a long time). I'm not sure which is harder though, I think they are quite equal. The arcade version has more difficulty adjustments using dip switches, and even the easiest setting doesn't seem to be much easier than the Famicom or NES versions though.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:23 pm 
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I'm glad everyone here realizes how relatively easy the Mega Man games are. The only real hard part of Mega Man 1 is the Yellow Devil, which you can cheat your way through anyway, and the only real hard part of Mega Man 2 is the disappearing platforms on Heat Man's stage, which you can just use item #2 to cross. Mega Man 3 by far presents the hardest challenge of resisting the urge to turn off the game when you have to do the Doc Robot stages. :lol:

Contra and Super C really aren't that hard either; they're probably the only "hard" NES games that I've cleared without using a continue. However, I'm also pretty good at run and gun games, having beaten Metal Slug using only one continue, and beaten Gun Force II without loosing a life, although admittedly, it's piss-easy for an arcade game due to how overpowered you are.

I didn't find Castlevania that difficult, other than the long corridor on stage 5 and the Grim Reaper that is neigh impossible to beat without the power up that lets you throw multiple projectiles in quick succession; the final boss was really underwhelming in comparison. I never beat Castlevania III due to having other games I wanted to play instead. I'll get back to it some day.

gauauu wrote:
That's the thing with Ghosts n Gobins -- it's hard, yes. But more bad than hard. If you sit down and make an effort to play through and beat it, you can do it. It's frustrating, but possible. But it's more that you'll want to quit from it being terrible.

I got through the first loop, but I wasn't going to torture myself to do the second. The only reason I beat it in the first place is just so I could say I beat it. I've never played Ghouls and Ghosts, but Super Ghouls and Ghosts is a massive improvement over this game.

Ninja Gaiden isn't that difficult until the last level; I never actually beat it because I got tired of having to do the last level over and over again after continuing from dying at the last boss. I don't own Ninja Gaiden II or III, so I can't comment on them, but I know Ninja Gaiden III has limited continues...

Speaking of limited continues, screw Battletoads. Anyone who complains about the Turbo Tunnel (James Rolfe) clearly hasn't seen the later stages in the game, which are far worse. I haven't beaten this either, and I'll be damned if I ever.

Did anyone mention Punch Out? I actually got all the way to Mr. Sandman on my LCD TV before I learned about display lag and pulled my CRT out of the garage. I should really try it again, seeing that half of the challenge in this game is reflexes.

Sumez wrote:
Dark Souls is not popular because it's hard. That series has a lot of qualities, which are mostly related to its challenging gameplay, but not exclusively.It did take a while to get a following though. Demon's Souls was unoriginally unreleased in Europe until it became a sleeper hit due to several reviewers having discovered the qualities of the game.You can definitely gain popularity through challenging gameplay, but it makes getting a foothold that much harder. For an indie developer without marketing dollars, even more so.

Is Dark Souls even that difficult? I've heard the game is full of beginner's traps, but that it's a one and done sort of deal, not that you have to memorize routes through anything or develops complex strategies. With difficulty in games, I think that it's best for game sales when a game is difficult enough for the average person to brag about how they beat it, but not so difficult that it kicks their ass hard enough that they can't. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm under the impression that Dark Souls falls under the former. F-Zero GX is probably the last absurdly difficult game that I know of.

Also, not the NES, but I thought I might show you guys the ultimate in unforeseeable death in a videogame: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh73ngqxttE#t=17m15s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh73ngqxttE#t=18m32s


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:23 am 
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Espozo wrote:
Did anyone mention Punch Out? I actually got all the way to Mr. Sandman on my LCD TV before I learned about display lag and pulled my CRT out of the garage. I should really try it again, seeing that half of the challenge in this game is reflexes.

This was one of the first games I've had in my collection (the Mike Tyson version). And it took several years to finally get to Mike Tyson and eventually beat him.

Then I bought the Classic Series for some reason and, to my surprise, managed to beat the entire game from Glass Joe to Mr. Dream in one sitting without losing.

Speaking of reflexes, anyone beat Rolling Thunder? :shock: Man, I thought I was well-adjusted after completing Battletoads. But that game also keeps you on edge. :twisted:

Bregalad wrote:
Quote:
it's not as difficult as it is frustrating.

But then it's difficult to stay calm and not explode in anger and not smash your controller into the TV. Especially when you're still a kid/teenager.

Would Back to the Future II & III fall into this category? :lol:

What about games that rely on sheer guessing? Milon's Secret Castle, Tower of Druaga, Shadowgate

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:43 am 
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Ikari Warriors is up there. Asking TMR does seem like the best way.
Sumez wrote:
Two games I think we can't afford to forget in a discussion about challenging NES games:

1. Batman. SunSoft's first Batman is a pretty typical NES action platformer with an average challenge level. Most stages will kick your ass at first, but you'll eventually learn how to tackle them, and which enemies are better to run from, rather than fight.
But then there's the final boss. I have never been able to beat him. Not ever.

I have spent countless lives, continues even, getting to him and just gotten my ass handed to me over and over. I've read guides and watched videos, I have an idea of how to do it, but I have never been able to pull it off. Maybe if I "get the trick" (sort of like finding the rhythm with the second phase of the NG1 final boss I guess) I will consider the game simple enough, but as of now this battle alone makes me consider Batman a really hard game.
It is a rhythm. In Batman, any enemy in iframes cannot hurt you with its body. Correct rhythm makes you invincible against an enemy. Batman's punch can be thrown out too fast, given that it has a windup, so pure mashing is incorrect. The security robot (the two boxes) is a better boss to practice this against.

The "easy" way of beating The Joker is to
1. stay in his body while continually, rhythmically punching him while
2. jumping and adjusting to follow him as he backs up (as you cannot walk mid-punch)
3. without letting him reach an edge such that he runs away and gets you back beyond the minimum range of the Joker Gun (which, unlike everything else in the game, deals 3 damage, ouch)
4. and timing some of your jump-moves to dodge the lightning he summons, though you can take a few of these…
5. for almost a minute.

Not impossible, but very hard. Took me a few hours to get the first time.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:46 am 
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Pokun wrote:
Oops Ghouls n Ghosts? That's Daimakaimura?

Yes. I guess I should point that out too, as I was specifically playing Daimakaimura. The US version of Ghouls is made severely easier.

Quote:
Yes I've beaten Rainbow Island for PC Engine long ago (doesn't cost any coins to credit feed).

Sure it doesn't cost any money, but how can you judge a game's difficulty when you credit feed? Especially in a game where enemies stay dead even after you continue.
The list I made describing the difference between the difficulties in each game specifically deals with one credit clears, as you can't really compare anything else - if I were allowed to credit feed Daimakaimura, I would have beaten that game in less than a day. I'm not gonna tell people how to play their games, but I think it should be obvious to everyone that if there is no actual consequence to making a mistake and losing a life, it's impossible to judge how difficult a game is.
By that logic every single arcade shooter is the easiest game ever made. :)

However, Rainbow Islands doesn't allow continuing after the first 6 islands, so if the PC Engine version is arcade perfect, that's still a really good job.

Espozo wrote:
Mega Man 3 by far presents the hardest challenge of resisting the urge to turn off the game when you have to do the Doc Robot stages. :lol:

Why would you want to turn off the game at the best part? :)


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