Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved excessive difficulty?

You can talk about almost anything that you want to on this board.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
aa-dav
Posts: 153
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:45 pm
Location: Russia

Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved excessive difficulty?

Post by aa-dav » Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:04 pm

I never love hard-as-ass difficulty in 8/16-bit games in my childhood.
Never!
Most of my beloved games from past are easy-peasy by standards of the era.
But why every (hidden adjective) developer developing something like "8-bit-looking-like game" think we love it to be hard as hammer???
I don't really understand it.
And I list games which classified as 'retrocasual' because they are not trying to rape you.
But this list is very limited for now:

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (1/2)
8-Bit Commando
Aliens: Neoplasma (ZX Spectrum emulator!)
Bleed 2
Marsmare: Alienation (ZX Spectrum emulator!)
Delta's Shadow (ZX Spectrum Next emulator!)

Games like these are true 8-bit era replics, but they don't try to replicate very very unpleasable pattern of 'prepare u anus'.
So...
Maybe I am wrong and hard difficulty is something which is beloved in old gamers?


[Please avoid sexual assault jokes in titles if possible. --MOD]

User avatar
dougeff
Posts: 2816
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 7:17 pm
Location: DIGDUG
Contact:

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved ass rape?

Post by dougeff » Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:11 pm

Arcade games were made hard so you keep putting quarters in.

I think part of the problem is that game developers have played their own games 1000x, and it doesn't seem too hard for them.
nesdoug.com -- blog/tutorial on programming for the NES

zzo38
Posts: 1077
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:46 pm

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved ass rape?

Post by zzo38 » Sun Feb 14, 2021 4:27 pm

Some people do like the game to be hard. I do like the hard difficulty level, but would want to compensate to allow to try again (so you can have unlimited lives, but also include time limits (if you run out of time you just start over that level again), etc). That is just my opinion, but some people do like them more difficultly and some more easily; you can also add the difficulty option.
[url=gopher://zzo38computer.org/].[/url]

User avatar
aa-dav
Posts: 153
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:45 pm
Location: Russia

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved ass rape?

Post by aa-dav » Sun Feb 14, 2021 9:27 pm

dougeff wrote:
Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:11 pm
Arcade games were made hard so you keep putting quarters in.
It's another interesting thing (about Arcades).
I believe concept of "TIMER OF DEATH" (TOD) is strongly belongs to Arcade games. Just because of their nature of coin operating machine.
But developers of 80-s didn't think about it and place TOD in every (hidden adjective) game they develop. Even for home console games there is no coins!
It is just mistakes of early ages of industry.
So... This is why I ask subj. I think it is mistake of early ages of industry like TOD.
And there is no need to replicate it! Absolutely!

User avatar
Nikku4211
Posts: 377
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:28 pm
Location: Bronx, New York
Contact:

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved ass rape?

Post by Nikku4211 » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:03 pm

Back then, they thought that home video games should have been subject to the same fundamentals as arcade games.

Arcade games were made hard in order to squeeze money off of players who would insert a coin for another life.

Of course, this benefit does not exist for home consoles. Well, it wouldn't if it weren't for video game rentals, which brought back the incentive to keep making money off of repeat rentals from frustrated players.

Ironically, Nintendo's home games were also like this back in the 20th century, despite Nintendo actually being opposed to video game rentals.

Also, nice clickbait title. I almost thought you were talking about Terry Doom troll WADs that actually did involve traps with lots of annoying text and annoying sounds referencing ass rape as well as plenty of Archviles.
I have an ASD, so empathy is not natural for me. If I hurt you, I apologise.

93143
Posts: 1307
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:31 pm

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved ass rape?

Post by 93143 » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:13 pm

Nikku4211 wrote:
Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:03 pm
Also, nice clickbait title. I almost thought you were talking about Terry Doom troll WADs that actually did involve traps with lots of annoying text and annoying sounds referencing ass rape as well as plenty of Archviles.
I expected something about this: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=19363#p243095

User avatar
aa-dav
Posts: 153
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:45 pm
Location: Russia

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved ass rape?

Post by aa-dav » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:31 pm

Nikku4211 wrote:
Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:03 pm
Also, nice clickbait title.
It is not 'clickbait', it is 'alarm report'.
I am (adjective starting letter 'F') tired of this shit.
Every (adjective starting letter 'F') indie-developer think diffictulty is the goal.
But it is not.
And it never was.
The goal is to play the game!

93143
Posts: 1307
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:31 pm

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved ass rape?

Post by 93143 » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:48 pm

On a serious note, I think there's a balance to be had between hard to the point of feeling cheap (quarter-muncher behaviour, taken to an extreme with indie stuff like IWBTG) and too easy to feel satisfying. I suppose it depends on the genre, but I like what Zun said about his famously hard (but not worst-in-genre by any means) bullet hell shmups - that you feel satisfaction when you can do something you couldn't do before, because it's the player who levels up and not the character.

As someone who plays a lot of F-Zero and watches sim racers on YouTube, I get that. I don't think it's good to reward the player too much just for following simple instructions or blundering through un-failable levels.

Also, there are obviously different kinds of difficulty. Memorization traps feel less fair the first time through, and unavoidable hits feel unfair every time. Memorization isn't necessarily the worst thing in moderation; some famous games have had a fair bit of it...


"I've rented some bullet hell shooters in the past that have just left me dumbfounded. The amount of muscle memory that goes into mastering those is nuts; like, with that effort you could either beat this giant space monster, or teach yourself how to play the piano. I would almost feel guilty for choosing to do the former." - BriGuy

Pokun
Posts: 1746
Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 5:49 am
Location: Hokkaido, Japan

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved excessive difficulty?

Post by Pokun » Mon Feb 15, 2021 10:05 am

I agree with 93143, a game is much more rewarding if it's hard at first and you have to practice to be able to beat it (though it can also make you feel a bit guilty of getting good at something as useless as gaming). Simply following easy instructions isn't very stimulating. Some games are more insane then others, but with the experience from all my years as a gamer I require quite hard games to have fun with them. Many modern games (like Super Mario Odyssey) tends to be a bit too easy for my taste, and when something is challenging it's often challenging for the wrong reasons (the need to master some very weird motion control movement or odd things like that).

I don't feel satisfied beating an action game if it didn't force me to use my senses and reflexes to some point. Likewise I don't feel an RPG to be very satisfying if it doesn't require careful planning and taking some higher risks at times. I don't mean micromanaging thousands of skills and items, I mean forcing you to develop and use your judgement and gambling intuition to get past risky and highly unpredictable situations. The feeling that you can repeatedly make good decisions in dangerous situations that seems to be all about luck, is very satisfying and similar to the feeling of being able to make good reflexive decisions in an action game.



There was a trend of making very difficult games back in the 8-bit and 16-bit era, and it's indeed probably originating in the arcades. The regular arcade customers gradually became better and better at games, so the developers were forced to make the games harder and harder or they would start to loose money. This made the expected difficulty on games go up in general, and although computer and console games were usually not nearly as hard as arcades games were, they were often still quite hard at the time.

Games were shorter and simpler back then than they are now, so difficulty also made the game last longer, which was a selling point in computer and console games. As a kid, beating most NES games was just a dream to me, but that didn't stop me from keep playing those hopelessly hard games over and over anyway, and I don't think I was alone. A high difficulty was probably seldom a problem for sales.

There was probably some point when difficulty couldn't get any higher without getting out of hand, but games started to take a different direction at that time, as adventures and RPGs boomed, and exploration became the new trend (and is still going). The bullet hell genre was about the only remains from the hard difficulty era for a long time, until "retro games" got popular again.


As a practitioner of karate I've noticed that I always had pretty good reaction time even as a beginner (even if my body didn't keep up), and I like to attribute this to all those days I spent playing games as a kid, so I believe gaming skills do have some use outside of e-sports and the like.

User avatar
aa-dav
Posts: 153
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:45 pm
Location: Russia

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved excessive difficulty?

Post by aa-dav » Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:06 pm

Pokun wrote:
Mon Feb 15, 2021 10:05 am
I agree with 93143, a game is much more rewarding if it's hard at first and you have to practice to be able to beat it (though it can also make you feel a bit guilty of getting good at something as useless as gaming). Simply following easy instructions isn't very stimulating.
This is not case for 8-bit games. They are hard to gain more coins from coin-operated machines.
The problem is: home-operated machines were not corrected and still awaited you to push more and more coins to slot which was not existed.
History maked the true correction and modern games are correct ones.

BUT WHY INDY-DEVELOPERS OF 8-BIT-LIKE STILL THINK THEY ARE LIVING IN THE COIN-OPERATING MACHINE????
STIGMA: 8BIT == HARD AS HAMMER

True developers didnt think so and make things like "Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon".
It's amazing.

User avatar
DRW
Posts: 2042
Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:59 pm

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved excessive difficulty?

Post by DRW » Tue Feb 16, 2021 12:15 am

Yeah, I don't get it either. This was even still partly the case in the 16 bit area: "Super Castlevania IV" seems to be relatively fair. "Super Ghouls'n'Ghosts": Not so much.

But the good thing is: If you want to know the motivation of today's retro developers, you can probably actually reach them by mail and ask them. And then tell us what they said.

But you need to make a distinction:
A game like "I Wanna Be The Guy" is supposed to be difficult because that's the game's whole purpose. This game, but with regular difficulty, would be pretty pointless and would be just some mediocre platformer with shitty graphics. It's the whole game's schtick to troll you with its unfair passages, so it would be pointless to ask the developer why he made it hard. Same with "Super Meat Boy".

On the other hand, if someone programs a game that's simply a cool action game like the old Super Nintendo platform shooters, there's no reason you still have to make it hard as balls like "Contra III". The proof: An action game can equally be awesome and successfull with fair difficulty, see "Mega Man X".
My game "City Trouble": www.denny-r-walter.de/city.htm

Pokun
Posts: 1746
Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 5:49 am
Location: Hokkaido, Japan

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved excessive difficulty?

Post by Pokun » Tue Feb 16, 2021 10:28 am

I suppose many indie developers are making games that play on nostalgia, or for a niche market that wants harder games. Larger developers might think more about the modern larger market which often means easier gameplay and huge content.


No they didn't simply make arcade games hard to get people to insert more coins, as I said they were forced to gradually increase the difficulty for every game because gamers became gradually better players. So it was a necessary thing to do, to keep the same coin insert. And since arcade games set the norms, this affected the home market as well. They could make them much easier, and did so, but not too much easier or they probably wouldn't sell as much when people were used to the super hard arcade difficulty.

It wasn't the "wrong" way to make games, it made sense as that was what people expected. I understand what you mean though, and the need for arcade things like timers and even scoring gradually disappeared at the end of the 16-bit era. It's the logical development of the genres, but as a gamer I wouldn't say that there is a "right" and a "wrong" way to make a game, it's purely a subjective matter. Financially it's an objective matter, but for that the right thing would be to stick to the trends to keep selling, or gamble for something groundbreaking.

Those old games are equally good now as they where back then, and I still love them. I do miss many classic elements of older games such as timers and scoring in modern games. Besides I think the timer isn't purely an arcade thing, it's useful to raise the gameplay speed in a game to make it less dull. The maker of Wonder Boy said in an interview that he put a quite strict timer in his games (which must be repeatedly replenished by eating food) because he wanted the player to be constantly moving. At first he made the player move automatically, but he put that gameplay element in the skateboard instead, and used a strict timer to keep the pace up.


I think Mega Man X is quite typical difficulty level for the 16-bit era. And it's a good example of good balance for any game of any time.
The Ghost and Goblin series is an example of a game where the difficulty is equally hard as the arcade version. This goes for the NES version as well, which is much harder than most other NES games. Battletoads is an example of a very hard NES game and not the norm at the time.
I think all Contra games are very hard, but I also suck at shooting games in general.

User avatar
FBG_JS
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2021 9:28 pm
Location: Yokohama
Contact:

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved excessive difficulty?

Post by FBG_JS » Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:20 am

Not seeing much reason to default to brutal difficulty today, even for authenticity's sake. It probably wasn't as much the mission of the people building and writing, more than of the rankers and affiliates above them. Hard to imagine that many sadistic programmers and designers, though you could assume a few... lol

Not sure what great options existed to keep a player busier longer, without paying to expand the hardware, payroll, and extend deadlines. If you were one of the bigger operations and could afford hardware and had the more experienced programmers (and in Japan, give them codenames, keep them in via company policy, and just work them to death!), well, you probably put out great and somehwhat-balanced games- or at least had the avenue open. I'd hope today's 8-bit or alike developers "assume" they do have that avenue rather than not. Within reason!

Pokun
Posts: 1746
Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 5:49 am
Location: Hokkaido, Japan

Re: Why a lot of 8-bit (or alike) developers think we loved excessive difficulty?

Post by Pokun » Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:11 am

Sadistic designers aside, it's very easy to make your game too hard. As Doug said, you playtest your games 1000x times and gets really good at your own game as a result, for not mentioning that you know all the tricks and secrets you put in there.

My own games always turns out too hard. I can see that the courses I make in Mario Maker 2 gets a much higher difficulty level than I intend them to have because people die too much on them. I don't make kaizo levels or anything, but it feels like you are making the course too easy all the time, yet it turns out too hard. It's a difficult game design problem to balance.

BTW Mario Maker 2 is full of crazily hard courses that people make. I haven't finished a single world in it, because the worlds people upload tends to have a kaizo course as the first course, no thank you.

Post Reply