Set Difficulty to…

(Originally written on November 14th of 2014.) Archived and re-posted today because the January 2015 roundup of blogs from Critical Distance made me think of it.

Difficulty in games is a contentious subject sometimes. It’s a fair target of discussion, though, since the audience’s involvement is what sets games apart from other media. There are several axes to consider when discussing difficulty, and several precedents that have colored the scales differently; this isn’t going to be an opinion-heavy piece for the most part. I just want to lay out my perception of ways difficulty is created, influenced, and received.

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Objective: Impossible

(Originally written on October 31st of 2014.)

In my last bit of writing, I talked about valuing your time and respecting others’ appreciation of their time. I mentioned my status as an outlier in that way, with my free time being so consistently abundant that in both August and September of this year, a week transpired where I played the game that had captivated me at the time, on average, ten hours a day.

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Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World – Dusk of the Monster King

(Originally written in May of 2014.)

[Spoiler warning for Tales of Symphonia and Dawn of the New World]

As a fan of Tales of Symphonia several years past its release, I was surprised to hear that it was getting a sequel, and dismayed to hear it was subpar. After the friend who had introduced me to Symphonia had played it, he had generally positive feelings about it, though not to the extent he did the original. In the HD rerelease 6 years later, I finally got a chance to try it myself, and it left me as conflicted as I’d feared.

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Time and Eternity — The Moebius Troupe

(Originally written in June of 2014)
Time & Eternity is a game with a reputation. With an aggregate Metacritic score of 42 and 4.8 from critics and users, respectively, and claims that players would “have much more fun spending [their] money on a dentist appointment”, it’s easy to assume it’s simply a disaster with no value and move on. That’d be too easy, though!

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