Bioshock Infinite is taking me forever and a day to get through because, as an achievement whore, I’ve put the game’s difficulty on 1999 Mode. While Patriots are the bane of my existence, I can’t really complain as it’s something I’ve invited upon myself and if it were really such a big deal then I’d have started over long ago on an easier setting (1999 Mode doesn’t allow you to change difficulty mid-game). In between frustrated pouts at having lost to a Handyman yet again, the experience has caused me to reflect on the difficulty gamer culture has with difficulty settings, specifically easy modes.
Even though the first Bioshock was adored by virtually everyone, there was a contingent that felt it necessary to whinge about the VitaChambers which would resurrect the player consequence-free if s/he died. The complaints weren’t that if the VitaChambers worked as advertised then then splicers and Big Daddies should spawn endlessly, but rather that they made the game too easy, even though the things could be turned off by players seeking a greater challenge. Then a couple of years later Nintendo filed a patent for games that would play themselves if the player got stuck, bored, or frustrated. A large swath of gamers shat frisbees over this, not because it was yet another broad patent that would potentially stifle creativity and squash innovation, but because it made games too easy.
This attitude has perplexed me for quite some time; the difficult modes remain intact for those that want them, so why all hue and cry over super-easy modes for less-skilled or less-patient players? I think explanations can be found in two places: comic books and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. MORE >>