What do you think about difficulty modes in games?
I’m legally blind, the result of a condition called retinopathy that is causing the blood vessels in my retina to, well, explode. This leaves behind scarring that mars the retina and makes my vision full of dead spots. Think of watching a movie on a screen with giant holes in it, and that’s a pretty good version of what’s happening inside my eyes. I can still see some things, but the screen is obscured.
As a result a lot of things most gamers take for granted are very, very difficult for me. This is why I unabashedly play games on the easiest possible difficulty setting now — I don’t need to add more difficulty when my eyes are doing their level best to add it for me. But this also means some games — the kinds without any sort of difficulty slider, such as Soulslike games — are very hard for me to get into, simply because I miss things a sighted person would have noticed. It’s why I think Hades has an interesting idea in God Mode — the game doesn’t make you more powerful, but it does make you more durable, meaning that you can learn from your failures and have more of a chance to understand and predict your opponent’s next move.
It’s also why I like games like Diablo 3 — I can set the difficulty down until I feel like I have a handle on it, or jack it up to Torment 13 if I feel like I’m geared and skilled enough. I like having the option to go as easy or as hard as I feel like that day.
This is why I’m interested in the topic of difficulty modes in games, and it’s why I pay attention when someone says some variation of the argument that they shouldn’t exist and players should just get better — there are a great many reasons why some of us can’t, either because we no longer have the free time to spend hours beating our heads against a super hard game, or we simply lack the same facilities others have. But I’m always curious to see other perspectives. What do you think about game difficulty and how it can be adjusted up or down?
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