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Are Difficulty Settings Necessary?

The pursuit of a challenge can be a driving force in life. The accomplishment of something thought to be unobtainable has a certain allure which some find irresistible. Game designers tend to play off of this concept, creating challenges that seem insurmountable in the context of the game world. Typically there will be an option for the player to affect the likelihood of beating the odds through game difficulty. As a designer, the proper implementation of difficulty, in my opinion, is instituting a learning curve and building from there. Once the player has gleaned the knowledge the game has presented, the designer is free to introduce complex obstacles that utilize this knowledge in varying ways. Approaching the difficulty question from this angle allows designers to create more involving situations during the progression of the game. This concept of “learning in order to succeed” seems to eradicate the necessity of a difficulty option altogether.

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Some brief thoughts on Final Fantasies

Yes, I know, I said no news here, but I am a liar! A big fat, possibly Greek liar (yes, I went there. It’s early enough in the morning to go there). But you know what? Final Fantasy deserves an exception because I love making fun of Final Fantasy. It’s just so ludicrous that it deserves brutal mocking, and BRUTAL MOCKING I CAN PROVIDE. Or, kind of provide. And it’s hard to spoil anything when the whole thing is in Japanese, a language I definitely do not speak.

So, the news of the day was the release of trailers for every one of Square Enix’s identical action RPG products. If you want the trailers, I’ve linked them under the cut. I don’t really care to give Square Enix promotion, but I figure making fun of their games balances out any promotional concern. Your level of snark for the day is determined by the header picture which means we’re about at Snark Code Orange. Because I dug up the Final Fantasy movie in all your collective minds.

The big* announcement**, of course***, was Final Fantasy XIII-2. It is, affectionately, a game that shouldn’t exist. It’s probably spawned out of the fact that they made so much extra, useless content for Final Fantasy XIII, and in good Japanese tradition they couldn’t just throw it out. This game has the least trailer support (literally, half the trailer is the ending of XIII, which I pretty much called four hours in, down to the setting), and honestly doesn’t inspire confidence. Then again, it would require a fair amount of work to make me interested in anything with Final Fantasy XIII attached.

Square Enix then spent 12 minutes trying really hard to make me interested in things with Final Fantasy XIII attached. Read the rest of this entry