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The Difference Between “Hard” and “Frustrating”

I would like to preface this by saying I love hard games. I love Demon’s Souls and most Atlus games. I play Touhou, though I have only beaten one of them and only on easy mode. I measure difficulty in ‘Megamans’. I do not believe those who play easier games are lesser or inferior, I just like hard games. The thing is, “hard” is an ambiguous word. A game can be hard for a lot of reasons, but as far as I am concerned, there are two kinds of difficult games: those that are “hard” and those that are “frustrating.” As a final preface note, unless stated otherwise, everything discussed in this article is set to the “normal” difficulty.

“Hard” games are deliberately hard. They are designed to be difficult, and make you work to complete a level, to get an item, to win a fight or complete a puzzle. They are games like Super Meat Boy that kill you a lot but keep death a quick thing and don’t make a big deal about it, or games like Persona or Megaman that are simply difficult. They are nothing short of challenging, and despite the difficulty I rarely find myself frustrated when playing them. Dying a lot, for example, does not have to be a source of frustration, especially when handled correctly. Demon’s Souls is a great example of this. Death is so frequent it is actually part of the narrative and, more importantly, it is quick. There is no long game over upon death. The character simply falls over and respawns at the beginning of the level. All you lose are your “souls,” the sort of all-purpose currency/experience you have on hand, and you can always go back to where you died and recollect them.

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Starcraft 2 to Allow for Modes Other than Real Time Strategy

Or other than a fighting game, if you’re snarky like me and prefer making fun of Starcraft while secretly lusting after it. Like an old lady, standing in Barnes and Noble, wondering if she could get away with buying a copy of Hustler.

We’ve got an article cooking up on this topic, but we found both of these too cool to not post about. Apparently, some lucky people in the Starcraft 2 beta (not me, alas) have managed to create full conversion mods making the game into Starcraft Kart and a Touhou game, respectively. Which is pretty freaking sweet. Hit the jump for the TouHou recreation, which looks pretty much pitch perfect. Though it lacks some bullets.
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