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Easy Vs. Hard Modes (Videogaming)

BY: Scott | Category: Entertainment | Post Date: 2009-11-19
 



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Do you play games on Easy, Medium or Hard? Really? That setting? God, you're so hardcore!

This short article examines the basic psychology between picking difficulty settings on videogames. Is it some sort of deep reflection on your personality or simply down to contextual factors? After all, some games are harder than others. Picking Medium on a strategy is incomparable to Medium on a shooter. Regardless, games are supposed to provide players with a decent challenge, so how come there's so many people who always stay on Easy?

Sticking with Easy may seem a little boring to the average hardcore gamer, but there's a tonne of folks out there who see the setting as the ultimate de-stressor. This is especially true of First Person Shooters, where killing baddies via a single shotgun blast to the face can make the player feel empowered. When life itself is on Hard mode, having a bash with your favourite murder simulator on Easy is the epitome of escapism. Perceive this how you will. I (somewhat unfortunately) know individuals who curse loudly and proudly at their monitors when playing the likes of BioShock or Quake. They pretend that the enemies are people they dislike in real life and express their angst via a super-powered rocket launcher. Better they take out such frustration on a videogame than in real life - but playing on Hard would probably make them even more frustrated.

Easy has other benefits too. If you're constantly busy and don't have a great amount of time on your hands, then Easy can be a useful option: It means you're not forced to die and reload every five minutes. When you're only playing a title for its story, having to face impossibly difficult situations after every cut-scene seems pointless. For the majority of games their plot flows better when the player character is kept alive. Essentially, Easy mode can provide both a fun, kid-in-a-candy-store experience alongside causing stories to form more fluently - due to not having to constantly restart a particular level or section.

Medium and Hard bring their own temptations. Designers have realised that vast numbers of players simply tend to rush through their games on Easy. Harder modes now come equipped with their own in-built incentives to simply get people to have a go on them. These range from the better loot in Heroic World of Warcraft dungeons to impressive achievements on Left 4 Dead's expert setting. At the end of a session, the gamer can look back and think, 'yeah, I did well and I have [whatever reward] to show for it'. This makes us feel special and unconsciously encourages us to do more of the same. This nifty piece of Pavlovian conditioning is mainly what drives some gamers to the point of addiction.

Others play on Hard simply for the thrill of it. I enjoy incredibly tough opponents in strategies because it feels like I'm up against a human. Strategies (especially real-time ones) are all about fast reactions, good management and thinking outside of the box. While shooters make you more vulnerable (by taking away health packs etc.) and don't really improve your foes - strategies do the opposite. The challenge doesn't lie in the computer having the game's mechanics on its side, but rather puts more importance on how you perform as a player in a real test of ability that's equally rewarding as it is exhausting.

Just as certain gamers play on Easy to disassociate themselves with the difficulty of the real world, others play on Hard to make a change to their monotonous, walk-in-the-park lives. Then again, some people are truly insane and work 12-hour shifts before going home and playing Call of Duty 4 on Veteran setting. What sort of character does that behaviour make them?

So what type of player are you? Easy or Hard? Do you change depending on genre? Do you believe your choice reflects on your personality?

Article Source: http://www.saching.com



About Author / Additional Info: Scott Constantine is a writer from Leeds, UK.

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