Video Games

How I learned to Love Tough Games, and Get Rid of the Crap

I’ve recently delved back into Dark Souls, and it’s made me realize how I love a good challenging game. But there’s a difference between a progressing challenge that you grow with, and a game that fluctuates between grueling, and obnoxiously easy.

It all started with Nintendo, when games were a bit tougher due to the short length of a game. Some games did this correctly, like your Mega Man, or even The Legend of Zelda. Then others did this all wrong, like Battletoads.

I use Battletoads as my example because not only does it mislead you into what kind of game it is, but it’s also unrightfully seen as a “classic”. To me, this game is a cycle of pain, and frustration. It’s not a tough game in a good way, it’s a tough game in the worst possible way.

When you begin the game, it seems awesome, a side scrolling beat em up, with awesome characters! What can I say? As a kid of the ’90s we loved our¬†anthropomorphic animals! Anyway, it suckers you in, then the following stages are nothing more than a unfair piece of garbage.


I know, I may sound a bit tough on this game, but it’s just not good. Especially when you have a game like Mega Man, where it is challenging, but you grow with the game. Your strength is learning, and adapting to the stages.

This is why I like Dark Souls, and why I’m excited for Dark Souls 3, and to finally get my PS4 and play Bloodborne. You grow, you learn what you can, and cannot do. This is the way games should be.

Let’s move forward from the NES era and a bit further into the PS2 era.¬†On the PS2, and around the PS2’s release the games being released were a bit, easy. They walked you through the game, and treated you like you’ve never played a video game in your life. Maybe you hadn’t, but I can for sure say no one cares for thousands of tutorials. Even some of the best games on the PS2 treated you like a baby.

Take Psychonauts for instance, an amazingly funny, interesting game, that I have one big gripe with; it held my hand the entire time. These things aren’t fun, and they ruin immersion of a game when your character repeatedly keeps saying “hey maybe you should do this” yes game, I got that, but maybe your layout is frustratingly stupid and I keep missing one damn jump! I see where I’m supposed to go, now let me do it and stop blabbering on about how I should do it!


Yes, I just made you read a tangent, but don’t we all have these feelings? We want to play games, and we want to enjoy them. We like to know what we’re doing, but we don’t need you to walk us through the entire game, nor do we need you to show us everything. Let us explore, let us play a game.

So when E3 comes, and we get a whole new bunch of games to love, and be excited for let’s hope they’ve found that balance of challenging, and fun, but not easy, or dull.

The Author

Johnny Ketchum

Johnny Ketchum

Writer and content creator from Denver Colorado, mostly knowledgable in the realm of retro video games he also creates music and music mixes.

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