• 05Jun

    Is This Game Too Hard, Or Is It… Me?

    I have single-handedly brought down the Umbrella Corporation. I have shattered the inter-dimensional portal between our world and the world of the Combine. I have rescued every Little Sister, and destroyed Andrew Ryan’s underwater Dystopia. Settings like “Legendary” and “War Hero” simply mean another 10-20 hours playing a game I have already savaged. With this in mind, why is it that I have never mastered a “kids” game? You can generally expect the same thing from games rated E (for Everyone!): it will have a colorful, approachable style. It will feature a likable, cartoonish protagonist. It will, more or less, be safe for a parent to leave their child playing it, knowing that there will be nothing too shocking or dark discovered along the way. It will also be insanely difficult.

    HARD.

    HARD.

    As a 24 year old, I have played my fair share of games over the years, ranging from adventure to FPS to dungeon-crawler, etc. It’s not as if I don’t know how games work, don’t have timing, or can’t grasp the basic idea of what you’re supposed to do in a level. However, I have never beaten a Mario game. It’s true. In fact, it often takes me several tries to leap over the first Goomba in the original Mario. Even the non-sidescroller releases like Mario 64 and Mario Galaxy leave me with the overwhelming mix of failure and frustration.

    That hat won't last the trip to the pyramid, and I am going to die in the quicksand.

    That hat won't last the trip to the pyramid, and I am going to die in the quicksand.

    Another game aimed at a younger audience, Banjo-Kazooie  – the platforming adventure of a bear and his bird companion – has gone unconquered. There is a level in Banjo-Tooie (that’s Banjo 2) where your character has to beat 3 other NPCs at kickball. The mini-game was attempted, failed repeatedly, passed off, also failed repeatedly, and then given up on. In their newest (for the 360), there is another sidescrolling mini-game that has been tried and lost in the same fashion. Who is making these aspects of a game so mind-bogglingly difficult?

    To answer the question of the header, it is not just me. In the sanctuary of GameFAQs and various message boards, I have observed countless other adults with the same struggles as my own. Sure, you occasionally have the board show-off who boasts to no one that cares, that “OMG that game was so easy whut r u n00bs crying about?”, but overall it is a place to commiserate about a controller broken in futility.

    There are games out there that aren’t for everyone. I have accepted that I will never be good at Street Fighter. The problem I struggle with, is that these are aimed at children. Are the kids these days so tech-savvy that I am already outdated and, dare I say it, past my gaming prime? No, I am not willing to take that as an answer. Unfortunately, I didn’t come here with any answers, only questions.

    Give up now, you're never going to beat the 27 bosses at the end.

    Give up now, you're never going to beat the 27 bosses at the end.

    If you’re like me, hopelessly incompetent at games that a 7 year old could master, do not feel alone. Topless Robot (http://www.toplessrobot.com/2008/06/the_10_most_punishingly_hard_videogames_ever_made.php) lists Super Mario Bros.2 (and it’s Lost Levels) as among the most frustrating . TechEBlog understands game developers are cruel. As mentioned before, there’s a world of frustrated gamers on GameFAQs, waiting to swap strategies and cheat codes.

    Now that I have revealed to you the most embarrassing and humbling low points in my gaming career, I want to throw it back to you, reader: which games have made you tear out your hair and vow to never again trust the black and white E on the front of the box?

4 comments
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April Carlson
April Carlson

I couldn't get through Banjo-Kazooie because the swimming controls hated me. That was like 10 years ago...I'm thinking of getting the XBLA version and having another go at it. I won't let a frickin' bear and bird take me down...

A lot of the old school games get me because they are pattern-based or memory based...and that's never really worked for me.

And yah, I think that kids do think a little differently than adults. We tend to think more linear and kids are able to think out of the box since they haven't been taught the constraints yet, lol.

GamingAngel
GamingAngel

I have to admit that some of the "kids" games I've played I haven't had the patience to finish either. Meet the Robinson's had this horrible part in the game where no one on GameFaq could figure out. I also played a Powerpuff Girls game that was ridiculously hard.

Mario
Mario

old games i never did beat? hmm that must be the silver surfer and double dragon 3 (made it to the final boss, never did beat him) for the nes

Yukino
Yukino

I will admit, I have issues with old skool games myself. Right now, Banjo-Kazooie from the XBL Arcade is being neglected because I got "stuck". I think it is the sheer simplicity which I just can't seem to grasp. I'm so used to all the more "hardcore" games, that I can't just play a game which does not require multiple buttons or more strategy to get through.

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