Today’s column is something I wish I’d covered way back when I did my video on Prince of Persia:
Basically, I should have made the difference between “harder” and “more punishing” more explicit. I don’t know that it would have blunted the resulting controversy, but it would have made the ensuing debate a little less muddled.
If you read the comments on that video, you’ll see a lot of people really object – strongly – to my thoughts on Prince of Persia. Some people get angry at the suggestion that games should be less punishing. I still don’t know if they’re confusing punishment with difficulty, or if they really insist that a game must create artificial setbacks in order to be enjoyable. It will be interesting to see how things play out in the comments.
There's a wonderful way to balance difficulty in RPGs, and designers try to prevent it. For some reason.
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