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anne amère

Questions for OLDER GAMERS

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Beaten Battletoads without cheating? I used the warps and I beat the shit out of those birds in the tunnel to get extra lives. God I wish I still had that game. So damn fun. I like Battletoads and Double Dragon even more.

As for Contra, I have beaten the first two Contras without even dying. If you practice Contra enough you will get so good at it that only coop mode will really have a chance at defeating you. Contra 3 usually takes a couple continues on the normal mode, and I haven't beaten it on the hard mode yet. I'm looking forward to Contra Rebirth. It better be at least as mean as the first game.

Does anybody here like the Monkey Ball games? Those can get ridiculously difficult.

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I used to play Super Mario Kart endlessly. At one point, Rainbow Road at 150cc wasn't hard enough, so I would play the game via the reflection in a glass window. That certainly spiced things up, for a while at least, until you get used to the reversed-ness of it. I tried playing that game again the other day, and I was having a pretty hard time. I no longer have the paths memorized for the (as always) 2nd and 3rd placers, so I couldn't just lay bananas where Princess would always hit them.

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I like Battletoads and Double Dragon even more.

The one on SNES? The best. Once you get to stage 4 it's hard. I've beaten it once with some sort of luck and kicked ass for the rest of the game.

I am sad to admit that it took me a few tries before I realized Yoshi could be used to make it ridiculously easy.
Yeah, b/c he eats the koopas and the jumping style is a bit more sturdy and timely (Yoshi's size) than Mario himself.
Does anybody here like the Monkey Ball games? Those can get ridiculously difficult.
I'm not a fan but it's a bitch!

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How did we beat games?

Well, it was a different time, definitely, but the latest gaming magazines and strategy guides were much more important. You couldn't find cheat codes or maps or faqs ANYWHERE (much less previews for new games coming out!). It wasn't until the Playstation 1 and N64 showed up that the internet really had information on games.

I remember being a kid looking forward to the latest game mags to see what new stuff was coming out, and a lot of times the tips they offered in the mags were valuable. It was fun to get those magazines every month just because they were a cornucopia of information. You can't really relate to that these days, at all, because the internet. For the last 10-15 years, the internet has just made all that information available at all times.

Magazines... print. They were a bigger deal back in the day.

HELL, gaming kiosks in department stores were a big source of information. Does anyone remember those giant SNES kiosks in toys r us and stuff that you could press the buttons and get previews and commercials of games coming out? OCcasionally they'd give tips, and a lot of the times it was common knowledge, but occasionally they had a nugget of info. It was weird in that time, really. Game companies really had much more control of who had their information then...

Games weren't instant gratification like they are now. They were more like something you'd put time into and if you were good you could maybe finish the game. The more I think about, the more I think the emergence of the internet might be the source. The internet really has pushed a lot of people to desire instant gratification... just because inherently, the internet is exactly what you want exactly when you need it. Same with cell phones and Tivos and stuff. All this information and entertainment right at your fingertips. People want games they can experience right now, and it's a given that they should see the ending of the story if they stick to it.

If anything, younger gamers today want the option of putting time into a game to master it IF and only if they choose to. They expect to finish a game and not be a master, but that wasn't necessarily the case back in the day, when you had a really steep difficult right from the beginning.

Really, most of those old games were just bad game design, but we all really didn't have the awareness of what good and bad game design was, just because video games were still such a new form of a media. It was still in its transition from an arcade medium, where you played for points into a storytelling medium where you played for the experience and the story.

It's all just a transition. Games like contra had their time back in the day because it was right for that moment in time.

/yacking

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I still remember when we got the NES players guide with our renewed subscription to Nintendo Power in '92. I remember getting the 50th issue with Mickey's Magical Quest and that contest for designing robot masters for the next Mega Man game, which was VI at that point. I didn't have a Nintendo Power Subscription again until '98 I think(last issue I ever owned was the issue with Castlevania on the cover... January '99 I think).

Back then, they WERE a valuable source of info. Hell, I didn't even have the ability to look up my first FAQ until FFVIII in late '99. Point is, I agree that the internet has really changed the dynamic of things. Even up to the N64 days, it was all about mastery and word of mouth. Now we're pretty much on the verge of games that play themselves.

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I still remember when we got the NES players guide with our renewed subscription to Nintendo Power in '92. I remember getting the 50th issue with Mickey's Magical Quest and that contest for designing robot masters for the next Mega Man game, which was VI at that point. I didn't have a Nintendo Power Subscription again until '98 I think(last issue I ever owned was the issue with Castlevania on the cover... January '99 I think).

Back then, they WERE a valuable source of info. Hell, I didn't even have the ability to look up my first FAQ until FFVIII in late '99. Point is, I agree that the internet has really changed the dynamic of things. Even up to the N64 days, it was all about mastery and word of mouth. Now we're pretty much on the verge of games that play themselves.

OMG I remember that! I remember memorizing the Battletoads maps for the fast missions jumping and dodging obstacles. That was way back in the early 90s though.

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Really, most of those old games were just bad game design, but we all really didn't have the awareness of what good and bad game design was, just because video games were still such a new form of a media. It was still in its transition from an arcade medium, where you played for points into a storytelling medium where you played for the experience and the story.

Hold the phone... you're not implying that making games difficult is "bad game design", are you? I've yet to play Shadow of the Colossus, but imagine how un-engaging the experience would be if the game was as EASY as most games today. Several games I've played I feel have a weak story BECAUSE they are easy - most notably Windwaker and Twilight Princess, because the story revolves around a kid who single-handedly defeats countless enemies and bosses and the greatest villain in Hyrule's history, WITH HARDLY ANY EFFORT AT ALL. That's one reason why comparatively harder games like Ocarina of Time are remembered so fondly - the likely chance and the fear of actually LOSING was a major part of the experience.

Please correct me if I misunderstood your post o_o

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I'm young and I suck at video games, so all you crazy people who beat Battletoads and Ninja Gaiden and all that are way beyond me. I couldn't even beat Contra 4 on Normal :<

The classic Mega Man games though are doable challenges for me. 2 never ever gets old.

My greatest gaming achievement is probably beating I Wanna Be The Guy on Hard, but that doesn't even count since it was made after 1990 :tomatoface:

Random anecdote

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Hold the phone... you're not implying that making games difficult is "bad game design", are you? I've yet to play Shadow of the Colossus, but imagine how un-engaging the experience would be if the game was as EASY as most games today. Several games I've played I feel have a weak story BECAUSE they are easy - most notably Windwaker and Twilight Princess, because the story revolves around a kid who single-handedly defeats countless enemies and bosses and the greatest villain in Hyrule's history, WITH HARDLY ANY EFFORT AT ALL. That's one reason why comparatively harder games like Ocarina of Time are remembered so fondly - the likely chance and the fear of actually LOSING was a major part of the experience.

This is interesting, because I've said something similar with a bit of a twist: there are a lot of games now which are absurdly easy because they think they have a great story, and difficult gameplay would serve as an obstacle to presenting this "brilliant" story to the player. Final Fantasy is a good example of a particularly flagrant offender.

Regardless, I think Strike911 was trying to point out the difference between games with carefully crafted difficulty VS games which are difficult because of crappy controls, poor balance, or they just spam enemies everywhere in a nonsensical manner (such as the classic "unavoidable enemy spawns right in front of you while you're in the middle of jumping over a hole" gag.) In other words, a game can be difficult due to EITHER good or bad design, with the resulting experience either being "tough but rewarding" as opposed to "obnoxious and frustrating."

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You mean this?

Yep! That is exactly what I meant. I haven't seen a copy of that book for almost 20 years! I'm impressed that you have one on hand.

With name in hand, I was able to procure a digital copy of the book and further go back down memory lane.

It even mentions the Konami Code in the section for Gradius. I bet that is how everyone came to know it.

Thanks for the pic!

-Aubrey

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how the hell did you beat those old games on the NES

those games are so hard

battletoads is impossible without save states

the first zelda is impossible without a guide (the 2nd quest at least)

i can't imagine kids not GIVING UP for several of these games

HOW DID YOU DO IT

Some games have save states built in (the code thingies) But you have to have good handwriting or else you'll lose your file forever... again... And ya. pretty much persistence or play short/quick games =]

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Anyone ever beat Double Dragon III without a game genie?

Crazy, I tells ya...

I couldn't get into that game. I dunno what was wrong with it, but it didn't have that same feel the first two had. I don't remember it being particular hard, though. What I played of it, anyway.

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Anyone ever beat Double Dragon III without a game genie?

Yes. It's not too bad if you play conservatively. Marian is a bitch and her levitation handjob can cause you to get stuck on the ceiling forever(an annoying bug that ruins all the work you put into it).

I have yet to meet anyone that's beaten Disk 2 of Dragon's Lair for the c64. The final mudmen stage is wacky; what the hell were you supposed to do there?

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I Wanna Be The Guy

That's the game that's all about pure memorization, right? Was playing and beating that game actually fun, or was it just "Oh man I'm glad THAT's over!". I do love difficult games, but some take it to the point of being extremely repetitive and dull and bad.

there are a lot of games now which are absurdly easy because they think they have a great story, and difficult gameplay would serve as an obstacle to presenting this "brilliant" story to the player.

That's how I feel too for many newer games. With RPGs I want get to the end of the game, but I also don't want to waste my time doing battles that are boringly easy or frustratingly hard. I had to stop playing Breath of Fire (the GBA port) because the gameplay was just SOO tedious - the fights were too often and too easy and too repetitive and waaaay too unnecessarily slow, and the "puzzles" were arbitrary and dumb so I'd often get stuck (especially when travelling/fighting is so tedious). At the same time, if the fights were too hard instead of too easy, I might be just as frustrated. My point is the fights were boring and time-consuming and after a while became unbearable.

On the other end of the spectrum, I've heard Mother 3 has phenomenally good RPG combat that's fun (and of course funny) and doesn't detract from the story. I've played Earthbound though and it certainly has fun and interesting combat that adds an incredible amount to the experience.

You have to strike a balance between being too easy and being too hard. Unfortunately, for games to have a wide appeal these days they make the game far too easy for my tastes. That's why more games need DIFFICULTY OPTIONS. For example, Twilight Princess's combat system is certainly capable of being difficult - the Cave of Ordeals is proof - and the fact that there is no option to make the game harder confuses me. I played through it the first time without getting any heart containers (only heart pieces), and it was still way too easy up until Ganondorf. And I find it weird that after beating Mario Galaxy you unlock Luigi - and he makes the game even EASIER! Why would anyone want the game to be easier AFTER they've already mastered it?? THAT is flawed game design right there.

Regardless, I think Strike911 was trying to point out the difference between games with carefully crafted difficulty VS games which are difficult because of crappy controls, poor balance, or they just spam enemies everywhere in a nonsensical manner (such as the classic "unavoidable enemy spawns right in front of you while you're in the middle of jumping over a hole" gag.) In other words, a game can be difficult due to EITHER good or bad design, with the resulting experience either being "tough but rewarding" as opposed to "obnoxious and frustrating."

Yeah, that would make sense. But a lot of old games take the best of both worlds. Take Ninja Gaiden 1-3 for the NES, where the gameplay is all about cheapness - near the end of the first one, it felt like the game engine was not capable of making the game harder by normal means, so the level designers pulled off every cheap trick imaginable XD

Ninja Gaiden 1 for me was VERY tough but rewarding, especially when I finally beat it. Yet it also felt like one of the cheapest and most "unfair" games I'd ever played.

Ninja Gaiden 2 I gave up on because there was too much clutter on the screen for me to play properly (all those flashing ghost-Ryus were distracting as hell, and I didn't find them that helpful either!)

Ninja Gaiden 3 I've yet to finish, but I feel it's the strongest of the 3 titles... it requires more skill than the first, but less millisecond-timing "perfection" skill, less memorization (or maybe the rooms are just easier to remember because they're more interesting?), and is a little less repetitive (different things tend to happen each time I play a level or boss, so it's more exciting to play and watch).

But I can totally understand that these games are NOT for everyone. And an "easy version" of NES Ninja Gaiden would just be a generic platformer with hilariously dated cutscenes ^__^

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I don't care what people say - Silver Surfer was an amazingly awesome game. Hard as hell, but I finally beat it.

Thank god the music was epic for that thing.

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I'll never forget how I had no idea the second quest in Zelda 1 even existed until I picked up this paperback hint book for various popular NES games called "How to Win at Nintendo Games" by Jeff Rovin. None of my friends who had the game knew it existed either, so it was pretty cool for a while, essentially finding a whole new half of the game to play through.

I think I'm on board with anyone saying it's the internet that's made the difference. Today, we can figure out whatever we want, at any time, for any game, as long as we don't mind spoiling it. Back then, it was keep plugging away, and trying weird shit, until you figure it out.

Not like we had anything better to do anyway, game purchases were few and far between (at least for me and most of my friends at the time), so you'd spend months with some game that could probably be finished in hours, except a) they were usually unforgiving and difficult, and B) I didn't get to spend as much time playing games back then thanks to things like school, and parents.

I will also never forget how in another of Jeff Rovin's books, for the SNES, he falsely assumed that the bird boss towards the end of Lagoon was the final boss, and ended his guide after it, presumably since that boss was such a pain in the ass that he never actually killed it. Well you were wrong Jeff, you were wrrrrrrroooooooooooongggggg.

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i've checked "How to Win at Nintendo Games" out from the library.

yeah. A library. It's a lot like the internet, just smaller and dustier... with the same random creeps that make you uncomfortable.

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Does anyone remember when they used to make those small books for kids, about 150 pages or so, based off popular old Nintendo games like Metal Gear and Super Mario Bros. 3? I was surprised to find those in my library in Africa (Dakar, Senegal), since gaming systems themselves were a little rare out there.

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My parents went to a library a few years ago and found an old Nintendo guide (I'll get the name of it later...) sitting in a 'take home for free' box, so they pulled it out and wrapped it up for my birthday two years ago. They certainly got a good laugh for it, but I read it out of shear scientific curiosity.

It's funny that people would have payed about 30$ for that source of information (the information wasn't even that helpful)... shit, 21 years ago (1988 - Megaman 2 was considered 'brand new' in that guide). Wow, that makes me feel a bit old, the fact that I can remember those days, at all.

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And an "easy version" of NES Ninja Gaiden would just be a generic platformer with hilariously dated cutscenes ^__^

Eh, for my money NES Ninja Gaiden still has a better story, and is more cinematic than the newer ones, which feel like de facto cliches and nothing.

For the record, I never beat Battletoads on NES without a GG either. I think I/we (w/co-op) could manage to get to the 10th level or so with those giant gears, before running out of lives. After doing the run with a GG and seeing how much more insane it got, life seemed too short.

In some respect today's games feel more like they're meant just for consumption. I see the merit in having a great experience that lasts only 8-10 hours, but if there's no real reason to touch it again afterwards, like say a decent multiplayer or high replay worth, it kinda feels like a waste of $60.

On the playground, it used to be a badge of honor to say, "I beat that game". Now, everyone can crawl through most games. Better for sales, and widening the audience I suppose, but the prestige is gone, for better or worse.

You know it's funny, it occurred to me the other day while encountering a Rage Quitter in fighting game online, in the arcades, when you got your ass handed to you in SFII (or whatever) by someone doing some cheap bullshit you couldn't figure out or was exceptionally good, he didn't just bruise your ego, he just effectively stole your 50 cents and gave it to Capcom. You actually lost money, and were probably more civil about it rather than making a scene. Although, some people did.

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Back a couple pages, we were talking about why things are different now...and this is kind of a spill-over from another thread in Community at the moment (the Post-Wii Gaming "Are casuals bad?" thing), but stick with me for a second.

Way back when, video games were a new thing, and sort of had a niche market. I'm willing to bet that many of you here who have nostalgia about the "good old days", also either had a local arcade they were allowed to go to as kids, or parents that loved (or at least tolerated) video games. People creating video games didn't really have to cater to anyone, because they had this steady market of people that would always consume their merchandise. In addition, the technology was fairly limiting, and we didn't really have much in the way of games to compare with to create a "standard".

This is also the same kind of thing that happened in the computer industry. Way back when, nobody cared about how easy the GUI was - or even if there *was* a GUI. People who wanted to use computers were those who truly had a spot in their heart for the technology, and they'd use it no matter what. There were only so many real options for software/operating systems, and again...no real standards.

What's happened with gaming in the past 10 years, is exactly what's happened with the computer in the past 15-20 years. *EVERYONE* has a computer now. I haven't met a single person at my university that does not own a computer -- and even if someone doesn't, we have a huge open use lab in our library with over 200 machines to pick from. Makers of software and operating systems now have to cater to a VERY wide audience. Trust me...I work at our IT Helpdesk. I know. >.>

The "undoing" of the classic gaming metaphor, is that we all loved video games so much, we tried to share it with everyone. By doing so, we've helped make video games one of the primary sources of entertainment alongside television. Now, with the expanding audience, we've now got fans of video games that don't fit the "typical" mold of a gamer. This is at once fantastic (I certainly want everyone to enjoy games as much as I do), and terrible (the likelihood of "classic" gaming coming back full-force is basically nil).

So now, we have games like Super Mario Galaxy, that try to cater to both new and old players by having the entire first half of the game ridiculously easy, and then managing to make the final few levels actually challenging (then going right back to easy mode after that >.<). But at least it even tries - other games these days just forgo the actually challenging bits, because that's not what sells games anymore.

My solution?

more games need DIFFICULTY OPTIONS

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