Has Dark Souls showed us how easy games were before?

11 years ago, we were introduced to the Xbox, and the PS1 & 2 were still dominating the marketplace for gamers. During those years in gaming, developers were trying their hardest to make their games as difficult as possible, with each game becoming more and more demanding every time. We were introduced to games like Halo Combat Evolved with it's super difficult Legendary difficulty, God of War 2 with their Titan Difficulty, the Metal Gear series and their ridiculous stealth gameplay mechanics, and other games we've all played (and died) in our gaming lifespan. But, as the years went by, games began to become less frustrating and began an era of a more "fun" experience for everyone, casual or hardcore, and it didn't land so easily with the hardcore audience.

Even though these games still had difficulty settings, games were easy to play even on the hardest difficulty setting. Todays games are more holding your hand and guiding you through the experience rather than punching you in the face and saying "Game Over. Now try again." Games have been forced to move away from games that will "kick your ass" and more towards the "user-friendly" interface, making games significantly easier to play and more approachable than the games of old.

Then in 2009, a completely random game came out that brought back the experience of the enigmatic challenge. That game was known as Demon Souls. It was a game that wasn't a simple "kill enemies, gain experience, kill boss, repeat" experience, it was significantly more demanding than that. In Demon Souls, if you died in a fight, Boss or not, you lost ALL your experience and money (which were both identical) and you had to get it back by picking up your "Soul". If you died before getting it back, all those Souls that were there the last time you died would permanently disappear from the game world, forever lost and wasted.

Another aspect that made Demon Souls so great were the Boss fights. Every boss was completely different, each with their own challenge and difficulty to defeat. For me, my most memorable boss fights from DM were the Old King Allant and the Armored Spider boss fights simply because they made me scream at my TV so many times, and when I finally beat them, I just flipped the birdy at them with utter hatred.

Old King Allant boss fight:


Armored Spider boss fight:


With the introduction of Dark Souls, gamers have yet again accepted the challenge of beating the hardest boss fights ever conceived in a game.

Josh Kowbel's picture

I think factors such as regenerating health, better programming, and more experienced developers helped ease frustration levels back then. My childhood was certainly filled with its share of glitches, disappointments, and breakneck sprints for elusive health packs. 

As a kid with a Sega Genesis, I simply wanted to have fun and break the game with cheat codes and overpowered weaponry, but many games were too taxing for undeveloped reflexes. I do believe video games have gotten easier as we have moved to 3D space, but they certainly were more difficult during the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. Games like Battletoads ensured children would never see the end credits.


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