On last week's mailbox Ashley Edgcumbe got in touch to ask if if the big three console manufacturers should bridge the gap between home consoles and the PC by allowing users to upgrade their machines.
This week Adam Cafolla asks if games have become too easy and if so how can developers engage more people without removing the challenge.
During a heated debate recently, the subject came up of games being made less difficult to entice more people to play them. On one hand I can see the arguments for such a change: if a game's too hard the majority of players may never reach the end and experience the whole story.
Another point mentioned was that because of this, games are becoming much more linear as developers can't afford to spend time and money on parts of a game no one will ever see.
This got me thinking about whether games really are being dumbed down. Certainly gaming is nowhere near the challenge it used to be. Take Nintendo's two flagship series, Mario and Zelda.
I had little trouble completing either of the Mario Galaxy games or any of Link's recent outings, yet I don't think I ever managed to finish the original Mario Bros or Mario Bros 3, and it took me ages to finish Link To The Past.
Of course, this could just be because my skills have improved, but I think there's more to it than that. Even the hard modes on games (which once I would rarely have contemplated even after finishing the game on lesser difficulties) seem easy and lacking in challenge.
I know there are games out there that are difficult but they're usually retro games based on old design principles. I wonder what everyone else thinks. Are games too easy? If so, what's the best balance to engage inexperienced and casual gamers as well as hardcore gamers?
NGamer says: We agree that sob-inducingly hard games are rare these days. Another reason for the change could be that with so many titles on the market, developers don't want to put people off with the prospect of a game they might not be able to finish. As you say, though, it could just be that we're getting awesomer.
CVG says: As the focus on story-telling and narrative increases, making games challenging or even difficult becomes counter-productive. With classic titles there wasn't much story to speak of, so much of a game's value was in how challenge it is and how long it took to complete.
That said there are plenty of rock hard games available to test your mettle. Our recommendation is Demon's Souls, give that a go if you think you're 'ard enough.
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