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Links 1 through 10 of 11 by Tom Armitage tagged difficulty

"First, he says, think of the player as your worst enemy, and then create the most devious puzzle possible. But then from there, try to work with the player as your friend, so that you can give them the right clues. Start with tough stuff, then scale back." I am not really convinced by this - I find Limbo erring on the side of the cruel and unfair, and think that "thinking of the player as your worst enemy" is a pretty bad rule of thumb, no matter how you later ease off the pressure.

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"Start Holding Shift" is when you understand what's going on. You will hate this game.

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"Grit: The skills for success and how they are grown, a new Young Foundation book published on Tuesday 30 June argues that Britain's schools need to prioritise grit and self-discipline. Drawing on evidence from around the world it shows that these contribute as much to success at work and in life as IQ and academic qualifications."

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Dave Sirlin offers some analysis of SF4. I think, at the overview level, he's got a good point: SF4 is not actually as "accessible" as everyone makes out; it's certainly got a lower on-ramp than SF3, but it ramps up pretty fast. More on this in a blogpost, I think.

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"And so my holiday was spent with games on the opposite ends of the spectrum: World of Goo's patient instruction versus Shiren's school of hard knocks. And despite their different approaches I felt that each, in their own way, did credit to the core competence of games as a medium: inspiring the pleasure of finding things out."

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"This Prince of Persia is many things good and bad, but for me, it has been one of the more enthralling experiences provided by a video game. It eschews frustrating, punishing gameplay tropes, and instead follows a hugely unpopular and successful (at its aim) path: it aims to create a continuous, enjoyable, flowing experience, one unhindered by the mechanical, artificial traditions of “achievement” and “fun” that so many games cling to."

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"It’s easy to roll your eyes at the people who look at an Xbox 360 controller or Dual Shock and say it’s too complicated. “Left 4 Dead” proves there are hardcore experiences — not just Wii and DS games — that can draw them in…but the controller remains a challenge that won’t be easily overcome." I'd never roll my eyes; modern pads are very complicated, and twin-stick move/shoot is one of the hardest skills to acquire. Still, a nice piece of commentary on what learning to use a controller looks like, and a healthy reminder.

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"Perhaps the problem is that we so deeply rely on reference points like film, which require stories progressing over time, when we could be referring to things like sculpture or painting, which require no timescale and people find just as moving." Some good thoughts from Jonathan Blow; I think his point about games' unique ability to challenge is an important one.

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"To be seen as art, games need to be easier. A lot easier. They don't have to be only easy. They can provide Elite Super Awesome levels for the enjoyment of those who love to be challenged." Eesh, I don't know. I think there needs to be easier games - hell, games are getting easier all the time - but a super-hardcore game like Psyvariar does _not_ need a built-in easy mode. Its purpose is to be hard. Not convinced by this article at all, unfortunately.

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"Being able to go back and fix your mistakes is not the same as being forgiven for them. Maybe that’s what all those storybooks were trying to tell us." Lovely.

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