Another World, what is in my opinion one of the most difficult games ever, has found it’s way onto the iOS, reminding geeks everywhere that we’re not getting any better at games. Games are just getting easier.
I played Another World back when it debuted in 1991, didn’t get much further than the poisonous black slugs at the beginning, and didn’t touch it again until a few years later.
I was a huge fan of Flashback: The Quest for Identity in 1992, which played a lot like Another World. The game was also insanely difficult, but I ended up beating it again and again until I was craving something to fill the gap left in my life once Flashback grew dull. I turned again to Another World, and was again beaten to the ground (although I made it a bit further.)
Years of gaming and racking up achievements has made me big headed about my skills, thinking any game of my youth would be, well, child’s play. I was wrong. Not far back, I tried picking up Another World again, and was humbled by falling rocks, murderous black slugs, once again, and just when I think I’m breaking through, a giant beast dog I completely forgot about comes and mauls me.
Lying in a pool of defeat was difficult for me to grasp, given the age of this game. Then I realized that games actually used to be a lot harder. Games like Contra had no saves and one shot killed you. Anyone remember the water pits in Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest and it’s almost nonsensically difficult puzzles?
Games are easier these days, whether or not we like to admit it.
I had the chance to interview Telltale Games CEO Dan Connors back in May, and he shared that with computer games in 1991, “even getting a game to run in the first place was a puzzle. So it was a very clever demographic.” He said this helped make adventure games like Day of the Tentacle and Sam and Max some of the top games of their time.
“As PCs became more mass-market and easier to use, the audience widened and they were interested in different experiences,” he said. And thus began the gradual decline of our tolerance for insanely difficult games, and a shift of interest in what games were being released.
We’re in a new age though, and with the Internet even the old classics are finding their way back into our hands—whether through DLCs, remakes, or apps. Without costs of CDs or distribution, anyone can make a game these days, post it to the Web, and likely find a few fans. Re-releasing an older game is as simple as hitting upload, and doesn’t cost much for developers.
And with that, Another World is back. Prepare for a brutal reminder that you haven’t gotten better at games—they’ve been taking it easy on you.
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Image courtesy of Bulkypix