The debate over video game difficulty and accessibility has become part of the conversations within the industry again. After Double Fine claimed a few days ago that Psychonauts 2 is a game designed for all types of players, the creator of Spelunky wanted to approach the issue from a development perspective. In this way, Derek Yu has indicated that playing the titles on a high difficulty mode is the same as eating spicy food.

The creator of Spelunky and the spice of video games

How difficult games have to be or how accessible they should be is a hot topic in the video game industry, with figures like Cory Barlog (director of God of War) defending accessibility in games like Dark Souls O Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. So every time a developer offers his opinion, it’s interesting to see how he approaches the matter – and the perspective that Derek Yu has provided has been, to say the least, interesting. He has directly established an analogy between high difficulty in video games and spicy food.

“I think tricky games are often seen as punishing, but to me The difficulty, while an important part of the spirit of design, is in the service of the objective rather than being an objective in itself“Yu said in statements collected by PC Gamer. “The real goal is to put the player in a state of concentration on the game and really care about what they are doing at any given moment. It is to make them feel that the world existed before they arrived and that it exist after they left. Go in. To make it feel real. Winning or finishing the game, in my opinion, is not the main objective of a tricky game., even if that’s ultimately what you’re working for. “

“Winning or ending the game is not the goal of a tricky game”

In other words: so-called tricky games are not just about being difficult, or they don’t have to. But, just like spicy food, difficulty is the first impression that we receive on our palate when we put ourselves at the controls of Dark Souls O Spelunky. In this second case, more design decisions like those mentioned by Yu in his talk count: actions must have great consequences, the title has to be designed to offer great emotional reactions, and unintuitive design is fine when it is in the service of forcing. players to be vigilant.

“It can be difficult for people who don’t like spicy food to understand why fans of spicy food love it so much,” Yu continues. “If you’ve just started your spicy food journey, you can’t taste the flavor, only the spicy. And the pain. Similarly, tricky games generate a lot of excitement among their fans, but to people who haven’t reached that point yet, they can seem difficult. “

“Difficulty is only part of the equation”

In this regard, Yu aade: “Difficulty is only part of the equation. It is the spicy part of spicy food. I don’t eat spicy food to feel pain. But the pain wakes me up and is the gateway to interesting flavors that you can’t find anywhere else. Taste is what makes spicy food good. And it becomes easier and easier to bear the heat the more you experience it.“.

In conclusion, Spelunky’s father argues that the key is to gradually experiment with these kinds of challenging proposals so that the enjoyment of this kind of games is progressively greater: “The good thing is that there is not a single spicy dish that you can eat to improve your ability to eat spices,” he added. “Eat one and you’ll make the other much easier to appreciate. The same goes for tricky games. Learn to enjoy them open a smorgasbord of games to enjoy“.




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