The task of balancing a game is something that can feel easy in the abstract. Just make sure that there’s nothing that’s “too strong” or “too weak.” But in this essay I will explore how the abstractness of balancing hides an incredible number of smaller factors that make the process of balancing quite difficult, which means we should expect failure more often than success.
Difficult games are easy enough to find, and there are a lot of players who like them. And yet, it’s also easy to find people who use these games and their difficulty as a test of who is a “real” player. In this essay I explore why that gatekeeping mentality is harmful for the video game community as a whole.
It’s easy to come up with examples of games that are difficult or tough. But when we talk about difficulty, what does it actually mean for a game to be difficult? In this essay we’ll look at different forms of difficulty in games, and analyze what makes particular challenges fair and unfair.