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Tough Video Games and Why They're Played

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In a brief look at Mega Man 9, the Wall Street Journal's Jamin Brophy-Warren notes that the game's deliberate flicker and slowdown were added in for reasons other than the retro-feel. They make the game more demanding. "Why make a game so hard that only the most skilled and determined players can complete it?" asks Brophy-Warren, who then proves the appeal of just such a game. "What makes games such as Bangai-O [Spirits] appealing is that glimmer of joy a player gets from even the smallest achievements. (I only squeaked through the tutorial for Bangai-O, so even mastering the accuracy aspect of the game was an accomplishment for me.)" The writer talks to Treasure, which developed Bangai-O Spirits, and Capcom's Hironobu Takeshita, and also Jesper Juul, a video game researcher at MIT. ""It's about the feeling of inadequacy," he says. "You get stuck somewhere and feel stupid." That can lead to a sense of triumph if one does eventually succeed." Hard to Handle [The Wall Street Journal]