Barry Petchesky, Defector:

For I am a baby gamer: I do not wish to be unduly or excessively challenged by video games. I wish to die a maximum of, let's say five times before beating a boss or passing a section. I wish to have fun, and I do not find it fun to be frustrated. That happens enough in real life for me to want to experience it in my free time too. In games, I want to see the entire package, and appreciate the developers' work from start to finish. I want to revel in transversal or combat or exploration or physics or plot—and I want it to be easy to see and do it all.

I can hear you now. Skill issue. Damn right it's a skill issue! I am a grown man who until the pandemic had not played games since the Nintendo 64, outside of some dorm-room Madden sessions. I suck at this! Do not think I am ashamed of it. Once, I was a capital-G Gamer. I mastered landing on the carrier in Top Gun. I played TMNT's dam level until I beat it. As a kid, I happily put in the hours necessary. As an adult, I do not have the time to git gud, as the youth say. I respect a game that respects my time.

Perhaps even more important than a lack of time is a lack of inclination: I do not obtain satisfaction from overcoming a video game challenge. Memorizing enemy attack patterns, or mastering my own fast-twitch reflexes does not give me a sense of accomplishment. If it does for you, that's fine, but I promise you I feel no less fulfilled for having beaten Tunic with damage turned off.

Goddamn, I felt this post with my soul.

As a holy shit I’m almost forty year old, I’ve done my time in the trenches, but some of the most fun I’ve had with gaming in recent years are with the games that I’ve played on Easy. Or even Very Easy!

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor? They tell me the gameplay is a Souls-Like, but I like the power fantasy of wrecking peoples shit with Jedi powers. I turn that sucker onto Easy (or whatever fancy name they give it), and I’m slicing troopers up with lightsabers, tossing aliens around with the Force, and I feel awesome.

Spider-Man 2? I get to enjoy the story and explore NYC without stress, as I have all of the power, and less of the responsibility.

Hell, my dirty secret of the last week is that I’ve been putting a lot of time into some old GBA favorites from the Metroid and Castlevania franchises via Delta, and you bet your ass I’ve got GameShark / Action Replay codes on.

But there are some games that I’d love to apply this logic to, where it’s just not an option. Elden Ring is visually and conceptually very much My Shit™, but the gameplay is punishing, so I’ve been unable to dig into it. Much as its discused in the piece, I don’t have the time to Get Gud. I want to Have Fun, and while I understand the why in 2024 that a GameShark/Action Replay/Game Genie isn’t really an option in the time of the online game, I long for the ability to turn on Infinite Health and just see all of the Lands Between. I suppose I could just check out the amazing looking art books, but it’s just not the same.

Let me meet you where I am, games. Make it so I don’t get achievements, I don’t care. I want to give you $$$ and enjoy your efforts — let me play on Easy.