Continuation of NES hard question, because's question limit sucks.

Thanks for the response. The reason I make reference to it as medicine is that I watch a lot of James & Mike Mondays on Cinemassacre and one thing I've noticed is that it's a great way to see players react to difficulty in games; Both James and Mike will pull out a game they say is one of their favorites, but they'll get really tense, uncomfortable at times, and sometimes yell at the screen. You hear a lot of "this is bullshit!"

If you asked them for a player perspective, they might mention "toning down" those parts, but if they were toned down, they wouldn't feel as rewarding. I think you mentioned that it's the disconnect between what a player enjoys and what they think they would enjoy if you gave them the keys to let them tweak the game. This is where the player may not always know that it's the difficulty that's intriguing them.

Likewise, when James and Mike pull out a game that they say is great but is extremely easy, you notice that their minds wander a lot more, they talk about things other than the game, and they're rather straight-faced the entire time. They may even mention that they don't play it a lot, but that they just wanted to show it off.

I do think a lot of modern games have listened too much to the player input in terms of difficulty to the point that at many times you never get that tense feeling because the developer has determined that people getting tense or feeling angry is a bad thing and that the player should always feel rewarded for every button press. If someone agreed with everything I said 24 hours a day though, eventually I would blow up and yell "can someone just fight with me or something?!"

It spills into other things, of course. Many TV and radio shows are popular because there is constantly a fight going on. The adversity is interesting, and as a player I need to feel like the game is fighting me to not be defeated and actually cares about its own well-being.

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