Article – Learning to Love Easy Mode

This post is inspired by the following article: Learning To Love Easy Mode

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Is this really the type of achievement we want to unlock?

I have found that as I age the time and ability (maybe even the desire?) to do one thing for hours and hours has dramatically decreased. Due to this I have found that the ways that I used to look at things has dramatically shifted in the last few years. Time spent doing the same thing over and over and over in order to get better at something is no longer of interest to me. I am predominately a single-player gamer (due to time and children) and getting “better” than the “other guy” doesn’t factor into my gaming experience. Which is exactly why volunteering to make a game more challenging is no longer worthwhile.

I am an avid video and table top gamer (among many other things) and have to find a balance between all the things I do. Lately one of the most straightforward ways I have found to enable me to enjoy a video game with a reasonable level of challenge but a reduced amount of time is to set the game to “easy”. Prior to doing this I would choose hard (75% of the time) or medium (25% of the time) depending on the game – but never choose a Nightmare-type mode (I’m not that good!). I have found that a more casual challenge still enables me to enjoy the game and experience the story and characters without hitting a point where I have to spend excessive amount of time leveling up a character or dying-and-retrying a challenge over and over. In some instances the switch to “easy” has small and subtle changes that most players wouldn’t even notice, such as hit points are less for bosses, pickups more generous, or encounters are less frequent. Games that require more of an arcade-level of skill may give you more lives or more time in order to complete a challenge.

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Having had to replay a few games recently after my Xbox died (the 3rd RROD) and I needed to repurchase on my PC, I found myself choosing “easy” just to get myself back to the same point in the game. I found that in most instances I rarely noticed (or missed) the change in difficulty. Soon I noticed that the main thing I was missing was the increased gamer score that comes from achievements/trophies by playing on higher difficulties. Yet once my Xbox died I found that my gamer score number was becoming less and less relevant. As a predominately solo player with only a handful of regulars on my friend lists, what real point was there in bragging about a high gamer score?

Lately there have been numerous games that have come out where the game itself is more rewarding than the score achieved in the end. Games like Journey, The Walking Dead, Slither, Back to the Future, Amnesia, and Limbo have all been enjoyable without achievements or difficulty settings. Even Mass Effect 3 enabled players to choose a “Narrative Mode” which enabled them to enjoy the game with dramatically reduced combat so those interested in just the story could get through it easier.

In the end – I’ve decided to take a more conscious look at why, when and where I choose to be challenged in the games I am playing. Discovering that there are games out there that can be enjoyable without any actual difficulty settings or on easy mode has me enjoying more games instead of enjoying more of the same game I am playing (although spending hours to try and beat a challenge has rarely given me the sense of victory in overcoming it that it might for others).

ARTICLE: Learning To Love Easy Mode

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Fantasy Writing with Brandon Sanderson at JordanCon 2010

If you are an aspiring author (those in fantasy/scifi might find this more relevant than others), then here are a series of videos from best selling author Brandon Sanderson on Plot, Description, Scene, Setting and Editing.

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There are many places to take classes, read articles or review books for these topics, but to hear them spoken somehow seems to be more effective than I would have thought. Plus, it is really amazing to watch someone in the industry revealing their process. Lots to learn!

LINKS

  1. JordanCon 2010 – Fantasy Writing with Brandon Sanderson – Session 1
  2. JordanCon 2010 – Fantasy Writing with Brandon Sanderson – Session 2
  3. JordanCon 2010 – What an Editor Does

Write About Dragons – Brandon Sanderson 2012 Creative Writing

Brandon Sanderson has made his creative fantasy 2012 creative writing course available for free online. In a series of 13 lectures (broken in 5-7 individual parts each) he covers off on all sorts of topics related to writing, the craft of writing, editing, and the business.

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The content is amazing and while it is long (c’mon, it is Sanderson, of course it is going to be long!) it is worth it.  I would highly recommending using some of the free YouTube download software (like Freemake.com) to pull the shows down overnight and then throw them on your iOS/Android device for offline viewing!

LINK: Write About Dragons | Brandon Sanderson 2012 Creative Writing (Website)

LINK: Write About Dragons – Lectures 1-13 (On YouTube)

Lastly, if you don’t know who Brandon Sanderson is…check out his amazing books:

Elantris

Mistborn Trilogy

Warbreaker

The Way of Kings

The Cult of Done Manifesto

The Cult of Done Manifesto is the thing that anyone who creates on a regular basis needs to have hanging at their desk. Do you find yourself struggling, procrastinating  creating excuses, smoldering in “negative” feedback? Read the Manifesto. Do you need more encouragement to keep doing things at breakneck speeds the way you have already been doing so? Read the Manifesto!

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