Eurogamer writer Vikki Blake took to Twitter to claim that a high difficulty in video games is equivalent to restaurants not having wheel chair accessibility.

Blake’s initial tweet compares difficulty settings to a form of gatekeeping using her wheelchair accessibility comparison.

She states that the desire to allow games to be challenging is in itself a means of telling people to F-off. One of the reasons many people purchase and play games is to feel that challenge of course. Obviously, not everyone wants a challenge and many games have cheat codes, and I vividly remember the hay day of, GameGenie, and GameShark that allowed you to implement cheats to easier move forward in the game or give your characters exceptional advantages.

In fact, many games still have cheat codes. LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 even has a specific location in the game to implement cheat codes.

However, many games don’t have cheat codes and are made for players to challenge themselves. Games like Demon Souls, Dark Souls, and the newly released Sekiro. I would even argue World of Warcraft’s original boss fights in Vanilla and up to Cataclysm were made to be challenging. They were extremely tough and required precise strategy and teamwork in order to come out victorious.

This was further complicated because you had to beat certain bosses multiple times in order to acquire gear to take on even tougher bosses. And even if you had the best gear, it still required patience, precise strategy, and teamwork.

I would argue difficulty is an important metric in many games, it allows players to develop goals and meet challenges. There’s even that feeling of accomplishment after you defeated a tough boss, and that accomplishment is even more satisfying if that boss had beaten you numerous times.

Now, Vikki hits the real point of her argument. It’s not really about the difficulty to her. It’s about inclusivity. Her inclusivity argument centers around the idea that games should basically have a mode that’s easy enough for anyone to beat.

That argument has been made many times before from her fellow game journalists. For example, when [easyazon_link identifier=”B073ZR63P8″ locale=”US” tag=”boundingintocomics-20″]Cuphead[/easyazon_link] first came out, Polygon writer Ben Kuchera called into question the idea of “exclusion” as “a valid design choice.

Kuchera would argue, “The difficulty will turn some people off, and those people will never get to see that art. They will never enjoy those animations. The design of the game itself keeps them out, when the addition of an easy mode or an option to skip the bosses would allow everyone to see as much or as little as they want.” However, by the end of his article, he would state, “Whether or not you’re bothered by seeing boss fights you didn’t earn yourself is, of course, up to you.”

In fact, Kuchera even points out that you can watch people beat bosses on YouTube if you want. One could even argue that you don’t even have to purchase a game in order to experience it.

Today you can browse an almost endless supply of streamers on Twitch and Youtube and experience the art, and other facets of these games that Blake claims are being kept from players due to their inability to beat certain sections of games.

RockPaperShotgun had a special take on why players might feel adding an easy button may devalue the experience of the game:

“It’s about keeping the Thems, the riff-raff, the outsider, out. THIS section of the game, this is special to me and only those as great as I am! I DESERVE this bit of the game! Those weaklings do not! Gosh, it’s an ugly way of thinking, isn’t it? And so utterly idiotic too. Because it requires the mental gymnastics of somehow believing that one’s own isolated experience of a game is cheapened, lessened, impacted in any conceivable way, by the isolated experience of someone else playing that game.”

Finally, Vikki ends her thread by stating it’s a nuanced argument and there is a “different between difficulty & accessibility.”

Many people weren’t impressed by her view on the difficulty in video games. Twitter user, SarziSarah points out exclusion exists making reference to clubs and high-end restaurants.

Mombot would simply call Blake’s take on difficulty settings a bad one.

Another user, GriffPlays, would also point out that people are individuals and have different tastes and preferences pointing to skydiving and bungie jumping. They also point out they don’t like realistic racing games like Gran Turismo so they purchase Burnout instead.

They even referenced a knee injury that keeps them from playing football now.

Vikki replied back stating that preference isn’t the same as accessibility.

Twitter user Kamui Rougiard quickly turned the table on Vikki and showed that no one was stopping people from buying the game, thus their access to the game wasn’t being hindered. He then provided an analogy on spicy food writing, “This is like ordering spicy food, when you can’t stand spicy food, then begging the chef to make it less spicy. Order something else.”

My personal thoughts, Vikki Blake’s hot take on video game difficulty is like whining about high-speed roller coasters being too fast. I know there have been times I’ve been stuck and frustrated with a game and its difficulty. But to pretend that there isn’t a way to get around your inablities or view the content is dishonest to say the least.

What do you think? Should games have an easy mode so that the most possible people are able to experience the most content? Or would that devalue the game and cheapen and experience that you paid for? Let me know your thoughts!

  • About The Author

    Jorge Arenas
    Resident Star Trek Specialist/ Writer

    If Starfleet were real his career would be in a much different place. Currently, he specializes in all things Star Trek. He loves DC but has a soft spot for Deadpool.