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The joy of playing difficult games

Video games. A product created to entertain, to take our minds into another world, they are an escape from reality from our demanding stressing jobs full real risks and stress inducing situations that reign our thoughts most of the time.

Usually we play video games to forget those anxiety giving moments, those problems that have troubled our minds enough to drain us from our energy. With video games we recover a little of that sanity in many different ways; slaying a couple demon and angels with our heel-guns, maybe saving a princess from an evil turtle or enjoy a virtual concert given by a world-famous dog. All equally relaxing.

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Whatever game activity it is that gives you a peace from reality you most likely choose it to indulge yourself in a pleasure that you can’t find somewhere else, a simple experience where you’re not demanded to be perfect but instead find yourself relaxing in the comfort that your virtual adventure will be easy and free of difficult tasks. That is unless you’re playing a taxing game that asks of you the impossible, that tells you to be precise, pixel perfect in your movements and to calculate the percentage at which you’re most likely to succeed/fail.

Some games such as Bloodborne, Dark souls, Monster Hunter are just this, highly demanding beyond what you might expect and stressful enough that they drain the little energy you have left. These games will not allow you to rest or enjoy an evening to relax, no these games will rip you to pieces and chew you until you’re so beaten that you’ve learned and memorized your enemies patterns, learn the attacks and studied the body language of enemies enough times that you can anticipate incoming attacks and maneuver against them in such ways that you appear an agent with years of training.

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Why then if these games are such unforgiving experiences do people play them? They’re sure to leave you even more exhausted than before you started playing, to attack your mental health in such ways that it will drain even the energy you didn’t know you had. Then why, why are these games played?

I didn’t understand this until a few weeks ago. I’ve avoided these games for most of my gaming experience, I’m not interested in growing frustrated and angry in my now few sessions of gaming that I can afford to have.

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But then I played Mega man. I have never tried this sort of games before, never took my interest but there they were, on sale and them having such a high pedigree in the gaming world I decided to take a gamble. It was a living hell.

Jumps have to be pixel perfect, enemies chase you and attack you without missing a beat and your damage outage is anything but laughable. Those small lemons are a joke.

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No matter how much of my lemons (pew pew) reached my enemies they were quick to avoid them, to resist them enough to decimate my life points. Platforms are small and falling often means retracing a path full of dangers that I barely survived the first time. A short but deadly journey that led not to the end of the level but to a boss. That rock throwing robot, jumping and shaking the ground enough that my poor Mega man was left defenseless and because of it receiving mountains of rubble to its head. They never stopped coming. After the many hours of trying and restarting I had done it, one robot down, six more to go.

After that success a sense of relief and joy that I hadn’t felt before struck me. I understood the joy of playing these games. After the perilous journey Mega Man gave me, after the constant beating and self-deprecation at the hands of a robot a single win is enough to remove all that agony and in its place bring a sense of accomplishment that fills with the sweet relief of victory that not even life’s sweetest nectar can compare to.

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This was only a level of Mega Man mind you, not the entire game. I’m still not sure I’ll finish it but I can now see why people enjoy these games, they offer an experience that greatly differs from easier games, not a better sensation by any means but a different one that truly offers a compelling and rewarding experience that is like anything else.

Have you felt this way after completing a game? If you have or not leave a comment down below and most importantly than all, have a hella good day.

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