Predominantly Accustomed to Victory

I’ve played videogames for a very long time. I think the earliest I can remember playing is when I was 5 or 6 years old, and I’m certain I watched games being played before I got the nerve to ask my older cousins if I could take a whack at it. So even before I even played some games, I had an idea of what to do; I didn’t take a controller and ask questions about my goal or how to make things work; I already knew the basics before I even touched the controller.

Years of play have refined my skills in platforming, combat, decision-making and the like, and I enjoy a good, challenging game as much as the interactive-movie style of casual difficulty Call of Duty. But I think that it’s possible to become too accustomed to victory.

Sure, many gamers like to put ‘difficulty’ on a pedestal. It’s true that the games of today are not as difficult as some older games, but a lot of that has to do with control schemes and how practiced gamers are these days. But we all have been there. We all want to look back and with a sneer on our face, say that a reputedly difficult game was a breeze, a piece of cake — “I started that game on the Nightmare setting and I didn’t even notice.” I fall into this category at some points.

I was playing Wind Waker and I had managed four consecutive times in a row to maneuver Link and the Deku Leaf through a ridiculous obstacle to reach a point that contained a puzzle that required an item I did not yet have. I rushed past the obstacles without even thinking, though I did note that it should have been more difficult than it appeared.

After the fifth or so run of getting to the puzzle and not being able to solve it, something changed. It might’ve been the light, or perhaps I was just in a huge rush to solve this puzzle … Whatever the reason, I could not pass this obstacle again, no matter how hard I tried or how slowly I tried to approach it. Simply put, I was just accustomed to winning, and even though I initially thought that the obstacle should have been difficult, I balked and complained as soon as that thought became a reality.

I haven’t’ cleared the dungeon yet, but I did look a guide up to see if I was doing anything wrong. And yes, apparently the obstacle is completely removed by using the item in question that will solve the puzzle beyond the obstacle.

Had I not known this, I would have continued to keep trying and trying. That’s a problem that I seem to have these days; I’m so used to winning and knowing and expecting what is possible in a game, that I don’t bother to see if there are any alternative solutions. I’ll dabble, but I’ll still have it firmly set in my mind that “this is what is going to happen.”

From a game design point, I think that a stronger gating mechanism should have been in place, though. I honestly have no idea how I maneuvered through the obstacle, but if they wanted the puzzle to be unsolvable at that point, I think a proper gating mechanism would have benefited the better half of an hour’s sanity.

Regardless … the game is still fantastic.

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