GoNintendo Thought: Does losing repeatedly in a game compel you to play more, or push you away?

Challenge accepted?

Bit of a different approach for today's feature. It's a topic I've been thinking a lot about since last week's podcast, and I thought I'd open it up to all of you. As always, thanks for reading.

On last weekend's podcast, an interesting conversation came up about challenge in games. Obviously all games provide some sort of challenge, but our discussion was focused on online competitive games. I happen to be a big fan of the genre, even if I'm not capable of winning even a quarter of the time I play. Another podcast member finds the experience to be an extremely frustrating one, so much so that they're not capable of having fun. Two people having completely different experiences from the same game.

Whenever I'm playing an online game, or any game for that matter, I always appreciate a bit of challenge. I can certainly enjoy a game that's smooth sailing from start to finish, but having something to make me struggle a bit enhances the experience. You certainly get that when you play online competitive games. You're going to square off against real-life players, which means you have a potential base of millions of people who are easily better than you. You never know what you're going to get, and it makes for a much more intense experience.

I think we all know that you can have bad nights and good nights in online games. Sometimes you rack up the kills, score a bunch of wins, and feel like you're really contributing to the team. Other nights you can't seem to get anything together, and you're nothing more than fodder for the other players. Now it's not fun to lose over and over again, but those losses are what push me to keep playing. I want to work to get better, take on the challenge, and hopefully end the night on a win. Sometimes that doesn't happen, but I still have fun pushing to try and improve.

Certain games like Fortnite, Rogue Company, and Call of Duty: Warzone can create a pretty quick cycle of death. If you're jumping into these games and landing in hot spots, you could find yourself up against some serious opposition less than a minute after you land. If you're not ready for it, you could be dead before you even have a chance to get something going. Have that happen over and over again, and you can see how the frustration builds. You're not really playing a game, so much as you're sitting through a loading simulator.

With Rogue Company in particular, this feeling can be overwhelming. Matches are extremely quick, which leads to even more intense competition. With Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone, you have massive maps that you can hide out on for awhile and hopefully avoid major confrontations. You might not have an action-packed experience, but you're in the game playing nonetheless. Rogue Company's maps are very tiny compared to those titles, and you're going to be thrown into the action no matter what you do. If you're having a rough night in Rogue Company, your total playtime might amount to 10 minutes or less.

Again, I can see how this would be an extremely annoying experience for a player, and I wouldn't blame someone for turning off their console and calling it a night. That said, it's not the way I operate. When I get caught in a loop of doing really poorly, it just makes me want to play more. I want to go one more round in the game. I want to change things up and try a new plan of attack. I want to prove to myself that I'm better than the poor gameplay I'm putting up. This kind of situation actually makes me even more invested in playing.

The same could be said for traditional games as well. If you're playing a brutally difficult single player experience and getting beaten down time and time again, you might not be so eager to continue. Sure, there might be difficulty sliders and other options, but sometimes it's not enough to make the entire experience more manageable. If every step of the way is an arduous journey, it can be extremely hard to find the fun. Some people take this as a motivator to train in attempts to get better, and others look at it as a sign to walk away.

Obviously neither side of the conversation is wrong. If frustration in games leads to you playing more and trying to better yourself, that's great. If that feeling makes you step away from the game, that's understandable too. If you're playing a game and not getting any enjoyment from it, why bother pushing ahead? Take a break for a bit, regroup, and return to it another night to see how things play out. You might find a new way to approach things, or you might find that a specific game or genre isn't for you.

What kind of player are you? Do you stay away from online competitive games because they get you too frustrated, or do you like the constant pressure? Do you turn the difficulty slider down in traditional games, or do you crank it all the way up?

Categories: Consoles, Portables, Feature
Tags: switch


Tue Aug 04 20 10:34pm
Rating: 2

GoNintendo Thought: Special Nicky Hill Edition lol

This is definitely going to vary from person to person, and how they feel about it is valid - there is no right or wrong.

I can relate in the case that if I'm always losing, I'm probably not having fun, and I'm probably gonna quit. I can really relate in the sentiment that once I land on the ground, I'm getting shot in no time. Game over.

It's a problem I had in Overwatch. I loved the game but I was downright terrible at it to the point I was *afraid* to play against other people, because I knew I would get killed over and over and be at the bottom of the standings, but worst of all: I would be letting my team down, and they would be disappointed in me. My team didn't lose all the time, but the majority of the time we did. It's why I would choose to play against CPU most of the time. The pressure was off and it felt fun. I would eventually give the game up though (for many reasons I won't get into here.)
Titanfall 2 is another example. I really enjoyed that game and even watching it. It was so cool. But I had no idea what I was doing most of the time. I can't aim well. I think I'm being stealthy, and then bam I'm dead - the replay shows some guy suddenly flying in through the window of the building, sliding on the wall, gunning me down and flies out the window on the other side. What the hell, man? Similar to Overwatch, I wasn't having fun, and I buckled under the pressure.

Splatoon 2 is a little different. Sometimes I'm really good. Sometimes they "have my number" and I get splatted over and over again. That's frustrating. I can't even find my bearings when that happens. Sometimes I'm the weakest link on my team. But it's over in what, 2:30? Let's go again. I'm still nervous about playing the pro modes but I really want to get into that. But losing so much is discouraging! It's less about winning and more about not being able to play.

Maybe it also has something to do with how serious OTHER people can take this. That makes me really nervous too.

I'm very competitive by nature. I will try and right the ship if it's not working. But if I don't find success after a while, I'll probably drop it. This goes especially for FPS and traditional fighting games like Mortal Kombat. I've never won in Tetris 99 either. I played it for a little bit but I haven't been back in over a year - and I love Tetris.

In traditional games, I'll stick with normal unless it's something I'm *really* good at, for instance playing through Tropical Freeze on Hard mode. A lot of traditional games tend to just throw in more bullets and more enemies without actually changing something, and I wonder if that's really worth my time these days.
I will say this though. If I get a bonus for playing on Hard or Very Hard, such as x1.5 extra currency, or better drops, I'll definitely give it a shot and usually stick with it if I can make it out alive. That's another wrinkle in this question. Sometimes it's better and quicker to just go Normal, rinse, and repeat.

Tue Aug 04 20 11:38pm
Rating: 1

What a lovely breakdown, thanks for sharing. I can totally relate and agree with everything you've mentioned haha. I'll say that I get the most fun out of co-op online matches with friends on my team and going against the cpu. Just so much less pressure and can just have fun Smile

Thank you! I appreciate when that option is available. I'm in under enough stress as it is so it can take some of the edge off when I'm just looking to unwind a bit.

I am a stubborn bastard, so yeah. I rather go for the win. I finished TMNT after all =) Played Fester's Quest some months ago. I have beaten it several times as a kid, but didn't this time. But it's on my list =) The "very soon to get back to list...when I havetime" list.

For modern games I can just add Death Stranding. It seems like a chore at times and I can go a bit batshit crazy when failing, but it's always my own fault, so I just go at it again until I getthe job done. And what a great feeling it is when I do.

Depends on game, time and mood.

Tue Aug 04 20 11:20pm
Rating: 1

I think the time to get back up is important to me. DKC, Mario, and Celeste bring you back very fast whenever you lose. While more complex games are kind of a chore, with long loading times and there's not a sense of immediacy to try again.

In Souls games I think the benefit of the difficulty is that it let's you absorb the environment by making you aware enemies can ambush you. In a way they're like Survival Horror games. Which because of it's limited movement it let you absorb the environment a bit more.

I do like some difficulty spikes in easy games. Be it a boss, a level or a specific section in some area, I think it accentuates that moment a bit. Like a cutscene or scripted event a slight difficulty spike can be a memorable moment. Eg. Like having 1hp in the last boss of Mario and Luigi.

It depends on a couple of factors.

But let's take Smash Bros. for example, in any other Smash I don't mind if I lose, but in the case of Ultimate, oh boy, it almost makes me wanna throw my controller all around the room. No matter what I do, I never seem to win online thanks to three factors.

1. Goddamnd lag
2. Cheap tricks/Camping/Spam
3. Battlefield

Very rarely I've lost against well thought strategies. It doesn't help that courtesy feels almost nonexistent online compared to Smash 4

Wed Aug 05 20 02:09am
(Updated 1 time)

It depends how badly you're losing. Go find an online match of King of Fighters 12 and you'll certainly get curb stomped by everyone since the only people still playing that will be psychos. Do you really want to spend the time and effort getting good at such a game? Not unless you REALLY enjoy the gameplay.

But, on the other hand, if you feel you definitely had a legitimate shot and could win with a small amount of practice, I think most people are enticed by that. I was playing Fall Guys tonight and I didn't ever win, but I got close multiple times and kept getting closer in subsequent runs. I think that's the feeling a game's difficulty should have: a goal that's not insurmountable and seems to be getting closer and closer each time.

Wed Aug 05 20 11:03pm
Rating: 1

I really hope Fall Guys comes to Switch. It just looks like the kind of game that would thrive there, and one of the rare cases where losing can be fun. As long as I'm laughing it doesn't seem so bad, which is why games like Runbow and Cuphead get a pass from me with their teasing.

Yeah, it was fun, but I think it'll be hard for it to stay fun without a constant stream of new mini-games. The controls definitely take some getting used to. The Fall Guys handle more like mattresses than Mario.

When I was younger I had all the time in the world to throw myself at a good challenge. These days my gaming time is limited so I'm going to move on to something that feels productive. If I'm not progressing, my time is better spent elsewhere.

I avoid multiplayer games in general, so I can't really speak to how losing against other people effects me. But—as someone who spent hours & hours on the more annoying 3D Mario levels, like "Luigi's Purple Coins" or Odyssey's Darker Side of the Moon...I don't give up easily, if it's something I know I'm skilled at. It takes something I personally feel is cheap, or me literally wasting my time (The Radiance in Hollow Knight comes to mind) for me to give up. If I repeatedly bash my head against a Mario level, my Mario skills improve...and those tend to carry over from game to game. But bosses whose patterns are random and whose outcome is largely luck-based? No thank you.

Losing's the only way to get better at a game. I don't think I'd be all that jazzed about playing a multiplayer game where people can constantly win despite not being any good at it. (~_~)


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