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Difficulty in ROM hacks and fangames
Gamma V Offline
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Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2015
Post: #1
Difficulty in ROM hacks and fangames
I'm sure anyone who has ever played a ROM hack or fangame has noticed that many of them tend to be more difficult than the games/franchises they're based on. While I'm sure some welcome the challenge, there are others, like myself, who find it to generally be a tad excessive. I'm a Super Mario World hacker myself, and have been for many years. I generally try to keep the difficulty of my hacks at what I consider a "reasonable" level; on par with that of official Mario platformers (barring Lost Levels). Were I to start hacking other games, I would take a similar approach to their difficulty.

How do you guys feel about the difficulty of hacks and fangames, and why do you think they're made to be so difficult? My theory on the issue, which I pretty much share with fellow SMW hacker imamelia, is that the creators have perhaps played the official games so often that they no longer present a challenge. They have become "too easy," so they create harder fangames and ROM hacks to "correct" the "problem."
08-24-2015 04:51 PM
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Yakibomb Offline
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Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2015
Post: #2
RE: Difficulty in ROM hacks and fangames
My opinion on difficult of hacks and fan games, it could be that the creators are so used to their style of designing their game, that they don't present as much of a challenge to say, a novice of the gamer, because the dev knows all the secrets, enemy placements, etc that it makes the game easier for them to play. This could simply be an oversight, as they don't think in another's shoes before and after designing and playing their game.

I've had this problem happen in my youth. I used to make Games Factory games that I designed for my challenge level in mind, not another's, because I never really thought about someone else playing them. Even though I wanted others to play my games with me, it couldn't happen because I didn't design them for their challenge level in mind. Not many knew how to play them and beat the levels because they were so difficult. Not that they were bad at playing games, but it was because I played my own games so often, I had mastered memorizing levels, patterns, movements and secrets to navigation in my games, that it made them easy for me, and difficult for others to get on my level. In the end, it took some time to try to think about what makes a good game and what is a good challenge curve for those starting. It's still something I'm trying to understand.

Anyway, that's my two cents.
08-24-2015 09:27 PM
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CM30 Offline
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Posts: 10
Joined: Nov 2012
Post: #3
RE: Difficulty in ROM hacks and fangames
I've actually brought this up at Mario Fan Games Galaxy in the past, as seen here:

http://forums.mfgg.net/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=16363

There are some interesting responses given too. Some include:

1. Internet games in general are harder, as if the attitude is that those who find and install games on a PC tend to be better at playing them.

2. Fan games don't need to appeal to everyone/families/kids/casual gamers, because they're not being sold.

3. Play testing is lacking in a lot of cases.

4. High difficulty is used as a way to hide poor level design or a lack of effort. Kind of like in old arcade and NES games.

5. Devs design for their own level of skill, damned be anyone else.

6. Fan games are for 'Mario pros', who don't want easy or mindless levels.

7. The levels most play tested are early in the game, so their difficulty is actually harder than that of the rest of the game.

Personally, I'd add a few more:

8. The internet as a whole likes 'flashy' things, especially as far as popular online and free games go. But the most fancy the enemies, bosses, gimmicks, etc, the higher the difficulty will usually be, since complex enemies and bosses have complex attack patterns and flashy gimmicks usually involve massively changing the level mechanics/physics on a regular basis. See, Mushroom Kingdom Fusion. It's interesting to look at, but darn the levels are often hard:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WWqJnJz5Bg

9. Easy level design is often mistaken for 'bad' level design. Easy levels are hence often rejected in favour of complex, multiple set piece featuring marathon levels that feel (to the designer) as if they're 'good' while being too hard for most players.

But I'm hoping to avoid this issue with Mario's Nightmare Quest. That's what's partly taking so long, I'm testing, simplifying levels and gimmicks, etc to make it work better.

Want to read interviews about fan games or interesting opinion pieces about the gaming world? If so, check out Gaming Reinvented today!

And if you're a Wario fan, you should definitely check out Wario Forums.
08-25-2015 09:23 PM
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