What is Your Tolerance for Video Game Puzzles?
We have all been in that situation before where you’re playing a game and you’re progressing and progressing, then boom, you don't know what to do. This can be quite frustrating at times. Especially in today’s world where there are more video games being released than one could possibly ever play. This got me thinking, how much tolerance does a gamer usually have for this kind of situation?
Obviously this is a lot of the appeal of puzzle games. Not understanding what to do and having to rely on wit to solve a problem. This can be extremely satisfying when balanced correctly but sometimes puzzles are just too hard, and that’s no fun! It can be a tough challenge for developers. It is important that the game guides the player just enough that they can make the connection but does not accidentally give away too much. Puzzles can be boring if they are too easy and conversely, too frustrating if proven too difficult.
I personally have dealt with this before. I know it is considered taboo to use a guide when playing a game but sometimes it is necessary in an attempt to keep your interest in the game. I especially remember needing the assistance of walkthroughs when I was younger. The Metroid games were always challenging to me as a kid and I relied on walkthroughs to be able to progress. Of course I would try very hard to exhaust every other option before turning to a sinful cheat book, but I can’t say that guides didn't save my ass once or twice.
Perhaps something to note is that newer generations of gamers have a lower tolerance for the frustration of being stuck. We are so used to having so much to play and so much information readily available that it is difficult to accept not understanding. Patience is difficult to hold when it is required to enjoy your leisure activity. Like I said before, we live in a time where more video games are coming out than ever before. There is simply too much to play. Games run the risk of losing their audience when their puzzles are too challenging to complete.
In the earlier days of gaming, it was easier to deal with. Games were more expensive and less common. During the NES days, most kids were lucky to get two games a year. If a game was puzzling, you would have had to just figure it out. Now, if a game is too puzzling, you can just pull out your smartphone and look it up or just play something else. Of course there is always something else to play, especially when every online service throws free games and flash sales at us left and right. The temptation to just throw in the towel is too great now.
So what kind of gamer are you? Do you obsess over a puzzle until it has been solved? Do you give it a fair shot and then turn to a guide if all else fails? Or do you just give up and move on to the next game? Either way, I’m sure at one point or another, every gamer has experienced one game that was just too puzzling for them.