Dead Easy: Hitman and Integrated Difficulty

This is the forth post in a series of blog entries about the inclusion of an ‘easy mode’ in all games. The previous pieces were: Difficulty and Design Intent , Is Art for Everyone?  and Designing Difficulty. In this post I want to expand upon my previous one, in which I looked at examples of how to make difficult games., this time focusing on the 2016 Hitman game.

N.B. I want to make clear that this post is for now putting aside the issue that an easier mode in games would be beneficial to differently abled or disabled players. I want to look at the discussion regarding this in a post on its own – mostly because I would like to research this topic in more detail so as to be more educated on the matter. Therefore, the arguments presented here relate mostly to players who can’t play games due to their skill level, although I am sure there will be some cross-over.

Black Friday came and went, and since we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, there was no family gathering with mountains of food for me. However, we have recently begun importing the more capitalist aspect of the holiday season, with price slashes worth fighting over. All this is to say I finally bought Hitman Season 1 in the sales and it was an excellent decision.

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The Witcher 3: Good Ending, Ciri becomes Empress

suppose somewhere I was fine. Where you meet me this time around.
Go, still be there.

She’s gone. She had to eager prepared all by herself.
How long?
Where’d she go?


They’re here for me, Geralt. I know you didn’t expect this
and I spoke argued, really, and parted

this morning  a matter of life and death.
We supposed today tomorrow tonight sunup, I showed you just how much you still
have to learn.
Thought we had time. A lot more time.
I wanted to make every minute count.

now hunting Nothing just waiting for you here.
cold in winter as the snow melts.
You promised me before we left.
Let’s go

we should probably try
You said it yourself
a rare sight, a rare venture But if you wanna see come!

would you like that?
I wouldn’t mind do you plan to?
That’s not me, you know that.
You’ve made your decision. And I made mine long ago.

that’s all to rip you wide open.
you’ll see.
you’re angry
wanted but careless,
and understand there won’t be a next time
I’m sorry,
it’s not time.
All right. Enough.

I’ll improvise. Wait here. An old witchers’ trick for tough winters but effective
Remember, Just in case. Never know what could happen
You could’ve told me, warned me.

I wanted to, I didn’t know how. I’ve been happy here.
I was afraid I’d ruin it.
When do you leave?

Those months they passed so quickly. I wish we’d spent more time together then
messenger came I wasn’t sure
I wish to change anything, I cannot so I must
stop fleeing.

why show it to me at all
your life
remember me
how could I forget?
War’s over.
Take me to the Blue Mountains
I’ll be damned chasing monsters
how I feared  I’d never manage,
black and blue all the time. a nightmare.
Almost managed to forget today.

don’t do this to me

Almost there. Careful now. no time for you and me.
Ciri, wait. We don’t need to play

Who taught you a long time ago.
Back when I wanted
to suggest
do you even know
I don’t want to hear you
say goodbye

Is this what you want?

You’ll be fine
You’ll not try to stop me?
Traveled half the world to find you, but I never intended to force anything on you.
forget about
a bit of exertion.
Remember what I taught you. Never know — could be useful there, too…

We needn’t say goodbye.
Course we don’t.
I don’t know when we’ll see each other again.
You know where to find me. Makes no difference. You’ll find me.

Note: Since my letters from The Long Dark went over well I thought I’d try something else weird/a bit of creative writing. So have this, which I guess is some found poetry about The Witcher? The Wild Hunt offers 3 endings to the main game and one of the ‘good’ endings results in Geralt’s daughter Ciri leaving him to become Empress. Since the two were only recently reunited I think this ending is kind of heartbreaking for a ‘good’ ending. This poem is made by rearranging the dialogue from Geralt and Ciri during the last scene. I wanted them to be honest about how sad this parting was, and how much they love each other. 

ISLANDS: Non-Places

If a place can be defined as relational, historical and concerned with identity, then a space which cannot be defined as relational, or historical, or concerned with identity will be a non-place.

-Marc Augé (transl. by John Howe) in Non-Places, Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity.

ISLANDS: Non-Places is a game by Carl Burton and is officially described as: ” A surreal trip through the mundane. Reveal the hidden ecosystems of ten unusual environments. Unlock an atmospheric experience while exploring strange yet familiar scenes.”


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Sunday Swatch

Winter is here. Or at least it is where I am. Cozy up somewhere warm and enjoy this week’s round up.

First up is this piece on why you should cheat in games. It’s a pretty interesting read and does highlight how cheats, mods and console commands can be used to create an easier play level. This makes sense to me, and I’m all for mods and adapting a game to your needs/wants. My first thought is that while this all makes sense, cheating is not cool in a PvP game. Not only because it makes you a dick with an unfair advantage, but since some developers can weald the ban hammer against those who have had contact with cheaters, it’s pretty shitty too. However, I remember when console cheats were the norm, and developers would release them to game’s magazines, where they were then passed around from gamer to gamer. (Shout out to Donald who lived across the road and told us that inputting BARRY into the Lion King on the SNES allowed you to select any level.) So, personally I think there’s maybe more nuance to the subject than this article goes into, but it’s worth a read nonetheless.

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Invisible Ideologies: or History is Political and So Are Games

If you are someone who is concerned for representation of oppressed people then you’ll be familiar with the argument that you’re politicising something that is apolitical. You will also recognise this as a flawed argument that is, at best, spoken by those who do not wish to critically examine the world around them, and at worst, is often used a silencing tactic to deny the experience of others.

However, if that above paragraph makes little sense to you, then this post is also for you. Here I want to outline how and why games are political, even if they claimed not to be, because everything is political. My academic background is in Literature and History, so I’d like to particularly focus on historical games here. Especially in light of some comments I saw surrounding WWI epic, Battlefield 1.

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Sunday Swatch

It might feel like the world is falling to pieces all around you, but at least there are video games to console you.

Waypoint (Vice’s new gaming website) had its official launch recently and already they’re producing some great work. To start off with, read this by Editor Austen Walker on the website’s aims, and why it matters in today’s world.

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