Do games need to be easier to attract a wider audience? Or are games too easy as it is? Where did all the hard games go? What role does culture play? Will "Autoplay" features reduce frustration or just make gamers lazier than ever? With your help, we attack these questions from all directions. Also: quick hits on Scribblenauts and Muramasa: The Demon Blade. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, and Tim "If You Lose at Candy Land You're Banished to the Woods" Spaeth.

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Please send feedback and mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

Tim Spaeth

Tim Spaeth

Cleveland native Tim Spaeth grew up in a happy household – a household with a father whose major client happened to be an Atari games distributor. This led directly to Tim's first nickname: "The kid who got Atari games before anyone else." Indeed, he knew Pac-Man and E.T. were colossal bombs weeks before the rest of the world, and the resulting celebrity brought him great pleasure.

Through the years every aspect of Tim's life has been touched by gaming. He mastered typing thanks to Space Quest, honed his poker skills on The Sierra Network, and learned to hate after a particularly traumatic game of Tecmo Super Bowl.

Today, Tim lives in Chicago with his three kids and strives to find that perfect balance between family, career, and Warcraft. He enjoys broadcasting, martial arts, rock and roll, growing and shaving his beard, singing show tunes to the homeless, and losing at Mario Kart to his lovely, talented, and amazing girlfriend.

In late 2008, Tim became the producer and host of the GameCritics.com Podcast, and he's thrilled to be bringing GameCritics' unique editorial voice to a brand new medium.
Tim Spaeth

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6 Comments on "GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 22: Scribblenauts, Muramasa, and Are games too hard?"

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Boy
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Boy
6 years 9 months ago
[quote=Eaps]Boy- Would you think it would be better that different levels provided some sort of different story/gaming experience? Was there a game that implemented scalability successfully for you?[/quote] Well one example would be the original Devil May Cry. While that game is a favorite target for those who dislike hard games, it actually had very clever difficulty scaling. Easy Automatic Mode was unlocked once you died once (or was it twice?) in the main mode, and in Easy Automatic, a lot of the fancy combos were done for the player. You still had to be an active participant by actively… Read more »
Eaps
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Eaps
6 years 9 months ago
Boy- I appreciate your ideas about selectable difficulty ratings. I like the idea because, even if a developer really only does adjust the HP/Damage models, they are still keeping the framework of the game in place and people will be having a similar experience of the game. I haven’t yet played Bionic Commander, but it sounds like there is was a significant design issue going on there when it came to ramping up the challenge at higher levels. Would you think it would be better that different levels provided some sort of different story/gaming experience? Was there a game that… Read more »
Richard Naik
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Richard Naik
6 years 10 months ago
This hits something I talked about in the review I wrote, and while I think I enjoyed it far more than Brad did, I probably would’ve given it a lower score than the 8 I gave it since it does have some significant problems, and I wasn’t aware of the GC rating scale at the time. However, Brad nails it when he mentions the notion of death streamlining. When I die, I’m going to reload my save game and start over, so why not cut out the middleman? I thought that aspect was really well done and it saved the… Read more »
Vince
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Vince
6 years 10 months ago
Regarding the autoplay feature. I guess it was a knee jerk reaction, but now that I read it from your point of view, it makes sense. A game can remain difficult, and the auto-play is only going to be activated if the user requests it. It may even bring about games that harken back to the NES era of difficulty. I suppose I’d prefer a game without difficulty levels instead of wondering if I am picking the intended level. About the podcast itself, always fun. Thanks guys. I keep thinking though how fun it would be to call into the… Read more »
Lewis Pulsipher
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6 years 10 months ago
It’s remarkable how many different interpretations exist of this article. People bring a lot to it that I don’t think I put into it. I agree that games aren’t like movies, my intention was to refer to a much more widely “consumed”, and more widely respected, entertainment than games, not to compare games to movies. Why do games “need to be more popular”? Money. And Gamasutra is about money, make no mistake, it’s for people who make games for a living. The trick is to get a grip on reality. “Everyone plays games” is a phrase I’ve seen lately (e.g.… Read more »
Boy
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Boy
6 years 10 months ago
I’d generally agree with Brad’s assessment of Vanillaware, well, at least in that they are overrated. I don’t quite bear the same naked hatred for them as he does. However, I definitely felt GrimGrimoire was the exception to the Vanillaware rule, in that it was actually pretty solid. It would never set the RTS world on fire, but I found it to be a very competent consolization of the genre. What made you think it was such a bust, Brad? As for the Gamasutra article, I think Chi (or was it Tim?) was right in saying that games have already… Read more »
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