[TGM] – A Game Doesnt Have To Be “Hard” To Be Fun

TGM is short for “trigger god mode” using console commands in the fallout series (76 doesn’t count). It stops your character from taking damage, dying, and running out of ammo -essentially removing all challenge from the game- it is also my favorite command in any game ever.

But wouldn’t that remove all the challenge? what’s the point?

The point is that I was tired after a long day of work and didn’t want a challenge anymore. The point was that I was new to video games and didn’t have the ability to make it through even the easiest difficulty but I still wanted to experience the story. The point was that I found it fun, and if someone is having fun playing a video game then that game is doing its job.

“Casual gamer” is a title and a term that I hope is losing relevance nowadays. All too often used synchronously with “girl gamer” it was a dig at those of us who couldn’t keep up with the faster paced and more reflex based games where progress was blocked through a skill gate. More than even the skill gates themselves, the titles and mockery that would come along with them were what slowed my decent into video games.

It really all comes down to accessibility vs. artistic vision. Some game makers are married to a certain very specific experience. Games that don’t allow you to control the difficulty level can make sure that players have a specially curated experience and get to maintain more control over their artistic vision.

This can be a good thing, video games create a unique opportunity for creators where they not only get to portray emotion through audio-visual, they get to work directly with the emotions of the players through gameplay. The stress and challenge of the character is also the stress and challenge of the player. But anytime that a artist insists on having their artistic vision be dependent on a difficulty gate means that you are going to end up being inaccessible to some people. That inaccessibility can come from any number of reasons, it could be a physical disability that prevents players from the complex motor control required for some games, it can be a time issue where players with no extra time won’t be able to master the mechanics to continue, or it can be as simple as more casual video game fans just not being willing to power through the frustration.

I believe with all my heart that video games are an art form, if an artist really wants to put a skill gate in their game that can’t be worked around that’s their prerogative. But video games are a medium of art where accessibility is integrated into the final product. We should be looking at accessibility tools (god mode, easy mode, skippable quick time events, brightness increase, aim assist, etc) as a challenge to improve the quality of your art instead of a roadblock to cut it off. Fallout New Vegas has a survival mode, but it’s optional. If Survival-hell mode had been the only one available I wouldn’t have powered through and eventually gotten the purest version of Bethesda’s vision. I just would have never gotten a change to play one of my now favorite games ever.

To me at least it really comes down to the fact that I play video games to have fun. And while that fun can come from the satisfaction of completing a difficult challenge, it can also come from a free-spirited sprint through some good-old-fashioned power fantasy.

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