Posted in Gatekeeping in Gaming, Video Games

Gate Keeping in the Gaming Community: Does Difficulty Really Matter?

I have seen a few “you’re not a real gamer if” posts floating around on the internet, so it got me wondering, does it matter what difficulty you actually play games on? It seems to me that gate keeping within the community seems to be growing stronger by the day, which baffles me. We all share the same interest as gamers, we might not all enjoy the same things, but we play games.

Gameplay difficulty seems to  be another subject matter that leads to gate keeping. With games like Cuphead and the Dark Souls series, known for their difficult gameplay, it gives me the impression that some people assume that’s how things should be.
Difficult games have been around for as long as gaming has existed, older titles that stick out to me, in particular, are the NES Castlevania games, Ninja Gaiden, as well as games like Wolfenstein and Doom.

I used to feel ashamed at the thought of playing games on easy, what would people think of me? I have mellowed out over the years, I am currently playing Persona 5 on the easiest difficulty, and I am having a blast!
I’ve been enjoying the story and I have been progressing at a very comfortable rate. I used to be prone to horrible bouts of game rage in the past, this would affect my enjoyment of gaming back then. It took me until this year to realise that I’m not going to excel at any game off the bat, or I just might not be good at one particular genre. The idea is to have fun. Fun itself is subjective, what I enjoy, you could possibly loathe.

I wrote a post about game rage a little while ago, I’m still proud of it, so here’s some cheeky self-promotion, you can find that post here.

If you enjoy crushing difficulty in games, go nuts. If you just want to chill on an easier game, or difficulty, more power to you. There is no place for gate keeping, gaming as a whole gets so much slack as it is!

So, what are your opinions on game difficulty making you more or less of a gamer? I used my personal Twitter to gather this information. Take the results with a pinch of salt, social media isn’t always a reliable place. 😊

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Gyda chariad, Stace x
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Author:

I'm Stacey and I'm 30 years old. I write about life, mental health, video games & everything in between!

6 thoughts on “Gate Keeping in the Gaming Community: Does Difficulty Really Matter?

  1. Another intriguing article. Reading this the one thing that did spring to mind recently was how the terminology has evolved, as an example just started Vampyr and the game modes are ‘story’ ‘experienced’ and ‘challenge’ or something along those lines.

    You can imagine there is probably something deflating or off putting loading a game in ‘easy’ mode as it implies a lesser status, we ‘should’ be able to play in ‘normal’ mode.

    Why I raise this as an observation it does seem some studios are bypassing or resolving this Gate keeping barrier by pivoting this suggestion away from a question about your merits as a game to how you want to experience the narrative. Quantic Dream did this with Beyond and Detroit as well which allowed you to focus on the story and not the ropey mechanics.

    Excellent article and point to raise though, keep the faith that their is some change filtering through 🤞🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Almost in complete contrast, Wolfenstein II has an accompanying picture alongside the difficulty settings, with the easiest setting called “Can I play, Daddy?” with a picture of the main character dressed as a baby.

      Like

  2. I just don’t have the time to play on higher difficulty settings nowadays. Adult responsibilities mean the number of hours I have free for video games is limited – so when I do get a chance to play, I want to enjoy myself! Give me a good story I can get wrapped up in, rather than feeling as though I’m not good enough to progress.

    Does that make me any less of a gamer? Nope. Does it mean I should give up playing? Never going to happen.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Brilliant post. I agree with everything you said. Video games nowadays even come with descriptions next to the difficulties, so if you want to experience the story then the easiest difficulty is for you. If you want more of a challenge you go for the higher difficulties.

    Generally I enjoy playing games on the difficulty just above “Normal,” just to keep my gaming senses sharp, if that’s even a thing. I have never played a Souls-like game because I felt that I was not at that level. I did research and found a game called Dead Cells, which is quite difficult but very fair.

    It is a shame that people use game difficulties to judge others. As long as you are enjoying the game, that’s all that matters.

    Like

  4. Who are the 5 jokers that replied yes in that poll?

    Even as someone who tends to play more challenging games I don’t rightly care what difficulty people choose to play games on. How someone else chooses to enjoy games doesn’t have any bearing on if they do or don’t enjoy games as a “gamer”.

    Like

  5. UGH gatekeepers suck. I play video games to release stress and to gain trophies. This means I don’t necessarily want to play games at harsher difficulties because that means I will get angry easier.

    Like

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