There is, undeniably, a status quo to gaming. Some games are viewed as “better” or more “legitimate” than others, and within that there’s a “right” way to play games. This almost always means “don’t play on Easy mode.” It’s an unspoken rule within a large portion of the gaming community, and I’m here to explain why that shouldn’t be the case.
“Ruining The Game”
Allegedly, playing on Easy ruins the adventure; it creates a gaming experience different to the one intended, it’s just plain “wrong.” As it stands, none of this has, or ever will, stop me enjoying my games on Easy.
Playing video games is an experience, but that experience isn’t universal. The uniqueness is half the fun, especially when you and a friend can each play a linear story and still end up with vastly different characters and experiences due to the choices you made. The difficulty is just another way to alter that experience and personalise it.
Easy mode is looked down upon because it’s viewed as a “cop out,” even by some games themselves who shame, mock or even punish you for picking Easy or having to accept a forfeit. It’s looked at as an incomplete experience, but it’s important to consider that for some, it’s the only experience they can have.
The Spirit Of Gaming
Easy mode makes games accessible to people with disabilities, less skills or even just people with less time in the day for games. To mock Easy mode or condemn players who opt for it is to tell them you’d rather they not be included at all. Against the very spirit of gaming and its community. If something as simple as an easier difficulty makes the game more widely accessible, should that not be celebrated? Do we not want as many people as possible to experience the games we love so much? I know I do.
For newer gamers, Easy mode can make the daunting appear approachable and it’s an excellent introduction into a vast world such as gaming. Not everyone wants to be thrown headfirst into the deep end, it’s enough to be in the water at all sometimes.
Narrative Over Combat
Easy mode also allows players to experience the game with a different focus. Instead of having to construct the perfect build or hunt for the required extras, players can instead, focus on the narrative experience. This is continuing to grow as an option too, as some developers add in modes that are ‘easier than easy’ or narrative driven where the gameplay is minimal or non-existent when compared to the narrative elements. This option allows the storytelling aspect of gaming to flourish and, for some, is exactly why they game in the first place.
In the modern era of gaming there are some incredible stories being told each year across all genres. To miss out on these stories because it’s not a gameplay style you enjoy or are capable of completing is a huge shame and an injustice to the people who worked so hard on the stories.
In addition, those who condemn Easy mode often treat it as an all-or-nothing approach. You play on Easy or you don’t, you play ‘right’ or you don’t. What about those gamers who are prone to replaying, who want to dip their toes in to try before committing to the more intense experience? Or who want to replay a game they love without any of the added stress? To view Easy mode as an either/or choice is to look at it with tunnel vision instead of seeing the vast potential an Easy difficulty offers.
Perhaps the most compelling argument for easy mode is ‘why the hell not?’. Fundamentally, the way others choose to play and experience their games has no impact on anyone but themselves. What is there to lose by letting others play how they want? In addition, many are quick to say the game isn’t intended to be played using this built in feature while they themselves install countless mods from the community.
Saying No To The Grind
I love gaming, but the grind isn’t part of the appeal to me like it is for others. If I die at the same point over and over again, I don’t feel fulfilled when I finally pass it. I feel mentally exhausted. Frankly, depending on how serious the grind is, I might have even given up by that point. Gaming serves its purpose for me when I’m happy and enjoying myself, when I can describe my experience as fun, chill and accomplished. Stalling on progress or having a high intensity experience doesn’t fulfil those purposes.
I’m also, frankly, bad at video games. Not everyone is the best player with all the knowledge, skills and experience to play on higher difficulties. If I were to go through every game on Normal or Hard, I’d never make it very far and it would be painful to watch. A lot more painful than watching me besmirch the good name of video games by playing them on Easy.
A Personal Experience
In the end, gaming is a very personal experience and that is a huge part of what attracts so many people to the medium. The difficulty setting is just one of many ways to personalise a game, the same as mods or achievement hunting, to name just a few things. Choosing to play on Easy as part of their gaming experience is in no way a reflection of the character of the player. It indicates nothing about them as a person or gamer and should be viewed with the same attitude as any other decision in gaming.
What’s your opinion on Easy mode?
Shop With GameByte!
Don’t forget you can find some of these great games and more through the new GameByte Shop! The GameByte Shop is stocked up with the latest games, merch and accessories. We might even have a new-gen console or two! Sign up to our newsletter to be notified of our console drops. Please note the GameByte Shop is available for UK customers only.
Featured Image Credit: FromSoftware