Video games are hard on you because they love you

“Game over.” “You died.” “Wasted.” These phrases are rites of passage, a rebuke to video gamers ill-equipped for the task ahead. Whether you control Leon Kennedy’s ragdoll body spinning from an exploding tripwire Resident Evil 4 or losing a fight through a cheap low Super Street Fighter 4dying sucks

But that doesn’t mean you do it.

It’s easy to attribute a loss – or multiple losses in a row – to a particular video game being “garbage”. The genesis of the “Git Gud” mantra hinges on the premise that you’re just a bad player.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Failing in games has always been a stepping stone to figuring out what type of player you are.

Getting older and wiser

In February, the French studio released Sloclap Sifu, an action beat ’em up title that tested the skills of gamers looking for a challenge. The difficulty was so intense that it literally ages the game’s protagonist. It throws legions of jerks at you, and if you die, you’ll get upgrades if your character gets wrinkles and gray hair.

The main character of <em>Sifu</em> literally ages the more you fail, but gains more skills as you do.” srcset=”https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/2ee5f76/2147483647/strip/true/crop/1623×1675+0+ 0/resize/1760×1816!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.npr.org%2Fassets%2Fimg%2F2022%2F11%2F22%2Fimage-3_custom-48efcb2b7e4a074c072b62b1b6b6c95eaba0d55a.jpeg 2x” width=”880″ height=”908″ src=”https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/bafeb92/2147483647/strip/true/crop/1623×1675+0+0/resize/880×908!/quality/90/?url= https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.npr.org%2Fassets%2Fimg%2F2022%2F11%2F22%2Fimage-3_custom-48efcb2b7e4a074c072b62b1b6b6c95eaba0d55a.jpeg” loading=”lazy” bad-src=”data:image/svg+xml;base64, PHN2ZyB4bWxucz0iaHR0cDovL3d3dy53My5vcmcvMjAwMC9zdmciIHZlcnNpb249IjEuMSIgaGVpZ2h0PSI5MDhweCIgd2lkdGg9Ijg4MHB4Ij48L3N2Zz4=”/></p>
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Sifu’The main character literally ages the more you fail, but gains more abilities as you do so.

The result was a grueling, rewarding, and completely insane experience that reignited the polarizing discussion of what it means to be skilled at games. were you good at it Sifu because you played without dying or taking damage? Maybe you were better at sticking with Master difficulty when a patch was later released to flatten the difficulty curve?

dying away Sifu doesn’t mean you’re playing the game wrong – it’s a key feature of the game that leads to greater potential for your character while building a unique narrative of aging and revenge. And it’s not the only major title this year where players will race against their own wits and reward “Fail Forward”.

<em>Sifu</em> offers unrelentingly difficult combat in scenic locations.” srcset=”https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/a8730ef/2147483647/strip/true/crop/1846×1038+0+0/resize/1760×990!/quality/90 /?url=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.npr.org%2Fassets%2Fimg%2F2022%2F11%2F22%2Fsc936z_wide-41f6f516263e964c0a7297e1c013da1dddffe888.jpg 2x” width=”880″ height=”495″ src=”https:// npr.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/dc5078a/2147483647/strip/true/crop/1846×1038+0+0/resize/880×495!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.npr.org% 2Fassets%2Fimg%2F2022%2F11%2F22%2Fsc936z_wide-41f6f516263e964c0a7297e1c013da1dddffe888.jpg” loading=”lazy” bad-src=”data:image/svg+xml;base64,PHN2ZyB4bWxucz0iaHR0cDovL3d3dy53My5vcmcvMjAwMC9zdmciIHZlcnNpb249IjEuMSIgaGVpZ2h0PSI0OTVweCIgd2lkdGg9Ijg4MHB4Ij48L3N2Zz4=”/></p>
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Sifu offers unrelentingly difficult combat in scenic locations.

gathering around the ring

By software elden ring was the latest in a portfolio of somber commercial hits, and when it was also released in February 2022, its popularity surprised even its publisher.

spiritual predecessor Dark Souls embodies the toll of a player’s death – this series’ macabre atmosphere and Lovecraftian horror have created a space where community thrives. elden ring is no different as it utilizes the same cooperative features to help players lean on each other in addition to numerous guides and walkthroughs published online.

Despite the availability of these resources, some fans claim that these tools allow you to beat the absurdly challenging bosses elden ring, you never really played it the way it was intended. Community members on Reddit and other message boards have been shouting “gatekeepers,” shaming players for summoning allies — a co-op feature that’s been present in FromSoftware titles since 2009 demons souls.

dying away elden ring or others souls Games don’t mean you suck, either. Instead, failure pushes you to channels of communication and collaboration that might otherwise be overlooked. It fosters a space for new and experienced players to share ideas and create silly content.

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/ FromSoftware

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BySoftware

Escape from deadly enemies in elden ring.

It also taught me that hiking can be a good thing – I’ve died way too many times to count elden ring’s giant ogres, knights and bears. At first I hated his blunt systems. However, through the support network that was built around it, I learned ways to deal with the game’s overwhelming challenges.

Dedicated fans are eager to set up trailblazers as players are understandably frustrated by the new and deadly things lurking in the Lands Between. It’s a testament to the universal struggle we share to recover from a death screen.

Can’t catch them all

Death and dying are not exclusive to the dark and dreary. Even franchises like Pokémon have set themselves challenges that should unnerve the most seasoned Trainers.

Fans have long developed Nuzlockes to increase the difficulty of these otherwise harmless games. A “Nuzlocke” run involves self-imposed rules that a player must follow while navigating their Pokémon game of choice.

The phenomenon is not unique to these titles, but has evolved as a result of the community’s efforts to share as much information as possible in order to beat a specific “Nuzlocke”. These arbitrary rules may force you to only catch the first Pokémon you encounter on a route, or could limit the number of Poké Balls you can carry or purchase.

Pokemon Emerald Kaizo is widely regarded as one of the most difficult “Nuzlockes” to complete due to its unforgiving rules, with an enemy variety that trumps the original base game design. There’s also a gentler route for those who want to meander a bit, like I did with a custom random number generator leaf green that changes every Pokemon you encounter, including starters.

A strange and difficult Pokémon LeafGreen "Nuzlocke" Challenge.

A strange and difficult Pokémon LeafGreen “Nuzlocke” challenge.

If a “Nuzlocke” is missing, it ages Sifuor even summon elden ring are not signs of a bad player. Conversely, they are challenges that build community and self-growth – they force you to learn how to get better at what you love to play.

If failure is the stuff of life, then it should count double in the digital space, where there is much more at stake. Next time you click Play Again, remember what Michael Jordan, one of the most powerful athletes on earth, said in that classic Nike commercial: “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that’s why I’m successful. ”

Jamal Michel is a freelance writer whose work focuses on video game culture, entertainment, and the stories in between. He is currently a member of life kit and It’s been a minute teams.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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