Off the top of your head, what do you think is the most important thing every video game
Really stop and think for a moment.
Is it the graphics?
How the game is visually presented, and does it do so with a unique style?
Is it the sounds?
Music, or performances by actors if any?
The sounds and effects that define how the game feels?
Could it be the story, the level of immersion and engagement?
And how the game connects with you, as a player?
I chose something different.
I chose the impossible.
I chose Rapture.
Or could it simply be whether or not its fun to play?
(Nerdy Game Noises) Well whatever you think this thing might be,
I want you to write something in the comments then when the video is over, go back to what
you wrote and edit it to tell us if your thoughts have changed.
Because they juuuuuuuuuuust might!
But lemme play out this reveal a bit longer, cuz thats fun, right?
Mmmmm buttery anticipation!
Ill give you a hint, and say that no game is worth playing if it doesnt have this.
And I know that most people except a select few are going to agree.
This aspect Im referring to applies to the really good video games, and even the shitter
version of those good video games.
Ive read articles and comments that say stuff like, Addictiveness is one of the most important
aspects of a video game or the story, the controls.
The most important thing in a video game is chaos?
Wait what the fuck?
Theres so many people clamoring and putting their thoughts out there, some of them are
just plain ridiculous and far-fetched.
And allow me to BOLDLY proclaim all these people and ideas are WRONG!
Well actually, Act Man, who are you to say what other people find most valuable and necessary
in every single video game.
Dont you think youre going into subjective opinion territory here?
I mean what do you- SHADDUP!
IM IN CHARGE HERE!!
Now you gotta think broad here, everyone, because what matters most in a video game,
(and youre gonna agree with me when I tell you) is the exact same thing that matters
most in EVERY GAME.
Im talking every sport, every board game, everything from Hopskotch to Who Wants To
Be a Millionaire.
To Call of Duty, Halo, League of Legends, Dota, Counterstrike.This facet is ALL ENCOMPASSING.
And yet, I havent seen an article, forum, video, or anything at all that brings this
Not even the Wikipedia page on Video Game Design mentions it.
Only the Angry Video Game Nerd brought it up.
Now, whats the most important aspect of about any game?
Well, being able to fucking play it.
On the real, this is the most important aspect of a game, but that goes without saying, alright.
And Im talking about something else But you want to know, dont you?
Youre anxious to hear what it is and youre curiously wondering if Im actually right or
if this is just bullshit.
Well the secret about it is and let me tell you-
HEY ACT MAN!
You got a letter.
Its from 122nd 6373 GET TO THE FUCKING POINT STREET!
Alright, alright, alright!
Well skip the 10minute drum roll.
The most important thing EVERY video game needs, is CHALLENGE!
Im honestly surprised people havent brought this up, I even asked my twitter followers
this question and only one guy, was able to get it right after I dropped a hint or two.
So congrats to you, Lor!
But just like every goddamn test Ive had in elementary, jr high, highschool, college,
I cant just give the right answer.
I gotta explain my thinking and show my work.
Well at a basic, fundamental, human nature level (dont worry we wont get too meta) people
just like accomplishing things.
Everyone wants to have that feeling of success.
Oh my god!
This is why we have The Olympics, Professional sports, The World Cup, this is why people
This is why weve seen ridiculous accomplishments under the most bizarre of circumstances.
Like beating Dark Souls with a guitar hero controller.
Playing Winston by connecting bananas to the various button inputs.
Like, are you serious?
Executing an impossibly complex glitch, all this is done to chase the Dragon of Challenge.
The best part about a battle is its raw challenge.
Its raw challenge, huh?
I kinda like the way that sounds!
More importantly, people like to show off their nice things or what theyve spent their
This is why we hand out trophies, medals, ribbons.
You know, we play games for fun, but we also want something to show for that afterwards.
I mean, thats why I conveniently included the shot of all the trophies on my bookshelf.
Just look at how important this makes me.
Think about the Xbox 360 and when achievements came out, after that, Steam & Playstation
came out with achievements too!
Hell, even a huge as fuck YouTube channel came out because of that and thousands of
tips videos as well.
Because achievements are challenges, goals that you can look at and chase and you get
that giddy little excited, bubbly feeling when you see it pop up on the screen.
If a game is too easy, or doesnt present an adequate challenge, oftentimes that accomplishment
of beating it can mean little more than 75 extra points for your gamerscore.
I really only speak for myself in this, but I can play a game that doesnt have the best
I can play a game or a section that has bad controls, or something thats old as shit.
But I cannot, cannot play a game that doesnt challenge me.
Thats what I need above all else.
Now what happens when a game doesnt provide a difficult challenge?
It becomes unplayable.
Although there are a few exceptions to this, more than Ill say here but heres one.
When I replay the Phoenix Wright games, I have a pretty good idea of what evidence to
present and when, as that game can easily be conquered after beating it, through sheer
Normally when you can breeze through a game the 2nd time around that doesnt constitute
much replay value.
But the story of these games is so fucking good its worth it to experience again and
So when I first got Diablo 3 at its launch, I was so freaking hyped to play because the
first two games could be brutally difficult, which is part of what made the demonic setting
and monsters so intimidating and fun to fight.
Well when I popped this piece of shit into my computer, I had played for about 2 hours,
hadnt used a single health potion, I had maybe 40 at the time and at that point I alt-tabbed
out and was googling, how to make Diablo 3 harder.
And what I found was you had to beat this retardedly easy, mind numbing game, in order
to unlock a difficulty setting that wasnt made for 4 year olds.
And thats when I just stopped playing, when I discovered Diablo 3 offered no challenge.
And the idea that I would have to force myself to play through this boring slog of a game,
killed all ambition I had of playing it after that.
Its also important to note that Diablo 3 is one of many games that try to provide this
illusion of challenge.
Where theres something that feels like its supposed to be tough or a big accomplishment
when its really not.
For example, theres a section in Resident Evil 5 where you fight an El Gigante.
Es muy aterrador!
A giant deformed monster that made for an epic, and intensely difficult boss in Resident
Only this time, instead of dodging and carefully positioning yourself, youre in a stupid fucking
on rails section where you just point the crosshair at it and hold right trigger.
Aww man, my hands are getting tired.
I dont know if I can hold the right trigger for 5 more minutes.
I think this illusion of challenge is why some people can play games like Diablo 3,
because even though its not difficult in the slightest, and beating the game is as simple
as just clicking everything with no sense of strategy or thought, the game can sort
of fake that challenge or fake that feeling of accomplishment.
Another game that became unplayable for me was Borderlands 2.
Now dont get me wrong Borderlands 2 is a great fucking game, but this is the problem here.
I had made it my goal to do every sidequest and every main quest.
Because I loved the first game so much and I got to a point where I had severely outleveled
all of my current missions.
I was far too powerful for the rest of the game to offer any challenge and thats why
I stopped playing.
Then there was Luigis Mansion: Dark Moon, a follow up to one of the most creative and
fun games ever.
But when I got to the 2nd big, main boss.
On my first attempt I was able to beat it without even getting close to taking damage.
The boss was slow, predictable, and I didnt feel any accomplishment after beating it.
Once I realized Dark Moon was far too easy, I stopped playing it.
Now you know the scarab gun in Halo 2?
And how it fucking obliterates everything at whim?
Well stuff like this can be REALLY damn fun in the right setting.
Halo 2 is one of the most butt-fucking difficult games youll ever play.
So to be able to conquer that difficulty using the most absurd and overpowered weapon is
just such an incredible feeling.
And some games do this where they give you a moment of invulnerability or supreme overpoweredness.
The Metroid games are notable for giving you all your powers at the start but then taking
Now the thing is, those moments of sheer overpoweredness wouldnt feel satisfying if the game itself
Right, with the Scarab Gun that feeling just wouldnt exist, if you didnt have to do a very
complicated exploit to get it.
Nor would the game be fun if every weapon you used was a scarab gun.
Or for the entirety of the game you were this overpowered beast.
But what exactly is that balance?
That perfect difficulty that doesnt border on easy as breathing, or nearly impossible?
Well thats the real trick of it, and finding that balance is what separates a fun game,
from an addicting game.
For instance boss battles, a staple of video games.
A great boss is a combination of interesting mechanics, a sense of scale, intimidation.
And pure difficulty, but most importantly testing what youve learned up to that point.
How do you handle the game mechanics and how do you use them to your advantage?
Banjo Tooie will have a boss in every world, and often you gotta utilize whatever new moves
you learned in order to beat it.
And in this case it leads up to the incredibly satisfying final boss, where youll have to
pull out everything from your bag of tricks in order to beat it.
Not to mention, the game offers a trivia mode testing your knowledge of the game up to that
Now thats real creative!
Cuz if something is difficult but isnt fun, it also isnt really worth playing.
Arcadia City from Halo Wars comes to mind.
Where unless you are able to perfectly manage your troops in four separate locations, you
are going to lose.
The slightest mistake on this mission will force you to restart.
And thats not a good balance when it comes to challenge and difficulty.
So like, the bosses in the original Luigis Mansion might seem easy to someone whos beaten
the game before.
But I guarantee you, that doesnt make it easy to get a gold plate on every last one of those
You might be able to beat Luigis Mansion without dying once.
But get a perfect score on every single boss?
Thats something thats hard.
The reason people love the Souls games so much is because the bosses can really freak
you out and kick your ass, but theyre never unbeatable.
The game gives the feeling of an insurmountable challenge at first.
Youre this weak as all, piece of shit undead, but through perseverance you can come out
Theres so many unique ways of offering a fun yet fair challenge to players, and notice
I said fair.
Because there are so many games that add artificial difficulty which can sometimes be more aggravating
than when a game is too easy.
Artificial difficulty is shallow, provides a challenge that isnt satisfying or enjoyable
and often it just feels cheap and unfair.
To contrast this, there what is known as designed difficulty, which is exactly what it sounds.
Things like puzzles, or the way the levels are made.
Designed difficulty is meant to challenge the players skill and their thoughts, in order
to overcome the obstacles presented, moreso than it is a test of patience and just sheer
if that makes sense.
Banjo Tooie and DK64 will require you to solve some type of puzzle in order to damage the
Jackal Snipers are the perfect example of artificial difficulty.
Because its not so much about forcing you to think, or giving you a tough foe that you
have to outmaneuver.
Jackal Snipers are simply about memorizing their location and how many them there are.
An enemy that looks at you for one second and youre dead.
If you play through Halo 2 on Legendary there is absolutely no way you arent going to die
to these bastards at least 15 times.
Because this is just a way for the game to force you to replay the same sections.
But now compare this to something like Cuphead, a game thats taking the world by storm!
Where the bosses are visually interesting, with different phases.
Even if you die a bunch, its still satisfying to know you beat the first couple phases and
youre eager to try again.
To see what the game throws at you.
To see whats next on the horizon.
Because Cuphead is a game that is designed to offer shorter, yet more challenging experiences.
And heres another thing to note, which is progressive difficulty.
You know, most games will start off easy with some kind of tutorial thatll teach you the
And the original Mario games are a great example of this, as well as the original Halo.
For instance in the first level you fight Elites and Grunts.
Then in the 2nd level they introduce the needler, the jackals.
In the 3rd level they introduce Hunters and Sword Elites, you get the idea.
Same thing with the original Mario, its a difficulty that ramps up in challenge as you
get farther into it and as you get better.
Which makes the overall final levels much more satisfying because that difficulty has
been built up over a period of time.
Now another thing to note is plenty of games offer different settings, and customizable
Skulls in Halo 3 were a great addition because if you ever felt the game too easy, why not
experiment with a few of the settings to shake up your playstyle?
Another great example is the Tales Of series.
Which is one of my personal favorites when it comes to difficulty.
You can usually pick 3 options at the start, but after you beat it the first time, youre
able to tweak the settings using Grade, a currency you earn throughout the game.
So you could make enemies tougher, but also increase your overall XP so you get more abilities
to use earlier on.
Just look at how many options there are to tweak the 2nd playthrough of this game.
And this brings up an essential factor in a games worth.
The best games are those that design for the inevitable fact that players will want to
go through it more than once.
You know that guy that brought up Chaos actually wasnt too far from the truth.
Its thrilling to not know whats coming around the next corner, to try your best to be prepared
On the 2nd playthrough things might change or enemies might increased health and defense
This is why the Souls Series offers New Game Plus.
Because games that account for this replayability factor will take into account that having
beat the game, youre good enough to beat it again.
And thus if you were to start the game over with just the same difficulty settings, you
could probably just breeze right through it!
Which is why Diablo 1 & 2 were challenging and so replayable.
They had auto-generated maps which made exploring through the worlds and dungeons a little bit
different each time!
Enemies might be in a different spot or youd get a different quest than your other playthrough.
So many factors that would change.
Heres another interesting point, I consider Paper Mario TTYD to be one of the most perfect
games ever made.
However theres one thing that holds it back, and thats difficulty.
The first couple times you play through its a good challenge, dont get me wrong.
Itll really keep you on your toes.
But heres the issue, Ive played the game so many times that I have to personally handicap
myself in order to make the game difficult.
I have to equip a badge that makes me take double damage so that I can play the game
with a challenge.
And that is a saving grace for The Thousand Year Doors replay value, but certain games
really need a sort of expert mode, you know?
Now occasionally, and this mostly applies to RPGs, they will have a sort of REAL final
Not the one you fought at the end of the game.
Its usually something thats really hard to get to, to figure out.
Perhaps you gotta do a series of quests, but its much more challenging than the actual
final boss at the end of the game.
And thats a really nice touch to add yet another thing to achieve even after you beat a game.
There are some games that only have one difficulty setting, and thats so you know that youre
playing it the way its meant to be played.
Most of the time the difficulty is just right, but this can be risky as if its not challenging
enough, then again its not really worth playing.
And other games offer a few choices for difficulty, some of them can make the absurdly hard!
But hey, just having the option to change and tweak the way you wanna play can really
make the game accessible to a lot more people.
Occasionally, there are video games with huge spikes from one difficulty to the next.
Warcraft 3s normal is a decent challenge, then when you move to hard its like, fucking
hardcore mode micromanagement REEEEEEEEEEEEE!!
Then theres that group of people, mostly game journalists, you know, the ones that shouldve
picked different careers, that constantly complain about games being to difficult.
Games need a skip this boss button, they need to have a baby mode so that uncoordinated
toddlers like myself can play it!
On the real, there is usually some merit to complaints about a game being too difficult.
Like for instance, the Capra Demon fight in Dark Souls 1.
First time fighting this guy, youll have about 2 seconds to take in your surroundings before
you get fucked in the ass.
I mean, while Dark Souls is a fantastic game, I have a problem with this boss.
Because its almost guaranteed that the average player going in blind is going to die a few
For comparison look at the Tauros Demon fight.
Its similar because youre in a narrow space, but the difference is the first time fight
this guy you see him off in the distance drop down.
You get a chance to plan your strategy and move around, you get time to anticipate this
big demon coming towards you.
This is important for games with boss battles, that they dont just fuck you in the ass the
moment you get into one.
Most of the times the games they talk about arent too hard.
You just have to adapt.
The old motto, git gud, really does apply here.
But its also very important to understand that some games arent created for everyone,
actually no game is made for everyone because then its made for no one.
Certain demographics of players will be pleased by the difficulty one game, and others wont
People absolutely love the Civilization games, however for me the difficulty lies in simply
understanding what the fuck Im supposed to be doing.
So those games just arent for me.
So really it is up to the players choice in what sort of challenge and difficulty theyre
I mean, people absolutely love the Civilization games.
However for me, the difficulty lies in simply understanding what the fuck Im supposed to
I cant even get past the tutorial in these games!
So I know they arent for me, but Im not gonna bash the difficulty in them if thats what
I said a while back, most people would agree with me on the statement that challenge and
difficulty is the most important thing every video game needs, but a select few were going
Yeah I was talking about the hackers, the cheaters, specifically in multiplayer games.
I mean, take a look at this: a highlight clip from a COD WWII game.
This dude is obviously hacking, everyone can see that so these 4 kills mean jack shit.
Not just that, everyone who looks at this is gonna think wow that guy is a piece of
Because seriously, whats the fun in that?
Whats the fun in knowing youre gonna win?
I dont find enjoyment in cheating, especially against other players.
But I do know WHY people cheat like this, because the game as its supposed to be played,
is offering you the challenge of playing against other real people!
And from match to match its incredibly difficult to anticipate how other players are going
So people who hack are falsely chasing that accomplishment I was talking about!
Even though its scummy, the important thing to remember is hackers are still chasing that
Dragon of Challenge.
Again, Im trying to emphasize the importance here.
Just because difficulty is the most important factor in a game, that doesnt mean the more
there is the better.
The too much of a good thing rule applies to everything but Cheeze-its and cocaine,
It really is a delicate balancing act but when its perfected, thats what really makes
a video game addicting and fun as hell and gives it immense replay value.
I think Ive covered just about every angle of this, but I would like to share this link
to Video Game Difficulty Tropes, it actually highlights all the different forms of challenge
in video games and I suggest taking a look at it if youre more curious on the subject.
But you know it all boils down to that sense of pride and accomplishment.
That satisfactory feeling can come in low and high volumes.
Whether it be winning a Mario Party minigame or successfully beating Dark Souls without
taking a hit.
You know, thats really why we play games, to overcome the challenge and have fun while
To sharpen our memory, our reflexes.
I dont mean to imply that graphics, sound, music, writing, story, cinematics, or fun
factor are not important features.
They really, truly are.
When you get to the core of what all games are about, it really comes back to the challenge.
And feeling accomplished at the end of it all.
Because you want all the time you spent playing to show for something.
And that is why difficulty and challenge is the most important thing every Video game