Are We Bad at Gaming?

Are We Bad At Gaming? | Video Games | Gaming | Blogging |

Being “good at gaming” is subjective. We’re asking this question in a rhetorical manner, as we tend to have good times playing video games, no matter how quickly we reach the goal. Yet, after spending a bit of time playing through some of the older games on the SNES Classic — a few of which I remember playing as a child — we’ve come to realize that we’re not good at playing the older games.

I’m terrible at video games. I’m not afraid to admit that. I’m good at Pokemon and Animal Crossing. I’m surprised I can play Paper Mario. But in all seriousness, playing the older games, especially the ones on the SNES Classic consoles are hard. Video games have gotten so complicated over the years. Are we “bad” at the older, “easy” games or are we pretty good at the “harder” newer games? Or do we have it backward?

If you think about it, most newer games probably have crutches for new gamers. Savepoints, extra lives, and tutorials are a few aspects that may not be in older games. Remember the old SNES version of Disney’s The Lion King? There wasn’t a simple save point to be your backup if you lost all your lives. Extra lives were few and far in between unless you picked the easy difficulty mode. Paper Mario has a tutorial “prologue” chapter of the game, whereas we needed to look up where and how to get to the Switch Palaces in Super Mario World.

Don’t forget that while the newer Mario Kart games have bells and whistles with various modes based on how fast you go, the Mario Kart game for the SNES gave you lives. I, of course, found that out the hard way. I’d come in dead last and after three races, I wasn’t able to participate anymore. I was stuck watching you finish the rest of the races. Not to mention, the physics were totally different. I can easily drive and steer in the newer Mario Kart games, but I was awful at the older ones.

I’m the opposite. While I’m not bad at the newer Mario Kart games, I’m always left in the dust when I’m playing against Rachel. The old Mario Kart game I was able to do well if I remember correctly. I don’t think we did the most difficult class on it, though, so who knows if I’ll be that bad at it as well. With that said, the Super Nintendo Mario Kart was the first Mario Kart game I ever tried. Muscle memory kicked in for me. Rachel, I don’t think you played the Mario Kart series until maybe Gamecube’s Double Dash, right?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I’m honestly not sure. I don’t remember that part of my life. Even then, I was bad at Double Dash. We’d play on a team and you, as Daisy, would drive and I, as Yoshi, would toss items and punch people with my tongue when they got too close to our kart. I enjoy the older games, especially since I barely remember them so it’s like I’m playing blind and it’s a new experience. But it’s frustrating (in a fun way) because I’m also so bad at them.

That’s true. Again, I’m the opposite. I remember playing those older games and I thought I was better at them than I am now, haha! I could definitely be overestimating my memory when it comes to the older games. I would like to think I’m not too bad with games nowadays — like, if we compare one of the New Super Mario Bros. games to Super Mario World — but that depends on whoever is watching, I suppose.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
To be fair, I’m not that great at games now but I’m much better at them now than I used to be. Overall, it makes you wonder… have games gotten harder or easier? Or have we gotten better or worse?

What about you? How do you play earlier games of your favorite franchises? Let us know about them in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.

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Readers Comments (15)

  1. I’ve learned to accept I’m not good at games, the important thing is to enjoy them. I just keep cranking down the difficulty level (if I can) until I’m having fun ๐Ÿ™‚
    Definitely better at them than I used to be though, they’ve also definitely become more accessible over the years, as the audience has grown.

    • Having fun is definitely the most important aspect of gaming! And it’s true, gaming has become more accessible to people of all ages and skill levels, which is great. The more the merrier!

  2. I’m *terrible* at games where quick, precise reflexes are needed–my favorite games are the ones where I can button mash my way through the combat. I also play on the easiest setting possible.

    • No shame in choosing the easier settings! As long as you’re having fun, right? I tend to play on the more casual modes as well, generally so I can get the most out of the story and the characters.

  3. Short answer: No, you are not bad at games.
    Long answer: Old games were designed to be difficult. Part of that came from sucking quarters out of players in the arcade. Some of it came from wanting to extend the play time of home console games with otherwise-short runtimes. As the medium progressed, games evolved to build in more tutorials, difficulty settings, and are generally easier overall to appease a wider potential audience.
    The other factor is skillset. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. While I may thrash my way through a 2D Mario platformer, I struggle mightily to solve puzzles and manage turn-based battles in Paper Mario. Having played multiple games with you both and having watched you play games for like hundreds of hours at this point (that came our creepy), you both clearly have your strengths in certain kinds of games. Rachel can give anyone a run for their money in Mario Kart. I would have rage quit the older Zelda games that Kris consistently makes forward progress on. No chance I could make anything happen in The Sims. I have a few fluky wins in Pokemon, but you clearly have a knowledge base that gives you a huge advantage over me. And so on and so on…
    These days, Iโ€™ve seen kids at conventions struggle mightily with modern 2D platforming action games like Mega Man 11 cause they grew up playing games like Minecraft or Fortnite. Skillsets can be influenced by the era we grow up in too.
    Beyond all that, unless youโ€™re trying to win a tournament, skill ultimately doesnโ€™t matter. Play whatever you want, however you want, and have fun ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I love your history lessons! I did forget about the era of arcades, where it makes total sense for games to be difficult so more money could be made. That kind of evolved into DLC patches for today, if you think about it.
      Skillsets in gaming definitely come into play. You would kick our ass with fighting games that actually relied on combos and moves that aren’t just mindless button-mashing, for instance.
      But it’s all in good fun! It baffles me that people are out there gatekeeping for games when the ultimate goal is to just have a good time. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • From video games to child birthing methods, humanity will always find ways to play gatekeeper if it means they can feel superior. I hope we can push towards being more inclusive, but it’s quite the uphill climb.

  4. I find that when I play games I used to be good at when I was younger I find them way harder now. I think like you said games are easier now with more crutches for new gamers. I can’t remember the last time I played a game where it was totally game over once all your lives are gone and I take more risks as a result and have a bit of a sloppier technique. As long as you’re having fun though that’s the main thing!

    • …I can’t really think of a game nowadays that actually sends you to a Game Over screen either, now that you mention that. I tend to also be a “YOLO” kind of gamer nowadays, particularly with newer adventure games (you should have seen me play Breath of the Wild and experimenting how many mountains Link could and couldn’t climb, or discovery if the bottomless chasm really WAS a bottomless chasm by leaping into it). Either way, as long as you’re having fun as you said, it’s all good!

  5. I’m terrible at battle Royale games even though their the norm now. I always die no matter what. For rpg games I cheay but. I have fun so there

    • We’ve tried our hand at Playerunknown’s Battle Grounds when it was more relevant and, while we didn’t mind it, it wasn’t something that our Internet liked to handle on a regular basis. Shooter games aren’t usually our style anyway. As long as you’re having fun though, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I think we are good what we are interested in. For example, I am not very interested in fps games and I’m trash at them. I think the more of a type of game you play the better you become but at the end of the day we do what we enjoy and games gives us that release that we need! Video games in general are amazing

    • We’re not big on FPS games either! True, the more you practice and play a certain type of game, the better you eventually become. Having fun is the main goal either way!

  7. Oh, I’m absolutely terrible at games. My hand-eye coordination is terrible in real life – this was reflected in painful PE lessons in childhood – and this shines through in the virtual world. I often stick to turn-based strategy games to avoid this, but my terrible logic and maths skills hinder me there, too. Playing Celeste recently, I finished the game in 5 hours longer than the average time (according to
    And yet, even though I feel I’m somewhat at a disadvantage, I’m passionate about games. As Charlie Brooker said, “if you cut me, I’d bleed pixels”. I never give up, and most importantly, I care. I wholeheartedly agree with you final paragraph about skill not mattering. Surely having this much passion is being “good” at games is some way? I like to think so anyway.

  8. Recently I came across two strange mobile phone games: Jewel Swap Magic Match 3 Game by Shanghai New Dragon Restaurant Management Co. Ltd and Jewel Mystery Quest by Jiangsu Chong Promise investment Co. Ltd. They have exactly the same music, same levels(!), same in-app purchases but different graphics. The levels are much harder than other match 3 games, even though I consider myself one of the better players. My older brother thinks both companies are fly-by-night. Are you aware of a similar phenomenon in video games?

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