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JaMoMaN's blog

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JaMoMaN avatar 2:14 AM on 03.17.2013  (server time)
From Nightmare to Normal: Why I lowered the difficulty, and never looked back.

From the earliest days of my youth I've been an avid gamer. I progressed from the Atari 2600 to the NES, from the NES to the SNES and on through every subsequent console generation. I spent entirely too much time leveling my sorcerer in the original Diablo and literally thousands of hours perfecting my strategy with the Zerg in Starcraft. Coupled with such an unhealthy obsession in any hobby comes a certain sense of elitism. I was good at the games I loved and I knew it. I felt it was my duty to crush other players in the online arena and to play every game I owned unceasingly until I was capable of conquering it soundly on even the most intense difficulty. It is with a certain level of shame then that I come to you now, crumpled Mario hat in hand, to admit that in the past few years I haven't beaten a single game on hard... hell, I've even played some of them on easy.

"How could such a paragon of gaming virtue, such a digital titan have fallen so far?", you might ask. Admitting that you play games on normal or easy in this subculture of ours is oft considered nigh unto heresy, but for me it's been a change for the better, and the reason is simple enough.

My masochistic gaming habits persisted throughout the entirety of my primary education career, and even on into college. Late nights of gaming followed by early mornings at school didn't seem like much of a sacrifice when compared with the sense of achievement I was gaining by mastering and conquering games. A sense that, whether due to my own lax studying habits or the shortcomings of the education system in general, I hadn't felt anywhere else up to that point.

After years of this lifestyle, however, the world played a cruel joke on me. It seemed that in order to be perceived as an adult and to become a so called "productive member of society" I was expected to move out of my parents house, and adding insult to injury, get a full time job.

Suddenly there was an element of stress that I had never experienced before in my day to day life. I had to worry about how I would be paying my monthly bills, and at some of the harder points in that first foray into independence, where I would be securing my next meal.

I quickly found the role of video games for me had drastically changed. Instead of mountains to be climbed or obstacles to overcome they became a release from the real obstacles that I was already facing.

Previously I had been an ardent disciple of John Carmack's old adage that story in a game was akin to story in a porno, expected but unnecessary. My perception shifted, however, and I found myself enamored with the very aspects of games that I had previously despised. The story and the characters became paramount to my enjoyment of the experience and bashing my head against ceaseless and nigh unbeatable waves of enemies became a hindrance to that enjoyment.

I'm sure there are some of you that might read this (if anyone actually does) and think that I'm just a quitter, or that I'm simply not good enough at games. To that I respond with a hearty "probably". I'm sure that many if not most of you are capable of gleaning full enjoyment from games and fully absorbing the story while still playing on the most insane difficulty. To you I offer a round of applause and a healthy serving of envy. For me personally, however, the time commitment and stress required to continue gaming at an elite level was too much, and I find myself enjoying games at my new found normal difficulty level more than ever.

Well guys and gals, this was my first attempt at a blog here on destructoid, let me know what you think and if you have any criticisms or suggestions, thanks a billion! - JaMoMaN

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