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Exhuminator
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Re: Are Cuphead and other difficult games ableist?

by Exhuminator Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:55 am

yaktaur wrote:If you're a player of a game and it rubs you the wrong way because somebody's getting to the end of it easier than you because you're playing it at the REAL difficulty, you should examine why you care about how other people are playing the game.

And if you're a game developer you should examine why you only want to make it so that the Lucky Few get to play your game.

Both of those points of contention are actually strawman arguments, and have been dissected and debunked as being the purpose of uncompromising difficulty, within this very thread. Gunstar Green is right, this thread is just going in circles now.
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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Re: Are Cuphead and other difficult games ableist?

by yaktaur Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:05 pm

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Last edited by yaktaur on Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are Cuphead and other difficult games ableist?

by Jagosaurus Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:11 am

Still working my way through this entire thread but it does seem circular. Great job by Gunstar early on bringing up color blindness and interactive gaming experience versus watching a movie.

I'm color blind, but oddly enough not the common, red/green variant they test you for at DMV. I have trouble with greys, blues, greens. Also distinguishing between dark navy & black is rough for me. I could never be an airline pilot. It is what it is. I don't expect them to make special flight instruments so I can be a pilot.

Next folks will want books to have less latin origin words. Let's keep them all at grade school reading level so everyone can enjoy the best sellers list.... :lol:

The actual game development and creative liberty aspect is a non issue to me. This is an interesting dicussion, but strictly from a sociology perspective to me. Our everyone gets a trophy and PC society is now turning to hard video games. We need to focus on disabilities in school and the job force... not gaming.

Wait... Luke (former member?) has one hand? How'd I miss that? Love that "like a boss" quote.
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Re: Are Cuphead and other difficult games ableist?

by Portaplay Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:31 pm

Just made my way through the thread and even though it's a bit old now, I feel I have to comment. I have a some expertise and knowledge on the subject.
I am also disabled and a gamer I don't think that should matter but take that however you want.

I've been following this discussion and it tends to be very circular, it ends up focusing on only one part of the issue.
Mostly the part about difficult games being difficult and making them 'easier' and how it would change them, thereby lessening the experience. Let me reiterate what other have said, accessibility is not a zero sum game.
Having an easy diffeculty doesn't take or atleast shouldn't take anything from them that play on the intenden normal diffeculty or 'real' diffeculty. If the problem is the trophies then don't give me trophy for completeting the game on easy.
The problem is not about diffeculties or difficult games, why I think this discussion started out on the wrong foot. It is an important discussion though, don't get me wrong.
Difficulty is complex because it is subjective, it is really about challange. All games have some kind of challange to overcome that is what makes a game a game.

Whatever the challange, it may exede the skill of the player. In a good game you will get a chance to change, develop, grow and get better to overcome the challenge and beat the game. Sometimes the bigger challange the greater the reward which is why Soulsborne games (and Cuphead to some extend) is so good and beloved. (I probably don't need to tell you that)
So games are inherently excludenary to some degree. That doesn't make them ableist, no, because then all games would ableist.
So the short answer is no, Cuphead and Sekiro is not ableist nor do they have any moral obligation to be inclusive even though I can't see why you wouldn't want to be inclusive.

Then there in the midst of that complex issue is the discussion about artistic freedom and censorship. That is frankly BS I my opinion. Accessibility and
especially ablelism is not restricting artistic expression and a lot of devolpers have said that they don't see accessibility as a problem when it comes to their vision.
Cory Barlog director of God of War said "Accessibility has never and will never be a compromise to my vision"
The quostion of artistic freedom and vision in videogames is already murky, it is a media with a lot of coorperation and a lot of chefs in the kitchen so to speak. Most of time it is hard to discern a single artist with a single vision all the way through, in AAA games. It is a very different discussion with little merit here.
Let me just say that if your artistic vision is to make a hard game few will enjoy that is fine and not ablelist or even void off accessibility necessarily. If your vision is to be exclusionary or even racist or ableist I think that is mean, dumb and wrong. I don't that is a hot take.

Here is the most important point and what the discussion misses most of the time. I wish the poeple working in a Accessibility would say clearly before engagning in the discussion.
Accessibility and ableism is really only about access.
earlier in the thread some said (can't remember who, sorry. I've seen similar comments elsewhere):
"And I don't agree, I don't think anyone is incapable of playing Cuphead or Gradius or Contra III. They just need to put in time and effort, just like one needs time and effort to cook or play an instrument. The game is not hidden and there's no hidden test in order to access it, everyone who can play games and wants to play it, can."

That is simply not true. I can't play Cuphead no matter how much I want to or try. It is simply not physical possible for me no more than I would be able to fly.
That is nothing to do with how diffecult the game is. The focus is too much on diffeculty etc.
Another comment I see or a similar one is this:
"My point is that if someone finds a game to be "too hard", then they should put in the practice necessary to overcome the challenge. Not expect the challenge to just bow down to them instead."
or
"The thing is, you might not know you have it in you to climb the mountain, unless the only choice is to climb the mountain. You might find yourself surprised that you had the required fortitude within yourself after all. "
True, but to keep the metaphor going, you are a step ahead, I can't even get to the mountain. That is the real issue, if you talking about accessibility/dissabilities and being ableist. The focus on diffeculty takes focus away from a real accessibility discussion which is a different discussion.
Hard games are not ablelist, some people simply can't play certain games. It is just impossible and diffeculty has nothing to do with it. And it is fine. As a dissabled games I know what I can play. It is when there is doubt or when I should be able to play a game but can't because of some design detail that didn't have to be.
Someone put it like this:
"I don't think "hard" games are ableist as a result of being hard. Difficulty writ large might be exclusionary, but not necessarily ableist. Although if you designed a platformer deliberately so that jump was on the left bumper and attack was the Select button, that would be a kind of difficulty that would be ableist (and really dumb)."
That is it, completely.
When games add restrictions that didn't need to be there and that excludes people because of it. That can end up being ableist. That happens more often than you think, but that is something you useally don't notice before it effect yourself. Mostly it is not on purpose by the developer. It is simply oversight or not knowing that the problem exists.
I don't think anyone sets out to be exclusionary or ableist.
That is why it is important to be clear, diffeculty is not a problem when it comes to accessibility but there are many other problems.
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Re: Are Cuphead and other difficult games ableist?

by Gunstar Green Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:30 pm

Welcome to the forums and thank you for sharing your perspective.
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Re: Are Cuphead and other difficult games ableist?

by samsonlonghair Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:08 pm

Portaplay wrote:Just made my way through the thread and even though it's a bit old now, I feel I have to comment. I have a some expertise and knowledge on the subject.
I am also disabled and a gamer I don't think that should matter but take that however you want.

I've been following this discussion and it tends to be very circular, it ends up focusing on only one part of the issue.
Mostly the part about difficult games being difficult and making them 'easier' and how it would change them, thereby lessening the experience. Let me reiterate what other have said, accessibility is not a zero sum game.
Having an easy diffeculty doesn't take or atleast shouldn't take anything from them that play on the intenden normal diffeculty or 'real' diffeculty. If the problem is the trophies then don't give me trophy for completeting the game on easy.
The problem is not about diffeculties or difficult games, why I think this discussion started out on the wrong foot. It is an important discussion though, don't get me wrong.
Difficulty is complex because it is subjective, it is really about challange. All games have some kind of challange to overcome that is what makes a game a game.

Whatever the challange, it may exede the skill of the player. In a good game you will get a chance to change, develop, grow and get better to overcome the challenge and beat the game. Sometimes the bigger challange the greater the reward which is why Soulsborne games (and Cuphead to some extend) is so good and beloved. (I probably don't need to tell you that)
So games are inherently excludenary to some degree. That doesn't make them ableist, no, because then all games would ableist.
So the short answer is no, Cuphead and Sekiro is not ableist nor do they have any moral obligation to be inclusive even though I can't see why you wouldn't want to be inclusive.

Then there in the midst of that complex issue is the discussion about artistic freedom and censorship. That is frankly BS I my opinion. Accessibility and
especially ablelism is not restricting artistic expression and a lot of devolpers have said that they don't see accessibility as a problem when it comes to their vision.
Cory Barlog director of God of War said "Accessibility has never and will never be a compromise to my vision"
The quostion of artistic freedom and vision in videogames is already murky, it is a media with a lot of coorperation and a lot of chefs in the kitchen so to speak. Most of time it is hard to discern a single artist with a single vision all the way through, in AAA games. It is a very different discussion with little merit here.
Let me just say that if your artistic vision is to make a hard game few will enjoy that is fine and not ablelist or even void off accessibility necessarily. If your vision is to be exclusionary or even racist or ableist I think that is mean, dumb and wrong. I don't that is a hot take.

Here is the most important point and what the discussion misses most of the time. I wish the poeple working in a Accessibility would say clearly before engagning in the discussion.
Accessibility and ableism is really only about access.
earlier in the thread some said (can't remember who, sorry. I've seen similar comments elsewhere):
"And I don't agree, I don't think anyone is incapable of playing Cuphead or Gradius or Contra III. They just need to put in time and effort, just like one needs time and effort to cook or play an instrument. The game is not hidden and there's no hidden test in order to access it, everyone who can play games and wants to play it, can."

That is simply not true. I can't play Cuphead no matter how much I want to or try. It is simply not physical possible for me no more than I would be able to fly.
That is nothing to do with how diffecult the game is. The focus is too much on diffeculty etc.
Another comment I see or a similar one is this:
"My point is that if someone finds a game to be "too hard", then they should put in the practice necessary to overcome the challenge. Not expect the challenge to just bow down to them instead."
or
"The thing is, you might not know you have it in you to climb the mountain, unless the only choice is to climb the mountain. You might find yourself surprised that you had the required fortitude within yourself after all. "
True, but to keep the metaphor going, you are a step ahead, I can't even get to the mountain. That is the real issue, if you talking about accessibility/dissabilities and being ableist. The focus on diffeculty takes focus away from a real accessibility discussion which is a different discussion.
Hard games are not ablelist, some people simply can't play certain games. It is just impossible and diffeculty has nothing to do with it. And it is fine. As a dissabled games I know what I can play. It is when there is doubt or when I should be able to play a game but can't because of some design detail that didn't have to be.
Someone put it like this:
"I don't think "hard" games are ableist as a result of being hard. Difficulty writ large might be exclusionary, but not necessarily ableist. Although if you designed a platformer deliberately so that jump was on the left bumper and attack was the Select button, that would be a kind of difficulty that would be ableist (and really dumb)."
That is it, completely.
When games add restrictions that didn't need to be there and that excludes people because of it. That can end up being ableist. That happens more often than you think, but that is something you useally don't notice before it effect yourself. Mostly it is not on purpose by the developer. It is simply oversight or not knowing that the problem exists.
I don't think anyone sets out to be exclusionary or ableist.
That is why it is important to be clear, diffeculty is not a problem when it comes to accessibility but there are many other problems.

Welcome to Racketboy. Thanks for your insight. So what do you think is a solution? I don't pretend to know anything about your disability, so please forgive me if I speak out of line. Would a wider range of controller options help? How about the ability to remap controls to any button on another device? Would it be helpful if you could slow down the game? Should video games use the same rules as Section 508 compliance?
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Re: Are Cuphead and other difficult games ableist?

by Erik_Twice Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:54 am

Hey, welcome to the forums! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

Portaplay wrote:Accessibility and especially ablelism is not restricting artistic expression and a lot of devolpers have said that they don't see accessibility as a problem when it comes to their vision.

Cory Barlog director of God of War said "Accessibility has never and will never be a compromise to my vision"

Barlog speaks too proudly for someone whose gamse lack basic accessibility features such as subtitles and a proper colorblind mode. It's easy for him to criticize others but I doubt he holds the same standard to himself. And I doubt his vision of God of War, that of an extremely violent game where you murder hundreds of enemies wouldn't be compromised by a non-violent mode.

Quite simply, he's scoring cheap points. So were most of the designers talking about this, to be frank. I must admit, I really find it distateful to brag about "accessibility" when you make games with budgets of hundreds of dollars and don't even have a colorblind mode.

I actually wrote an article on this issue fairly recently, when it was revived by the release of Sekiro. I think it does a much better job of covering the issue that my old thoughts on this thread:
Often, Games must be Difficult
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Re: Are Cuphead and other difficult games ableist?

by Portaplay Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:49 am

samsonlonghair wrote:
Portaplay wrote: Would a wider range of controller options help? How about the ability to remap controls to any button on another device? Would it be helpful if you could slow down the game? Should video games use the same rules as Section 508 compliance?


The most important thing is options. Like remappable controls in a game. Don't lock the player into certain control schemes. The greater array of options the greater the chance that more people can play. The same goes for colour blind options and sound options etc. Even hardware.
Don't make exclusive choices. Mostly or sometimes devolpers are exclusionary by mistake or ignorance I think, that is a big part of the problem. Just always having more options instead of fewer would help a lot.
A really big thing for a lot of people is that you simply don't know if you can play a game before you buy it and try. That is really expensive and sometimes just a waste of money. That leads to poeple that buy fewer games and I know that is not what the devolpers want. It also means that if they find a game they can play they stick to it.
If games could or would show more clearly how accessible they are so I knew what I bought, that would certainly help.

I'm not american so I'm not completely familiar Section 508 but I don't think you should necessarily govern videogames like that mostly because I don't think you need to. Accessible is good business. If you do you could run into the problem of restrictions and cencorship on certain games and generally cencorship in/on media is a bad idea, something most agree on.
You should think of it like subtitles in tv or movies. There is always the option to add subtitles that is the standard. It is not the law, not in the US or in my country. Netflix and BBC have internal guidelines for subtitles and I suspect it is the same for NBC or CBS or even HBO or whatever streaming platform. No one is forcing them it is just not ok to not have subtitles. And no one would accuse subtitles of being cencorship or for impeding artistic freedom...

Again all games are about challenge in some way. Some games need precise timing or falling blocks, fighting and murder, obtuse puzzles or stragegy. Whatever it might be most accessible doesn't change that main challange. Your core game challange may exclude some people because of taste or ability. You just have to think about what other obstacles you add and if those obstacles needs to be there. And add as many options to as many people as possible.
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Re: Are Cuphead and other difficult games ableist?

by Erik_Twice Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:05 pm

There should indeed be laws concerning the topic like there are for movies. I think there was such a proposal in the US, but it was postponed after publishers pressured for it to be delayed. And, as far as I know, there's nothing regarding the subject in Europe.
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Re: Are Cuphead and other difficult games ableist?

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:59 pm

I'm quite colorblind. It's a tricky thing to explain, especially since I don't understand how to see "normally." I essentially have a very difficult time distinguishing between colors. You may see an obvious green and obvious red (for example) -- I have to scrutinize and analyze and then maybe I get it right. It's contextually and materially dependent. Yes, I can drive and can tell traffic lights apart. But, for example, I have an extraordinarily hard time seeing changes in skin tone (sunburns, tans, my own rosacea, whatever). I have to use thermometers when cooking meat. When the waitress at Texas Roadhouse asks if I approve of how the steak is cooked I just say yes. And ask for more rolls. And so on. Modern gaming can be incredibly difficult for me, as newer games contain so many more colors than older ones. Meaning, I can distinguish everything here:
Image

But this looks like mush:
Image

So, yeah, modern games should have colorblind modes, or at least make better use of color theory. And, for the love of God, color-based puzzles need to be killed. Do people with regular vision even find this fun?

To go back to the main theme of this thread, I feel like I'm just reiterating what's been said already by others. Let the developers decide. Should they craft a game that exclusively "hard mode" difficult, that's their choice. Not everyone will (or should) take a liking to every game. On the flip side, should a developer include an easy mode or a blatant "the game plays itself" mode so be it. They shouldn't be chastised for such a decision.
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