Tough Love: Can a video game be too hard?

What’s the point? What adult has the time to master this stuff? Could it ever be worth it?

Recently, I’ve decided the answer is yes, even if you’re reduced to tears by a hellish game, it can be worth it to plug through. Why? For the same reason it’s often worth struggling through many other pieces of art or entertainment that we consider “difficult.” Anyone who’s slogged through the experimental swamp of Ulysses knows that it seems like a pointless chore at first. But if you’re patient, the literary payoff is powerful?er, so I’ve been told?perhaps all the more so because you’ve worked hard for it.


Each game offers a different flavor of achievement. The quick-hit delights of Mario Kart are similar to the joys of a detective novel or a romance paperback, while the intense, grinding slog of Ninja Gaiden creates a sort of exhausted exhilaration, like finally reaching the end of War and Peace. Neither one is better than the other, but too many people miss out on the latter merely because the barrier to entry is so high. — Clive ThompsonTough Love: Can a video game be too hard? (Slate)