The Difficulty with Difficulty in Games

Beyond balancing difficulty is the simple question of whether it serves
any purpose in the game at all. Back at the Pickford blog, another
article goes into the various game design options that let a player break down the difficulty
at their own pace. Although these games still utilize difficulty to a
certain extent, there is always a way out. In some games, you can just
level grind until your characters can overpower a boss. Interactive
fiction or puzzles rarely maintain their difficulty because you can
always check for hints online. The origin of such accommodations in
these games was to make sure that someone who enjoyed the plot would
always be able to get to the end. After all, as Pickford notes, when
you’re telling a story, getting to the conclusion is the reward, not
overcoming a tricky boss fight. — L.B. Jeffries (Moving Pixels)