Remember how blisteringly (literally, you’d get blisters) hard the old Tecmo games like Ninja Gaiden were? Some might even throw around the word cheap if one was a child at some point and broke a few controllers in aggravation — not that anyone would ever get that upset over a videogame. While their games are still challenging these days, the difficulty curb has definitely decreased.
In a recent interview with Nintendo, Namco Bandai Chief Producer Hideo Yoshizawa, who was once an employee of the legendary Tecmo, spoke about how the company use to approach game design and how the industry tackles it now. “Tecmo had the philosophy that the user would throw a game away if it wasn’t hard enough. So we made games really hard … Nowadays, a lot more people play games, so we ramp up the difficulty much more gradually. We want everybody to be able to play it and get good at it.”
It’s an interesting look into how game design has changed thanks to save features and other factors that make games less difficult. However, I can’t agree 100 percent with Tecmo’s early philosophy as most of the game I replay today and have not thrown out are the ones that I found challenging, but could also actually beat. I don’t think that’s changed in the 20 years since then either.