Learn to love the grind
First and foremost, games are meant to be fun. This is the argument I used to explain why I didn’t like playing games that presented me with too many challenges because I tend to get a little frustrated and give up. Something I didn’t understand when I first started playing games is that there is more than one way to have fun playing a game. I certainly didn’t predict that I would come to appreciate and appreciate other styles of play.
Because I was still in the games, to say that I was not a very good mechanical player would be an understatement. I saw myself as someone who didn’t like difficult gameplay because it wasn’t something I liked, not someone who struggled because she was still learning. Well, after being drawn to various games because of my interest in their storytelling or visuals or whatever, I gradually got better mechanically. The real turning point, however, was when I started liking to challenge myself, that’s when I really started to. Underworld.
Supergiant is awesome in a lot of ways, but something I really love that they do is their modular difficulty system. A feature they’ve included in all of their titles since the start of Bastion In 2011, Modular Difficulty is a sleeker replacement for traditional difficulty settings and lets you customize exactly how you want to challenge yourself. You can activate settings that make enemies stronger, or give bosses more powerful abilities, or make items in stores more expensive, etc.
Not only does your game match exactly how you want to play, but you can also see exactly how the game gets harder as you progress which makes it even more satisfying. As someone who really didn’t see the point of questioning myself, Underworld‘the modular difficulty was exactly what I needed. I saw myself better, and it completely changed the way I think and play games.
So since I got hooked and finally understood the triumphant feeling of mastering the mechanics of a game after the initial struggle, my tastes for games have diversified a lot. This brings me to my current effort: Cup head. It’s a game that has attracted me since I first saw it – I love old cartoons and big band music, and seen the combination of those two things, plus love and the dedication that MDHR put into this game, it was always at the top of my list. However, the idea of having a screen that disturbingly reads “You Died!” watching me for most of my game was enough to keep me away.
One day I just said fuck it up and bought Cup head. I’m not going to lie, there were a few times I had to walk away or stop for the day, and yes a controller was slammed on the desk more than I want to admit. But I’m happy to report that I’ve actually made good progress with Cup head – or it was, until I met the dragon.
His name is Grim Matchstick, he’s the last boss I need to complete World 2, and I hate him. I hate his stupid green face and those stupid types of fireballs and his stupid other heads that throw flames at me. If it was Noelle from a year ago, I would give up out of sheer frustration and shamefully watch the Cup head icon in my Switch library for the rest of eternity. But it’s the new Noelle. We are in 2022 Noëlle.
I’ve been stuck on this fucking dragon boss for over two weeks. I do not know anything other than these clouds which constantly pass by. I see them when I close my eyes, taunting myself.
But I refuse to give up. It’s slow, but I can see myself making progress. Each day, Cuphead’s little red figure moves closer to the bottom of the screen. Just the thought of the dopamine hit I’m going to have when I finally hear that announcer yell “Knockout!” Is enough to keep me going. At this point, I’m not just trying to finish a game – I’m trying to prove something to the version of myself who didn’t think I could ever do it. I used to roll my eyes when they said “git gud” but now not only do I understand it, I kiss it.
So I want to know: what is a game that you refuse to give up? How long have you been there and have you had to walk away for a while? What are your strategies for staying sane when you keep hitting a wall?