Jul 21, 2021
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Playing difficult games is like eating spicy food, says Spelunky creator

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I tuned into a design talk by Spelunky creator Derek Yu today, expecting to learn about what went right and wrong during Spelunky 2’s development over the last few years. And I got that, but I was surprised to find buried in Yu’s talk a tangent about what can make difficulty in games so satisfying. How difficult games should be, and how accessible they should be, is a perennial topic, and whenever it flares up it’s a sign to log off Twitter for a few days. But instead of the usual exhausting arguments about easy modes, I found Yu’s breakdown—which he builds around a spicy food analogy—really insightful. It also made me hungry.

For Yu, difficulty is just one element of what he calls ‘spiky’ game design.



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