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Best Of Member Blogs: From Lingering Games To The Difficulty With Difficulties

Showcasing highlights from Gamasutra's Member Blogs, our weblog writers take entertainment industry art experience and apply it to games, argue that difficulty options are a "crutch" for game designers,
In our weekly Best of Member Blogs column, we showcase notable pieces of writing from members of the game community who maintain Member Blogs on Gamasutra. Member Blogs can be maintained by any registered Gamasutra user, while invitation-only Expert Blogs -- also highlighted weekly -- are written by selected development professionals. Our favorite blog post of the week will earn its author a lifetime subscription to Gamasutra's sister publication, Game Developer magazine. (All magazine recipients outside of the United States or Canada will receive lifetime electronic subscriptions.) We hope that our blog sections can provide useful and interesting viewpoints on our industry. For more information, check out the official posting guidelines. In this week's highlights, our weblog writers take entertainment industry art experience and apply it to games, argue that difficulty options are a "crutch" for game designers, and more. This Week's Standout Member Blogs - Gods, Heroes and their Immortal Games (Frank Forrestall) New member blogger Frank Forrestall takes his perspective as a veteran artist in the entertainment industry and applies it to game creation in his debut article. It's more "games as art" material, but the blogger attacks the topic from a fresh angle, as he wonders if many developers are able to create a lingering, haunting experience like, for example, Shadow of the Colossus. For his effort, Frank will receive a lifetime subscription to Gamasutra sister publication Game Developer magazine. - The Difficulty With Difficulties (Josh Bycer) Regular Gamasutra member blogger Josh Bycer takes a close look at start menu difficulty options, and explains why he finds separate "Easy, Medium, and Hard" modes "a crutch of game design." - Tweaking (John Mawhorter) Some PC gamers like fiddling with a game's settings in an attempt to strike the best balance between nice visuals and acceptable performance. Blogger John Mawhorter would prefer an easier tweaking process for PC games. Can developers make PC gaming more user friendly? - Rule of 3 Deaths in a Boss Fight (Tom Allins) Tom Allins strikes up some reader conversation with his latest blog, which argues that three deaths on a game's final boss are acceptable, but beyond that, a player feels frustrated and may just plain give up on the game. Is it the designer's fault? - Games Are Devoid Of (Insert Problem Here) (Charlie Silver) "Easy to learn, hard to master" is a mantra repeated by many video game developers. If that design goal is achieved, you get a game with good longevity -- take chess for example. And as a counter to the people who say story is the most important part of a game, blogger Charlie Silver argues that a story isn't necessary at all for a game to be great.

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