games that punish masters/reward novices

like how mario gives the special golden tanooki when you fail any level a certain number of times

I dont like that specific example, but im interested in the concept

splatoon 2‘s octo expansion lets you skip a level after failing twice which I like

always feels weird playing stuff like platinum games or tough action games and being really good at the game gives you all these special abilities and healing items and if you’re bad you have to restart or give up so thats what sparked this general idea !

As a thought: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 and onwards. When you reach a certain level of skill your brain convince you that you NEED to do the most impossible trick strings possible or to get all the level goals in one go or you are somehow doing it wrong. Maybe it's off topic, but since the Nintendo helper system is relatively new (10 / 15 years) and mostly in Nintendo made games (did they patent this idea?) I wanted to throw out the idea of master-y becoming a poison chalice when it comes to the way we might play games.

@Just_Walli#17876 God Hand immediately comes to mind–the game is designed to ramp up the difficulty in increments based on how well you are doing. Likewise, as you take damage or die it ramps back down to the base level. While it is never “easy” by any stretch, it definitely has that reverse reward curve you are describing. Here's a Gamasutra article that describes it a bit better.

“Punish masters” is a weird way to phrase it, but I know that a lot of older games had adaptive difficulty tied to how often (or rarely) you died during the game. The Makaimura series, Aleste, I think Wing Commander and X-Wing. Not only do these games demonstrate how far back the need to not scare off casual players was for commercial games, but they also put Doom etc.'s difficulty naming schemes in a new light, since they would have been contributing to the problem that these games were trying to solve.


@Syzygy#17884 This made for an unintentionally interesting dynamic at the upper levels of multiplayer because it became a game about staying out of the lead without allowing anyone to get an unrecoverable distance ahead.

This is still in the series to some extent. I remember watching a VTuber intentionally stay behind in _Mario Kart 8 Deluxe_ so they could get the Bullet Bill power-up multiple times and then catch up just enough that they could climb back up to first place. I don't remember who it was, though, and my attempts to find it haven't yielded any results. About the only other detail I can add is that it happened on Yoshi Circuit.

And of course, that thing where I manage to find something three seconds after saying I can't find it happens yet again.

@Syzygy#17884 yesss. I mean this leads to the infamous blue shell hatred. The newest Mario Kart actually added an item that you can get in first place that can, if used precisely, destroy a blue shell. It’s rare that the stars align that you get to do it but it makes blue shells feel less crap.

Also on the newest mario kart they added a slew of automatic easy mode adds that build up for players who are clearly struggling. Around here we call these "bumpers" - as in bowling bumpers. I know this was discussed at length in another thread but this makes the newest MK the most approachable game I know for little kids. My four year old absolutely loves it and my seven year old can now consistently ace whole race circuits against the AI on 50cc. This makes the game worth $1BILLION to parents.


In the original MSX version, there’s an indicator that reads “ALC” (“Automatic Level Control”), a hexadecimal number that indicates the AI behavior. (Of course, there’s no context for what any of the letters or numbers actually means, so it’s just there to look cool.)


@Video_Game_King#17885 This is the first time I have ever seen a VTuber video. I've heard people talk about them, but have never gone and actually found one to watch.

So that's something, I suppose.

I haven't played this but Kid Icarus: Uprising does something like that…

In the first Fire Emblem for the NDS, if you lose too many allies you get sent to special optional maps with new exclusive characters available there

in theory this is pretty good, struggling units can get new powerful units and more experience than others (experience being finite)

In practice said players might still lose units in the new maps (they are not particularly easy as I recall) and end up worse than before. And good players who consult guides can kill off their worst units on purpose to get all the rewards with no real cost. I like the idea of Fire Emblem trying to make you accept permadeath, that was a bit weak but good effort IMO

a lot of fighting games reward you with chunks of super meter as you get hit or take damage. capcom‘s more recent fighting games take it a step further and added mechanics that give players more opportunities to make a comeback after having taken a beating. i’m thinking specifically of ultras in street fighter 4, x factor in marvel 3, and v trigger in street fighter v.

Rank in shmups, particularly in Yagawa games (Battle Garegga, Batrider, Ibara), almost wraps back around to something that punishes novices again because it can be hard to understand what affects it if you're just picking it up and playing for the first time. Especially when tied to something like auto fire speed or option formation

@kory#17880 another example i was thinking of was Resi 4's adaptive difficulty, makes sense that the last game they worked on had a similar system! well that makes the 1000th reason to play godhand

@Syzygy#17884 I was exceptionally good at MK7/8 for a time and I would often do this! a lot of weird and interesting design decisions in those games

@CidNight#17886 unrelated to topic but the automatic acceleration is one of the best added features in that mk8d i very much appreciate not having to hold a button down with my entire life

@Yattaf#17905 that unintended result is even more entertaining than what I actually wanted! those games are really fun (only at high level play as far as I can tell unfortunately)

in MGS5, if you suck really bad and fail a mission enough, the game will ask you if you want to wear a ridiculous chicken hat which basically makes you invisible.

@SuperEffective#17925 this feels like the modern take on “I’m too young to die!”

@Syzygy#17955 it's so cute!


not me cause Im just *so darn good at GAMING*