How Difficult should Flash Games Be?

Written By MrSun at 1:27 pm - Saturday, July 26th, 2008
Categories: Flash

One issue surrounding the development process of a flash game is the difficulty level. How hard should it be? How easy its too easy? These are questions whose answers I hope to simplify for you.

I’ve often made the mistake of making my games too hard many times. What I think is easy in my game turns out to be extremely hard for the users. Just play any of my games, they are harder than they should be. However, I’d like to think that it’s improving though, so don’t be to harsh on me. Why does this happen? After years of thought at research (not really), I’ve come to a simple conclusion. You developed the game. Of course it’s going to be easy for you! You’ve been practicing playing your game ever since you started developing it. The user doesn’t have any practice, so it’s gonna be pretty hard. This sounds like common sense, but there are still so many games out there that still are very hard to play.

So, how do you fix this? Here’s another simple answer. Make your game easier! But, you have to be careful not to make it boringly easy. Here is a chart that I’ve made to give you a sense of you feel compared to what the user feels.

What you Feel What the User Feels
Easy as Pie Not too tough
Pretty Easy This game is HARD!
Medium This game is VERY HARD!

As comical as it seems, 95% of the time, this is how the users react to your games. If you’ve made a flash game, you’d know.

Of course, some of you might not have any idea of what I’m talking about. You may not of this problem while developing games at all. Perhaps you fall under the opposite extreme, by making your game too easy. I don’t know what it’s like for you while you make your games, but I have played boringly easy ones. One common theme that I see in a bunch of these games is that the developer doesn’t add enough opposing forces (enemies/obstacles) or adds weak opposing forces against the user. This can be corrected by simply making more of them or making them more challenging. Once again, common sense, but it’s hard to think common sense while developing a non-human game.

Sometimes, the only to know truly if your game falls under just the right difficulty level is to get people to test it. You can get anybody to do this, and I suggest more than one anybody’s. The great part about this is that it’s free. But, this usually doesn’t work for me. Most of my friends aren’t online techy’s like me, so they can’t get past the fact that I actually made a game. If you’re friends are like mine, or you just want better feedback, Flash Game License is here to help. You can either get free feedback from sponsors/developers, or you can use their First Impressions Service. For 1 dollar, you can get somebody to make insightful comments/reviews on your game. I haven’t used this service myself, but Emanuele Feronato has, and he wrote a useful post in his blog about it.

Hopefully, the feedback you get on your games will be enlightening. Good luck on your game development adventures!

One Comment

Game Development Spotlight: Xylophone Master | Mr Sun Studios:

[…] Let me first tell you about the actual game itself. It is a rhythm-based game where all 8 of he home row keys are used (A S D F J K L ;). It sounds hard, but once you get used to it, it gets a lot easier. However, many of the users did not get used to it, and thought that even the easiest songs were too hard. Perhaps I didn’t follow my own advice. […]