Jump to content
IGNORED

Ranking Game Difficulty


diddles_mcbean

Recommended Posts

As a mark of achievement, I always log the games I beat聽 specifically on the NES/SNES. I also attribute a difficulty score to them. I came up with a little personal algorithm that will combine my personal difficulty score with the difficulty ratings from GameFAQs.com to come up with a ranked list that weights my opinions and factors in what others think.

Does anyone else nerd out on difficulty like I do? I'm sure the games I find difficult are nothing for you whizkids 馃槈

For example, of the games I've beaten (there are plenty of tough ones I've not beaten)聽here are the rankings I have.

1) Double Dragon 3 (7.0895)
2) Zelda II: Adventure of Link (7.065)
3) Metroid (6.95)
4) Castlevania (6.545)
5) Mega Man (6.495)
6) Batman (6.47)

and the list goes on...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be curious as to how exactly you rate these games' difficulty down to several decimal places. When ranking them on Gamefaqs there is usually only an integer between 1 and 5, at least for the individual score that you can attribute to a game. And I personally would attribute these mentioned games to be at least "tough", i.e. somewhere around a 4.

Another issue would be, do you use a universal approach when measuring the difficulty of a game, i.e. would you compare a NES game to an SNES or even a Wii or Switch game? Because compared to some of those old games many new ones can seem really easy. Or would you rather look at them just as isolated games on a specific system and say, only compare NES games to NES games?

And the more modern you get, the wider the difficulty gap can become. Just finishing "modern" games is often not particularly difficult and can be done by most people. But somewhere around the Playstation/N64 era developers started to include more and more bonus content, some of which can be downright brutal and maybe even put various older games to shame. Just think back to Ruby or Emerald Weapon in FF VII. Or I recently watched the Completionist's take on Hollow Night. Completing that game sounded a lot more difficult than for example completing/speedrunning Super Metroid etc. But would you factor such bonus/completion content in your difficulty scale as well?

And what about AI exploits? Looking at your Zelda II score I would have to wonder: does this score stem from beating Dark Link legitimately or using the cheap strategy of hiding in the corner and just swinging your sword? Also, some game can be many times easier by having a guide, while other games may remain difficult no matter how many guides you read or how many longplays you watch. Also, do you factor in beating a game without using a continue? A game like Castlevania III or the Ghosts 'n Goblins series have unlimited continues so you could theoretically grind your way through them, while other games have limited or no continues, but may be a bit easier if it wasn't for the lack of continues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, Gaia Gensouki said:

I'd be curious as to how exactly you rate these games' difficulty down to several decimal places. When ranking them on Gamefaqs there is usually only an integer between 1 and 5, at least for the individual score that you can attribute to a game. And I personally would attribute these mentioned games to be at least "tough", i.e. somewhere around a 4.

Another issue would be, do you use a universal approach when measuring the difficulty of a game, i.e. would you compare a NES game to an SNES or even a Wii or Switch game? Because compared to some of those old games many new ones can seem really easy. Or would you rather look at them just as isolated games on a specific system and say, only compare NES games to NES games?

And the more modern you get, the wider the difficulty gap can become. Just finishing "modern" games is often not particularly difficult and can be done by most people. But somewhere around the Playstation/N64 era developers started to include more and more bonus content, some of which can be downright brutal and maybe even put various older games to shame. Just think back to Ruby or Emerald Weapon in FF VII. Or I recently watched the Completionist's take on Hollow Night. Completing that game sounded a lot more difficult than for example completing/speedrunning Super Metroid etc. But would you factor such bonus/completion content in your difficulty scale as well?

And what about AI exploits? Looking at your Zelda II score I would have to wonder: does this score stem from beating Dark Link legitimately or using the cheap strategy of hiding in the corner and just swinging your sword? Also, some game can be many times easier by having a guide, while other games may remain difficult no matter how many guides you read or how many longplays you watch. Also, do you factor in beating a game without using a continue? A game like Castlevania III or the Ghosts 'n Goblins series have unlimited continues so you could theoretically grind your way through them, while other games have limited or no continues, but may be a bit easier if it wasn't for the lack of continues.

Thanks for taking interest. So the disclaimer here would be that these are relative to themselves and it's entirely subjective and personal. I rank NES difficulty compared to other NES experiences, etc.

As for the math, it's not the best system. I'm no mathlete, but the rankings do end up sorting in a way that I find reasonable to my experience. My rankings are on a 1-10 scale. For example, I gave Double Dragon 3 a 10 because it was a very tough and truthfully a mostly awful experience (but YAY I finally beat it!). GameFaq users think it's a 4.17 (their scale goes to only 5). It's just an average of the two ((10+4.17)/2). This also means that the theoretical highest score a game can get on my scale is 7.5 which isn't ideal for round number OCD but I've grown used to it. I can probably normalize it so that 7.5 = 10 and maybe I will. There's probably a hundred better ways to do it but that's why I brought it up - to see if others do this as well and to inquire how.

I beat Dark Link using the exploit... but not knowingly. It was what I did when I got there - it wasn't until later that I learned I took the coward's way out. Oh well. The other 99% of the game was still pretty tough for me. Conversely, Contra is 17th on my list. I used to think it was hard, but a little practice went a long way and now it's no issue. It's all going to bank on personal experience and when I played it (even 5 years ago versus now-聽I'm probably better now).聽

I can't stress enough that the list is personal so I wouldn't try to convince anyone that LOZ2 will be harder than Batman - but it certainly was in my experience. The purpose of this from my perspective is more or less a self-maintained achievement list.

Edited by diddles_mcbean
clarification
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I write a text note to myself sometimes mentioning the difficulty but I don't really rate it. Most games these days would get a 0, since they're just supposed to pull you through to the end with a story not really challenge you with the gameplay. My ratings would change a lot over time too. I think Ninja Gaiden II is the hardest NG game on repeated play (I聽don't have a consistent way to beat Jacquio), but I beat it the first time with less trouble than NG1 or NG3 because they're more punishing about sending noobs back to git gud.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a ranking and difficulty ratings for some of the harder NES games that I beat.

1. Battletoads - 10

2. Bump n Jump - 9.5

3. Adventure Island - 9

4. Mike Tyson's Punch-Out - 8.5

5. The Adventures of Bayou Billy - 8

6. Ninja Gaiden III - 7.5

7. Ninja Gaiden - 7

I'm not sure about the difficulty ratings. I guess MTPO deserves at least an 8.5 because of the legendary difficulty of beating Tyson, but I've been beating the game since I was a kid so it's not quite as tough for me as it is for others. And the hardness of Ninja Gaiden is helped by the unlimited continues, same with Adventure Island.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, mbd39 said:

1. Battletoads - 10

2. Bump n Jump - 9.5

3. Adventure Island - 9

4. Mike Tyson's Punch-Out - 8.5

5. The Adventures of Bayou Billy - 8

6. Ninja Gaiden III - 7.5

7. Ninja Gaiden - 7

That's one tough list. I couldn't even beat Battletoads on Rare Replay with the rewind feature...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd call that Dark Link fight a strat, not an exploit. If a fairly obvious way to try to cheese a fight works, that's always fair game.

Back on topic, I've never tried to quantify difficulty to three decimal places. 馃檪聽But it is an interesting idea, though I've long felt that a game should have two difficulty ratings -- one for blind play (with manual and such), and one with optimal strats. And then there's difficulty settings: Chessmaster is a 1 on Newcomer 1 (the default), but quite a lot harder on upper difficulties.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's interesting how subjective difficulty can be.聽 Mike Tysons Punchout, to me, might rate a 5 or 6 (out of 10), and that's only because to this day I still struggle to time the bull charge from Bald Bull.聽 Tyson's a cakewalk.聽 First time playing the game though, I'd have said it was unbeatable, King Hippo being completely impossible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, the tall guy said:

It's interesting how subjective difficulty can be.聽 Mike Tysons Punchout, to me, might rate a 5 or 6 (out of 10), and that's only because to this day I still struggle to time the bull charge from Bald Bull.聽 Tyson's a cakewalk. 聽First time playing the game though, I'd have said it was unbeatable, King Hippo being completely impossible.

Same here for Bald Bull and I can also walk through Tyson.

For me it was forgetting to punch him in the gut instead of the face.聽 聽 First one is harder for me than the second, since on the second you can get him to only go halfway back and that's much easier to time.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, the tall guy said:

It's interesting how subjective difficulty can be.聽 Mike Tysons Punchout, to me, might rate a 5 or 6 (out of 10), and that's only because to this day I still struggle to time the bull charge from Bald Bull.聽 Tyson's a cakewalk.聽 First time playing the game though, I'd have said it was unbeatable, King Hippo being completely impossible.

When I'm out of practice I'll usually only have trouble with Macho and Tyson but I have beaten this game many times ever since I was a kid. For me it's Macho's spin punch that gives me the most grief. I've never had much trouble with Bald Bull.

I'd give the game a fairly high difficulty rating just because of how most people struggle with the last few boxers especially Tyson. There seems to be a number of people who've been trying for years and still can't beat Tyson. Some of this is due to the lag from modern displays and emulators, but he was considered almost impossible even back in the day.

Edited by mbd39
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...