How does one convey difficulty levels?
The most common method in video games is through a menu from which players choose terms to set the difficulty of the game. Such menus generally take the form of the following:
With each term developers have two ‘paths’ they can take. A generic or idiosyncratic term.
- Generic – Commonly used terms which have no thematic basis in a game
- Idiosyncratic – Terms that have a thematic basis in a game
The following are examples of generic terms:
- Medium / Normal
A clear advantage to using such terms is they are established concepts in the gamer zeitgeist making them more likely to be know across cultures, and languages.
On the other hand a number of issues arise when using generic terms such as:
- Different Meanings – Nintendo Hard’s easy is harder than Western easy
- Different Connotations – There are many interpretations of the term. For example Easy can have negative connotations to a players self sense of skill though it may be appropriate. This may cause them to choose a higher difficulty than is appropriate resulting in a less enjoyable experience.
- Not Thematic – Alone they add little flavor to the game