Game Buoy Podcast Episode 18 – The Changing Role of Challenge in Games

Ahoy mateys and welcome to the Game Buoy podcast, your twice monthly port of call for gaming news and views that may not be on your radar, but definitely should be! On this episode, record Saturday, January 12, 2013, Captain Spike and his first mate, Slagkick, take a look at the changing role of challenge in games.


The THQ financial saga continues and it looks like its franchises may be sold at auction piecemeal.

Same-gender romances will be available on a planet in the upcoming expansion pack to Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Code Hero faces even more drama as some backers look like they’re preparing to pursue legal action.

Actual original gameplay footage on the Ouya has surfaced, as well as emulated games running quite nicely.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn beta applications are open.


– Terry Cavanagh scraps Nexus City and Selma’s Story in favor of pursuing other projects.

– Zynga is shutting down 11 games, most of them from Zynga’s recently shuttered Japanese studio.

– Capcom Arcade Cabinet is coming to XBLA and PSN, with Black Tiger already announced for the app.

Pokémon X & Y have been announced for simultaneous worldwide release in October, and we got our first look at the starters and legendary mascots.

– CES 2013 News Roundup!


With some 2012 Game of the Year contenders literally having no fail conditions, Captain Spike and Slagkick take a look at the changing role of challenge in games, looking at gaming then and now to explore trends, evolution, and differences in game design and gameplay in terms of difficulty and challenge. The concept of the “Nintendo hard” meme is explored, as well as the proper time and place for a “lives mechanic” and how game saves and checkpoints have influenced the role of challenge, as well. Captain Spike and Slagkick also explore cultural differences in challenge by examining five games where difficulty level varied between Japanese and Western release: Black Tiger, Battletoads, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Devil May Cry 3, and Streets of Rage 3. If you were expecting the Japanese versions to all be more difficult, you may be surprised!

Further reading:

– Examining Subjective Difficulty: How Plumbers Can Fight Demons (Gamasutra)

On Difficulty Levels (The Escapist)

Playing to Win (David Sirlin)


Captain Spike and Slagkick have been having a great time with Anarchy Reigns (which you should definitely go buy), and they are both getting back into World of Warcraft.


Each week, Captain Spike and Slagkick look at one article and tell you whether it’s well-written (Read!)  or an embarrassment to gaming journalism (Reeeeeeead.)

Kotaku and the Problem With Inflammatory Headlines in Video Game Blogging (Forbes)

When Hideki Kamiya tweeted about his thoughts regarding PC gaming, Kotaku decided to write an article about it. Although the article was a mostly valid look at differing views of PC gaming, the title – “The Guy Who Made Bayonetta is Clueless About Valve and PC Gaming” – evoked a colorful response from Kamiya himself. This wonderful blog post on Forbes points out exactly the type of problem that Game Buoy has been trying to point out since day one: when a site relies on inflammatory, sensationalist headlines, it becomes clear that their focus is more on page views and site traffic rather than good reporting. Not only that, but a badly written headline can totally diminish what a decent article is trying to say. When a blog post on a business journalism website has to call out one of the most-visited gaming blogs on the web, that makes a pretty strong case for the need for gaming journalists to do a better job at being our eyes and ears to the industry.

Verdict: This Reeeeeeeeeead is a definite Read!


@Dan_Dias tweets us about Mega Man Soccer and Street Fighter X Mega Man!


– Qoopa Klub, a Nintendo-centric LGBT podcast

– Orange Lounge Radio, where EVERY gamer has a voice

– Nerdgasm Network, the wildest 3 hours of shock jock video game radio

– Horde House, the show about World of Warcraft but NEVER too seriously

– Girls Gone WoW, for a female perspective on the world’s most popular MMO

– Video Game Outsiders, an Xbox Live Community Award-winning podcast running 7 years strong

– Theme music by Zelda Reorchestrated

– Email Captain Spike and Slagkick and join in the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

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