If you're reading this, you probably like video games, but what types of video games do you like? In 2019, gaming is more accessible than ever, with an estimated 2.3 billion gamers in the world. This number includes anybody who plays any type of video game, including free games on phones and computers. Of those 2.3 billion gamers, about 1.1 billion of those people spend money on video games. Of the 1.1 billion gamers who spend money on games, about 3 million bought FromSoftware's Dark Souls 3. For the record, I'm choosing Dark Souls 3 because it's a well-known, multiplatform game, which has been out for about three years.
Certainly FromSoftware's games are not the only hard games on the market, but they might be the most popular. Sekiro just launched at the top of the UK charts, which provides more evidence of FromSoftware's popularity. So, why do millions of gamers like hard games? There are thousands of fun games on the market, so why do millions of people want to play games that are so hard, they're nearly masochistic?
If we're to understand why some gamers enjoy hard games, we need to understand why people like being challenged. After all, FromSoftware's games are nothing short of a real challenge. So, what drives a person to do something challenging?
Challenges provide people with a way to test themselves and their limits. The more people challenge themselves, the closer they come to understanding their limits, and the closer they come to understanding themselves. Of course, there is a risk-reward factor to challenges; any challenging event can potentially lead to failure. Humans don't generally have positive feelings after failure, but failure allows for growth. I believe this is one of the main reasons why some gamers love hard games.
Anyone who has played a FromSoftware game will probably remember their first few hours in the game. For most players, there is a nightmarish learning curve and the game may seem impossible. However, after the initial struggle, it becomes shocking when you start to realize that the game isn't as impossible as you initially thought. Sure, you might have to fight your first boss 30 times, but when you beat it on the 31st attempt, it feels amazing. The sense of relief that rushes you after beating a particularly hard boss is almost incomprable to any other game. The sense of reward is so much greater because the victory was earned after so many failures. Each failure drives the player to work harder and play smarter until success eventually occurs.
I think the simplest answer as to why gamers like hard games is that they're just rewarding. The sense of reward that comes from finally beating something that initially seems impossible is immense. This is true for any challenge, not only of challenging games. If you have always wanted to try a FromSoftware game, but are too afraid to give them a shot, I would recommend Sekiro. You might end up getting addicted to the cycle of failure and success.