Believe it or not, building difficulty into games isn't just about making them more impossible. John Harris over at Gamasutra takes the long route to prove this in an extended look into difficulty in game design
. The majority of the feature is spent looking at specific cases of legitimately difficult games, dissecting their design and coming away with lessons learned from each.
Harris concedes that most intelligently difficult games are much older, and typically don't have a "lose" condition. The list includes hair-pulling classics like Defender
, and Lode Runner
, as well as a few more recent titles like Super Monkey Ball
. It's a good read for anyone interested in game design
John Harris also writes the excellent @Play
column for GameSetWatch, which focuses on a long history of games classified as "roguelikes."