All about video game difficulty - how to create it, how to present it, and what happens when you fall afoul of it.
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[floatboxright:
Subcategories:
+FakeDifficulty
++TheComputerIsACheatingBastard
+ThatOneIndex
]

!!Difficulty levels in general:
[[index]]
* BossDissonance \\
A boss fight should normally be tougher than the level, but its difficulty doesn't match what's nearby.
** EasyLevelsHardBosses
** HardLevelsEasyBosses
* BreatherLevel \\
A level which is much easier than those surrounding it.
* ComebackMechanic \\
A feature that provides assistance to losing players or players near elimination.
* CrutchCharacter \\
A character who has skills that make the early stages of the game easier, but relying on him too much will hurt you in the long run.
* DifficultButAwesome \\
A character or game is hard to master, but doing it yields great results.
* DifficultyByAcceleration \\
The gameplay gradually goes into fast-forward as you progress.
* DifficultyByRegion \\
Some games are made harder or easier when released in different countries or regions.
* DifficultyLevels \\
If at first you don't succeed, try it on Easy mode.
* DifficultySpike \\
One level (or level of difficulty) which is suddenly ''much'' harder than the ones that came before it.
* DynamicDifficulty \\
A game that adjusts its difficulty based on how the player is doing.
* EarlyGameHell \\
Game is hardest at the start, rather than the end.
* EasierThanEasy \\
Do whatever you want in ''this'' mode - dying is all but impossible.
* EasyLevelTrick\\
When beating a level in a non-standard manner is a lot easier than beating it the expected way.
* EasyModeMockery \\
If you pick easy mode, the game will change things to mercilessly mock your ineptitude.
* FakeDifficulty \\
The use of cheap tricks to make the game harder.
* FinalDeathMode \\
A difficulty level where a player only has one life, instead of having multiple lives normally.
* HardModeFiller \\
A later level is identical to an earlier level, but harder.
* HardModePerks \\
You are rewarded for choosing harder difficulties in a gameplay-affecting way.
* HarderThanHard \\
A difficulty level ''above'' "Hard".
* HealerSignsOnEarly \\
One of the first people in the party has healing spells.
* HealingCheckpoint \\
Reaching a checkpoint or save point replenishes your health and/or supplies.
* HintsAreForLosers \\
In which a game's developer will adamantly refuse to help you.
* IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels \\
Difficulty levels that are given weird names.
* MercyMode \\
An Easy Mode unlocked by repeatedly, utterly failing.
* MultiplayerDifficultySpike\\
The multiplayer mode(s) are significantly more challenging than the single-player campaign.
* MyRulesAreNotYourRules \\
When the computer has abilities and better versions of the stuff you could ever receive.
* NonIndicativeDifficulty \\
Where "hard" mode is easier than "easy" mode.
* NintendoHard \\
Games that are ''very'' hard.
* NumericalHard \\
DifficultyLevels that merely change some statistics of the player/enemy stats.
* PlatformHell \\
A PlatformGame which is '''evil''' and totally out to kill you any way it can.
* RubberBandAI \\
The better you are at a game, the harder the game gets.
* SchizophrenicDifficulty \\
A game has a difficulty curve that makes no sense.
* SequelDifficultyDrop \\
A sequel is much easier than expected compared to the game(s) before it.
* SequelDifficultySpike \\
A sequel is ''much'' harder than expected compared to the original game.
* SkillGateCharacters \\
FightingGame characters that are a challenge to newcomers, but those with experience will easily mop the floor with them.
* SurpriseDifficulty \\
You thought this game was gonna be easy, didn't you?

!!Ways of increasing difficulty:
* AIRoulette \\
Random AI actions can result in extremely stupid moves by the computer or the contrary.
* ArtificialBrilliance \\
AI that's really good at what it does.
* AutoScrollingLevel \\
A level in a PlatformGame where the screen continually scrolls and you must keep up with it.
** AdvancingWallOfDoom \\
A level where you must constantly outrun a threat, or even the left side of the screen!
* BottomlessPits \\
Falling a thousand feet is fine, but falling ten feet into a bottomless pit? Instant death.
* CardboardObstacle \\
An obstacle that requires a particular skill or item to pass, and rather than being fun it becomes unnecessary or annoying.
* CheckPointStarvation \\
Severe lack of {{Check Point}}s or {{Save Point}}s.
* ChestMonster \\
It looks like a treasure chest, but you don't wanna open it.
* ClassicVideoGameScrewYous \\
Common elements among many games designed to get your guy killed.
* ClimbSlipHangClimb\\
Climbing high altitudes without a rope is accompanied by other factors (slipperiness, breaking, etc).
* CombatExclusiveHealing \\
Just barely survived that RandomEncounter? Sorry, your WhiteMage can't use healing spells outside of battle!
* ComputersAreFast \\
When it comes to reacting quickly or "mashing" buttons, it's easy to make a computer better than any player.
* ContinuingIsPainful \\
Where continuing or losing a life results in an [[UnstableEquilibrium even harder challenge]].
* DeadlyGas \\
Here's a hint: Don't get hit by it.
* DeadlyWalls \\
You're killed instantly whenever you touch a wall.
* DeathCourse \\
A gauntlet filled with enemies and/or booby traps that the hero character has to pass through.
* DenialOfDiagonalAttack \\
Games that only let you shoot horizontally, and often without being able to crouch, meaning short enemies are incredibly difficult to hit.
* DiminishingReturnsForBalance \\
The higher a given stat already is, the harder it is to raise it even further.
* DroughtLevelOfDoom \\
A long and often brutal level with powerups and healing items being scarce to nonexistent.
* EarnYourFun \\
You get no rewards unless you jump all these hoops!
* EmptyRoomUntilTheTrap \\
You thought that room had nothing in it?
* EscapeSequence \\
A level where you have to constantly run away from a particular enemy.
* EscortMission \\
A mission where you have to keep another character alive while beating enemies or getting to the exit.
** ProtectoratePlayer \\
An inversion of an Escort Mission, where the non-playable character ''protects you''.
* FakePlatform \\
It looks like a platform, but try stepping on it and you're in for a shock.
* ForcedLevelGrinding \\
A point in the game where the difficulty is high enough to force you to LevelGrind to continue.
* GangUpOnTheHuman \\
In multiplayer games with several [=AIs=] but only one human, they'll all go after the human.
* GoddamnedBats \\
Enemies that might not be so hard, but they just won't leave you alone.
** GoddamnedBoss \\
A boss that's not very dangerous, but very annoying or frustrating to fight.
** DemonicSpiders \\
Enemies that frustrate you by killing you in unfair ways, which make them innately more dangerous than other normal enemies.
* HeroMustSurvive \\
A storyline character joins you on the battlefield as a "unit" and you must make sure that he/she doesn't die until the end of the mission.
* HoldTheLine \\
A mission where you have to prevent the enemy completing their objective before time runs out.
* HostageSpiritLink \\
In LightGun games, accidentally shooting innocent people will damage ''you''.
* ICantReachIt\\
The character you're controlling can't, or won't, reach or use a perfectly accessible object.
* InconvenientlyPlacedConveyorBelt \\
A conveyor belt-like surface put in random places just so you can be pushed forwards or backwards.
* InescapableAmbush \\
The player enters an area which is suddenly enclosed in a barrier, and the player can't leave until he defeats all enemies.
* InstantDeathRadius \\
A boss has a strong attack which hits a large melee area and which prevents you from getting anywhere near him.
* InsurmountableWaistHeightFence \\
Trivial obstacles that can't be passed even with brute force.
* InvisibleBlock \\
It's there! You can't see it, but it's there!
* KaizoTrap \\
A DeathTrap claims you when you thought you could put the controller down, such as at the LevelGoal after the BossFight.
* KarlMarxHatesYourGuts \\
Where it's impossible to make money because everything always costs the same, so you can never sell at a profit.
* LeapOfFaith \\
Are you sure there's even a platform to jump on?
* LevelGrinding \\
In {{RPG}}s, you gain statistics and abilities by killing monsters many times.
** AntiGrinding \\
Found a good source to grind for experience points? It won't stay that way for long.
* MalevolentArchitecture \\
Everything is designed to make life as difficult for you as possible, even in actual structures that should have a logical layout.
** MagicalMysteryDoors \\
A puzzle where a room with a set of doors leads to another room with a set of doors, and you have to find the right path.
* ManualLeaderAIParty \\
You'd better hope that the non-human controlled allies' AI's up to scratch.
* MisbegottenMultiplayerMode \\
Games that are really designed for single-player mode, and become painful with more than one player.
* MonsterCloset \\
Enemies hiding in areas that shouldn't even exist and appear not to with no way for them to have got in there to begin with.
* MookMaker \\
A device or enemy who constantly spits out enemies for the player to fight.
* MutuallyExclusivePowerups \\
The case where picking up one weapon or powerup results in losing another.
* NoFairCheating \\
A measure built into a video game to make sure the player doesn't use cheats or auto-fire control pads.
* NotPlayingFairWithResources \\
AI players in RealTimeStrategy games are able to acquire resources faster than the player or don't need any resources at all.
* OneHitKill \\
A skill or attack that instantly kills whatever it hits.
* OneHitPointWonder \\
A game in which the protagonist instantly dies whenever he's hit by anything.
* PitTrap \\
A hole in the ground that's hidden so as to blend into the surrounding terrain, often found in PlatformHell games.
* PixelHunt \\
In {{Adventure Game}}s, you have to move the mouse across every single pixel on the screen to find the one object you're really looking for.
* PressXToDie \\
The player is given the option to perform an action that can only ever result in failure or otherwise hinder progress.
* PointOfNoContinues \\
No continuing if you die past this point in the game.
* ProtectionMission \\
A mission where you have to protect a stationary object or character from incoming enemies.
* ReinventingTheWheel \\
In strategy games, you need to purchase "upgrades" to capabilities in each campaign, even if your forces already had it in the last one.
* RespawningEnemies \\
After you beat a room full of enemies, if you come back to the room, the enemies will be back.
* RevivingEnemy\\
You didn't expect the developers to be nice enough to make that mook stay down just because you defeated it, did you?
* SaveGameLimits \\
Limitations on when, where and how often a players can save the game.
* SecondPlaceIsForLosers \\
Finishing second at the Daytona 500 is no different from finishing last in Video Game Land.
* SecretAIMoves \\
Computer-controlled opponents use techniques inaccessible to mere mortals.
* SmashingHallwayTrapsOfDoom \\
BoobyTrap in which two big stone blocks or spiked walls repeatedly ram into each other in a narrow hallway.
* SNKBoss \\
A Nintendo Hard boss in a Fighting Game. Known side effects include thrown controllers and frothing at the mouth.
* SpikesOfDoom \\
You touch one, you die horribly.
** SpikeBallsOfDoom \\
Like spikes, only more ''mobile''.
* SpitefulAI \\
AI characters don't seem to care if they win so long as you lose.
* StealthBasedMission \\
A mission where the player must sneak through an area infested with enemies.
* StalkingMission \\
A gameplay segment in which the player is tasked with following an {{NPC}} to a designated area without being spotted.
* SteamVentObstacle \\
Steam vents as obstacles.
* SuddenlyHarmfulHarmlessObject \\
That bush wasn't doing anything before, now it's attacking you.
* TeleportingKeycardSquad \\
Whenever you take something important, a slough of new enemies suddenly rushes in.
* TemporaryPlatform \\
When you land on it, it starts crumbling away.
* ThatOneAchievement \\
The one lousy achievement [[{{Playstation3}} or trophy]] that keeps you from HundredPercentCompletion.
* ThatOneAttack \\
A particular attack in an enemy's arsenal which is significantly more dangerous than the rest of its skills.
* ThatOneBoss \\
A boss who's infamous for being hard to beat.
* ThatOneLevel \\
A level which is much harder than those surrounding it, sometimes by accident.
* ThatOnePuzzle \\
You have a handful of alien bones, a shell, and no hints.
* TheComputerIsALyingBastard \\
The game gives you hints and advice that are flat out wrong.
* ThereAreNoTents \\
You can only rest the night at a ''genuine'' inn; you can't just set up camp somewhere.
* TimedMission \\
The player has a finite amount of time to complete a goal, otherwise it's GameOver.
** StalkedByTheBell \\
Run out of time and an in-universe threat will start to harass/hunt/attack you. Can you still complete the level?
** TimeKeepsOnTicking \\
When the clock keeps going, even during cutscenes, battles, and even the ''pause menu''.
* TrialAndErrorGameplay \\
When you can only figure out the correct path by trying the incorrect ones and dying, until you get to the right one.
* TurnsRed \\
When a boss's HP gets lower, he suddenly gains power, speed, and/or uses different attacks.
* TutorialFailure \\
When a tutorial either misleads or gives outright false information to the player.
* UnexpectedGameplayChange \\
Where a game suddenly changes from one gameplay genre to another for a level or area.
* UnwinnableByDesign \\
A gameplay design element that cripples the player so he can't win - but won't tell him about it for ''hours''.
* UnwinnableJokeGame \\
A game that presents you with a goal, but as a joke of the programmer this joke is completely unreachable.
* WizardNeedsFoodBadly \\
The practice of using a food resource as a time limit.
* YouRequireMoreVespeneGas \\
Strategy games make you gather resources.

!!Ways of making games ''easier'':
* AfterCombatRecovery \\
Just got beaten to within an inch of your life in that RandomEncounter? Don't worry, you're back to full health!
** AfterBossRecovery \\
Same thing, but only happens after boss battles.
* ArtificialStupidity \\
AI that's really bad at what it does.
* DoorToBefore \\
Once you fight your way to the end of an area, there will be a convenient door that leads you right back to the entrance.
* EffortlessAchievement \\
The game gives you achievements for merely starting the game, or performing mundane actions.
* FakeTrap \\
A trap that actually isn't deadly.
* ForegoneVictory \\
Any point in a game where you can't actually lose, even if it looks like you can.
* GameplayAllyImmortality \\
When you have an {{NPC}} with you, he/she will be impervious to damage or at least death.
* HintSystem \\
The game gives you hints if you can't solve a puzzle on your own.
* MercyInvincibility \\
Whenever you are hit, you have a small period of invincibility before being vulnerable again.
* NonLethalBottomlessPits \\
You expect instant death, but instead you just go back to the start of the area.
** BottomlessPitRescueService \\
Someone or something saves the character from falling all the way down.
* NoticeThis \\
Games will make an important item more visible (e.g. twinkles, color scheme, etc.)
* PlayerExclusiveMechanic \\
Reverse of SecretAIMoves, this is when players can have access to things that the computer cannot have.
* PlayerNudge \\
If you fail, the game hints to you what to do.
* RainbowSpeak \\
Important words and phrases are highlighted for your convenience in different colors.
* SurprisinglyEasyMiniQuest \\
A {{sidequest}} that seems like it'll be difficult or frustrating, but ends up being simple or easy.
* SuspiciouslyCrackedWall \\
The game will have an easily broken wall which conceals some sort of treat
* TakeCover \\
Modern games that allow you to use the environment as cover for bullets.
* VideoGameTutorial \\
An in-game tutorial that explains the various gameplay systems.
** AutoPilotTutorial \\
A tutorial that the player has no control over and must simply watch.
** ForcedTutorial \\
A tutorial that the player has no choice but to go through.
** HeKnowsAboutTimedHits \\
A tutorial given by actual in-game characters, BreakingTheFourthWall.
** JustifiedTutorial \\
A tutorial that makes sense in context.
* VillainForgotToLevelGrind \\
Where the villain is still at the same level he was at ten hours ago, but the heroes are ten levels higher and therefore beat him handily.
* WeakTurretGun \\
A turret gun that can be easily knocked out or over.

!!Video game deaths:
* CycleOfHurting \\
You're caught in a DeathTrap and have to watch your HitPoints slowly go down to zero.
* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist \\
The penalty for death is so minor that there may as well not be one at all.
* GameOver \\
You're dead.
** GameOverMan \\
When a character appears on the game over screen, sometimes to mock you.
** HaveANiceDeath \\
When the game gives you a OneLiner after finishing you off.
** ItsAWonderfulFailure \\
An ending that only plays when you get a GameOver.
** NonstandardGameOver \\
A GameOver screen that appears not after the usual HitPoint-loss, but when you've messed up something more serious or plot-worthy.
** TheManyDeathsOfYou \\
Games that offer all sorts of ways for you to kick the bucket, rather than just losing HitPoints or falling down pits.
** YetAnotherStupidDeath \\
[[SpaceQuest Duhh. You died because you were dumb.]]
** PressStartToGameOver \\
GameOver before it really begins.
* NonLethalKO \\
When HP goes to zero, you don't "die", you just get "knocked out".
** FinalDeath \\
Games where, when a character dies, that character is D-E-D Dead and is just plain not coming back.
* RespawnOnTheSpot \\
When you die, you come back to life instantly on the same location you died, or very close to it, without losing any progress.
* VideoGameLives \\
How many tries a player has before a Game Over.
* WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou \\
You get a GameOver when the main character is killed, regardless of how many of his companions are still alive.
[[/index]]
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