aka: Difficulty Level
You've tried, and tried, but because The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, you just can't win. But wait! You can just change the difficulty level, and now victory is assured! Many strategy games, RPGs, and action games have difficulty levels. Often, you start the game at 'Normal', though sometimes at 'Easy', then work your way up. Some strategy games will let you change difficulty level between scenarios, letting you tackle a particularly challenging stretch without being frustrated by Nintendo Hard difficulty. Generally, games with difficulty levels will run on a scale that includes some or all of the following:
- Easier Than Easy
- Normal \ Medium
- Harder Than Hard (it may be Unlockable Content that is only revealed after completing the previous difficulty)
- "Mook" AI: Used in asymmetrical gameplay where one or more human players are fighting large numbers of Mooks. Higher difficulties make them higher in number, and have more health. If the game goes beyond just Numerical Hard, they will generally fight more aggressively too. Outside of the AI, your character's health may be less, and obstacles such as bottomless pits may be re-arranged.
- "Player" AI: Used in gameplay where each computer player ostensibly has equal footing with the human player(s). This situation is common in games where bots fill in for humans in multiplayer scenarios. Higher difficulties usually make the AI smarter, faster, and/or more skilled. They'll often cheat on higher difficulties, or cheat more than they do on the lower ones. There may also be harsher environmental forces that don't seem to affect the AI as much as humans.