Low Threat Construct: Die in the name of the Evil Wizard!Easy Mode Mockery is where the game radically changes when you play on easier difficulties. There are two ways to go about this: The Serious Way: You cannot unlock extra gameplay modes or features on the easier difficulties. The game may also end early or not give you the best ending. This is to prevent you from just unlocking all the extras on the easiest levels and then ignoring the main game. The Humiliating Way: The game turns ridiculous in one way or another on easy difficulties. For example, all the enemies turn Super-Deformed and your weapon becomes a broomstick. Related to Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels, where the names of the easy modes often contain taunts. Compare No Fair Cheating, where making the game easier through cheats is discouraged. For some cases where Easy Mode Mockery is provided by other players, see "Stop Having Fun" Guys. Subtrope of Earn Your Fun. Now a lot of these "mocking" endings are worth seeing at least once, and in a few cases (most notably Guitar Hero 2 and Rocks The 80s), you actually get rewards from the easiest difficulty you can't get any other way. However, this is cold comfort to those people who really cannot just "practice and get better", such as those with disabilities, and do not appreciate a game making fun of them for something that is entirely out of their control. A related trope is Hints Are For Losers, which is when the game mock or penalize the player for trying to use hints. Contrast Hard Mode Perks, where the game achieves the same result by rewarding you for choosing harder difficulties. Games featuring a Story Difficulty Setting may avert or even invert this trope, but don't necessarily.
Nameless One: What evil wizard are you talking about?
Low Threat Construct: Uh...the one that doesn't exist until you set the Rubikon Dungeon construct to *hard* difficulty level. Boy, will you be in trouble then.
Nameless One: What evil wizard are you talking about?
Low Threat Construct: Uh...the one that doesn't exist until you set the Rubikon Dungeon construct to *hard* difficulty level. Boy, will you be in trouble then.
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- Spider-Man on the PlayStation has a Kid Mode (or the "Easy mode that's so easy it's no fun" mode). The Official New Zealand Playstation Magazine issue #40 page 102 gives this lovely gem:
Fight like a Baby — Kid Mode is a quick way to ruin the game. Avoid it. It bypasses several of the puzzles and trickier bits and it will even complete parts of the game for you.
Honest to god in the beginning of the game when you foil a bank robbery, the bank robbers set a bomb. After you take them out you have to solve the problem of how to keep the bomb from destroying the bank. On Easy, Spider-Man says "I need to put this bomb in a safe place". He really emphasized "safe". Guess where you're supposed to put the bomb.
- Similarly, the Sega Genesis Spider-Man would stop you at certain points if you didn't play on Nightmare, the highest difficulty.
- Spider-Man on the PlayStation has a Kid Mode (or the "Easy mode that's so easy it's no fun" mode). The Official New Zealand Playstation Magazine issue #40 page 102 gives this lovely gem:
- You can only get the best ending in Superman 64 by beating it on the hardest difficulty. Playing the game on Easy Mode will remove the (infamous) rings from the Ride stages, but in doing so, the game will end before the second-to-last action stage. Likewise, Normal mode will end before the last stage.
- After you die five or six times, Ninja Gaiden Black offers you the "Ninja Dog" difficulty, which forces you to wear a girly purple ribbon and mocks you in the opening cutscene. And Ayane will insult you throughout the game when she helps.
- In the original Devil May Cry, if you use a Vital Star anytime during the first three missions, or die three times, you are offered Easy Automatic Mode. Choosing this mode locks you into this difficulty, you cannot unlock anything other than New Game+, and even then you're stuck in the Easy-Auto difficulty. The only way to get out of it is an entirely new file. You also miss out on fighting some monsters; Shadows, Frosts, and Fetishes don't spawn in easy auto mode.
- The same thing happens in Devil May Cry 3. Penny Arcade would inevitably notice this, and do a little mockery of their own.
- The Onimusha series offers Easy Mode after three deaths.
- In the Demolition Man 3DO game, choosing Easy mode causes Sylvester Stallone to literally mock you, saying "You...suck!"
- The first X-Men game for the Sega Genesis ends halfway through on 'Amateur' Mode (the easiest difficulty level) with a closeup of Magneto's sneering face and the text, "Amateurs can never defeat me! Try being a hero!" scrolling by.
- Contra series:
- Contra 4 not only ends at stage 7 on Easy mode but outright taunts you, telling you that you'll never see the ending on Easy. With that exact wording! You do, however, still get to unlock Challenge Mode. This is a good thing, because some of the challenges give you glimpses of the final stage, so you can practice a bit before you get to the real thing. Beating Normal mode in one shot is more than difficult enough without the added challenge of playing a level you've never seen before.
- Contra III will only let you fight the True Final Boss on the hardest setting. The Easy and Normal mode will stop after the Final Boss reveals it is Not Quite Dead and you get a message telling you to play on the next difficulty level and are promptly booted to Stage 1. However, you do get to retain all your weapons (including your stock of mega bombs), lives, and score from your previous playthrough when you restart on the next setting.
- In Orcs Must Die!, if you decide to play on the easiest difficulty, you will only be able to earn two skulls, the thing you use to upgrade your traps, for finishing a level, instead of a maximum of five on the harder difficulties.
- Castle of Illusion ends after you collect the third gem if you play on easy, with Mizerabel merely giving Minnie back to you.
- In Lollipop Chainsaw, the image for the easiest difficulty setting is... a chicken.
- Get killed enough times in the Xbox 360 Live Arcade game "The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile", and you'll unlock an easier mode, humiliatingly titled, "Pretty Princess Difficulty". Enemies rarely attack, have less health, and bleed hearts instead of blood. Some levels also feature pink hearts in the background, further emasculating and ridiculing the player. To add some context, this is a very violent and bloody game, presented only in black and white. The pink hearts are extremely noticeable.
- The first two levels of Shades of Doom are entitled "It's my turn daddy" and "Don't hurt me."
- In the PSN/XBLA game Capcom Arcade Cabinet, all the games have a "Casual Mode", which features extra lives and easier enemy placements, but you cannot earn Achievements/Trophies in this mode.
- The icon for easy mode in Deadpool is Deadpool's face with a pacifier and a tear streaming from one eye.
- Carrie's Order Up! includes "Friendly Mode" that turns you from a One-Hit-Point Wonder to using the Sprint Meter as a form of Regenerating Health. Colliding with customers simply takes a bit away from your Sprint Meter and causes them to vanish in a puff of smoke. Leaving a customer waiting for their food for too long will still cost you a life, though. Of course, playing on this mode means your score isn't tracked and you can't complete challenges.
- Furi has Promenade Mode, which makes the game far easier but also prevents you from unlocking achievements or Furier difficulty. The game also straight-up tells you that this is not the intended difficulty of the game.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers on the Sega CD will end on earlier levels when playing on lower difficulties. You can only play the entire game on hard mode. This is bizarre for a game seemingly aimed at the youngest of players.
- Some LucasArts adventure games such as the Monkey Island series offered a Lite mode which had fewer puzzles and shorter length. It's really not worth playing these no matter how bad you are at adventure games because you aren't getting the full experience: in this case, playing the Easy mode is its own punishment.
- Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge labeled the two modes and gave each a subtitle; Easy mode was "I've never played an adventure game before, I'm scared", and if you chose this mode, most of the puzzles were solved for you, making for a very unsatisfying experience (In addition, the Lite mode was advertised on the back of the game box as being geared towards video game reviewers). The Curse of Monkey Island, by contrast, had regular (Being a Swashbuckling Pirate Adventure) and Mega Monkey (Being a Swashbuckling Pirate Adventure, But with More Puzzles) modes. Regular was a complete and satisfying game experience; Mega Monkey added puzzles to the normal mode for people looking for a greater challenge.
- The little-heard-of Super Nintendo Entertainment System version of Bram Stoker's Dracula featured this - if you beat it on Easy mode, the game ended with Harker allowing Dracula to escape. Only on Normal or Hard mode would you be able to continue past the 3rd or 4th stage.
- King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow has two possible routes to the endgame, a long one and a short one. Taking the short one locks you out of several sidequests and has a much more bittersweet denouement. Cassima even wistfully laments all the things Alexander didn't do because he took the short path.
Beat Em Up
- The NES Battle Toads, if you actually managed to beat it, would call you out for taking the easy way out if you used the level select cheat.
Dark Queen: We might be evil, but at least we don't cheat!
- The Genesis version of Golden Axe has a Beginner mode consists of only three stages, ending the game with a battle against Death Adder Jr., a weaker version of the real Death Adder.
- Streets of Rage 3 on Easy difficulty in the American version would end after defeating Robot X on stage 5 (the game has 7 stages), who would say, "You play this game like a beginner." This is just plain mean, as the NA version bumped up the difficulty, with Normal being the equivalent of Hard in the original Japanese version. In other words: you get punished for playing on Japanese Normal.
- Double Dragon II: The Revenge for the NES gave it to you on this one in the American version. Playing the game on the "Practice" setting only takes you to the third stage, while "Warrior" takes you through the whole game except for the final stage. Fighting the True Final Boss to see the ending can only be achieved by playing the game on "Supreme Master", the hardest of the difficulty settings.
- The Japan-only PC Engine version of Double Dragon II actually has Multiple Endings depending on the difficulty setting. The Easy mode ending is the bad ending where the final boss escapes during the last battle, while the Normal and Hard mode endings are a Segmented Ending. The Normal ending shows the final boss giving his dying speech, but only the Hard ending shows Marian returning to life.
- The Game Boy version of Double Dragon II, a completely different game from the aforementioned versions, ends the game after the first four (of ten) stages when played on the Easy setting.
- If you select Easy on God Hand, Gene will mock you by saying, "What, you want me to hold your hand?" In the game itself, Easy mode restricts the in-game difficulty meter to the two lowest levels, so players will only earn low rewards on the enemies they kill.
- In the SNES version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, the ending on Easy or Normal mode merely consists of Splinter telling you to hone your skills more, followed by Shredder laughing at you. In true Konami fashion at the time, you have the beat it on Hard mode to see the real ending.
- In one of the more humorous examples, the Xbox Live Arcade game The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, will mock the player by unlocking the "Pretty Princess" difficulty if the player dies too many times. Activating it will cause pink hearts to follow you in the background, and enemies will do almost no damage to the player. It's insultingly easy.
Collectible Card Game
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Stairway to the Destined Duel, if you lose 5 times in a row, you unlock Mokuba as a duelist, and he's laughably easy. Your starter deck is usually pretty bad, so unless you buy the real life cards or look the codes up on the internet and enter them, you will lose. A lot.
- Twisted Metal 2. When played on Easy, the game ends just after the first boss with a big stop sign featuring the message "No losers allowed beyond this point".
- Rock 'N Roll Racing limited what planets you could race on (and thus what cars you had access to), depending on the difficulty setting. The last planet was only playable on the highest setting, and to make it more challenging, the tracks from it weren't available in the practice mode (where you could choose the planet you wanted to race on.)
- The number of laps on a race in Fatal Racing is difficulty dependent. Girlie mode has this below 5 laps for all of the first two cups. Two problems come from this: first, the AI is NOT restricted by the acceleration and braking stats of the car they drive (which means the slowest car can pass you from 16th place on the first lap), and second, the 8th course of the first two cups is nigh-unwinnable on Girlie mode, and most of the other tracks are difficult to get decent placement on, requiring a near-perfect performance on all 8 tracks in championship mode to win. The final slap in the face? The third cup is only unlockable on Impossible or DEATH difficulties - by clearing BOTH cups before it on that difficulty!
- A similar issue occurs in Wipeout 2097/XL where the first track on the slowest speed setting is actually difficult in a slow ship because you only have slightly over a minute to overtake 11 opponents.
- On Girlie mode you just have to pick a fast car and overtake everyone, much like a traditional arcade racer; damage is largely irrelevant. On Impossible and DEATH, due to races that last well over 15 laps and the lack of ways to actually outrace opponents when the track is not favourable to your chosen car, the only way to win some of these races is by having a better pitstop strategy, which also forces you to crank up the damage multiplier. In short, the easier difficulties do not prepare you for the real game in any way shape or form.
- If you beat Rogue Trip using one of the unlockable vehicles (which a vastly more powerful than the regulars), the AAA representative, who usually gives you a code, tells you, "My grandma could win using a vehicle like that. Try again, this time without using a ringer!"
- In Mario Kart 7, the top screen on the Nintendo 3DS shows Mario demonstrating how fast you'd expect to be going when you select a difficulty level. In 50cc mode, Mario drives really slowly.
- On top of this, the added beat to the music that plays when you have a big lead in a race doesn't play on the easy setting. However, you'll have to complete races on 50cc to unlock some kart parts and earn your star ranks.
- Super Mario Kart doesn't allow you to race in the Special Cup on 50cc. You have to play on at least 100cc to see it.
- Rage Racer mocks players who use automatic transmission by not having AT on new cars that are Grade 4 or higher; you can only use them in manual transmission.
- Even the old One Must Fall fighting game got in on the trope: you had to have the difficulty set to a particular level—or else the end boss of the story mode would mock you when you reached him and you couldn't complete the storyline.
- Or in Tournament Mode, the "unranked challengers" only appear if you're competing on a high enough difficulty (among other conditions). If you want to get all the secret upgrades for your bot, you need to be playing on either the second hardest or hardest difficulty.
- Home versions of Street Fighter II would give you a "Try again on a harder level!" screen on beating the game if you set the difficulty below four stars.
- The Game Boy version of the original Killer Instinct just rolled the credits after the fight against Fulgore on the easier difficulties, so no one could see the ending or even the final boss.
- The SNES version of Killer Instinct has 6 difficulty levels, each of them having a different ending text depending on the level you beat the game on: everything below 4 just earns you different degrees of mockery about the final boss being as much of a wuss as you are, 4 showing the actual character-specific endings and 6 revealing the code to play as the boss.
- The Nintendo 64 version of Killer Instinct Gold was also guilty of this. If you play through the game on Very Easy, you won't even get to the end boss; you instead get some saditty message about not being worthy, then the credits roll. At Easy, you fight him but will not get an ending after winning.
- In the first Sailor Moon video game for the Super Famicom, a sidescroller released only in Japan, you can only complete the first two levels in easy mode before the game ends.
- Xenophage Alien Bloodsport does not allow you to fight either boss on the easiest difficulty. The next one up only lets you fight the first boss, and you have to be playing on at least the middle difficulty to fight the second boss. Even on the easiest difficulty the game is still pretty hard.
- Mortal Kombat 3's difficulty selection on the PC included "Wuss" in place of the easy option.
- In Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 console games and Trilogy, your reward for winning was determined by your level.
- Also, selecting tournament difficulty would have Shao Khan laughing evilly. Selecting the easiest/shortest tournament would have him say "You make me laugh" in a condescending tone.
- Mortal Kombat II, on SNES, would have subverted this had the prototype been the final version. In this version, the game mocks you not for picking an easier difficulty but for turning the blood & gore off (an option which was removed altogether in the final product). Setting the game mode to "Bloody" generated a message reading "With blood for the true sportsman", and setting it to "Bloodless" generated one reading "No blood for the wimps". For the squeamish types, this toggle could influence the game's difficulty, but it would have been entirely in their heads... and that's assuming it even worked (in this prototype it did not; the game was always bloody regardless).
- There is a Game Boy Color Shrek game called Shrek: Fairy Tale Freakdown, in which selecting the difficulty uses Donkey's head as a cursor. If you select easy mode, he will stick his tongue out at you and even on medium, he will not look impressed.
- In a related phenomenon, the tutorial for the easier control scheme in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND is less the usual tutorial interspersed with insults from Rachel, and more insults from Rachel interspersed with a tutorial.
- The bootleg Famicom game Kart Fighter has No Ending unless you play on the highest difficulty.
- In the fourth installment of Super Smash Bros., when adjusting the Intensity setting for Classic Mode, a little diorama suggests the difficulty and rewards of the setting. On Intensity 0.0-0.9 Effortless in the 3DS version, the background is a barren plain, the spirit guarding a bag of gold coins looks sad and tiny, and Mario scratches his head while looking down at it. Even the sound made by switching down to that Intensity sounds pathetic! The Wii U version has the same puny spirit and a similar wimpy sound effect on those low intensities, but the diorama shows the entrance to a cave, peaceful waterfall sounds play instead of crackling flames, and the gold hoard barely covers the bottom of the screen. As further mockery, you have to pay coins to play on this Intensity.
- In a more serious example, you can only see all the forms of the game's True Final Boss if you play on 7.5 (3DS) or 8.0 (Wii U) or above, and cannot fight the boss at all if you're playing at 0.0-5.4 (3DS) or 0.0-5.0 (Wii U). Also inverted at 8.0 and up by preventing you from taking on the standard Final Boss in the 3DS version.
- In Akatsuki Blitzkampf Ausf. Achse, choosing the Easy Mode looks the player out of the chosen's character Story Path after the fifth match. Instad of anything similar to an ending, it finishes with a picture of Perfecti, Murakumo and Blitztank and a message that urges the player to play in Normal Mode instead.
First Person Shooter
- Wolfenstein 3D and its sequel showed the protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz's face next to the difficulty selector, with increasingly fierce expressions as the difficulties got harder. The easiest mode, "Can I play, Daddy?", shows him wearing a baby's bonnet and sucking a pacifier. The second easiest mode isn't much kinder: "Please don't hurt me." It shows him looking scared.
- Wolfenstein: The New Order brings this back in glorious HD.◊
- This mocking naming of difficulty levels would continue through the Doom series ("I'm Too Young To Die" and "Hey, Not Too Rough") and Heretic ("Thou Needest a Wet Nurse" and "Yellowbellies-R-Us").
- The PS1 version of Doom just states it outright. "I'm Too Young to Die" is now named "I am a Wimp". On the other hand, in all versions of the game, the easiest difficulty also gives you the same doubled ammo per-pickup you get from Nightmare! difficulty.
- Rise of the Triad insults you for the two lowest difficulty settings. One of the possible names for the lowest one is "I am a chew toy" with a picture of a doll in a dog's mouth, while the second-lowest is "Will of iron, knees of jello," with a picture depicting a dollop of smelted iron on a cube of jello.
- Painkiller will disable levels unless you play on Trauma (the hardest) difficulty. Frustratingly, playing on Trauma disables the 5th chapter of the game because the game's semi-true ending takes place at the end of the 4th chapter. Not to mention Trauma changes the rules such that certain bonus objectives are impossible to achieve. You get the option of starting with all the bonuses from your last playthrough at the second hardest difficulty, but that's actually easier than starting over on the hardest. Whee.
- In addition, when selecting Daydream as the difficulty level at the start of the game, the game outright warns the player that Daydream is intended for beginners and thus extremely easy. And that the bonus tarot cards are disabled and can't be earned at all.
- Any difficulty not Trauma also (possibly intentionally) creates a Plot Hole in the ongoing story - it's not explained how you meet Eve, a character who helps the PC.
- Halo: Easy is the only difficulty that does not yield an achievement upon completion of the campaign.
- In Postal 2, the police meter goes down much slower in the easier difficulty levels, and you can't unlock Enhanced Mode if you play at a level below "Average". The very easiest difficulty level arms pretty much all characters with shovels instead of guns. Not exactly a punishment, although you do miss out on how the game was meant to be experienced. Also, since no one really has guns, finding ammo is nearly impossible.
- The easiest setting is called Liebermode (a shot at former Senator Joe Lieberman, one of the most vocal Moral Guardian crusaders against video games). In it, not only is everyone significantly less agressive than they could be, just about every weapon people wield are tazers that quite literally do absolutely no damage when wielded by anyone other than the player.
- When you play Serious Sam HD on the "Tourist" setting, enemies explode into puffs of flowers instead of clouds of blood.
- You get double the health plus regeneration on the easiest mode. On the Xbox version of Serious Sam it shows a picture of Sam dressed as a baby, fitting enough.
- The trend is continued in Serious Sam 2, pacifier and all.
- Time Splitters 2: The campaign missions are shortened on Easy difficulty, causing them to end about halfway through.
- The only way to enable full episode selection in SNES Doom was to play on a high difficulty. Selecting easy mode forced the player to go through the entire game from the beginning to even see the later levels. On the SNES, picking "I'm too young to die" would get you brutally murdered and chucked back to the title screen with no explanation at all after beating the boss of "Phobos Anomaly", .
- PAYDAY The Heist: You can only select easy mode on the first two levels. Originally, the last two heists (not including DLC levels) could only be accessed on Hard and above, but a patch enabled players to play those heists on at least Normal.
- PAYDAY 2 had pro jobs (heists that don't allow restarting if your team goes down) that aren't accessible on Normal (the easiest difficulty). These have since been removed. Though there are numerous achievements that unlock extra weapon mods and masks that require you to be on a certain difficulty or above.
- In the PC game Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, the secret code to kill all enemies on the current level is "boyisuck".
- The Civilization series gives you a score at the end of the game that compares you to other world leaders. If you play on one of the easier difficulty levels, you are saddled with a horrible ranking like "Warren G. Harding" even if you beat the computer by a country mile.
- On the other hand, they save the mockery 'til the end, which avoids the problem of driving away newbies before they've become thoroughly hooked.
- In Galactic Civilizations II, a turn-based space strategy game, the AI of computer players is circumscribed on lower difficulties. As an example, on an easy setting, the AI will not react to your assembling an invasion fleet directly next to one of their planets. It will, however, pop up the diplomacy screen and tell you he knows what you're doing — it's simply that his generals are too stupid to take appropriate action.note
- Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties dood! has an easy mode named "Baby Mode". During this mode most bottomless pits are covered over by pink and yellow blocks with pictures of baby demons on them. Diapers are also added as a pick up item for healing you. In the Asagi Wars story mode, since Prinny Asagi's health is measured in TV ratings she doesn't gain the diapers healing item but instead only loses 12.5% of her viewers when she is hit in baby mode, as opposed to 25% on normal and 50% on hard mode, but the baby blocks are still present and she also carries a lot more ammo.
- The NES and Game Boy versions of The Lion King end early if you play them on "Cub" mode (as Scar puts it on the ending screen, "Well done, my little cub, but that was Easy"). The Game Boy version, being longer than the NES version in a twisted form of logic, ends at The Stampede on Cub mode; the NES version ends after the Elephant Graveyard.
- "Kids" difficulty in Viewtiful Joe unlocks nothing, and your power-ups in that mode don't transfer to the other difficulties. The one exception was the PlayStation 2 port of the original, which unlocked Dante from Devil May Cry on completion in any mode.
- In I Wanna Be the Guy, setting the difficulty to Medium (the easiest level) puts a pink ribbon in The Kid's hair. Also, the save points that aren't there in Hard mode have the word "Wuss" in place of "Save".
- Early versions had an Easy mode. It would kill you in the title screen to save you the trouble of playing the game.
- I Wanna Be The Fangame has certain areas you cannot reach on Medium as you'll be blocked by a force field labeled "no ribbons".
- In I Wanna Be The Guy Gaiden, setting the difficulty to Easy closes the game and opens up the Barbie website in your web browser.
- Rick Dangerous 2: the game allows you to start in level 2, 3 or 4; however, you don't actually unlock the final level, or see the ending, unless you start from level 1.
- In addition to naming its Easy Mode "Child's Play", the SNES title Plok not only gives you slower-moving enemies, but also cuts out many of the game's levels, including the Legacy Island world and the final Fleapit stages (ending the game instead on a screen challenging you to play on Normal).
- You could also destroy the normally indestructible rolling logs with your limbs on "Child's Play".
- In Mega Man X5 if you play on easy, you cannot get any parts from the bosses, because they are low level bosses.
- Mega Man X8 stops you just before the final boss if you play on easy. Surprisingly, the game is rather subtle about it here. After all, Sigma NOT being the final boss is a major surprise.
- If you play on Easy in Mega Man ZX, you can unlock and fight Omega of Mega Man Zero 3 fame, but you won't receive the reward for defeating him, the OX module.
- The Genesis version of Sparkster (not to be confused with the Super NES version, which was a different game) uses a surprisingly subtle form of this, skipping levels instead of ending them early; unfortunately, the very first skipped level contains one of the MacGuffins you need to unlock the true ending. (All the others are available in all difficulty levels, of course.) Oh, and having all seven MacGuffins gave you significant advantages against the final boss: namely a fast-charging rocket-pack and immunity to one of the first form's attacks.
- Speaking of the SNES Sparkster, it has this even at Normal Difficulty. Easy mode is labeled Digest (which is their way of saying "this mode is missing lots of stuff"), but there's really no excuse for Normal mode to not have the final boss in it unless they really wanted it to be a True Final Boss.
- The Disney Hercules computer game, when played on the Easy setting, ends on the Mount Olympus level with Hercules freeing Zeus. It ends with a nice little still image and the usual "now try a higher difficulty" message.
- If one beats the Special Edition CD version of the original Earthworm Jim on Practice Mode, you do not get the "UR'E THE BEST" screen after beating the Queen, and the ending cutscene is gone. Instead, you see a still shot of the ending's location, with the voice of series creator Doug TenNapel saying "What a worm! Playing on practice, eh?". Feeling bad, he decides to explain (in a non-serious manner) everything (and we mean EVERYTHING) he knows about worms.
- In Metroid: Zero Mission (the remake of the original NES Metroid for Game Boy Advance), there are eight different ending images that you can see showing Samus in various states of disarmament: from full Power Suit, to helmet removed, to armor removed and in the Zero Suit (blue jumpsuit), to various versions of armor removed and in short-shorts and a small top. On Normal and Hard modes, which image you see is determined by your completion time and item collection percentage. But if you play on Easy, you'll only ever get the image of Samus in full armor sitting atop a rock, regardless of your time or completion rating.note
- Tiny Toon Adventures Buster Busts Loose has the game skip parts of the levels, one whole level, and even the ending if you happen to play the easiest mode... And it's the only difficulty where you get passwords.
- Your moves are also altered: on the easiest mode your dash on its own will count as an attack, while in harder modes you have to do a dashing leap or slide to avoid damage.
- Castle of Illusion's "practice" mode offered heavily shortened, boss-less versions of the first three levels, and instead of fighting the big bad Mizrabel you'd buy her off with gems.
- "Lil' Kids" mode in Toe Jam And Earl in Panic on Funkotron made it impossible to die, but ended the game after level five, thus robbing players of the chance to collect the Funkopotamus' favourite things and get the good ending.
- The Castlevania for the Nintendo 64 ends after the Castle Center level if you play on the easiest difficulty setting.
- In Mega Man Powered Up the final battle with Dr. Wily ends after the first phase on Easy Mode, wherein Wily escapes cackling "Maybe next time!". It still gives you an epilogue that assumes he was actually defeated, though.
- Collectibles scattered through the levels that add features to the game's Level Editor also do not spawn in easy mode.
- Hammerin' Hero unlocks "Apprentice" difficulty (the lowest setting) if you should get Game Over three times at any point in the game. Playing any level on Apprentice starts your hero off with a blue helmet, which allows him to absorb two extra hits before dying.
- Prehistorik Man, when played in Easy mode, ended in level 14 out of 23, right after the second boss.
- Monster Bash has three difficulty settings, each with a picture of the hero flexing his muscles next to them on the selection screen. The "Easy" setting, however, features him Flexing Those Non-Biceps.
- The Xbox Live Arcade title 'Splosion Man offers the player the chance to skip a level if they die too many times attempting it. A picture will come up on the screen stating that you can now select the "Way Of The Coward" option from the pause menu. Your punishment? You WILL wear a tu-tu in the next level.
- The sequel, Ms. 'Splosion Man will let you "Cheat on the Game", letting you skip to the next checkpoint if you die on one section of the level multiple times. That said, you will suffer the effects of "The Curse": Your score for the level goes to zero, your time for the level goes to 999:59:99, and worst of all Ms. Splosion Man suddenly gains a lot of weight in her rear and the background music changes to a pro-"Ba-Donk-A-Donk" song.
- The easy mode in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (accessible by pressing Select on the file select screen) changes Mario from regular size to small on the file select screen and causes a screen reading "EASY MODE" to pop up before you enter every stage. It's hard to tell if it's even a deliberate case of mockery, since apart from easy mode identifying itself as such, there are no penalties whatsoever for using it.
- In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, if you die around five times, you are granted an Aku Aku mask for every time you die until you get another checkpoint. If you happen to die so much, either because the lack of skill or you are trying to get 100% on the level "Cold Hard Crash", the closest box becomes a checkpoint.
- Sylvester and Tweety in Cagey Capers took the "fewer levels on easy mode" idea Up to Eleven—it had a difficulty slider, and the lower it was set, the fewer levels you could play, down to just the first level at anything below 11%. If you want the whole game, you'd have to set it to at least 81%.
- In Super Mario Galaxy 2, you can have the Cosmic Guide play a level for you if you die too many times in it. However, you get a bronze star rather than a genuine Power Star. They count toward your total star count, but if you have even one bronze star in your inventory, you can't unlock the final level. The Cosmic Guide will not work if you're playing as Luigi, however.
- In all New Super Mario Bros. games after the first and Super Mario 3D Land, if you use any Super Guides while playing then the stars on your save file sheet will stop glowing.
- Unfortunately, 3D Land and NSMB Wii will remove your glowing stars if you are ever offered use of the easy mode. Simply dying too many times on one level makes your glowing stars lost forever, which is a damn shame because it doesn't distinguish between bad players training to get better and bad players selecting easy mode. NSMB 2 seems to have fixed that.
- Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels featured a variation of this: If you use any warp zones (even the ones that send you back to an earlier level) while playing this game, then you cannot unlock World 9. If you beat Worlds 1-8 without warping and complete World 9, but use warp zones in Worlds A-D, then you will be locked out of World 9 the next time you play it.
- The 100 Mario Challenge in Super Mario Maker has Difficulty Levels. On Normal and Expert, you journey through sixteen courses and rescue Princess Peach. If you set it to Easy, however, you're essentially playing the 10 Mario Challenge (which features eight courses) with 90 additional lives and user-generated courses instead of sample courses. You even get the same "Your Princess Is in Another Castle" scene with Toad and the subsequent "To Be Continued". While you can use amiibo to save yourself from playing through Easy mode to collect a randomly chosen Mystery Mushroom costume available only through this difficulty, only twelve of the twenty costumes have amiiboSpecifics .
- In all New Super Mario Bros. games after the first and Super Mario 3D Land, if you use any Super Guides while playing then the stars on your save file sheet will stop glowing.
- Jazz Jackrabbit 2 indulges in this a bit; once you've chosen your character, you choose the difficulty mode, with a corresponding picture of Jazz, Spaz, or Lori, making implications about who that difficulty mode is intended for. Normal mode is your chosen rabbit, no bells and whistles; hard mode gets a hulked-out, 'roided-up version; and easy mode gets a cute little melonheaded baby version.
- In Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues for the SNES, you can only unlock the last 2 levels (which give you the true ending) if you play through the game on Hard.
- Used to a degree in The Impossible Game. While the game ordinarily plays high pace, energetic music while in regular play, it switches to a what can only be called a child's lullaby if you go into Practice Mode.
- The Lost Vikings 2 would add dialog to the normal screen of your vikings being revived if you died in the first level, telling you that since you're so utterly hopeless that you managed to die before the game has really even started yet that you're going to get some extra powers to help your sorry ass get through the game. That said, it's literally impossible to die on that particular stage unless you're actively trying to, so it's more like an Easter Egg: said powers made most of the game a lot easier.
- Bonk's Revenge ends after the first boss on Easy difficulty, and after the fourth boss on Medium.
- In Little Samson, Easy mode cuts out the final level.
- Distorted Travesty will mock you regardless of what difficulty you play on, but it will mock you even harder if you play on Easy mode.
- Playing Jumper Two on easy mode disables time trials, making secret stages unavailable, adds a green "easy mode activated" displayed on stage select screen and file loading screen and checkpoints that weren't tested well.
- Downplayed in Sonic Heroes: if you're playing as Team Rose, the length of every level is reduced (i.e., you start off Seaside Hill after the huge jump that you go through as Team Sonic and Team Dark) and your Team Blast gives each member of the team an attack increase, a shield and invincibility, but completing their story is required to reach the True Final Boss.
- Playing as Tails in the 2011 remake of Sonic CD will disable Achievements/Trophies.
- Selecting Easy in The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures turns the Nerd's Zapper pink. It doesn't affect the Nintendo Hard gameplay, just the player variables (lives, hit points, etc.), and the ending is the exact same on Easy, YOLO, and every difficulty in between.
- Skipping levels in 1001 Spikes is clearly designed just for beginners - Skipping any level locks off the end of the Ruins until you go back and complete it, and by proxy blocks off every level after that. No levels after 5-6 are skippable unless you buy a certain item.
- Donkey Kong Country Returns
- If you buy items, then Cranky Kong will make fun of you. Especially if you buy the Heart item which grants you more health as he'll start asking if "I should hold your hand too." Then again he is Cranky Kong.
- If you die a lot in a given level, Professor Chops will give you the option to have the Super Guide (featuring Super Kong, a white CPU-controlled Palette Swap of Donkey Kong) beat the level for you. However, the computer purposely avoids collectible items that are out of the way, and you're unable to actually keep the items he does collect. The Super Guide was removed from the game's sequel Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
- In the SNES game Tetris Attack, the story mode ended at different points on each level. Easy mode ends after the second boss, Medium ends after the third, and only Hard and higher allow you to actually face Bowser himself. The original Japan-only Panel de Pon (which Tetris Attack and all the later Puzzle League games are based upon) had an identical system.
Yoshi: HEY! I'M NOT KIDDING! That's all, there isn't anymore. Press RESET!
- Furthermore, clearing Tetris Attack's story mode on Easy doesn't give you an ending, only a simple "Congratulations!" message, accompanied by Yoshi wishing you good luck on the next difficulty level. Idling at this screen would cause Yoshi to inform you that you won't be getting any special reward for finishing Easy mode, and you should just press Reset (which wasn't actually necessary— the localization lets you just push A to exit the ending screens). Further idling causes him to yell at you.
- There was also an option in the settings to have the game play itself, with several levels of skill. Trying to use this to complete any mode with an ending gets you a message telling you to play for real.
- In Pokémon Puzzle League for N64 (which was actually an unreleased in Japan sequel to Panel de Pon dolled up), Easy Mode stops you after Giovanni, Medium stops you after Bruno, Hard stops you after the second Gary. You get a cup at the end of Hard, but the true ending isn't seen until you beat the game on Very Hard or Super Hard and beat the game's real final boss Mewtwo.
- Volfied ends the level before the final boss in easy mode.
- The Myst manual, after informing you how to use the help mechanic, (something never told to you in-game, and written outside the main text of the manual, by the way) tells you that Real men and women don't cheat
- Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine has a particularly annoying invocation of this trope. Beating the game on a difficulty setting other than Hardest prompts a message to try again on the next highest difficulty. The message for beating it on Hardest? "Thank you for playing." In other words, it's even more of a mockery on the highest difficulty.
- After escaping The Secret Island of Dr. Quandary, the eponymous doctor taunts you if you were playing as B. Ginner, even drawing attention to the doll's Punny Name.
- Playing Dr. Mario (in the NES version, at least) on its lowest speed setting, in addition to the decrease in score, locks you out of the between-round intermission cutscenes.
- In Gruntz, the "Easy Mode" disables the timed trap-doors in the High Rollerz world... which makes some of the levels unwinnable (you are supposed to push overpowered enemies into them).
- If you play a castle in The Castles Of Doctor Creep with Unlimited Lives set to On, or use the game's save function during a castle run, you are not allowed to enter your initials in the Best Times scoreboard.
- Kirby's Avalanche ends on Waddle Doo as an opponent in Easy mode and tells you to try Normal; Normal skips the bosses up to Waddle Doo but then tells you to go to Hard mode.
- Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo ends early on Easy Mode and tells you to try a harder mode (but the ending screen of Hard mode isn't that much of a better reward).
- In Papers, Please, Easy Mode gives you 20 credits per day with no strings attached which provides a safety cushion to ease the sting on your wallet. This is shown on your daily balance sheet as "Easy mode crutch".
Turn Based Strategy
- Agarest Senki has a difficulty system which has an impact on a carryover to a New Game+. If you play on easy, you'll only be able to transfer a few things from the old game save to a new one in a different setting. On the other hand, finish the game on Hard lets you carry over everything from the old file to the new one on any setting.
- The Japanese version of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn cut out some of the dialogue when played on the easiest difficulty. The international release used only a single script for all three difficulties, but for some reason it was the shorter version. There was also an unintentional one in the US release: If you had an easy mode save on your memory card, then when you attempted to transfer data for the Old Save Bonus the game would freeze. note This was fixed in the PAL version.
- An incredibly minor example in two Fire Emblem games: New Mystery of the Emblem introduces Casual Mode, which disables Perma Death and allows Save Scumming. It also introduces Lunatic Mode, the second-hardest difficulty level in the game. Your reward for clearing Lunatic is, naturally, Lunatic+, the actual hardest. But if you clear Lunatic on Casual, you unlock Lunatic+ for Casual only. This is carried over in Awakening.
Real Time Strategy
- Quitting a Skirmish in Age of Empires III and opting for an easier difficulty will make the NPCs comment on your weakness.
- Myth: the Fallen Lords and Myth II: Soul Blighter have rather epic descriptions of the various difficulty level. "Timid," the lowest difficulty setting, describes the game experience ahead as "You will grow tired of blunting your weapons on an army of mindless corpse-men, and the sweet taste of victory will turn to ashes in your mouth."
- In Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars and a commercial spin-off Heroes of Newerth, there is easy mode. This is a competitive PvP game so it doesn't actually make it easier to win because the opponents have an easier time too. What it does is give you more gold across the board and reduce tower hp, supposedly to make games go faster; in practice it throws off balance and turns the game into 'carry mode' where endgame heroes dominate. Consequently, if you play easy mode games (and Ho N has a running counter of just how many you played) you get mocked and often even kicked from games. God help you if you played 100 easy mode games before you were told that only noobs do that.
- On the first two Guitar Hero games, you earn no money in Easy Mode and cannot access the Store. The second game is particularly mean, as you aren't allowed to perform encores and cannot access the last set of songs, preventing you from playing them in Quickplay, and are told to try the harder difficulties on the loading screen. (This is rather frustrating when you realize you must complete Easy and five-star all the songs to unlock two of the guitars.) The third game, which is somewhat harder on all difficulties than its predecessors, removes these limitations.
- Rock Band, made by the same company that made the first two Guitar Hero games, returns to this trope in the solo modes, preventing you from unlocking the last sets of songs on the Easy career tour. The multiplayer Band World Tour mode takes this further: after a certain point, the Easy difficulty is locked out, forcing everyone to play at least on Medium.
- Rock Band 2 continues the tradition. If certain songs are in your setlist in tour mode, Easy difficulty is locked out. On some late single-song gigs, Easy and Medium difficulty gets locked out, forcing everyone that was on Medium to jump to Hard.
- Going even earlier, Harmonix's first two games, Frequency and Amplitude, lock out certain songs depending on your difficulty level. The only way to unlock every song in the game is to beat in on the highest difficulty. This isn't so bad in Amplitude, but in Frequency, your hands would sooner liberate themselves from your arms and jump out the nearest window.
- Parappa The Rapper's spiritual sequel Um Jammer Lammy gave you an Easy mode, where the game ended after the Hell/Desert Island (depending on your locale) level, preventing you from playing the last song or seeing the ending.
- The original Parappa The Rapper ends after level 3 on Easy. It also doesn't allow you to save your progress.
- In DJMAX Portable 2, if the difficulty in the Options menu is set to Easy, you will not be able to level up after Level 30, unless you change the difficulty to Normal or Hard, you'll get less points, and you won't get as much EXP or Gold. You also can't unlock any songs for "8-Button Mode" play unless you bump up the difficulty.
- In DJMAX Fever, which plays almost exactly like DJMP2 but with different songs and missions, the level cap is removed and the scoring penalty is weaker; you only lose 5% of your points.
- In beatmania IIDX, using the Easy modifier to clear a song will mark your status for that song as "EASY CLEAR", although a non-Easy clear, Full Combo, or Perfect overrides it. Newer installments have an "Assist Clear" status that is even lower than Easy Clear, for using Assist mods (Auto-Scratchnote , Legacynote , 5-keynote , Assist Easynote , or any combination thereof), while earlier versions won't even count anything played on Auto Scratch and/or 5 Keys besides incrementing the song's play count. Even without the "Assist Clear" status, Assist mods other than Assist Easy remove playable notes from the chart, reducing the maximum score you can get on it. In addition, clearing a song on Beginner difficulty will always be recorded as an Easy Clear regardless of modifiers used, will not record your score, and will not earn you any DJ Points.
- In pop'n music's Enjoy mode, the game hides the score display, and you can't use any modifiers, not even Hi-Speed.
- Guitar Rock Tour on Easy Mode ends with the characters musing about how their rise to stardom came way too easily.
- In Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F, playing on the Easy difficulty prevents you from unlocking the Hard versions of songs, and some modules and items. Additionally, if you choose to use a help item, the rank shown will have a green heart beside it. Some help items go further and automatically give you the CHEAP/LOUSY rating regardless of performance, preventing you from unlocking new songs.
- Groove Coaster:
- Using the Safe or Super Safe item (Follow in the smartphone versions) will turn up to 10 or 20 Misses into Goods; however, the Goods you earn from these items will not earn any points.
- Using the Change item turns Slide notes into regular notes, but reduces their point values.
Role Playing Game
- Kingdom Hearts
- Barbatos, the Bonus Boss of the PS2 version of Tales of Destiny, if fought on the Simple difficulty, will immediately start the fight off with an upgraded version of his Genocide Braver called Cheap Eliminate, his quote for the attack being something that roughly translates to "You aren't qualified to fight me!". It covers the entire length of the screen in front of him, and is instant death for anyone who gets hit by it, save for those using certain invulnerability granting moves. He'll then use it immediately after every single attack he performs, but can be defeated if one can get close to him, where dodging it becomes a simple matter of dashing past him when he starts firing it and countering accordingly. The battle generally ends up becoming a solo job due to the AI being incapable of dodging the move consistently, however.
- In the Updated Re-release, he gains a new attack called Hell Heat that fires dozens of similarly powerful homing beams that he'll use in between every few Cheap Eliminates (And almost constantly at low HP). This will wipe out those who opted to dodge the former attack by simply jumping over it, but can still be negated through other means. His stats also got buffed so he doesn't go down nearly as quickly as in the original version.
- Fighting on Easy in Tales of Vesperia will get you zero GRADE, meaning no treats for New Game+.
- While Fallout 3 will not actively taunt you, you take a penalty to all experience earned in Easy and Very Easy mode (you gain a proportionate boost in Hard and Very Hard). The game doesn't shut of features per se, but it will be difficult to reach the level cap (and the nifty Perks found there) with the heavy XP nerf that playing on Very Easy entails.
- Playing Easy mode in Valkyrie Profile cuts out a significant amount of content from the game, leaving out many dungeons and some items, and making it impossible to get the best ending (which is admittedly almost impossible to get without the guide anyway.) Ironically, this actually makes Easy mode harder than either Medium or Hard, since some of the content which Easy omits is extremely helpful for winning the game.
- Apart from the inability to get the best ending on easy, Valkyrie Profile is all over the place. Each of the game's dungeons only appears in certain difficulties, and only on some playthroughs, so playing easy mode, then normal, then hard will actually get you more content than just hard mode. Furthermore, hard mode is possibly the easiest, because new characters start at level 1, which is an advantage once you have items that improve their stats when they level up; you wouldn't get those benefits if they join the party at level 30 in easy mode. Also because sometimes you need to level up characters for skill points in preparation for sending them to Valhalla, and it takes less xp with level 1's.
- In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, cheat codes disable certain unlockables, Achievements, and for difficulty-based game completion Achievements you must play on the same difficulty from beginning to end. (This is to prevent, for example, playing the last stage on Sith Lord after playing all previous missions on Sith Apprentice.)
- The second game's Xbox achievement picture for beating it on the lowest difficulty is Jar Jar Binks. Now that's just mean.
- The Lemony Narrator offers you a choice of difficulties at the beginning of Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode 2, and taunts you if you choose Easy.
- In Infinite Undiscovery the Seraphic Gate will not open if you finish the game on Easy mode.
- The first Boktai game has a couple of puzzles near the end which offer you their solutions... as long as you're okay with being immortalized as a "LOSER" on the nearby hint panel.
- In Septerra Core the master code to unlock cheat codes is "IMAREALWEENIE" and the cheat code to make enemies stop attacking you is "MAKETHEMSTOPMOMMIE".
- There's a few ways that Worldof Warcraft makes you go through different difficulty levels for raids:
- Higher item levels and stats for gear obtained through Normal and Heroic versions of dungeons and raids. There's even some text to tell people if you got a piece of gear from LFR or Heroic mode through each gear's tooltip.
- Some achievements can only be done on Heroic difficulty. Most if not all of the 5-man achievements must be done on that difficulty.
- A few bosses (Lady Sinestra in Bastion of Twilight and Ra-den in the Throne of Thunder) can only be accessed on Heroic difficulty.
- In Digital Devil Saga, the door leading to Bonus Boss Satan will not open if you play in Normal difficulty, as the characters are plainly too terrified to open it. In Hard Mode, you can go through, and you'll see why everyone was so scared.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV, you can unlock Easy Mode by, essentially, debasing yourself. First you must die once, pay a rather large amount of your money to Charon to get revived, getting mocked by having died, die again, and watch as Charon's servants again all but laughs at you before one of them downloads Easy Mode into your Gauntlet.
- In the SuperAdventureBox of Guild Wars 2, the easy mode is "Infantile Mode". On this setting the levels are filled with smiling, buck-toothed clouds which create rainbow bridges you can run across to skip all the jumping puzzles.
- Undertale has an item called "Temmie Armor", which can be obtained after paying for Temmie to go to college. It has the second highest armor rating in the game (although the best armor never actually has a use), heals you 1 HP per turn, increases your INV, and buffs your attack by 10. It's made for players who are having a difficult time at the game, and Temmie overprices it at 9999g. Should you die, she drops the price, all the way up to 750g for 25 deaths. She explains this armor is only for people having a hard time and not doing so well, thus while she is not trying to insult the player, the reason the armor exists is for people who are terrible at the game.
- In Dark Souls 3, the description of the Simple Gem (used to grant Regenerating Mana through weapon enchantment) mocks players who rely on it as "victims of stunted development."
Shoot Em Up
- Dragon Spirit: The New Legend for the NES gives you a much easier game if you lose in the prologue level, but it consists of five stages (out of twelve) and has a joke All Just a Dream ending.
- Gun Nac will not even show you an ending if you played the Novice setting. Instead, you get an image of an ugly guy saying "You haven't defeated me yet." In fact, he appears in all of the endings except for Expert.
- The Touhou games have a few instances of this. In Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, if you beat the Stage 5 boss on Easy mode, she essentially mocks you(r character) for playing Easy mode. Your character then leaves. Bad End. No final boss for you.note
- Mountain of Faith gives you the Bad Ending if you beat Kanako on Easy mode... after making her last two attack patterns harder than the Normal versions by having multiple bullet waves line up in a more murderous fashion.
- More specific to the trope, most regular Touhou games won't let you unlock the Extra Stage if you complete the game on Easy (Perfect Cherry Blossom, Imperishable Night, Phantasmagoria of Flower View, Great Fairy Wars, Double Dealing Character, and Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom being the exceptions). In fact, Subterranean Animism has a bug that if you already have the Extra Stage unlocked and then complete the game on Easy, it will lock the stage right back up. Though, for a few of the games, there is a way to make the higher difficulties easier than Easy mode. But considering that the Extra Stage is somewhere between Hard and Lunatic in terms of difficulty, if you can only clear the game on Easy, you are probably not prepared for the Extra Stage anyway.
- While not an in-game element, the Touhou fan created song "Stops at the Affected Area and Immediately Dissolves" (a remix of Reisen's boss theme), nicknamed "Overdrive" by English-speaking fans, mocks Easy mode players.
- "Eh? SERIOUSLY? EASY MODO?" "How gross! The only ones that should be caught playing Easy Mode are elementary school students, right?" "HAHAHAHA!"
- Yet another example is Kogasa. Yes, she mocks easy players with a surprise, because her last spellcard on easy is BY FAR more difficult than on normal and up.
- Subterranean Animism contains a bit of Hard Mode Mockery as the difficulty selection screen subtly implies this is for people with no life. On the other hand, easy mode's description is essentially "please train more so your friends won't make fun of you".
- In the 5th and 6th Metal Slug games, your game ends in the second-to last level if you play on easy mode.
- Played mostly straight in Novastorm, which had two difficulty levels ("Easy" and "Hard"). The only differences in the two were the number of enemies, the value of the coin pickups dropped by some enemies, and the special weak point locations on some bosses. This means that someone playing on hard and defeating ONLY the enemies that showed up on Easy will still get stronger weapons faster than on Easy mode. Surprisingly enough, you don't take more damage on Hard for any given hit or scrape, so you had a choice between "weak weapons" and "more enemies". Of course, the high score board didn't care what difficulty you played (or how many times you died...), so any real attempt at a high score needed to be made on Hard.
- The Wii version of GHOST Squad has an aiming cursor feature turned on by default, as opposed to the arcade versions, which don't have the feature to begin with (save for sniping and hand-to-hand missions). Turning it off will allow you to score more points.
- The Nintendo Hard arcade version of Gradius III has an Easy mode in which you only lose some of your powerups when you die, as opposed to the traditional Gradius way of losing all of them. However, you only get to play the first three stages.
- Gradius Rebirth's easy modes either weaken or remove normal enemy bullets, but cannot be used to access to the second loop.
- In the Wanted game, the easiest difficulty setting is labeled "Pussy."
- In the American PS1 port of Ray Storm, if you change any of the stages' difficulty settings to lower than the default, or change your starting number of lives to higher than 5, the game switches from Combat Mode to Training Mode, in which you can only play the first four stages.
- In Alien Hominid, the easiest difficulty gives you a ridiculous amount of lives to complete only one third of the game. Upon completion, the game insults you and tells you to play on an actually challenging difficulty.
- Playing in "Trial Mode" on Castle of Shikigami III allows you to take more than three Hit Points of damage (being hit by enemies or bullets uses up one of your bombs instead), but the game ends after you defeat the third boss.
- Space Invaders Extreme 2 offers a Beginner difficulty level that yields infinite lives, but only lets you play the upper-path stages. You also cannot play Beginner stages in Stage Select or Ranking modes.
- The original Space Invaders Extreme marks scores achieved with the Paddle Controller with a "P" next to them, and you cannot use the paddle in Ranking or Versus modes. You can, however, do so in SIE 2, with the only penalty being a "P" in Ranking mode. Also, if you aren't using a paddle, and are in Versus mode on Nintendo WFC, you can exclude paddle players from being able to challenge you by selecting "Vs. Anyone (No paddle use)".
- Super R-Type gives an ending message on the lines of "Congratulations... and yet this was only training. You cannot know what your next encounter will bring" and then on the next screen, "Let's try the next difficulty level!"
- The arcade game Point Blank has 4 missions on its' easiest, "Training" difficulty, opposed to the normal 16. Also, the final, bonus level won't be triggered. Point Blank DS tones this down with 4 levels on "training" difficulty versus 8 on others.
- Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony will only let you play the first three levels on Normal difficulty, requiring you to beat them on Difficult to unlock the fourth, and then beat all four on Legendary to unlock the fifth. There is no normal mode for level 4, or normal or difficult for level 5, even in the Gauntlet mode, which ends if you choose a difficulty too easy for that level.
- Some versions of Raiden 1 and 2 only allow you to play five stages on the lower difficulty settings.
- In the Genesis port of Thunder Force II, a hidden options menu allows you to change the difficulty between Training, Normal, and Hard. Setting the difficulty on Training only allows you to play the stage you select, then you're taken back to the title screen.
- Thunder Force VI: Easy and below give you the worst ending, compared to hard and above which give you the best ending.
- CAVE's console ports in general disable achievements and at save high scores to a separate leaderboard (if they're saved at all) if you play on non-standard difficulty settings. (This occurs even if you raise the difficulty, since having more bullets shot at you can lead to higher scores by milking bullet cancelling/grazing bonuses.) Some games also won't allow you to face the True Final Boss on easier difficulties.
- If you beat Zero Wing on Easy, you don't even get a proper ending. Instead, you're treated to watching a bunch of stubby eggplant-like alien things dancing to can-can music.
- In Bullet Heaven 2 the purchasable upgrades that make your game easier are called "cheats", and reduce your score. (The game also offers "handicaps" which do the opposite.)
- Playing and beating the first stage in Smash TV on the SNES gives you the message "That was Easy! Now try Normal" before taking you to the high score screen.
- Crimzon Clover:
- The original doujin release disables Break Mode if you choose Simple Mode. Break Rate is also disabled, meaning you won't get the astronomical scores of the other two modes.
- Crimzon Clover: World Ignition introduces Novice difficulty alongside Arcade difficulty. You cannot play the Unlimited or Time Attack modes if you play on Novice.
- Project Sylpheed has a rather nonsensical version. You earn half the usual upgrade points on easy. This can actually make easy mode harder than normal due to the lessened ability to buy better weapons.
- FreeSpace makes some of the medals only available on harder difficulty settings. FreeSpace 2, however, does not.
- In Bar Oasis, you need to know your drink components. If you have to look up the recipe while gathering your drink components, the next screen will turn to Amateur mode. Your maximum profit will also be cut to $1/drink in Bar Oasis 1, $3/drink in Bar Oasis 1.5 and Bar Oasis 2. To ratchet up the mockery in Bar Oasis 2, if you decide to have your drink automatically made (after making an Excellent rated cocktail once), that drink will be rated "Decent", one step above "Sewage".
- In Punch-Out!! (Wii), losing 100 times in single player mode unlocks the headgear, which protects your face from attacks, greatly reducing the damage you take from most attacks. However, it means you're as much of a loser as the game's resident French punching bag, Glass Joe.
- Playing on Easy level in the original NBA Street will eventually result in several quips from commentator Joe "The Show", including:
"Why you playin on Easy level? You better than that!""Change your difficulty level! You playing on Easy, son!""You got some game, playa! Why you still playing on Easy?"
- Some older FIFA games offer to increase your difficulty if you build up a sizeable lead. Presumably the same applies if you go down by a few.
- In Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, getting a high score while using Kid Mode will get "Poseur" stamped over your skater's picture.
Stealth Based Game
- In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the difficulty levels are all named after characters. In order to emulate the single most kickass and heroic character in the mythos, you have to beat it on The Boss Extreme difficulty. However, if you're not up to that standard and decide to play it on Easy Mode, you're stuck in name as Liquid - the first of the three cloned Snakes in the series to die. Strangely enough, there's also two Normal difficulties — Naked Normal and Solid Normal, which are just the Japanese Normal and Overseas Normal/Japanese Hard settings, respectively.
- If you die multiple times in a single mission in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, you are offered the option to don the Chicken Hat, which gives you a few mulligans in case you are spotted by an enemy, thereby making the mission a bit easier. However, doing so adds a penalty to your final score, and... well, it looks like something a fast food cashier would wear.
- And if you somehow manage to fail the mission and die TEN times while wearing THAT hat, you're "awarded" the Little Chick Hat, which makes you look like a newly hatched chicken, makes you completely invisible to enemies, and reduces your mission score to zero no matter what.
- MySQL specifies "--i-am-a-dummy" as a synonym for the "--safe-updates" option.
- There's something of a mild inversion in the Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels of the Resident Evil remake, where the name of the difficulty level is even less mocking than plainly calling it "easy". The respective easy and normal modes are called "Hiking" and "Mountain Climbing", likening the easy difficulty to a leisurely, enjoyable experience.
- Resident Evil 3 had an easy mode that starts Jill off with infinite ink ribbons (basically unlimited saving), an assault rifle and extra magazine for it with about six hundred rounds total, and a case that has 3 first aid sprays inside. Playing on easy locks you out of some of the unlockables and stalker monster Nemesis doesn't drop any items when you kill him.
- Resident Evil 4's Easy mode (found in the PC and PAL versions of the game), some areas containing key items are sealed off and the related doors are left unlocked, and some of the more difficult secondary bosses are removed; however, you don't get to unlock any new toys for use in Normal or Professional modes. This can be somewhat disconcerting to those who try Easy mode after Normal and Professional (e.g., to beat the game in every possible form), as one of the sealed off areas contains a piece of a composite treasure item (which is moved to a different location in the Easy version). Also, you have to wonder what kind of crazy architect designed a parapet that cuts off your access to the staircase - and in two different instances, no less.
Third Person Shooter
- In Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, you don't get to find out whether or not Dash died in the explosion of the Big Bad's space station if you just beat easy. You must beat it on medium difficulty at least. He lives. He jumped into hyperspace under cover of the fireball.
- If you die on Easy in 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, a secret achievement called "Not Bulletproof" will be unlocked. The kicker? Unlocking that achievement will give you zero gamerscore points.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising
- The Intensity level can be raised to higher than 2.0, which uses up your hearts and rewards you with more if you clear the chapter. Setting the Intensity to less than 2.0 uses up your hearts and doesn't give them back; continuously playing on <2.0 will eventually force you to play on 2.0 due to heart shortage.
- It also shows preview images for each intensity showing a Pit silhouette and a varying amount of monster silhouettes, similar to the Super Smash Bros. example above (from the same creator). On the lowest difficulty setting, only one monster silhouette appears... and it's running away waving a flag in surrender, with Pit chasing after it.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Body Harvest has two difficulty settings (Hero and Zero) but the easier one will end the game after the third level/time period. Considering these levels can take players a long time to get through, it becomes particularly enraging to find out you have to play through those three levels/time periods all over again to see the last two.
- Virtue's Last Reward has two difficulty settings for the escape portions - Hard and easy. While playing on easy, your companions will drop less than subtle hints to you, often times in a straight out patronizing way. If you examine the same area over and over, or fail at puzzles, their comments will begin to turn from patronizing to straight out telling you how stupid you are. Fail at puzzles enough times, they'll straight out tell you the answer, and if you still fail after this, they'll give you a huge "reason you suck" speech, before solving it for you.
- Phi: [Failing the first maze puzzle 5 times] You've gotta be kidding me...This is literally a kid's puzzle.Sigma: S-Sorry...Phi: Look, just stand in front of me and do exactly what I do. If you still can't do it after this...well maybe I'll just kill myself right now.
- This, plus Hard Mode Perks, are a crucial element of the game show The Chase. Each round the contestants must answer a series of questions each worth £1,000 per question to determine the basic amount of money they can win from the Chase. However they can choose to either take a step closernote or farther from the bottomnote of the board and the Chaser (a member of the in-house team who must beat the players) can set the prizes for these two spaces. Those who take a step closer will win less money than they built up while those who go further can win much more money than they would've normally.
- To add a layer of Easy-Mode Mockery there is nothing stopping the Chaser from setting the prize for taking a step closer as either Zero (as in the player doesn't take any money to the final jackpot) or even a negative value where he gets through to the final round... but his teammates lose whatever money they won. While this is mainly to discourage players from taking the step closer entirely some players have chosen to play for the negative value, causing their team to root for the Chaser.
- An arguable case happens in the Dungeons & Dragons module "Tomb of Horrors." When the party faces off against and defeats the fake Acererak, the DM is told to describe a simulated earthquake, shaking the table, even, all the while counting down from 10. If the party stays, the collapse of the room they're in is shown to be an illusion, and play can continue as normal. If the party flees, it is explicitly written in the module that the DM is supposed then mock the players by saying something to the effect of "awwww...was that too hard?"