Does the hardcore gaming scene put off new gamers?

This week I came across a video in which a guy beats the original Zelda: Ocarina of Time in under thirty minutes.

Being quite daft, I did not automatically think ‘glitches in the game were exploited’, nope, instead I ran my mind over everything OOT involves and thought ‘not possible’. (I’m a newbie, glitches barely occur to me, never mind the idea of exploiting them.)  But I went off and watched the video, realised how it was done, and while part of me thinks it’s pretty cool, it did get me thinking.

The first Zelda game I played was Phantom Hourglass.  It was one of the first games that I really got into, and I loved playing it.  When I realised I was approaching the final boss I deliberately slowed down just because I enjoyed the game so much, I didn’t really want it to be over.  In fact out of the games I’ve played so far, I haven’t attempted to play any within a certain timeframe.  Is that because I’m more inexperienced than most and a relaxed pace suits me better, are other gamers testing their skills by trying to beat their best times; or is it just a case of different people having different playing styles?  And whatever the reason for it, is there anything lost/gained by completing a game as quickly as possible?

I have the same question when it comes to levels, what are the benefits of completing a game on easy or difficult compared to normal mode?  Is there more to it than offering experienced gamers a challenge?  I remember reading an article by someone involved in the gaming industry who said that there’s a certain stigma amongst gamers when it comes to playing on easy mode.  He felt this was unfair, and argued that there are benefits to playing a game on easy, even for experienced gamers.

Even when I had just started gaming, I refused to play things on easy – it seemed almost like cheating, and that rather removes a sense of achievement.  For most gamers playing on difficult or crushing provides a sense of achievement, for me playing on normal rather than easy provides the same feeling – playing on crushing in Uncharted is something I aspire to.  I’m genuinely impressed by people who complete games on the most difficult level, and I understand wanting to do so – especially when it unlocks new rewards.  But I’m curious about what other gamers think – are there advantages to playing a game on easy, or is it more enjoyable when a game provides a proper challenge?

Come on Internet, educate me.

Gilly is a 25 year old gamer who spent almost 24 years oblivious to gaming and gamers, but with the help of her best friend realised what she was missing out on. Gilly loves RPGs, her ps3 and currently refuses to go anywhere without her 3DS. Her ambition is to discover her latent superpowers which, thanks to Marvel, she believes are her divine right as a redhead.