On the other hand, I see a lot of negative comments about some tough games from English-speaking players and I can’t help but wonder if it’s a sort of a cultural difference.
Funny you mention this because an American business partner of mine sent me this link to an article about an American company (called Peloton- not to be confused with the European term for group bike riding) that turns fitness (working out) into a type of interactive game.
Here’s one quote from their marketing materials:
As the third slide says, Peloton is not a “party on a bike.” The brand isn’t for everyone. The effort isn’t for everyone.
That messaging taps into two key points. One, it creates a sense of community: that if you’re on a Peloton, you’re among people who do – who enjoy doing – hard things.
Two, it taps into the seven magic words of goal achievement: “This will be really hard for you.”
A 2018 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that clearly describing the difficulties a person will face can actually increase their perseverance and resolve.
The company is doing quite well, so clearly Americans do like things to be difficult in some categories (see One Tough Mudder and many other similar ideas). But playing games (without physical activity)? Not so much, at least not anymore.
Back in the 1980s, all of the top computer games (including Interactive Fiction) were virtually impossible to beat. In fact, it was practically mandatory to include a super difficult puzzle (skill test) that would cause a riot if they were to appear in a CS game these days.
But in 2021? People want cheat codes, walk-throughs, pointers, tips, and a virtually zero chance of losing/dying in their video games.