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Should games punish players that aren’t good at them?

Content of the article: "Should games punish players that aren’t good at them?"

More specifically, I'm referring to single player games where, if you end up dying, something happens to your resources that goes down. Sometimes it's lives, or money, or something else.

In my opinion, though, I'm wondering if that type of a design is a bit counterproductive.

Like, if you're playing one of those games where you get currency that you can use to purchase items, and the game punishes you for failing by taking away some of your currency, that means that you can now get less items, essentially making a "harder" state of the game.

Or maybe it's something like a platformer, and you have power-ups on hand. If you die, they remove that power, and bring you down to the base form. Thing is, though, if the player couldn't pass the hazard being equipped with more capable equipment, what makes the game think they'll do it without them? Like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, where you can find a barrel to gain the ability to hover (which makes platforming easier). However, if they couldn't make it with the ability to hover, then what chance does the player have without it?

Also, if there's lives, say a player has 40 lives in Crash 4, that they collected over the game, and then lost all of them at a difficult part. Now they get a game over, and have to do the level from the beginning. Same thing here, if 40 wasn't enough, how is only four attempts before another walk back to the deadly spot, gonna make a difference in how well the player does?

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It's weird. When the player is playing better, the game rewards them for it with an easier game. I don't mean "easier" as in possessing the ability to overcome obstacles more naturally, but rather the game literally becomes easier, because their reward for being so good at the game, is less resistance to fight. Meanwhile, a player that is struggling, is gonna be stuck playing on the hardest "version" of the game. They wouldn't be able to take advantage of power-ups very long, that kind of thing.

I know a game shouldn't make things easier by failing at them, because otherwise that would incentivize players to fail deliberately until they get the benefit. So I honestly don't know where the line is here.


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