Diagnosis: Gamer, Case One


Welcome one and all. Thank you for reading my new medical journal publication.


                                         I, am, of course, the brilliant Dr. Lugae. Although I have a spotted past, I have now dedicated my career to the study of the various maladies currently plaguing the modern gaming industry. The purpose of these journals is to present the most severe cases of these afflictions, as well as suggest possible methods for treating or curing them.

Our first case:

Gangrene of the Difficulty

Also sometimes known as Challenge Decay or "Gamer's Grout," it is a virus that slowly breaks down a game's difficulty levels, until the player feels no satisfaction for completing it. When this happens, it is effectively a fatal case. Symptoms include apathy, monotony, laziness, delusions, and a loss of taste. It is believed to only affect games that are "made for children," but this is a myth, and the virus can, in fact, infect any individual. It commonly affects entire franchises.

Although there had been cases reported previously (notables being Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers and Duck Tales franchises), the virus first appeared as a major epidemic on March 9, 1998, when a fatal case was reported. The patient was known as Yoshi's Story. The patient first came to a local hospital, complaining of a loss of level design, accompanied by an insatiable desire to collect fruits and other random, meaningless doodads.

The virus has since proliferated, especially in today's market. Dangerous myths and misconceptions of this disease persist, even as the epidemic increases in severity. Many modern "gamers" believe that the darker, gritter, and more violent a game is, it becomes immune to this condition. This is not true, as several cases indicate that grim n' gritty "mature" games are just as suspectable to it as any other. Cases in point include Halo and Bioshock, amongst others. The case with Bioshock is especially note-worthy; when the virus infected this patient, it mutated into a new strain. This new strain causes delusions in gamers that causes them to mistake the game as a masterpiece of game design. Truly frightening!

Attempting to trace the virus's history has proved to be (ironically) a big challenge, but researchers were able to trace it back to this late 90's commercial:

Although it is disappointing, as a Doctor, for me to implicate that milk (remember to drink your milk, kids!) played a part in all this, but it is sadly true. As one can see, the child in this video is showing minimal effort to complete the jump that is needed. Mario then proceeds to play himself and complete the jump (with the help of milk, of course. Remember kids, it builds strong bones!) After gamers saw this commercial, they began to believe that video games are supposed to play themselves, with minimal imput from the actual player.

Most serious researchers, however, dismissed the theory of this being the origin of the disease faster than lupus in an episode of House. No, one must go back a bit further to find were this all began. After much diligent searching, a Patient Zero was found:

Kirby. Yes, this adorable puffball was inflicted with the first ever case of Gangrene of the Difficulty in its current primary mutation. The case was 1992's Kirby's Dreamland. Although the case of Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers came first, Kirby's case would change everything. Although the little balloon monster survived and strived forward to make some great games, he has frequently had lapses, with his challenge levels dropping severely. Unfortunately, it's too late to cure this patient, as he has spread the virus to many other games. Particularly disastrous was his lapse back into the symptoms during his appearance in Super Smash Bros. As there were many other game characters present, it's widely accepted that the virus most likely reached other franchises during that incident.

Also note the patient's pink coloration. Evidence indicates that the patient was originally either white or yellow in color, suggesting that the pink color may be an advanced symptom of the wussification process.

There is only one possible way to prevent further cases of this horrible disease: gamers and game developers alike need to grow some balls. That is all.

-Dr Lugae