Do you ever set self-imposed challenges when playing videogames?

Pacifist runs, “Nuzlocke” attempts of Pokémon, heck, even the venerable speedrun are just a few ways that players have derived new challenges from games outside your usual difficulty slider. Some developers have even responded by building such challenges into their games: the Thief series used to instant-fail you if you killed anyone on the hardest difficulty, while “hardcore” modes in games like Diablo 4 or The Witcher 2 introduce mechanically-enforced permadeath.

I’ve been thinking about this sort of thing as I replay Deus Ex for the umpteenth time, quicksaving before and after practically every stealth takedown. Similarly, my early game pacifism always gets replaced with a late-game eagerness to slice up MJ-12 commandos with the Dragon’s Tooth Sword. I lack the self-discipline for anything else.

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