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The Greatest Difficulty Setting Names Ever

We've all been there. You boot up a new game and it prompts you to pick your difficulty setting. Of course, you want to look like a pro and automatically select the most challenging setting, but that might equate to hours upon hours of miserable gameplay with little progression. Picking a difficulty level outside of your abilities doesn't make the game more enjoyable. Sometimes, though, the game goads you into picking a harder difficulty by making fun of anyone who selects "easy." Alternatively, the hardest difficulty mode may have the best name, and you pick it just because of that.


While difficulty settings exist to let players tailor their video game experiences, the names developers choose for them add their own layer of fun. Here are some of the greatest difficulty setting names ever. Don't worry, we won't tell anyone which you pick.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

Every gamer has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Some thrive in puzzle and tactical environments, while others prefer a quick-paced hack-and-slash experience. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus falls into the latter category for most people. Released on Oct. 27, 2017, this action-adventure first-person shooter examines an alternate timeline in which the Nazis won WWII. The various missions and levels pit protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz against enemies that call for back up numerous times, making your job that much more difficult when the number of enemies you see doesn't match the number you actually have to fight. These enemy reinforcements combined with the uniquely divvied up health system make the gameplay for Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus relatively difficult on even the simplest setting. Does this stop the game from mocking you for chossing the easy setting? No.


The difficulty selection screen for Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus (a throwback to Wolfenstein 3D) gives players a not-so-flattering visual to go along with the already shaming difficulty options. Sporting the name "Can I play, Daddy?" the easiest difficulty setting is the greatest and most insulting of these choices. The title alone would be insulting enough but the accompanying picture of the protagonist with a pacifier in his mouth and a baby bonnet on his head is the cherry on top of the humiliation sundae. If that doesn't shame you into picking a higher difficulty, nothing will.


Doom solidified itself as a bloody, controversial title right out of the gate. At a time when games were already under fire for being "too violent," Doom didn't shy away from including Satanic imagery and graphic images much to the despair of conservative groups around the world. When compared to modern video games and their ability to depict realistic gore, it seems laughable the pixelated world of Doom could incite such rage, but it definitely left its mark in the gaming world. Gore aside, Doom managed to help set another trend in gaming: creative difficulty settings. Though Doom came after Wolfenstein 3D, it helped shape the snarky tone we've come to expect from first-person shooter games.


When you first boot up your game, Doom will present you with a screen asking you what difficulty you'd like to choose. While the lower difficulty titles of "I'm too young to die," "Hey, not too rough," "Hurt me plenty," and "Ultra-violence" are certainly humorous and descriptive, the "Nightmare!" difficulty mode wins the award for being the most accurate. Attempting to beat Doom on "Nightmare!" mode is truly a lesson in pain. With three times the normal amount of monsters spawned into any given level and less light to help you navigate some of the darker corridors, "Nightmare!" mode is nearly impossible for the average player to beat. When you select "Nightmare!" mode, a message pops up asking if you're sure you want to play on this difficulty. Unless you're a Doom pro, it may be best to heed the game's warning and go back to easy.



It doesn't take much to up the difficulty in a hack-and-slash video game. The challenge relies heavily on the number of enemies and the resources you have to fight them. By messing with those numbers, things instantly become harder. The Diablo games are a perfect example of this. From the start, the first title in the hack-and-slash action role-playing series lets players know this isn't a game for the faint of heart. Nightmarish monsters fill the dark, dingy environments you travel through. You also have demonic entities to deal with. Combine these elements and you have a game that proves difficult to beat. 


The available difficulty settings in the Diablo franchise are some of the most accurate descriptions in gaming. With "Normal," "Nightmare," and "Hell," players don't need to guess what they're in for when selecting a difficulty setting. While "Nightmare" is a good indication of how you'll feel about the medium setting, "Hell" is the most accurate description. Scores of added enemies make resource allocation and quick thinking the only means of survival. While there are many ways to describe just how difficult your playthrough is, "Hell" is by far the most fitting. Good luck!

Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem was first released in 1991 and is often compared to other FPS games released around that time. Because of the similarities in style and tone to games like Doom and Wolfenstein, Duke Nukem was no stranger to the public outrage over violent video games. But like similar titles, the developers of the game didn't care much about the backlash and instead chose to poke fun at the excessive violence in the game. The tongue-in-cheek feel of Duke Nukem is already evident in the protagonist's name and this carries over into the difficulty settings.


Duke Nukem 3D, the third game in the series, isn't afraid to pull any punches where level settings are concerned. Instead of trying to make you feel better about choosing an easier setting, it instead plays to the player's ego. Those who choose the hardest setting called, "Damn I'm good,” can feel an extra level of superiority over their peers who choose easier difficulty settings like "Piece of Cake", "Let's Rock", or "Come Get Some." Of course, if you pick the most difficult setting, you'll actually have to play the game in all its impossible glory, so make sure you're prepared. It won't be easy.

Postal 2 Redux

At a time when video game developers were actively pushing the boundaries of what was and wasn't appropriate, there was one video game that caught a lot of flack from the media: Postal. The game isn't necessarily more violent than other shooters in the 90s and early 2000s, but the fact that the violence is seemingly unprompted made it a point of contention for a few high profile politicians. And even though this only prompted the game developers over at Running With Scissors to make their games that much bloodier, it also prompted the birth of a genius difficulty setting: Liebermode.


When Postal 2 Redux was released for the 20th anniversary of the original game, it was given a new difficulty mode for players to choose. The "Liebermode" is a not-so-subtle nod to former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, who went after the original game for being too excessively violent. Because of Lieberman's targeting of the game, developers decided to give him his own special difficulty setting in which NPCs only have weak weapons like a taser or shovel. This seems like a nice way to make the game less violent for the naysaying politician... until you realize that it actually just makes it easier for the player to kill hordes of citizens without any pushback.

Whether you love or hate the violence in the game, you have to admit that "Liebermode" is the perfect burn, twenty years in the making.


The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile

The Dishwasher series isn't easy to beat. The side-scrolling gory action game can be pretty punishing for first time players. But the second game in the series, The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, has taken care of that problem for players who aren't the most skilled. If you die too many times while playing through the game, you'll unlock an achievement that comes with a new difficulty level.


The easiest mode for The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, is called "Pretty Princess", and is only available to players who have died too many times on the other difficulty settings. But the title isn't the only thing rubbing salt into the wound. When using this difficulty mode, the game itself becomes something right out of a kid's coloring book. Pink and purple lights dance across the screen and rainbows shoot out of your enemy's severed limbs. Instead of splashes of blood all over the screen, you see only the cutest of graphics.

If you didn't feel bad enough that your lack of skill in a game unlocked a new difficulty level, the endless rainbows and hearts are sure to finish off your ego.