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Different Types Of Players, or Why I Cheat At Touhou Games

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So, a number of Touhou players are offended by the idea of someone playing any of the Touhou games on Easy difficulty. They are also offended by the fact that I cheat at the games, more or less with impunity. Now, I admit wholeheartedly that the the offense is slightly more justified, but really: (a) I openly admit to doing it, (b) I've never tried to pass off my "accomplishments" as genuine ones, and (c) it's a singleplayer game. It's not like you somehow lose because I'm not playing by your rules.

In the interests of not simply talking past everyone who wants to know about it, I shall post this. The short version:

The terms "hardcore" and "softcore" are vague and ill-defined, they aren't entirely comprehensive, and they both contain contradictory meanings. So let's come up with new definitions based on the theory that there are two fundamentally different reasons (distinct, but not mutually exclusive) for why people play games.

  • Skill Player: A player who plays games specifically for the challenge.
    • Completist: A Skill Player who wants to unlock everything. They go for 100% completion, seeking out all of the optional macguffins or Achievements, even if there's no functional benefit; an example given in the article is acquiring the 500th Agility Orb in the game Crackdown, since there's no visible difference between your agility in . Touhou has nothing particularly to offer these players, apart from "unlock every Spell Card" or "1CC with every player/character."
    • Perfectionist: A Skill Player strives to succeed by the greatest degree possible. At the extreme end of this, we find "No items, no Final Smash, Fox only, Final Destination." A Perfectionist who plays on Touhou plays on Lunatic and Extra.1
  • Tourist: (Probably needs a better name) A player who is not a Skill Player. They aren't in it for the skill, or the 100% Achievements Unlocked, or even particularly for a sense of accompishment. They want to see what the world has to offer. Tycho of Penny Arcade fame puts it best: "I realised I don't play games for the challenge. I don't need or want to be punished by a game for making mistakes. I play games for what Ron Gilbert calls 'new art'. I play to see the next level or cool animation. I don't play games to beat them, I play games to see them. Coming to that realisation was actually sort of important for me."

Gamers are then placed on a sliding scale according to how much their time is worth — not necessarily how much time they have, just how much they're willing to spend on a single game.

  • On one end, there's the Wholesale Player: Someone with lots of time to spend on them. By this metric alone, they are more likely to be interested in a 60-hour game than a 20-hour game, assuming that both cost the same amount of money. The Touhou games are short in and of themselves, but you need to spend lots of time and effort practicing.
  • On the other end, there's the Premium Player: Time is money. They don't have the 60 hours; they barely have 20. Portal was only three hours long; based purely on this metric, a Premim Player would absolutely love Portal.

The point of the multi-part article is that all of these various options are valid. They place no value judgments on the games; they certainly place no value judgments on the players. They merely describe what kind of player someone is, and what kind of games they'd enjoy.

Mind you, there are certainly elitist twerps who are liable to act like an even bigger dick than Koishi to anyone who doesn't fall into the exact same category they do, but there is no topic in the world or on the Internet which doesn't have at least one person who is willing and able to act like a complete and utter moron about it.

Where I fall

Firmly in the Premium/Tourist category. Oh, I've got Completist tendencies, but if an achievement is too hard, or looks like it'll be too frustrating, I simply won't bother with it. I don't play Touhou for the challenge. I like to see the cute girls, and listen to the pretty music, and see what new hare-brained story ZUN's come up with, and to See How It All Turns Out (e.g. the endings). I'll quote Tycho again: "I realised I don't play games for the challenge. I don't need or want to be punished by a game for making mistakes. I play games for what Ron Gilbert calls 'new art'. I play to see the next level or cool animation. I don't play games to beat them, I play games to see them. Coming to that realisation was actually sort of important for me."

Gameplay has the widest appeal if it has something for both Tourist Players and both types of Skill Players. ZUN, however, isn't the least bit interested in particularly wide appeal, and is only making the games for himself; the only "proper" way to play the game is using his own personal playstyle.

I have no interest in playing in a style outside what type of player I am just because a game is targeted at someone with a different playing style.

So I'm gonna play them improperly.

Now, obviously, this is going to draw the wrath of Wholesale Perfectionists who think that theirs is the only possible way to play any game, much less the only correct one.2 However, you must keep the following in mind: I'm not playing these games directly against you; what I do doesn't somehow magically make you less-skilled. I'm not lying about it or trying to pass off "cheated accomplishments" as genuine ones. I'm not forcing you to cheat at the games; nor am I posting my precise cheating methods publicly, or indeed anywhere (unless privately asked). I'm definitely not saying that this is the "best" or only way to play or enjoy the games. Most importantly: I'm not playing the games for the same reasons you are, so I'm playing them in my own way.

This article intended for informational purposes. It isn't meant to convince anyone of anything, except possibly to get off my case. I am leaving comments open for now; however, any posts which demonstrate a complete lack of even the slightest bit of civility will be summarily deleted. If everyone demonstrates that they can't be civil, the comments will be turned off.

One final word: I actually have legitimately 1CC'd Imperishable Night on Easy Mode, which genuinely was easy, didn't engage in any kind of Easy Mode Mockery (Warning, link leads to TVTropes. Muffin will not be held responsible for hours of time lost as a result of following it.But see also this disclaimer) unless you count "didn't have Last Spells, which are designed to be 'lolhard' anyway," and wasn't particularly buggy. I promise you this: I will also legitimately 1CC the next Touhou game which takes easy mode seriously. Which, the way things are going with MoF through UFO f'rinstance, doesn't seem likely.

1And then complains that UFO's Lunatic mode is too difficult.

2I'm not saying all Wholesale Perfectionists are like that, I'm just referring to the ones who are. See BOCTAOE

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Well a few other games are a bit of a pain like that (beat a really hard mode to get something nifty), one would be the last two DS castlevania games.

But this is something else I heard: Touhou easy modes aren't as well play-tested by ZUN as other difficulties, so in short, easy itself might have a few nasty surprises due to this.

Thinking on it 6B or 6A of IN (which ever one lacks continues) is different than extra stages by the carrying over of your status at Stage 5 (often full power, and more lives)

Extra stage traits
default lives and bombs
Start at 0 power
No continues
Boss might be spell card proof
Difficulty is inbetween Hard and Lunatic (Though the contraints might make it harder than even lunatic)

I think sometime soon I'll give Touhou another shot with my cheats as to unlock EoSD extra. Why? Must encounter Flan.


/ Modified by Dizzy H. Muffin:

I dislike cheating regardless of purpose. It lessens the gaming experience IMO. I'm no hardcore gamer. I'm just a guy who wants to play anything that interests him.

And as for Easy Mode Mockery, I think it's because you can actually finish the game on Easy Mode without learning the depth of the game mechanics. Take Touhou for example: At Easy, you can get by the games by focusing and streaming alone. Above that, you have to know when and where to focus and unfocus and to dodge last minute bullets coming your way and etc... For the developers who worked hard on the game, this is like a slap to the face when the mechanics that you worked so hard for is just shoehorned to the side like it wasn't important. It's more of a developer's pride really. This is more like them saying to the players that, "This is what we envisioned the game to be played as. Don't complain." sort of thing.

As for rewards for beating harder difficulty levels, it's more like Bragging Rights Reward. To the player who beat the game, it's practically useless.

IMO it boils down to this: Easy is for practicing the basics of the game, Normal is for playing the game itself as it should with a good understanding of the basics and a little of the advanced techniques. Any level above Normal is for those who have become good enough that Normal is too easy for them a.k.a. the hardcore gamers.

Remember: A game without challenge is boring.("missing-the-point" added by Muffin)

Dizzy H. Muffin

Um ... lenne18, I'm sorry to say that you've completely missed the entire point of the article. You're basically arguing that "skill player" is the only way to play games, or the only correct way, which is the exact opposite of what I was saying.

1. Not everyone plays games for the challenge, which I don't. I've listed a few of the other reasons in the article. Therefore, 2. serving as a stepping stone for skill-players is not the sole purpose of easy mode. It is so that people with a different comfort-level from you to play on a difficulty with which they are comfortable. 3. Even on Easy, the difficulty is too high for my comfort zone. Oh, I'm fine with cheating in (say) Metal Gear Solid until I'm comfortable enough with the mechanics that I don't worry about dying, but with Touhou, there is no middle ground between "cheating, so minimal chance of failure" and "much too hard for my comfort level" in any game except Imperishable Night, in which there's no middle ground between "reasonably difficult, slightly above my comfort level" (and that's on easy) and "much too hard for my comfort level." Therefore, I see fit to dispense with the difficulty altogether.

I also flatly disagree with the paragraph about Easy Mode Mockery. You seem to be equivocating "cheating" with "playing the game on the lowest difficulty" there. Rhetorical query, meatbag: if you aren't supposed to play the game on Easy, then why did the developers include it in the first place? For that matter, what about the developers who include cheats in the game (this includes MGS, by the way)? I wouldn't think that using what the developers gave me is cheating. What I take issue with is if they then punish me for doing so.

As for what they didn't give me: I'm not flying to Japan, marching up to ZUN, and rubbing this article in his face, nor have I gone out of my way to draw it to his attention. And it's not like I'm cheating at a multiplayer game, nor does the fact that I cheat somehow deprive you of your challenges, which you speak so fondly of.

Remember: I don't actually play games for the challenge, nor do a lot of people. A game that's too hard is no fun whatsoever, nor does it have the decency to be boring, and I'd rather have a game without challenge than that.


When I typed that, I was actually thinking of this: (Thanks to TVTropes for the page quote of Earn Your Fun)

"I do not think we should, but some people think that everything in life should be handed to them. They are like dogs. That is why I have put in a new mode called "Ninja Gaiden Dog mode" just for them."
Tomonobu Itagaki, when asked about making Ninja Gaiden easier.

But if you're fine playing the game for the story( or on Easy Mode or cheating, as long as it's in your comfort zone), I won't stop you but your missing the other half of the gaming experience.

Thanks for your time.

Dizzy H. Muffin

Well, yes, but Tomonobu Itagaki is a dick. *realizes that htis isn't an actual argument* ... who doesn't get the point that I made here.

Seriously, though, folks: I don't consider challenge to be half the gaming experience. Gameplay is half the gameplay experience. With the Tourist Player's philosophy, the fact that it can be challenging is, essentially, a coincidence.

But "live and let live" works, too.


I really don't understand why everybody likes to flame those of us that mostly play on easy...
I mean, yeah, a part of the game (the I-beat-all-your-cards-so-gimme-another cards) and about half the Faries of Doom aren't present in Easy, but... If you'd be getting though ost of it by sheer luck, you aren't missing anything. And it's not like it diminishes others because I play it on easy... Anyways, my specific reasons for playing on Easy:
IN, if I were to practice normal more, I could probably beat it; but my preferred team faces Mari, and, well... parabolic paths from the sides throw me off, not to mention I have no clue how to beat normal Earth-Light Ray. I have taken >55% of ALL spell cards (inc. 3 Last Words and a few Extras), but the in-betweens just don't work out for me.
And, SA... well... I can't even beat stage 5 on easy. Nearly did once... Got into Orin's... 3rd or 4th card before I bit it. I can pretty consistently get up to Orin's cat form, and about 30% I make it to Orin, but... That's usually with no extra lives. Not a good way to learn the patterns >.>

What's sad is, I beat MoF on easy in about 8 tries, by not taking it seriously, and more going with feeling than actual pattern-recognition... If only I could get my instinct to work on the others XD


When I first played Touhou, I was all on the idea of "Easy mode is for wimps". After about 10 times of dieing to Patchoulli and Sakuya in EoSD normal mode, WITH continues, I reluctantly accepted that I was one of those "wimps" and played the game on easy mode. Now I have a respect for those who just want to play the game, as it was much more enjoyable when I'm actually able to do GOOD at it.

After playing through easy mode enough, I went back to normal. I played it because the added challenge is fun for me, it keeps me coming back to the game. Whenever I die to anything, I always say to myself "I could have dodged that, what was I thinking?" (Ok, maybe not always, as Sakuya's Marionette and Remi's Red Magic/Scarlet Netherworld kill me no matter WHAT I do). I think that for most hardcore players, it's the failure that keeps them going forward, not the difficulty. People who master an easier difficulty play higher ones BECAUSE they want failure, and the thrill/excitement/anger that it gives.

Touhou Easy mode is great for those people who want a slight-heavy, yet realistic challenge like you, while harder modes are great for those who want to experience the emotions and thrills it gives to hardcore players.

Also, I'm guessing that EoSD easy mode really ticked you off, as Sakuya actually breaks the fourth wall to insult you for playing on easy when you beat her as Reimu.

Dizzy H. Muffin

Well, the thing is, I haven't even been comfortable with any Easy Mode except IN's. (Oh, and the versus-games, of course.) EoSD and MoF were just the icing on the cake.


On a sorta related note, why do people even want to earn gamerscore? It doesn't do anything. You aren't magically rewarded if it reaches a certain amount. I play games because they're FUN. I earn achievements because they CHALLENGE MY SKILL AND CREATIVITY. Not because it raises some meaningless number. If I do something hard, I want to be rewarded with something useful from my acomplishment, in-game or otherwise, not a stupid icon or the increase of a random number that DOESN'T DO ANYTHING. The only reason I even try to earn gamerscore is because my parents bug me to raise it whenever I get a turn on the 360. This Troper (couldn't resist saying it) recalls a Kirby game ("Kirby's Air Ride") where you could earn achievements. (Over 350 of them, divided evenly between each game mode.) Most of them were useless, but some unlocked characters, Warpstars, and even freebies that allowed you to check off another box and possibly earn more stuff. This could possibly be where they originated, since the X-Box people LOVE ripping off Nintendo...aaaaand I'm getting sidetracked again. I think you get my point.



Ego mainly, and the typical causal player (who plays Xbox games) have egos that are like SUVs: Oversized and needs lots of fuel.

About Touhou easy: Most of the time we don't get to unlock Extra, and sometimes unable to play stage 6 on easy. (SA actually locks Extra if you beat it on easy after unlocking it)

I guess I'll list the games' difficulty

EoSD: Rather hard just due to the fact it's pure Shump them up action w/o visable hitboxes.

PCB: Easier than EoSD due to visable hitboxes, adjusted mechanics, and border mode. The Addition of Sakuya was also a boon to newbies if you didn't care about capturing cards (she didn't do alot of damage in general)

IN: Infamously easy for various reasons: easier to avoid dying, more bomb power ups, Border team being pretty damn overpowered. For skilled players the Ghost and Scarlet teams would please them. But the magic team was just pathetically under powered. There was the time orb system, though if you have an idea on IN's basics and don't die alot, you shouldn't have to worry too much. Reisen wasn't too hard for a stage 5 boss even.

MoF: Many changes for whatever reason (backlash from IN's bomb spam or ZUN experimenting? We'll never know), A bit more of a bare bones experience, with a few quirks, like the infamous bombs use up power system, though it's been said bomb spam is even worse in this if someone was smart about it. GENERIC bombs. Reimu still keeps her smaller hitbox (though rumors exist that there's some patterns Marisa can't hope to graze). If all else fails, you can abuse that Marisa B bug. But Aya appearing in a third game while many favorites did not rubbed some fans the hard way. (And thus THAT meme was born)

SA: Possibly the hardest Windows game even today. many shot types are said to be quite weak, the boss patterns rather fierce, and even many of the bomb types aren't that good. Still has the "Bombs use up power" system on top of that.

UFO: Easier than SA, but pretty hard in its own right. You have to milk the UFO system if you want to really stock up on lives/bombs. But character specific bombs are back, some of them pretty strong. The game otherwise is pretty challenging, with some new tricks. And expect to be surprised by Kogasa's difficulty.

So from easiest to hardest: IN, PCB, EoSD, UFO/MoF, SA


IN: Infamously easy for various reasons: easier to avoid dying, more bomb power ups, Border team being pretty damn overpowered. For skilled players the Ghost and Scarlet teams would please them. But the magic team was just pathetically under powered. There was the time orb system, though if you have an idea on IN's basics and don't die a lot, you shouldn't have to worry too much. Reisen wasn't too hard for a stage 5 boss even.

1) Yeah, I know. I once got up to the start of Stage 6 with solo-Yukari on Normal. (A friend of mine couldn't beat Reisen with the Border Team and due to his wording, gave me the inspiration for a little 2-shot I've written.)
2) There's always the theory the MAlice Cannon was intentional.

UFO: Easier than SA, but pretty hard in its own right. You have to milk the UFO system if you want to really stock up on lives/bombs. But character specific bombs are back, some of them pretty strong. The game otherwise is pretty challenging, with some new tricks. And expect to be surprised by Kogasa's difficulty.

Believe me, I WAS! This is why I refer to Kogasa as "the way too overpowered umbrella chick".

Obligatory "CAPTCHA=(9)" comment.

Dizzy H. Muffin

Well of course Kogasa would surprise you. Don't you know her story and what she is? ;)


First it's a "CAPTCHA=(9)"

Yeah Kogasa surprises the player way more than the characters.


Possibly, but the problem still stands: Outside of that, the magic team is the weakest game, even doing less damage than the border team. (A major break in the order of things, seeing how Marisa's generally classified as "high speed/damage, narrow shot" type while Reimu's "Average but easy to play with", the Border team is more like "VERY easy to play with with high damage"), don't get me started on how Alice's shot type in IN isn't even her style of fighting.

Did you friend try his luck against Sakuya or Youmu? (I'm not sadistic enough to ask him to try his luck again Orin)



I almost completely agree with your difficulty list, except that I'd put MoF between EoSD and PCB in difficulty. On normal mode, its not to challenging, seeing as how power is easy to come by, and you can get through alot of bosses bombspamming and then collecting power from them and the next stage.

I never understood why some of the earlier bosses in the game were sadistically hard compared to some later ones.


IN And MoF had something known as let down stage 5 bosses because of how they weren't much harder than the respective stage 4 boss if not easier.

Shinku Tsuki

Well, I usually play in easy...and I never cheat. I don't care if the others do, it's what they choose to, but I don't find it fun. I like playing in normal, and I can win some of the games in hard. The one I won on ultimate is EoSD, which is easy when you get used to it.
I'll have to say what I think about the difficulties...
I think that PCB is way harder than any other game. First of all, I can get to the final stage of PCB without loosing a life and then I waste all my continues (and on easy mode). The fourth stage is damn hard, the only thing that is not hard is the first part.
IN was too easy for me, and Reisen's stage was easy compared to any other like Sakuya ( At first, i always lost a life) or Youmu's ( I make lots of mistakes in that one =D ).
I could unlock EoSD extra stage, so... I guess it's kinda easy.
I can't beat UFO, and it's not about the difficulty, i get stucked at the same place in EVERY DIFFICULTY.
I never got to beat SA because I just got bored and I wanted the next game, although i liked most of SA.
And actually, MoF was the one I got to win without having to spend more than one day.
So from hardest to easiest (to me) it would be: UFO-PCB-SA-EoSD-MOF-IN (I know, I'm kinda weird)


Weirdly enough, while many people have said that PCB is the hardest game (before UFO), PCB is the only game that I can 1cc on Normal.


PCB I got pretty close to 1cc-ing on Normal, can 1cc it on easy easily enough. I decided to up the ante tho and have been practicing it and EosD on Hard (I might have become a lunatic). IN is pretty damn easy, 1cc'd it on Easy on my first try with Border Team, played it some on Normal and Lunatic but usually just drop out during stage 3 to do something else. IN Extra Stage I made it to Mokou but died of by the first spell card. I'm close to 1ccing MoF on Easy, "Misayama Hunting Shrine Ritual" and "Miracle of Otensui" just kick my butt. SA I can get to Orin's stage and fail out (at least half because I'm just enjoying the music of the stage), only beat her once and that wasnt on one credit by any means. UFO I've only played like twice total and got I think to Shou.

according to I have a pretty bad reaction time (200something when I'm totally alert, near 300 when I'm drowsy), which is why I can't do so well.


PCB May be fiercer in some ways, but it also gives you some considerable perks (Such as border mode), Sakuya and her excellent surviving ability (not so much for damage) and so forth.

That's as opposed to EoSD's No Frills random patterns, MoF's bombing system, SA's fierce cards combined with lacking bombs/shot types (for the most part), and UFO's Ufo gimicky (lending a massive resource management feeling to things)

A buddy of mine streamed some various Touhou as he remarked on things, such as memorization needed (IN needed the most, and EoSD the least if at all)

Despite what ZUN said about MoF returning Touhou to its roots, I consider EoSD the pure example of Windows Era Touhou.


Personally I am fine with cheating as long as it doesnt tresspass on someone else's fun. For instance in PVP games, I get very annoyed when people hack especially in S4. the reason is that, that game is designed in away that levels dont matter other than an indication of how long one has played on that particular account. Therefore if they hack not only are they taking out the fun of playing with other players but they are ruining another person's game. In games like Grand Chase I approve of hacking as there are no hacks for PVP, seeing how boring grinding is, hacking in one's own private room is generally considered acceptable as one player is pretty much isolated except for teaming up with others.


I don't like cheating, but I sometimes do (like beating Warcraft III on cheats only to know the story) I'm a Wholesale Player, and somewhat Skill Player and a completist. First I beated IM on easy with Reimu. Twice, first with one continue, and then with no continues. After unlocking spell practice I started playing on all levels of difficulties just to unlock new spells. I'm now trying to unlock Last Word spell cards, and solo mode. But I just play to the moment I'm to frustated to continue, and then I just leave the game for a week or two. (When playing Mass Effect I ended at half, made a month break, completed Mass Effect 2, started Mass Effect from beginning, and then completed Mass Effect 2 once more, but with my char, unlocking almost everything)

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