This is my old gaming notebook. Once upon a time, back in the PS2/360 era, some games had a puzzle/difficulty level that required taking outside notes in order to beat them. My roommate and I kept a dedicated notebook for writing down clues and trying to sleuth out the solutions to various puzzles. This was more of a scratch notebook for jotting down and visualizing ideas rather than a journal, so looking back today I only have even vague notions of what games these various pages of chicken-scratch are even supposed to be for.
In the earliest days of my gaming, games were not designed to "hold your hand" in the slightest. Old school PC games (pre non-Atari console) were just about creating something for the player to solve, all other aspects of "fun" or "playability" weren't even real considerations yet. Infocom text adventures were among some of the most brutal, as games like Zork would let you take an action right at the beginning of the game that would prevent you from finishing the game and not even tell you.
Incidentally, the oldschool Infocom games have just had their source code made available for anyone interested to check it out.
At least Arena and Daggerfall would warn you if you killed an NPC that might be necessary to beat the storyline. Oblivion and Skyrim just didn't allow you to permkill anyone you needed for the main plot.
As games got better and more evolved, the idea that a game would force you to utilize "outside knowledge" was something that they moved away from. Everything you should need to beat the game would be provided -somewhere- in the game, even if it was hard to find. Silent Hill 3 on Hard puzzle difficulty was one of the first modern games to move away from that (requiring some knowledge of Shakespeare for one puzzle). Most games would never require you to look beyond the data provided in the game to solve a puzzle, unless that was specifically the game's gimmick.
So, this comes back to my old gaming notebook. It could be argued that the streamlining/simplification of games that resulted in them being developed as multiplatform titles (i.e. PC and consoles) contributed largely to this simplification. It's been a very, very long time since I felt like I might have needed to take notes outside a game to beat it. The closest I have come in recent memory is Obra Dinn, but in the end I was able to solve the fate of all 60 crew-members and passengers without needing to take my own notes.
So what do you think? Is this simplification of games good to make them appeal to a wider audience or has this more mainstream approach created an industry of games that lacks some of the sheer challenge of yesteryear?