Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Strive for longevity

A lot of games nowadays live and die by the multiplayer - something that was once exclusive to the PC, now every second console game is doing it. For some reason though, the few developers that don't wish to include multiplayer are the same ones that aren't sure about how to make them last, and the ones that sure love their multiplayers sure as shit won't be doing any favors in this regard.

I've recently played through a freeware game called The White Chamber, which was a point and click game. It was good, if a bit on the easy side, but the ambiance it provided was more than enough for me to get over it. Sadly, just as I was really getting into it, the game ended. I checked my watch both before playing the game and after finishing the game - a mere hour and a half, and that's counting when I got up to get a can of Coke. As a university project that was turned into a freeware game, I can't say I expected a lot, but if this was a game that I was expected to pay for, I'd be pissed. I understand that games shouldn't last forever (after all, they have to make sequels!), but I also know that stories shouldn't feel like they have to end abruptly because the developers want to make a bite sized game for today's busy person.

Remember when reviewers complained about 10-15 hour long games being short? So how come we have games that are 5 hours long? Since when did developers come to the conclusion that 5 hours was acceptable? Again, there was a time when 10 hours was considered short - go back to that period of time, and all these bite sized shooters would be laughed at and nobody would purchase it... also at that time, internet connections weren't quite as strong - unless you lived in South Korea, but you were probably too busy playing Starcraft to care for the latest first person shooter.

But seriously, why is it that, unless I'm playing an RPG, I'm guaranteed to get a bite sized game? I don't mind playing a 15 hour long game with some filler, because I'll still feel like I'm getting my money's worth unless the game sucks. People made the Black Sabbath track Paranoid about as famous as you can get, and that was filler! Besides, if you're really good, you'll find subtle ways to develop the story in between major moments, like character development or relationship development. Hell, give us a few awesome gameplay segments! Just don't be afraid to put more content in, because in the end, you'll find that a lot of people will enjoy the "filler" - like the aforementioned Paranoid.

Very, very few games deserve the right to be bite sized - Limbo and Vanquish. Everything else? No.

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