Replay Value With Limited Time

Image by Flickr User: waitscm
Image by Flickr User: waitscm

Games are judged on several qualities: Gameplay quality, Graphics, music, story, and of course replay value. The more hours one can spend with a game, the better. More replay value means more value for your gaming dollar. But how important is replay value when time is something a gamer doesn’t have an abundance of?

For me, a game’s replay value used to be a big factor big factor when deciding what to buy. A good game for we was one that yielded at least 40 hours or more of playtime, regardless of actual campaign length. For years, the goal used to be sink as much time as possible into the game It used to be I would want to find everything in a game, try different approaches, and generally try to figure out different ways to do everything. If a game didn’t encourage that, then it wasn’t worth playing.

After leaving highschool, and especially after college I found myself with less and less time to devote to games, being able to sink hours upon hours into a game became less important. Instead of wanting to explore every last corner of the map, find every possible outcome to an encounter, or simply going through and interesting story time and again, I preferred to simply be able to have fun the first time through. A shorter game was a better game, and the ability to go through it again didn’t matter because being short on time meant either moving on to the next game or missing it. More value for the money is always good, but if the time to make use of it isn’t there, then isn’t it better to for a game to be awesome for one playthrough rather than good for several?

Maybe it’s a symptom of the desire to keep current, something that isn’t easy to maintain what with all the games coming out these days. (There are so many indie games that I would love to try someday, time and money permitting)

At any rate, how important is replay value and length to you? Is it essential to your game purchasing decisions or do you find yourself looking for shorter games? Was it always like that for you?

17 Comments Add yours

  1. C. T. Murphy says:

    There are too many entertainment options these days for me to worry about length or replay too much. Quality and value are probably a lot more important.

    They are all slightly related or overlapping factors though.

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Yeah, options are something we definitely don’t have a shortage of these days. It makes keeping current problematic.

      Like

  2. duckofindeed says:

    Replay value is pretty important to me, but it depends. Right now, I am low on games to play, so I skipped buying a few games that were too short (even the new “Ratchet and Clank”). I’m not going to spend money on something that lasts me only a week when I could spend about the same amount of money on something that lasts a month. But, I’m also not short on gaming time. If I was, or if I wasn’t low on games, I would be more likely to buy those short games and just have fun with them.

    No matter what, though, a game being fun is the most important thing. Kind of like what you said, I’d much rather a great, but short game as opposed to a long or re-playable boring game.

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      I passed on the new Ratchet and Clank as well, on Quest for Booty as well, not sure why. Why did you pass on it?

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      1. duckofindeed says:

        I passed on both of those simply because they were too short. I hear they’re good, and they are cheaper because they’re short, but I’d rather buy a game that will take me longer to beat. Four hours for “Quest for Booty” and eight for the brand new game is just not worth it. Plus, I then saw that I could get “Chrono Cross” and other old Square Enix games on Amazon for the same price or cheaper than the short “Ratchet” games, which is a much better deal. (Seriously, “Chrono Cross” cost me $15 brand new, and the new “Ratchet” game was $30. I love “Ratchet and Clank”, but “Chrono Cross” wins here.)

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      2. Hatm0nster says:

        Chrono Cross for $15? Not bad, didn’t know Amazon was good for buying older games.

        Like

  3. alronsays says:

    I agree that my opinion has definitely changed as I’ve got older and have less time. My wallet would prefer if one game would keep me busy for a year, but there are already more games available than I have time to play. If I play a game for too long, I feel like I’m missing out on all of the newest titles. I think the massive increase in competition is to blame. There are just too many title to choose from

    Like

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      It’s kind of an ongoing debate now isn’t it? Keep current and spend more money or spend less and try to get more out of fewer games. Well maybe we’ll get a small break with the next-gen console being out now.

      Like

      1. alronsays says:

        Yeah, I’m building up a list of games I want, so I should be able to get them cheap by the time I’m ready

        Like

  4. cary says:

    Nice post! I’m also faced with less gaming time now-a-days, but I don’t know that replayability has really ever factored into my gaming choices. I’ve usually always considered the “will I enjoy this?” question over the “will I be able to replay this?” question when choosing what to play. Even so, my preference tends towards shorter games, or skipping side quests in long games, these days. This is precisely why I had to give up on Xenoblade Chronicles. I don’t mind the notion of playing a game over many months, but I do think it’s still a limiting factor.

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      I’ve heard Xenoblade Chronicles takes over 200 hours to play through, and that’s just the campaign. Is that true?

      Like

      1. cary says:

        I heard 70-80 hours for the main story and double that for side quests. Pretty intense but worth it, or so I’ve also heard. (And that’s only if you can find this rare game to begin with!)

        Like

      2. Hatm0nster says:

        Funny how such a popular and acclaimed RPG is so hard to find, you’d think they’d make more…

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  5. gimmgp says:

    The length of a playthrough has never really been something I considered outright in the past. As a kid, I played plenty of massive RPGs that clocked in at the 50-60 hour minimum range, but these sorts of games didn’t necessarily seem better for the amount of time they offered. The key was how engaging and entertaining the gameplay and narrative were overall.

    As an adult, I have less time to dedicate to every game I play, particularly if I want to stay “relevant” in this community. On top of that, I really don’t have the patience to sit through pointless grinding and unskippable text/cut scenes for an average game. But if a game is truly worthwhile, I will definitely play through it at least twice, no matter how long a playthrough takes to complete.

    Overall, a game is not great just because it takes a long time to finish and it isn’t bad just because it takes no time at all to finish. Cost and enjoyment are relative.

    Like

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Do you find yourself sticking to the main campaign more often these days? It used to be so easy to go off on tangents and wander around, but now it’s almost like a race to the finish when it comes to story-driven games.

      Like

  6. simpleek says:

    I personally liked having games that had the greatest replay value, especially with Dragon Age and Mass Effect. As my time started dwindling in the last few years, I’m a little disappointed that I can’t invest as much time on replaying these games even though I want to.

    I think I like a nice balance. Have a few games that I really love to replay when I can come back to it again or a shorter game where I can move onto the next big thing. These days, I like to be able to finish games more than being stuck on one for a long period of time.

    Like

    1. duckofindeed says:

      I prefer longer games myself normally, but I, too, sometimes like a good short game that I can spend a little time on, then do something else. That’s one thing I like about the first “Jak and Daxter” game and “Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time”. Both are great games, but short, so I can just go in and play them in a short period of time and have a lot of fun with them, but it’s not long before I get to play something else.

      That’s the problem with games like “Final Fantasy”. Some are really great, but at the same time, knowing I have so many hours ahead of me is a bit daunting. I recently bought a bunch of RPG’s for the PS1 that I’ve been wanting, and I’m both excited and rather overwhelmed now that I have a pile of them, just sitting there, staring at me….

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