With so many video games to choose from, I often have trouble deciding how to get the most bang for my buck.
Sometimes I compare how much I spend on a game to the amount of time I expect to play it. I wonder if other gamers do the same? Games like Kingdom Hearts, Okami, and Dragon Age: Origins may easily take 50 to 60 hours just to beat the initial storyline, to say nothing of any side-quests on which a player chooses to embark. Almost any RPG guarantees an exceedingly long playing time, so based on an hours-to-dollars comparison, one might regard these games as best buys. Pay $60 for at least 60 hours of gameplay? Sounds like a good deal! But then why do shorter games sell just as well?
Call of Duty: Black Ops topped the North American sales charts for 2010 even though gamers tend to finish the single player storyline in less than 10 hours. The multiplayer mode provides the biggest attraction, because it allows an individual gamer to spend an unlimited amount of time playing with others from across the world. Other games, such as Heavy Rain, compensate for a shorter amount of initial gameplay with a whopping 18 different endings. While a single play-through won’t take more than 10 or 15 hours, the replay value is enormous for anyone interested in experiencing each epilogue. And sometimes, the length of the game simply doesn’t matter if the game itself is just that good. Take Portal for example. Some players beat the game in only three or four hours, but its unique and innovative gameplay compensates for the small amount of actual play time.
For some gamers I know, the best balance of time and money comes in the form of massively multiplayer online role-playing games such as World of Warcraft (WoW). Players pay a flat fee for the game itself and an additional monthly fee, but the game is never-ending and the play time is unlimited. The appeal of an infinite storyline is obvious for WoW’s 11 million subscribers.
No matter the length of gameplay, I consider my money well spent as long as I find the game entertaining and challenging. Do you enjoy playing longer games that can last for weeks at a time, or do you prefer shorter ones so that you can play more games overall? Does a game need to have a strong replay value or a solid multiplayer experience for you to truly enjoy it?