Why the obsession over Replayability Factor?

#1 Posted by Gregalor (60 posts) -

No one knocks points off of books for not being different when you revisit them.

No one knocks points off of movies for not being different when you revisit them.

No one knocks points off of songs for not being different when you revisit them.

No one knocks points off of paintings for not being different when you revisit them.

Why games?

#2 Edited by schreiberty (208 posts) -

Because when the entire thing a piece of work has going for it is trying to figure out the story, when you know the story there is no reason to play it again. Its different for most movies and books because there are almost always "filler parts" weather it be an action sequence or a sex scene or whatever. But in a game like Gone Home, where the game parts are not enjoyable in themselves because they are completely based on trying to put together the story, if you already know the story, the gameplay becomes pointless.

Just imagine if Gone home was a movie that they somehow reduced to 2 hours without changing anything else, it would be incredibly boring but people would not be talking about its replayability because with movies it is assumed that if the movie was good, people will want to watch it again. This is one of the reasons that Gone Home works as a game, because having the player figure out the story themselves lets them get away with what is otherwise a rather mundane game. Unlike movies, games can be good while not nessesarily being replayable (Gone Home) and if everyone had infinite money, then replayability wouldnt matter, but you have take into account the amount of time a person gets out of however much money they put into it. And for Gone Home, 20$ for 5 hours, no matter how great those 5 hours were (and they werent that great) is a tough sell when there are so many other things to spend money on.

#3 Posted by Tearhead (2218 posts) -

Games cost $60. That's kind of a lot of money, and some people like to get as much as they can out of that.

#4 Posted by BisonHero (7068 posts) -

It's not even replayability, it's just that I don't see what sets this game $5 ahead of Brothers or Journey or Braid or Bastion. All of this game's contemporaries are generally $15, and I'm not going to support this price creep.

#5 Edited by Gregalor (60 posts) -

I'm not talking about the price being $5 more than other games. I mean there are people who are dinging it for not having replayability, period. And it's not just this game, we've all seen talk like that for decades. I disagree so much that that should be on a person's "How good is this game?" checklist. The last thing I want to do when I finish a game is turn right around and start it again, even if they DO have things changed in a New Game +. But I'm probably not capable of understanding this when I literally have hundreds of games in my backlog.

#6 Posted by Hamst3r (4568 posts) -

Because people are fucking nuts.

#7 Posted by TobbRobb (4850 posts) -

@gregalor: And they are telling you that without replayability the game doesn't give enough content for its pricetag. If it was cheaper it wouldn't be a problem, plain and simple.

#8 Posted by schreiberty (208 posts) -

In the end it all comes down to money, like i said before, if money was infinite, replayability would be a non issue. But for people who can only afford to buy 4 games a year or whatever they should seriously take into account how much time they will be spending with a game. It has to be mentioned in a review because a review should only be treated as a value proposition (should i buy this game).

#9 Posted by planetfunksquad (536 posts) -

In the end it all comes down to money, like i said before, if money was infinite, replayability would be a non issue. But for people who can only afford to buy 4 games a year or whatever they should seriously take into account how much time they will be spending with a game. It has to be mentioned in a review because a review should only be treated as a value proposition (should i buy this game).

As much as I love Gone Home, I have to agree. If I didn't have the disposable income to drop on a 3 hour game, then it would have to be a pass from me. If I could only afford a small number of games per year and bought it on the back of a great review, only to realise it was done after 5 hours at the most, I'd be super pissed off.

Games are traditionally long as hell compared to other media. We don't take these things into account when reviewing movies because it's not only well established that movies are short, but it's also a non-issue. Given enough time a movie will come out on TV and you will pay precisely zero monies to watch it.

If you blow your DVD budget on a dud, you'll still be able to watch new things on TV. If you blow your game budget on a dud, you're fucked unless you're down to play flash games exclusively for a year.

#10 Edited by schreiberty (208 posts) -

@schreiberty said:

In the end it all comes down to money, like i said before, if money was infinite, replayability would be a non issue. But for people who can only afford to buy 4 games a year or whatever they should seriously take into account how much time they will be spending with a game. It has to be mentioned in a review because a review should only be treated as a value proposition (should i buy this game).

As much as I love Gone Home, I have to agree. If I didn't have the disposable income to drop on a 3 hour game, then it would have to be a pass from me. If I could only afford a small number of games per year and bought it on the back of a great review, only to realise it was done after 5 hours at the most, I'd be super pissed off.

Games are traditionally long as hell compared to other media. We don't take these things into account when reviewing movies because it's not only well established that movies are short, but it's also a non-issue. Given enough time a movie will come out on TV and you will pay precisely zero monies to watch it.

If you blow your DVD budget on a dud, you'll still be able to watch new things on TV. If you blow your game budget on a dud, you're fucked unless you're down to play flash games exclusively for a year.

Not to say that Gone Home was a dud, I really enjoyed it, but if i had a limited budget for games and i bought this i would be pretty pissed. Then you could say that i should have done more research to see if the game was actually worth my money but the way the internet is, i wouldnt be surprised if typing 'Gone Home' into google spoiled the game within 5 minutes.

#11 Posted by planetfunksquad (536 posts) -

@schreiberty: Oh yeah, I wasn't saying it was a dud either, I loved it more than any game I've played in a while, but then length and price aren't issues for me. Just saying that I can see where people are coming from.

#12 Posted by leebmx (2235 posts) -

In the end it all comes down to money, like i said before, if money was infinite, replayability would be a non issue. But for people who can only afford to buy 4 games a year or whatever they should seriously take into account how much time they will be spending with a game. It has to be mentioned in a review because a review should only be treated as a value proposition (should i buy this game).

Shouldn't they be paying more attention to how good a game is and how rewarding the experience is? Anyone can make a long game. I would much rather play a 2 hour game which blows me away than 20 hours of mediocre repetetive rubbish.

I get that to a certain extent people want value for money, but length is not a consideration in any other are criticism and it demeans gaming's status as a genuine art form if people are just weighing them next to each other like groceries. To me the value of a game is not made up of the man hours it takes to make it and the resources that go into it. The value comes from the experience I have when playing the game and I don't care if the game is 20 hours or 20 minutes so long as it feels as if its ambitions have been fulfilled.

We have to get away from the idea that a game review is a 'value proposition' like a review of a stereo or a car. Games are art like books, films and painting and the only worthwhile review is the honest, subjective opinion of the reviewer. Only you know if you should buy any game, a reviewer can never know this. His only duty is to tell you what he thought of the game. Your decision should be based on your knowledge of the reviewer and your own tastes.

This 'value proposition' mindset comes from the days where games where treated as a technology rather than an art form. We really need to move beyond this, doing so will lead to a much more honest and interesting conversation about the state of games.

I understand that games can be viewed as a hobby or a pastime rather than an art form. Sometimes people want a game, especially when it comes to multiplayer, that they know they can invest lots of time into. Sometimes this can also be a game which new playthroughs can bring fresh challenges, like Dark Souls. However even in these cases, the time spent in the game, is a factor of how well the game is made. If the combat in COD doesn't engage you, your time spent will be short, if Dark Souls is too frustrating, the same applies.

A reviewers job is to tell you, in his opinion, whether a game lives up to its ambitions. In a narrative game, like Gone Home, this is about how well it draws you into its world, and grips you with its story. If it is successful then its length will be appropriate. It should never be a metric which we judge the game by, just a by-product of the artist's craft.

#13 Posted by TAFAE (153 posts) -

It seems ridiculous to me that some people on either side of the worth it/not worth it argument surrounding Gone Home are somehow unwilling to accept that there's validity to the other side. I mean, you'd think that people looking at reviews and buying video games would know their own individual tastes well enough to determine if a well-reviewed 3 hour game with little to no replay value for $20 makes sense for them. I'd go even further and say that people can probably determine for themselves if the game will merit a replay based on their tastes. You'd also think that people would realize that the value proposition is different for literally everyone else considering buying a game, so passing judgment on price is probably irrelevant unless that's part of the angle in your reviews.

@gregalor, I'm not sure if you're the type of person who only ever watches movies, listens to albums, reads books, or visits museums once, but my experience dictates that people revisit those things not necessarily expecting them to be different, but expecting a different experience. I might watch a movie or read a book a second time knowing what the twist or ending is in order to look for foreshadowing. Similarly, after slogging through a game with bad controls, I might play Super Mario World not because I expect it to be different on my umpteenth playthrough, but because I expect it to be the same - the mechanics of that game are nearly perfect and it still feels great to play. Is it really that hard to believe that some people might expect and extract a different value out of games they purchase? Last question can be directed at those who feel Gone Home doesn't deserve its praise (not just that you would rate it differently, but that reviewers are wrong) too.

#14 Posted by Brodehouse (10134 posts) -

Because some games do have replayability factor.

#15 Edited by Pr1mus (3952 posts) -

Because none of the other examples you gave could possibly be different the 2nd time and beyond by the very nature of what they are.

Games can and when well done replayability is great.

That said not every games have too and some are better for being completely linear and devoid of any choices.

#16 Posted by schreiberty (208 posts) -

@leebmx: Im not saying gone home is worse because it is short, in fact i think that if it was much longer it would lose something. Despite this, a reviewer should mention that the game is only 3-5 hours long so people dont go into the game expecting something else.

In the end Gone Home is a very good, short game that costs 20$. Should the review score reflect that? No, but they should definately touch on it in the review itself. All im saying is that 20$ is a lot of money for some people and there are many games that are better than gone home for less money.

I guess what im actually trying to say, without all the bullshit, is that Gone Home isnt worth 20$

#17 Posted by Hunter5024 (5980 posts) -

I actually think this game is pretty replayable. Twice I've already regretted uninstalling it just cause I wanted to poke around a bit more. Replayability is just a question of value though. If a hundred hour game isn't very replayable, no one cares, if a 2 hour game isn't very replayable, then you might bring it up. Value is such a subjective thing, that if you're going to make a case that something is not worth the cost, then you have to be loaded with some objective facts that make your point for you.

#18 Posted by Gregalor (60 posts) -

@tafae said:

@gregalor, I'm not sure if you're the type of person who only ever watches movies, listens to albums, reads books, or visits museums once, but my experience dictates that people revisit those things not necessarily expecting them to be different, but expecting a different experience. I might watch a movie or read a book a second time knowing what the twist or ending is in order to look for foreshadowing. Similarly, after slogging through a game with bad controls, I might play Super Mario World not because I expect it to be different on my umpteenth playthrough, but because I expect it to be the same - the mechanics of that game are nearly perfect and it still feels great to play. Is it really that hard to believe that some people might expect and extract a different value out of games they purchase? Last question can be directed at those who feel Gone Home doesn't deserve its praise (not just that you would rate it differently, but that reviewers are wrong) too.

Is that somehow impossible with something as linear as Gone Home? It's not any more linear than the other examples. Can I not revisit it 16 years from now, maybe when I have a teenager of my own, having had different experiences, and thus I get something new out of it?

Or should I complain right now that there isn't a New Game + to start immediately?

#19 Posted by StaticFalconar (4850 posts) -

@gregalor said:

No one knocks points off of books for not being different when you revisit them.

No one knocks points off of movies for not being different when you revisit them.

No one knocks points off of songs for not being different when you revisit them.

No one knocks points off of paintings for not being different when you revisit them.

Why games?

Because games are different in that it requires player input to reach the end. You can read the words in a book and not understand it the first time around. You can see a movie and not catch all the little clues and stuff until the nth playback. Songs only get better the more a person relates to it. Paintings, are more treasured when you investigate the background surrounding the piece.

However, games are not complete until you have already for filled the requirement of learning and skill just to complete it the first time. So when the bar is set higher just for completing the game the first time around, what more is there when you do it the second time around? Perhaps just like all those things you mentioned, there are some stuff that may have been missed the first time around; and those are the great replayability games. The second way games do this is the multiplayer aspect. Playing the same game is never quite the same when your opponent always does something different.

You can read out loud to a kid, the great gatsby; but they probably won't fully appreciate it until their teenage years.

You can show somebody Pulp Fiction, but unless they have that will to put together the puzzle pieces, it would just be a weird violent movie.

Stairway to Heaven doesn't get its full notice in the first hearing.

Everybody has certainly seen some rendition of the mona lisa, but seeing it live in a museum with some explanation of the background will make someone appreciate it much more than seeing it for the first time with no context.

#20 Posted by Gregalor (60 posts) -

@gregalor said:

No one knocks points off of books for not being different when you revisit them.

No one knocks points off of movies for not being different when you revisit them.

No one knocks points off of songs for not being different when you revisit them.

No one knocks points off of paintings for not being different when you revisit them.

Why games?

Because games are different in that it requires player input to reach the end. You can read the words in a book and not understand it the first time around. You can see a movie and not catch all the little clues and stuff until the nth playback. Songs only get better the more a person relates to it. Paintings, are more treasured when you investigate the background surrounding the piece.

However, games are not complete until you have already for filled the requirement of learning and skill just to complete it the first time. So when the bar is set higher just for completing the game the first time around, what more is there when you do it the second time around? Perhaps just like all those things you mentioned, there are some stuff that may have been missed the first time around; and those are the great replayability games. The second way games do this is the multiplayer aspect. Playing the same game is never quite the same when your opponent always does something different.

You can read out loud to a kid, the great gatsby; but they probably won't fully appreciate it until their teenage years.

You can show somebody Pulp Fiction, but unless they have that will to put together the puzzle pieces, it would just be a weird violent movie.

Stairway to Heaven doesn't get its full notice in the first hearing.

Everybody has certainly seen some rendition of the mona lisa, but seeing it live in a museum with some explanation of the background will make someone appreciate it much more than seeing it for the first time with no context.

Well, then, according to that criteria (which I agree with), Gone Home has replayability, since you can play it again and find all that same stuff with the foreknowledge of knowing the answers to the mysteries.

#21 Edited by leebmx (2235 posts) -

@leebmx: Im not saying gone home is worse because it is short, in fact i think that if it was much longer it would lose something. Despite this, a reviewer should mention that the game is only 3-5 hours long so people dont go into the game expecting something else.

In the end Gone Home is a very good, short game that costs 20$. Should the review score reflect that? No, but they should definately touch on it in the review itself. All im saying is that 20$ is a lot of money for some people and there are many games that are better than gone home for less money.

I guess what im actually trying to say, without all the bullshit, is that Gone Home isnt worth 20$

I get what you are saying I just don't think a reviewer has any need to mention the length of a game. The only time I would need to hear about length was if it is too long, and padded out with filler, or too short because the developer didn't finish the game properly. And even in these cases the length is a product of other faults the reviewer can tell us about. Also, as you point out, Gone Home feels about right so I don't think it is relevant.

Length is also completely meaningless because is tells us nothing about the experience we are going to have, and the time you spend with a game will vary wildly depending on how much you like it. If I buy Fallout, decide I hate the combat and think it looks like shit, I might only play 2 hours and then turn it off. Its no good the reviewer telling me it is hundreds of hours long. Then I buy Gone Home, love it, play it twice to make sure I have got everything and turn it off after 10 hours or so. Where is your value proposition then? Which game was better value for my money?

I suppose it wouldn't do too much harm for a reviewer to say 'it took me x hours to finish the game.' But even then when I do see things like that in a review, it never seems to have much relation to my own experience which is either longer if I enjoy it or shorter if not. I dunno maybe I'm being a bit purist about this but I just think that the farther away we get from the x for graphics, x for gameplay, x for sound, x for value type of reviewing the better it will be for games. I would love no scores, no marks, just good writers putting down what each game meant to them. If they want to talk about length fine, but if it's not an issue then why bother?

Lastly you say that 'Gone Home is not worth $20' but say it is a very good game and about the right length. What makes it not worth $20? Not trying to catch you out, just interested.

#22 Posted by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -

@gregalor said:

@tafae said:

@gregalor, I'm not sure if you're the type of person who only ever watches movies, listens to albums, reads books, or visits museums once, but my experience dictates that people revisit those things not necessarily expecting them to be different, but expecting a different experience. I might watch a movie or read a book a second time knowing what the twist or ending is in order to look for foreshadowing. Similarly, after slogging through a game with bad controls, I might play Super Mario World not because I expect it to be different on my umpteenth playthrough, but because I expect it to be the same - the mechanics of that game are nearly perfect and it still feels great to play. Is it really that hard to believe that some people might expect and extract a different value out of games they purchase? Last question can be directed at those who feel Gone Home doesn't deserve its praise (not just that you would rate it differently, but that reviewers are wrong) too.

Is that somehow impossible with something as linear as Gone Home? It's not any more linear than the other examples. Can I not revisit it 16 years from now, maybe when I have a teenager of my own, having had different experiences, and thus I get something new out of it?

Or should I complain right now that there isn't a New Game + to start immediately?

Is it somehow shocking to you that people consider the length and replayability of a game when they purchase it? I don't see how you can be so appalled that someone thinks "I'd rather not spend $20 on a great 3 hour experience because I can spend $20 on a great 30 hour experience". I don't buy a whole lot of games, so if I'm buying one it either be really cheap or keep me occupied for a decent amount of time. Persona 3 cost me $10 and gave me 65 hours of enjoyment, even though I've only played it once (so far, I'm about to start playing again to tackle quests and social links I was unable to get to before). Analogue: A Hate Story cost me $10 and last me 2 hours, and I have no interest in playing it again because I already did 100% of the stuff in the game.

I'd rather have Persona 3 than Analogue: A Hate Story. IS THAT OK WITH YOU

#23 Posted by Itwastuesday (984 posts) -

because games are commodities, didn't you know?

#24 Posted by Milkman (17338 posts) -

Some people are on a budget. $20 isn't an insignificant amount of money. I think Gone Home is a fantastic game but I totally get why some would be reticent to jumping in sight unseen. I don't think people are saying Gone Home is bad because it's short (if they are, they're idiots) but just that the value proposition for their current situation is hard to justify, which is understandable.

Online
#25 Edited by afabs515 (1330 posts) -

Let me start off by saying I played this game, loved it, and definitely feel like I got my money's worth out of the game.

In this particular case, this game was on Steam for approximately $20. Think about other games that have come out for that price or cheaper. Think about how many hours of entertainment you were able to derive from those games. Because you cannot resell digital goods or trade them in for credit (yet), once you buy this game, you are stuck with it. This particular game lasts a maximum of 4 - 5 hours, assuming you are an incredibly slow reader and examine EVERYTHING fully. Also, this game is story based, which means that once you know its twists and turns, you can probably never experience the same reactions from the discoveries of plot points. If you do the math, the slowest person in my assumption playing this game essentially paid $4/hour for a story; a great story in my opinion, but a story nonetheless. Contrast this with a game like DOTA 2, which is completely free and brings people hundreds of hours of entertainment. Therefore, it isn't hard to imagine that someone who buys this game without fully understanding what they are getting into might feel a bit "cheated", for lack of a better word, especially when you consider that other similarly priced games can bring dozens of hours of entertainment.

#26 Posted by Gregalor (60 posts) -

So it was short. Good. I don't WANT a game to take up all my time. Do what you came to do, and get out. Why judge something on how much time it steals from your life?

So you can play DOTA for hundreds of hours. Okay. I'm pretty sure DOTA isn't going to deliver what Gone Home did. Not once in all those hundreds of hours.

As for the idea that you can't go back to anything that's story-based, we'll just have to disagree there.

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