Many Snacks, Fewer Meals: How short games are worth more to me

Lately I've put a lot of value on my time. It's changed my gaming habits because while I can afford to buy any game, I don't want to buy or play many long games - the main cost to me is always time, not money.
 
This means the value of a game that requires long stretches to play is diminished unless it's easy to break up that play time into smaller increments (eg. RB3).  Either that, or the game has to be so good that it warrants that increased attention (eg. ME2).  As a result, I spend a lot of time on my 360 and PC but the only AAA full-priced games I've purchased for myself in 2010 are Mass Effect 2, Rock Band 3, and StarCraft II.
 
This doesn't mean I don't buy games. I am a huge fan of the downloadable space right now, as I'm getting a lot of value for my money and for my time.  I very rarely spend more than $10 on a game or DLC, but when I purchase something like that, I know I can have a complete, satisfying experience and not have to schedule my life around gaming. I have so many fond memories of downloadable games and DLC in 2010: 

  • powering through Shank on Hard
  • soloing General Knoxx and co-oping Zombie Island in Borderlands
  • grinding through 40 rounds of Survival in Plants vs Zombies XBLA
  • competing for high scores with my wife in Pinball FX 2
  • learning to play poker in Poker Night at the Inventory
  • playing through Mass Effect DLC and learning more about that world
 
I feel most moments playing any of the aforementioned games are rewarding and cost me little time and money. I spent as much time (or more) playing those games as I did playing the AAA games I bought.  The games in my backlog I am very excited to find time for are things like Super Meat Boy, Limbo, and Costume Quest.  The thought of diving in to AC: Brotherhood, Red Dead or Halo: Reach just feels like work instead of play.
6 Comments
6 Comments
Posted by Shuborno

Lately I've put a lot of value on my time. It's changed my gaming habits because while I can afford to buy any game, I don't want to buy or play many long games - the main cost to me is always time, not money.
 
This means the value of a game that requires long stretches to play is diminished unless it's easy to break up that play time into smaller increments (eg. RB3).  Either that, or the game has to be so good that it warrants that increased attention (eg. ME2).  As a result, I spend a lot of time on my 360 and PC but the only AAA full-priced games I've purchased for myself in 2010 are Mass Effect 2, Rock Band 3, and StarCraft II.
 
This doesn't mean I don't buy games. I am a huge fan of the downloadable space right now, as I'm getting a lot of value for my money and for my time.  I very rarely spend more than $10 on a game or DLC, but when I purchase something like that, I know I can have a complete, satisfying experience and not have to schedule my life around gaming. I have so many fond memories of downloadable games and DLC in 2010: 

  • powering through Shank on Hard
  • soloing General Knoxx and co-oping Zombie Island in Borderlands
  • grinding through 40 rounds of Survival in Plants vs Zombies XBLA
  • competing for high scores with my wife in Pinball FX 2
  • learning to play poker in Poker Night at the Inventory
  • playing through Mass Effect DLC and learning more about that world
 
I feel most moments playing any of the aforementioned games are rewarding and cost me little time and money. I spent as much time (or more) playing those games as I did playing the AAA games I bought.  The games in my backlog I am very excited to find time for are things like Super Meat Boy, Limbo, and Costume Quest.  The thought of diving in to AC: Brotherhood, Red Dead or Halo: Reach just feels like work instead of play.
Posted by mazik765

I can see where low cost games that require a low time commitment are awesome (I love a good deal of XBox Live Aracade titles) but it seems many of these big release games are marketing to your type of lifestyle, just not changing the price accordingly. I mean, look at Kane and Lynch 2. A full priced game with a campaign that was, from what I have heard 4-6 hours long....that's absurd.

Posted by Arbie

I suppose if you have more spare money than time it's understandable you're going to take shorter games over longer. However, I don't see why can't play the games in phases, I'm having to at the moment with AC:Brotherhood. I know it's like a book, and getting dragged in and out isn't ideal, but sometimes it's worth it. A game should only ever feel like work if it's not enjoyable. I can't speak for Reach, but AC:Brotherhood sure is enjoyable!

Edited by wolf_blitzer85
@Erzs said:

" I suppose if you have more spare money than time it's understandable you're going to take shorter games over longer. However, I don't see why can't play the games in phases, I'm having to at the moment with AC:Brotherhood. I know it's like a book, and getting dragged in and out isn't ideal, but sometimes it's worth it. A game should only ever feel like work if it's not enjoyable. I can't speak for Reach, but AC:Brotherhood sure is enjoyable! "

This is how I pretty much feel about longer games. I just don't have the time anymore to beat games like AC in a weekend or something crazy like that, so I get to stretch out my time with the game.
 
If anything my 60 bucks goes much farther because I'll be playing the game over a few weeks rather than a few days. I do however miss those 40+ hour binges in Oblivion.
 
I say as long as you're happy playing whatever video game it might be no matter how long or short, you are doing no wrong.
Edited by Shuborno
@mazik765 said:

" I can see where low cost games that require a low time commitment are awesome (I love a good deal of XBox Live Aracade titles) but it seems many of these big release games are marketing to your type of lifestyle, just not changing the price accordingly. I mean, look at Kane and Lynch 2. A full priced game with a campaign that was, from what I have heard 4-6 hours long....that's absurd. "

I'm totally with you here.  They should not be making 4 hour $60 games because I can download 4 hour games for $10.  I'm not price-sensitive, but I'm also not an advocate of wasting money. 
 
To be fair, if Kane and Lynch were a game that required that extra $50 premium to do something special, I might have considered it.  For example, I don't have a problem with spending $60 for Child of Eden when it comes out - I'm not expecting it to be very long, but I can appreciate that the amount of unique programming, art and music they require costs time and money to make. 
 
EDIT: 
Heh, Kane and Lynch 2 is $5 on Steam for the day. Now I'm sold! ;)
Posted by Shuborno
@Erzs said:
" I suppose if you have more spare money than time it's understandable you're going to take shorter games over longer. However, I don't see why can't play the games in phases, I'm having to at the moment with AC:Brotherhood. I know it's like a book, and getting dragged in and out isn't ideal, but sometimes it's worth it. A game should only ever feel like work if it's not enjoyable. I can't speak for Reach, but AC:Brotherhood sure is enjoyable! "
The book analogy is something I was thinking of as well - I can't read a book over a long period of time because I'll get nothing out of it.  From what I understand of the AC series, there is a sort of narrative running through so I feel like I'd be doing it a disservice not to keep playing it until finished.  (I only mentioned AC: Brotherhood by name because it seems to be the AAA lengthy well-reviewed game of the moment.)
 
There are a couple games I've played in phases. Fallout 3 is a good example. I feel like every quest will give me a new area to explore and a new mystery to solve so even a small part of a quest in one setting will be rewarding. I have no particular drive to finish the main narrative.