Portable Gaming, and What It Thought Me About Structure


Been playing lots on my Vita lately. Most recently Monster Hunter Freedom Unite and MGS Peace Walker. Both these games are structured precisely for the piecemeal type of gaming so well suited for your average morning commute. I enjoy such clear structure a lot.

Then it hit me. Why would only games tailored for portable consumption be created with enough thought put into structure to make them more palatable? Hell - Monster Hunter Freedom Unite offers content for hundreds, if not thousands of hours, yet it never asks for more than 50 minutes of my time at a time.

Most games just go on and on, never ever letting up. Like books with too long chapters. Personally - I find writers like Stephen King much more palatable, because his style offers lots of natural breaks, what I call subchapters. Easy points to put his books down, and pick 'em back up again. That's what pretty much all games are sorely missing (except of course for the aforementioned portable kind of games).

Every game should have as much thought put into structure and pacing, as designers tend to do, when they create portable gaming experiences. Lots of real breaks. Easy points of exit and entry. Making games more inviting and palatable. A great example is Alan Wake, with its hard breaks between chapters. Playing music and credits and all that jazz. Ironically - I remember finding the chapters in Alan Wake altogether too lengthy.

I want subchapters! Put them in every eligible game! Thanks for listening. And here an example of a nice hard break for a real big game.

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