…actually this is likely the last part of the upgrade saga. While reviewing my last post this snippet stuck out:
The gameplay itself isn’t really enjoyable or redeeming in any way, you’re just playing for the arbitrary rewards. Those rewards are something the developers can crap out every few minutes if they want to…and they do, because many gamers just eat it up and beg for more.
It reminded me of yet another problem, games that never end. This is becoming a recurring theme here, that aspect by itself isn’t a bad thing but when it’s combined with shoddy gameplay, why do you keep playing?
When a game is designed to never end, the goal is usually the “next thing” whatever it is, be it a level up, new item, or whatever. But because it’s designed that way, there will always be a “next thing,” and when you have an infinite number of “next things” it dilutes the purpose entirely.
If the gameplay itself is fun then this isn’t a big deal. The rewarding aspect is the journey to whatever checkpoint. I think this is kind of the design of shorter focused games, the “next thing” is the end of the game. If the game wasn’t that fun you’re probably not going to replay it, but if it was truly fun you’ll have no problem doing it again and again. The end game goal doesn’t mean much at all after the first time, it’s just another checkpoint. You’re coming back because the journey to the goal is enjoyable.
My favorite example is the humble shooter:
Most shooters take around 20-30 minutes start to end, at most. But you know what? Those 20-30 minutes are filled start to end with fantastic gameplay. Scoring systems in the better games have little facets that take a while to figure out and master, or if you don’t give a damn about score they’re still fun to play for survival. When I see the “Game Over” screen I’ll want to play again because it was fun. It’s not grinding through some horrible gameplay just to see “Game Over” again, I’m having a blast all the way through.