Recently, I found myself thrust into a debate that had pitted the number of games I had completed against a fellow gamer’s. After the count had been compiled, we both (to my utter astonishment) had finished over 200 games. His list had me beaten by a couple dozen games, but my gaming spirit wasn’t crushed. As I perused the various titles, I noticed quite a few games that received more than their fair share of playthroughs. From my Gameboy and SNES days, there were cartridges that wouldn’t have left their respective consoles between multiple endeavors into their pixilated realms. Compared to the more recent games on my catalog, I noticed as time has passed that my games rarely grasped me for a second romp.
All of this in mind, I certainly am not diminishing the merits of current gaming experiences. They simply have other attributes that entertain me, whether those are the enhanced stories, increased game length, or various online features. Some of my favorite games (Fez comes to mind), I thoroughly loved, but I have only done one complete playthrough. For the most part, the newer games that receive extra treatment from me only do so, because I am hunting for achievements.
Personally, I can’t pinpoint what it is that draws me through another Pokemon adventure or to grab my alien companions as I make my exit off planet Zebes. Nostalgia seemed to be the root of it all, but the SNES cult classic, Chronotrigger, had slipped my radar in my youth. I got to behold all of its wonders with a DS copy, and I’ve grabbed quite a few endings since I’ve owned it. Of more recent titles, the only exception I can seem to find is Portal. Out of everything in my library, it is the only game I’ve put in recently without trying to grab a lingering achievement.
I am sure it is not game developers’ intention to have their creations experienced as a one and done, but it seems to be a trend. With trade-ins and preowned copies available the same week as release, is replay value worth much less now than in the early years of gaming, or do we simply have a larger repertoire to explore?