Saturday, 13 October 2012

Should you go back (to your favourite games)?

As I am no doubt you are aware, I have been keeping a list of games I have finished this year, which can be view at Finished Games. I am pretty proud of myself so far, however there are a few games on the list that I have completed but not counted. The reason being that these are games I have replayed, having previously finished ages ago. This includes both Bioshocks, Splinter Cell Conviction, Gears 1 and 2  and Resident Evil 4 and 5. It seemed to me that counting these was a bit like cheating, as whilst I have refinished them from the beginning, having advanced knowledge of the game that definitely puts it in a new light (yes I know Binary Domain is on the list twice, I am counting pc and console versions as different breeds).

I got to wondering how often people replay games that they love. With the exception of Half-life 2, I don't think that there is a single game I have finished more than twice. So am I the only one who goes back years later and replays there favourite games? However the more that I think about it, the more I realise I am wrong. Whenever you create an alt in a mmo, you are essentially replaying the game, same with the most recent Diablo which I have "replayed" about 6 times. Hell I have finished (or at least tried to finish) each of the Left 4 Dead campaigns at least a dozen times.

I guess I am thinking of games in the same way as reading your favourite book once a year, or watching your favourite film once every six months or so. I am replaying these games because I have a strong fondness of each title (okay maybe not GOW’s, which I simply picked up cheap), and I wanted to experience them again, at the expense of playing new games. For instance Dragons Dogma, the awesome open world action rpg, has been sat there waiting to be played, whilst I hammered through Resident Evil 4 on the Wii that I brought for £6. I am forgoing the new and exciting for the safe and comfortable, much like people having favourite films, which they can immerse themselves in them far better than an unfamiliar film.

Perhaps people tend to replay games less simply down to the time commitment. I have had the urge to replay Skyrim ever since I finished it, however the thought of investing another 100 plus hours into that game is intimidating to say the least. Hell even replaying shorter games still seems like a commitment. Maybe that is why games like Diablo and Borderlands give you further incentive to keep playing after you finish it, it is the nice safe enjoyable option than going onto a new game. Don't get me wrong I love new games, but sometimes you just want to play rather than learn. Maybe this is why multi-player has stayed so consistently popular. A varying experience with nothing new to actually learn.

To give you an example I am currently trying to get my head around Crusader Kings 2, which seems to be a very deep and interesting game. Whilst they have actually done a pretty good job of explaining things, there is still a huge number of things to remember and understand. It is fascinating, but while I am still learning I get the twitch to play something like Battlefield, that I can just jump into. I won't because I know that it won't be satisfying in the same way, just comfortable. Humm I think I hate comfortable.

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