After having just solved every riddle in Rocksteady’s recent hit, Batman Arkham Asylum, I began analyzing the concept behind re-playability in video games. Re-playability is an interesting tool for developers to use when creating a game. The most prominent choices are whether to include multiplayer or a vast majority of collectibles in your game. If you look at Call of Duty 4, it has little to no hidden items in the campaign but the multiplayer is a fully fledged juggernaut. Arkham Asylum, which has no multiplayer, offers challenge rooms and riddles for you to conquer after you have finished the game. Games are thought to require these extended lifetimes or else they will be either sold to a video game trade-in store or begin heading their way to the back of a gamer’s mind. Developers try to avoid those consequences as much as possible by offering some sort of re-play value but end up slacking on the actual experience.
The consumers these days try to get the most “bang for their buck” inevitably leaving video games to suffer if they weren’t meant to offer endless amounts of gameplay. With this in mind, I have a theory as to why we are seeing this massive wave of casual games hitting the market. The iPhone is becoming a gaming platform because of the fact that the games are cheap and you don’t have to pay $60.00 for 8 hours of gameplay. I’m not saying 8 hours of gameplay is bad either, it is just that these casual games are meant to present themselves as a endless amount of fun in short sessions.
For an industry to grow we must innovate, and many games tell magnificent stories that we could of never accomplished in the past. The games of today strive to become the year’s biggest hit, unfortunately some are trampled under the blockbuster titles that simply have a longer replay value. If we judge games on the sole fact that they don’t have a thrilling multiplayer compared to CoD4 and Halo 3, we will start seeing very little innovation. When you play a video game you play it for entertainment, much like a book or a movie, but next time think about how your judging it against the archetypes of their competition.