Written Article

The Value of Shorter Games

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by 
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posted 
August 17, 2023
Games can provide incredible experiences and shorter ones shouldn’t be overlooked as they can offer some truly unique moments.
The Value of Shorter Games
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We’ve been spoiled with not only the scale but also the scope of modern videogames. In recent years the influx of open-world experiences has added to the time we can invest into a title, and whether or not you enjoy the common activities associated with them, there is a lot to keep you busy. Coupled with the idea that these can be expanded upon with seasonal or downloadable content, a single game could keep you bust for hundreds of hours.

There’s also the benefit of smaller projects allowing for interesting mechanics to be experimented with.

While a lot can be said about the negative impact these kinds of experiences can have on the industry, from the development process through to consumer fatigue around larger projects, we can also consider positives such as the value for money provided through gaining substantial playtime from a single purchase. However, that’s not what I wanted to ramble about, instead I want to look at the value shorter experiences can provide and how we shouldn’t overlook a game that can be finished in just a few quick hours.

I recently travelled to visit family and without my staple consoles to play on, I spent some time working through games on mobile and the Nintendo Switch. Some titles I had played before, as I just wanted to unwind evenings playing something that didn’t require my full attention, but then there were a couple shorter games I could really sink my teeth. Knowing that in an hour or so I could step away from them, I could get the satisfaction of finishing a game but also experience the journey in full in a single sitting. This was incredibly special when looking at games like Florence or Before Your Eyes, where both titles take the player through an emotional story, and experiencing the flow of the narrative without large sections of side content to break that flow is important. The big emotional moments felt more impactful because the linear flow through a curated story allowed me to be in the right state mind to feel the narrative beats as they occurred. There wasn’t an ever-expanding side quest or branching dialogue tree to shift or pause my connection to the primary story.

There’s also the benefit of smaller projects allowing for interesting mechanics to be experimented with, where Before Your Eyes uses an eye-tracker to react to blinking as a means to progress, Florence uses touch controls for varying interactions. This means that these kinds of experiences can offer a welcome change to the usual concepts of gaming, with distinctive visual elements or experimental gameplay mechanics, and as often these types of games are built by smaller teams or are independently published - retail pricing can be more competitive. Thus, trying something new as a player won’t break the bank.

So, while big AAA releases with hundreds of hours of playtime often draw a majority of attention, you shouldn’t overlook the depth and unique qualities a shorter experience may offer, and maybe give a quick little game a try – you might be surprised at the value these titles can provide.

In Summary.
The Positives.
The Negatives.
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About the contributor.

Admin
It's me, the admin of two-minute ramble. I'm an 80s kid with an obsessive love of videogames and most pop-culture stuff.
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