Iíve been without a current generation home console for almost a year now. During this year Iíve become a lover of handheld gaming. I finally bought myself an Xbox 360 four days ago, and Iím starting to regret my decision. Not because of the money I spent, but because of the possibility of me neglecting the console. There is nothing wrong with the 360, but with me. I simply cannot give console games my time and attention anymore. Well, most console games. Let me explain.
I sit, turn my 360 on, and begin to play Alan Wake
. I beat the game in about five hours. The game is short, but it was exciting, original, scary, and most importantly linear. I greatly enjoyed the game, but I did struggle to play through it. My mind kept wondering, as if I had something else to do. What attracts me to handheld gaming is how I can play for 15 minutes, save, and then shut the system off. Alan Wake
, while short and episodic in its presentation, was the perfect length for me.
Recently I played Fallout: New Vegas
and while I did enjoy Fallout 3
, New Vegas
proved to be a bit too much for me. I played for about 10 hours and most of those 10 hours involved me walking around the wasteland. As I get older, I find myself reading and writing more often. My attention span has greatly expanded since I was a teenager, but this expansion did not reach my love of video games. Iím starting to detest any game longer than 12 hours. Like I said before, my attention span has improved greatly with age, but Iím not willing to give a game that much of my time anymore. It can be because Iím a young man in my twenties in school trying to balance the many hardships that life brings me, but I am noticing Iím not the only one to feel this way. Most of my friends complain of the same thing, too.
, Alan Wake
, Shadow of The Colossus
, and many others are games that offer a deep, emotional, and intellectual experience in a few short hours. This trend of condensing games is an act that is frown upon by many gamers. Most will say that a game must be of a particular length to justify its price tag, but Iím perfectly happy with a 4 Ė 12 hour experience.
To be honest, this kind of depresses me. Experiences like Mass Effect
are games I love, but Iím getting nervous that I will not finish and enjoy a game like Skyrim
. How can an improved version of Oblivion
bore me? Well, this can all just be a phase Iím going through, but this phase has been with me for some time and Iím not seeing myself investing that much time into a video game anymore.
Linear games, for me, provide me with the essential experience I need from a video game: action and story. I can see the appeal of an open world game with choices and exploration, but the way things are going I donít think I can do it anymore. But there can be a remedy for it!
Grand Theft Auto 3
(GTA 3) is the only GTA game I enjoyed and beat. GTA 3 is credited as being the first open world sandbox game, but compared to games nowadays its openness is laughable, but letís think about this for a moment. GTA 3 had a world that was perfect -- it was big enough to explore, but small enough to roam around and remember where everything is. The condensed world was a big attraction for me! Because its world was so small, it provided me with a world jam packed with activities and locals I cared about. The problem with most open world games is that I get bored easily. Maybe if games took the open world mechanic, but just condensed it, it would have made for more of an attractive world. Many games have a big open world for no other reason because they can. But if a game can make a small open world, and provide it with content worth exploring than maybe my interest will lighten up.
I don't know. Sometimes I think having a novice approach to game design is a good thing.