Thanks to digital distribution, we are beginning to see a much wider range of video game formats. By format, I don't mean genre or platform, but rather gameplay length and structure. Before this, we mostly had $60 games. In this format, longer is usually better. If you can only afford a few $60 games per year, it's easy to see that usually, a longer good game is better than a shorter good game. But now, the diversity of formats has grown: We have small games that only last a few hours (e.g. Limbo). We have multiplayer-only games (e.g. Monday Night Combat). We have MMOs. We have even smaller games that are dirt cheap on the mobile platforms (iPhone, etc.). This diversity is all great.
As a once-hardcore gamer with less and less time to devote to games, I want to call for more $10-20 downloadable, single-player games that last for 2-6 hours - I'll call these "short" games for...short. I'm talking about Limbo, Portal, Braid, Guardian of Light, etc. These games tend to have high production values, their gameplay depth matches most $60 games, and they're long enough to express a full idea or story. I want to see more of these! I want to see this format being used for stories and genres typically reserved for $60 games. How about a short open-world game with a story that rivals Red Dead Redemption (I'd love to experience it, but I just don't have the time)? Or, a short action-RPG with the production values and plot of Mass Effect 2? All of these are possibilities that, to my knowledge, have not been attempted.
So please, if there's a developer out there ready to tackle these, I will be waiting with my wallet! And if my gut feeling is at all accurate, there are tons of mid-20s folks like me that just can't justify spending $60 and - more importantly - 60 hours on a video game. Please, take out the fluff, tighten the story, reduce the price, and then I'll be interested again. In the mean time, I'll be playing Super Meat Boy in sporadic, agonizing bursts.
The best movies only ask for 1 to 3 hours of my time. Surely, high-quality single player game experiences can also come close to this level of efficiency.
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