From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
A recent article at Kotaku looks at a rising phenomenon; gamers who only play one game. While this is not a new phenomenon it appears to be more common than before. The article got me thinking.
Over the past year I have become one of these gamers. Civilization V has been the only game I played, with a couple of exceptions. Those exceptions were nostalgia trips into Wasteland and Doomdark’s Revenge and neither lasted long. After a few hours in each I was back to Civ V.
The Kotaku article talks a lot about community building around games, but that is not the only driver. With decades of gaming behind us, there are a number of games that have a reasonably shallow learning curve, but gameplay that goes as deep as players are prepared to follow. It is these games that people are likely to play to the exclusion of all others.
It’s not necessarily a case of one game’s overarching quality, but rather the people playing never feel they have finished. In fact they never detect a ‘completion arc’ in the game. Games may contain internal metrics, but the gameplay leads itself to view those in isolation from the act of playing. If your character is level 50 and the cap is 100, do you feel you are halfway to competing the game? For many, the answer is no.
This is not limited to the RPG and RTS genres, I think when the new version is finished, Day Z will likely fall into a similar bracket. It’s a game you play play forever, without ever completing, and that won’t bother you. Perhaps this is the future of gaming.