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The Curious Case of Short-Term Commitment

As I played the last few minutes of Infamous: Second Son on my PS4, I pondered a question. That question was: Why are games getting shorter? I mean, I:SS was only about 7 hours long. This just wasn’t cutting it and I wasn’t trying to speedrun it or anything. I genuinely wanted to delve into what psychological effect was taking place in the minds of these developers that put all these intricate details into a game world that will only be played through for a short period of time. Needless to say, while I:SS was a solid game, it was too short for my taste. That’s not to say I don’t necessarily enjoy the occasional game that is short. On my phone? Sure. On my $400+ console? Hell no.

I pondered my question while also looking at the evolution of the world around me. What were gamers being bombarded with on a relatively regular basis? Ads for “IMPROVED GAMEPLAY” and “EXCLUSIVE DLC CONTENT” and “HIT SEQUELS” and “GAME OF THE YEAR EDITIONS”. These buzzwords are definitely buzzing. But do they distract us from the real honeycake of the gaming industry, which is the shoveling of money into the pockets of old rich white men who have rarely played a video game in their lives? Yes, yes it does.

But alas, perhaps I should just blame the shorter games on ADHD-proofing the game for the newest generation of the sickeningly bored. Why then is a new Call Of Duty ready for shipping less than a year after the previous came out? You see where I’m going with this? Mario is not the only dude chasing down some coin.

You want the quickest bang for your buck and if you can keep a fanbase hooked on your drug, you’re golden. But I offer a challenge. Try playing only the first games in a series, no DLC, no cheat codes for bonus bullshit, nothing. Just bask in the unaltered genius of the originality of the very first in the series. Obviously for some, the lure of the newest content will be too much to bear. You’ll learn something though, something beneficial to your own life. Sometimes your first attempt at something is the purest form of your creativity and if you stretch your imagination to its limits…you might end up with a subpar experience for everyone involved.

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