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The Grind

February 8, 2013

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Video games are very very different now. When I was very young and playing on my SNES I would very rarely complete a game and very rarely care. I was happy to play games over and over, changing very little and achieving even less yet I didn’t care.

Now however games are incredibly dense and complicated in comparison. We as consumers demand experiences that last for 20 hours at least and give us new content throughout otherwise we complain endlessly on the internet on various website about how we’ve been short changed and the company producing the game should apologize personally for it.

I’m not making a judgment about whether I had more fun as a kid then I do as an adult. I do wonder however if producers are listening to the people on the internet (Which is never a good idea) and feeling the pressure to pad out games in the hope that people won’t complain that their excellent game only comes in at 10 hours game play.

 

This thought of course follows my play through of Arkham City. It is a brilliant game. I stormed through the story and most of the side quests in hardly any time at all or so if felt. I have absolutely no idea how long I played the game for but it didn’t matter as I was having a huge amount of fun. Then the side quests dried up and I was left with 250 Riddler trophies left to find, dozens of challenge medals left to complete and campaign+ to finish. I dove in with all the enthusiasm of someone who had just experienced a brilliantly crafted single player experience, the memory of Arkham Asylum and the joy it brought ringing through my head. A couple of days later I was done. The grind had got to me. I found a couple hundred of the trophies, completed the combat challenges and attempted the predator challenges. I still had so far to go but I had lost the fun. All that was left was the grind and that’s not enough. Pushing myself to do something with no story or progression, the sole reward being a Playstation trophy became boring. I just get the impression that so many of the riddler challenges and the campaign challenges were pure filler. If there were half as many trophies and no campaign challenges I don’t think anyone would complain that Arkham city wasn’t big enough. If they did then they’re probably people with with a very high opinion of themselves and feel like everyone must give everything away for free while they do nothing to help the world around them as they watch it and everyone on it burn, their last words as their tiny patch of ground bursts into flame being that the flames would have been hotter if they were made using a dreamcast.

 

Anyway. Arkham City is excellent and anyone who likes video games or comics should play it as it is THE best comic book inspired game by a country mile. There is a lot of content. I actually think there is too much content. Games don’t need filler if they are good enough. The first Bioshock is the best example of this. It’s just a single player game. No challenge modes, no online, just brilliance and nobody complained about that. If you make a game as good as Street fighter II Turbo was on the SNES you don’t care if you don’t have friends to play against. You’ll be happy to play it over and over against the computer just for the hell of it. Arkham city was good enough and I hope I keep that memory and not the one in which I got bored of the grind.

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