March 24, 2009

Replay it again, Sam ! (part 2)

Welcome to the second part of this post ! The first part was about replaying a game in a short window of time. The following reasons are better suited when some time has already passed…

Or “Hey, remember when..?”

Replaying a game after some months, or years have passed, means that you liked something about the game. Was it the design? The characters? The world? Whatever. But something compels you to come back again, to something you already mainly know.

But… How long will you play? Most people I have asked answered that they will only dip their foot in the pool, so to speak, and rarely go frolicking for a long time. One evening, maybe a weekend, rarely more. I even know some people who keep save games located just before a particular event they liked and will only play through that event.
In the end, you just want a quick trip down Memory lane, but you do not need to go through all its mazes: you already know them, after all…


Here, you come back with a clear challenge in mind, self imposed. In the first part, I had announced that this would be “Perfection”, but perfection is only one of many challenges you can set yourself.
I remember playing Max Payne 2 again with a friend, but only some levels (the dream sequences, mainly), trying to do them as fast as possible, looking for that extra second to spare…
I remember seeing a walkthrough explaining how to go through Chrono Trigger while retaining Chrono at level 1…
“Can I do it?”
Big question. But people like to try, to brag, or just to know that yes, they can.

The duration has no impact: you have a goal, you want to reach it.


So, what did we learn?
First, let me state that this article wasn’t just about me: I asked some friends and people for their input (that’s how “Perfection” became ”Challenges”; thanks for that, E-Link! ), which mainly confirmed what I thought.

1°) Many people will play immediately through a game again if it unlocked content (playable or not), and if the length of the new playthrough isn’t too long.
2°) Many people will play immediately through the same game again when they can retain their data, to see how strong their character is. BUT most will stop a long time before the end.
3°) Replaying in higher difficulty appeals to some gamers, but not all. Less so if it’s the exact same game, and only the enemy’s strength varies.
4°) Players are adept at creating their own challenges when a game offers none anymore
5°) Sometimes, players like to come back to something they know, just to see if it’s still the same…

Food for thought, and discussion, I hope ;)

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