Should playing games be a chore?

As a gamer it’s happened to all of us, at one time or another.

You’ve battled through level after level of escalating enemies, mini-bosses, end-of-level Uber-Demons and then found yourself hunkering down and dying time after time in a seemingly vain, uphill battle against borderline-abusive games design (Hello, crap difficulty spike at the end of “Warhammer 40K: Space Marine” – SPOILERS if you haven’t reached the end of the game!).

Kotaku today has a good piece by Luke Plunkett which muses on a different strategy – should games actively reward you for getting closer to finishing the game?

And no, New Game Plus isn’t what I’m talking about.

"Prepare to die"? Yep, that's a sales pitch which always works on me...

Kotaku‘s man posits that more games could learn from “The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay”  and give the player an occasional assist to foster the urge to get to the end of the game – the Riddick game gives you a cool piece of hardware in a climactic set-piece, much as the second “Gears of War” let you wreak havoc with a Brumak creature as you moved towards the end of the game.

I’m inclined to agree – if you’ve shown the gumption, skills and bloody-minded dedication to get near to the end of the game, why not throw your tired consumers a quick slice of awesome to gee them up a little?

It can’t be that difficult to implement and who doesn’t want to feel momentarily super-awesome when you get your virtual mitts on some +infinity to enemy damage spell or the use of some uber sword to hack away at waves of enemies?

I’m not one Teh Hardcorez, so the idea of suffering through a crappy experience to prove gamer cred is not one which holds much weight with me.   Games peeps – hear your audience’s cries!




Filed under Gaming, Geekery

2 responses to “Should playing games be a chore?

  1. Yet to open Space Marine so I await the difficulty spike. Something to look forward to 😦

    I read that Kotaku article earlier and totally agree with the argument posited. Usually gamers are rewarded with little more than a 40g achievement and for those who have never played, and will never play, Bee Movie or Avatar, this carries very little away. After all, there is nothing better than a powerful visual or playable trophy!

    Made me think of getting to play as Super Sonic at the end of Sonic Adventure accompanied by an awesome guitar riff!

    • Exactly right – I’m wondering whether this approach would suit all games (it might break a sports title if you suddenly turn into Mecha Wayne Rooney because you’ve reached the end of the season) but I suspect that we might all enjoy our games a little more if designers gave us the chance to be the equivalent of Super Sonic, or unlocked some classic reference to a past, beloved game in the series.

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