Skyrim – a Curse and CoD – a Blessing
First of all, I would like to apologize for the controversial title of this article but please give me a chance to explain. This is not about The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare “X” per se but rather what they represent as games. And I do mean as games and not as tools for their publishers so let’s not get into the whole evil corporation thing… yet. Also let’s set some boundaries too. This topic touches only on the single player experience; there will be no comparisons between the storyline and characters. It’s only about the game experience and why deeper mechanics are worse than a shallow and quick experience.
Both first person but both radically different.
There might have been better examples than Skyrim and Call of Duty that represent this point. But these games are very popular and probably best known for these qualities – length and depth. Length and depth are very intertwined because simply long and shallow games will become very tedious and boring very, very fast. Short and shallow games still can be enjoyable if you are looking for a quick dose of fun. On the other side deep games cannot be short, if they were then they would feel unfinished. That’s why deep and involving games take a lot of time and if it’s an open world (like Skyrim) and you are a person like me, who likes to explore every nook and cranny – 100 hours is just getting a taste of things to come.
Here’s the real kicker though, grown up gamers. The average gamer tends to get older and it’s no surprise to find a gamer who’s been gaming his or her whole life and now is in his/her late twenties or early thirties. In this day and age we have many duties and responsibilities that can easily take up most of our time., time that could have otherwise been spent gaming. Unfortunately, it’s very hard and damaging in the long run to ignore your job or you kids. It’s not like skipping a day in school or ignoring a call to the table for dinner that your mother made. Being a grownup also means you can afford more games, you know, because of the job and all, but it has a significant drawback. Namely, lack of free time.; free time that we used to use to game when we were younger.
I’ll just quickly check out this cave and go do my daily duties...
Games like Skyrim have to offer big expansive worlds, rich environments and deep experiences. Experiences that cannot be had while just passing through. Games like these require at least an hour or two just to get the sense that you’ve done something. Otherwise you feel like you’ve spent all of your free 30 minutes on going to the next town and talking to two insignificant NPC’s. That just leaves you feeling unfulfilled, but if you give the game that one or two hours it sucks you in. It sucks you in and doesn’t want to let you go. There were a lot of times I told myself that I’ll just finish speaking to this guy or just finish this short task and go. I think you can assume how well that went. And for me personally it’s even worse than for some. I like exploring., I check everything I can.; I check caves, tree trunks, lakes, mountain peaks and in Skyrim I even swam under the icebergs to see if anything could be there. “Nirnroots” at night constantly take me off my path with their shining in the horizon. It’s just awful. I love that game so much and yet I can’t get the satisfaction I need, and it’s all because of lack of free time.
Now on the other end of the spectrum, you have Call of Duty. This can probably be any big budget modern FPS game, as they tend to get shorter and shorter. Modern Warfare did it first and it stuck so I’ll just use it as an example. This is again only about time. In CoD you can finish a level pretty quickly and when seeing a mission complete you feel that satisfaction. The level is done and the dose of fun is received. A level rarely takes longer than an hour, if even, to complete so you know that your busy schedule won’t suffer. You get satisfied and you can still satay on time. That is a ‘win-win’ situation. Even finishing the whole campaign in the weekend has benefits. Such as, keeping your mind clear of distractions. Memories of past experiences aren’t as distracting as speculations of what’s to come. Recalling a level or an ending to the game isn’t going to keep you awake. While trying to figure out how to solve a certain puzzle, kill a tough enemy or how that quest or story is going to turn out might.
Conventional way down is too long. The target audience will get bored.
Gamers are a loyal and faithful bunch. We live and breathe games. Maybe not all of us get mature but all of us grow up. Whether you want it or not, you will gain responsibilities as time passes. The boss or your partner might not be avid gamers and might not understand you. That leaves you with even less time not only to play but also to think about games. Life isn’t always constant and sometimes you have to work like a war horse and not see the light of day, while other times you can chill and play games for a better part of the day. This is why as much as I love big, immersive games I don’t dish out the short ones. Especially, if they are decent; if they give me the satisfaction to appease my inside gamer. Diversity is always good and even though Call of Duty is starting to get stale, there are other games that do the same thing but better. I hope we keep getting both experiences in the future with even greater quality and attention to detail, so that everyone can enjoy different games during different periods in our lives.
Good gaming everyone!