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!
Posted 11-12-2012, 17:46
"Modern military shooters" can't be a good example, since the last three big ones (MW3, CODBLOPS 2, Doorfighter) are short, yes, but annoying and stupid as hell. Multiplayer is no better. Now, Company of Heroes is guaranteed 40 minutes of fun.
Posted 08-11-2012, 12:43
Oh, how I wish I had time again to play games like Skyrim. I still haven't opened my copy of Halo 4 that I bought on tuesday.
Posted 03-11-2012, 23:48
I like games such as Skyrim for my deep, intricate gaming fix, where I can absorbed in a title for hours. Then I also have my games that I play when I've got half an hour to kill, or fancy something shorter. So I say give us both kinds please publishers!
Posted 01-11-2012, 13:29
Hmmm there's short and shallow and there's COD which takes the short and shallow to new heights, I'd rather play longer deeper games even if I have responsibilities.
Posted 27-10-2012, 21:04
As I said in the article - its not about those exact games but about what they represent. There are a lot of other examples but those are the latest releases and everyone knows them.
Posted 27-10-2012, 16:59
@Bis18mark70: Eh, I wouldn't necessarily say "before" Modern Warfare myself. Rather, I'd say that that game itself is the last good one to have been released. The games after that speak for themselves (which is to say: they're really shit). But I can agree about Skyrim wholeheartedly in terms of depth. In fact, I think that's been brought up in several articles before: that, despite the overwhelming size of the game world, there's actually not as much to it as meets the eye. Oblivion had the same problem and I half-hoped they'd have done a bit more this time but they really didn't. Appearances really deceive how shallow the game is. Don't get me wrong, it's a really fun game but I think these huge open world titles are cursed to be fundamentally flawed to the point that so few really have the level of depth that you'd expect.
Posted 27-10-2012, 15:30
i totally agree with you....even thought i love skyrim i cant seem to have enough time to go through with it....that's when multiplayer comes into play for me...may it be bf3 on pc or cod on ps3...i can just jump in for a quick match or two and gwt some kills...then i'm satisfied and can go on with my adult life..
Posted 27-10-2012, 14:33
For me, the only good CoD where those before Modern Warfare - it ended with that title.
Skyrim is incredibly long yet don't think it has any depth. The world does not change no matter what you do. If you finish the Companions quest, the Academy, storyline etc. people will still talk to you as if you are just a thief passing through. I love the game to bits, but I hate that it is basically a 30cm deep ocean.
Posted 26-10-2012, 19:05
Hmmm. Was sure this would evoke at least some king of reaction...