Monday, February 29, 2016

Off Topic - Unique Experiences

   There's a game up on Steam called Superhot. It's a first-person shooter where time only moves when you move and the action is intense, so you must carefully plan out each action before you take it. You can punch a guy, snatch his weapon out of mid-air, shoot him with it, and throw that weapon at someone else within the span of a couple of seconds because most of the game is in bullet-time.

   This game also costs $25 for what is roughly 2-3 hours of actual content. "But it's worth it because it's a great, unique experience you can't get anywhere else!" No it's not. Hear me out. 

   Most games offer unique experiences. I'm putting that before the page break, since if you can't understand that, there's no point in reading on. Though I encourage you to do so anyway!

    I can't name many games I've played in my life where I could have gotten the same experience somewhere else. Game mechanics and battle systems can seem really cool if you're seeing them for the first time, regardless of exactly how new or generic they are. Bullet time, first-person shooters, and time only moving when you do are all ideas that have been done before, but Superhot is probably the first time you will see it all in one game at the same time. Then again, I can also say something similar about other games that I didn't pay a premium for.

   For example, let's look at another indie game. Hotline Miami! Trippy colors, top-down shooters, takedowns, and one-hit deaths are all ideas that have been done before. I didn't see all of those in one game at the same time until I played Hotline Miami. Another example is Zeno Clash. Weird environments, first-person shooter, and beat-em-up are ideas that have been done before. Zeno Clash combined them, and I hadn't seen it until then. For more examples, I can just name any random game I've played. The World Ends With You on Nintendo DS, Mass Effect on PC, Persona 4 on Vita, Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64, Braid on Steam, etc., etc.

   However, my point doesn't end there. Let's start talking about games that no one considers unique, starting with Call of Duty since I want to be edgy. "Call of Duty doesn't do anything new, it's just a first-person shooter and you kill people." It's unique in that it's polished, has it's own story and, to an extent, it's own style. You can go and play Battlefield, but it's not going to feel quite the same. There are tons of people who love one game and hate the other, regardless of their similarities. There's a reason for that. Same goes for games such as Final Fantasy, Need for Speed, and Street Fighter, and extends to MMOs such as Warframe, Rift, and Path of Exile. There are people that will battle to the death to prove that Terraria is or isn't similar to Minecraft for various reasons. Even going back to the topic of this page, Superhot, I could easily compare it to Hotline Miami due to it's strategic side, or Max Payne due to it's reliance on slowing down time, but it's simply not the same game.

   "Well, sure, technically they aren't the exact same game, but if it's similar enough then it's still not really a new experience."
   True enough. But then, how much is a "new experience" worth to you? When you first started playing video games, each game was a completely new experience but you weren't expected to pay extra because of that. Now that you're a more experienced gamer, is it right for you to whip out extra bills for novelty alone? That's something only you and your wallet can decide, but hopefully I helped sway you towards answering "no".


  1. Awesome article. Just found your blog and loving it. I'm developing a free-to-play game so love reading your takes on certain games (especially ones I've played). Keep it up!

    1. Thanks for commenting! I was beginning to wonder if I had any readers at all. What kind of game are you making, and do you have any critique or requests?