As Chris mentioned, this weeks debate club is definitely a matter of preference, and I totally agree with his point that we all have the option to play games in whatever we as individuals see fit. Still, clearly I’m right.
While it goes without saying that playing more games in a given period gives a player more breadth of experience, nowhere does it say that breadth of experience is automatically better than depth of experience. Furthermore, there is definitely no guarantee that the games that make up this breadth of experience will guarantee a better overall experience.
I’m not saying that playing only one game for your entire life makes for the most enriching gaming experience possible but I do firmly believe that a) not all gaming experience are equal and b) not all gaming experiences should be treated as such. Some games treat players to a rich and long lasting gameplay experience that isn’t truly appreciated until forty plus hours in. Games like Fallout, Skyrim and Dark Souls only really shine once you’ve begun to take in the true depth of their worlds as wholes.
Other games, while equal in quality, simply don’t require as much from the player in terms of time commitment. The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider are all good examples of fantastic games that simply don’t require huge time commitments to enjoy.
Beyond games themselves dictating what constitutes a worthy amount of dedication are the games that allow players to dictate themselves what feels right. Competitive multiplayer is a great example of this. What constitutes the appropriate amount of time spent in Call of Duty multiplayer to constitute having “played that game”?
Personally, I believe that to a large degree, players play what they’re drawn too and stick with that. Some people really love competitive multiplayer shooter games. Those people will pour hundreds of hours into Titanfall this year. They might miss Watch Dogs, Destiny, and other notable releases because of this. To me, that doesn’t make them wrong though.
I’m certainly a gamer guilty of playing games for excessive amounts of time. I’ve pour hundreds of hours into Skyrim, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and Diablo 3. If I had put those titles down to play other games there is no doubt that I’d have experience a larger breadth of content. That said, I’m pretty happy with the way I spent my gaming time, and again, I’m not sure breadth is necessarily better than depth. Those four games I know inside and out, have enjoyed all they have to offer, and don’t regret a second I’ve spent with them.
As for the argument that playing the games listed above has prevented me from playing other notable titles, I’d argue that I’ve still found time to play plenty of other great games in the last few years. Sure, I’ve been a bit more picky in terms of what I choose to play when I stray away from the big four, but that doesn’t mean I miss them altogether. In fact, I really love great games that don’t require a ton of time to finish. I played through Bioshock Infinite in a weekend, and it was a fantastic palette cleanser for me. It gave me a chance to get out of my box and play something new and interesting, without abandoning my old staples.