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This Design Tour of World of Goo demonstrates particularly what made the game so good.
So I downloaded the demo from Steam last night, which let’s you play through maybe ten levels, and found it fun and inventive but not anywhere close to worth the 20 dollars they wanted to charge for the whole thing. I really can’t see myself playing World of Goo ever again after having completed all the puzzles.
And this is not an uncommon problem with these kinds of games.
One of the difficulties I find with these awesome concept games is that they do so well with the concept that they don’t concern themselves with replayability. Take for instance another concept game that wowed the gaming world last year: Portal. I finished the game in about three hours and haven’t returned to it since. There’s just not any real draw. Same deal with Darwinia—though I could see revisiting Darwinia in another year or so (plus there’s user-created content out there).
Fortunately, Portal was packaged free with Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (a game I expect to return to many times over the next few years) and Team Fortress 2 (which is more fun than it should be). I didn’t have to pay anything to play Portal so I loved it. Outside of the bundle? I might think $4 is worth it for the game—though I’ve paid less for games with better longevity (I just got AudioSurf for $2.50 and Half-Life 1 for $.99).
I paid $9.99 for Darwinia and think that was mostly worth the price (it came bundled with two other Introversion games). I would maybe pay $5 for World of Goo simply because it engaged my wife momentarily as well. But man, $20? I paid that much for Bioshock.
The Danes last blog post..20081119.ChurchLies
I agree about Portal. An absolutely amazing game, but no replay value, which is fine, as long as you don’t pay much for the game.
Yeah. Honestly, I’m torn. I would really like to support indie developers (houses like Introversion or 2D Boy) because conceptually, that may be where the future of gaming is established. But I am also not a man of infinite means, which means my entertainment dollar needs to go where it will benefit my entertainment needs.
There’s obviously some sort of balance in that a good game doesn’t need to be Morrowind-long to be a success (they don’t have to continuously create artificial progress needs like WoW either), but in order to succeed as a game (and not just as a proof-of-concept) a game must have some level of replayability. These are how we judge games in the boardgame world and I think the standard applies here as well.
I suppose that if we change our thinking about games, these smaller games could merit the money spent on them. But then we’re no longer thinking of them as games but as singular interactive experiences. An experience to be absorbed and stored in memory, kind of like movies, I guess. That’s not a necessarily bad direction to go, but I think that until these kinds of experiences actually Arrive, we’ll continue to feel confused and maybe even let down by their place in our consumptive order.