All It Needs Is Love

The App Store today is a different beast from the one in early 2009, when iShoot ruled the charts. Look at the top paid games on the App Store today. Actually, don’t worry, I did all the leg work for you. Here they are:

Top paid
What can we tell by looking at those games? I see two clear categories: Games with a strong, established IP (Street Fighter, Sonic), or independent games with a huge amount of polish and style. Continue reading

Forget Length. Give Me Awesome

harold-lloyd.jpgIt pains me to see great games criticized for being too short or not having a lower price point. In a world where everything surrounding us is constantly vying for our attention, time is a premium, and filling it up with mediocre experiences, a waste.

I want to have great experiences, not just long ones, and I’m willing to pay for them. Just like other media, each game has an ideal length to develop its ideas fully, and we shouldn’t fall to pressures to make then any longer than they should be. I don’t want endless grinding or backtracing through the level to meet a minimum time quota. Just like every book doesn’t have to be The Lord Of The Rings, there is room for both epic sagas like Dragon Age and Fallout and short experiences like Limbo or Braid. Maybe there’s even room for the equivalent of Italo Calvino’s shortest short story, The Dinosaur.

I would go as far to say that games should err on the side of being too short rather than too long. There’s a saying in Spanish that goes “Lo bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno“, which roughly translates into “Good things, if short, twice as good”. I’d rather be left wanting more than not being able to finish something. As a busy gamer, I don’t get to finish many games these days, and the ones that I do really stand out from the others and hold a special spot in my heart.

Besides, a lot of other games can’t even be measured in length. How long is Starcraft? Team Fortress? Civilization? Tilt To Live? They are as long or as short as you want. Should we be docking them for being too short? Should we force all games to have infinite replay value? No, the important thing is that they’re great experiences.

Forget length. Give me awesome.


Other Indie Voices On Game Length

Twitter tag: #gamelength