It seems as though when a new game comes out one of the first complaints to be voiced is, “Oh, the it’s so short! I beat it in a sitting.” Almost undoubtedly the latest CoD will have a single player campaign that comes in near the eight hour mark, at most. These days if a game isn’t an RPG it’s likely going to be a game you can beat in less than a couple of full working days.
Why this continues to surprise and disappoint people is beyond me. It’s been this way for the past five or more years. You’d think at some point folks would realize that’s just the way things are now. With increased production values, multi-million marketing extravaganzas, and an ever increased focus on multiplayer it’s no wonder that the single player end of things gets the shaft.
Gaming was once the past time of loners and shut-ins. Now it’s considered–by some–a very social thing. That’s what Zynga would like us to believe. They, and others, have a very ‘everyone is doing it!’ approach.
Let’s forget your mom, your cousin, and their recent wall posts to get you to do some menial digital yard work. Today I want to talk about what makes a game suitable for play ‘on the crapper’.
Back in the very first OtC I talked about a game called Urban Rivals. Fun game. A game I stopped playing shortly after that very article went up (new job, life, writing–it gets in the way).
Yet Urban Rivals is a great game for those times you have a few minutes to kill. As I’ve stated before, a match (played out between two players with digital cards featuring characters like those above) lasts but a few minutes. If your opponent is quick and isn’t lagging due to a third-world Internet connection a battle might be but three minutes. Games like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy Tactics (both have been ported to the iOS) are awful ‘on the crapper’ material. Don’t get me wrong, both are wonderful games, but who wants to be in the middle of a 20 minute FFT battle while they’re trying to unload lunch?
Speed and length is what makes a good game for toilet play. Games like Angry Birds, Squids Wild West, or Dungeon Raid. To add replay to these short jaunts many iOS games these days employ a three star system. Beat the level in a certain time, using only some of your resources, not taking damage, etc. Some do this well and some do it very, very poorly. Next week I’ll show you a couple such games.
This week remember that the game you want on the throne with you is one that won’t get in the way of more pressing matters.