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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ism's Avatar
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    Default The Simpler the Game, the Higher Its Replay Value?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong section. I thought it had a kind of psychological component to it.

    While playing Neopets, I was thinking about how enjoyable some of the older games were, and how I'd probably be more willing to play those than some of the newer ones out today. Then I wondered why that was, and I figured that most of the earlier Neopets games had a simpler concept and smaller set of controls than some of the more recent games. So then I thought, maybe the simpler the concept/controls, the higher its sustainability.

    I could be totally off, but you can see it in games like Pong, Tetris, Snake, and other more classic games that are still around today and a basic staple among the gaming sites on the internet.

    Even sports have incredibly simple goals. For track, you just run around a big oval as fast as you can while expending as little energy as possible. High jump is just jumping over a bar, shot-put is throwing a weighted disc, and the triple jump is just running and jumping at as great a distance as possible.

    But then again, those simple games have a lot of hidden mechanics behind them, that if left unacknowledged, prevent anyone who plays them from progressing further in the game. Tetris, for instance, requires a clear head and a bit of strategic thinking to clear the lines without getting to the top, especially as the little tetris blocks fall faster as the rounds increase. With track, you have to learn how to pace yourself, know when to slow down, know when to let someone get in front of you, and then when to start sprinting to the finish.

    But then again, you have the more overtly complex games like football and chess and even pokemon, that are still popular after all these years (although football and pokemon are considerably younger than a game like chess). And, since popularity goes hand in hand with sustainability, then maybe it's not really how simple a game is, but the strategy involved that makes it last, which inspires a competition between people to see who has the greatest ability to plan out a win.

    So, the question is sustainability. What do you think?

  2. #2
    Senior Member StrappingYoungLad's Avatar
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    Default

    I can't see how football (or soccer ???) is overtly complex. Just like you said it has a lot hidden mechanics to allow strategies to inspire competition.

    Heck, I wouldn't say chess is overtly complex, the concept is comparable to tic-tac-toe if you come down to it.

    I'm guessing that the best sustainable games are simple to play but hard to master.

  3. #3
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    The most sustainable games are ones with many possibilities.

    You see very specialized games like computer RPGs, they have their set story line, and once you get through it, you win -- then you know exactly what happens and it's not exciting anymore. Snakes and Ladders, while simple, has little replay value because you already know where the snakes and ladders are and they're the same every time you do them. Tic-tac-toe is boring because you know it will always end in a tie.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ism's Avatar
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    Default

    The most sustainable games are ones with many possibilities.
    Yeah, I think that's definitely part of the case. But what does that say for a game like Pong? It's outcome is pretty clear cut- you last as long as possible. Maybe it's the more control the game lets the player have without constricting them like those RPGs you've mentioned.

    I can't see how football (or soccer ???) is overtly complex.
    Well, I guess I meant more conspicuously so. We always see the examples of strategic plans for football in movies and stuff. It wasn't a good example. I was just trying to provide a counter-argument, is all.

  5. #5
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Eh, I generally like replaying games I already know how to play, more than new ones. Though occasionally a new one will interest me enough to beat it. Ironically, the more "formulaic" it is, and the less innovative it is, the more I'll usually like it.

    But I'm weird. I just hate challenges and enjoy repetition. I've beaten Pokemon Red at least 3 times, and played it from the start without finishing several more times.

  6. #6
    Badoom~ Skyward's Avatar
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    'Easy to learn but hard to master' isnt a line like that on the box for Othello?

    I was snookered into Runescape for about a year straight when I was 12-13. After that I kind of hopped around other MMOs for a few months at a time.

    Runescape was more open ended and repetitive, but I got out just before it became too crowded for the system to work effectively. It was about grinding a bunch of different skills and finding the most efficient way to do it. I reached a pretty high level and then thought: 'Wtf, I pay 5$ a month for this, I could get a job and get PAYED 5$ and HOUR for the same thing.' Too bad I was too young for most jobs, and a little too lazy to go out and get a paper route.

    Chess is moving tic-tac-toe, it is popular among more brainy folks because for them its a tactical system that never plays out exactly the same. You can focus less on building your army and more on developing an ongoing tactic. It's a bare-bones RTS that doesn't require you to have ADD. Heck, no one tactic is the most effective in that game, making the outcome based more on the player and less on what race the player is playing.
    'Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and its better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.' - Marilyn Monroe

    This is who I am, escapist, paradise-seeker.
    -Nightwish

    Anthropology Major out of Hamline University. St. Paul, Minnesota.

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