LRRcast - Concentrated Value

Talk about this week's LRRcast and what you'd like to see in future ones.
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LRRcast - Concentrated Value

Postby Graham » 05 Mar 2016, 11:20

Join Cameron, Graham and Alex on this weeks LRRcast where they chat about the age old problem. Is this video game I paid 30 dollars for and is only 3 hours long worth it? The answer may shock you.
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Re: LRRcast - Concentrated Value

Postby theycallmejokke » 05 Mar 2016, 13:33

While I general agree that lenght shouldn't general be a major qualifier for games now a days, however I do have a small story to share, so when I was young I literally got my mom to buy me Final Fantasy IX with the argument look how much game it is for the price.
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Re: LRRcast - Concentrated Value

Postby unpronounceable » 05 Mar 2016, 20:01

I think the "It's too short" complaint is subtly misleading. I read that complaint as "It wasn't a good game, and could have been better if it were longer". I would say "I didn't want it to end", for the reasons Paul mentioned.

I think a great example of a game that "was too short" is Portal. You could play through it in a few hours, and people said it's was too short. I don't think that was the case at all. The devs smartly showcased a lot of the design space, and chose to end the game before the puzzles got too hard, leaving the extra challenging stuff to the challenge rooms.

I think it's fair to make comments on game length in extreme cases, but even then it shouldn't be the primary factor in saying whether the game is worth the cost. Cthulhu Saves the World is a sub 10 hour JRPG. If it were $60 you have some strong justification to say it isn't worth the money. As it is, you can get it for $3.29 CDN on Steam. I couldn't tell you whether it is better or worse value than Super Hexagon (17 hours logged on Steam). I couldn't even say it how it compares to Final Fantasy XIII because they aim to give such different experiences, even though they're both JRPGs.

I also find it interesting that games being too long has never come up in such a negative context. Reviews may say that a section is too long, or that the game as a whole goes on longer than it should, but I've never seen any review that say "This game is too long, only grab it when it goes on sale", even though a game continuing on too long is arguably more detrimental to the experience than a game being "too short".
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Re: LRRcast - Concentrated Value

Postby Eric the Orange » 06 Mar 2016, 05:48

When I was a Kid we were poor. Not living on the street poor, but sharing bathwater poor. Back then my family could afford 2 games a year. One for my birthday and one for my brothers. So because of that how much play you could get out of a game was VERY important. If a game couldn't entertain us children for 6 month it wasn't worth the money.

That being said games back then were $50 in 1980's money. Today you can get quality indie games for 5-15$ so that obviously changes things.

But I think it REALLY comes down to is what you want out of a game. I vaguely categorize games into two groups, active and passive games. Active games are games that require your full attention. Weather it be because of difficulty, story, general immersiveness, these games are best played with no distractions so you can fully enjoy them.

Passive games are games that only require half your attention. The kind of games you play with a podcast on in the background. I find these games exist more for relaxation or stress relief after a long day at work.

Looking at these two categories I'd say length isn't as important for active games. Active games often leave you with something and will want to be replayed to get all the little details. In this way they get their value not out of length of play but what they leave you with after you are done playing.

Passive games on the other hand do depend on length of play. You want these games to be effective "time wasters" for as long as they can be. The quality isn't as important, you just want something to distract while you mind and body decompress. So the longer it can provide this the better.
Last edited by Eric the Orange on 06 Mar 2016, 08:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: LRRcast - Concentrated Value

Postby Kronopticon » 06 Mar 2016, 06:38

I must say I do find it aggravating that there is such an imbalance between a lot of games because of their "value". But not only that in that some games release Add-ons and bonus content, of which can add some value to the game.

But I have noticed that they can on occasion be the same price as the game itself. Bearing the question that does this extra content Double the games value? or relative to price if it adds a third of the value on top etc.

An example I've come across was Destiny. When it was released it was about £75 here. ($105 US or $140 Canadian) and I had spoken to a friend who had got it on release. Then bought all the add-ons when they were released, which I think totalled up to Well over £100. which is ridiculous. Wherein they may justify that the multiplayer content adds on a lot of value onto the original game. However I felt the game itself was perhaps lacking in actual content without the additional content.

Which would be unfortunate to my friend in that I waited a good amount of time for all the content to be released. And I then waited for the price to drop. So I got the Original plus the taken king and a few other extra's for the grand total of about £30. Well under a third of what he paid. Because I could control the urge to buy things as soon as they're available.

So essentially that content could be said to be worth £30 and what my friend paid extra for, was first dibs. Which I think only a AAA game could get away with. Content, I think, is the only thing that can truly justify a games value. Of which we discover it's true value once its stood the test of time. Hence why classics can be re-released. Because of their endless value :)

On a side note. I just watched the "0.5 A press Super Mario video". My reaction is very similar to Alex's. I'm just like... what the actual ****. Like how in gods name has he discovered all these things about the game, such as the multiple PU's and distances and... just... URGH MY BRAIN
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Re: LRRcast - Concentrated Value

Postby MetricFurlong » 06 Mar 2016, 09:32

Personally, I've always been far more concerned about quality than quantity when it comes to length of games (or any media for that matter). If a game strikes me as being 'not worth it' on account of length, it's because I consider it to be poorly paced as a result - which can just as easily mean a game feels too long rather than too short (if anything I'd say that being overly long, to the point of feeling padded or stretched out, is a more common problem in games than being too short, particularly with more mainstream games - although that may just be a result of my). The question for me is always 'will I consider playing this game as time well spent' rather than 'will this game allow me to spend enough time with it'.

The fact that I have a fairly limited budget for media in general, which means when making purchases I can't avoid comparing between buying a game and choosing a work in a different medium (most of which will be cheaper) may also play into this as well. Although given how many people seem to cite limited budgets as having the opposite effect, it may just be that a tight budget simply heightens the evaluation concerns you already have.
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Re: LRRcast - Concentrated Value

Postby aberdasher » 06 Mar 2016, 23:55

I'm personally surprised that the cast had so much trouble with the concept of something being too short, especially with the food example. I've definitely been to a restaurant with an AMAZING dish that I could not recommend my friends because although I enjoyed it greatly and felt they would enjoy it also; it was only a single bite of food. Being delicious is good, but for a number of people they can not say that it is sufficient to recommend it. I'm not saying that I would not pay for it again, but certainly I can not recommend it to others if I feel that it isn't what they're looking for in a dinner.

Alex's total gobsmacked expression on contemplating the concept of not being able to recommend something he enjoyed made me want to mention this experience. If I WERE to have recommended it to my friends, I would have felt extremely entitled and privileged in doing so. I certainly mentioned to them this dish, but with the caveat that it was extremely small and thus did not come with my recommendation for the dinner purchase. So in that consideration, I think that it is very possible to enjoy something that cannot be recommended, because the value to the situation or individual is not present. A recommendation made outside the circumstance should perhaps be taken of the description alone.

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