If you listen to the Gamers Riot podcast, you know how many of us feel about downloadable games. Normally, you buy em’, you play em’ for a solid couple of weeks, then they collect dust on your hard drive.
Sure, there are exceptions (Super Meat Boy), but
the truth is, very few downloadable games command your attention week after week, month after month. Most don’t come packed with the content we’ve come to expect from retail games. To add insult to injury, the little buggers can get pricey. Sure, $15 never seems like a lot of cash, but if you’re only playing the game for a week or so, are you really getting your money’s worth? Let me put it in perspective for you.
Then… about a month later…
While fun, plenty of downloadable quickies are “traps.” All sizzle, no steak. The worst offenders are the old school beat em’ ups. How tempting is X-Men Arcade? Or Final Fight? Or Turtles in Time? Don’t let your sense of nostalgia get the best of you. After about five minutes of jump kicking dudes, you’ll be ready to put the controller down.
Another inevitable trap you run into is a dwindling community. Sometimes, it doesn’t take long for a downloadable to go stale, even if it’s a ton of fun. You’d still be playing it, if everyone else was still playing it. But they’re not, so you’re not.
I’m intrigued by the trend. I love watching the new, hot downloadable games drop each week. And I love watching people forget about them six days later. So much so, in fact, that I made it a little quest of mine to find those downloadables that bucked the trend. The ones that keep you coming back again and again. You know what I’ve found? The “simplest” games are the best.
For example, I just downloaded the newest version of Tetris to my PS3. Of course, you get the classic game. But the package comes with “challenge modes,” multiplayer, and better graphics (obviously). Win. Before writing this, I played for about an hour and a half. It felt like twenty minutes. I’m sure I’ll get bored of it after a while, but I know I’ll pick it back up months down the line. It simply has that kind of replayability.
Then, there’s this little guy.
What’s more pure, more basic, than Pac-Man? If you own an xbox 360 or ps3, you need to buy this game. You will never NOT want to play this game. No matter how old it gets, the gameplay is so engaging, so simple, so addictive, you will come back to it again and again.
Hey developers, keep it simple. I mean, Dead Nation is sweet, but i’m not going to play it forever. Worms is fun for a few days. Take a look back to when games were addictive at their core. When the gameplay was undeniable.
Give me new takes on Donkey Kong. Dig Dug. Galaga. Pong, for crying out loud. Throw in acheivement/trophy support. Classic games are built for the downloadable scene. In my opinion, releasing more of them will only strengthen consoles, and more importantly, introduce a whole new generation of gamers to the rich beginnings of our beloved industry.