GoNintendo Thought: How long do you give a game to 'click'?

Time is precious

Happy Monday, gang! Hope you all had a great weekend. Here's to a quick work week so we can get back to the R&R! As always, thanks for reading.

Everyone's time is precious and we all have important things to do on any given day. There's our jobs, school, work around the house, family necessities, and so on. The older you get, the less free time you have. That makes every little moment you can steal away for yourself that much more meaningful.

If you decide to use that free time playing games, the choice of what to play can be almost crippling. There's so many titles out there, and there's no doubt plenty of people have a massive backlog of games they never got around to playing. Throw in the new releases every week, and the mountain of content to dig into can seem insurmountable.

Obviously when you do pick a game, you're hoping it provides you with a great experience. You can turn to reviews, previews, and impressions from all corners of the internet to help guide you, but you'll never really know if a game is for you until you fire it up and give it a go. That's what brings us to today's question. When you do make your pick and start a game up, how long do you give it to sink its claws into you?

I have a bit of weird approach when I'm playing a game. If I hop in and find myself not having a fun time, I tend to think the problem is on my end, rather than the game itself. Instead of being turned off by the game and shelving it, I am interested in finding out why it is I don't like it. I want to play more and figure out where my disinterest is coming from. I can't help but think I'm doing something wrong or I'm not understanding something, and that's what's leading to my lack of fun with the game.

Believe it or not, it actually took me a number of years to get into Gears of War. I was hyped beyond belief when the game was coming out, and was happy to see all the great reviews that flooded the internet a few days before launch. When I finally got the game for myself and jumped in, I found myself not having fun at all. I just couldn't find any sort of redeeming interactions from the experience. I found myself bored and frustrated almost the entire time I was playing. This lead to me putting the game aside after a few hours.

I came back to Gears of War a few months later to give it another go. I decided I would start fresh and see how things panned out the second time around. Unfortunately, the second attempt at the game lead me to the same conclusion. This would happen for a third time just a few months later, which lead to over a year of giving the game a break before I tried to tackle it again.

After nearly two years of not having the game click for me, I decided to take a different approach. I was going to try the game without any expectations of how things should play. I wasn't going to force my own opinions on how things should work, and instead take the game as it came at me. I was also going to alter how I played, moving from a conservative approach in gunfights and offense, to a head-on, balls-out tactic. It was the combination of these elements that lead to me really, really enjoying the game. I had my moment where things clicked, and Gears of War went from being a bore to a blast.

That experience taught me that sometimes games take not just time to click, but a whole new way of thinking as well. It was a pretty eye-opening thing to have happen. I've tackled every game since with the same approach, and it really has worked wonders. Ditching pre-conceived notions and opening myself up to play-styles that aren't normally in line with how I play has lead me to have fun with games I would have never even considered in the past.

I'm actually going through this process right now with Ninjala. I'm having trouble digging into the game and getting it to click for me. I went in with an open-mind, but I'm still having a few problems with the experience. There's just certain base gameplay mechanics that really don't entice me in any way, shape, or form. On the flip side, there is something about the game that's keeping me coming back. There's something going on there that I really enjoy, but I can't put my finger on it. I plan on continuing to dig down into the game to see what I unearth.

Numerous developers have said that a game has to catch players within the first 10 minutes in order to keep them coming back for more. Be that through gameplay, story, or some other mechanic, those opening moments can be make or break for a game. I know plenty of friends who have bowed out of a game when the opening act didn't do it for them, and they never returned. Again, with free time being so limited, I can't get mad at anyone for moving on when things don't work out for them.

How long do you give a game to click for you? Do you give it a shot over and over until things come together, or are you in and out at the first instance of content you don't enjoy? What was the last game that didn't click for you, and when did you decide to call it quits?

Categories: Consoles, Portables, Feature


Mon Jun 29 20 11:46pm
(Updated 1 time)

Hmm... I suppose it varies, depending on the game... although I do recall a few games I played very little and gave up on shortly after.

The oldest I remember is World of Warcraft... it was so boring... all I did was run between NPCs, fetching items and killing minor enemies, over and over again...

Then there was Bayonetta... monotonous wandering through empty stages until finding opponents to fight with mindless button-mashing combat... so painfully dull...

And more recently was Splatoon... arena shooters, ugh... jump in, shoot stuff, win or lose, jump in again... and again... and again... over and over... I just don't understand the appeal of such repetition...

Although now that I think of it, I finished Final Fantasy 6 a while ago on the SNES Mini... and there were a few times I was tempted to give up... mostly because the turn-based fighting and level-grinding were as dull as ever... but the plot was interesting enough... and wanting to be able to say "I beat a Final Fantasy game" certainly helped...

If I had to guess, I'm prone to abandoning a game very quickly if it lacks gameplay that I find appealing... but if the story holds my interest well enough I'll try to work my way through it...

I usually give it a few hours, but if something doesn't click by then I'll usually drop it for awhile. I almost never abandon games and I'll give them another chance eventually, but lately my time is spent between a lot of things and unless something really grabs me, i won't bother finishing it until it appears on the backlog later on.

I have never left a game unfinished unless the game is practically either unplayable or too frustrating which in my case is very rare.

Now 100% games on the other hand is a different story as I only do it for platformers that are fun.

I don't know whether a game "clicking" is really a factor in whether I keep playing it or not. That's certainly the case in other media... If I'm not immediately repulsed by how bad it is (lookin' at you, Taboo Tattoo), I'll typically give an anime two episodes to convince me it's worth watching... but a game has to work pretty hard to get me to put it down. I don't usually fall prey to the sunk cost fallacy, but when it comes to video games, I always feel determined to power through. Even if a game is kind of a slog from beginning to end (seriously, how can people defend Final Fantasy XII?), there's a certain amount of satisfaction in getting through it.

Xenoblade chronicles series is one I appreciate on so many levels, but I’ve tried several times trying to get hooked in the game’s world, and it’s just not for me. Even though I’ve probably put 25 hours into XC2. Same with XCX.

This is why I love Nintendo’s first party efforts. Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Mario Kart, Splatoon, Smash Bros, ARMS, Metroid, Kirby, Star Fox, Animal Crossing. The list goes on. Nintendo’s true first-party efforts (and the occasional inspired 2nd-party productions) have that Nintendo magic where the game just feels right and hooks you instantly. Man how I love a real Nintendo game.

Tue Jun 30 20 02:44am
(Updated 1 time)

If a game doesn’t “click” in the first few hours or the first play session, I’m unlikely to continue.

If someone says something like “once you get past the first 5 hours....” about a game then that’s not a good game to me. Same goes for people who say “get to episode 5 and then it gets good....” about a TV show. I’m not wasting hours on the promise it might get better.

There are too many games, movies and TV shows that are good to me from the get go that I can’t waste my limited time on stuff that takes a while to get enjoyable.

It seems everyone has their own tolerance levels. The post above me claims that being told a show gets good 5 episodes in is too much, but I'm fine with that much. However, if someone says it doesn't get good until the second season (and the first season is full length [e.g. Parks and Rec would be a case of a short, bad first season]), then I won't watch it.

As for games, it may not be altogether fair, but it depends on tug the genre. I'm willing to give more leeway to an RPG just because, by the genre's typical nature, it takes time to properly establish a world and theme and important gameplay elements. But for a platformer, I don't think the same amount of time is required to say, "I think I understand what this game is and whether or not it suits me." So to answer your question: depending on genre, anywhere from a half hour to 5 hours.

I do find your approach to games fascinating RMC. I think I do the same and try to accept the game on its terms, but my question to you then is: when do you just say a game is bad? Or at least, do you ever play a game and say "I don't like this now and I don't think I ever will"? I'll be honest and say that I don't think many people here would have given any games as many shots as you seemed to give Gears. If the game has enough supporters and it doesn't grab me at first, I'm probably willing to shelve it and say "I'll try this again later" but if it doesn't necessarily have too much hype, if it doesn't grab me, I'll probably never play it again (examples would be Metal Gear Acid 1, Gabriel Knight 2, and others).

Tue Jun 30 20 10:02am
(Updated 1 time)

Depends on the game: If it's a more arcadey type of experience then maybe 15 mins to half an hour. If I don't enjoy it in that time then I likely never will. If it's a bigger experience like an RPG or some huge story-driven game then I might give it 1-2 hours max. Story isn't that important to me so I know it's not going to get me 20 hours in if I not actually enjoying playing a game in its own right, that's for sure. I need to know pretty quickly how it feels and if I'm simply having fun, and then and only then after that do I care about everything else and I can let the story do the rest of the work. Mother 3 is an example of a game where I think the story and underlying concept is utterly profound and a bit of a masterpiece, but it's only because the core game is brilliant too (from the visuals and presentation to the controls, underlying gameplay mechanics and world design) that I gave I ultimately cared about what it had to say.

Depends on the game I guess.

If it's a rather short game I will see it through to the end no matter how much I hate it. I have payed for it after all.

A massive RPG on the other hand may make my life miserable if I don't stop. 25 hours of Octopath Traveler and 35 hours of Xenoblade Chronicles X taught me that you should just stop to play/do things you don't enjoy. Otherwise you'll risk your mental health eventually.

Games that are nigh unplayable are a special case. Remothered on the Switch was a massive clusterf*ck of a game, which I dropped after only three hours.

Seems like we can all agree that it depends on game and our own play styles.

Death Stranding is one I am playing a great deal these days. I'm one of the many who got real excited when I saw the trailer but damn how I was let down when I saw the gameplay. WTF is this? An interactive movie/walking sim? But I still loved the setting so much I eventually got it pretty cheap and went in. And at first it truly was an IM/WS but you got into the story and damn is it interesting. And people told me not to give up. That and the story and setting and my personal curiosity got me going and now it's a full fledged survival horror game with some great stealth elements and some good freedom to choose how you want to go through misions. Now I love the game.

But games like, for example, Bayonetta "clicked" with me in an instance. Just from the demo on the PS3 I was beyond sold. Or the first time I played Splatoon. Those controllers, gyro with buttons and sticks. That smoothness.. Oh dear me.. And the simple yet deep tactics you have in the game. Got me hooked instantly (this last part was not a jab at you, JD . Just some examples I fealt like usingSmile )

These days, I can usually tell within the first 30 minutes if I'll like something or not, because I don't have time anymore to dump into something that might get good 7 hours in. Because of this it's been hard to try new things and instead stick with what I know (Animal Crossing, Shantae.) It also sucks to drop $20 or more on something you have no idea what is going to feel like.

I just thought of Snake Pass. I was really excited for it and got it day 1 on Switch. But after playing the first level a few times and finishing the 2nd level, I felt like this was way too much work and not enough fun. I haven't went back since.

There's also the rare case of motion sickness. I barely made it to the end of the first level of Shadow the Hedgehog on GameCube. I've never been so motion sick in my life, and I didn't have issues with the older 3D Sonic titles like Sonic Adventure 2. But by the time the 2nd stage loaded, I had to shut everything down (and I mean everything) and crash on my bed for about 3 hours til I felt somewhat better. What a miserable experience.

I'm not good at shooting games either. I've played Fortnite a few times, Apex Legends a little, and hours (and dollars on) Overwatch, but in the end it just isn't for me. The only game I really enjoyed like this was Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron on PSP. I spent so many hours playing that game! I just couldn't get into the new Battlefront games on PS4 though.

If I'm not having fun, it's not worth my time. It's probably the reason I dropped out of Monster Hunter (again) and why it's so hard for me to keep playing Pokemon after I beat the story and catch all the available monsters. There's nothing to keep me around any more.

You wouldn't have to mention it since I know Ninjala has been one of those games for you. I'm still on the fence with it myself. I'm really turned off about some aspects of the game, but it's so interesting and sometimes even exciting that something about it draws me right back in.

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