When we talk about the value of games, often we discuss replayability. That magic factor or host of factors that drive players to play games over despite having already beaten them. Sometimes it involves following a different plot or playing as different characters. Sometimes it involves collectibles or gathering special items. Sometimes it involves the drive to fully complete a game. And sometimes, a game is just that fun and compelling that it’s worth playing again simply because it exists.
Replaying Yoshi’s Woolly World for our YouTube channel has got me thinking about replayability, and, frankly, and unfortunately, how often I don’t replay my games these days. Because there was a time when I played the same games repeatedly, and it didn’t faze me. Now, with games being big and expansive, simply seeing a game’s credits, whether the game itself is fully complete or not, is nothing short of an accomplishment. But that’s not to say that I haven’t ever occasionally returned to a big, expansive game in order to relive its experience. Or that I haven’t ever returned to those older games that kept me going for so long. With that in mind, here’s my #Listmas list of my top five…err, six favorite games that I like to keep on repeat.
Despite having a very full gaming plate right now (I’ll be back someday soon with more Twilight Princess), my recent experience replaying Red Dead Redemption seems to have infected my gaming motives, as I now very strongly want to revisit other “favorite” games from my past. To that end, I recently started playing Mass Effect. Again. The first one. The one that I played through four times (almost five and six) before deciding it was time to move on. Though its sequels remain fairly fresh in mind, it’s been a good eight years since I played the original game. Thanks to having a very robust urge to trade games in the past, we no longer had the original games, but we picked up the full trilogy for the Xbox 360 over the holidays. Now with this new impetus to revisit games, I couldn’t resist the call of the Normandy any longer.
Inspired by a notion we recently saw floating around our Twitter feed, we’ve decided to pilot a small project involving our “favorite” games. And we don’t have “favorite” there in quotes for emphasis, but rather because this project involves us challenging the idea of favorites when it comes to games.
When we say “[insert game here] is my favorite game,” what exactly does that mean? Are we simply saying that the game offered a great, all-around experience? Or is there more to it than that? No game is without at least a few imperfections, so how and why are we able to overlook them in order to call a game a “favorite?” Do we have to put in a certain number of hours, gain a certain number of achievements, or play through a game a certain number of times (maybe playing in different modes and on different difficulties) before we should be allowed to say “[insert game here] is my favorite game?”