Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gaming as an opportunity

So I have been playing a surprising amount of GTA: Chinatown Wars. Even now, a week after finishing the main story, I find myself pulling out the DS in spare moments, loading up Liberty City, and trading some drugs. Even as I bemoan the point of games like Farmville, I find that I am drawn back into GTA just to reach for that unattainable 100%. I know I won't get there. Partly because I don't care THAT much, and partly because at my next available opportunity I'll be purchasing the new Zelda.

But here I am right now, taking random 30 minute breaks in my Saturday, trading drugs and dodging cops just to finish buying all of the safehouses in this little city. And it's terrible. I think the game is repetitive, I think its driving involves far too narrow streets, there are too many cops, I still have a hell of a time figuring out what section of the city I am in, I have trouble avoiding cars because I'm watching the GPS too closely (which is an annoying crutch). There are a lot of reasons CW annoys me, but I keep playing it. And I think it is for that sole reason that handheld games are really easy to start up and play quickly. A five-minute session is super simple. I even will gravitate toward internet games because I'm already on the web and I can just load up kongregate or Canabalt, or the link will be there as soon as I type the first three letters.

The point I find myself arriving at somewhat unsurprisingly (though I had no idea this was what I was going to say when I started writing this post), is that it matters to me a very great deal how quickly I can actually start playing a game. I don't intentionally work that way. I would rather play a wonderful epic masterpiece that takes five minutes to get into meaningful gameplay, but when there are those small opportunities to play a game during the day, I am going to pick the game that is right there in my pocket that will take thirty seconds to get into.

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