When it’s nearly launch time for an eagerly anticipated game and my hype levels are reaching frothy-mouthed insanity, I often convince myself this is the ultimate game. I envision myself playing it for hundreds of hours, trying out multiple different character builds, and generally just bathing in its gloriousness. That never happens. Pretty much as soon as I get a sense I’m near the end of a game I end up mainlining it. The credits roll and the game is deleted, never to be seen again.
It didn’t always used to be like this though. When I was younger and had a limited supply of games I’d play the same games over and over and over again. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve played the opening few hours of Monkey Island or Mario 64. Now I couldn’t think of anything worse than retreading old ground. There are bazillions of games out there and time spent replaying one feels wasted when I could be experiencing something new.
There are exceptions of course. More gameplay-oriented games tend to keep me coming back for more. I’m still inclined to play through some older Zelda and Mario games, but anything overly long and story-focused is a big no no. No Bethesda or BioWare RPG will ever been played twice by me. Something more compact is doable though, and I still enjoy the occasional run through of Max Payne 2.
I know that a general dislike of replaying games isn’t all that common though, and there’s even a school of thought I can get behind that playing games through a second time is actually better than the first. You know how the systems work, you know where the trick parts are, you can skip the boring story beats. You’re free to just mess around and experiment. Repeated playthroughs also expose details you may have originally glossed over, such as incidental environmental details or little narrative hooks that were overlooked.
There’s also the advantage of better hardware to consider. At the times I’m in desperate need of an upgrade I can play through a whole game on Low or Medium graphics settings, and then when I get new hardware I can blow through it Ultra and gawp at it in a whole new way.
Over to you now then, do you often replay your games? What makes some games better than replaying others? Share your thoughts below!