From time to time, I’ve caught myself thinking that a game is worth the full price or not worth the full price… sometimes, I’d wishlist a game to buy it on a sale while I’d immediately buy other titles even when they’re not even on a discount and that lead to me think… how do I set those standards and why am I allowed to judge whether or not a game is worth the full price tag? Hence, a small post on that topic.
Sometimes you play a game solely for the experience. You can’t play it again after your first time really… or rather, you can play it again but the experience won’t be the same and it’s maybe even ruined for you, like in Outer Wilds. Similarly, other games add a lot of replayability to them or have a ton of content in them, like Hades or Risk of Rain 2, while other games have collectables and great stories or enjoyable combat, etc. like Bioshock 2. Hence, it’s very hard to put a price tag on your time and answer whether or not your time has been well-spent on a game that cost ten bucks, twenty bucks or sixty bucks. It’s hard to give a good answer… but sometimes you see a game that costs twenty bucks and it doesn’t even give you twenty hours of content out of it, while a lot of other games have so much replayability in them or offer so much extra content that you could spend days in them, past completion, to discover all the little extras and bits that were hidden.
Stardew Valley costs 14€ on Steam. I remember buying it from one of my first paychecks back in 2016. I worked three hours as a waiter and had to deal with very annoying guests on that one Sunday there while my boss was taking a nap and while everyone else was not in the house. I had to prepare drinks and coffees and even food from the small menu and it was absolutely not worth it as I didn’t even get tipped by those annoying and very demanding guests. 14€ isn’t the steepest price tag but I got 112 hours out of this game so far and I have yet to get through the game and get to the newest content and the modded content and all of that. The game is super underpriced in my opinion but I probably wouldn’t have bought it for 60€. 30€? Maybe. 25€? 100%. 14€? Way too cheap! If I donate half a litre of blood, I get 20€ meaning that I can buy Among Us and Stardew Valley for half a litre of blood on Steam. I can get my blood’s worth out of those games easily and it would still be enough. But for what it is, I wouldn’t be able to pay more than 10€ for Among Us, especially since it has a free version on mobile… yup.
So time = money doesn’t work in games, since games don’t work like that. Monster Hunter World and Stardew Valley cost different amounts of money but I love both of these games in different ways. While I may have clocked in less time into Outer Wilds, I paid mostly for the experience, the soundtrack, the art style, the story, the gameplay in Outer Wilds… and it was 100% worth it. Monster Hunter World has this beautiful and stunning world, these epic monsters, no spiders, not too grindy grinds, fun co-op, lots of quests and event quests, a lot of stuff to do, cosmetics and an end-game that is worth it. It has a high skill-ceiling as well, which is amazing to have in games, in my opinion, which is why I clocked so many hours into that game…
Meanwhile, the 2020 remake of Destroy All Humans! costs 30 bucks, adds no new content compared to the old game, and the graphics have been barely touched “to keep it nostalgic”. The game still has annoying controls, there are little to no things to do in the world, there isn’t any extra content past the story, really, and there are still a lot of bugs in the game that made the game rather frustrating… including a very annoying escort mission. Regardless, it was fun at first… but eventually, I regretted the purchase, especially after that refund-window was over.
I feel like that it’s a common theme for developers these days to re-release games on different platforms and sell the nostalgia feel while front-loading the early game… and then everything else feels “eh” but you can’t refund it anymore… or people stop playing after a few hours.
And that’s a problem because you can’t really evaluate games based on their price tags or playtimes. You can’t evaluate it based on the contents and essentially, it’s all a rather personal thing and statements like “not worth the full price tag” don’t really say anything really… if anything it feels wrong to say stuff like that and I’ll have to be careful not to fall into that habit myself.
Rather, I feel like we need to move away from trying to play through games or to play “at least” a certain number of hours in it. I feel like mentalities like that can take out a lot from games and make them less enjoyable, which is a bummer. Instead, I feel like the only value you can get out of games is your personal enjoyment. Based on you and your preferences, an hour of a game can be worth nothing or priceless already.
Krikket actually put it into some really nice words by calling it “play to satisfaction”, which essentially enables her to drop a game if it doesn’t work at all or to grind the heck out of it if she absolutely loves it – and I feel like more people need to get to games with that mindset. I still sometimes regret purchases… but it’s less of a thing for me as of late and I’ve really been enjoying games no matter how long they are, especially due to the experience they gave me so far and have yet to give me and especially with the challenges I sometimes tend to impose onto myself. It’s great to change the mindset a bit and not ask “how much is this game worth?” but rather “how much is my time worth?” – The first question is more about the money/price tag. The latter question is more about prioritisation and whether or not you want to play one game right now and another later or which game you may enjoy more. It’s less about the actual money you worked for or that you paid… it’s more about what game you may enjoy more and testing out boundaries and new genres.
But that’s it mostly for today’s thoughts on a random topic that rushed through my head. I hope that I kind of made sense. Check out Krikket’s post! Krikket is cool! Uh, happy St. Patty’s Day! Happy Humpday! Hope you’re well! Let me know if you have any rules or ideas on how to evaluate games… or if you, too, think that it’s stupid to do that.