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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Art of Games: Short games deserve more love

Both "DOOM" and "Titanfall 2" are first-person shooters that released in 2016 to critical acclaim.Both are violent romps with an over-the-top story. Both are fast-paced and fun. But I look back much more fondly upon my time playing "Titanfall 2." Why? Because at 15 hours, “DOOM” had overstayed its welcome, whereas “Titanfall 2” was six hours of nonstop thrills.

I’m not opposed to long games. My favorite game of all time is “Oblivion" (2007), where I sunk 300 hours into the world of Cyrodiil. It took me 80 hours of death to beat “Dark Souls” (2011) for the first time, and it is now one of my favorite games. But the difference is that those games were not going 100 mph the entire time. “Oblivion” had long walks through mystical forests and (badly animated) conversations with townspeople. “Dark Souls” forces you to take your time and constantly introduces new enemies for you to learn. In contrast, “DOOM” has you barreling through countless demons and macabre levels. After about the 10-hour mark, you stop getting as many new enemies, guns or environments. While I was still having fun for those last five hours, it didn’t feel fresh and by the end, I was glad to see the credits. “Titanfall 2,” on the other hand, never felt stale. Even though the action never let up, it was short enough that it never became exhausting. Every level gave you a twist on the gameplay formula only to give you an entirely new twist in the next level. All the environments felt unique and creative, with the story quickly moving you from one outrageous scenario to the next. That’s not to say that “DOOM” is the worse game. It controls better, looks better and is arguably more fun for those first 10 hours. Yet I can’t think about “DOOM” without remembering those last five hours. Just like how “Ulysses” isn’t better than “The Great Gatsby” just because its longer, “DOOM” isn’t better than “Titanfall 2” just because of its length.

Beyond just the quality of games, as time goes on, short games become more and more practical. When you had all the time in the world back in middle school, long games made a lot of sense. After a month or two of allowance, odd jobs and finding change between the couch cushions, you could buy a $60 game and play it for 100 hours until you saved up the money for the next game. But with essays, problem sets, internships and social lives, gaming often gets put by the wayside. We can’t as easily find the time for an 80-hour game anymore. Thankfully, a short game can be just as rewarding. If you have a Saturday free, you can experience the entirety of “What Remains of Edith Finch” (2017) or “Titanfall 2," as opposed to finishing the tutorial of “Persona 5” (2016). Sometimes, short games are the best way to hold onto your love of gaming in an increasingly busy world.