Friday, December 07, 2007

Are You Getting Full Value From Your Video Games? (3 of 3)

The A,B,C Rating System

In the two previous posts in this series, I covered the idea of using achievements to figure out how much value you're getting out your Xbox 360 games, and showed how to compare your progress to that of other users. As promised, this post will bring things a little closer to home. How much value do I get from my video games?

Since getting my Xbox 360, I've been trying to be much more careful in what I buy - checking reviews, deciding whether I'm likely to actually play a given game, or whether it will just sit on my shelf. Partly this depends on how attainable the achievements are (i.e. how accessible the game content is), and partly this depends on how likely I am to play the game in question. As a rule, I don't really enjoy the traditional sports titles - even if it's the best Football/Baseball/Basketball title on the market, I probably won't get very far. And my favorite genre, best exemplified by games like Jak and Daxter or Ratchet and Clank, isn't very well represented on the 360. But I have been enjoying combat racing games, first person shooters, and a variety of other games.

After all of the previous, relatively complicated analysis, I decided to break it down to the A, B, C's. Each game I purchase is given a very simple ranking.

A: An "A" game is one which I haven't started playing yet, or I popped in and ran through the opening setup, but haven't gotten any farther.

B: A "B" game is one which I have played through for at least an hour, often more, but for one reason or another I stopped short of completing the game, or getting far enough in a game without a solid conclusion that it felt incomplete.

C: A "C" game is one which I have completed. This doesn't need to mean I'm done playing it - maybe I want to squeeze out a few more achievements, or just play more because I like it so much. But in terms of getting the core entertainment value, these ones are done.

Using this simple scale, I was able to quickly sort my games into three piles. As it turns out, I have the following ratios:
A: 38.8%
B: 27.7%
C: 33.3%

While creating this list, a few things popped out.

1. I have a lot of games I haven't started playing yet. Some of these I bought on sale, and others I just haven't gotten around to starting.

2. 33.3% completion, for me, isn't bad. I've gotten this far because I've been focusing on completing games - rather than bouncing between titles, I find it more rewarding to focus on one title, with a specific goal. I won't let myself move on to the next game until I reach that goal. Achievements are a big help in setting and tracking these goals, however you use them.

3. Of the games labelled B, the issue is occasionally one of difficulty. If I reach a point in the game where it's too hard to progress, I'm stuck. Sometimes you can get past this with the help of an online guide, like GameFAQS. Don't be ashamed to get help to move past an area where you are stuck - this is entertainment, and if you aren't having fun, you're doing it wrong.

4. Of the games labelled C, I do have a fair amount of DLC (downloadable content), which I've purchased, but not played. I should either make an effort to use that, or stop buying it.

5. I've got a bunch of games I want to play more. Looking at the games I still have to complete makes me want to go back and work on them some more. For the most part, I'm pretty happy with my collection of games.

Enough blogging about games... time to get back to playing them!

This wraps up my look at video games for the moment - I've got some more ideas related to the family of topics I've been covering recently, but if there's anything in particular you would like to see discussed, leave a note and let me know. Ideally we could have some more open discussion here, even though it's "just a blog".


Anonymous said...

Interesting analysis... made me look at my own collection with a bit more calculating eye.

It really is about attention-share. Your WishBox story took it to the extreme, but games, movies, cross-merchandising, etc... are all about keeping the IP in the forefront of the customer's attention.

Sprig said...

An excellent inversion of the original question - instead of the consumer view, ask the publisher: "Are You Getting Full Value From Your Video Games?"