The Maxis Game Club letters are a short series of letters I wrote back and forth with fellow designer Matt Yang about our video game experiences in 2019. Read the previous letter here.
If there’s one major takeaway for me of the last 10 years of gaming (and media as a whole), it’s the absolute explosion of the number of titles, both large and small. In 2010, there were 276 games released on steam… for the entire year. In 2018, it was over 9000. That is INSANE. It’s literally impossible for me to keep up (although, I don’t think I need to play most of those).
Like you, I’ve also come to appreciate shorter, more complete experiences. These days, when I’m 10 hours into a 50 hour RPG, I start to get that nagging feeling that I should be playing other things. It gets even worse with “live-service” games, where there is no end, and there never will be (until the game is unceremoniously taken down).
Maybe this is just how I like to play games, or how I consume media. I want to experience something new, something I’ve never seen before. I’ve certainly played games without the expectation of “finishing” them (and, indeed, many can’t be finished!), but more and more, I want something I can consume wholly.
Sadly, I feel like most big games now want to consume every last bit of attention I can give them and I just can’t do it. Happily, I’m glad the “death of single player” never actually happened and there are plenty of wonderful, engrossing, and shorter experiences that are coming out every day. Let’s hope they keep coming!
Getting Increasingly Older,
Read the next and final letter here.