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Thread: What to you makes a good game purchase?

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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    Default What to you makes a good game purchase?

    I've been thinking about this one a bit looking at how things have morphed over the years. Long ago most games really weren't too terribly long, they just took time because they required a higher more precise level of skill in a flat environment more often than not. You look at stuff now, it costs more for sure, but you find aside from a few select genres stuff seems relatively short.

    Are you someone who weighs it upon the hours you get out of it? Is it not about time but all the added junk that's put in there to keep going back for or hunting some corner or sequence to get it? Maybe you're just good as long as the ride is fun whether short of long if you get enough hours out of it to be happy and if that means finishing the game all the better?



    Personally I don't know 100%, but once upon a time pre-game industry I was all about finishing the game, not in totality unless it was something fairly straight forward like a Mario game or FF2 SNES which had minimal side crap to derail the experience. That caused me to have some level of permanent burn out over the last 13 years since that exit that unless something really compels me I find it hard to focus enough to finish a game, even far less to really dig into the extra fluff. I find for me if I can make a certain milestone I set in my mind I'm fairly happy, not totally pleased but it works and if it's good enough I can go back. Yet when I do finish something like the first 3DS Adventure Time game last night before bed I was thrilled I took it down as it has been a long time since I knocked a game out like that. So what does it for you to make a game a good purchase?

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    For me it's always been about (how much fun I have×hours enjoyed)÷how much I spent>5, with a personal rating of 1-10 for the enjoyment coefficient. If the result is less than 5, it's a bad purchase. I rate Magic Darts on NES as a 6 for fun, I've enjoyed it for a total of about 4 hours. I paid $3, so it comes out to an 8, so I'm happy.

    There may be satire in the specifics, but there's some truth to my thought process. I pay 5 bucks for something I don't enjoy for more than half an hour and probably won't come back to, I'd rather have my money back. On the other hand, I spent $3 on Mary Kate and Ashley's Sweet 16 on Gamecube, as it looked like a goofy Mario Party clone for tween girls with the intent to play it with some guy friends for a laugh. We've had 2 great afternoons finding out who will be queen of tge party and calling one another bitches after stealing friends and boys from each others cars while our wives shake their heads in amused bewilderment, so great buy. It's all about did the game live up to what you bought it for. If you're a collector who paid $500 for a sealed VGA graded NES game and it gave your friends the jealousy boner you were craving, then good deal. If you paid $5 for a copy of Air Fortress on a whim and had a great afternoon playing through it, you did all right. If you paid $60 for this year's Madden, played it for 2 hours, then re-sold it just to buy it again next year, you probably could have done better.

    I paid $6 for a copy of Macross on Saturn, and it showed up today. I'm gonna go find out how I did.

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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    That's an interesting formula but I can see where it could fall flat.

    Adventure Time 3DS with 6~hours invested, I'd rate it an 8 and I think I paid $15 for it. (3.2 is the total) and that's less than 5 but it's a really fun game. You're right it makes good satire but you're also right in your funny bit there about the Olson Twins and Madden as it's very true.

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    Cherry (Level 1)
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    I like that formula! I applied it to a few games and it seemed to hold water well. But then I applied it my copy of the Japanese (Tengen) version of Marble Madness for Mega Drive, which is pretty much the most I've ever spent on a vintage game:

    Money spent = $63 shipped
    Time spent = 7 hours, 20 minutes (until I beat it on Very Hard)
    Fun = 10/10

    So (7.33 hrs * 10) ÷ $63 = only 1.164. But I have no regrets whatsoever about the purchase so, eh.

    OTOH you're very right that extracting a good portion of fun from a cheap, goofy game is somehow incredibly satisfying. I put hours into a shovelware Flintstones bowling game for PlayStation, and managed to have a good time with it, playing it until I had a perfect run on every course on the hardest difficulty.

    I'd plug it into the formula but since I got it for free -- it snuck into the case of another game I bought in a lot, unbeknownst to me or the seller -- I'd cause a divide by zero error!

    Or, wait, later I bought the manual from BRE Software for $1.79. So let's do the math:

    (8.5 hrs * 7) ÷ $1.79 = 33.24

    Worth every penny, then. Wish I could say the same for some of my Intellivision repros and homebrews...

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    Pear (Level 6) retroman's Avatar
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    For me it would be if I liked it or not, and would I go back and play it again. Then other times it comes down to a collector thing like trying to complete a collection of games for a certain system. Some of the games you may have to pay high dollar for, but are horrible to play in every way.

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    For modern games it's all about play time for me. Civilization Beyond Earth or Dragon Age origins were easy purchases...Witcher 3 will be as well. Many of the games coming out early this year...the Order, Evolve, etc. will have to wait for a price drop. That said, I don't trade my games in. If bought them played and trade them quick it might have value, but I'm a collector, trading to later re-buy does not work for me. The last game I traded in was Knack about a week after the PS4 launch.

    Classic games have a 'Collector's Value' and are driven by the used games market. There are so many details regarding condition and such that the value is whatever is in my budget.

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    One dollar per hour of entertainment.

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    A good game purchase is when I'm enjoying the shit out of it.

    A GREAT purchase is when I'm still in love with it, decades later.

    I will never regret paying $150 for Earthbound, ever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpaceHarrier View Post
    One dollar per hour of entertainment.
    Isn't that kind of limiting? To think of the amount of games since the HD era that have come out that aren't RPGs or adventure titles that rack up serious hours I doubt you could find much that'll get you a dollar an hour unless you're a Madden or a CoD drone. It's a great rule I think for older games though since they can be had fairly cheap enough. Even as short as a TMNT4 or a Castlevania or Contra SNES release games are, you can easily go back to them and get that $25 ($1/hr) out of it.

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    Is it hard to say you're satisfied with a unique, engaging experience that you spent $10,40, or even $60 but completed in a few hours time (aside from side quests, unlocking extras--umm, we pay for these nowadays, duh!--or alternate endings)? It's really a shame that we attach so much stigma to pricing. It REALLY can ruin people's perception of a game.

    Like most mediums, I feel the monetary amount less often comes into question when I can still ask questions afterwards or revisit that title with some vigor. There are too many copy-cat throwaways today, that I am so thankful for the internet and its seemingly infinite ways to examine something. You know those titles. You can easily recognize the amount of polish that went into these titles (back off, I understand some devs have time and budget constraints).

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    Quote Originally Posted by dinolazer View Post
    It's really a shame that we attach so much stigma to pricing. It REALLY can ruin people's perception of a game.
    While I agree with this, at the same time, I understand why that happens. I picked up Duke Nukem Forever for five bucks and I thought it was a good purchase and couldn't see why the game got so much flak. Thinking about it just now, though, it occurs to me that the negative reception likely had everything to do with the price. People who paid sixty bucks for it probably were disappointed as it doesn't seem like it would be worth that much. For five bucks, though, I had a great time with it.
    Social Justice Warrior and proud of it!

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    I like the formula above, at least conceptually. I'd maybe have to include an exponent to it though. Something like:

    ((fxh)^(1+w)/d

    where:
    f= fun
    h= hours
    d= dollars
    w= 'wow' moments.

    Usually, w will equal zero, but I can distinctly remember some wow moments that really change an evaluation. So an easy 'good purchase' is SMB3. I remember the first time using a shell to ricochet around destroying blocks, and thinking 'wow'. Of course, SMB3 probably doesn't need the help, its fun level is pretty high throughout.

    But what about Shadow of the Colossus? It isn't a real long game, and doesn't have a ton of replay value (for me), so it hurts in the original formula. But with the 'wow' exponent it gets a boost, and that game had at least w=2 for me. One was on a flying colossus, and it just gave such a great impression of terror and exhilaration. Wow.

    Here's another example, although putting it next to SotC doesn't seem right. Heavenly Sword. It is a fine game, a good time, but certainly deserves some criticism, and its pretty short without a lot of replay value. But for me, one of the levels with Kai set off a total 'wow' moment.

    Maybe that's just a different way of expressing Fun. Maybe it should just be a modifier on Fun: ((f^(1+w))h)/d. Just a way to express that for a lot of games that I think back to, there are particular moments that I remember that really sway my overall opinion of a game.

    I just want to point out that games don't cost more now, they cost less.
    Last edited by Cornelius; 02-24-2015 at 01:18 PM.

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    They technically cost less if you factor in inflation. But if you were an adult (18-21~) buying a $50 SNES game and then a 40~ year old buying a PS4 game you're not really going to look back and think wow that $50 is worth like $80 today and somehow feel shorted two decades later. You just look at it as that was $50 and the games now cost like $60. Thinking back and factoring inflation is just a convenient way to excuse things, most would just look at the sticker on the packaging and either be happy or say screw that and wait for the price drop a month or two later. That's how I do it, as I just don't see much out these days worth the full original price as I won't get enough out of it on a console game. Handheld games and PC titles cost less, I can get more value there waiting or not.

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    Agreed about the inflation point, everything else dropped in price like DVDs and movies in general. Back in the 90's buying just a few episodes of a TV show could cost $18 or more at release, now you can buy a complete series for usually twice that or even the same price depending on the series. Finding any movie at $10 or under new would be difficult, now just look at Walmart and you can buy plenty of films for under that excluding only the latest releases, which usually drop to dirt cheap within a year. It's now cheaper to buy films than what people used to pay for rentals. For games to remain at the same price point just seems archaic.

    As for valuing games, I don't see why cost should be included at all. Plenty of freeware games are good, and plenty are bad, just because they're free doesn't mean you should let them slide because they didn't cost you anything. The same should go for games you pay for. I might be willing to pay more for better games but my enjoyment doesn't depend on that cost. I generally don't pay much for games though no matter what.

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    Did I pay less than the going rate?
    Did I spend a significant amount of time playing the game?
    And if so... was it fun?


    I don't need a formula, I just have to appreciate the things I've spent my money on. I also never regret money I spent in the past, that money's long gone and if I hadn't spent it on games I probably would have wasted in on something else. Or eaten it, not literally.

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    Technically it may be literally, you do need to use money to buy food.

    You're right though, did you have fun? Did you beat the asking after market price? Did I blow enough hours on it? Those 3 yes votes would go a long way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    Agreed about the inflation point, everything else dropped in price like DVDs and movies in general. Back in the 90's buying just a few episodes of a TV show could cost $18 or more at release, now you can buy a complete series for usually twice that or even the same price depending on the series. Finding any movie at $10 or under new would be difficult, now just look at Walmart and you can buy plenty of films for under that excluding only the latest releases, which usually drop to dirt cheap within a year. It's now cheaper to buy films than what people used to pay for rentals. For games to remain at the same price point just seems archaic.

    As for valuing games, I don't see why cost should be included at all. Plenty of freeware games are good, and plenty are bad, just because they're free doesn't mean you should let them slide because they didn't cost you anything. The same should go for games you pay for. I might be willing to pay more for better games but my enjoyment doesn't depend on that cost. I generally don't pay much for games though no matter what.
    That's interesting comparing game prices to DVDs TV/Movie prices, I've never thought of it that way before. My guess is that it is all about demand, and gamers will pay. With DVDs, (?)it was mostly enthusiasts buying them initially(?). Then later with the capability to make them cheaper, companies realised they could make them hugely mass-market if they were priced down. With games, I doubt sales numbers would go up as much with reduced prices, simply because of the percentage of the population that play games versus the percentage that watches TV/movies. That's my guess, anyway. Sure would be great to have game prices parallel video.

    Including cost makes some amount of sense to me, but you are right, it does fall apart at the limits. But take something like NES Snow Brothers or Bonk's. Good games, sure, but worth the price of admission? Clearly not, assuming you take out the collectibility aspect. Think of all the other fantastic games you could get at MSRP for the going rate of those two.

    Daria, I agree that a formula isn't needed. The engineer in me just finds it fun to try to express it that way, and I think it helps tease apart the different factors that play a role, and how those factors may differ from person to person.

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    It's very simple, say I purchase a $20 game and play it for ten hours. Is ten hours of fun worth $20 not to mention that I now own the game if I want to come back to it later, play it with friends, or simply let friends play it. It's nothing special, based upon the disposible income I have is it worth it to spend money on said game?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanooki View Post
    Isn't that kind of limiting? To think of the amount of games since the HD era that have come out that aren't RPGs or adventure titles that rack up serious hours I doubt you could find much that'll get you a dollar an hour unless you're a Madden or a CoD drone. It's a great rule I think for older games though since they can be had fairly cheap enough. Even as short as a TMNT4 or a Castlevania or Contra SNES release games are, you can easily go back to them and get that $25 ($1/hr) out of it.
    You are correct, it is limiting. I've self-imposed this limit, as I found I wasn't playing through a significant portion of many games I've purchased in the past few years. I have recently become a pc gamer, downloading games from Steam, often for a really cheap price, so it isn't that hard to get 1 hour per dollar.

    There are certain exceptions to this rule. Take Mega Man X2, for instance. If I could find a good price on a complete boxed copy, say $125 (fair, but below market value) I might snap it up if I have the cash in hand because of nostalgia (I received the game for my 14th birthday, but lost it along the way). There is no way in hell I'm getting 125 hours out of MMX2 even over the course of the rest of my life, but it would still be worth it to me. Another exception would be a repro of Star Fox 2, because I know it requires a lot of work to produce, and is a unique product.
    Last edited by SpaceHarrier; 03-05-2015 at 12:19 AM.

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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    You and me both. I got sickened by it around the time I moved back here a little over two years ago. I started up a google drive file setup and I have this 'to do list' along with a want list as well. I was finding I had dozens of games I bought no thanks to falling in with the crowd on NA and back west with all the flea finds yet I'd use the stuff once or twice, maybe only just a test after cleaning. It got to really bothering me I had games I barely if ever used that sat for months or a few years.

    I started to part off stuff in mass, and at this rate it's basically down to where I think I'm stopping so it doesn't sting. I went and saved more than half a year and went back to PC gaming too like you last December. I racked up some stuff through the holiday sales, a few other things here and there too, and I'm on that GoG Insomnia sale watching it for a game to pop up at the moment (Sam & Max.) I doubt I'd beat S&M again, but I could at 50% off get $3 worth out of it before I stopped. I thought it was pretty limiting which is why I said that, but yes if you factor it as someone who bought with old school (2011~ and back) console pricing or the cheapness of GoG/Steam the formula works great. If you're buying new games or the now rape pricing of old carts, you really can not end up satisfied which isn't too hard to imagine anyway. I agree there are times to break the rule, I've done it. Unlike you I did end up with a Star Fox 2 made by someone I really trusted so I went for it after years of procrastinating.

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