i’ve been thinking lately about how the way i interact with music is kinda different than almost any medium. there have been albums i don’t even love that i’ve definitely played dozens of times, but for me to replay a video game it either takes something special, or a long enough period of.
i think the last time was, when i was a teenager i played through Mass Effect 1 and 2 several times in a pretty short window. but for most games i play any more, the first time through is what i consider my “real” playthrough. same with movies, or TV, or really just any media that isn’t music. and i’m wondering why that is. maybe its the time commitment of those other mediums? i’m not sure.
but i’m curious, what about y’all? how often do you replay games? are there kinds of games you prefer for revisiting?
I don’t usually tend to re-visit games that often, but it’ll usually be because something reminds me of that game. For example, the rise of Apex Legends led me to replay a bit of Titanfall 2’s multiplayer, and I made sure to play a bit of the original F.E.A.R. during Halloween.
When it’s not a special occassion, it’s usually because I have an idea for how I want to replay a game, such as doing a nonlethal run in Dishonored 2 after doing a lethal run, or using a different character in the Borderlands games. I also had an in-joke with my brother about doing a Skyrim playthrough with a guy named Dick Warlock, a wizard who would have to get through the entire game while naked(pro-tip: it’s very difficult to play Skyrim without armor).
I’ll know a game is really special when I replay it, such as the Witcher 3, where I deliberately did a fairly fast New Game+ run in order to play the Blood and Wine DLC before that game out.
I find that I prefer revisiting games that give me a different enough experience when I go through them another time, such as loot-focused ARPGs, which feel very different based on your character build.
These days it’s a little harder to justify replaying stuff when I have such a wide variety of things I could play between new releases and cheap stuff I got from bundles or subscriptions. But when I was flat broke and used to do a lot of replays, RPGs and VNs (with the occasional Mega Man) were my go-to. Like, I think Super Mario 64 is an amazing revolutionary game, and I also don’t have the patience to sit through it for an entire hour, but put me in front of SMRPG and I’ll laugh at the joke about Mario knowing Timed Hits every time. Mystery VNs (Zero Escape, Dangan Ronpa, and Ace Attorney have all gotten several playthroughs from me) might seem like a bad idea for replays, but I’m extremely forgetful so even if I remember whodunnit, the game is certainly going to grill me for details on how theydunnit, so it’s fine. I want to play through Mother 3 again, but Sekiro is coming, so I don’t really have time…
I replay games constantly. Probably too much, actually, because I’m up to like 800 games on Steam I’ve never even installed. Every time I scroll through my list of games I own on Steam, there’s always at least five that I don’t remember buying, or forgot I owned.
For example, I’m just finishing up replaying Pokemon Fire Red. I’ve been streaming myself replaying Sonic Unleashed on Twitch, which will be the third time I’ve played that entire game from beginning to end, on top of the literal hundreds of hours I’ve spent on a full-clear save file replaying my favorite levels. I’m also finishing up a replay of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, after season 2 of Castlevania on Netflix got me in the mood. I just put out a video on my Youtube channel about replaying Sonic R. I make a note to replay Donkey Kong Country every Christmas. etc.
Meanwhile, I have Crysis Warhead installed, a game I’ve never played before and wanted to play after finishing Crysis 1 in 2017. I’ve had Warhead installed for around 11 months now and never even booted it up once.
My tendency to replay stuff comes from a place that I grew up poor. So that’s just kind of what I learned how to do. For over a year, I used to come home from school and play Parappa the Rapper from start to finish, almost every single day. I did the 100% full clear on Final Fantasy VII largely without using a guide because I’d spend hours revisiting all of the towns, talking to every single NPC, just to see if anyone had different dialog. I meticulously combed the entire map looking for any secret entrances. I put over 100 hours in to that game, largely because it was one of the only games I had.
So now, in 2019, where you can end up with 20+ free games a year no strings attached, I still find myself going back to the classics. I mean, shit, I’m looking at copies of Yakuza Kiwami, Uncharted 4, and Titanfall 2 that have never even entered the disc tray on my PS4.
But that replay of Symphony of the Night has to be at least my eighth time.
I don’t do full replays of older games that often anymore, largely just because so many new things are coming out constantly and I inevitably end up buying them.
I do however still jump into older games here and there just to mess about with them. Mainly games where the core mechanics are just so goddamn fun on their own like Gravity Rush 2. And that’s purely just based on mood. Sometimes you just need to fly about aimlessly.
I tend to have a hard time starting new entertainment before I’m pushed to it by some inspiring writing or video, on the same accord I like to go back and replay games when I’ve somehow fallen down a rabbit hole, where I’ll go out of my way to play, listen, and watch videos about it.
Certain games are also just very re-playable to me, like the souls series; besides exploring different builds and stuff I just like inhabiting and abosrbing those worlds again.
And of course I’ll return to Destiny, and more recently Warframe, not sure if live games count but it does complicate re-playability a bit.
With me getting a job and having quite a bit of disposable income (I still live at home) I have a habit of purchasing loads of games when they go on flash sales (as well as having game pass, EA access, games with gold and ps+) means my library is STACKED. Good video game writing for me is honestly writing which leads me to pick up a game that didn’t quite click or I’ve played through a while back. Fallout: New Vegas was a good recent example, and thanks to Waypoint Radio, Kingdom Hearts.
I tend to wind down for about 30 minutes to an hour or so every night before bed replaying old JRPGs. They’re generally low impact, and once I feel my eyes starting to get heavy from random battles I suspend or find the nearest save point and turn it off.
Currently doing this with ff4.
For me, the biggest part of it is how much freedom of expression I have as a player. High scores and difficulty modes can sometimes pull me in, but I think the most appealing thing is usually the chance to try out a new style. If the game is pretty linear in the sense that each playthrough will look pretty similar, I don’t really find myself wanting to replay it for a good long while. Obviously, a game needs to meet a bar of playability and polish, but after that, what really pulls me in fast is a chance to see the same game in a radically different way.
A good example: pretty much every time I finish a Souls game, I immediately start up a new save file. I get incredibly excited to mess around with different builds.
When I was younger I’d replay games all the time, usually if it was a game I could actually beat, that’d mean I liked it a lot. So that, plus not being able to afford all that many games meant I’d be replaying games until I could get something else I enjoyed just as much.
As an adult though, that’s gone down a lot. I’d guess it’s partially because of how easy it is to get cheap games on PC now, so I’ve always got a backlog and so going back to games I’ve already played makes me feel guilty and wasteful. Now I typically only replay games if it’s something I wasn’t able to beat when I was a kid, am revisiting an entire series because of a new entry or wanting to play one that I never played, or it’s something I REALLY enjoyed and can’t get experiences like it anywhere else (so basically just Dragon’s Dogma in this case tbh)
I definitely replayed games a lot more when I was younger. Both because I had more time and because I had fewer games. Or at least that’s how it seems. I keep track of the games I play each year so I can look up the stats.
So far in 2019, of the 14 games I’ve played 3 were games I had never played before, 5 were endless or arcade type games that I was just continuing to play leaving me with 6 games I was replaying. That’s a higher number than I’d expect for replaying games. Also, games I never played before tend to be more frequent at the end of the year as I try to fill out a top 10 GotY list and games go on sale.
In 2018 the breakdown was 12 new, 9 endless & arcade, 13 replayed.
In 2017 it was 21 new, 9 endless & arcade, 14 replayed. The years before 2017 I didn’t track if a game was new to me so that will take extra work but this gives a good enough picture of my habits.
I should note that the endless and arcade games are taking up more and more time despite the low number of games, and those games are frequently the same year after year; Fire Emblem Heroes, Rocket League, Super Mega Baseball, Minecraft, Overwatch. I wouldn’t be surprised if those five games accounted for over 75% of my time spent gaming over those 3 years. I’m trying to cut down this year but those are all podcast games (though I also want to cut down on podcasts).
I might take a deeper examination later on of the games I did replay and why I played them again.
Ignoring my habits when younger (when I replayed things more) today I think there are a few factors that are important;
It has to do with the length of the game for one. I replayed Minit and Inside many times because they are very short.
If the experience can be somewhat different each time, like an RPG, or Souls games with their different builds.
If I can shorten the game length with knowledge or skill. Souls games are a good example again, where your skill simply makes you play it faster and you can skip a lot of content. Dishonored feels like another good example of this. Recently played Resident Evil and felt like I could replay it again immediately just because I knew I could do it much quicker.
If a game is a classic, to me. Final Fantasy games, MGS2 (although not that long) are games I can replay over and over because they also live in my heart constantly.
Games tend to be long as ass these days for some reason, so modern games aren’t necessarily as replayed by me.
Nowadays I need a good reason to go back and play a game. I just tried to jump into another ME Andromeda playthrough and while I enjoyed it, I saw the 40+ hour time commitment stretching out in front of me and bailed. It just feels silly to replay that when I have the likes of Divinity I & II sitting unplayed in my backlog. Realistically I end up doing neither option and instead playing more multiplayer shooters, so I don’t know what my logic is.
That said, shoutout to Waypoint 101 for giving me reason to replay some games with a more critical eye.
I love replaying games! If I liked a game enough to finish it I will usually play it through at least once more. Most of my video game time in a year is probably with games I’ve already “beaten.”
It’s also pretty common for me to enjoy a game a lot more the second or third time. Hollow Knight for instance I spent a lot of my first play-through being frustrated with various mechanics not working the way I thought they should. I’m going through it for the third time now and I’m having a completely different experience.
Right, yes, that’s also a major factor for me. I tend to play games by splitting my attention between what’s on TV and what I’m doing on my PC. It’s a lot easier to manage that divide when the game on my PC is something I’ve already finished before, because then cutscenes don’t matter, it doesn’t matter if I skip or miss a tutorial, etc.
With new games, I have to give them 100% of my attention all the time and that can be easier said than done.
Resident Evil 4 every Halloween usually.
For a long time, I played a lot of games across a lot of genres and almost never revisited any of them. But last year, a bunch of specified releases started to change that.
Switch ports prompted me to replay Bayonetta (multiple times), Bayonetta 2, and DKCTF. Renewed interest prompted me to replay Hollow Knight several times. Word of incoming, extra-hard Celeste DLC prompted a replay of that. RE2’s design prompted me to replay it multiple times (so far). Anticipation for DMC5 got me to go back and replay 1 and 3, then 5 got me to immediately replay the game on SoS after my first run.
Then, this weekend, I played Shadow of Mordor, which I didn’t like at all, but I slogged through all 10 hours of it to the ending anyways. Comparing it to all the enjoyment I’ve had replaying games recently, I was filled with a lot of regret for having spent so much time on it. I definitely have a problem with viewing my games as a backlog to beat instead of a library to enjoy, and being motivated to go back and get more out of games I loved the first time around has made me realize that mindset is causing me to waste time on stuff I find mediocre or outright bad.
So yeah, replaying games is good, and I need to do way more of it. (But I’m still playing Sekiro this Friday, so I have apparently learned nothing.)
There’s almost no games that I go back and replay, with a few key exceptions. If a game I particularly loved gets some HD remaster, I usually end up picking it up but never finishing the replay. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age was the most recent case where this happened. Certainly a great game, but dumping 100 hours into a JRPG as a teenager is very different from dumping 100 hours into replaying a JRPG as an adult. I do want to replay through the original Phoenix Wright trilogy (waiting for my memory to fully decay on those, which they haven’t quite yet), The World Ends With You (mostly to re-experience the stellar soundtrack; my FLAC version of it has been lost to time) and Final Fantasy VIII (because it holds a very special place in the nostalgia centers of my heart) at some point.
That said, there are two specific games that I come back to again and again and replay every few years. The first is the GROSSLY UNDER-APPRECIATED SNES RPG Live A Live, a hidden gem of Squaresoft’s SNES-era JRPGs. It never got localized and/or rereleased, which is absolutely criminal, but has a very good fantranslation that’s been circulating the internet since the mid 00s. Every time I get some new device capable of running a SNES emulator, I’ll use that as an excuse to replay it. If you’ve never heard of it, I highly recommend playing it. It’s also one of the few jRPGs that I find to have excellent replayability.
The second game I replay every few years is Metal Gear Solid 4. I don’t really know why I do it, but I do.
I was all set to replay Andromeda (and had a second playthrough on the go) until EA pulled the rug out from any sequel and I haven’t touched it since. It plays so fun for me but I don’t see the point. You hate to see it.
When I don’t have anything new to play.
And sometimes even if I do.
Right now I just picked up Arcade Spirits, and I started a playthrough of Pillars of Eternity 2 for the first time, but instead of playing those i’m just putting another hundred hours into Assassins Creed Odyssey via its NG+.
I have a hard time sticking with games a lot of the time. Often i’ll prefer to go back to something old and reliable than trying something new.
As for when i’ll replay specific games there’s no set time really. I won’t do Dark Souls on Halloween or Skyrim every year or anything like that. Everything is essentially “whenever I feel like it”. I don’t feel bound by a backlog or anything, I just want to play what I want when I want to. If that means starting over in Sunset Overdrive instead of playing this new VN then that’s what is happening.