57°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

The Video Game Connoisseur Presents: Episodic Games and You: A Guide for the Rest of Us

Am I the only person who’s noticing the recent rise in episodic games? It seems that ever since Sam and Max returned in their monthly adventures, other companies have been jumping on the bandwagon, the most recent one being American McGee’s Grim. While I’ve liked the episodic games I’ve played, my problem lies in the logistics-mainly the price of the game versus how much gameplay I will get out of it. For those not familiar with the term, “gameplay” refers to a combination of how long the game is, how much extra stuff there is to do in the game, and its replay value plus a few other factors. With the average console or pc game, the price to gameplay ratio is about even for a good game (let’s not get into bad games in this conversation, because a bad game is never worth what you pay for it, even if it’s free). But for an episodic game, there tends to be a higher price to gameplay ratio.

Now, most games cost $49.99, and most games I can get about an average of 50 hours of play time out of, depending on the genre and how long the game is. This comes to about a dollar an hour, a fair price I believe. Conversely episodic games cost about $15 to $20 an episode, less if there’s a package for buying all the episodes up front. An episode takes about three to four hours to play, six at max. This comes to about five dollars an hour (using both the lowest price, $15, and the lowest amount of time, three hours) this is a 500% increase in price for less gameplay and play time. Episodes of games have little replay value, and are fairly short. I’m not an expert in math, and if you disagree with my numbers feel free to send me or the editor of the paper a letter complaining about my methods, but to me this makes episodic games a worse investment over traditional, more expensive games.

Now as I said, I like episodic games. My recommendation is to look for a deal where you buy all episodes up front. Sam and Max, for instance, allows you to buy all the episodes in an entire season so you can download them as they come out. And after they’re all released they send you a CD containing the entire season. Now, not all episodic games have the same price to playtime issue. The Half-Life2 series, which is being continued in three episodes (the company announced that it would be three with two released so far and the third under production) costs $19.99 an episode; each episode has about six hours of gameplay (that’s the bare minimum for episode two, it usually takes longer). In some cases the price is worth it, but over all if you’re buying an episodic game check out how it’s being sold and see if you can get a better price somehow.