Replay value is a term thrown around a lot with video games. But what constitutes a game having replay value? Well, it all depends on the player. Everyone has their own thing within a game that makes them want to go back and play the game again and again and again. Some people will replay a game just to gain any unlockables or achievements they missed the first play through. Others replay a game as a different character or class to see how things pan out that way, such as with Mass Effect or Knights of the Old Republic. Myself? I replay a game to compete with someone else's score. However, there are also games that have limitless possibilities to them that always draw me back. Let's take a look at games similar to those in the arcade first shall we? Give me all your monies
Ever since I was a young lad I loved the arcades. Dragged in by a friend one afternoon, I proceeded to spend a heck of a lot of money on various arcade machines. I lost a lot of money that day, but when I had some more I went back. I kept returning to play these games over and over again and spend more money. Why was I so willing to give up my money so easily? Well, it's because I had an urge to beat whoever was at the top of the leaderboards.
I wasn't very good at them back then, so I never got anywhere near the top. But I still returned to hone my skills and try and edge my way up. Have things changed now that I'm older? Not at all. The only difference is it's over Xbox Live and the leaderboards contain a heck of a lot more gamers than a handful of people in my local area with "oh so hilarious" leaderboard names such as ASS and BUT. I find myself handing over my money for games such as Geometry Wars or Hexic 2 just so that I can beat the high score. And I will replay it and play it some more until I edge my way to the top of the global leaderboards. Unfortunately, it's never happened. Must...Stop...Playing..Lights...Blinding....High Score....In Reach!
There are also games with endless possibilities and different ways to play them that I come back and play. Games were you can start from scratch and have a completely different experience every time you play. Games such as Knights of the Old Republic don't really fit into this category because, although you play as a different character, you're still following the same story as you were the first time you played it. I love KOTOR more than anything, it was the best game I owned for my Xbox, but I wouldn't play it over and over again because I know all the plot twists and I know how it ends thus making the experience that less special compared to the first time I played through.
Little Big Planet is one game I'm sure I will play through many different times. Why? Well, the community created content and the levels I design myself will keep me coming back after I've finished the game. The only limit to what can be created in games such as Little Big Planet and The Sims is the player's imagination. If they let it run wild then they can create some amazing things that will really add to the experience of playing the game. Spore is another example of this where you can star from scratch with an entirely new species that go do a wealth of things you old species couldn't do.
One game I'm replaying over and over again is Civilization Revolution because there are so many ways to win. The scenario may be the same each time, but if you really think about your strategies there are so many different ways to conquer and become dominant and this is what keeps me playing. BOOM...Goes the dynamite
The lust to becoming the reigning champion and the imagination to create my own game world is what brings me back to games time and time again. This will, no doubt, stay with me for a long time to come.