As a part of this industry, it is a requirement that I play current games. Mostly I want to capture the essence of the experience, to appreciate the play mechanic or technology or story, and so playing a game for 100 hours is really not necessary. As a game creator, it is vital to do this on a regular basis for a variety of reasons.
In the last six months I have only fully completed a few major console games (in campaign mode - Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, Portal, to name a few), and I am well on my way to completing Crisis Core on the PSP. Many games have gone unfinished (an hour or two in, or maybe five or six hours in). But in the last week I have taken a side step into Grand Theft Auto IV's Liberty City and I want to talk about it, because I think I am going to try to finish this one.
So far, I have about six hours of game playing time. There are a hundred points of statistics that the game captures while you are playing (but these aren't important for you as you are playing, just sort of interesting all the same). The game says I have completed %12 of the missions. If this is true, it will take me a long time to get to the end because I only play a few hours per week.
So far, here's why I am living a few hours per week in Liberty City:
This game is the single biggest entertainment launch in history across all mediums.
This game has a very high metacritic score -- the quality of the game is the pinnacle of today's marketplace in terms of technology and user experience.
The writing is amazing. Among the best dialogue written yet in this medium.
The physical mo-cap acting is really great.
The universe is realized in stunning detail. One word: EPIC.
The music is perfect.
The player's sense of power over the environment and over "people" absolutely impacts real-world self-esteem and stress in a more powerful way because of the high level of "realism" in this generation of game technology. This is really fascinating to experience personally.
Employing this power over the environment and over "people" is a choice. Do you randomly kill "people" or do you simply play the story line?
Game developers at Flashpoint Academy are discussing this product daily right now, sharing experiences and discussing how the game could have been improved. One thing we all agree upon: young people should absolutely not have this game. This is purely adult entertainment -- 18+ for sure. If you know anybody with an Xbox 360 or PS3 with children in the house, lock this game up!