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How to make a game longer without boring the pants off everyone


Add an arcade side-game like... Resident Evil 4

Resi 4 is one of the best games ever made. It doesn't need anything to make it longer because the impact it makes and impression it leaves will never fade. But let's say, for argument's sake, you only have the money for one game a year. Would you get enough enjoyment from simply replaying the story over and over? Perhaps not. Perhaps it would lose its appeal. Just a little.

Enter Mercenaries mode. Like Bayonetta, it adds a ranking system to your play, but unlike that game, it takes the action of the frantic combat and turns it into an arcade-like action fest. And with some of the most punishing score targets of any game of its ilk.

 
Above: That grimace on Leon's face is more about the dropped score multiplier

 

Instead of… Assassin's Creed

Which lets you go back into the game to finish collecting feathers and artifacts. Woo, and indeed, hoo.


Above: How much do you really care about feathers?

 

Pokemon

There are so many ways you can play Pokemon games after completing the standard quest, but let's pick one that offers the most reward. Breeding.

There's simply no other game that's as deep as Pokemon with the same mass appeal and it's all because of things like this. Noobs will find it cute when a Pokemon hatches from an egg. A master will choose the right parents, teach the offspring the right moves and even make sure it only fights certain types of enemy, all raising invisible stats and boosting key areas as much as possible with each new level.

Some will even create whole family trees until their Pokemon are champion thoroughbreds. That's just awesome. You can even keep hatching Pokemon in search of shinies. But, like I said, it's still cute when they hatch.


Above: Did you read our Top 7 births in video games? Then you'll know why I made this many Piplups

 

Instead of… Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing, which forces you to come back every day, to pay off your mortgage before giving you an even bigger room… so you can pay the mortgage off that. Oh, or there's turnip growing. Do you like turnip growing? There's a lot of that to do, complete with selling them for profit... which you can give to Tom Nook. Sigh.

 

Release amazing DLC like... Red Dead Redemption

Cool stuff, post-launch is going to keep people playing. Fact. Zombies seem to be the 'in' thing to put in, even into seemingly straight-laced games like Call of Duty: World at War and even Rockstar's cowboy epic, Red Dead Redemption.


Above: Hmm... those rainclouds won't let the sun through. More sunflowers! Oh wait, wrong game...

So why not go with it and add zombies to every game, new or old? Let's just go back to Animal Crossing for a sec - that game's drip-feed of new content virtually dries up completely as you get further into the routine. Something drastically different is needed to make the game longer. I stopped caring - my town is now overgrown with weeds (I know how long it takes to clear those) and I really can't be bothered to clean them all up when I know the 3DS version is on the horizon. But you know what would get me back into it? Zombies. Imagine zombie Tom Nook. Or zombie Celeste. Or zombie Brewster... OK, that last one's not so hard.


Above: "Brains..." "BRAINS!" "Brains" "Braaaaiiins" "BRAINS" "Brains" "Coffee?" "BRAINS!" 

But zombies aren't the only amazing feature you can release via DLC to add many new hours of fun to an old game. It can even be as simple as adding a celebrity, like Pain did with its David Hasselhoff DLC. Put it this way - would the following video be quite as funny if it was anyone else but The Hoff in it?



 

Instead of... Fallout 3

Fallout 3 is a great game and brilliantly entertaining for countless hours on its own. But something went wrong when it came to making DLC for it. Some of it was dull. Some of it was broken. None of it was as good as Oblivion's DLC before it (Horse Armour excepted, of course). Worse still, there was a lot of it. Operation Anchorage was awful, The Pitt was way too restricted and short-lived, Broken Steel refused to install on PCs... and as for Mothership Zeta, I think our review header says it all:

Case closed.

04 Jan, 2011

45 comments

  • oufour - January 4, 2011 11:04 a.m.

    Eh...some of these work?
  • BIOSback - January 4, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    Oh hai gaemz radar!
  • skyline19 - January 4, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    I think "ADD ZOMBIES" would be the best solution also, although I'm not the biggest fan of GTA4, I'd play the hell out of it if it had a "ADD ZOMBIES" moment.
  • Ricitor - January 4, 2011 11:25 a.m.

    You gotta love Galaxy 1. You just put a lot of your life into the game and Luigi is your reward for all the hard work :)
  • EvidentDead - January 4, 2011 11:50 a.m.

    I always thought some achievement/trophies did a good job of stretching a games length.
  • NESman - January 4, 2011 12:23 p.m.

    Great article. How about an article on games that need content added after beating the main story? (Like every Zelda since the first one, for example)
  • cronoman66 - January 4, 2011 1:09 p.m.

    oh god I remember the ending of NFS:Carbon, literally like taking a dump on top of my 360
  • EnragedTortoise1 - January 4, 2011 1:14 p.m.

    But I liked Luigi in SMG... Seriously, I got all 242 stars in the game. 120 with Mario, 120 with Luigi, and the 2 extra bonus galaxy-things. Nice tae have ye back, gamesradah.
  • bellium - January 4, 2011 2:01 p.m.

    Nice article, keep up the good work :)
  • Ilyere - January 4, 2011 2:21 p.m.

    Haha, Animal Crossing! I used to play that religiously every day. Anyway, that last one should be 'Add zombies to every game'. I'm getting tired of seeing DLC everywhere...
  • iSuperNova77 - January 4, 2011 2:24 p.m.

    I have to agree with EnragedTortoise1, I loved playing through SMG again as Luigi. I got all 242 stars as well. I don't think I would have played through the game again if it wasn't for Luigi.
  • Clovin64 - January 4, 2011 2:37 p.m.

    Now I feel like a rubbish noob for my pathetic amount of crappy trophies in Bayonetta. And thanks for reminding me how frightningly deep and hardcore Pokemon really is. Thanks a bunch. New Years Resolution: Get good at games.
  • myguyfromthe80s - January 4, 2011 2:42 p.m.

    Or you can be follow the Blizzard rule and make the game NEVER-ENDING!
  • pin316 - January 4, 2011 2:42 p.m.

    it can't just be me that's getting a bit tired of zombies...i mean, for a while it was fun, but it's starting to get a bit 'samey'. You can tell that some devs do it just because it's the in-thing to do rather than put any genuine effort into it (Red Dead beingg an exception - i was really dubious when i heard about it but it's a very solid add-on) rankings and bonus modes for me are the way forwards..i completely agree with the Bayonetta comments, that game is awesome in it's own right but the quest for shiny level rankings adds a whole additional degree of goodness. Stuff like Horde/Firefight is nice as well, especially when it's properly supported by the devs with special event weekends and/or challenges/achievements.
  • netlatnu - January 4, 2011 2:57 p.m.

    I was under the impression that most people didn't like the green star challenges in SMG2 because they felt like filler and were repetitive. I thought they were great and gave you a chance to really search the levels. and appreciate all there was to their design. Also, that @$%^ last star does take seven hours to get, but I had fun every minute of it. I also like the luigi mode in SMG, though, because it gave me an excuse to replay the game, which isn't that bad of a thing when the game is Super Mario Galaxy.
  • Crabhand - January 4, 2011 3:06 p.m.

    Man did Pokémon's stat tweaking and breeding ever nail it. I had a box full of Tyrogue from trying to get one with the right nature and ability to make the perfect Hitmonchan (which I never actually followed through on). But none of it felt boring, and that's the key. I've dumped hundreds of hours into Pokémon games but struggle to make other games last.
  • EdDeRs1 - January 4, 2011 3:26 p.m.

    hey, i liked the fallout 3 DLC
  • kuroda - January 4, 2011 4:02 p.m.

    I think developers should just make the game interesting enough so that people are glad they got to experience it, i've finished mafia 2 in about 10 hours, but damn what an amazing 10 hours it was! I didn't mind spending 60 bucks on it. First make a good game, after that and only if it's optional, think of ways to give your buyers more reasons to stay in the world you created. after finishing Mafia 2 I did search for the playboys though... cause you know... boobs.
  • Aletheon - January 4, 2011 4:27 p.m.

    Disagree about Animal Crossing. That game rules, and I played the last game for 6 months.
  • Evernight57 - January 4, 2011 4:42 p.m.

    I will admit to FO3 Operation Anchorage being trash, but the Pitt while short on content, was def. the best storyline in the DLCs and maybe even the game - Infanticide for the greater good?! Broken Steel got fixed and Point Lookout was great. A bit hostile. How about COD:MW2 for bad DLC - where they make you pay $15 for 4 new maps?!?

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