When a Game Grabs You

Limbo

For movies, it’s said that there is a “10 minute rule” of sorts, which dictates that a film has just that amount of time to convince you of whether or not it’s worth your attention. Usually in that first 10 minutes, you’re kind of like “OK, I’m not sure if I’m feeling this talking dog”, or “those lovable sidekicks better solve that alien mystery”. You know, normal movie stuff. The interesting question though, is: how does the 10 minute rule apply to video games? This is the very idea that a new feature on Gamasutra discusses, titled History, Mystery and Story. It’s a cool look at how games tend to try and capitalize on this concept, and that it has to differ from story games to games in other genres.

It seems to me that while the time in minutes would have to be different, the general idea behind the 10 minute rule would be largely the same. Whereas a movie is just a 90 to 120 minute experience, games typically range anywhere from 5 to 50 hours, depending on what you’re playing. So does the 10 minute rule scale up because of the longer nature of games? Or is it about the same? When you think about the way modern games work, the first 10 minutes places you right in the middle of a boring tutorial. It’s interesting to think about the idea that maybe the majority of people lose patience and make up their mind that early on. Honestly, the only game that had me convinced within 10 minutes in recent years would have to be Limbo, which grabbed me right from the get-go and still hasn’t let go, months later.

So what is your guys’ opinion on this issue? How long does it usually take a game to grab you? Are you typically more or less patient? How long will you give a game before you throw away interest?

Source – Gamasutra

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

5 thoughts on “When a Game Grabs You”

  1. It’s usually a level or two into the game (Dragon Age: Origins, Resistance 2) but in some cases it’s as soon as the intro begins (Uncharted 2, Borderlands, Fallout 3). On the rare occasion it may take a few hours for me to “get it.” Take Assassin’s Creed 2 as an example: While I was enjoying the game from the start, the 2 hour long intro/tutorial (intrutorial?) did make the game start off at a slow pace. After that it was absolutely fantastic, but while I enjoyed getting Ezio’s backstory fleshee out (unlike Alta├»r) the excessive handholding and simplicity of the first couple of hours did get on my nerves and mar my enjoyment. IOW: AC2 was on relatively thin ice at the beginning. I used recent examples as they’re fresher in my head than the likes of previous gen games which I look back on witg rose tinted glasses.
    In terms of movies grabbing my attention, The Deathly Hallows grabbed my in the first 10 seconds last night. It has the best WB logo ever, very Bioshock.

  2. I think my patience has been waning a bit lately, and there have been a couple of titles that I’ve recently ditched after I couldn’t care less 30 minutes in. With very few exceptions, all the games I can think of that I’ve enjoyed have grabbed me in some way by the 20-30 minute window.

  3. With a normal game I usually know wether or not Im gonna be into it at some point before the first mission is done. If the second level starts and Im not excited to play it, chances are its not my kinda game. I guess it would be a 20-30 minute window for me.

    If my friend says “Hey you gotta get this game” I give it more time and trust his judgement. However, as Im sure people here have realized, some friends have terrible taste in games.

  4. For me how much time I give a game depends on what I’m dealing with. If I’m going with a fast-paced action game with multiple levels of fighting, if the first mission bores me or does nothing special then I’m probably going to drop the game right then and move on to another. If it’s a slow-paced exploration game like Fallout 3 or Oblivion or something, then I’ll give it a few days worth of playing to decide of I like it or if I feel no reason to continue exploring. Videogames cover such wide ranges and genres that it’s hard to narrow down any methods of choosing what games I like that is consistent for all videogames in general.

  5. I’ve never really thought about it in terms of minutes. I usually just start playing the game and then if I play a lot, I know I like it. Sometimes I really dig it at first but then forget about it. So I know if a game doesn’t make me keep loading it up and continuing than it wasn’t for me and just gets forgotten.

    p.s. Portal grabbed me right away.

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