John Walker's Electronic House

by on Jan.28, 2005, under The Rest

The snowman menace must come to an end!

Frostie hates you.

City of Heroes, possibly with some rather poor timing, is taking over life again. It cannot be helped – there is crime to fight, and frankly, who else is going to fight it? (Apart from the thousands of other players, I mean).

It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those games which I promise to just spend half an hour playing, before realising it’s Tuesday and I’ve missed my daughter’s wedding. I think that time-lapse property is a defining feature of a *good* game. Not necessarily a hugely accomplished game, but a good one. I’ve been finding fewer and fewer games that contain that property of late, able to just dip into things for an hour and then actually stopping playing an hour later. It’s just not natural.

Even Half-Life 2, which I pined for during the Christmas break (my family’s attentions so rudely interrupting my progress for a few days), was played in sensibly rationed proportions. Perhaps I’m just becoming more sensible. Although this does seem a laughable conclusion.

So it’s nice to recognise that the life-consuming passion is still present for something as lovely and absorbing as City of Heroes. It’s ultimately an entirely futile exercise, utterly contradicting my usual desires from a game. I want narrative, the illusion of progress and the unveiling of a story. City of Heroes defies these properties without apology, as is inevitable with a massive multiplayer. Defeating the same crime boss for the same crime twice does feel a little daft, but that’s because you’re playing the mission for the second time on someone else’s story arc. And who cares, because you can jump huge buildings and zap vampires!

3 Comments for this entry

  • lloytron

    CoH… you have got to love it! So simple, yet so much fun.

  • Kieron Gillen

    Time Lapse=Good Game is the great lie of games journalism, for me. It just involves really basic plays against human psychology to work. There’s lots of games that I barely tolerate which I found myself playing for six hour stretches just due to how they’re built. This isn’t necessarily a good thing.

    Because if it was, Heroin would be our favourite drug.


  • John

    Are you playing for six hour stretches but feeling like you’ve only been playing for half an hour? That’s specifically what I mean.