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Reader Discussion: Is Replayability Important?

Does a game need to be infinitely replayable in order to be considered good? Or is it enough to offer one worthwhile playthrough to be considered a classic?

I have favorite games I will never tire of replaying, like Mega Man X. I’ve played the game so many times that battling my way to Sigma has almost become a comfortable exercise in relaxation, like watching a rerun of your favorite sitcom.

Some of my other favorite games, however, are ones I have no intention of returning to. Fez was my favorite game of 2012, but I don’t think I will ever play it again. My single experience with the game was enough to make me fall in love with it, and much of the game’s charm comes from the surprises that result from an initial playthrough.

The topic surfaced for me recently with the release of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Getting through the main mission is surprisingly fast, but I have been enjoying my additional playthroughs. It made me ask myself a question: do I prefer short condensed, replayable experiences? Or longer, expanded experiences that offer worthwhile content for a single playthrough?

What’s your preference?

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