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HokutoAndy

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"Attention span and games" , posted Tue 25 Sep 18:46post reply

Lately I've been amassing a library of unifinished games, a lot of it is because the gameplay plateaus or I feel I'm doing something repetitive with guaranteed results. I've also been thinking about various studies where they show the average attention space is like 10 seconds now for mobile games, but I don't recall studies done for console or arcade games.

It's going to vary with genre and execution, like some games can have minute+ long sequences of something awesome happening (FF summons), others have lots of second by second something new happening, fighting games are split second based.

Any games in particular stand out to y'all for keeping you engrossed, or any new games you found lost your attention some ways through?






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"Re(1):Attention span and games" , posted Tue 25 Sep 19:20post reply

I'm really worried by the decrease of attention span in the general population I see reported in several studies (mostly pointing at mobiles phones adopted by very young children as the culprit).
I also feel it in myself, as I'm having more and more trouble to stay focused on long movies if I'm not locked into a theater and I cannot go out and resume the movie later (surprisingly actual theater with living actors still captures my attention).
This week-end, surprisingly, I've had two opposite experiences related to this topic: on one day I was sick, so I launch Endless Space 2, a 4X (Civilization-like) in space that I am already familiar with, and I just played in lower difficulty setting. What happened then is that I could play for hours in autopilot mode, doing repeated and frequent meaningful choices (ES2 is a very very good 4X), but with low consequences because I was playing in Normal difficulty, and errors wouldn't have had the consequences they would have had in a harder setting.
So on one hand I stay engaged and focused for hours, but it's a "low-battery-energy-saving focus" type of attention span.

On the other hand, once the paracetamol had kicked in and I had drunk a couple liters of hot tea with lemon, I was feeling a bit more active, so I decided to read the 2 volumes of HxH I had received earlier.
That was a very "energy-consuming-full-power focus", because the current art is DENSE. I did manage to keep my attention span on the manga for two hours it took me to read and re-read and re-re-read the whole thing (and backtrack the previous volume as well because I had forgotten who some of the characters were), but after that I was drained and went straight to bed.

So, what I'm saying is... sorry I forgot what?







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"Re(2):Attention span and games" , posted Tue 25 Sep 21:07post reply

It's funny because I played Yakuza 0 recently now that it's on PC and was pretty hooked on it... BUT I also feel like open world games with lots of independent activities are underhanded hooks that contribute to the problem. After a while the question arises: am I still playing this game, or am I playing mahjong? We are in an age where people not only engage in games within games but begin to expect them, not just as something to advance in the game but as wholly independent distractions in this thing which could already be called a distraction itself. With so many layers of distraction, is it any wonder we're losing our attention spans? How do we build up a tendency to focus, when these games teach us it's okay to wander off in the middle of a plot responsibility and go bowling or throw dice with some bums?

That's one thing. Another thing is the mobile games. Mobile games are the worst in this respect because they don't even HAVE a basic goal to distract you from. The phantom task is to collect everything, so the trick to developing a "game" like this is to constantly move that goalpost by adding stuff again and again, at a rate where consumers can't fulfill that goal without spending ridiculous amounts of money. The rest is just hamster activities. You've got your pellet button that dispenses limited pellets, you've got your water drip that refills 3-4 times a day, and you've got your big old fun-time hamster wheel which is unlimited but makes you sweat out the water and when you run out you're too tired to use it. Over time you'll earn new hamster wheels, a hamster ball, a gilded cage, bigger water drips, whatever. And because you think you are a hamster you've convinced yourself that this is all needed, because your life has no goal, which you will sometimes forget as you continue to press that pellet button. It's literally a path to insanity.

I don't know, I may be rambling.

I find that I have a greater tendency to abandon new things instead of seeing them through. I think it's just that I have a greater awareness of what I want to get out of my activities, and from experience I can tell when something isn't going to lead me there. Which sounds normal on paper, but the reality is probably just that I'm mistaken, my confidence in this is misplaced, and I'm missing out on many things because I can't stick with them. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or it's a worldwide phenomenon or what, though I suspect it's because we're in an age of information where we've fooled ourselves into a sense of knowing what deserves our attention.







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"Re(3):Attention span and games" , posted Fri 28 Sep 01:17post reply

I have much to say on this that I don't have time to write right now!

please understand







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"Re(1):Attention span and games" , posted Mon 1 Oct 23:52post reply

quote:
Any games in particular stand out to y'all for keeping you engrossed, or any new games you found lost your attention some ways through?



Spider-Man for the former, Batman for the latter. Never played any of the Batman games prior to Spider-Man, so when I visited my brother's house this weekend I tried it out. Talk about night and day. Everything about Batman felt so sluggish I nearly passed out on the controller. Spider-Man on the other hand is so responsive and stylish that even the mundane act of traversal is a blast.

Usually I'll abandon a game if it offers an annoyance that is difficult to ignore, or some other elements, be it story or characters, culminate in boredom. Find a way to keep me engaged, and I'll stick with the game in spite of its flaws.







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"Re(2):Attention span and games" , posted Tue 2 Oct 14:06post reply

quote:
Any games in particular stand out to y'all for keeping you engrossed, or any new games you found lost your attention some ways through?




This shortened attention span thing has been bothering me for quite a while too.It happens to me with movies, books, comics and music as well. But if we strictly keep it to games I have to say that I find it extremely difficult to keep my focus for more than 1 hour with whatever game I play. There are notable exceptions like Zelda BotW, which still manages to suck me into it as if I was a 12 yo kid, but generally speaking I cannot keep playing for more than 45 minutes before feeling terribly sleepy. Even action games tend to put me to sleep pretty quickly. I cannot play fighting game for more than 20 minutes before completely losing my focus.

Now, I know that I'm getting old and all, but I wonder if there is more about it. My younger self (just my 5 years younger self!) could easily spend 4 hours straight playing (or reading, or watching) anything. Nowadays, if I see that a movie lasts more than 90 minutes, I groan in disgust and search for a new chapter of any random TV series. My attention span seems to have shortened to a mere 30~60 minutes window, 90 min. tops. I cannot even watch a whole football match! I guess that means I won't be playing RPGs anymore, and I'll have to stick to Musou clones for now on. Oh well, that makes my gaming life quite easier.

I wish old school arcades, with their short and intense adrenaline rushes, were still a thing. I miss that kind of gameplay.






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"Re(3):Attention span and games" , posted Thu 4 Oct 17:58:post reply

Shortened attention span is a subject which I have been thinking about as well. While I don't seem to nessesarily be suffering from it, I am trying not to focus too long on the screen like back in my younger days. It can be hard to go into a state of rest after a lengthy period of concentration. I am starting to think that as we grow older and know about the fatigues and physical strain that can come with long/concentrated attention spans, it could be that some of us might be trying to subconciously avoid that state.





[this message was edited by Professor on Thu 4 Oct 20:10]

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"Re(3):Attention span and games" , posted Sun 7 Oct 03:51post reply

quote:


I wish old school arcades


THAT. I find myself playing MAME for short periods of intense arcade play quite regularly, and, that's about all I've been playing for months, except for Pr Layton X Phoenix Wright from my backlog. Though I think this is rather a consequence of a very busy professional life more than a question of attention span, but it might well be related. Actually, being a teacher makes you feel like a super human these days. I have exact memory of whatever silly thing I taught my students even weeks later, when THEY just go like "errr, sorry Sir Kikkoken, don't remember anything". Come on, they're supposed to have plasticity of mind, super fresh memory highways, superior attention span than a Campari-drinking 40yo bloke. Moviewise, I'm suffering of none of the pbs mentioned by y'all. I'm rather the opposite, binge watching 3 Almodovar movies juste 2 days ago for example.







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"Re(4):Attention span and games" , posted Sun 7 Oct 04:13post reply

quote:
Campari-drinking

Ha! Ha! Campari!
Ha!
quote:
binge watching 3 Almodovar movies juste 2 days ago for example.

That's because you're a fa... wait what were we talking about again?





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"Re(5):Attention span and games" , posted Sun 7 Oct 04:34post reply

quote:
Campari-drinking
Ha! Ha! Campari!
Ha!
binge watching 3 Almodovar movies juste 2 days ago for example.
That's because you're a fa... wait what were we talking about again?


Hahaha! We were just talking about attention something. Yeah, you suss me out so well Iggy, what with all those years! How can I surprise you now ... well apparently by telling you what's my new drink of the day haha!







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"Re(4):Attention span and games" , posted Sun 7 Oct 07:27post reply

quote:
Shortened attention span is a subject which I have been thinking about as well. While I don't seem to nessesarily be suffering from it, I am trying not to focus too long on the screen like back in my younger days. It can be hard to go into a state of rest after a lengthy period of concentration. I am starting to think that as we grow older and know about the fatigues and physical strain that can come with long/concentrated attention spans, it could be that some of us might be trying to subconciously avoid that state.



It is something that has concerned me lately. There are a ton of games that, years ago, I would have quickly devoted tens of hours to each, but these days I don't even bother installing them. I have Wii U games that I bought that I've never even booted up once. Heck, I have Wii games, bought back when the Wii was still getting games, that I've bought but never played.

I find my gaming time, when I bother to spend time gaming, instead gets devoted to stuff that I can quickly start playing, have a bit of action (or puzzle or whatever), and theoretically also quit at almost any time.

However, when I actually look at how I play when I do actually play. While I'm picking low commitment titles that I can get a quick burst of gameplay and then stop, and I do play this way at times, I also will still spend hours playing at other times. There doesn't even seem to be a justification for my attitude, as I'm clearly still willing to put that degree of time into titles (at least in moderation), so I don't even really know why I'm restricting my choices the way that I am.

As for other media and areas, that varies. I'll still devote sometimes absurd lengths of time to reading. I find that I don't have the patience to just casually watch movies the way that I used to (and have a bunch of DVDs and Blurays that I've never watched), but I'm also still willing to marathon something if I ever get started.





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"Re(1):Attention span and games" , posted Sun 7 Oct 13:28post reply

quote:
Lately I've been amassing a library of unifinished games, a lot of it is because the gameplay plateaus or I feel I'm doing something repetitive with guaranteed results. I've also been thinking about various studies where they show the average attention space is like 10 seconds now for mobile games, but I don't recall studies done for console or arcade games.

It's going to vary with genre and execution, like some games can have minute+ long sequences of something awesome happening (FF summons), others have lots of second by second something new happening, fighting games are split second based.

Any games in particular stand out to y'all for keeping you engrossed, or any new games you found lost your attention some ways through?


I think it depends on the intelligent of the game towards the player and the knowledge of the player towards the game that equals out to its complexity factor. Much in detail to explain if anyone is interested.

However, the type of game also comes into play. Like an RPG that would take months to finish compared to a platformer that may take a month to finish. Or if I can play this game for an hour and complete it for today and can resume another day while some games you need to spend 4 to 6 hours to complete a segment before saving and returning another day.





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"Re(2):Attention span and games" , posted Sun 7 Oct 13:55:post reply

It's an interesting question! While intuitively you'd think that attention spans were going down with dumb smart phones destroying people's brains, I had plenty of attention to float my way through all of Flower and Journey almost without interruption for three or four hours, and tore through a long game like Nier that literally contains its own gaiden and sequel. I have problems with modern games requiring MORE of people's time with dopey tutorials, no longer confined to instruction books, and of course we all have less time as adults, least of all to waste on games that arenít fun.

It could be that after a childhood of RPGs and fighting games doing about the same thing, I'm open to either totally new experiences, or solid genre pieces where I don't have to learn anything new to have fun, but not over-complicated riffs on the same stuff.

I have specific memories that mark this change: I recall roaring out loud in impatience in 2008 at the frequently great Tales of the Abyss when it required me to manually move back and forth between towns for the tenth time as part of a required plot discussion on the in-game story, but also how I literally ignored one of the new character growth systems because it sounded, quote, like a pain in the ass. I sure don't want to wade through piles of number-flashing systems in FF XIII when I could return to the elegant symplicity of Chrono Trigger, and while my friends and I were never Dragon Quest people growing up, I can now see the appeal for otherwise lapsed gamers of returning to literally the same friendly system periodically every five years in a new entry.

I also remember dropping the gorgeous Guilty Gear Xrd in 2015 after about two hours of realizing that I had no idea what they were talking about and just wanted to play either on a Street Fighter system or a Namco system, but certainly a fighting game system that existed on planet earth.





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[this message was edited by Maou on Mon 8 Oct 14:00]