I’ve been thinking about the modern trend to self-limiting games. Games where you have to physically destroy or change components to ensure you can never play it again. My friend plays something called Sea Fall, and when he describes the play it sounds very interesting, but he’s just said “We’ve finished it”, and he means, literally, finished, unable to play it any more. The game had an inbuilt point at which you stop, and you might as well throw the game in the trash at that point (you can’t even sell it or give it away; it’s literally unplayable now).
This is obviously an awesome idea for the designers who want you to buy their next game, but how do players feel about it? When you find a good game, don’t you want to keep playing it forever?
To be honest, I don’t get enough time for gaming these days, and if I bought a new game I would realistically only play it a handful of times, so shouldn’t really care if it’s unplayable after that time. But it still feels wrong. In the past, I’ve played favourite games for thousands (I’m not exaggerating) of hours. And even when I haven’t had time to do that, there’s always the knowledge that if we ever have a free afternoon we can drag any of them out and play them as if it were our first time.
I suspect people are primed to accept self-limiting games because of exposure to computer games, where there is a pre-set number of tasks and you expect to stop playing once they’re all done. But aren’t computer games moving to open-ended worlds now where you can keep playing forever? So ironically moving in the opposite direction to board games…