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Why I enjoy the episodic game model

August 3, 2017

Episodic games get a lot of hate, despite the huge successes of games like Telltale's The Walking Dead and Dontnod Entertainment's Life is Strange. Many gamers who complain about the episodic model of games say they get tired of waiting for the next episode to come out, and that they would rather just wait until all the episodes are out and binge them all at once. I get it - waiting for the next episode of a game sucks, and sometimes you forget what happened in the last episode by the time the new one comes out if the gap between episodes is large enough. However, I actually really enjoy the episodic game model. Here's why:

Less of a time commitment

It's seriously a first-world problem, but the anxiety I get when I add another game to my backlog is real. When it comes to episodic games, I feel a lot less overwhelmed knowing I can sit down and complete an episode of a game in a couple hours tops, as opposed to the thought of having to spend well over 10 hours just to complete a game's campaign.

Savor each episode

When I play an episode of a game, I'm not worried about how long it's going to take to complete; instead, I savor each moment and really sink my teeth into the episode. When I am playing a game like Uncharted, for example, I'm always thinking about how many more hours it's going to take to complete. As much as I really enjoyed Uncharted 4, I remember wondering when the heck it was going to end during my first playthrough. Downtime is precious nowadays, and I get overwhelmed by long games. Don't even get me started on open-world games; I can barely do those anymore.

Developers have more time to focus on perfecting each episode

Sure, developers still have deadlines for each episode of a game, but because of the relatively short length of the episodes, they can really focus on making each episode as good as possible. They, too, probably feel less pressured when they know they only have to complete one episode at a time, as opposed to an entire full-length game all at once.

Less expensive

Unless you choose to buy the season pass for an episodic game (which will save you money in the long run), you will typically only have to spend about $5 for one episode of a game. Even if you shell out the $25-$30 bucks for the entire season of a game, that's still much cheaper than the typical $60 price tag we're all used to. If you live paycheck to paycheck like many of us do, it's much easier to justify spending $5 on one episode of game than $60 for a lengthy game you're most likely not going to have time to play anytime soon, anyway.

These are just a few reasons I enjoy the episodic game model. I am starting Episode 3 of the first season of Telltale's Batman series tonight, and next week the second season, "The Enemy Within," will be out. I am also really looking forward to the end of the month, when Life is Strange: Before the Storm releases on Aug. 31.

What are some of your favorite episodic games? How do you feel about the episodic game model? Talk to me on Twitter/Instagram: @gottosaurus

  • Cassie Gotto-White is a gamer, communications professional and coffee lover. She discovered her passion for video games at age six when she was given an NES Top Loader. Her current main console is a PlayStation 4, but she also owns a Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. She considers herself to be a single-player games advocate, and some of her favorite games are The Last of Us, the Uncharted series, the Yakuza series and Night in the Woods. Follow her at cgottowhite on Instagram and Twitter, and add her on PSN: unleash-the-bats.

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