You can skip to your favorite scene in a movie, flip to an exciting chapter in a book you've read, but you can't just drop into a video game you've finished at any given point. In today's Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter Smorlock wonders why.
So you're sitting at home, and you've got maybe 20 minutes to kill before you have to go out somewhere. You've got no new movies, but you could pop in an old favourite and skip to your favourite scene. You've got no new books, but you could open up an old standby and flip to the best part. You've got no new games, but you could... well, I guess you'd have to start one from the very beginning. Or load up a save from the very end. You're in the mood to play just that one part from the middle, but that's about 15 hours in.
So why are games so closed? I find it very sad when I finish a 30+ hour video game, because I know it will be a long time, if ever, that I am able to experience a lot of it again. It is very easy to skip around a book or a movie, but except for a few isolated cases, video games are mostly all-or-nothing affairs. In fact until recently, it was even rare to be able to pause during a cut scene, if you needed to.
I understand of course, some games are not well structured for drop-ins. RPGs for instance, have so many variables. How would they satisfy your inventory? But I think as games become more mainstream (and more importantly, as they become denser and longer), it would benefit both the players and the developers if we could revisit our favourite scenes a year later. I am looking at my old copy of Red Dead Redemption and wondering - how do I play just my favourite scenes?