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Time Restrictions in Video Games

Discussion in 'Video Games' started by Wizard, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Wizard

    Wizard HOO BOY

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    Many games use the element of time in order to drive a sense of urgency or realism. One of the most famous is Majora's Mask, which puts a "3 day" time limit on the player, leading to much planning ahead. Other casual games, such as Animal Crossing and Pokémon, use the time mechanic to dictate the weather and wildlife.

    I have never liked time mechanics in the slightest. I want to play games at my own pace, not on the timing the game tells me to. In fact, the time mechanic is one of the main reasons that I've never gotten into Majora's Mask.

    What are your thoughts on time mechanics in games? What games do you think pull off this mechanic well?
     
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  2. Moonstruck-Mist

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    Personally, I don't like having a time limit on exploring environments or completing missions, but I do like time when it come to day and night and weather cycles. Really, that's the only time I actually like the time mechanic. Also, in various horror games, certain scenes could only happen at certain times/points/events, so that's something I like with time as well. Just... don't put it on my missions. I'm a slow worker.
     
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  3. BZRich64

    BZRich64 Mustached Moderator

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    I'm fine with day/night cycles in games like Pokémon or The Legend of Zelda. Other than that I really don't like any sort of automatic time progression mechanic. Unless you can 'reset' the time, like how you can return to the start of day on in Majora's Mask or with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII's New Game+ mechanics, I feel like these kinds of systems take a lot out of a game by giving a false sense of urgency and making you feel like you need to rush everything instead of being able to enjoy what the game has to offer. Time systems like these are why I can't get into Harvest Moon and why I really don't like Animal Crossing.

    tl:dr version:
    Time Progression Mechanics=The Opposite of Fun
     
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  4. King Dedede

    King Dedede Gordo Aficionado

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    I would probably not enjoy myself as much. I love games like Mario 64 and Mario Odyyssey that allow you to explore the landscapes, especially since the games are so nice to look at. And Mario Odyssey is just such a beautiful game with so much time, effort, and soul put into it. You can kinda feel Miyamotos soul in the game from every nitty gritty detail.
     
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  5. SyWry

    SyWry Dragon Tamer

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    I don't like time constraints in video games. There is a place for such time constraints, for example, you need to get out of an exploding building before the time runs out, this is a good example of ramping up urgency. However, to base a game around a clock is one that is always going to be hard to pull off right. I feel like Majora's mask did the clock system well, but I still feel like people who are less scheduled oriented are going to have a hard time with it. That idea goes with most clock based games. I don't like clock based games because its either a chore or I'll have to wait for a certain time of day to do something. These are things I just don't like.
     
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  6. Dawn

    Dawn King of Heroes

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    I am the kind of person who generally panics when I see a ticking clock in the corner of the screen, and it is not a good kind of panic. I generally groan whenever I see one, and it only goes downhill from there. Often it's either so easy that I wonder what the point of it was, or it's an infuriating wall as there just isn't enough time on the clock for it...Metroid games tend to swing in both directions, with the Prime games giving you too much time to evacuate the space station in the beginning for it to feel like a threat, and Super Metroid too little at the end when you have 3 minutes to navigate a couple of mini labyrinths before you're atomised.

    Games that are time limited, such as the Persona and Atelier games...whilst I can appreciate the structure works for them, I feel that games that revolve around time either give you too much of it, or too little. Good time management can see you wasting away a long time waiting for something to happen, and that is not good design...for example, in Lightning Returns, Chronostasis abuse meant a LOT of waiting around. Lots of time sleeping waiting for things in Atelier games to happen because events couldn't happen before specific days, and so on. I feel that there could be better ways to implement things than to have it so restricted.
     
  7. Absolute Zero

    Absolute Zero The second seal...

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    I have a split opinion on this, and I'll bring up two examples. Majora's Mask, as mentioned by OP, I did like. Events were fairly flexible in their timing, the world was fully explorable without needing to panic about time, and most importantly the game never expected you to be able to complete it in one cycle. Here I compare that to Final Fantasy 13LR (which I admit I haven't fully played, or even finished one complete cycle for), but it seems like the game expects you to beat it in just one cycle. Two weeks compared to Majora's Mask's three days, many events being very time-specific, and I also think you lose most/all progress at the end of the cycle. It became a lot less of "I'll just play the Song of Time again" and more of "if I don't complete this even in the next 10 minutes of real-world time, I'll miss it entirely until my next 20-hour playthrough", and I couldn't bear that feeling.

    I agree with you on the condition that it depends on if the timer is well-made or not. For a good example, some of the Donkey Kong Country games on SNES had timed events where you'd have to complete an optional obstacle course before a timer expired, and after the first few of these the timer started getting tight. I'm an expert in those games, and sometimes I get down to less than a full second with my heart going 120 bpm. Contrast that to Saints Row 3 or 4, and it feels like during development someone would type in 10:00 as a placeholder and never get back to testing it. "Get out of the mission area now, it's about to explode!" and I'd get out with nine minutes and forty six seconds left. Fake urgency by a poorly-made time restriction.
     
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