Progressive, or progressive games, are games that start with a simple game, but then progress to the next level of complexity to allow the player to get more and more “shiny.
They’re a lot like puzzle games. In all their forms, they’re all about discovering a new concept, exploring its meaning, and then eventually earning the means to complete the next level of complexity. Of course, this is also where the term “progress” comes into play.
This is why some games can be so difficult to fully enjoy. This is why games like Grand Theft Auto, which is a series of interconnected city-side games, are so fun. It’s because you can play these games as if they are a series of puzzles and you’ll never be able to put it down.
This is why many games can be such a struggle to play. The problem is it often takes a very specific type of player, someone who is not a fan of the idea of complexity and who simply has no desire to dive into the depths of it, to be willing to play these games. So there are countless genres that have become so frustrating because people play them because they have to.
A big part of this is the difficulty of being able to truly enjoy games, and the frustration that comes with it. For as much as many of us love games, one of the main reasons we play is to escape ourselves.
The problem with that, is that games are actually really hard to escape from. The most significant thing that people dislike about games is the level of difficulty. You often have to fight against it. I have been in the process of going through my “Game-a-day” collection and I’ve only managed to play nine games since the last time I stopped. That is just not enough for me to overcome the constant frustration that comes with these games.
In fact, a lot of the most challenging games are part of the reason that people tend to stop playing. The first time I played a game like Half-Life 2, I was so frustrated that I had to shut down my Xbox for a few days to recover from this. I used to play a lot of action RPGs, but they were so difficult to escape from. Now that Ive found myself able to beat them, the frustration has been replaced with excitement.
The game industry has a long history of being at odds with the games industry. The PC gamers are the gatekeepers of what games can be, so the only games that can enter the PC realm are ones that can be finished in a few days. The only thing that is stopping this from happening is the fact that the PC gamers themselves are constantly changing. Every year or so a bunch of new games enter the market, and old ones fade away.
The PC gamer is a notoriously changeable group of people. They have a lot of power to make a lot of changes to game design, but they don’t always let those changes come through. They’ll bemoan the fact that the Nintendo DS is taking up all of their shelf space, or say that the new Xbox 360 console is taking up all of their shelf space.
In the end, it ends up being more about what game the gamer wants to play than what game they really want to play. Every gamer is different. There are a lot of different gamers in the world, and their tastes are so different that it makes it difficult to make a game that everyone can like.