Created By: Abodos on October 23, 2011 Last Edited By: Abodos on October 26, 2011

Sliding Scale of Content Density Vs. Width

The manner and pace at which game developers present new content to the player.

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Content in video games, whether it's new gameplay or plot, can be given to the player in various ways.

Sometimes, the developers keep a taut pace with the content, keeping large areas, optional items and sidequests to a minimum to maintain that pace; these games are content intensive and have "Denser" content. Other times, developers space out the content so that the main portion of the game is experienced much slower and amidst a myriad of extra options; these games are content extensive and have "Wider" content.

Each approach has potential boons and drawbacks. Games with Density can easily maintain the player's attention and provide a meaty experience within a relatively short playtime, but the types of experiences can be fairly limited and not very cerebral. Games with Width offer a broad palette of experiences over a frequently long playtime and a potential for greater World Building (in games that actually have plot), but can also leave players bored by the pacing or overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content.

Genres that tend to be Denser include Action, racing games, Casual Video Games, Platformers, and Rail Shooters. Genres that tend to be Wider include Adventure, Action-Adventure, Role Playing Games, Strategy Games, and Wide Open Sandboxes. Gaming in general saw a shift to Width with the Video Game 3D Leap during the 5th console generation.

Tangentially related to the Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness, as Linearity typically correlates with Density, while Openness typically correlates with Width. Fake Longevity is sometimes present in games on the Width end of the scale.

Instances where the Scale was consciously considered when producing a game:

Community Feedback Replies: 5
  • October 23, 2011
  • October 23, 2011
    ^Those seem to be focused more on plot. This trope deals with gameplay.
  • October 24, 2011
    Perhaps we could come up with a better word than "Scope?" I would prefer something that could more easily be used as an adjective (so that there would be "Denser" and "____er" as convenient opposite terms).
  • October 25, 2011

    Also, Intensive VS Extensive.
  • October 25, 2011
    ^I actually like Intensive vs. Extensive better than the current title. Though, I think I'll still use "Density" while replacing "Scope" with "Width" in the article proper, because "Intensivity" or whatever is a bit of a mouthful.

    EDIT: Nevermind, it seems that using Intensive and Extensive makes the title go over the character limit. I'll still mention the two terms in the second paragraph, though.