Are they though? Are they really? Look at those swings up there ^, all they do is go back and forth but that doesn’t stop anyone from enjoying them.
Let’s look at the definition of repetitive. According to my friend Google: re·pet·i·tive means “containing or characterised by repetition, especially when unnecessary or tiresome.” And its synonyms are things like “monotonous, tedious, boring, humdrum, mundane, dreary, tiresome”
Reviewers apply this word. Repetitive. To the games that they are critiquing, and they do it for good reason; repetitive games are boring. When the repetitiveness is not done right. Let’s look at it this way: Every game is repetitive in some way, essentially you repeat at least one certain aspect of the game several times over. However the way this is counteracted is through variety and creativity to the… repetitiveness. Repeating something in a varied way, so to speak.
Let’s take a look at those swings again. They were created to go back and forth but as children, equipped with our infinite wisdom, we found ways to add excitement and variety to them. We’d jump off the swings, we’d race against others to see who can go higher or maybe we’d twist the ropes and spin around. Oh and let’s not forget that there are also different models of swings, which serve the same purpose but perform differently. All these examples are adding variety to a basic concept.
And that is essentially what all games do. DotA for example is played on the same map. Every single time. (That’s changed a bit with the Reborn update but you know what I mean). So why is the game still fun? Because 1. It’s competitive, it provides a drive for certain players to achieve more, 2. There’s a wide variety of heroes, 3. The way every game plays out is different.
Then again, I will admit I’m not the pickiest person when it comes to games, Dead Space 3 was critiqued for being repetitive and although I noticed this it didn’t detract from the experience. But, I had played it coop with a friend so that may have made it more enjoyable for me, who knows.
My point is… well, I don’t really have a point for this post but… I just found the whole situation about designing a repetitive thing well makes it enjoyable even though the changes tied with it are tiny.
Or y’know, addictiveness and OCD and psychological stuff comes into play as well. Ahem, Clash of Clans (Why’s it getting so much hate anyway, I find it ok… does that mean it’s sucked me into its evil schemes and is toying with my brain? :s)