Metroid Dread launched on October 8 and has garnered stellar reviews from many publications (including ours!). Despite this, a debate over the game’s value started shortly after its launch, leading to a lot of mad gamers. The discussion of value — particularly with games of this genre — pops up in the video game industry frequently, and Metroid Dread is its latest victim. And, on some level, it shines a spotlight on what many perceive to be one of the worst things about Nintendo’s overall strategy.
Why gamers care about the Metroid Dread’s price tag
If you search for “Nintendo’s $60” on Twitter, you’ll find an endless stream of users either complaining about the game’s value or arguing that it’s well worth the $60 price point. In either case, the game’s price tag is a major talking point. Many of the memes that appear compare Dread to other $60 games on competitors’ platforms, pointing out that 2D games are worth less than 3D games. Most of the tweets are jokes that make fun of the discourse itself, while others are from angry gamers who genuinely believe Metroid Dread isn’t worth $60.
In many of the tweets, users have compared Metroid Dread to other AAA games like God of War. Of course, there’s a clear difference in presentation between the two games, with God of War featuring beautiful, large-scale areas to explore, while Metroid Dread is a more tightly designed experience.
For comedic effect, some of the tweets surrounding the discourse flip the script and compare some of Nintendo’s major open-world games to Sony’s smaller-scale adventures. One example juxtaposes the massive RPG Xenoblade Chronicles X with platformer Sackboy: A Big Adventure (both of which are fantastic games).
Ultimately, it’s a tired discussion that doesn’t do much for either side, causing anger and negativity in the process. Games are supposed to be fun, right?
Are 2D games worth $60?
The short answer is “yes,” 2D games are unequivocally worth $60. There are many ways to look at it, such as value for your time, or overall enjoyment of the experience. Some games are shorter but worth more than longer experiences, but it ultimately comes down to the player.
It’s the ultimate law of capitalism: A game’s value is determined by however much money someone is willing to pay for it. This rings true for any consumer item, but it’s particularly relevant when discussing the cost of video games that vary wildly. Thus far, we know Metroid Dread is the highest-grossing game launch in the series (in the UK), so it’s clear many people are willing to pay the $60 price. Nintendo knows this. That’s why the company charges $60 for its games. There’s a certain level of quality that comes with the Nintendo logo on a game’s box, so it’s worth the price.
In terms of storytelling and gameplay design, many older Nintendo games remain better than newer alternatives with better graphics. Just compare The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to Immortals: Fenyx Rising.
You can also compare Dread’s value to other games of a similar length. It takes around 7-10 hours to complete the game, while a 100 percent run could take you up to 20 hours. If you only use game length as a metric for value, you might restrict yourself to only playing long RPGs. Is a game like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart more valuable than Metroid Dread? Both are around the same length and the same price, but Rift Apart is 3D, so it must be more valuable right?
Some of the most beloved games of all time are around 8-10 hours long, especially ones from Nintendo. Super Mario 3D World, for instance, can be finished in around 10 hours but costs $60. It remains one of the highest-rated Mario games in recent memory.
Since Nintendo typically doesn’t lower the price of its games — at least not for a long time — players must be patient if they want to experience some of the best titles at a lower price. While this is a viable option, millions of players often jump onboard at full price, which is exactly why they cost $60.
Metroid Dread is one of the (if not the) best games of the year. It has a Metascore of 89, which is higher than many of 2021’s greatest titles — even ones that are presented in 3D, such as Deathloop, Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut, and Monster Hunter Rise. All of those games are worth playing, regardless of their presentation. But it’s clear that even if Metroid Dread is a 2D game, its value isn’t any less than its contemporaries. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but the value of a game has more to do with gameplay elements and design than it does whether or not it’s in 2D or 3D.
Metroid Dread is available exclusively for Nintendo Switch now.