|I guess when you play the Song of Time all this stuff gets recycled back into grass?|
But I don't want the idea of more-things-to-do to undercut the feedback power of getting Stuff, because using Stuff as a feedback mechanism is one of the sharpest tools in addictive game design - for better or for worse. MMORPGs give you tiny incremental gains, Tetris gives you line-clearing, Facebooks game gives you little points and stats and notifications.
|Yay! I got a new, um, eggplant? I never played FarmVille.|
|This is how weekends are lost.|
There are plenty of more benign examples of how a fast-paced rewards structure can be used to keep a game exciting. A good one is Katamari Damacy, which gives you the satisfaction of picking up all those little items, of sizing up and suddenly being able to go new places or pick up new things, of going from not being able to pick up a banana to lifting buildings out of the ground in a 10-minute span.
|It's only a matter of time for that mountain, too.|
A lot of games do very well with a slower-paced rewards structure - Shadow of the Colossus comes to mind - because the games themselves are slower paced. In SotC, the rewards you get aren't always overt; you grow a little more powerful with each monster you kill, and you get the satisfaction of watching a cutscene of the monster's death, but sometimes it's just as enjoyable to be riding through the silent landscape towards your next encounter. Having the game's major rewards be more spread out heightens the anticipation. Slower reward pacing helps players appreciate rewards; faster reward pacing helps increase momentum and excitement; and incredibly high pacing can either burn players out or become addictive, depending on how it's implemented. Try watching, as a player, for the rewards that the game gives you, and think about what reaction they're seeking from you by giving you those rewards.