Culture

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
time, video games



What's Wrong With Video Games That You Can Finish In Three Hours?

from the that's-not-how-it's-done! dept

Clive Thompson tries to bust apart the commonly held wisdom that it should take 40 hours to complete a video game. He points to a recently well-received game that many reviewers dinged for the fact that it could be completed in three hours. They seemed to like pretty much everything about the game... other than that it was "too short." The standard, apparently (I had no idea) is that a video game should take approximately 40 hours to finish. But Thompson points out how silly that is. For many games, they just start to feel repetitive or stretched out. If you can do everything that needs to be done in just three hours -- why not do it. My guess is that many of the complaints just come from what people think they're "buying" with the game, and that includes "time spent on the game." So a game that seems short feels like "less value" even if that's not necessarily the case. Still, as Thompson points out, the game he's talking about, The Maw is much cheaper than the average 40-hour game anyway, so he's not clear why people are complaining. To be honest, I was unaware of the 40-hour standard, and am a bit surprised that it's apparently so standardized. I'd always just assumed that different games had different time-lengths (if they were "finishable" at all).

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  1. identicon
    Jimmy, 26 Mar 2009 @ 1:58am

    Genres

    Different genres of games deserve different consideration when talking about time frames, but I am getting a bit sick of games using 'online' modes to make a game seem like a better deal. Gears of War 2 I beat far too quickly, I don't go in for online gaming (especially on a console), so I felt cheated. $60 for what amounted to maybe 3 movies. I expect a game to take me at least a week at a few hours a day.

    I can accept and appreciate a 'much' cheaper game only being 3-5 hours long, but I think that should be clearly stated. I cannot stand completing a game way before when I think it should be wrapping up. If I think I'm only half way through the game and suddenly I see the end game credits rolling it's going to leave me feeling unsatisfied.

    FPS/platform games do tell a story. I may enjoy the gameplay but at the end of the day it's the story that draws me in. I rarely will rewatch a movie more than once a year, and I do think a lot of the 'multiplayer' additions are a cheap attempt at turning a story driven game into a game of replayability. Sports games, racing games, party games, strategy games- those are the gameplay focused. FPS/platform/RPGs should all be done without regard to someone playing through them again. I have no problem with side quests, an option for longer/more difficult playthroughs, but odd as I am I'd rather play Soul Calibur or Mario Cart than do Halo 3 or GoW2 online (especially without a mouse!).

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