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
    Kevin, 26 Mar 2009 @ 4:07am

    Only 40 hours?

    I remember back in the old days (1980's), when you saw a game review it usually included an estimate of the number of hours required to complete it. It wasn't uncommon to see a game rated at 80 hours, or 100 hours, or even more in some cases. It has always been a great disappointment to me that playing times have steadily been decreasing.

    I do understand why. We have shorter attention spans these days than we did 30 years ago. Video/computer games have so much more competition from every conceivable outlet, too, so games are competing for a smaller slice of the pie. Unfortunately prices haven't shrunk similarly. I remember paying $30 for a game that would last 80-100 hours, and now we pay $60+ for a game that lasts half of that time, if you're lucky. And to add insult to injury, instead of focusing on developing quality content for the games, many companies will give you 8-10 hours of solo content and reply on "online multiplayer" to fill in the void.

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