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
    Chad, 26 Mar 2009 @ 8:29am

    40 hours is WAY TOO SHORT for some games... the good ones. This is especially true for games that you space out. I like to play a game, put it down, and a few days layer pick it up again and have another few hours of gameplay time.

    If I picked a game up and finished it in 3 hours, I would be devastated that I just forked over $40-$60 on a game that I could finish faster than lunch.

    I remember back in the 80s, games were so challenging that you could spend hours and hours on a game without EVER beating it. The challenge was what made those games fun. Remove all of the challenge of a game, and it's not even worth playing anymore.

    Part of that challenge is in how long it takes to complete certain tasks, how long it takes to complete the game as a whole...

    I guess they're appealing to the ADD -stricken children of today? The thing is... if a game is a really great game, people will want to play as much of it as they can.

    Take Fallout 3 for example, it was a relatively short game, but thanks to the side-quests a person could easily spend 40 hours playing it. Even then, I wished there was more to it. Had the game only been 3 hours in length to complete, I would have felt that it just wasn't long enough. The reason behind that feeling is that you don't want such a good thing to end so quickly, because good games are hard to come by these days.

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