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Does Game Length Equal Value?

Something that has long been an issue in the gaming community is the subject of length. That is how much gameplay and therefore time one can reasonably put into a purchased game before it’s complete. Also, how much could one play a game before either burnout or boredom sets in or even the possibility of a new game on the horizon distracts us. let’s take a look at both sides of the argument to get an idea why players should appreciate the length of the game that they paid for and if it justifies the price.

The Argument for Lengthy Games

by Slewo

This topic  has become an issue since as time has marched on as games oftentimes can cost $60 with a bare minimum of content before updates and DLC. Now the argument one may make is “who needs a longer game anyway?”, after all people have far more limited time on their hands nowadays, I myself can speak to that, a longer game isn’t something I can always sink time into anymore, however they are still important, and a few reasons why as follows.

1) More bang for your buck.

Considering the cost games run nowadays, you don’t want to put $40-60 of your money and discover that you’re getting very little in return. It’s a question worth asking, because as developers have to make large expansive games on shorter time, something will inevitably be cut. Therefore, it’s best that if a game can at least have plenty of replay value, you know you haven’t wasted your money or time.

2) More expansive content

One problem with a shorter game is as a result, there may well be no room for the world to breathe. The best games are not linear with Point A to B in a story, there’s more to do, secrets to discover. For example, if Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask didn’t have such a wealth of side quests and extra story time going on, and had less to do, a large part of the game’s fun would be gone. The same goes for any other Zelda game really, a large part of that series’ fun is the idea of an expansive world that has more to do than simply one overarching quest to beat.

3) More incentive to play

Something that works for me when I’m attempting to play lengthy games is to ration it out. While I don’t always have time for day-long gaming sessions, I still get plenty to play. While it is fun to jam out all night on Dark Souls, there can also be fun in stretching out the game in order to savor it and so you don’t simply finish it in one day.

The Argument against Lengthy Games

by Brandon T.

If you are an old school gamer like myself, then you have bared witness to the evolution of this past-time that we love and the evolving complexity of the games we play. With that being said, being a busy, productive member of society, I have noticed that I either don’t have the zest to play and beat lengthy games (mainly role playing games)  or that I just don’t have the time in my busy schedule. Now before I continue, let me say that I do appreciate huge games full of content and for the cost I feel we deserve that kind of product.

In my opinion a game that is under 8 hours of content with no multiplayer is a tad short  (I am looking at you The Order 1886) and not worth the investment. Now in contrast, a game that 15 hours or more like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt may be a bit intimidating to folks like myself. So although I can appreciate the big, huge, massive games,  I feel these points help with my opinion of shorter games can still satisfy

1) Quality over quantity.

In regards to game worlds so far this generation, it seems to me that every game wants to be this massive open world experience for the player. Examples of this range from Shadows of Mordor, Watchdogs, Sunset Overdrive, Far Cry 4, and every Assassins Creed game. I can appreciate a lengthy open world game with quests that actually feel like they were a main part of the story and not just slapped on busy work to help pad the game out. To this end some games have even poked fun at such lowly task as collecting notes, bringing random number of animal pelts, collecting keys etc. But give me a quality story that keeps me engaged and that wins any day over tons of quests that leads nowhere.

2) Replayability

For me replaying video games are like grabbing my favorite book once a year and reading it again. With that being said, as much as I have tried I have never replayed a longer gaming experience. Games that range around the 7 or 8 hour mark have a better chance of being replayed in my gaming library due to the fact that they are just short enough that I don’t mind jumping back into them. Metal Gear Solid (which on average can be beaten in 12 to 15 hrs) is a fine example as I have played that game numerous times to completion. An even better idea that lends to replayability are games in which you can carry over items from a first play-thru to a new play-thru with an increased challenge

3) Is Bigger Really Better

Why games that are considered linear looked down upon? I feel games that might be more linear can be just as good as the bigger games while giving you a more focused story arc. To add to this argument, most of the lengthier games end up having more issues in their huge worlds with keeping the story straight or just weird game breaking bugs that as gamers, we tend to let slide by saying the norm of “oh it’s an open world game and you should already know that it’s going to have some issues”. Games that are shorter will keep gamers engaged and encourage them to finish thus not allowing their attention to be lost.

So in closing, I feel we need great titles that push the boundaries, but they don’t always have to be a 150 plus hour medieval/post-apocalyptic/assassination fest to prove that they are truly cutting edge and next/current Gen. Gamers should get what they pay for but not have to devote half of their lives to complete.

About Brandon T (3 Articles)
Brandon is a lover of the finer things in life: that being Playstation/Comics/Movies. Exploring various worlds presented in video games is his passion, and he is loving that ride. Brandon considers himself to be an informed consumer who loves to analyze every aspect of a game or movie before committing his time and hard earned dollars.

2 Comments on Does Game Length Equal Value?

  1. Your summary pretty much nailed it. A game doesn’t have to be extremely long as long as it’s entertaining in a way that leaves you satisfied. I enjoy the Metal Gear series for its lengthy plays (yes, cutscenes and all), but at the same time I can enjoy something as short as the arcade mode of a fighting game if the ideas and mechanics behind it are unique. Of course, if I pay $60 for something like an FPS that plays like a carbon copy of every popular title that offers nothing but a cheap attempt to ride on the success of what’s “in” (applies to mobile games too), disappointment will follow. In the end, it’s always going to be quality over quantity. Actually have to thank you for the read, as it got me thinking about the subject in a different light.


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