Short Game Lengths

Are Shorter Games Better?

You could argue that gaming is like waiting for a bus. You spend the baron wasteland of the summer months patiently hoping for a decent release to appear on the horizon and just when you start to lose hope, loads arrive together at the same time. Within a two month period we have had Arkham City, Skyrim, Gear of War 3, Forza 4, FIFA 12, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: MW3 and Rage all vying for our attention. Even though it is said the average gamer is now around 34, not many people can afford to spend over £300 in the run up to Christmas in the current climate, or even have the time available to fully enjoy the experience offered by some of these games.

With this is mind, it appears that gaming is becoming a double-edged sword where we pay £40 for a game that lasts 6-8 hours and then trade in the following week for the next must have title. Does this cheapen the experience and simply add gaming to the disposable culture heap of the 21st century, where we lust for something only to bore of it very quickly, and move onto something else?

I thought it would be interesting to look into the case for and against short game lengths.

In many ways we have now come full circle, as gaming actually began life with short playtimes in arcades all over the world, with titles that were designed to get all of the loose change out of your pocket at a rapid rate. A quick visit to some of the classic arcade titles available on XBLA or PSN illustrates this. As soon as games moved from cartridges onto discs, developers rushed to cram as much information as they could in order to have the biggest and best game.

8 hours of quality over quantity?

However in 2011, the audience is a little more sophisticated and a less forgiving about games that are padded out for the sake of it and quality now takes precedence over quantity. This can only be a good thing, after all, six hours of pure ‘wow’ has go to be better than twenty-five of ‘meh’, hasn’t it? (more…)

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