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Editorial Entertainment Games

On the Pointlessness of "Hours of Gameplay" 121

KaiEl writes "An article on TotalVideoGames is quoting Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser as saying Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will have 150 hours of gameplay. That's all well and good, but what does it really mean? The way I see it, a game that I enjoy for 20 hours is much better than a game that I hate for 150. So why the obsession in video game media with quantifying gameplay time?"
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On the Pointlessness of "Hours of Gameplay"

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  • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Friday July 23, 2004 @12:07AM (#9776378) Homepage Journal
    Marketing is easier if you can reduce your product to a number. Bigger numbers win.

    AOL 9 is better than Netscape 7, which is better than MSIE 6.

    Firefox 0.9? Forget it.

    An Athlon XP 2000+ is better than a P4 1800MHz.

    V-8 is better than 7-up.


  • by BlueCup ( 753410 ) on Friday July 23, 2004 @12:10AM (#9776396) Homepage Journal
    a game that I enjoy for 20 hours is much better than a game that I hate for 150.

    While I agree with this statement, what about a game that you enjoy for the first 30 hours, and then hate for the next 120 over a game that you enjoy for 20 hours. I'm looking forward to this game because of the vast amount of things I expect I'll be able to do. I'm guessing with all of the options there's only a slim chance I'll hate it right off the bat... I'm sure I'll get bored with it eventually just like the other 2 gta 3's, but if it provides me a decent amount of fun before it hits the repetitive wall I will consider it a good buy.
    • Unlimited SaGa is a perfect example as to where the promised hours upon hours of gameplay turns against the game.. probably the biggest disappointment from Square Enix, after playing for a valiant 5 hours, the thought of struggling through 40 more, let alone 100+, was just too much
    • It depends on the linearity. GTA is going to be different, but if it's 150 hours of linear game to beat it, I'll be annoyed if I only get 1/5 of the way through and don't see the ending. But if it's 30 hours I enjoy and see the ending, and then have another 120 hours to munch on in the future, that rocks.

      I kinda dig shorter games, but I'm in the smaller margin.
      • be very very very sure that it will be beatable in 30 hours, beatable as in 'played enough'.

        the earlier gta's had all kinds of stuff to increase the overall gameplay time that was only necessary if you wished.

        besides, if it's _quality_ gameplay you'll enjoy for 30 hours, what does it matter that there's 120 hours still available for you one day. it's not like it made those 30 hours any less fun that there's shitloads of more in the game unless you want to be a 'beat it all' in 30 hours in which case you'r
        • The previous two iterations of GTA did the same thing. Once you beat the game and the credits finished rolling, you were put back in the world to do whatever you wanted. If there were side missions you missed or Rampages, etc. then now's your chance to do it. In GTA3 & 4 the guys trying to get "100% Completed" tagged it as taking (having) 100 hours of gameplay to reach that goal. If you think about it that way it's not much different than before.
      • I too enjoy shorter games.

        I like to 'finish' all of the games I play, and it frustrates me when I don't/can't.

        Looking through the games I currently own, I've got 6 games that I'm still holding onto, because I need finish it. One game just has the final boss battle remaining, and it pisses me off. Why, oh why, does the final boss battle need to be an exercise in absolute frustration?

        A good game that I can finish is very satisfying. Possibly I'll go back and play more, maybe not, but it will remain in m
        • Since I am no longer a student, I've found that shorter games like Max Payne 2 have been ideal for me because I can actually finish them, then get on with other things like PlanetSide [].

          I have a massive stack of games that I've never got round to finishing due to either getting a bit bored half way through or something else coming along, e.g.

          • Half-Life
          • Deus Ex
          • Baldur's Gate 2
          • Planescape: Torment

          All of the above are great games, and I want to finish them, but I have a feeling I may never get round to it

  • Play a game I like for 150 hours than a game I like for 20 hours. =)
    • Personally, the time it takes to beat a game is irrelevant to me. To me, replay value is the biggest factor.

      Adding numerous ways to complete levels, optional/hidden items, and perhaps even multiple routes through the game makes it much more fun to go back and play it again. If a game is only good for one play-through before its gameplay is completely exhausted, I would be reluctant to shell out my cash for it.
      • You're right...but what I really can't stand is a short game with little replay value. I just beat Full Spectrum Warrior on the XBox. I thought the game was a hell of a lot of fun, with great graphics, novel gameplay, good characters and an interesting story line. However, it's entirely linear and scripted...and took all of 7 hours of gameplay to beat. There's pretty much no replay factor except for the harder difficulty level, as the game is the same every time you play it. I couldn't believe it when
    • I'd still rather Play a game I like for 150 hours than a game I like for 20 hours. =)

      I disagree. I have a job, I'm home at 7pm, then I have a few hours to do a lot of things.
      I installed Diablo II last sunday (old but good), and played it for 6 hours, quit when I moved from act 1 to act 2. Now RPG's are games which require you to have a lot of hours to waste. Assuming I don't have 2x10 hours to waste on it in the weekend, I could play it for on average 1 hour/evening. If it takes 200 hours of treadmilling

      • I have to echo this. A game you like for 150 can be worse than a game you like for 20, because not everybody HAS 150 hours to play games.

        I work 9-to-5, have to deal with running errands, have social contacts I kinda like hanging out with, books I want to read, TV I want to watch, etc, etc... my time for playing video games is very limited. I PURPOSEFULLY look for games which are short, as a result. Games I can beat and clear in the time I have available, before the next game comes out. (A 150 hour game wou
        • So you people feel more satisfaction at completing a game than actually playing it?

          I like long games. Sure, I have plenty of games I've purchased and never finished (like everyone else), but I don't look for short games. A good short game is just like a good long game, only . . . shorter.
      • That's why I like a game like Nethack -- it can be divided up into bite-sized chunks of time. With Nethack, if I've got 15 minutes to spare, I can fire up the game and clear out a level of the dungeon -- or, if I'm having a particularly unlucky day, get my current character killed off.

        (Carnildo-bar-hum-neu, killed by a wand of death on level 9)
  • stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by black mariah ( 654971 ) on Friday July 23, 2004 @12:19AM (#9776438)
    So why the obsession in video game media with quantifying gameplay time?
    You ever think that maybe it is possible that they do this so you know what kind of gameplay time to expect? Game makers have been doing this for as long as I can remember. Seriously, it's not a big deal.
  • It's different that you need 150 hours to beat a game or that you can hang around in it for 150 hours before losing interest. Though I like tough games on PC, can't imagine the former on console...

    That said, does anyone have the ship date for GTA:SA for PC?
  • by riverLINE ( 797677 ) on Friday July 23, 2004 @12:21AM (#9776449) Homepage
    I'm gonna call bullshit on this. You don't HAVE to find every hidden package, do every taxi/vigilante/firefighter etc mission, or even do some of the story based missions (as was the case in vice city). You could tear through the story in a good thirty or so hours if you wanted.

    But if you are like me you probably will do all the side missions. And you will enjoy them too.
    • Which is why I'm sure the 150 figure refers to 150 hours to 100%. Makes sense when you put it that way. Sounds daunting to me, but I know if I need help there's going to be walkthroughs on GameFAQs hours after it's released.
      • I know if I need help there's going to be walkthroughs on GameFAQs hours after it's released.

        At least 150 hours afterward, right? ;-)

        I know what you mean, though. For the last two, I played through in my usual bumbling way: ignored packages unless I happened to be walking past one, etc. Then, after I got to the "end" I'd head to GameFAQs so I could get the 100%.

    • I gave up on finishing GTA3 a long time ago. I recently gave up on VC, after failing in one mission for the 10th+ time. It's not that I'm bad at games (I'm usually good at them), but I just don't have the time to put in to learn the controls well enough.

      There's no way that I'll buy SA unless they put in some kind of "old geezer" mode so that 30+ year old people like me can skip things and at least be able to finish the game without spending so much time at it we lose our jobs/social life.
  • Xenogears (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Taulin ( 569009 )
    Xenogears, by far, was the longest RPG I have played. It took me about 80 hours to complete. i think some of those hours were being distracted, and the timer was going, but that doesn't matter. If a game has continual DIFFERENT content, in a REALM that you enjoy being in, then hours matter. If the content is the same, over and over, then hours doesn't matter.

    Non-Linear RPGs (like Fallout, etc) are good if long if you enjoy the setting.

    Something like GTA 1,2,3 and 3.5, though...for me, every mission

    • I concur. Xenogears is one of the best (and longest) games I've played. I also logged about 80 hours. I'm glad it made it state-side.

      I'm in the middle of Xenosaga (or towards the end?) and it's just as good as the first, if not better.

      Xenosaga episode II is coming out soon and I'm looking forward to it.

      To those who have not played these games, I highly recommend them. I believe they're planned to be a series of 6 games, including Xenogears?

    • Well, it took me 200hrs to get as much as all the weapons in Final Fantasy X for PS2. Isn't 80hrs like standard in any RPG nowadays.

      But that's still better than 2000hrs of Enemy Territory and UT2004 and COD.

      OMG that's still less than 20000hrs on slashdot.

      • Baldurs Gate 2 took me something like 150-200 hours to complete, I think. That's without going out of my way to do side quests. If my CD2 wasn't scratched, I'd probably do it again too.
    • But, 150 hours!? There is almost no dialog, or story, so what actions are you going to be doing for that long?

      Maybe actually playing the game instead of sitting through interminable cutscenes?

      Rob (Stunning concept, I know)
  • by Incoherent07 ( 695470 ) on Friday July 23, 2004 @12:25AM (#9776469)
    Straight-up clockspeed is a marketing tool, for which more appears better. Total play time seems to be heading that direction. There's one significant difference: you can't measure play time. No game in history has ever made one play-through of the minimum take 150 hours, for good reason... no matter how good the game is, within 150 hours it WILL get boring. So that's not what they're measuring.

    What are they measuring? One playthrough with everything? I doubt it, for the same reason as above. I get the impression that there are enough side paths that it will take you multiple passes through the game, and that will total 150 hours. Compare to the average MMORPG, if you go all the way to endgame content. Compare to, actually, most games with multiple paths.

    And the most important point... play time varies by player.
    • No game in history has ever made one play-through of the minimum take 150 hours

      Oh yeah? EverQuest? (And other MMORPG treadmills)
      , for good reason... no matter how good the game is, within 150 hours it WILL get boring.

      Oh yeah... That little thing.

      Must... get... next... level....
    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Friday July 23, 2004 @01:47AM (#9776924) Homepage
      Play Time was introduced by Role Playing Games. When Final Fantasy II had 20 hours of story straight through, it was a big deal. When Final Fantasy 7 took 40 hours to beat, it was a very big deal. These are games that are played once, maybe twice, and if it takes 20 hours to beat, then 20 hours is all you will get.

      A lot of RPG's at the time were suffering from being too short to satiate the player. I remember beating Dragon's Quest in about 4 hours. I also remember the week that I dedicated to beating the original XenoGears in one sitting. I slept on the couch, through 70 hours of gameplay... and the game they shipped wasn't even finished. I could see a fully implemented version of Xenogears reaching near to the 150 mark, and it would have been a damned good ride too.

      Furthermore, play time is a metric that all video game developers must use. If you are creating an FPS with 10 levels, each level being 5 sections long and each section taking 5 minutes to complete, if the player has to restart every level once, how much gameplay are you really providing them? In this case, 500 minutes, or about 8 hours. Add in another two hours for setup, cinematics, and (sigh) loading, and you have a 10 hour game. You had better think seriously about your lead programmer's suggestion for implementing cooperative multiplayer, because you're going to need the meat.

      That's not to say that the metric has gotten out of hand. I can SAY that the game I'm developing has about 1,200 hours of gameplay, but the fact of the matter is that's just a lie. The problem is that the metric is A: unverifiable and B: linear. Hence, if someone else says "40 hours of gameplay," I must say "50 hours of gameplay," or I'll be second-string. Just ratchet that puppy up: nobody will know the difference.

      Of course play time is not a good indicator of quality... Metal Gear Solid was just 10 hours long.

      • Of course play time is not a good indicator of quality...

        And it is becoming worthless when it it abused as it is now. It's like:

        1) Pinball scores with six zeroes on the end completely obscuring the ACTUAL value of shots. The scoring system is meaningless.

        2) "Low-carb." I can eat a bowl of Frosted Flakes or a Bowl of 50% Corn Flakes and 50% Frosted Flakes, essentially creating a "low-carb" Frosted Flakes. If you think I'm being ridiculous, think of the "low carb" sodas that are out now.

        3) Video Game
        • Yes, they're all carbs. However, they're not sugar coated. The mixture has less carbs than the Frosted Flakes. This is what Coke and Pepsi have done. They reduced the carbs by 50%, but it's still carbs. Lo and behold! The Diet version are No Carb. They already had their solution.

          But yes, the example sucked because it was "lower carb" rather than "low carb." I believe that's how the soda companies advertise it. However, after being bombarded with all of the "no carb," "low carb," and "lower carb" p
      • It's true what you say about Final Fantasy ushering in a new paranoia about gameplay time. Some of the best games prior to Final Fantasy VII, where the fad really started, took far less than 5 hours to complete. Most of the Mario games can be wrapped up in that time frame. Metroid certainly. Zelda can become a lengthy game, but it's certainly no 40 hours.

        What's wrong is when reviewers start to criticize games and detract points for anything shorter than that.

        Simply put, the mystical 10 hour mark can

    • No game in history has ever made one play-through of the minimum take 150 hours, for good reason... no matter how good the game is, within 150 hours it WILL get boring. So that's not what they're measuring.

      Morrowind's creators claimed that there were about 300 hours of content in the entire game *before* the expansions were released. (They attributed the game's 6-year development period to this, and said maybe they went a bit overboard.) If you fly through the game the first time, you can finish in a lo
      • I think a lot of "hours of gameplay" is attributed to play style as well - I flew by in morrowind because I like to get missions accomplished, whereas my roomate likes to walk around and kill things - he's still playing, I'm most certainly not. I think the key should be replayability or the ability to revisit the game (aka KOTOR, where you could finish one lightside campaign, then turn right around and try a darkside campaign) rather than "200 hours of pointless running amok" (unless you like that sort of
  • by Acidic_Diarrhea ( 641390 ) on Friday July 23, 2004 @12:25AM (#9776473) Homepage Journal
    From the final link, "The only "gameplay time" statistic that really matters is how much time you're willing to keep playing the game, and therein lies the problem. Despite the seemingly straightforward and absolute definition given above, most "gameplay time" statistics end up reflecting how much time the reviewer was willing to spend with the game -- an inherent value judgement that is largely invisible to the reader. If one reviewer blazes through a game he hates in five hours to get the review done, and another spends 20 hours engrossed in what he considers a deeply moving experience, who's to say which number is the correct measure of "gameplay time?" And who's to say which one will be closer to the amount of time a player actually spends on the game?"

    I very rarely see reviews of games that cite hours played by the reviewer. Based on the knowledge and quality of most reviews, the reviewers rarely play the game for more than 1 or 2 hours. These game play times are generated by the company that is releasing the game, not by people reviewing the game. I mean, look at the cite that is provided - Rockstar games' co-founder Dan Houser is talking about number of hours of play, not an independent third party. The whole rant in Kyle Orland's blog is built on a false premise.

    The premise is that these statistics are cropping up in reviews of games. This is not the case. They are cropping up in the marketing of games. And so why bother with a critique? What the marketing firms say about the game is entirely subjective and not even worth noting in evaluating a game.

    • "I very rarely see reviews of games that cite hours played by the reviewer"

      I agree but on the other hand I see a lot of reviews complaining about that games are too short. I find it a positive sign that the reviewer didn't get bored with the game before he finished it, but I would feel a little cheated if I didn't feel like I got gameplay value for what I spent on the game.
  • Waaay back in the dark ages of programming it used to be all about how many lines of code you could produce, not the quality.

    I guess Games are in that realm now.
    • yeah.. back the "dark ages".. you mean, like yesterday? a few minutes ago? it still exists :D
    • I remember games being advertised in terms of size rather than gameplay time... "this game is a whopping 2 megabits!" and then 4, 8, 16, and holy cats, 32 megabits! The numbers just kept getting bigger, yet less impressive. I have a feeling the gameplay time metric will eventually suffer the same fate.
  • Value (Score:2, Insightful)

    by higuy48 ( 568572 )
    The best reason to qualify gameplay time is to put a value on the game. Think about it: I played Max Payne, and it lasted 15-20 hours. It cost $50. I payed over $2 per hour, but it was worth it.

    Maybe that was unrelated, but the bottom line is that if your box says 150 hours and it costs $50, the penny-pinching gamer with no job will think "cost-efficient." A game that costs less than 50 cents per hour! Money money money.
  • ...were supposed to be all about the graphics a few years ago. The industry has that down pretty well. The Final Fantasy series is a good example: from NES to SNES, to PS1 to PS2, the graphics have improved steadily, and reached a new plateau when introduced to a new console.

    Now it's about hours of gameplay. Let's use the example of Metal Gear Solid. MGS I (for PS1) was, in my opinion, solid from start to finish, but one could easily fly through it in 1.5 to 2.0 hours. MGS 2, while on a next-generation

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by contrasutra ( 640313 ) on Friday July 23, 2004 @12:38AM (#9776527) Journal
    Why? Because games are $50. Honestly, for many people that's a lot of money. Obviously a game I hate for 150 hours sucks, but why do you think a long game == a bad game?

    I spent 100 hours on Knights of the Old Republic and loved every minute of it. I spent about 15 hours on Panzer Dragoon Orta and loved every minute of it. I spent $50 for both. Which one was the "better" value? Well, I can buy KOTOR2 with confidence, because the first one gave me so many hours of enjoyment.

    I think most game developers aren't obsessing about game length, because they know the same thing you do, a game needs to be fun. But would a press release of "This game is fun" get any attention?
  • by Bishop ( 4500 ) on Friday July 23, 2004 @01:00AM (#9776657)
    Despite cries to the contrary, players have been asking for longer games. I have read a few reviews (by gamers) that have rated a game as "high quality, but a little short." It is not just the impatient players asking for longer games either. Even those who intend to replay the game have been wishing for longer games. It may be only a minority of players complaining, but the developers are listening. As result there have also been complaints of repetition: "There may be 60 hours of gameplay, but you have seen everything after the first 10."
  • Normal level: 12 hours = meh... better than Diablo I guess.

    Nightmare level: 24 hours = oh fuck it's boring!

    Hell level: 48 hours = I really, REALLY should get a life!

    After Hell level: create another character and start from Normal again...

  • We know that isn't 150 hours of straight through playtime.

    The "time to play" quantity is for the parent who's thinking, "Sweet! 150 hours of relaxation from the anxty teen!"

    (This is in no way meant to imply that I support using videogames to detract from real parent-child interaction.)
  • by BortQ ( 468164 ) on Friday July 23, 2004 @01:46AM (#9776916) Homepage Journal
    Anyone that plays a game they hate for 100+ hours is a moron, plain and simple. Here are the mathematical equations of interest:

    bad game with 20 hours of gameplay = bad game with 150 hours of gameplay

    good game with 20 hours of gameplay < good game with 150 hours of gameplay

    Thus we can deduce that length of gameplay does not matter for bad games. However, for good games long gameplay makes the game better. That is why it matters.

    • But the sad thing is when they take a game with 20 hours of good game play and add 130 hours of bad game play.
    • Let me supplement your theorem:

      good game with 20 hours of content content

      That's really what we're talking about here, how much content they're putting in these games. GTAIII had probably 20 hours of gameplay, but had 40 hours of additional content in the bonus quests like taxi/police/fire/ambulance, not to mention finding all the hidden junk.

      Traditionally, games were measured in hours because for a typical RPG, you had to go linearly, ie from town 1 -> town 2 -> dungeon 1 -> town thes
  • What exactly counts for gameplay, anyway? Running down the road endlessly? Replaying levels? Leaving the game running while you go for piss breaks? Can we at least agree on a standard before we begin to flaunt whatever the hell this Holy Grail of marketing?
  • The Fans (Score:4, Informative)

    by DarkZero ( 516460 ) on Friday July 23, 2004 @02:01AM (#9776975)
    The way I see it, a game that I enjoy for 20 hours is much better than a game that I hate for 150. So why the obsession in video game media with quantifying gameplay time?"

    Just because 150 hours of gameplay is a selling point does not mean that it is necessarily a selling point for you. For fans of the genre, it can be a godsend. Take Disgaea, for example. One of the major selling points of Disgaea was that if complex RPG/Strategy games are your bag, then that one game will let you enjoy one of the pinnacles of your favorite genre for months in one stretch. And that's what the GTA developers are telling their fans. No more "Okay, I shot ten punks... time to shoot ten more punks" or "Okay, I've had Spidey deliver twenty pizzas, now I can... deliver twenty more". If you love GTA's style of gameplay, then they're promising than San Andreas will let you enjoy its main selling point -- its huge, content-rich world -- for as long as you want without doing the same great stuff over and over again until it nauseates you.

    If you're not a really big fan of the genre, it doesn't matter to you, but if you are, then it means the world. If someone could promise me 150 hours of Ico and Prince of Persia's puzzle/action gameplay, rather than six or ten hours of it followed by six months of waiting for the next high quality game in that little niche to come out, I'd be there. Just like I was when Disgaea was released.
  • I think gameplay hours are valid indicator, as game manufacturers can point to the amount of content in the game. Even if it's just an appoximate figure obtained by people test playing. We all realise the figures are somewhat subjective.

    Having a large amount of content is especially important in the case of RPGs, where games like Baldur's Gate I/II and Planscape Torment could keep you occupied for hundreds of hours. If these games only had 10 hours of active content they would not have achieved the status
    • Yes, Mod Parent Up.

      To sum up: I suggest reviewers spend more time playing the game and less time worrying about how much time they played the game.

      I think this is a red herring...I don't see reviewers harping that much on the amount of time spent. It's usually a # generated by marketroids, and it probably does an ok job of giving a rough idea of the amount of of content...

      Tetris, despite it being a wonderful game, doesn't have much content. And that's fine.

      150-hours does sound like a lot though.
  • Advertising Dollars (Score:3, Interesting)

    by robolemon ( 575275 ) <nertzy@gmail . c om> on Friday July 23, 2004 @02:10AM (#9777007) Homepage
    The answer is simple. If this guy can convince sponsors that an average dork kid will stare at the screen for 150 hours, the game becomes prime real estate for logos emblazoned everywhere.
  • ...Perhaps because GTA games are historically... good?
  • They have very little in the way of barometers to say how the game will play. Base and Rec'd System Specifications, listings of the latest graphical dohickeys and boasting about the newer "smarter AI" are all well and good, but they are hardly quantifiable.
    Then we have "Gameplay Time", which is an estimate at most, probably from how long it takes their testers to complete the game * 1.5 or some other formula they use to work it out.

    The truth is, the marketing people have to use the same tactics as a ca
  • I'd be happy if games came out with 30+ hours of real game time period. Most of the games with hours of gameplay numbering higher seem to consist of one of the following elements that don't take much more effort from a programming/design standpoint:

    Find X packages, markers, dogs, cats, gerbils, etc. (GTA III/VC, Kingdom Hearts, Banjo-Kazooie, countless others)

    Slow down walking speed to a crawl to make the game world feel larger (Elder Scrolls III)

    Get an ability at one end of the map that you have to use
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Slow down walking speed to a crawl to make the game world feel larger (Elder Scrolls III)

      A lot of people complained about that. But the walking speed in Morrowind is actually correct - it's other games that have your character moving at ridiculously high speeds, miraculously not even getting tired after running ten miles in as many minutes.

      And anyone who doesn't like realism can just go and get the Boots of Blinding Speed, cast "Resist Magicka 100% for 1 second on self", put the boots on, and be happy f
      • You know, the reason why you run much faster in other games is because the player doesn't like running and therefore they cut down on the time you spend just running. In many games there are better means of transportation (spells, warp drives, vehicles/mounts, etc) available later on. The kicker here is that later on might be too late for many.
      • If I wanted to travel around at normal speed I wouldn't have bought a car. Why would a game world be any different?

        It seems like a step backwards to have to find some magic item or complete some quest to solve an incredibly annoying problem that I already deal with in real life. I thought these games were supposed to be about escapism.
    • The problem in GTA is that someone who obsessive-compulsively spends the time to do the side missions both learns the controls better and also gains bonuses that make the game easier (+100 health, etc). This kills the game for someone who doesn't have much time to play.
  • I'm sure some people around here have played a game they whish had lasted a while longer. Whether it's more levels, bosses, items, or storyline.

    I don't think a game can ever be too long if you are having a lot of fun playing it. Most recently for me would be Thief 3. It had a lot of great stuff and had fun with it and I wish it was longer. And the whole MMO genere is based on providing enough "content" to keep you wanting to play for as long as possible. Sometimes this is great stuff, other times a boring

  • There's nothing wrong with hours of gameplay. Keep it, but put down how long you'll keep playing for instead of how long it'll take you to complete - I think some people already do. With some games this is the same: Metroid Prime took me 20 hours to complete, then I stopped playing it for ages. James Bond: Everything or Nothing got boring long before I completed it though, and Soul Calibur II keeps me for two or three days at a stretch (and has accomplished this twice so far), then I move onto something els
  • To me an important factor in gameplay is replayability. When you have finished a game it should be worth playing again, like a good book is worth reading multiple times.
  • by torpor ( 458 )
    Time spent playing CompanyA's video game is time not spent playing CompanyB's game.

    The people in the video game 'industry' are among the most competitive alpha-dog meat-head types you will find.

    I once worked for a fairly successful game company, and I've never been so disappointed in human beings as I have when, after the release of an online mulitiplayer game, we noted that there were some people who had been playing -solidly, the server gave us full stats- for 72 hours straight. the reason i was so dis
    • Perhaps you have the wrong perspective on the situation. It's not like your company was shoving 72 hours of straight gaming down the throats of the the players, but that the gamers WANTED to play your game for 72 hours straight. I'd be happy that the gamer chose my game for their livelyhood, especially that they enjoyed it enough to play it for 72 hours straight (although those who did play for 72 hours really do need to know how to limit themselves). Those at the company are may be assholes with horribl

      • No, I did think of that at first, that it was 'just jubilation over the game release', but none of the people doing the jubilation liked that game or worked on it; they really were just turned on by the fact that they had a plebian gameplayer out there who was addicted, and whose life they 'now controlled'... we actually had a meeting later in that week to discuss 'ways and means we can exploit long-period players'. i left soon after that, no way i want to be responsible for building another matrix ...
  • Having spent tons of time playing Vice City, I've completed all of the missions several times over, bought all of the properties, basically done the game through and through.

    Estimates of Vice City cites 50 hours of gameplay. San Andreas' reported 150 hours of gameplay tells me that there'll be much more to see, do, and experience.

    Estimation of playtime is not an indicator of play quality -- that's why people read reviews. When you try to use hours of gameplay as the sole indicator of how much enjoyment yo
  • Another reason to advertise long game play times is because of the games that are the exact opposite - you can complete them too fast. How many times have you felt ripped off laying down $50 for a game and completing it within hours? I can think of a couple recent examples on the PS2: Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance and Silent Hill 3 could both be completed in 10 hours. Years ago I remember playing The Leather Goddess of Phobos II and finishing it in 5 hours, the same night I had bought it. By advertising 150 ho
  • This is common aspect that good reviewers focus, gameplay along side with replayability, but in the end depends on the player. I'm not a fan of replayability and don't remember playing a fame from start to finish twice even games that I like a lot, the same goes with books(excluding comics), this concept only applies in my case to music and movies, and I don't replay movies as much has did. So a short game annoys me a bit, I'm not saying that every game should have 150h because probably I won't play the gam

  • "So why the obsession in video game media with quantifying gameplay time?"

    Because - as anyone who's played a crappy game that was also way too short knows - it's a way the game developer can hedge their bets. If your games isn't going to be good, you should at least delay the onset of futility as long as possible.
  • Yeah, it's a pointless metric. You can't measure fun. I had a blast playing both Max Payne games, they were supposedly "short" but had great production values. Then again, I spent... um, countless hours with Chrono Trigger. Because I had to complete all the quests and see all the endings, you know. And I won't even get into my old Diablo 2 addiction. But I honestly don't know why anyone would use "gameplay hours" as a reason to buy a game. If we draw the movie analogy (everyone's always dragging out movies
  • I read a totally different meaning from 'the Pointlessness of "Hours of Gameplay"'...

    I thought the article was telling me to get a life!

  • "So why the obsession in video game media with quantifying gameplay time"

    Because some of us want good time for our money. We don't want to spend $50 on a game just to forget about it a week later.

    If you don't like long games, don't buy them. Hell, if you're talking about GTA: San Andreas, you shouldn't even be concerned - it's an open-ended game, you can play as little or as much as you want. But I, for one, prefer games that last.
  • Ouch! I think this isn't a pointless metric at all. I want to play a ame, finish it, and then get on with my life. This means this darn thing'll take three times as long as Vice City did.

    Games like this give a sense of accomplishment when you finish. When I heard "This could be the beginning of a beautiful partnership. You're a backstabbing ambulance chaser and I'm a psychotic killer." -- or whatever that last line was -- I had this happy moment. I was actually irritated, a little, when I found that
  • The important point with a more nonlinear game like GTA is that it offers about 150 hours of gameplay, but of that only maybe 10-30 hours are required to beat the game. The rest is, well, all stuff you get to pick from. So you can tailor it to a length you like--if something's boring, stop doing that mission.
  • Some games, particulary some RPG's, but also other games, end up doing what I call time whoring. I imagine that the circumstances come up like this:

    Designer A: Ok, we have a great game, but it is beaten too quickly, what can we do to extend the game play time?

    Designer B: We can take all the monsters at point X in the game, and make them stronger, so the player needs to be a higher level to beat them.

    Designer A: Sure, why not?

    This results in adding a few hours of waking around in circles killing most
    • Rare, and lately Nintendo themselves, too, have been VERY guilty of this. "Hey, you can play through the game way to quick, how do we stop that?" "Let the player search... um.... 12 artifacts scattered through the whole world!" Even worse, in the German version the hints to the locations of said artifacts were translated incorrectly leading to two artifacts that couldn't be found without some fuzzy logic or a walkthrough. Not that it added more than maybe 1 or 2 hours of time. Some other games like Rayman a
  • Hours of gameplay, on a good game, is the deciding factor on whether I will rent or buy the game.

    If a game, like Max Payne 2, is a good game, but can be beaten in under 20 hours and has limited replay value. Why buy it for $50, when I can rent it for $6 and beat it in a weekend.
  • I'm not going to spend $30 on a game that a new player can beat in 5 hours (the Metroid GBA games) or $50 for a game I can beat in a week. Not when I can rent the game from Blockbuster for that week for $5, see most of the content in the game (let's face it - playing the same game again on a harder difficulty level is still the same game), and return it for another one. Say I'm really liking the game and only halfway through it at the end of the week, I just renew it and still wind up with $40 more to spe
  • While I understand that some persons would not enjoy hundreds of hours of game play, the reason to inform the player of the number of hours available is to allow you to make a choice based content to be delivered. I for one like knowing the approximate length of play time to help me make a decision on which game to buy.

    As I do not have an unlimited amount of cash to spend on games I make my purchases carefully and tend to buy games that have replay ability. If I saw a game with 10 hours of game play and n
  • There should be a FAQ for this.

    Q. Why does the game industry { advertise hours of gameplay | not innovate | sell the same game over and over | only make games for males | advertise polygon counts | only make violent games }?

    A. Because that's what the customers want.

  • When a developer starts touting 'bullet point' features in lieu letting the game speak for itself, I get leery. Personally, such promulgations have the opposite of the intended effect; I start asking questions like 'are they so insecure about the quality of their game they feel the need to bolster its quantity?'

    I saw Metal Gear Solid mentioned above, and that's a perfect example. Did anyone care how long it was? If a player is paying attention to how long it's taking/taken to complete a game, the game

The number of computer scientists in a room is inversely proportional to the number of bugs in their code.