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Who Says an Eight-Hour Game is "Too Short"?

| 26 Oct 2009 14:00
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Reviewers and gamers dismiss games with eight-to-ten hour campaigns as being criminally short, but that isn't the case for gamers with families, jobs, and lives.

"Mirror's Edge was way too short!" "Halo: ODST's campaign was so tiny, it's such a ripoff!" How many times have you heard these phrases from the mouth of a gamer or reviewer - a lot, right? But while an eight-hour game can be blown through in one particularly dedicated weekend by a hardcore gamer, what about for the gamers with families and jobs, who get to sit down and play two hours at a time maybe every few days? Shouldn't they get a game they can finish in under a month? Robert Meeus thinks so, as he relates inn Issue 224 of The Escapist:

It only takes a couple steps for "real" gamers to quickly find themselves in my shoes. If I'm lucky, I'll occasionally manage to steal an hour or two from my day to fire up the console. That's a great pity, because I finally have the purchasing power to buy more than one or two videogames every month, but the stack of unplayed games resting in my closet suggests that might not be the best use of my money.

When I became a dad, playing new games would have to wait until after my daughter was asleep. But I also stopped buying certain types of games altogether. After my transformation from hardcore gamer to loving father, I became very reluctant to buy a game like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a title that keeps you engaged for more than 30 hours. What adult has 30 hours to spend on a videogame, anyway? At the pace of maybe two hours every few days, it would mean I'd need to spend a month just to reach the halfway point of the game's main story quest.

After all, doesn't a 10-hour game still offer more entertainment for the dollar than your average movie or DVD release? To read more about how growing older meant that "too short" becomes "just right," check out "So Many Games, So Little Time" in Issue 224 of The Escapist.

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