Game length - When is a game just too long?

Discussion in 'Games' started by Haoshiro, Nov 18, 2006.

  1. Haoshiro macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2006
    USA, KS
    I've thought of this topic before, but a comment from raggedjimmi in another thread got me thinking about this again...

    I realize this topic is open to personal preference, but did the game get boring simply because it was too long?

    I find that an interesting topic, because so many people complain about game length when it is too short (PoP:SoT, GoW, etc) but never when it is too long.

    Seems to me a game you finish quickly and want more of can be better then a game that takes so long to complete you are bored by the time you do, or you just never do.

    There can be a perfect balance I suppose, I never thought Zelda:OoT was too long, nor too short. But wouldn't that very from game to game?

    In retrospective, a lot of "classic" games were long because of their initial difficulty, once you figured them out you could finish them easily. Even older games just never ended, lincreasing difficulty the longer you played, but just letting you play as long as you could (Now often called "Arcade" games).

    Then there was the trend where every game was thought to need to be at 30-40 hours long, resulting in a bunch of games that just had forced timesinks just to prolong the game.

    The latest trend is opposite, reversing the thinking to say games should be short but pack in a big punch from start to end, coming in at 10-15 hours.

    So what is everyone's thoughts on this? Do we really want really long games, or are we just asking developers to make us bored with their game?
  2. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I suppose a game can't get too long, I think it's a combination of when it becomes repetitive and when the story/characters stop evolving. I stopped playing Fire Emblem because it didn't seem to be going anywhere, the stop just fell apart. I didn't like the way it split into 2 chapters either, I was expecting the end of the first chapter to be it. But instead I'm thrown back to a new beginning with new (IIRC) characters who I didn't care about.

    Take Zelda: TP. If they can vary the gameplay and keep things fresh for the 70 hours (which apparently, all 70 hours are memorable) then I'll stick with it.

    It's sad when a game loses it's momentum, no matter how great it started off as.
  3. Chone macrumors 65816


    Aug 11, 2006
    Yeah long games can be crappy as well, what games need is not longevity but lots of gameplay, sure there is no point in wasting 10 hours (out of 30 total you took in completing the game) doing something stupid like traveling or something like that.

    Games like GTA succeed in this, they are huge, long, but this longevity is never achieved by tacking on boring sequences.
  4. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I always found GTA games a little boring too, usually playing for an hour or 2 before just dropping it and downloading 100% save files. I suppose theres only so long I can drive/run round a city performing chores. Same way that Crazy Taxi never stuck to me, which I see GTA as just an evolved form of.
    RPG's can rarely hold me. Golden Sun did because, IMO, it's such a beautiful story and the whole Jupiter Lighthouse twist surprised me, gave the rest of the game a fresh outlook.
  5. Miguey macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2006
    So Cal 909
    Hey that's from my thread!

    I really would have the developers make the game both, but mostly to pack a punch. Some games that are long do get boring, especially if you keep getting a game over and have to re-do a lot, but others aren't all that boring.
  6. SamIchi macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2004
    Freakin' Ogre Battle 64 took 100+ hours away from my life. It was boring repetitive, and slow. I don't know why I kept playin' it. But I did beat it. It stopped keepin' my time record after 99hrs.
  7. greatdevourer macrumors 68000

    Aug 5, 2005
    I tend to like games that you can do stuff with straight out of the box, but you can also spend the hours and hours unlocking everything - something doesn't seem to be quite achieved outside of fighting games
  8. Haoshiro thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2006
    USA, KS
    I do think the Zelda series handles this pretty well, you can usually go straight from dungeon to dungeon if you want, but doing side quests and exploring can give you bonuses that will help you in the dungeons (more hearts, etc).
  9. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    If you think they are 'long' check out X2 The Threat from EgoSoft.


    Its a good ten hours before you are even set up to start making an impact in the game.
  10. MRU macrumors demi-god


    Aug 23, 2005
    Depends for me.

    Beyond Good & Evil was an excellent game and although it lasted on 8 hours, I felt completely entertained throughout and happy at the end (not left wanting more, but not dissapointed)

    Farrenheit was a fabulous game too and again about 8 hours to complete.

    I find the majority of the 'epics' of the RPG world are simply WAY too long. Backtracking and travelling taking 30 hours in a 60 hour game is just monotony of the highest order.

    Or 40 hours out of 60 in a final fantasy type game just being random battles, 10 hours travelling, 2 - 3 hours of FMV and cutscenes and about 7 hours of actual 'game'.... That to me is my utter nightmare of an ordeal and one that I should be paid to suffer, not the other way around.

    The windwaker verged on being too long, the travelling and back-tracking began to grate, but thankfully the quality of the dungeons saved it..

    Kameo took me about 9 hours to finish and I loved it, and many reported that they felt it was too short. To me another 5-6 hours would have made the game a 'classic' and just right...

    Bascially 8-10 hours of an action game. Assuming that 8-10 hours of AAA quality action is more than enough for me

    Basically 20 hours of an RPG/Adventure is usually enough for me if the pace is maintained and repetativeness is kept to a minimum.

    Oblivion was a fantasitic free-form RPG as it was 15-20 hours to complete the game main quest, but then had the option to expand the game yourself. perfect structure. Even travelling could be bypassed.

    Zelda Twilight Princess is worrying me. 70 hours reported gameplay is extremely daunting for me.
  11. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    A game becomes too long when the length is extended artificially by repetitive tasks that don't contribute to the story or interest the player. (Triforce hunt in Wind Waker for example)

    Everything I've heard about TP is that they never give you a huge difficult hunt on the level of the Triforce hunt in WW, and that it keeps you going the entire time. If it can maintain my interest, I'd love a 70 hour game.
  12. Haoshiro thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2006
    USA, KS
    My favorite RPG is Xenogears, and it took me 80 hours to complete. I really loved it. That said, the reason I really enjoyed is is because I felt the story was written and paced extremely well. It was so engaging and they never got to a point where it felt "too long" before you made it to the next reveal, twist, or discovery. Many felt there was too much story, but that is what made me love it.

    Chrono Trigger was a good length.
    Zelda: OoT was good.
    Zelda:WW had far to much tedium in it for me, at least give me a turbo jet for the boat! LOL.

    Yeah, it really depends on the game, but like others have said, if the gameplay is great and it doesn't make you feel like it's being artificially prolonged, long can be very good.

    I wouldn't have wanted PoP:SoT to be longer though, 10 hours was great. What I would have wanted was for the subsequent sequels to be as good, rather then ruining what worked so well as I've heard is the case.
  13. Buschmaster macrumors 65816


    Feb 12, 2006
    If the game can keep me interested it's never too long. Some games are too long after 1 hour and some games are amazing after 50 or more.

    The ultimate game I can play forever and never gets old is Gran Turismo 4.
  14. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603


    Aug 20, 2005
    Thank you Jah...I'm so Blessed
    It all depends...The Silent hill games are long but the story is so good its worth it. Games like FF and others that run on too long lose me really fast.

    This got me thinking....zelda is like 40hours right...I hope its really good.

  15. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    I agree that a game can't be too long and if it is quite a long game, it should be quite obvious early on as to how far you've got through the game, such as needing to collect 3 main items or something, each maybe needing several tasks to be achieved before you can get it. Not collect 3 main items, then collect 3 more main items. If you don't feel like you're making any real progress then you can quickly get bored.
    I like games where the main story isn't too long (maybe 24 hours) but that have a significant portion of side stories that you can do at any time that add potentially about 30% extra game time. The main game can be longer if its really well done, such as I'm hoping Z:TP will be.

    I really liked Beyond Good & Evil although I felt the main story was way too short and I didn't like the way that you couldn't go back to complete side quests after certain points in the game. I probably missed out loads of it because of that and didn't want to start the game from the beginning to try to find them.
    Z:WW was a bit of a drag since the main storyline was quite boring at times and just went on and on. The whole sailing around the map thing was really irritating and took forever.
    Chronotrigger went on for hours but it was just so damned cool and never got boring.
    I played all of the Final Fantasy games upto the Playstation ones on emulators and cheated so that the random fight scenes could be bypassed by simply pressing fast forward on the emulator and holding down an attack button (invicibility, etc). I liked them for their story, not the constant repetetive fight scenes.

    That's just for RPG games though. FPS games can vary. Halflife was awesome, Halflife 2 felt too short, Quake 4 felt a little bit long and so did Doom 3. These games again can last much longer if they have a good and interesting story. I'm far more interested in the story of games than the action.
  16. sikkinixx macrumors 68020


    Jul 10, 2005
    Rocketing through the sky!
    Really? I found it far to short. Same with Zelda:LttP. If I can beat an RPG in under 5 sittings (albeit longer sittings) I think it is too short. A good 40-50 hours is great for me because when I first get it I will powerplay it for a few weeks ( FFXII -> 30 hours in 1 week....did bad on a few Econ quizes:eek: ) But I if games drag on past about ~50 hours they tend to start to drag a bit.

    I am kinda worried about Zelda dragging on. OoT started to because I was trying to get all the skull things and do this and do that all in one game and after a while I kinda lost interest....Never beat it :( And don't even get me started on Zelda "lets-make-it-a-sailing-sim" Wind Waker.

    I think games that have quick travel, airships, teleports or whatever make life much easier and allow me to play through the game better. For example, if Obilivion DIDN'T have quick travel I would have taken the game back for a refund, sorry but I dont like wandering around for 40 minutes back to the town.
  17. Bocheememon macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2006
    Fertile, MN
    About RPGS

    I used to play a lot of RPGs when I was younger. I spent a lot of time doing the usual random battles, sidequests, and etc that would mount up to the usual 40 hours of gameplay.

    Now that I am in my twenties, my perception of playing a game for 40 hours has changed. Being younger, I had more time to devote to it. With college, work, and extracurricular, I value my time more and start criticizing how time is spent in a console RPG.

    I can only tolerate no more than 30 hours of gameplay from an RPG. Battles after battles, or grinding as it is called, is not my cup of tea. It is a timesink that I thought was fun in the beginning, but then just feels like punishment after doing it for 10 or so hours. I start to question if spending my free time from school/work/etc is being spent well. Don't get me wrong, the purpose of battles are to increase your character's and also leave the player with a sense of accomplishment.

    I like the pacing of RPGs like Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate, Fable, Morrowind, Oblivion, etc. They do have the grind, but the grind is optional, and sometimes the grind merges with the questing aspect of the game. You get some levelling done and you advance the story; it's a good balance.

    I'm playing Final Fantasy 12 now, and I like the game! However, I'm realizing that the grinding part of the game doesn't interest me--i spent more time grinding than taking part in the story, and I now know I'm tired of the grind.

    Of course, if I were my younger self, I wouldn't be writing this. I didn't think time was that important back then and now it is becoming more and more important to me.

    Games should be enjoyable, but how the game is enjoyable is up to the player. I prefer less grinding, other's prefer the grind.

    My brother likes to get every item in a game, and I like to get some items, but not ALL of them...


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