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The Myth of the 40 Hour Game

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the simple-solution-is-not-to-have-a-life dept.


Over at Wired, Clive Thompson talks about the myth of the 40 hour game, the typical length of time listed on the side of a game box nowadays. Mr. Thompsons discusses the ways in which that estimate fails to jive with reality. From the article: "This game offers about 40 hours of play. This is precisely what I was told by Eidos — and countless game reviewers — when I picked up Tomb Raider: Legend earlier this year. As I gushed at the time, Legend was the first genuinely superb Lara Croft game in years... I was hooked — and eager to finish the game and solve the mystery. So I shoved it into my PS2, dual-wielded the pistols and began playing... until about four weeks later, when I finally threw in the towel. Why? Because I couldn't get anywhere near the end. I plugged away at the game whenever I could squeeze an hour away from my day job and my family. All told, I spent far more than 40 hours — but still only got two-thirds through."

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Is this really a problem? (5, Insightful)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201059)

Man, I really wish their game wasn't as good as it is. And to think they gave me *more* game than they advertised! Oh, what false advertising is this?

I demand my crappy games back that I beat in a week.

Re:Is this really a problem? (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201419)

This just in, your actual milage may vary with local conditions and driving habits. Our figures were derived from a test. It was only a test.

I posted just a little while ago how disappointed I was with Myst. I played the game for two evenings. The first evening I just messed around with it for about an hour, getting a feel for the territory. The second evening I ran the game in a few hours, and I'm not even what you could call a puzzle game player. I wanted my money back. I wanted it back a lot.

I understand there are people who have been "playing" Myst for years without solving it. Well, your milage obviously varies. That's life.

Conversely, God only knows how many hours I put into Grim Fandango before I solved it. It was a lot. I was dissapointed with the game ended, because. . .well, it ended. Jeezum Crow! Where can I go to buy more of this thing? I have money. Please; take it from me!

I want my Grim Fandango 2. I need my Grim Fandango 2.

Maybe he should just get into RTSs. You can play for an evening until the game "ends," and then resuffle the bits for a new experience when you feel like a game again.


Re:Is this really a problem? (3, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201525)

Well, as I remember, it was the exact opposite as now. For example, Final Fantasy II (US) was advertised as requiring 40 hours to beat, and I did it in ~22, with no cheats, and no, I'm not trying to brag about this. And then for FF III(US) it was hyped as OMG, you NEED like 70-80 hours to beat this. Actual: 43.

This is not a snipe at the Final Fantasy series, since at least those two were great. But it's defintely better to underestimate than overestimate.

Re:Is this really a problem? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201593)

There's also a difference between "This game contains X hours of gameplay" and "This game takes X hours to beat." I remember playing FFVII on my computer. I didn't get Knights of the Round or even the Golden Chocobo. In fact when I got to the third CD, I didn't walk out of the cave to hunt down weapons. I just went ahead and finished the game. Admittedly I was a bit sick of it by then.

Re:Is this really a problem? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201977)

Bleh, you're probably the same type of half-assed player that missed out on the orthopedic underwear.

Re:Is this really a problem? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16202043)

Even after all the subquests, there's tons of stuff you forgot to do:

-Get 7 more economizers from the dinosaur forest. More if you screw up at the coliseum.
-Full set of Genji Armor (monsters in Owzer's house drop tabby/chocobo suits, gamble them up at the coliseum)
-Turn a useless character into Kappa the Imp (rename card, full set of Imp gear from the dinosaur forest)
-Get all of Gau's rages at the veldt
-Use the right combination of equipped espers at level ups to max each character's stats as much as possible (which means not using espers/magic for most of the game)
-Can you get a full set of paladin shields/genji gloves/atma weapons/offerings? I forget.

Anyway, get cracking, soldier.

Re:Is this really a problem? (5, Insightful)

Baldrake (776287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201533)

Actually, why it matters is because it's nice to be able to finish games before you run out of time or interest.

I'm reminded of Lagaan [] , a movie I saw a while back. It would have made a decent 90 minute flick, but at 224 minutes (nearly 4 hours!) it was a chore to watch.

Like overly-long movies, overly-long games are usually bloated, repetitive and tedious.

Re:Is this really a problem? (4, Insightful)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201691)

What's silly is that he's bought other games, and given up on them too due to length.

I've got a life to lead: Books to read, a day job, my infant son to hang out with, other games beckoning. That's why I've collected a shockingly large mausoleum of unfinished games over the years. Kingdom Hearts II? Stopped halfway. Kameo? Three-quarters through. Enchanted Arms? Eh -- I'm this close to bailing out.

Why not just buy a new game only once the current game is finished? If I'm going to go for story-based games, I'd much prefer one completed story than two half-completed ones.

Uh huh... and... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16201065)

How much you wanna bet this guy would still be whining if he only got 35 hours out of it?

Re:Uh huh... and... (5, Informative)

oc255 (218044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201547)

RTFA. The very least thing he complains about is length. So some cliffnotes are in order.

His points (as a person with a job, life, kids) are:
- puzzles many times take him much longer than kids in the 6-17 range he compares himself to.
- he compares in-depth games to his job, dumping information in and out of his mental RAM doesn't get him very far. See: late-night or off-shift coders who work to avoid users/meetings/interruptions.
- he understands the hardcore vs casual design problem.

TFA isn't even that long but his really good point (imho) aren't in the title (which is Gamer not Game). But if you just read the title, then you miss the point. Great read, critical hit close to home.

ok, so the game gives him MORE than promised (3, Funny)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201073)

and he complains?

Someone call the waaambulance.

Re:ok, so the game gives him MORE than promised (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16201181)

Someone call the waaambulance.
Mod parent up, waaambulance-- Hilarious!

Re:ok, so the game gives him MORE than promised (0) (591224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201461)

Yeah, I giggle a bit every time I see "waaambulance" in print. I also seriously agree with the parent. The dude got more game than he was expecting and he complains? "The restaurant gave me too much food! I'm gonna complain!" Someone needs to STFU.

Re:ok, so the game gives him MORE than promised (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201515)

The problem is, is that the game was so hard that it was unbeatable. I hate when they make games like this. They make it so hard, that unless you read a walkthrough, spend 300 hours playing the game, or enable cheat codes, then there is no way to get good enough or figure out how to beat it. Games aren't my life. I don't want to spend my life beating it. If it takes three times the amount of time that was listed to beat the game, then the game should have been labelled differently.

Re:ok, so the game gives him MORE than promised (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201859)

The big thing with games is, unlike movies, the amount of time it takes to finish them can very by person.

He's complaining about Tomb Raider Legend being so tough that it takes over 40 hours... I finished the game in substantially less time than that. Perhaps 20 hours at most. On the hardest difficulty level. I thought the game didn't have enough content to be worth the $60 price (which is why I'm glad I was able to borrow it). So I have a hard time appreciating the point.

Re:ok, so the game gives him MORE than promised (1)

lubricated (49106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201915)

oh man games are getting easier these days. Tomb raider was relatively easy, you did have to think your way out of situations though and I can see where there could be a large variance in terms of analytical skills.

Re:ok, so the game gives him MORE than promised (1)

pizpot (622748) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201985)

Yes mazes suck! Like my shiney box of Doom3 CDs that are still shiney. After playing for 2 hours and not getting out of the first level I moved on.

The next ID software game will be their first that I do not buy on day one. Normally I trust them.

Re:ok, so the game gives him MORE than promised (2, Informative)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201991)

Tomb Raider: Legends is one of the easiest games I've played recently. I beat it on the hardest difficulty setting in about 20 hours of total playtime, and that was with me exploring around to find all the little artifacts.

Go try out Ninja Gaiden: Black on the XBox and you'll see what hard is [] .

Re:ok, so the game gives him MORE than promised (1)

netglen (253539) | more than 7 years ago | (#16202063)

That took forever to figure out. :(

So what's the problem (1)

Dragon of the Pants (913545) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201077)

What's he complaining about? Long games = good.

Re:So what's the problem (1)

ColinPL (1001084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201179)

Long games aren't good - many people stop playing the game before finishing if it's too long.

Re:So what's the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16201401)

Did anyone else just put down Zelda - Wind Waker? Sailing around all the time just got boring.

Re:So what's the problem (1)

Donut2099 (153459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201549)

Yeah, once I got to "Ok, now you have to go fish all these things out of the bottom of the ocean to figure out why you are still playing this game" I pretty much stopped playing. Maybe I will finish it, some day.

Re:So what's the problem (3, Insightful)

timster (32400) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201429)

I have the same deal the article author does: too many games, not enough time, never finish anything. I don't see what the problem is, though. Knowing that there is more to do in a game, if I ever had time to do it, doesn't make me enjoy playing it any less. If I was really obsessed with completionism, I'd buy fewer games, but I've never felt a strong need to get every medal or unlock everything or whatever. I just enjoy the game until I'm not enjoying it anymore, and then I switch to something else.

Of course, these days I have money for games but not enough time to play everything as much as I'd like. In my college days, I had plenty of time but no money, so I played fewer games for longer. I think I get more out of gaming now, though.

Re:So what's the problem (1)

famikon (994709) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201601)

FF8 anyone?

Maybe it wasn't too long. Maybe it just sucked. Maybe I'm just impatient.


Hardcore gamers vs. gamers with jobs. (5, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201521)

What's he complaining about? Long games = good.

This is only true if you have loads and loads of free time on your hands like a high school or college student might. Otherwise, when you get out into the real world and get a job or start dating someone, you find out that free time disappears and a game that gives lots of goodies for little effort or that can be dropped for weeks and months before being picked back up without losing you is a great thing.

Long games are good for certain people and bad for others. However, the problem isn't really that the game is giving him a lot of gameplay so much as it's making it's gameplay so hard that it's unnaturally prolonged by failure. That's another split between the hardcore and casual gamer markets.

As a fan of console RPGs, I run into this all the time. Some games keep the fun continuous. Others require a lot of old-school level grinding to wring out the rewards. Some games make it easy to pick the game up and remember where you were if work intervenes for a week or two. Others leave you feeling like you need to start over.

It should be pretty easy to guess which type I prefer.

Re:So what's the problem (1)

lowe0 (136140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201659)

Nah. If you've got 40 hours of quality, then sure, it's a good deal. If you've got 10 hours of quality and 30 hours of filler, then I'd much prefer that the game be cut down to 10 hours. I've only got so much free time in a week, and I want to enjoy it, not grind through filler.

Consoles & PC Time Estimates (2, Insightful)

shoolz (752000) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201083)

A good rule of thumb is that when a PC game is touted as having 40 hours of gameplay, you can expect about 16; when a console game touts 40 hours of gameplay, you can expect 200. That's just the way it is, and has always been in my experience.

Re:Consoles & PC Time Estimates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16201329)

Yeah ... but as a long time Console and PC gamer I can honestly say that I would much rather have 16 hours of great gameplay than 40 (or 200) hours of mindless repetition. My favourite example of a game that took collecting to a new level (in the name of 40 hours of gameplay) was Get Force Jemini for the N64.

JFG was probably one of the best games Rare ever produced until you got to the "first ending" about 12 hours into the game where they told you you had to rescue every god-dam bear in the game before you got the opportunity to actually finish the game; this meant that you would have to go through every level you already played a couple of times (plus the half dozen or so new levels they just brought up a few times each) before you could complete the game. Every time you accidentally shot a bear you'd have to start the level all over again. The game would have been a 16 hour masterpiece had they eliminated the bear hunt (or the bear hunt could have provided an optional ending) but was just a grind that turned a lot of people off.

Unreal 2 (3, Interesting)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16202053)

Yeah ... but as a long time Console and PC gamer I can honestly say that I would much rather have 16 hours of great gameplay than 40 (or 200) hours of mindless repetition.

That comment reminded me of Unreal 2. It was slated quite a bit by reviewers as I recall, but I really enjoyed it, yet it was one of the shortest games of it's type I've ever played because it wasn't repetitive and threw up new enemies, new weapons, new environments and provided a showcase of challenges that kept me entertained all the way through. It was slated for all of those reasons.

It took me maybe 12-14 hours where as most games take me 40 or more - typically I finish few of them - I often play about 70-90% of the way through, then come back a few months later and god mode my way through the final stages, if a game gets too difficult or is tediously repetitive early on (Rising Dead I'm looking at you) I am likely to ignore it and play something else entirely, because I just don't have that much free time that I want games to feel like 'work'.

In case of this happening 'literally', I gave up on Shenmue (one of the best games I've ever played, and I regret not finishing it now) after it got to the stage where your character gets a job and has to move crates around the dock every day to make money to get through to the next stage of the story. While it had some really innovative gameplay and I appreciate that it did add to the telling of the story (like a lull in a movie, between the high action sequences) I just lost interest because it was too tediously repetitive.

Perhaps one way to satisfy more users is to make games shorter but cheaper, with episodic content (I guess this is what Valve are trying to do now). It certainly seems a logical approach, particularly with the ability to deliver content electronically. I can see publishers not being so keen on this though as they'd have to release and promote each title separately which would eat into profits, and they'd run the risk of people spotting the turkeys more easily (I can't see many people playing the first half of Doom 3 and going "ooh I've got to get more some more of that stumbling around in the dark action!").

Re:Consoles & PC Time Estimates (3, Insightful)

ricree (969643) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201685)

In my experience, that is a terrible rule of thumb. Perhaps it is the case for the genere's that you prefer, but I haven't noticed this trend.

Re:Consoles & PC Time Estimates (2, Insightful)

shoolz (752000) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201863)

Well we may have differing experiences, but I think the reason that the 'rule of thumb' holds true is because a lot of parents buy console games for their children, and want to feel that they got their $60 worth.

If little Jimmy throws the game in the corner after 2 days, mom's going to be a bit hesitant about buying another game. If mom sees that Jimmy is still playing Violent Attack Punch Quest IV two months after purchase, she's going to feel that her purchase was justified.

You can poo-poo this all you want, but it's just the way it is. There is no doubt that many, MANY console games are dragged out just for the sake of long game play. Halo anyone?

Re:Consoles & PC Time Estimates (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16201869)

A good rule of thumb is that when a PC game is touted as having 40 hours of gameplay, you can expect about 16; when a console game touts 40 hours of gameplay, you can expect 200.

That's because PC gamers have skills, while console gamers are kiddies.

Re:Consoles & PC Time Estimates (0)

neoform (551705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201887)

that's just because it's so much harder to play games on a console than on pc.

i can bet that if there was a way to network the same pc game to a console the person on the PC will handsdown always beat the shit out of the guy on the console, this holds espcially true for any time of shooter or fast paced game. I'm fairly certain halo 1/2 was made far easier for the console than pc since i had a blood hard time beating the game on hardmode while on pc (and i consider myself pretty good with fps) yet a friend of mine said it was a breeze for him on his xbox at the supposedly same difficulty level.. and he's just a casual gamer who plays a few times a week.

Skill (4, Insightful)

dlhm (739554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201097)

Maybe the estimate is based on a average skill level, and you just don't make the cut.

40 hours (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16201099)

I've come to the conclusion that "40 hours of gameplay" refers to being able to complete the game in 40 hours if you know exactly what to do and make no mistakes. If you have to solve a puzzle or replay a part of the game repeatedly, that adds onto the "40 hours" listed on the box.

Re:40 hours (2, Insightful)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 7 years ago | (#16202019)

Never. 40 hours of gameplay means that there is 40 hours of content in it. Meaning that if you explore everything and follow every side quest you might get close to 40 hours of playtime. I generally take their claim and halve it for an accurate assessment.

Longer? (4, Insightful)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201103)

Actually, I was expecting him to indicate the other way. When I bought Prey a couple months ago, I was expecting 5-6 hours single player, got 7.5 and was happy.

It's been a long, long time since I've seen a game, especially in my preferred genre (FPS) that carries anywhere near the playtime promised.

So, isn't this more of a problem that the estimates are just totally wonky across the board, and vary wildly between genres and the players playing the games, and not a singular "40 hour myth?"

Re:Longer? (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201323)

So, isn't this more of a problem that the estimates are just totally wonky across the board, and vary wildly between genres and the players playing the games, and not a singular "40 hour myth?"

Yes, especially the "vary wildly between players" part.

The only ways every person who played a game could complete it in an equal amount of time are if every gamer has an identical skill level, or if the game is so stultifyingly linear that it basically plays itself like a movie, and the player is just along to observe. The first is obviously not true, and the second makes for some horrible gaming experiences.

I don't know how publishers come up with their gameplay estimates; it's probably extremely capricious and un-scientific. Nonetheless, nobody should be surprised that some gamers will complete the game in far LESS than the listed amount of time, and that some gamers will take far MORE time to complete the game.

To be 2/3 of the way through a game when one hits the "target" completion time does not seem that symptomatic of a problem to me. If the playing habits of all gamers were analyzed, including the many that will NEVER play through a game to its end, I'd suspect that's even within a single standard deviation of the normal. What's the big deal?

Opposite. (4, Informative)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201121)

My stepson was dissappointed in Tomb Raider because it only took him half the time as it said on the box. The key difference is likely that when you play a game here and there it takes you awhile to get back into it and get your groove back. If its summer break and you play for twelve straight hours, well, its not going tot ake as long. What would be interesting is if he took a week off to just play the game, and see how he does. Not likely, but interesting;-)

Re:Opposite. (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201221)

Indeed, it seems to me that the TFAs author might in fact be complaining that he sucks at Tomb Raider. It's also possible he's taking time to read all of the story bits in the game and do all of the minigames and whatnot while someone who only cares about beating the final boss can finish it in much less time.

Those time estimates are totally bogus anyway. Who even looks at them?

Re:Opposite. (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201545)

You might almost think that practice makes less imperfect.


Re:Opposite. (2, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201953)

My stepson was dissappointed in Tomb Raider because it only took him half the time as it said on the box. The key difference is likely that when you play a game here and there it takes you awhile to get back into it and get your groove back. If its summer break and you play for twelve straight hours, well, its not going tot ake as long.

That, and kids nowadays seem to have almost preternatural reflexes on video games.

I've watched my nephews play, and both of them can process more screen information and do more accurate controls than I ever could. Granted, I'm getting closer to 40, and games used to have two buttons and a joystick. :-P

I think kids who have always had video games are *way* more skilled at game play than most other gamers. It's eerie!

This is why I'm gonna buy a Wii -- hopefully the games will be more favourable to my aging hands and crappy reflexes. I doubt I could finish Tomb Raider (but I've stopped buying games for my PS2, so I have no idea.)


40 hours is great (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201161)

40 hours of length is great, although I think unrealistic for most genre's to shoot for. Back in the golden days of RPG's, you expected to put anywhere between 25-50 hours on one. It was great, because it would keep you busy for a month or two depending on how much you played and provided enough time to develop a great story. Games such as Mario 64 provided countless hours as well, because they're exploration and challenge based games. Games like the Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and the GBA/DS counterparts only offer an initial 7-15 hours of gameplay, but the replay value is through the roof.

I think when it gets silly is when it's one extreme or another. I remembered when I played through the last Contra game for the PS2. This game took me less than an hour to beat the first run through. No very much replay value either. I felt ripped off. On the other end of the spectrum, look at the Dragon Quest series. The logged in about 75 hours in the last two installments until I got bored and gave up.

Re:40 hours is great (1)

el_womble (779715) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201417)

Mario 64 would of been half as long if only you didn't spend so much time running from one end of the castle to the other, or retreading the same landscapes.

Playing it reminded me of rock climbing, where you approach each face a different way depending on the difficulty. But by the time I'd got the 3rd or 4th coin from each level it was getting more than a little dull.

I still finished it, if only to satisfy my OCD, but I can't help feel that Nintendo robbed me of some time, just to make the game feel longer than it really was. (I had the same issue with KOTOR - should have been called Marathon of the Old Republic).

Of course then you have the other side of the coin: Half Life 2. Sure you don't feel like your re-treading the same maps, but you also feel pushed down a single path. With DVDs the norm, can't we reach a balance?

Re:40 hours is great (1)

SoapDish (971052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201499)

Games such as Mario 64 provided countless hours as well, because they're exploration and challenge based games.

Very true. I only pay attention to the amount of time I spend on RPGs, so I'll use them as my example. The Final Fantasy games usually boast 40 hours of game play, but I play them quickly (sometimes less than 20), because they are so linear -- there's very little exploration. Dragon Quest rpgs tend to have more exploration, and as a result I've spent more than 100 hours on one of them.

Right now, I'm playing FF Tactics Advance, and it says I've played 73 hours. I haven't finished the story yet, but I'm coming close. I just have too much fun working through all the missions, and getting all the skills/jobs I can (without the use of a gamefaq).

Re:40 hours is great (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201615)

I hear you!

I'm STILL hooked on Fallout and Fallout 2, there's just so many different ways you can go about playing it.
IMHO, these two offered a decent balance between open ended play and linear play.

Re:40 hours is great (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201983)

Hah, I personally have an FFT game at the 99 hour limit. I'm sure I have over 150 hours played on it, though. Talk about a game with unlimited replay...

Re:40 hours is great (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201621)

25-50 hours on an older RPG? Wow, i must have sucked. I would play those for like 100 hours. The old Forgotten Realms games. Or maybe I'm just romanticizing. I mean, during the summer, I'm pretty sure I would spend at least a 40 hour work week playing for at least 2 weeks on one game. It sure seems like I chewed up a lot of time on just one game, anyway.

As for modern games, I think I put at least 30 hours into my Oblivion character before getting bored. And I wasn't even half way through, I suspect.


Re:40 hours is great (2, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201821)

Well, take into consideration I'm talking console RPG's and you're talking PC style RPG's. It's like comparing apples and oranges. I think I put over 200 hours on Morrowind and I'm not sure if I ever beat the game?

How long is a piece of string? (5, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201167)

Quoting "time to complete" on a game is nonsense, and always has been. Time to complete for a 12 year old kid? for a thirty year old guy? for someone whose crap at FPS games? for which level of difficulty?
I play games because i want to immerse myself in another world, and play with some interesting stuff. Its not a race. I dont keep a clock going as I play (although oblivion does that for me for some reason).
Whats important is FUN, nothing else. People can't easily define fun, so they try to come up with other metrics.
how many unique units does it have?
How long is it to complete?
How many DVDs does it come on.
I had someone complain about one of my games once because it was "only 23 MB". Apparnatly they didnt want a "good" game, a "fun" game or an "original game" or even a "game with depth", they just wanted one with a bigger filesize. I played Elite for most of my childhood. it was 48k. Was I ripped off?
whats the time to complete for Chess anyway? I'm still working on that one.

One day maybe game reviewers and publishers will shut up about how much bump mapping the game has, shut up about what hollywood actor did the voiceover, shut up about how long they *think* it takes to complete it, and just sell their game on the basis of it being a GOOD game.

King Kong is a long movie. Its also shit (in my opinion, YMMV). Applying the metric to books and movies is clearly nonsense, so why apply it to games?

Re:How long is a piece of string? (1)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201313)

You'd never get modern games to release an estimate of "fun," though. Either no one would be honest, meaning every game was fun, or they'd all be honest and most wouldn't be any fun at all.

Re:How long is a piece of string? (1)

lubricated (49106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201831)

>> King Kong is a long movie. Its also shit (in my opinion, YMMV). Applying the metric to books and movies is clearly nonsense, so why apply it to games?

You can get an exact lenght of the time of the movie it's usually printed somewhere probably in the same small print as the lenght of a game. It's really hard to define the length of a game though. Even the expected/average game time. Especially for a game like Tomb raider. It didn't take me 40 hours to beat Legends. It sure as hell took me alot longer to find all the hidden items in the game, and unlock all the outfits. I'm still not done.

Let's all jive now (4, Funny)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201197)

Perhaps if the editor played fewer video games, then he wouldn't have made such a classic ass of himself by writing: "fails to jive..."

Good Point (1)

mcguiver (898268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201207)

The author of this article makes a very good point. I am one of those gamers that has very little to play between work, school, and family. It is very frustrating to start a game and have it take months to beat, if I ever finish it. Yet I have friends who can beat the game in one weekend (although they don't do anything else that weekend). I don't know that there really is a solution to this problem unless they make the easy level of play easier and the hard level of play harder. I know that with some games I have had to turn to cheat codes and/or walkthroughs just to be able to beat it in a finite amount of time, yet I lose the fun and satisfaction of beating the game outright. It would be interesting to find out what solutions can be found.

Re:Good Point (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201481)

I think this guy really has the right idea. Many single-player games definitely need more variation on the difficulty scales. I've played games where the "inhumanly impossibly hard" level was so easy you could breeze through without even one save and reload. And then I've played other games where the "easy toddler noob" level was so hard I gave up in frustration despite being a veteran at other games in the same genre, even in the same series.

Also, having a game take longer to beat can be good, but not if it's longer only because of repetitive grinding, frustrations, etc. If the game is longer but is still pure fun the whole way through, then having it be longer is good.

Yes, exactly (1)

blinder (153117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201213)

I've been thinking about this for a while. I mean, I've been playing WoW for nearly a year and my main is just now reaching level 48. I don't have the time a 16 year-old does to power level for 2 weeks straight to reach 60. With a career, other projects, a bit of a social life and a significant other, there just isn't time for me to start a grinding session at 4 in the afternoon and wrap it up 12 hours later.

WoW does, in some ways, accommodate us "soft-core" players, but at the same time what often motivates me to just shut the game off for the night, apart from my other responsibilities, is being surrounded by "hard-core" gamers who freely hurl insults of "n00b" to who actually have a life outside of the game and places a higher priority on other more important life activities. not everyone can be a 60 in two weeks. there are more important things than this or other games, and i'm not just talking about work or sleep.

Re:Yes, exactly (4, Insightful)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201541)

Part of the appeal of an MMORPG is that there is no specific end-game per-se. Hardcore uber players have turned the raid instances into the 'end game', but its not necessarily what Blizzard intended. What can a L60 do in Wow?

Rep grind with various factions.
Battlegrounds -- faction rep, PvP rank/honour.
Raid instances.
Crafting professions (aka "The Auction House game").

And of course, you can skip all of those like I did and start another alt -- different race, different faction, different zones. IMHO the tiered questing is Wow's greatest strenght, coupled with rest bonus for inactive characters.

I played Baldur's Gate II to finish the game. I play WoW for the experience, knowing there's always going to be something new around the corner. The online social aspect is a huge benefit too.

40 Hour Games according to whom? (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201231)

The question is whom is saying the game will only take 40 hours to complete: a complete neophyte at the game or a play/beta tester that has run through the game several times?

Man, I can relate (1)

Clueless Moron (548336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201243)

I have spent the last five years trying to finish Descent3.

I'm not exaggerating. Every now and then I'll slog through another half a level or so, invariably getting killed a few times. What with its full 6-degrees of freedom and insanely squirrely foes, it has got to be the most difficult FPS game I've encountered.

Well, I'm certainly getting my money's worth.

Same here with Unreal (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201479)

It took me at least two years to finish the original Unreal. That game lasted me through one if not two complete computer upgrades. (The nVidia graphics in that game didn't look nearly as good as the original Voodoo card I used to have.)

Re:Man, I can relate (1)

Rev Jim (AKA Metal F (1004571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201629)

There's a Descent 3? Wow! I didn't even know there was a sequel, I'll have to go looking for these then.

Odd complaint. (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201261)

First, I've found that while working on any problem, given sufficient time to focus (maybe an hour), I can often improve my productivity by taking a break of a few hours or a few days. True, the longer I leave it, the longer it takes to get back in the groove, but if it's just, say, an hour a day, I'd still be better than ever by the end of the hour.

But more than that, he mentions a long list of unfinished games. Sounds like a quitter to me. Two thirds of the way through Tomb Raider: Legends, halfway through Kingdom Hearts II. I don't think it would've taken him any longer to actually finish Kingdom Hearts than it would to get that 2/3rds of the way through Tomb Raider.

This person has made a conscious choice to play more games and leave them half-finished, rather than playing fewer games and finishing them. I'd certainly take a few good games (the Half-Lives, the Halos, the Final Fantasies) over many, many bad ones (the Dooms, the Quakes, Final Fantasy X-2). So, he has two related, possibly valid complaints: It's hard to actually find a really good game, so he wishes he could play more games, in order to find that one -- except that games take a long time to complete, so he can't actually beat as many as he'd like to.

That, or it's a problem of attention span. But he mentions finishing War and Peace, and a Tomb Raider game is too much?

Re:Odd complaint. (1)

Bob_Villa (926342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201727)

What is wrong with Doom 3? I bought it off ebay a few months back and play it for a few hours in the early morning on weekends since I have a wife, 50+ hour/week job, house to repair and two toddlers. I'm 28 and play in the dark, alone with the sound up on my headphones and when I'm attacked by imps or maggots or other creatures who come from places I don't expect, it scares me. Maybe for younger players it is boring, but I love it. I also loved the first Doom, it had a quality to scare me that I really enjoyed when you stepped in a room and it sealed and then you were attacked by hordes of monsters from every side.

Doom 3 recreates it, just with very big levels and lots of detail that I enjoy watching. It may not seal you in a room very often, but dodging very fast lost souls and imps attacking me at the same time is pretty intense. I've just gotten to the end of the EnPro level and will be working on the Communications part next. I know it will probably take me until Christmas to finish this game, but I am certainly not going to complain like the article author. I like not having to buy another game until then.

Also, I don't know why people use War & Peace for an example of a long book. Yes it is long, but I've read it several times and it is a very good book that really makes you want to read more. Plenty of other authors such as John Jakes have longer books than this. Or what about Robert Jordan. He spends pages just describing a room or a person sometimes to fill up his volumes.

Re:Odd complaint. (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#16202045)

I'm a classic case of a person who can't focus. Although through persistance I've managed to beat about half the games in my collection.

That of course means the other half remain undefeated. In some cases, the game just stopped appealing to me (Goblin Commander), others hit a boring section, (Windwaker) and then there are the ones that got dropped for some reason you can't remember but you never bothered to pick them up.

It's my experience that, barring extremely punishing games like Ninja Gaiden and F-Zero GX, it isn't that hard for me to sit down and resume a game even months after I dropped it. It's all a matter if I want to or not.

This is all coming from the guy with one level 46 main in WoW and 19 alts ranging from level 5 to 38.

It's the other way around nowadays... (1)

Clazzy (958719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201289)

I remember (rose-tinted glasses ahoy!) when games were FAR harder than they were now. Perhaps I was just less good at games, but it took me about a year to complete the first C&C game, and 2 months to complete Red Alert. In comparison, RA2: Yuri's Revenge was over in about three hours. The Tomb Raider series is another similar case, I spent a very long time indeed completing the second and third games, but Legend (as good as it was) was over in about a week.
As time has gone on, less effort has gone into the single player and more focus has been made on players killing other players online. Multiplayer may make the game experience last longer, but too many companies are forgetting the single player experience that kept us going for several years - Deus Ex, anyone?

Re:It's the other way around nowadays... (1)

Don853 (978535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16202035)

You've probably gotten better. I picked up C&C Decade [has everything from C&C to the Generals expansion] a few months ago, and I blew through pretty much every mission in the original C&C and Red Alert on my first try. Granted, I remembered some of the tricks, but I probably hadn't played either of them in at least 8 years. The expansion to the original C&C, however, has some missions that are really diabolical.

Think of it like 40-hours of video (1)

cyanics (168644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201291)

While I might suck, you might suck, someone else might be good. The 40-hour estimate is often based around the time it would take a character to move the distance required during game play. Think of it like a video tape. There are around 40-hours of video in this tape. Or if the character can move at 1 mile per hour in the game, it would take 40 hours to walk the total distance covered by the game play.

Why be disappointed in getting more game play than you paid for. Better to get 100hrs out of a 40hr game, than 10hrs out of 40.

stop complaining, article author (1)

rlbond86 (874974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201293)

95% of the time games are not long enough. Take Zelda: OOT, Final Fantasy, Shadow of the Colossus, Metal Gear Solid, etc. The one exception for me was Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, but I think I killed it by going to the item world too much.

FPS length (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201305)

Within most games (but especially FPSs) I think the main problem lies within pacing. Some people just play through games fast, others don't. When Half-life 2: Episode 1 came out, Valve said it would take 4-6 hours to play through. It took me 8 (cause I like to explore), while I heard of some people getting through their first time in ~3 hours. Not on purpose, but just because of how they play. So while the people who played through in 3 hours might feel cheated, I felt I got more than my money's worth (especially since I did a second run with commentary on).

How do you sell a game at profit, while making the customers happy?

Depends on assumptions (1)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201315)

What are the assumptions for a "40-hour" game?

Do they assume that you are on your own? Do they assume that you bought the strategy guide that was right next to it? Do they assume that it is 6 weeks after the game was released and there are hints/cheats/walkthroughs on the Internet?

All of these can greatly affect the total playtime.

It can even matter how you want to play a game. For example, in Neverwinter Nights, it takes a lot longer to play through the game as a wizard than as a fighter. Why? Wizards have to sleep so they can recast their spells, so after every battle you have to sit down and rest for 30 seconds. In many places, a fighter just keeps rolling along. Actually, a monk is probably the fastest way to complete the game since they move faster. Need to walk back out of a dungeon? A monk can do it in half the time of a lightly loaded character. The 2-3 minutes saved can really add up.

So, asking the "average" playing time of a game is a loaded question. It has way too many variables to give a simple answer.

Dude! (5, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201317)

I plugged away at the game whenever I could squeeze an hour away from my day job and my family. All told, I spent far more than 40 hours -- but still only got two-thirds through.

That's because you're old and you suck. I can state that with confidence because I also am old and suck. It's a young person's world, guy.

What's the point of this? (1)

Cybert4 (994278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201945)

It's not saying anything. Why post complete air?

Clearly... (5, Funny)

onlysolution (941392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201321)

This guy is just angry that he is bad at the video games

Pick online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16201325)

If you are worried about how long the fun lasts pick an online game to play. I have some 6000+ HOURS of Subspace/Continuum logged. How about that? I'm literally the best player ever in that game, no matter what zone and arena!

Strategy Guides (5, Insightful)

y5 (993724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201339)

As a former EB Games employee, I remember being frustrated at the large number of customers who would purchase the strategy guide along with the game at release, and then have the nerve to complain that the game was "too short". It's since been my opinion that the growing strategy guide market has encouraged developers to use "cheap" methods to increase the average gameplay time.

Games were much more satisfying before the popularity explosion of guides and cheats =/

Re:Strategy Guides (1)

dch24 (904899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201663)

You said it.

On the other hand, the guides appeared when games that were too hard appeared. Too hard? Yeah, some people are too weak to actually figure out the game. But then, there were some really hard games too...

Re:Strategy Guides (4, Interesting)

akheron01 (637033) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201677)

That really brings me back, before there were strategy guides I remember figuring out where to go being a MAJOR part of gameplay, in fact, they had a whole genre of games, adventure games, where the entire game was simply figuring out where to go next. Do you remember back when everyone wanted to invite the kid up the road over to their house because he knew where all of the "secrets to everybody" where in zelda?

Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16202059)

And you EB games employees have the nerve to PUSH the strategy guide on every customer. Talk about annoying.

Pacman (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201355)

I can't remember how many hours I played pacman as a kid...and I NEVER beat the last level! I'm not even sure if I ever got to the last level. It didn't matter how many times I ate Blinky, he kept coming back. Toughest boss EVAH!

Complaining it's too long? (1, Redundant)

musicon (724240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201427)

Huh? He's complaining the game is too long? Hey, I understand the desire for quick fun games, which is why I still enjoy Pacman and Galaga (or even minesweeper and solitare). But complaining about something like this is asinine.

Between two kids and only having (maybe) two hours of free time from 8-10pm each day (and when I'm not spending time with the wife, reading, or just vegging out), it took me six months to complete HL2. Do I deserve a refund?

length shouldn't even be a factor (1)

Astarica (986098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201435)

Why would you ever base on a game just on how long it is? I remember some computer games say on the back of the box says 'infinite replayability' which means they can put 'infinite hours' for the length. Does that mean it's good? It doesn't mean anything.

It seems like people approach games by quantity, not quality these days. If it lasts twice as long you're getting twice the playtime for your money! Who cares if it's not anything you'd want to be playing for twice the length of time? Longer games are only better if they are good quality for that long period of time.

Why would you put it down after only 2/3rds? (1)

cjmnews (672731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201455)

So what if it takes more than 40 hours? If it takes you more than 40 hours you got more than your money's worth out of the game. The longer games are better, that way I am not looking to buy something right away. Just because you didn't complete it by some artifical time limit does not mean that it is not worth finishing.

Tomb Raider Legend is a long game. Lots of puzzles, and when you are trying to get all the rewards it takes a bit of doing to get to everything.

When the games are too short, that is when you should get upset at paying $50 for a game you finish in 6 hours like Gauntlet Seven Sorrows.

Is the game intuitive? (2, Interesting)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201459)

I see a lot of people saying, effectively, that long=good but I don't think that they've missed the real problem. There are many games that simply lack a way to intuit what should be done. Things like ladders in pitch black corners have huge potential to make the game boring and even frustrating. A good game should be like a good GUI where to go and what to do next should be easy to deduce. When one has paced all the corners of the room, investigated every item and used all your ammo shooting boxes, grills and barrels one only hopes explodes and no means of exit has presented itself, it not only makes the game long, but very boring as well.

Effectively what I'm saying is that long may be good, but also, long can easily be bad.

Are the 40 hours good? (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201471)

I care less about how long the game takes than I do about whether I enjoy the game. Doom 3 was fun...for a while. I eventually finished it, but it got to be a chore. Essentially doing the same thing on virtually the same map over and over again. F.E.A.R. was short, but I enjoyed my time playing it much more than Doom 3.

Yeah, I'd like more 40 hour games. As long as they offer good, semi-non repititive gameplay.

Re:Are the 40 hours good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16201933)

Man, I still haven't beaten F.E.A.R. Mainly because I refuse to play it at night with headphones, but that's another story. ;)

There's just no pleasing some people (1, Redundant)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201493)

.. until about four weeks later, when I finally threw in the towel. Why? Because I couldn't get anywhere near the end. I plugged away at the game whenever I could squeeze an hour away from my day job and my family. All told, I spent far more than 40 hours -- but still only got two-thirds through.

At some point, I sadly realized I just couldn't afford any more time. I've got a life to lead: Books to read, a day job, my infant son to hang out with, other games beckoning. That's why I've collected a shockingly large mausoleum of unfinished games over the years. Kingdom Hearts II? Stopped halfway. Kameo? Three-quarters through. Enchanted Arms? Eh -- I'm this close to bailing out.

Maybe this guy's problem is he takes on too much. Or maybe that he can't finish anything. Instead of buying a new game, why not save some money, and finish one of the games he's given up on? If the box said it would take 80 hours, would he have spent the same amount of time on the game as he did on the game that said it'd take 40 hours? Double? Would he still complain? What if it said 10 hours? Would he play it for 15, fail to finish, and whine some more, or would he look at that 10 hour number, skip the game, and proceed to write a column about it, complaining about how games are too short?

Is EVERYONE a whiny bitch now?

QQ. It's fine. Learn2play, and suck less. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16201501)

Title says it all.

Hmmmmmm (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201531)

I have a 360, and have played a few games.

Tomb raider, without even getting half of those statue things took me a week.
Prey, on the medium skill level took me a good 10 days.
Halo 2, on legendary NOW takes me maybe 8 hours...MAYBE.

It all depends on what you like, what you're good at and what I have the time and patience for. Granted, "a week" might mean 1 hour on Monday, 3 hours on Tuesday, 0 on Wed, 9 on Thurs....etc, but it's entirely dependent on the user.

Tomb Raider is not an American game (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201559)

The reason this guy is upset seems to be that he couldn't complete the game in the time it was claimed it would take. This seems to be the typical attitude of US games - games are like interactive movies, mildly challenging in a repetitive sort of way but ultimately you are really in it for the experience.

Tomb Raider is a British game, and British game designers seem to be more akin to Japanese designers - they make games that are challenging and which require a modicum of skill to complete. I have to confess to taking this view myself... I simply can't see the point of grinding through an easy game, especially when most games have such poor stories. I want a challenge, something I need to be good at in order to play through, something where I feel I have achived something, mastered something at the end of it.

Play classics instead (1)

Megajim (885529) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201617)

Seems like a good argument to play old arcade games. An "epic" round of Robotron can top out at 4-5 minutes (yeah, I'm not that good, but that's a fast fast game). Ms. Pac-Man can drone on for a full twenty minutes. A close friend could flip Galaga, and that was a multi-hour commitment (or maybe it was just 45 minutes). I know that the author expressly enjoys the immersive narrative plot, but I generally miss the innovation and creativity of a good, simple arcade-style game that would instantly please.

That's what he gets for getting Tomb Raider (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201719)

He wouldn't have gotten so bored if he had choosen a game that wasn't the nth incarnation of the 3rd person genre.

Reviews Said... (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201745)

Sort of funny you took so long. Lots of the user reviews for that game toted it as "way too short" and "only wish there was more to it".

But everyone plays at their own pace. There was a section of Half Life (the original) that my friend was telling me would take a good two hours to get past. Fifteen minutes later, I was done with that area. I was a run & gun type...he was a sneaker, always looking for the best spot to shoot from, etc.

Seriously? (1)

BMonger (68213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201837)

I spent maybe 6-8 hours beating the game the first time through on normal difficulty, then played it on hard and beat it in less than 3 hours (easier when you know exactly what to do of course). I then got every secret available. I know I spent less than 20 hours on this game and I'm pretty sure most of the complaints I read on Tomb Raider forums was that the game was too short...

The only games I ever expect to take 40+ hours are RPGs.

My game buying theory (1)

hollismb (817357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201875)

I'm not sure sure this is completely related to the article in question, but it is somewhat similar to the comments. Fact of the matter is that for the most part, when you get older, you start having less and less time to play games. Work, workouts, relationships, responsibilities, errands, etc., all have a tendency to get in the way of sitting on your ass for a couple of hours playing games. So, I've created a pretty simple rule that I try to follow when determining my game purchases, and that is, if you can't just play it for 20-30 minutes at a time, don't buy it.

So, yeah, I pretty much can play a game of football, a few matches or a level of an FPS, a few races in a racing game, and then put it down and go back to things that are actual priorities. I've even gotten a lot more out of some Xbox Live Arcade titles (like Geometry Wars or Marble Blast Ultra) than I ever thought I might, just based on this simple principle, seeing as you can just play for ten or so minutes at a time. I tried to play Oblivion on the 360 (which is definitely a great game), but after about six months, I'd never even gotten started on the main quest, and was a mere level 9 or so, so I just gave up.

What a fucking loser.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16201899)

Cry some more bitch, stop buying games. The 40 hour mark usually means it takes 40 hours OR MORE to finish.... not less...

fucking baby!

solution (1)

pizpot (622748) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201921)

step 1, try finding games that are more your style
step 2, play them

For example, Warcraft 3 in multiplayer mode. (not World of Warcraft!!) Try the free demo from Blizzard. You can have a whole game in an hour or two.

Or else, if first person killing is your thing, try playing them online. You will wonder how you were such a square not to try multiplayer.

Any game that advertises hours... (1)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201927)

If a game advertises "40 hours of gameplay", it doesn't make it to the checkout. If there's a certain length of how long I'm supposed to play it, I figure someone's already played it for me, and all I'm doing now is trying to retrace his footsteps until I can toss this game aside and pick up a totally different one.

Since the game advertises 40 hours, it seems quite obvious to me that there is no redeeming value in the game aside from how long I can be kept busy playing it (or they surely would have advertised said redeeming value), and I would most surely hate myself for how much of my life I would have thrown away by the time I finish the game. So I'll pass, thanks, and dust off the SNES for some Mario Kart... a game that doesn't need to reassure me about its quality.

40 Hours Ain't Nothing (1)

Rev Jim (AKA Metal F (1004571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16201943)

Now if he was talking 70 or 80 hours I could see his point. Or even take something like Shim Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne which will take most around 100 hours to completely solve. Games like that take me a whole season and more to complete. That's a bit too long IMO, 50 hours or less is preffered and I actually really enjoy the 30-40 hour game about the most with so much else to play and a limited amount of time to do so. Hell I've been replaying Half Life 2, GTA:SA, and Far Cry lately and for the first time Xenosaga 1 and Company of Heroes, granted I have about 25 hours a week to play games - 3/4 of that time has been going to these PC titles and a 1/4 to Xenosaga. So it'll take me around 3 or more months to finish Xenosaga, and that's without doing all the sidequests. That's just about too long for me, but everyone's different and may devote all their time to one game at a time (although that is prob just barely the minority). A big part of how long a game get's played is the save system 70 hours on GTA:SA with a good save system would be closer to 50 or maybe 60. BTW, Rockstar needs to pull their heads out of their !@#$@ and do better ports to PC and get rid of that archaic save system.

I have NEVER used "time to beat" as a metric: (2, Interesting)

acvh (120205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16202073)

I have been playing video games for as long as they have existed. Never have I timed my usage of a game, never have I looked for some magic number of hours of gameplay.

Certainly we remember the people who could run through single player Quake in 24 seconds: does that mean Quake sucked (or, was that fact WHY Quake sucked?)

I am older now, and have a stack of unfinished games like the author of the article. I have had to become more discriminating in my choice of game to purchase; I just can't invest the time or mental energy to complete a Final Fantasy anymore. I did get through Star Wars Lego with my 6 year old daughter.....
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