How important is the length of a game?

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arkadysmile

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Just seen a lot of talk lately about if a game isn't long it isn't worth getting. Or that is somehow lessens the experience if the title isn't 20-40 hour epic.

I personally enjoy shorter titles that I can finish in a session or three. Portal, Journey and Braid are a few of my favorites. Seems like todays games are about length and not always quality. Just a thought. Be kind to one another and yourself.

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MerxWorx01

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Honestly these days depending on what's sites you go to, short two to six hours games seem to be in vogue while longer twenty plus hour experienced are greeted with distaste and disregard for the user's time.

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noobsauce

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Quality > quantity. Though I can justify the purchase more if I know ill put 20+ hours into it

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cikame

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I'm split, i do enjoy the massive worlds of an Assassin's Creed, knowing how much work went into creating such vast places is humbling to me, so i don't mind side missions extending my time in these worlds because i like seeing them so much, but i'm not always ready to spend 30+ hours on a game, so a 4-6 hour romp feels great to blast through.
Here's a good example, i want to play Death Stranding because the gall of Kojima's latest project being a hiking simulator is appealing to me, and at the moment i'll be more than happy to spend 40 or more hours hiking.

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Ry_Ry

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I just don't have the time for a bunch of 40+ hour games anymore. So for me, that means I'm not buying the DLC to extend the game out longer. I'd rather spend the 10-20 dollar on a new experience.

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Zeik

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There was a time when I would almost never buy a game if it didn't last me a good 20-30+ hours. Being a poor kid I had to make my games last, which is probably at least one of the reasons why I gravitated toward RPGs as a kid.

Now I'm more open to shorter experiences, and more critical of excessively long games with too much padding, but I still enjoy me some long-ass RPGs and don't mind spending months to complete them if I'm having fun, and I would hesitate (or wait for a sale) for a full priced game that only lasted 5-10 hours. But in the era of digital I am more than willing to spend $20 on a 5 hour game if it's entertaining.

I do see some people these days swing too far in the other direction and be overly dismissive of games purely for being long, which I think is just as disingenuous as dismissing a game for not being long. Both have their place as long as they're well made and enjoyable.

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Efesell

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I'm not on that tip of dollar per hour or whatever, a great game is a great game whether its a few or too many hours.

That said as a personal preference I do still love a big time sink.

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Humanity

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Depends how on the game but I do have my limits where I’ll start rushing through something just to finish it and miss out on a bunch of stuff in the process. I loved Persona 5 but by the end of that 100 hour playthrough I really wanted to wrap things up. The weird thing is that after spending all that time with a game once it’s finished I feel a very real void in my life.

Typically though 8-10 hours is the sweet spot for me when it comes to AAA games. Indies I don’t mind even if they’re like 1.5hr as long as it’s creative from start to finish.

Absolutely despise anything run based or procedurally generates which typically fall into the “forever” game category.

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Justin258

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#9 Justin258  Online

It depends on the game.

And I don't think it's as simple as "quality > quantity". I mean, that's the golden rule when it comes to video game hour count, sure, but if you're going to charge me $60 for something that is five hours long, it had better be one hell of a five hours. On the flip side of that coin, I'd rather spend $60 on a really good five hours than $60 on a really good five hours spread across thirty hours of padding (lookin' at you, Ubisoft).

In my opinion, anything past the ten hour mark is good for $60. If you've got ten hours of good content that I want to play through, then hour length is no longer something I'm concerned about. Ten to thirty hours is the sweet spot for most genres - if you're charging sixty bucks and your game is less than ten hours long, then you need to really think hard about what else you might be able to pull off in your game, though don't put mindless padding in there for any reason. If you're crossing the thirty hour mark, then it's time to take a look at what all you've put in your game and see if there's anything that needs editing out. This counts less for genres notorious for long hour counts - RPGs, for instance, generally tend to justify their fifty-plus hour adventures.

Some people will balk at this idea that thirty plus hours is too much. As an adult with limited time and a lot of interest in a lot of different games, I can't say that I'm excited about the idea of every game getting longer and longer. I want one, maybe two games a year that cross the forty hour mark, the rest need to be much shorter.

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NameRedacted

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@merxworx01 said:

Honestly these days depending on what's sites you go to, short two to six hours games seem to be in vogue while longer twenty plus hour experienced are greeted with distaste and disregard for the user's time.

Let's be honest, these are older gamers, with a LOT more money than time to play video games. They want to play everything and stay relevant to the zeitgeist in popular gaming culture, but can't due to other responsibilities or claims on their time.

To which, I say: tough. That's part of getting older. There's not enough time to do everything. I don't think today's younger gamers should be penalized because older gamers have FOMO. You're robbing younger gamers of the same experiences older gamers had as kids, wasting 10's or 100's of hours on epic adventures and the like.

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sombre

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#11  Edited By sombre

If a game is over ten hours, it has to be sensational for me to finish.

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Justin258

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#12 Justin258  Online

@merxworx01 said:

Honestly these days depending on what's sites you go to, short two to six hours games seem to be in vogue while longer twenty plus hour experienced are greeted with distaste and disregard for the user's time.

Let's be honest, these are older gamers, with a LOT more money than time to play video games. They want to play everything and stay relevant to the zeitgeist in popular gaming culture, but can't due to other responsibilities or claims on their time.

To which, I say: tough. That's part of getting older. There's not enough time to do everything. I don't think today's younger gamers should be penalized because older gamers have FOMO. You're robbing younger gamers of the same experiences older gamers had as kids, wasting 10's or 100's of hours on epic adventures and the like.

Nameredacted, fifteen years from now: "Damn, why are games so long these days, I'd really like to finish some of these but I just don't have the time, what with a job and living on my own and wanting to chase other hobbies..."

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Brackstone

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For me, it's about whether or not the game feels like it's length matches what it's trying to do. Doom 2016 is a game where I felt like the combat encounter never got quite crazy enough. In terms of hour count, it's a good length, but I felt the encounter design could have been stretched a little further. Opposite that, Alien Isolation is a game that feels way, way longer than it's gameplay can support.

Trying to pin an exact hour count on games is a mistake. I can feel satisfied from a fairly short game that delivers on it's central premise and keeps itself interesting throughout, like Titanfall 2, and I can be satisfied by a long game that does the same.

In my opinion, though, generally games that are too short and don't live up to their potential are much more uncommon than games that outstay their welcome, because designing fulfilling gameplay loops is a hell of a lot harder than raw content creation and a lot of people are easily swayed by the raw amount of stuff a game has.

Story wise, sidequests throw a wrench in things, so I give RPGs and such a bit of a pass, and obviously less story focused games can get away with stretching their plot out. However, in terms of raw, linear main story, I think anything longer than maybe 10 hours is really pushing it. That goes for all media, books, tv, games, movies. Even when it's a series of books or something, where it's told over several entries and sequels, I've never really seen a story worth telling take that long.

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AlexW00d

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I feel like I only ever see the opposite. No-one wants long games any more. Obv, the older you get, usually, the less time you have for games, but generally I don't see many crying out for it. Just quality.

Personally, I don't mind as long as I can enjoy the game. I have given up on short games and long games cause they sucked. The last three games I have launched were Forza Horizon 4, Elite Dangerous - which I suppose have unlimited length - and Supraland which was a comfortable 15 hours to finish, but probs another 5 to 100%.

Actually looking through my recent history nothing I've played is really that short. I don't really play big AAA blockbuster stuff, or 'campaign' games so I suppose my choice is made for me.

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nightriff

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Incredibly important to me. I barely have time to play games since having multiple kids running around, I cant feel like I'm wasting what little time I get. Games over 20 hours have to really grab me, otherwise my sweet spot is the 10 to 12 hour experience at most.

Wish I had more time but I dont, maybe someday...

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MerxWorx01

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@nameredacted: Not sure what you mean. Are you saying that gaming communities that like shorter games are some how shaming people that like long games? You used the word "robbing" and I'm not sure what you mean by that.

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NeverGameOver

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#17  Edited By NeverGameOver

Game length is important, but not in a "longer=better" or "shorter=better" way. The game length should be commensurate with (1) the length of time that the gameplay loop will hold interest, ideally by adding new mechanics over time, and (2) the number of things that the title has to say from a story perspective.

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csl316

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#18  Edited By csl316

Shorter. I tend to burn out around 20 to 30 hours. Long ass games, in my mind, should generally be JRPG's.

And honestly, if a game is around 10 hours, I'm way more inclined to replay it. Not sure how we went to AAA games needing to be big open worlds with 50+ hours. I blame Skyrim and Ubisoft.

Seems like shorter games would drastically reduce dev costs, but what do I know. Hopefully Game Pass allows games to be shorter experiences that are (hopefully) worth replaying if I want more.

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mellotronrules

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It depends on the game.

the One True Answer.

personally, i'm not approaching games from the perspective as one trying to extract maximum value from a product (i'm fortunate to be able to buy what i want to play- i don't need to make games 'last'), nor do i feel the need to consume things at a particular pace.

i will say it's more often that games tend to overstay their welcome than end abruptly- but ultimately there are too many variables to prescribe a one-size-fits-all expectation of how long games should be.

if it didn't bore me, and it didn't disappoint me- it was the right length- whether that's 1 hour or 100.

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CapnThrash

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It's exactly as important as the length of a movie.

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north6

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#21  Edited By north6

If all games are "free" through gamepass or whatever, or I'm choosing a game from my insane backlog, length doesn't matter nearly as much.

That said I'm loving TLOU, and loved FF7r, the only two recent games I've bought new. If either were six hours or something silly, I'd be pissed. Probably wouldn't buy games at full price that I otherwise want, but know will be short.

So pretty fucking important I guess, when it comes to actual game sales.

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insomniak08

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#22  Edited By insomniak08

Depends on the game and whether or not they actually fill that time with meaningful content. Far too many games these days follow the Ubisoft model of padding out their games length with a ridiculous amount of uninteresting content. I 100% Marvel's Spider-man for instance and it honestly took the game from like an 8-9/10 down to a 5-6 for me. I would have a much better opinion on the game if they had cut like well over half of the content from that game. Recent complaints of the Last of Us Part II being too long however, I only kind of agree with. It is long and the story does slightly overstay its welcome but every part of that game is uniquely designed.

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FacelessVixen

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The longer a game is, the more likely I am to get kinda bored and move on to something else if I've been playing it for a week, even if I like the game. By week two, I need a different genre.

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Arcitee

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The genre and style is a factor too. An RPG that is less than 20 hours has to be pretty perfectly executed to not feel half-baked or unsatisfying. For example I love Cosmic Star Heroine but the game is too short so half the characters barely exist as characters. But 20 hours of a survival horror game can feel like a grueling marathon.

A lot of factors are involved even in an RPG it can depend if battles are 20 minute tactical affairs or 30 seconds of slashing.

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ShaggE

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It's not the length of the game, it's the motion of the thumbstick.

But yeah, I'm finding myself valuing shorter games lately. Like, I'm not going to drop 60 or even 30 on a three hour linear thing, but "8-10 hours" sounds more appealing than "30+ hours" these days, save for games I'm REALLY into or that don't have an end goal (multiplayer stuff, etc.).

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bybeach

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#27 bybeach  Online

Most of the time, the shorter games do not bother me. Quality over quantity, as one poster said.

Games just last longer for me it seems than others, anyways. I play say perhaps 2 hours a day, except for days I do not play at all.

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Haz_Kaj

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ITs about quality, replayability and value.

There are 8-10 Hour games i've replayed dozens of times over the years. Like God of War recently.

Then theres games that can be beaten in 10 hours like Hitman 1 and 2....but those games have more content than any 50 hour RPG's due to the incredible replay value.

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CreepingDeath0

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@haz_kaj: "ITs about quality, replayability and value."

This is it exactly. I've put more time into re2make than I have AC Odyssey despite completing both. I fully expect to go back to re2make as well, but I'm never touching Odyssey again.

It's for to the point where unjustifiably long playtime is a huge negative against a game.

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Ares42

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I think the correct perspective on game length should be that it's not about better or worse, but different. Sorta like genres. FPSs aren't better than RPGs, they're different, and people will desire one or the other based on personal taste.

Personally I tend to enjoy games that can last me for a long time, but a good 4-8 hour game when I'm not able to commit a ton of time is also great.

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Armagon1

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If its a single player game the length is definitely a factor for me.

As I'm getting older I don't have as much free time for games as I used to, so if a game is going to be 20-40+ hours the story and gameplay needs to be engaging over that length. I'm quite selective with the RPG and open world games I choose to play now, and usually wait to read a few reviews on new titles.

I've found myself playing more indie titles over the past few years; Timespinner and Celeste being two stand outs for me that were fun, well paced games.

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ThePanzini

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Length is a funny one for me, I'll never touch Persona because I simply don't want to commit the time, but I really dislike short games cause I'm then thinking about what to play next. It's nice to have 20+ hour game you can chip away at after work, replayability and value are meaningless to me now.

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warpr

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I don't have much time to play games nowadays (having kids, etc...), so I tend to prefer longer games.

Which sounds counter intuitive, so let me explain ;)

I much prefer a game where I can "do" something in the 30-60 minute segment of time before the kids wake up or after they go to sleep. It's OK if some segments are longer, as long as they're telegraphed well so I can save those for the weekend.

So for me open world games like Assassin's Creed or Watch Dogs are perfect. I can usually do one or two short missions, or just collect some stuff, and feel like I've "done" something. And I can save the meatier main story missions for the weekend.

I also usually hate the first few hours of a game when you're still unfamiliar with a game and you're not yet free to roam about the open world. Which also makes me prefer longer games so I don't have to deal with learning a new game as often.

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hakunin

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It depends on the game.

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Colmymeh

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I like single player games that don't last more than 10 to 15 hrs.

But the funny thing is I'll replay these games several times, Bayonetta 2, Doom 2016, bloodstained, I've played them all multiple times easily putting in more than 30 hrs with each title.

But I know I'll never ever play Breath of the Wild again. Similarly I started the Witcher 3 with a lot of enthusiasm but now I'm only playing one mission a time once a week as if it were a TV show.

But games without any real end such as Civ VI, Cities Skylines or Mario Maker take up more of my gaming time than any other type of game.

So to answer your question I don't really know.

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MrGreenMan

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These days, anything past 30 hours I rarely touch as I will likely never finish it.

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wollywoo

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#37  Edited By wollywoo

I don't have much interest now in epic games that will take dozens of hours. At some point it starts to feel like work. Even though I'm enjoying it, I feel like I need to take a break after an hour of two or playing and then I don't get the momentum to start up again. I really play games to relax, and after I finish my work I mostly feel like chilling out and listening to a podcast or something, so I play something that doesn't require my full attention - maybe challenging but not so much story-based. I'll make an exception for certain games that I'm really anticipating (Mario, Zelda, Outer Wilds, God of War), but as I get older I try to make more time for other interests and hobbies.

Weirdly, at this point I probably spend more time reading about the games industry than I do actually playing games.

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Ben_H

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For me it's more about if a game respects your time. Games that are long but have stuff going on the entire time are fine. Long games where I get a strong sense that they are padding the length of the game out with inconsequential stuff (see the recent Assassin's Creed games) I get more frustrated with. Assassin's Creed Origins was particularly bad for this. For contrast though, I've been playing Persona 4 Golden since it's on Steam now and despite being 100+ hours long, I never get that feeling of tedium that Assassin's Creed games give me because something always is happening in Persona 4 and the game is perfectly suited for either long sessions or a quick 10-15 minutes unless you are doing dungeons.

The thing with me is I will replay games a lot so shorter games tend to get revisited a lot more often than longer games.

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_Brojangles_

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Any RPG that isn’t at least 40 hours isn’t worth getting invested in.

Any other genre I could care less, but anything less then ten 10 hours is going to be a hard sell unless it’s well below the standard 50-60 dollar asking price.

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Giant_Gamer

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@haz_kaj: This is pretty much what i think. Additionally, sometimes the game doesn't have that much to offer past beating it but because it is a great experience you find yourself beating it again to see if there's anything you have missed in your first playthrough. It's like rewatching a great movie.

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ValorianEndymion

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In one hand, you might say, that a game need to be long as it need to be no more less or more. Because length is important part in many stories and might be necessary for the build up, so if you speed it too much it could lose impact or feel rushed, but if you take too much time you risk thing feel like a slog. Some stories are meant to be long other are meant to be short.

Now, on the other hand there is a whole other part that is less about length itself, but padding and pacing, which is difficult to measure in a universal way, since it might change a lot from game too game. As example, if you play Eye of the Beholder I and Dungeon Hack, both games from SSI, using AD&D rules and the same engine, you might be surprised to notice that Dungeon Hack can feel much more slow and padded due the simple fact that instead of group of character you have a single character, which make combat much slower.

Other example, God Eater 2, had this tendency of between each story mission, throw several not essential ones before the other story mission, which even if I really liked that game, can make it feel like a slog. However, God Eater 3 (which is one my favorite games), simple reduce that a lot, which give it much better pace.



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sweep

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#43 sweep  Moderator

I only entered this thread to remove the inevitable penis jokes (sigh) but now i'm here...

I'm at the point in my life where the length of a game has absolutely no bearing on my purchasing decision unless it's remarkably short; I'm not going to pay $60 for less than 5 hours of content, and if that's the case for a game that I'm interested in then I'll wait for a sale. That seems to be a rarity these days though. If a game is "too long" I'll still play it, though knowing the average playthrough time will definitely influence my decision to keep going after I've figured out what the core gameplay loops are.

I think it depends less on the game and more on my frame of mind. A lot of people reported that Ghost Of Tsushima was bloated and monotonous as it stretched out into endless repetitive side-quests, but I'm in a lockdown and I have barely left the house for months; Being able to methodically cross arbitrary tasks off a list gives me a nice sense of progression which is almost meditative, and hearing that I still have 20 hours left of that to go is reassuring.

If that game had been released at literally any other time in the last 5 years I wouldn't have bothered.

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Whitestripes09

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I was going to ask what short games are you guys talking about that only take 8 hours to beat and realized I only put 8 hours into Resident Evil 7 to beat it.

I think that's a prime example of a game that feels like a complete experience without having to be a long winded 40+ hour tale.

I really enjoyed RE7 and RE2 remake, but... I don't think full price is justifiable for RE3 remake.

Game length really just depends on how satisfying the whole experience is and what else they have to offer as a whole package.

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Ulfhedinn

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When I was younger if a title didn't have a 40h+ game time to be exhausted I wouldn't give it much thought.

I wanted and needed time sinks (oh how wrong I was) but nowadays when I'm older i need cohesive and linear stories into which I don't need to pour all my free time.

I've found out that I just barely can keep myself entertained and interested in a game that swamps me with stuff to do in first hour of the game.

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styx971

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for me it depends on the type of game and my mood honestly. i like long open world games but more often than not in recent years i just feel like i'm getting fatigued by them , smaller less checklist mess open world games still do it for me even with long hour counts but more often than not recently i've been looking for smaller quick hit style games.

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SarcasticMudcrab

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I've skipped a fair few games because I know they're too long for me to finish.

The trend of padding stuff out to make a game 60+ hours is not a good one. Quantity is not always value!

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silversaint

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I feel game length is highly relevant when thinking of costs. In an ideal world where all games are free quality > quantity, but when you have a game like say RE3 thats of decent quality, but only like 6 hrs long for a playthrough, its hard to justify $60, but if the game were $10 its pretty justifiable.

Overall I think when paying for a game at full price its hard to justify shorter games, no matter their quality.

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deactivated-5f1abf3d35b83

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In terms of big, "60 hours of C O N T E N T" games, I most frequently enjoy multiplayer games overstuffed with basic tasks, since it's usually a glorified chatroom to hang out with friends. In single player games, I waffle between my appetite for shorter, emotionally resonant experiences and the sheer obscene amount of time I've spent playing Hitman.