The entire Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is apparently 11 and a half hours long.. It’s probably one of the longer trilogies that you can find. This isn’t really a problem with the series because its epic story justifies the long run time. Now The Hobbit is a whole other story and this is part of why it fucking sucks; it’s too long while the source material isn’t. Anyways…you can compare Lord of the Rings runtime of 11 hours to the Star Wars original trilogy runtime of 6 hours and 15 minutes. While 6-11 hours is a long ass time in movie-land, it is much different in videogame-land. A 6-11 hour game is stupidly short.
Consider Bioshock, a video game that has received much acclaim due to its story, gameplay, and considerable horror elements. According to this Bioshock clocks in with around 10 hours of gameplay. This would be long for a movie or trilogy but for a game is very short. Bioshock, while being a fantastic game has nothing to keep you playing other than the main story: when you’re done with the game, you’re done. Would you want to pay $60 for 10 hours of gameplay?
And then you have Shadow of the Colossus, a game I bring up now because I just purchased the remastered version. It was $40 and according to YouTuber VideoGameDunkey Shadow of the Colossus has only 5 hours of gameplay. (My first playthrough took a bit longer though because I sucked) Is that justifiable? I don’t know. Somehow I justified it so criticize me all you want.
And before I forget, think of Journey, the fucking masterpiece of a game that Doesn’t Suck. Lengthwise it is only a few hours but does some amazing things with such a small amount of time. But would you pay $40 for a “walking simulator” as some people have derided it? That’s up to you…
Putting some numbers on the experience yields some interesting results. Bioshock, at $60 for a ten hour game is roughly $6 per hour of gameplay. Shadow would be even worse at $8 per hour. If you compare this to a movie at a theater, and considering a single 2 hour film might be about $20, this would run you $10 per hour; this is a bit more than our short video game example. It seems that short video games are sold at a comparable price to movies, and are even somewhat cheaper. Obviously if you steal videos, buy bootlegs, rent, or purchase shitty DVDs from the WalMart bargain bin it’d be cheaper. And if you pirate video games you don’t have to worry about the cost for anything, except maybe being caught.
Compare that to Skyrim at $60 and having over a hundred hours of gameplay. That is a stupidly low number of $0.60 per hour of gameplay. It’s probably one of the cheaper games you can play if you look at it that way. And hell, it’s an old game so it’s even cheaper than $60. But Skyrim, while being cheap for all the gameplay you get, has another problem: it’s too long!
Skyrim is a perfect example of one of these open-world RPG style games. It isn’t unheard of people dumping over 100 hours into these types of games, Skyrim, Fallout 4, or any other game included. (My dad apparently is at level 117 in Fallout 4. Think about how long he’s been playing that crap.) Those seem to be games where you can and are expected to dump tons of time into. By immersing yourself in the world you get sucked in and invested in the game. Even if the game is cheaper on a “per hour” basis, I still have to plop 100 hours into Skyrim to properly feel like I experienced the game the way it’s supposed to be experienced. You could sit down, do only the main quest, do nothing extra and beat the game, but that isn’t how the game is supposed to be played and it’s almost insulting to the massive world you just missed out on exploring. Some games you have to throw tons of time into exploring and adventuring; it’s just how they are.
So whatever, it takes a long time to finish a game. So what? You were just bitching about short games and now you’re complaining about long games? There’s a lot of games to play and I want to get around to them! I wrote here that despite most games sucking there are a few masterfull gems out there. I really want to play them eventually and — with all the games being rather long — I have a large backlog that I’m trying to play through.. As of now I need to beat Breath of the Wild which I’ve probably put 30 or 40 hours into then move onto Super Mario Odyssey. After that The Witcher 3 is up, and I heard that game is a nightmare of wonderful world building, questing, and exploring so that’s going to take like a half of a year to get through. I still haven’t finished Amnesia: The Dark Descent or Metal Gear Solid V which were free games for PlayStation Plus (From October 2017 by the way). Oh yeah, and a new Kerbal Space Program is out for the Ps4. There’s just so many good games to play but games take a long time to complete so I can’t actually enjoy all the games I want to.
So sure, Bioshock and Shadow of the Colossus are short games and just as pricey as any other game, but I can actually play them in a reasonable amount of time. Open world games are great to sink time into, but with them I never have enough time to actually enjoy them fully. This contributes to my inability to play more games that I want to play. Preferably I like games between 20 and 50 hours; they’re short enough where you can stay focused on them and live a busy life but long enough that you don’t feel like you were cheated out of your money. I’m thinking the Breath of the Wilds, the Dark Souls, and about any Mario game out there. They strike a good balance between the two extremes, extremes which Suck for differing reasons.