For some reason, game length has become an issue that people have really started talking about only in the last few years. I’m sure there are a variety of factors for this, so it’s not necessarily an easy thing to dissect. Maybe people have only really started noticing how long games are because they’ve gotten more expensive? Or perhaps people are only more aware of it in this hyper-informational age where we build hype and wait through long development cycles, so we expect more hands-on playtime? Really, it’s hard to be sure.
There was an interesting article about the very topic of game length the other day on GamesRadar, discussing the issue of how long is too long when it comes to video games. The point that the author makes, and one that I think totally hits the nail on the head, is that it all comes down to pacing. If a game is paced well, its shortness or length doesn’t feel as such because the pacing and the experience itself was satisfying.
For instance, Red Dead Redemption, while a fantastic game, has a few pace issues around Mexico (and some would say towards the end of the game). By contrast, Limbo or Portal are only about 3-4 hours long, but don’t feel short because of how well the creators balanced the progression. One of my only complaints about Arkham Asylum is that it’s too short, but I think it might be that the game’s final act wraps up almost too quickly, with pacing that is erratic at best, which didn’t quite hit on all the right cylinders as it winded down.
Anyway, I think it’s an interesting topic, and one that I’m curious to hear your thoughts on. Is there a such thing as a perfect game length, or does it differ from game to game? Can games be too long? What games do you feel have pacing issues? Go!
Source – GamesRadar