Josh Miller – The Family Man

Ideal Game Length – Under 20 Hours

Credit: WB Games and Rocksteady

Lots has changed since I was a kid. At the time, I rarely got new games. When I did, it was often for holidays or birthdays. I had so much free time and I could invest heavily in my hobby because of it. All of that has changed now that I’m an adult (ugh), have responsibilities (blah), have a job (groan), and have a family (hooray). Because of that, my time to play is limited, and it’s made me appreciate the shorter games.

If I’m lucky, I get an hour a day to play games. Sometimes I can sneak more in, sometimes I get none at all. It really depends on the day. What’s more, I grow to resent games that make me spend so much time in their world, often at the expense of bloated gameplay and missions that ultimately aren’t needed. I’m looking at you Red Dead Redemption 2 and your side trek to Guarma.

RPG’s are an exception usually, but to a point. I spent almost 4 months on Persona 5 when it came out playing almost nightly. I was ready for that game to be over. Two months on Dragon Quest XI and I was wishing the same thing. I can see maybe between 20-30 hours with them, but it better be a tight 20-30 hours. If you’re going longer, please make it worth it and not such a slow burn with little to pull the player along. However, as I’m playing through The Last of Us Part II, I’m noticing myself asking how much longer each day is going to be and thinking “this will be the stopping point” only to find out it’s not.

That’s not to say games shouldn’t be that long or they don’t work at that length. As much as I love games like The Last of Us Part II and Red Dead Redemption 2, and feel they could shave off some time, they both need to be over 20 hours to rightfully play out. The characters, the world, the story they tell; each game is different with how they go about doing things to make the experience complete as a whole. I do find it weird though, despite being different forms of media, that some games require the same amount of time that…say….3 seasons of your favorite tv show needs to tell a story. Except video games usually have far less payoffs during that same time frame. Again, different media and not saying games shouldn’t last a long time, but they have to really earn that length. In my opinion, most just don’t.

I know some people put game length as a means to cost. I don’t. I can beat Batman Arkham Asylum in under 6 hours and rank it higher than most 20+ hours games. The fact of the matter is, I’ve grown to appreciate the games that don’t drag the player across an obnoxiously long 60+ hour campaign. it would be nice to see more of them come along. When they do, I will try to play them if they look interesting. The sad thing is, if they look interesting and I find out they take around 50 hours…I’m likely to avoid it. I just don’t have the time anymore.

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