Scalable length of games

Have you got alot of games on your shelf that you haven’t finished because of time constraints? Have you gotten through a game and realized that it was much, much longer than you wanted it to be the next time you played through it, no matter how much you loved the entire game?

Many gamers have faced the issue that they don’t have alot of time to finish games to the complete end but they keep getting games and it’s a vicious cycle. I have gotten games and never beaten them, have never seen the end credits and due to trading, selling, and borrowing them, I will probably never see them again. This embarrasses me greatly to have a lot of games on my Gamerscore that I have one or two achievements with, and people look at my game list and balk at the 60 or so games that I have on my list. I feel bad because people see that I try alot of games and don’t like them or I just don’t have the time to explore them to my leasure. Are you like this? Never able to finish a game or never able to figure out if you want to finish a game because it seems like it would take too long?

So, what’s an easy fix?

Scalable lengths in games. If you want to take the time to explore the levels or world, go for it! If you want to get through the core story missions and nothing else during this play through, you should be able to do this, especially if it’s an open world game. Open world games are great, some of the best ideas in gaming, but sometimes… They’re too big, too long for the average gamer who has work, kids, and a spouse or family members to take care of sometimes…

Yes, you want to relax and play the game, or even if you just want to know the story in the game. But I want the option to just play the main story missions and get through it sometimes so if and when I have the free time to just trot around the city I can. If I want to find all the secret items I can it at my leasure. I know that you can do this already, but I think alot of gamers will finish games that give the option to complete it as a level based game.

Something else that could enable you to get through games quicker that are long is the ability to go to levels from the get go. I know it might break up the narrative of a game or the story, but I liked the way that Alone in the Dark was setup, like a TV show on DVD. I know the game wasn’t what it should have been, but it was an interesting take on things.

I’ve always been a fan of having levels/missions that you have several ways of completing, variety is fun, and challenging sometimes. I think if you had a quick busting your rear to get to the end way or the long, take your time route would be a good addition.

On the other hand…

There is a fine line on what is short and too long for certain game types. Far Cry 2 has been said to be a 50 hour game, and I know that I’ve spent alot of time with it searching for diamonds alone, close to 10 hours and I’ve only gotten to around 15% through the game. I’ve also played games that should have been more than the 5 to 6 hours they took to complete, but the sequel has been put chock full of filler missions and levels that it was too long (Gears of War anyone?). I don’t want companies to stop developing long games, especially RPG’s, because to tell a good story that’s in depth you need the length sometimes.

Could you imagine if Final Fantasy VII would have been cut to about 6 hours of story gameplay with no side quests or exploration capabilities? Or if GTA IV had been mission based, no open world at all? Some games require them to be the way they are, and gamers who can’t finish them get left out on great games and game play, but maybe we should ask for things like this to be included in our games, especially with all the Modern Warfare 2 game play eating our free time with other, AAA titles coming out in the next few months.

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  1. The main story of Persona 4 clocks in at 70 hours easy. Since I had a few weeks to myself, I tore up that sumbitch. My own time on it including deaths and game overs is probably far higher however, cause well… it’s a Megaten game, they can screw you over whenever they like.

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