2, Issue 5
December 9, 1999
wants to spend 100 hours on a single game? Not Nick F, anyway...
month ago I finally bought Final Fantasy VIII. Ive
played it for a good few hours but in the last week or so I really
havent been able to bring myself to place the disc in my
Playstation. The problem is, the games just too damn long!
Ye gads - I can remember a time when no game was long enough,
but now it seems that most new releases stretch for miles and
miles. Call me an attention-span-stunted gamer (of the console
breed, natch) but I see no joy whatsoever in these 100 hour treks.
Its got to the point now where a potential purchase wont
make the cut because its going to take too long to beat;
for instance, Tomb Raider 4 looks like a remarkable return
to form for Ms. Croft, but Im having second thoughts about
buying it because Im still mentally scarred from the ridiculous
length of the previous TR game (which was just incredibly
boring to play, so I stopped). Roll on Resident
Evil Nemesis, I say.
that a lot of developers feel under pressure to make their games
as long as possible, under the (likely publisher-led) delusion
that a long, long game represents better value for money. There
are certainly people out there who would heavily advocate that
one game being longer than another makes it better,
but the truth is it just makes that game longer. The reason the
other game is better is more than likely because it
has more ideas in it. Ultimately, a game contains only a finite
number of ideas and if you try and stretch a game by limiting
the frequency with which a player encounters your cool ideas ,
youll find that its not interesting enough to play.
Think about the best games youve played recently and youll
find that in a lot of cases something pretty interesting happens
every five to ten minutes of gameplay. Conversely, think about
the number of games youve played where all the best stuff
happens in the first hour of play and from then on it seem like
developers were looking to fill up space because they used all
their cool ideas way too early (and then you didnt bother
finishing the game).
problem is that it takes a lot of talent to create a game entertaining
enough to merit a play length of over ten hours, both in terms
of game design and (if appropriate) the plot. I played about halfway
Fantasy VII before giving up (partially through boredom,
mainly because someone managed to erase my save game) but the
plot was already flagging and dont even talk to me
about the tedious, repetitive battles. Final Fantasy VIII
seems more gripping from the start, but word seems to be that
the story isnt quite as good as its prequel and the characters
arent as engaging (uh oh). And those bloody Guardian Force
animations go on for sooooo long is there honestly no way
to skip them? Life really is too short - how much play time
in total do you think gratuitous battle animations add to the
FF series, anyway?