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2, Issue 6
December 17, 1999
by Stephanie "Bobbi"
those long games...
Response to "games are too long"...
Hey! I just recently
finished reading Nick F.'s "games are too damn long"
column and thought I'd chip in my few cents.
I'm a bit of
the exception in that I'll very rarely find a game that
I think was too long. On the opposite side of the coin,
if I game isn't especially interesting to begin with, I
usually never get around to finding out whether or not it
was too long. Certain games (such as Final Fantasy VII)
are actually incredibly short unless you decide to go wandering
around subplots aimlessly for a few dozen hours (gold chocobos,
anyone?). Which is good considering the incredible lack
of any kind of driving story or character development.Final
Fantasy VIII, on the other hand, seemed to be the exact
opposite to me. From personal experience, it seems players
either love the game (myself and some friends) or can't
stand it (other friends). I managed to play through the
entire game in a little over thirty hours (without summoning
a single GF, courtesy of some bleem! issues) and spent the
next day in a state of depression that I wouldn't ever be
able to see Squall and Rinoa and Quistis again.For other
games, length isn't really an issue. Does it *honestly*
matter whether you got to the end in Quake? Or Quake II?
Admittedly, Shub "Big Tub of Lard" Niggroth (pardon
the spelling) was intimidating and we've all wanted to telefrag
someone in a single-player game, but it didn't matter. There
was no question of the plot in Warcraft II or Starcraft.
You could play and go for the occassion plot twist if you
wanted to, but most people play the games because they enjoy
playing the games.
games are a bit of a fine line in that, regardless of how
long or short they are, some people will whine that they
blazed through, others will argue that no-one needed the
second disc at all, and there will be a precious few that
wouldn't have it any other way. If you sympathize with the
characters - Squall, for the chronically-depressed teenagers
out there; Terra, for those that think their entire life
has been for nothing; Cecil, for those who want to save
the world - just as you might sympathize while reading a
novel or watching a movie, the experience is amazing. If
you don't - which says nothing about you one way or another
- then so be it. I'm sure there is some game out there for
you that will captivate you for a day straight and leave
you weeping or laughing at the end.
If it's not the
same as mine, all the better. Thanks for the article...
- Kyle Davis
[Wow. This turned
out much longer than I had originally intended. Sorry. :)
For the record,
I loved Quake, and was very proud of myself for finishing
I couldn't agree more with your recent Pad Happy tirade
against overly long games. That last game I finished was
"Return to Krondor" - about twenty hours of fun.
I look at the advertisements for games like "Baldur's
Gate", see claims like "Over 100 hours of original
gameplay" and I do the math - Two to three hours a
day for over a month, just to beat the game. If I skip a
day or two, or god forbid try to read a book, watch TV,
or live my life, those games will take far too long to beat.
What I don't
get is that long games make poor business sense.
Take Diablo 2
as an example - instead of selling a 4 CD game for $50,
Blizzard could break the game into four separate products,
each taking a reasonably amount of time to beat, and each
costing about $25 - about the price of a hardcover novel,
and they get to sell four of them.
I'm remiss to
pay $50 for a game I won't have time to finish, but if each
"chapter" of Diablo 2 came out every three months,
not only might I finish it, I'd end up paying twice as much,
which would make the game creators happier. (And we'd get
the games sooner - apparantely Blizzard is done with chapters
one and two of Diablo 2 - they could be making money on
those two discs as I sit here.)
It's like John
Carmack said when he announced Quake 3 Arena - the iD artists
hate that so many folks never finish the games, because
if you don't finish, you don't see the work that went into
the product. If I were a game designer who sweated blood
over each level, I'd make damn sure most of my customers
got to that level.
true, but then again, do you REALLY want a game that can
be finished in 2 days? (which was how long it took me to
beat Quake 3, by the way.) People play games like Ultima
Online for years, I myself played on one MUD for 4 years,
and Ive been on another for 3 years now. Single player
games are more appealing to the mainstream, so wouldnt
it follow that someone would try to recreate the multi-player
experience...hundreds of hours of gameplay...for single
player? It would be a hit, wouldnt it?