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Time Taken To Play Games Through...
Inspired by Daz.

Okay, I see a lot of complaints that games are far too short and can be completed in very little time these days. For example, Daz recently said Painkiller took 5 1/2 hours to play, and Max Payne 2 was a 6 hour game. I also see plenty of such times quoted in reviews.

I personally don't see how that works at all. I've noticed some games are shorter than others, and some games I wished were longer. But they all take a substantial amount to play. For example, U2 was quoted as a "short game" and over very quickly etc. I think it took me about 15 hours - which is quite a chunk of time. I haven't played MP2 yet but the demo took me well over an hour so I don't think it will be that abrupt.

I think I play through games fairly steadily. I don't struggle that much, I die occasionally but don't often reload lots, I explore a fair bit and admire scenery but don't spend ages wandering around in circles. In short it feels that I play through games pretty normally.

So, how does it work with people playing games in 6 hours?? Are you just phenomenally talented and monsters melt like unwashed butter in front of you?? Do you just zip through as fast as possible and don't noticed scenery and secrets?? Or are you talking out of your arses??
Max Payne 2 was incredibly short. Total time spent playing (not watching): Probably 2:00 hours or so, and that's counting all the times I died and had to start over, AND including the half-hour that I got stuck at the start in the first level because I couldn't find the back alley behind the factory. But I had fun tipping over boxes and tires and shooting wood and stuff. There just wasn't much meat to the game. Serious Sam took a lot longer, and was probably a lot easier to create as its just a bunch of big ass rooms, but that's ok because it's not as involving a game. 
Hmmm I Wasnt Punching The Clock 
but it took me an entire evening -- roughly 7:00PM to shortly after 2:00AM (a serious insomniac I am, about four hours of sleep a night even on a work day) to complete Max Payne 2, but then again .I also take my time to look at and study the levels, and blow up as many things as a game allows. 
If you play through it on all skill settings, you get a somewhat happier ending. 
In regards to FPS games, I hate how they're getting shorter and shorter. I sometimes wonder if Doom3/HL2 will be 4 hour games.

For other games, it depends. A game like Metroid, it fun to be short becuase you can speedrun it, or you can take your time and explore everything and find all the missles and weapons and such. I like my RPGs to be long, but like them long on story and action rather than repetitive levelling up. I generally spend 60-70 hours on the first play through of most Squaresoft RPGs, and find that to be awesome, but there's room for improvments. I'd like to see someone attempt a FPS that takes 60-70 hours to complete and have it be entertaining the full way through :D 
it's that last qualifier you mentioned in your post that's the big problem, i think.

keeping an fps interesting for a long time is difficult because the gameplay is sort of repetitive by nature

there would need to be a lot of variety in level design, first of all, a larger than average beastiary... or it needs a really good story. (the two can coexist, but either usually suffices to make a fun, engaging game) 
Game Length 
IMO, a game that takes less than 10 hours to play is not worth paying $50 for. A game that takes 10 to 15 hours is a little debatable; I'd buy it if I was really looking forward to it, or it was an otherwise outstanding game. Usually if a game gets reports of being too short, but I want it for whatever reason, I wait until I see it discounted for $30.

On the topic of longer games, Stalker's developers are saying that a quick run through the game will take about 30 to 40 hours, and a more laid-back exploratory approach to the game will take 70 to 100 hours. As has been brought up already, I would much rather have a longer game if it is interesting all the way through. 
If a game is short but fun I'd want it to be pretty replayable (add-on maps/mods etc). 
...I know the problems with "short" games, no-one including me wants to pay a lot of money for something that is genuinely very short.

But ARE they really THAT short?? 
ok, another viewpoint at this, If you can beat the game in one sitting, it's too short. I'd at least want to feel like I had to put SOME effort into playing the game to beat it. 
Yes Shambler 
They really ARE THAT short. 
Okay Zwiffle... 
Gimme some times then - genuine ones - and how you got through so fast. 
Max Payne 2 
Took me about 12 hours. I took my time, enjoyed knocking stuff around, killed lots of badguys, and then spent a healthy amount of time playing MP's version of an 'Invasion' mode, where you get swarmed with lots of badguys.

Took about 7 hours for Painkiller, first run through. I actually want to go back for this one though, just to get all the cards and get to that one locked level in act 2. 
i'm going on 18 hours now with a couple of maps left. i spend at least one hour on each map (except the first couple) just looking at stuff. some of those maps are just genious, and very inspiring. 
I Like Short Games... 
I don't have as much time as i did as a kid. I like fun games that are short enough to replay. If it's 20 hours long, i don't want to replay it becuase it's too much of a commitment. As a result, it is ONLY a 20 hour game. A 4 hour game is short enough to replay many times, and so i end up playing it many more than 20 hours, total. 
Hmmmm Yeah... 
This is the deal...

Why does Wyldnske take 7 hours to play Painkiller, and necros take 20 hours?? Is W 3 times quicker at killing stuff....or does N spend 3 times longer gawping at scenery??

7 hours still seems pretty bloody quick to me.


Metl - I agree, I don't mind if a game is fairly short say 10-15 hours which is about as short as they come when I'm playing. There's plenty of good games out there and a shorter game means I can actually finish it and progress to something else. 
Depends On The Type Of Game Of Course 
It really just comes down to the gameplay. I would never want to play a FPS that is 60-70 hours if all it is is run and gun. The weapons would become repetitive, and so would the enemies. Even if they change with different episodes it would still be too much for a single game. Plus, the development of a title that long for FPS would stretch on for years if we wanted it to be a quality experience start to finish.

On the other hand, I remember playing Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on my trusty Sega Genesis and thinking it was a perfect title. The game was great length. You could play it from beginning to end if you wanted, or you could take your time and go for all the Chaos Emeralds if you had the time. It managed the players time well.

Max Payne 2 I think is just an example of when a quality title stops before you want it too. Development cycles are already long enough, and titles like that require a lot of time in creating a good sense of atmosphere.

Call of Duty also is a good example. I don't remember how long it took me to run through the entire game, but I do know I felt like I had accomplished something. It's also not so long that I won't replay it, which I'm in the middle of doing.

This is based on my play style though, which I think is pretty similar for people in this community. We tend to take our time for most games and study the level design and the environment. So we enjoy the time we take for the most part. 
SPOG1 Took Only Four Hours To Play 
and I fealt satisfied with its legnth even though it is rare for me to not feel cheated or that I had just got a taste of what was possible in such a short sequence.

Some of you may call it a 'level' but to me, it was a game in its self. 
Replaying Games 
These days I don't find myself very interested in replaying games. Most of them simply don't interest me enough to replay; and when I do want to replay one, I usually don't get that urge until about a year later. Consequently, if a game has less than 20 hours of gameplay, I'm probably never going to spend 20 hours on the game. (I think part of the reason I don't replay most games is that I do all or most of the exploring that is possible on my first run through the game. Consequently, there is little, if anything, left to check out when replaying -- except for a few things which I probably deem too difficult to find. Also, if I want to explore the last level in a game, that means I'll either have to load a saved game or start the game over from the beginning. This just further encourages me to play the game only once. Why can't developers go back to the map or episodic approach to progression as seen in the Mario games or Doom? Okay, enough of that; back to game length.)

If you took all the really great areas from any given game and put them together into a shorter super game, I would probably replay that a few times; both because it was interesting the first time, and also because I had not checked out all the gameplay possibilities yet. This brings up an interesting point: if a game was short -- but had nice gameplay depth -- that would lure me into replaying it at least once. Especially if there were lots of skill settings so I could beat the final boss, pick up his Big Honkin' Sword, bump up the difficulty level a few notches, go back to the first level, and explore all of the sword's gameplay possibilities while still in a challenging environment.

Then there are games which try to artificially add gameplay depth by giving the player an additional playmode after beating the game -- such as Max Payne's New York Minute mode. However, Max Payne's gameplay was not interesting enough to me to play through the game again while trying to beat the clock. This is unfortunate since they actually went to some effort to add replayability.

Does anyone else have fond memories of exploring Super Mario World and discovering all the secret areas, levels, and worlds such as Rainbow Road; or trying to get the coveted 102% rating in Donkey Kong Country; or trying to beat Golden Axe on one credit? Is the sad truth these days that developers (or publishers) don't want to put effort into developing gameplay that most gamers will never even fully explore? Did I just pull this completely out of my ass? 
...trying To Get The Coveted 102% Rating In Donkey Kong Country 
Wasn't it 103%?

Also: Agreeing with the RPG and sensible people since 1981. 
More On PK 
well, partly on why it is taking me so long is because i'm also trying to get all of the tarot cards. i also spend alot of time just jumping around trying to see where i can get to in the map... it doesn't really matter if there's a secret there or not, but just the fact that i can get up there. since explosions don't impart velocity in singleplayer mode (RocketJumping is disabled), it makes it a real challenge, sometimes involving treking across a level to round up a couple of boxes, pushing them all the way back then trying the box jump around and such.

i suppose if i forgo secrets, breaking things (which counts), picking up money from broken things, extracting money from monsters and finding holyitems, i could probably get through each map on an average of twenty or so minutes.
but to me, that is a waste, because then i'll be done really fast and what's the point?

plus, once i finish on insomnia, i'm gonna replay to get to the other skill levels, so that's even more time taken.

it's the exploration that takes up so much time, and i wish more games had this. i love looking for secrets in usermade q1sp maps, esp the really hard ones. more games should do this. 
...r4wk =) 
are a secret obsession of mine. I hate getting less then 100% 
Back To PK 
I got most of the cards first time through..I'm not hurrying, but I'm not really taking my time to explore thoroughly. I really enjoyed the game, and I've already started a second run through the singleplayer on nightmare to try and unlock trauma. I really want to get to that Prison level.

It took me 7 hours mostly because I was doing 2 things: Beating the levels and trying to unlock the cards. If I got to a card challenge that I was having a LOT of trouble on, I gave up and moved on. Next time around I'm gonna have to hunker down and find everything though, because of the requirements for unlocking the last difficulty.

7 hours sounds about right though; about 20 minutes a level, with 23 levels to explore. take out some time for the boss fights, because I got lucky on a few and was able to figure out the trick on my first try (even though I still have no clue how I beat the endboss). 
Boring Is As Boring Does 
I also take longer than the complainers... must really be rushing through. I often slam through Quake maps and still sometime a speedmap pack will take 2 hours, so how short can MP2 be?

Anyway, give me tourist games, and I'd better be able to move through like a tourist. But give me variation and challenge, and I'll happily play a hour or two at a time for however many days or weeks it takes.

"there would need to be a lot of variety in level design" -- have to consider that, in most games, theme, ideas of consistency, story, other aesthetic values greatly constrict variety.

"I don't have as much time as i did as a kid." -- I find my time is more chopped up. I can always manage to play but I tend to look less for things completely new, gamewise and otherwise. 
"there would need to be a lot of variety in level design" -- have to consider that, in most games, theme, ideas of consistency, story, other aesthetic values greatly constrict variety.

well, what i meant was that there needs to be variety in the theme...

lets look at System Shock 2, for example. it has a strong theme: Spaceship overrun by meat/flesh. and that theme is consistent throughout, however, each deck (or map) has distinctive style, deck 1 is engineering for instance, has lots of pipes, smoke sparks and things like that. deck 5 is the rec deck, has crew quarters, galley, etc... and have they're own individual texture sets, even thought they all fit.

then you look at something like Doom/Doom2, Quake or Painkiller, and the variety is more pronounced: as long as it's evil/cool looking it's fine. but these games are not as story driven as a game like SS2 so that's not important. but even there, there is an underlying theme to them all (quake had four individual episodes with fairly consistent tex set each, plus the base maps, pk for the most part sticks to it's themes as well, except for the last chapter where it's sort of everywhere) yet still manage to pull of the variety. 
Painkiller took me considerably longer than 5 1/2 hours to complete. As a rough estimate, 1/2 hour per map average (some were a little shorter, but spending an hour in Docks mostly trying to reach the damn secrets balanced it out). So what's that, 10-12 hours?? That's just the recorded time, I spent a bit of time reloading and shit. So a good 12 hours I reckon.

Probably short as games go, but it certainly didn't feel that way. I rushed through the first maps too, not bothering to unlock Tarots or find secrets. It felt like a reasonably substantial game....well, a substantial collection of unrelated maps =). 
Max Payne 2 took 2 days
Currently IGI 2 is taking about 2 weeks. 
is shaping up to become a game I could play forever, GSC are saying it takes 40hrs to complete and thats without doing all the side quests and exploring. The latter are things I will be doing a lot of in this game :)

Cant wait for it.

As for PainKiller, sure I went through it quite fast, but Im still playing it now, unlocking cards, getting secrets etc. Some people seem to read "takes 6 hrs to complete" and think that after that they are not allowed the play the game any more :)

I must have clocked up well over 40hrs on painkiller since I completed it. 
Holy Shit 
baldur's gate 2 is taking forever!
(yes, i finally got this game -- in the bargain bin, no less!) 
The Game That Took Me The Most Time 
Ultima 5 -- over a span of two and a half months; ouch. DaggerFall has to be a close second.

Baldur's Gate 1 and the Expansion pack took almost two weeks. Never completed or got deeply into Baldur's Gate2. My patience insn't what it used to be. It is difficult to sustain interest in RPG's. Hack something -- gain experience, hack something -- gain experience. Just Rogue with a nice story and scripted elements. 
I'm Still Playing Morrowind 
Bought it when it came out, and probably put 4-5 hundred hours into my first guy, who was an uber-god by the time I retired him (and long after I had beaten the main quest). I have three different characters that I screw around with at this point, and am still regularly finding new stuff to do and places I've never seen before. There are still factions that I've never joined and whole series of quests that I've never done.

Gigantic and awesome game. 
4-5 hundred hours

Holy ballsac Batman!

That's, like, a fuck of a lot of time. I probably haven't spent that amount of time on all the games I've played aside from Quake put together.

Hmmmm actually, I've probably spent that amount of time on Quake. Yikes! 
I just want a game to fucking end already. Zelda: Wind Waker is such an example. Although I loved playing through the game (and am now playing Ocarina of Time), it did feel like it was dragging on a bit toward the end. Also, a lot of the game felt very repetetive and boring after a while, particularly the seafairing sections. I think if the game had taken me 5 hours less time to complete I wouldn't have thought I'd wasted my money - I may have enjoyed it more even.

Some games are, by their very nature, way more time consuming than others. This in itself doesn't make them any better than other games. If it did, the most shoot'em ups would be shit, and most Japanese RPGs would be mind blowingly fantastic. Not the fucking case, I assure you.

Basically, if a game is fun, I don't mind how long it is. Assuming I'm playing it for more than 5 hours (including replaying, multiplayer, map creation, whatever) then I don't feel cheated. It also depends on how much I pay for it I suppose. 
Wind Waker 
I just finished it last night actually after taking a long break away from it because of school. The seafaring had it's moments, but mostly I consider it an experiment that didn't pay off. Channel surfing during some of the sailing dulls the boredom, and the rumble pack will tell you when you're needed.

The levels were great though and the final battle looked amazing. I liked the game on the whole. Now I can either finish my q3 map or play the Ocarina of Time Master Quest. 
I just finished wind waker last night also. It seemed like i spent like 60 hours or something crazy on it, but that's probably not true. Still, it was too long and the length was entirely due to sailing time -- the amount of actual content was just fine (though i could have used one more dungeon.) 
I'm actually scared to play this in case i become addicted and end up putting in the same kind of time as you pjw did :). Although those are hours of pure gaming joy i imagine! 
Wind Waker 
The sailing and stuff was a bit tedious and I left the game for a long time because I had problems finding a couple of the last triforce shards or whatever...I did get around to finishing it eventually though and the end battle was indeed fantastic looking even if it was pretty dull from a gameplay pov. 
Some Games 
The longest it took me to beat a game was 2.5 to 3 weeks I think, it was the original Unreal. Another quite long (and frustratingly painful in the end) experience was Half-Life that took about 2 weeks from start to finnish. I finished Max Payne 2 in 10 or so hours. 
You should give it a try, if you're interested at all--it's a great game and cheap now. Keep in mind that you can complete the main quest and "finish" the game in much, much less time than I've spent on it. Also keep in mind that part of the explanation for all those hours is the active Morrowind mod community that keeps churning out new content, and the two expansion packs that Bethesda has released. If you decide to give it a shot, let me know and I'll throw you some "getting started" hints that will decrease any initial frustration.

There are a few things that I didn't really "get" when I first started playing the game, and I would have done things differently had I known. :) 
kept me entertained for a solid two months, then continued playing off and on for another couple of months. there's just so much to do. the hundreds of hours claimed is completly true! 
Ta Pjw 
i'll drop you a note, if and when I pick the game up. I should have mentioned I even managed to get addicted to Arena, the prequel to the prequel to Morrowind :o ... it looked worse than doom but i spent an alarming amount of time wandering around, dropping into taverns, upgrading my armour..and so on, and on :) 
Oh, And 
is it worth getting the game of the year edition? It throws in the 2 expansion packs but costs �22.50 on amazon uk, whereas the original version sells for around �7.50. 
If you're going to get addicted, you might as well do it right.

Serioiusly though, the journal improvements added by the first expansion alone are worth it. You can search/organize by specific quest, rather than having to search through several hundred pages of journal entries trying to figure out the location of that guy in Bumfuck, Egypt who wants the magical whotsit you managed to finally find. 
both packs together add quite a bit of new stuff, although the second expack is better i think, because it actually uses new terrain as well... 
SOF 2 
I read SOF 2 has 70 levels. Are these mostly short bullshit levels or is the game big on playing time? 
only the last 15 levels (the last mission) or so are actually any good along with a few in the middle. Most levels suck.

As for length, most are short some are medium, overall the game's a standard time fare experience. 
Took me 42hrs to play through first time, damn amazing game. I highly recommend it. Just full of stuff to do and all the missions are good, rather than the boring "fetch quests" that most rpg/adventure games use to extend playing time. 
Not Sure If This Really Counts.. 
...but I've notched up something like 150 hours on Project Gotham 2, and still haven't completed the damn thing (12 cone challenges left). This is possibly more down to having the hand-eye coordination of an 80 year old rather than any particular quality of the game, though. 
I had originally tried Morrowind over a year ago and I didn�t have/use any expansions and mods. Even tho I consider myself a fan of the genre, I was very quickly overwhelmed by the _HUGE_ size of the game world and gave up.

A few days ago I had found a nice guide on starting Morrowind and picked up the game along with both expansions again. I had also installed the Atmospheric Sound Effects (+ updates), Visual Pack (+ update), LeFemma Armor and RheddHeads mods. All I can say is WOW. I can�t believe I had missed out on such an incredible game. The only thing that scares me is that I keep hearing that it took 6-8 months to complete the main quest of Morrowind, let alone both of the expansions. This game is going to eat my life.

For some nice Morrowind MODs, check out: 
Now You're All Making Me Want To Get Morrowind 
Must... resist... temptation... 
Morrowing, OMG 
Once you get to installing all the enhancement packs and creature packs, new items, new places, and etc., and THEN finish rebuilding levelled lists...You've already invested 10 hours. But take my word for it: It is WORTH EVERY MINUTE. Morrowind was huge and deep before...after you mod it up, it's beautiful. The new graphics that the community has released, and the new items, make it so much more fun. 
you think morrowind is big?

look what these guys are trying to do:

you can see the main morrowind island you remember from the game, as well as the smaller second expansion pack island up at the north west.

everything else is supposed to be made and quite a bit of work has already been done for it now.

i doubt it will ever be really finished, and the final product won't have a consistent level of quality due to the large amount of people contributing, but it's still a really cool thing. :) 
Operation Flashpoint 
How long did it take anyone to complete the campaign? (witout expansions)? 
The Main Quest Isn't That Long... 
took me about 30 or so hours. it's the rest of the game/side quests and trying to level up that takes time, but that's part of what makes it fun. 
Ok I Got It :P 
i ended up getting the plain original edition with no add-on packs because it was there in the store and cost �10 instead of �30, leaving me �20 to purchase my own bodyweight in sherbet.

I'd appreciate any 'getting started' advise, i've had a quick look around and it seems nice, but i'd rather not get started a proper game and then realize i've chosen a total loser character class, etc. 
i'm still playing through the dungeon siege
and i started it..uh... somewhere the end of april.. and i play almost every evening.
dungeon siege is rather long and nice game :) 
RE: Ok I Got It :P 
You are ought to read the beginners guide spanned across the first few posts in the following thread on Ars Technica: 
Pure fighter is a viable class. Pick your weapon and armour styles to suit; also Block if you're wielding one-handed weapons - shields can save your ass in combat.
The various magics are very useful, but often not immediately - also they tend to fail randomly unless you're very high level. Still, ignore it at your peril.
Thieving (the Sneak skill) is useful, very nearly without exception - people tend to get antsy if they notice you taking their stuff, unlike most other RPGs in existence (don't try to sell it back to them, either :).
I'm a personal fan of Enchanting, but it's bloody hard to level up unless you find some help.


Mmm, sherbet... 
about that guide,

i disagree with one thing, and that is picking acrobatics as a major or minor skill. maybe it's because i play quake, but the first time i played and had acrobatics as a minor, i found i was leveling up way to quickly, thus facing more powerful monsters before i had gotten my skills up. i ended up ditching that char at 15... 
You're an obsessive-compulsive bunnyhopper too? I'm glad to see I'm not the only one whose acrobatics level got WAY too high. 
i noticed ingame that jumping imparted a faster forward speed than running alone, and at the start, you run really slow, and walk like molasses.

actually, i became so pissed at the slow movement rate, i haxored an item into the game which continuously replenished my fatigue level so that i could run all the time without getting tired.

More Morrowind Fun... 
Something funny happened to my lvl 3 character today. I went to explore some areas north of Caldera and eventually ventured into Ashlands. I was immidiately greeted by a goblin-like creature that attacked me. Seeing as my sword could not damage the creature at all, I decided to retreat. I ran and jumped my way through some pretty ridiculously high mountains, BUT THE DAMN THING FOLLOWED ME RIGHT INTO CALDERA :o

I got it into a fight with 4 city guards and watched the fight for a bit. Apparently the guards didnt seem to be able to hurt the damn thing either as after a 3 minute fight it�s health didn�t reduce one bit. I saw it was best for my safety to leave Caldera altogether. I guess I will be back when I get a better long blade. I wonder what will be the state of the city by then? All city guards dead and the goblinoid running around? 
I think he may have been bugged...Never had that happen to me before. 
Bugged in what way? My long blade does only physical damage and afaik there are many creatures in the game that can completely resist it and your weapon must have magic properties in otder to kill them. The standard "your weapon has no effect" (or something similar) message also comes up at the bottom of the screen when I try attacking the creature. 
One Last Post On Morrowind... 
As we�re getting very OT, I suggest that after this post we move the discussion into the GA. Check the following screenshot to see how damn good Morrowind can look: 
You Need 
at least a silver blade.

deadric, glass and ebony also work as well as dwemer weapons. likewise, normal arrows won't work, but deadric arrows, glass ebony and silver will. (as well as magic, of course) 
Operation Flashpoint 
I never actually completed with main campaign because me and brother got totally addicted to the multiplayer side of things.

We had a mini-lan (just our 2 pc's) and we could play it all day :) It really is brilliant playing the co-op missions against the A.I. And its one of the 1st mp games I've played where every time you attempt a mission things play out differently, the ai will react differently, tanks and platoons will show up at different times and in different places etc, it was superb fun!

The easy to use mission editor adds hours of fun to the mp side as well, in 5 minutes u can create a huge skirmish and then play it again and again. Very recommended if u have a small home lan... 
I Don't 
have any LAN =\ 
America's Army 
I finally qualified for Advanced Marksman, 36 out of 40 targets. Only I clicked REPLAY instead of CONTINUE and now I have to start over... it was hard X( 
So I Got 36 Again 
and saved, but it didn't unlock Advanced Marksmanship.. bah! 
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