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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??
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Shambler 
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. 
BTW 
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). 
Hmmmm... 
...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?? 
 
samorost. 
 
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. 
Painkiller 
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.


And...

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. 
Secrets... 
...r4wk =) 
Secrets... 
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. 
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