Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Poll Results - How long for a single player game?

Here's the results of the last poll:

How long should it take to finish a good single player game?

15-30 hours = 2 votes
30-50 hours = 5 votes
50-75 hours = 1 vote
100+ hours = 1 vote
0-15 and 75-100 hours = 0 votes

I can understand why no one votes for 0-15 hours. That's just way too short for any game. And if you look at the financial investment you can tell. At $60 a game and it only lasts 15 hours that means you spent $4 a hour to play it. That might not seem like much but I can remember when the minimum wage was less than $4. Now a days that's a breakfast at McDonald's for every hour of game play. Two hours of game play could probably get you into to see a matinee movie, which might also take two hours. But at least with a matinee all you have to do is sit there and be entertained. A game takes work.

I voted for the 100+ hours. You might think I'm crazy, but I have my reasons. I was mostly thinking of RPG style games. Those games usually have areas, side quests, and what-nots built in to them that require a little extra time exploring and wandering around. I certainly don't expect BioShock to take 100 hours to play. I think I did it in about 20 hours, but I'll have to go online tonight and check that out.

However long it took me, BioShock was a short game. The fact that there was nothing else to do besides the main quest didn't help. It's still a great game but it didn't completely satisfy my gaming needs. In other words I wanted more.

With traditional RPG games there's places all over that don't require you to visit them to advance the story. And just about everybody you talk to is going to either a) give you information about the main quest, b) give you the opportunity for a side quest, or c) annoy the crap out of you. In Lost Odyssey the other night I visited an area that opened up on the map but I didn't have to go to. I picked up a few cool items so it was very beneficial to do so. I didn't have to, but I'm a completist when I play RPG type games. I'll explore every option presented to me before moving on.

For some reason I don't expect a game like Gears of War or Call of Duty 4 to have extensive single player campaigns. It would be really nice if it did, but I don't expect it. Maybe because the developers know that the longevity to those games are through the multiplayer game play rather than the single player campaigns. Look at the Halo franchise. The first game was all about the story and game play. They throw in multiplayer stuff with the second one and not everybody who talks about that game focuses on that aspect only. You don't hear people raving over the single player stuff, now do you?

I remember in the good old original Playstation days games were made with really long (and sometimes very difficult) single player game play. Multiplayer game play took a back seat if it was included at all. Now a days with more casual gamers getting into the action and more interactive games on the market (Guitar Hero, anything for the Wii) more gamers are looking for more multiplayer action than single player campaigns. I guess this high profile move is taking the stereotypical gamer from their parent's basement to everyone's living rooms but I hope it doesn't do in single player campaigns and games entirely. Some days you've just got to immerse yourself and play alone in someone else's world. It beats listening to the news in our own world.

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