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Poll: Your preferred game length?

Hours, tick all that apply

  • 1-3

    Votes: 3 15.8%
  • 4-8

    Votes: 5 26.3%
  • 8-12

    Votes: 5 26.3%
  • 13-24

    Votes: 8 42.1%
  • 25-40

    Votes: 4 21.1%
  • 41-100

    Votes: 11 57.9%
  • 101-200

    Votes: 3 15.8%
  • 201-500

    Votes: 2 10.5%
  • 501-1000

    Votes: 1 5.3%
  • 1001-Infinite

    Votes: 5 26.3%

  • Total voters
    19

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
21,888
978
126
(Option2 should read "4-7").

8-12
is my sweet spot for a solid single player campaign with decent content, good direction, and zero fluff.

Very short (1-3) games can also be fun if I can’t decide what to play next, so it’s nice to do a run of Talisman or Ziggurat in one session.

24 hours is about my limit. After that my reason to continue quickly disappears, no matter how good the game is.

First four options have my vote.
 
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mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,365
785
126
It depends on how well they provide a variety entertaining content instead of just increasingly difficult repetition to fill the hours, rather than just making it so difficult to progress that you get stuck for a long time and keep having to do a level over. At the same time, too easy gets boring.

I'd consider 6 hours a minimum and can't see how it could last more than 40 hours before I got bored and moved onto something else, though I haven't done much gaming in recent years, don't have the extended blocks of time to get engaged like I used to.
 

GodisanAtheist

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2006
3,364
1,916
136
How funny, was about to make this topic myself.

Sort of an arbitrary breakdown of times in the poll, but I'd have to say the sweet spot for a well produced not indie title would be 10-20 hours for me. Games with that length tend to have a nice diverse set of content, new things to show you on a regular basis, and very little fluff. Even a mechanically mediocre game with a solid story can turn out pretty good if the game time remains between 10-20 hours.

Super short games are great (only one I've played in the ~5 hours or less range has been Stanley Parable), they tend to be one trick ponies but the dev knows well enough when the joke runs dry. These tend to overwhelmingly be little indie titles as well.

Then you have the open world monster games that clock in at 40+ hours to complete even a slice of the total gameplay experience. the 40+ hour game time is almost exclusively owned by these types of games, which I do enjoy losing myself in from time to time, even if it takes me literal months to complete with my play schedule. The only other way you're getting that type of playtime is one of those "endless" type games that don't really have a story or plot, which aren't really my jam.
 

Igo69

Senior member
Apr 26, 2015
573
62
91
I picked from 25 up to infinity lol. I love good and long games. I am playing Counter Strike: GO occasionally now. Started playing Counter strike back in 1998 then moved to CS Source and then CS:GO.

Games like SimCity 4 and Cities Skylines can be played for infinity.

Call of Duty is a lot of fun but the campaign is way too short so i avoid it.
 

Zenoth

Diamond Member
Jan 29, 2005
5,086
105
106
I have no uniform / universal game length preference. It's really based on a per-game basis (or at least the overall game genre itself but even that is too broad).

If it's an arcade-style action game or a beat 'em up (like Streets of Rage 4 for example) then I don't actually want it to last too long; those games are 'meant' to be played in a short complete session, or at the very least in a few short bursts sessions to finish them. So anywhere between 2 to maybe 4 hours max can be more than enough.

If it's a racing game with an arcade style to it, something like the Mario Kart series, or maybe Sonic All-Stars, I wouldn't want the equivalent of a full 'cup' run (or to complete all racing tracks to the final one to establish the winners) to last more than maybe 1 or 2 hours max (even with these examples I gave here it's usually just about 1 hour or so max).

If it's a Fighting game (Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, etc) and I'm playing something like the Arcade mode (essentially doing the selected character's story mode, if any) then I'm fine if it lasts about 1 to 2 hours (given a few defeats here and there perhaps to slow down the progression a bit). Maybe up to 3 or 4 hours if the game is very cinematic and has cutscenes in a story mode, but otherwise say something like in Street Fighter, yeah then I'm fine with the typical 1 or 2 hours session.

If it's something like Breath of the Wild or The Witcher 3 (*open world, can do anything or at least can do things in any order I want, or explore anywhere I want, etc) then that depends on many factors, even outside of the game itself. With those types of big open world games the amount of time I CAN dedicate to it will not be in sync with the amount of time I am WILLING to put into it. Let's say I do really like the Zelda franchise in general (and, well, I do), I'd be willing to spend "whatever amount of time I would need to spend" to finish it. But that could possibly mean not being able to finish it within the next 2 years. And, at some point within all that time, I can absolutely lose interest and move on to other things (or other games anyway). To this very day, I never actually finished Oblivion (spent more time modding it, or playing it with mods than actually focusing on the story and the quests themselves), I never finished Grand Theft Auto 4, or 5. I never finished Skyrim, and I never finished Breath of the Wild. In fact, I STILL have my first technically "in progress" saved game of Breath of the Wild (on my Wii U version) which I started 3 weeks after the game came out with the launch of the Switch back in March of 2017. I still have 2 full regions on the map to 'reveal' by going to their corresponding towers and activate the tablet at the top. And The Witcher 3... same thing, still haven't finished it.

My "cue" for the above paragraph concerning open world games is that my attention span is just not good enough to focus on games if they're too big, or if they can make you do things left and right outside of the main quests for an inordinate amount of time. I am easily distracted in those games for doing 'side ways things' and completely ignoring the main quests for 3 months in a row (especially more so if I can mod the game, that's even worse, because if I can and there's good mods for it you BET I will try them and I will restart my games from scratch if I have to). I am 100% aware that I never really had a good-enough attention span for very big, imposing game worlds. BUT... when the game is large but is more of a linear, very well directed and what I like to call 'purposed' game, then I can be "in" non-stop until the end even if it takes 30, 40 or 50 hours to complete. Examples of "open world" ('ish) games that are more linear than anything, thus helping me in the process of keeping the interest for seeing "what's next" in the upcoming missions would be games in the style of the Mass Effect series, or Dragon Age; or also something like God of War (2018) or the latest Tomb Raider games. Those games do have some leeway of open terrain to explore a bit, but they are generally set in "tunneled" (although large) areas that won't allow you to explore for the equivalent of 100 freakin' square miles on a real world scale (something like the map size of Assassin's Creed Odyssey is absolutely insane and is a complete turn off in the end, it made me lose interest after 20 hours in).

If I take let's say Dragon Age Inquisition for example, I recall it took me I think a good 70 hours or so to finish the first time (on a hard difficulty setting if I remember too). The thing is I never really stopped, I kept on playing for what, maybe a full week or a little more, a couple of long sessions and I was done with the game within the same week of purchase. The same happened with the original Mass Effect (or ME2, etc). But I would never commit 70 hours within a week for a game like Skyrim or Fallout 4. Not because I "don't like them" but simply because those games are plain and simple not 'structured' in a way that's directing me in a linear-manner enough as to keep me going with what actually matters to make the game actually freakin' progress (I.E. the main quests, at least in majority, even if I do delve into side quests here and there). If I'm free to explore, go anywhere, do anything I can and want to do... then your game needs to be the next best thing since the invention of Sliced Bread or the Super Nintendo to keep me going, otherwise I'll wander around, mess around with NPCs or the game world in general and completely lose interest. In fact, the only Elder Scrolls game I ever completed was Morrowind back on the original XBOX version when I owned that one (and I recall it took me at least a full month to see the end credits, and that was back when I had way more patience, way more free time and a lot more energy to spare as a younger lad).

So, recap, it's a matter of game direction, linearity (to any extent) and purpose. Direct me well in a game, and don't make it too 'open' and I can stick to it until the end and enjoy it. Let me do what I want, and make your game about as big as my actual city size to explore and you'll probably lose me after a week of trying. Basically, the "more linear" games (for single-player that is) are the types of games I do tend to finish. The open world games I CAN finish if the direction is well done, if the side quests aren't too numerous or at least if they're easy to access, and not too many distractions stand between me, them, and the main quest (Dragon Age Inquisition was alright for that, not perfect, but alright enough for me to play until the end even if ultimately it wasn't that good of a game).

Now with all this said, there's a category of games I'd call the "best games", which I can replay constantly even after decades. Those don't really "count" because they can last anywhere between 2 hours to 30 hours to finish them, but I'll finish them once (or more) every year of my life until the day of my death bed arrives. I'll probably still finish the middle path of SNES Star Fox until my 80s if my health and mental condition allows; even if it takes 2 hours to finish. I'll still finish the GDI or NOD campaign of the original C&C every year too, until my body can't physically hold on a PC mouse and click, because I love that game. I'll still play DOOM, or many other Build-engine FPS games on various platforms or engines as long as it's going to be possible to do so; which counts as "infinite", practically. I could play something like Super Mario Maker 2 making levels for the next 50 years, or I could complete the Flower Cup in SNES Mario Kart five times a year, or finish Streets of Rage 2 every month until I'm gone from this Earth.

So yeah, it's really a per-game thing.
 
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Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,051
267
126
So yeah, it's really a per-game thing.
Pretty much sums up mine as well. If the game is outstanding (Witcher 3), I don't care if it takes me 500 hours to beat it because I'll keep playing. If the game is short and sweet (Trine series excluding 3) and it doesn't cost more than around $20, then that's fine too.

For me, the hours don't matter. The experience is all that matters to me because these days, I don't have as much time to play as I used to, so if a game starts to feel like a chore, then I'll quickly lose interest and stop playing. Besides, if hours were all that matter, then mods would have to be excluded but mods bring brand new life into an old game which will result in more hours played.
 

DeathReborn

Platinum Member
Oct 11, 2005
2,368
281
126
I had to vote 41+ as for me a game should have a minimum of 1 hour for every £/$ it costs.
 

Artorias

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2014
1,546
711
136
This really depends on the genre for me. Typically I want my FPS game to be at least 15hrs, stealth games should be around 30hrs or more, open world games at leastr 70hrs on first playthroughs. I like RPGS to be well over 100. I typically to take a lot longer to finish games than most.

Good place to post this. Apparently low cost & under 2 hours is not good.

https://www.pcgamesn.com/summer-of-58/returns
It's sad to see work result in no compensation. It seem like a decent game from the reviews, but then you have people exploit the refund system. Although it should probably only cost $5 than the current $10 at full price.
 

CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
4,919
254
126
I don't have a particular preference, will just keep playing a game for however many days it takes me to finish. I do want quality content and not filler, and like both long and short games if they do that right. Some RPGs can have 200+ hours of good content and I will keep playing the game for months until I finish everything in it.
 

Borealis7

Platinum Member
Oct 19, 2006
2,817
148
106
I had to vote 41+ as for me a game should have a minimum of 1 hour for every £/$ it costs.
but you would pay 10$ for a 2 hour movie?

it's not how long it is, it's how much you enjoy its length. (that's what she said...)
some games in the 50 hour range just dragged on for the last 10 hours, i was just running past everything just to get to the end.

<insert joke about width or depth here>
 
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DeathReborn

Platinum Member
Oct 11, 2005
2,368
281
126
but you would pay 10$ for a 2 hour movie?

it's not how long it is, it's how much you enjoy its length. (that's what she said...)
some games in the 50 hour range just dragged on for the last 10 hours, i was just running past everything just to get to the end.

<insert joke about width or depth here>
I get 2 tickets for £5 at the cinema thanks to buy one get one free, last 2 times I went to the big screen I went with my brother, he paid once I paid once. Bear in mind the £1ph+ is SP+Co-Op+MP (MP at £0.50ph). If I am paying £50+ for a digital game I expect 50+ hours of entertainment or a bloody DVD+Manual since we used to get AAA games for £40 physical copies, no DLC/Always Online/Season Pass bullcrap.

With my Autism I rely on video games to decompress after work, but I also want value for my money.
 

Borealis7

Platinum Member
Oct 19, 2006
2,817
148
106
I get 2 tickets for £5 at the cinema thanks to buy one get one free, last 2 times I went to the big screen I went with my brother, he paid once I paid once. Bear in mind the £1ph+ is SP+Co-Op+MP (MP at £0.50ph). If I am paying £50+ for a digital game I expect 50+ hours of entertainment or a bloody DVD+Manual since we used to get AAA games for £40 physical copies, no DLC/Always Online/Season Pass bullcrap.

With my Autism I rely on video games to decompress after work, but I also want value for my money.
well, your British Pound is worth less than it used to ;) (wow down 40% since 2009)
and i think prices are adjusting accordingly.
 

Starbuck1975

Lifer
Jan 6, 2005
14,676
1,890
126
Interesting thread. I’ve found that my attention span for some genres is getting shorter and shorter, and I am increasingly shifting to shorter indie games that offer unique or interesting gameplay experiences.
 
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SteveGrabowski

Diamond Member
Oct 20, 2014
3,787
2,272
136
I like games of all lengths from 2 hour walking sims to 200 hour JRPGs. My only real rule on this is I refuse to pay $60 or more for a game less than 20 hours.
 

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
28,500
4,127
126
after watching The Witcher TV series, i thought about replaying TW3. my GOG account listed "140hrs gameplay time". nooooo thanks.

i think about 50hrs give or take is my sweet spot.

Wasteland 2: 54hrs
Othercide: 28hrs
Pathfinder Kingmaker: 117 - it got to be a bit of a slog towards the end. but as an RPG, i could play it piecemeal.
Doom Eternal - 29hrs
Castlevania Lord of Shadows - 18hrs
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
12,082
1,295
126
i dont like short games at all. The shortest games i played in memory were Hard Reset and Singularity, they were both ok and fun while they lasted. I didn't have to learn anything to play.

See, this to me is a very, very important factor. Let me explain, least you think i'm a big dumbass.

If your stupid game has a weird set of controls but is immediately recognizable as another game with decent controls, i will not play your game, e.g having hug cover on (F), or interact on (Z). I have hours and hours of FPS games, THOUSANDS of hours in my bones and there is no way i am going to try to re-educate myself that now crouch is (C) instead of (Ctrl) like god intended.
I downloaded Deus Ex Human Revolution and the instant that i found there is no option to set ADS to Hold, i uninstalled it.

If your game has a nicely decorated UI where the most important information is not the biggest, most prominently displayed one, i will not play your game. I would love to play some Hearts Of Iron or Europa Universalis but the fact that you have decided to hide the information under not-immediately-obvious tiny symbols, all scattered throughout the UI and in some cases even in closed screens, means i need to spend far more time googling "how do i unload units from boat HOI peacetime" than actually playing the game, before i can decide if i even like the game.

I tried Wasteland 3 and (fortunately dodged that bullet) got my entire party wiped on the first encounter because i could not figure out how to handle basic, tutorial combat.



See, one of the games i had the most fun playing, FTL, you can totally learn in one minute; spacebar to pause, here's how you fire, there is how power works. Off you go.
You can play and have fun, you will lose, but you can play. You can board if you want to board, you can put out fires but maybe you will asphixiate, and so on. Learning more makes you better, but you CAN play without knowing a whoooole bunch of stuff.


Two other games that just never could persuade me to learn as much as was needed to play were Witcher 3 and Dishonored. DIshonored is structured to be played with a controller and it sucks having to use the keyboard, and Witcher 3 just has sooooo much completely new mechanics for what is essentially a hack n slash, grind-based RPG that i could not be bothered.

It's not about being hard, it's about being unjustifiably hard. I played something called IndustrialCraft, which is a mod of Minecraft where you build nuclear reactors who can - and will - expload in yo face, on hardcore mode, and boy, you ain't going nowhere without the wiki open while playing.
Civilization 4 is a ridiculously complicated game where a lot of stuff happens hiddend from sight, which you gotta know unless you plan to only play Warlord difficulty.

I gotta tell you, even Doom annoyed me, due to the weird weapon keybinds, and though i beat the game, i didn't play nearly as well as i wanted to.


anyway, i got slightly off track.

I'm not prepared to learn - often *figure out* - a whole bunch of game mechanics for your 2 1/2 hour "game experience". Like, Superhot. The moment i started getting into the grove of Superhot, the game's over. (i got more bad things to say about that game)
Also, what games exactly last two hours? Walking simulators? Puzzle games? Those "i am one coder in a bedroom and i made ART" games.


There was just recently a story about .. here: https://www.nme.com/news/gaming-news/steam-refunds-cause-indie-dev-to-leave-the-industry-indefinitely-3031247

So this guy makes a game. A "game". And a lot of people buy it but almost everyone refunds it.
Turns out that Steam has a no-questions-asked refund policy if your game purchase is under two hours prior, and the game, to finish for someone who just downloaded it and has never tried it before, takes 90 minutes.

Seriously you made a game that takes someone who's never seen it - mind you, not a speedrunner, but like, EVERYONE - a grand total of one and a half hours to finish, and you expect that to be a complete product? For gamers??

You made a film bro. you didn't make a game. And you decided that yes, you were gonna sell your 90min game on a platform that will refund all games before 120 minutes from purchase.
 

CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
4,919
254
126
I played all the Dishonored games with mouse/KB and loved them. They are all first person so I don't think a controller would even be better. I have one but only use it for racing games. If it's a game of substantial length like an RPG, I always remap the keys and set up mods before playing anyway.

I agree about unreasonable difficulty though. I'm currently playing Witcher 2 and its difficulty is really off, even though I like the game in general. Some boss fights are very frustrating and are a matter of trying 50 times until you glitch the AI and win, while other fights are quite easy.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
21,888
978
126
My Doom 3 and Tomb Raider Legend finish times as a comparison. It's nice when games count it for you:


I have hours and hours of FPS games, THOUSANDS of hours in my bones and there is no way i am going to try to re-educate myself that now crouch is (C) instead of (Ctrl) like god intended.
Huh? It's called rebinding your controls. You should try it sometime.
 
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