Editorial: Shorter Games Were Necessary
During the course of this generation, many gamers have called out the decreasing length of video games. But as the industry grows and caters to an increasingly older demographic, one has to wonder- isn't shorter games a good thing?
Hey, this isn't coming from your typical 30+ gamer who just doesn't have enough time to indulge in his favorite hobby. Firstly, that isn't really true and secondly, I was one of those people who were very disappointed if their selection didn't last at least 40 hours. Granted, I'm referring to my RPG-exclusive days in the original PlayStation era, but the point is that at one time in my gaming career, my mantra was, "the longer the better." 120 hours into SaGa Frontier. Yep.
And I still love my games. However, while my job and simple bachelor lifestyle allows me to play almost as much as I want, I've caught glimpses of reasons why older gamers would prefer shorter adventures. For instance, all my friends tend to have even less time than I and as a direct result, most have become casual gamers. They still enjoy this form of entertainment, of course, but they no longer have the time - or indeed, the motivation - to play a long, involved game that takes 20+ hours to complete. And me, even with the time I have, I have yet to complete Dragon Age II.
Now why would that be? As I said, it's not really a matter of time... Essentially, my tastes are more diverse these days, and I think this is an inevitable aging occurrence. I like to read more than ever; I like to take up other hobbies and projects every now and then, and in general, I like to relax in different ways. Before, my relaxation basically revolved around games but now, it just seems like there's so much more out there. I'll finish DAII (very soon, in fact), I'll still complete a fair amount of games each year, and I still adore my favorite hobby and my growing collection.
But really, a 10-hour campaign for anything is enough for me these days. And as I've just illustrated, I'm someone who not only still has the chance to indulge in lengthy gaming sessions, but often did in the past. Others, who have even more interests and less time, will likely agree. And the average age of a gamer continues to rise. ...see where I'm going with this?
4/29/2011 Ben Dutka