Since When is a 10-Hour Video Game "Short?"

Ask anyone back in the mid-80's about the length of their video games and you would probably get a strange look. It was never an issue, one that was hardly even thought of. Now, people complain if they don't get 10 hours of gameplay. What happened?

It's certainly not the price and getting your moneys worth. Games have remained pretty steady over the years, firmly sticking to a $50 price point. Should you feel cheated now if you don't get 10-20 hours of gameplay? No. In fact, that almost sounds ridiculous.

I can still remember saving up my own money to buy "Super C" on the NES. When I finally got the game, I beat it in a week. Then I beat it again. And again. In fact, last week I beat it again almost 20 years later, this time in less than 18 minutes. How's that for getting your moneys worth?

Now, a month or so ago I played through "Metal Gear Solid 3," a game that firmly earned a Game of the Year award from me. I spent about 15 hours with it. I had a blast, some of those moments firmly entrenched in my mind forever.

Oddly, I never went back for seconds.

Maybe the problem is something entirely different. Is it that games are too LONG now? Why does every developer have to falsely extend their games length with stupid mini-games, "find all the hidden items that have nothing to do with the game" styled quests, and absurd ways to unlock locked content? Why isn't this stuff just included? I shouldn't have to work for this stuff. Are these games really as long as advertised in the first place?

I've played through those "Contra" titles hundreds of times and never once was I bored. You can find new ways to challenge yourself (I.e., not dying, taking different paths, etc.). Plus you can do it all in 20 minutes. In order for me to get to some of the best parts of "MGS 3," I need to donate another sizable chunk of my time to give it another shot.

Yes, I completely admit I yearn for those days back when I was kid, pulling marathon sessions on a single game to see how many times I could beat it in a hour. But this has nothing to do with nostalgia or warm fuzzy memories. If a game is good, you'll get your fix and a value considering what you paid. It has nothing to do with the length. Next time you log onto a message board to complain about how "company X" ripped you off because the game you bought was only 6 hours, stop and think WHY you feel ripped off. It likely has little or nothing to do with time.

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