Irritating Archery #2 – Time Lapse Boogaloo

Chris Hansbrough is back with his second column and this time he’s wondering how long a game has to be to be a good game.

1 Hour in – Interesting game, I’m gonna have to play a little more.

Why is it that games now days feel the need to take all of a month to make me finish?

What is the point?

Remember back when a game took 35 hours and you raved about how much depth and story there was to it?

When was the last time you felt completely fulfilled at the end of playing a game?

Why do people feel the need to artificially inflate the time it takes to beat a game with idiotic extra forced labor?

Seriously……What the hell.

I guess I’ll take the time this week to bitch and moan about all this crap.

5 hours in – sweet. That’s an awesome new ability. And a great story to boot. Wish there was less story and a little more action though.

So why is it that games need to take forever to finish? What makes your 90 hour adventure better than the 30 hour adventure I got from playing Chrono Trigger? The simple answer is….well it sure as hell doesn’t. But maybe I should use a game that isn’t perfect to use as comparison. So why is it that games now days boast that they take those 90 hours to complete? Before the PS2 era came along the longest it ever took me to beat a game was 40 hours and at the end of a well paced game with story, plot movement, and great action and gameplay I would be beaming and even if you got the same story every time you played it, they were still worth playing again. Whether it was because you wanted to find everything or just found the story brilliant enough to go through it all again.

10 Hours in – This game is great. The last bit has been fantastic. A great blend of plot and action. I’m enthralled.

If I go back into my past I can’t think of one game that lasted as long as games do now. It’s insane. At the same time, somehow it’s become a sign of quality. Look at me bragging about how my game is so long it’s amazing. How my game is so much better than the other because it has over 100 hours of gameplay. Well screw off you idiot. I don’t want to play the same game for a hundred hours. By the time I get to the end my attention will most likely have shifted to another game with better controls, a more creative storyline and an even longer span of gameplay time. It actually kind of makes me sick A lot of games nowadays I find difficult to finish because they have such exorbitant game times. Please, let me have the option of doing extra stuff, don’t make it necessary. In the past a fetch quest used to be some optional thing from a villager or something. Now, it’s a necessary thing you have to do 80 times just to get to the next section of story.

15 hours in – Oh good gravy this is great. Second act here I come.

I’m serious when I ask this about fetch quests and other idiotic methods of artificially inflating game times. They are completely unnecessary and really really really damned annoying. One or two is fine. Or when they fit in the context of a story. But when you start throwing all this crap in my way that should be completely optional it starts to drive me crazy. And nowadays it’s never just an optional thing. No we have to do it for a good 5 or 6 hours of gametime. Just have you run back and forth from one location to the next dropping stuff off and picking stuff up then dropping that stuff off to pick up some more stuff. Awesome. Please, stab me in the face now because it’s driving me insane.

20 and 25 hours in – Um, could something please happen already? I thought this would be the second act?

No really, I mean it. It’s like driving hot rusted nails into my eyes. No better yet, dull and hot rusted nails. By hand right through the retina. Screw you people. OPTIONAL! OPTIONAL! If I want to play the main story of a game and not do any of the sidequests, please, keep it to around 30 – 50 hours. This 90 crap is driving me insane. And they are called sidequests for a reason, because they take place on the side. As in, UNIPORTANT TO THE MAIN NARRATIVE! Or to put it in a better way, OPTIONAL! Why can’t people get it through there heads. If your main character has a brother that is part of the storyline that’s awesome. But if he has a brother that has nothing to do with his role in the story, I want it to be my choice to go 5 hours out f my way to meet my brother. It’s not that hard a concept. Make a main narrative completable in a tolerable amount of time then build around that. I’m far more likely to spend that extra 25 hours of gameplay exploring and finding out these things if I’m not FORCED TO DO THEM!

30 Hours in – Ok, I’m back to the story. Oh wow that was cool.

35 Hours in – WOULD YOU SHUT UP ALREADY! I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR SWOLLEN TOE THAT NEEDS MEDICATION SO YOU CAN OPEN THE GATE!

40 hours in – Ok. This isn’t bad. That spell I just got is awesome. A couple new characters. I’m totally back into thing. Glad to be back into this.

But I digress, some games can be long and pace themselves properly. Atlas and Konami seem to have a good grasp on game pacing. I love the Shin Megami Tensei : Persona series which range pretty good in length due to combining sim and RPG elements. But the pacing is up to you. I can go into my TV every day and fight or spend most of the time sitting outside trying to become best buds with everyone. It works for one damn good reason. It’s my choice. I’m not forced to stay outside. I can explore dungeons and treasure hunt all I want or become friends with everyone. The great thing is. You aren’t required to ace all the sim stuff to beat the game. It is optional in that the bonuses it gives you aren’t necessary. They are just what they say they are. Bonuses. Same with the Suikoden Series. I don’t need all 108 Stars of Destiny. But it’s a damn cool thing for me to seek out if I want to. It’s not required, it’s completely optional so THANK YOU! It’s why right now these are my 2 favorite game companies. None of their games are really drawn out in artificial ways. It’s a choice. I can follow it if I want, and if I don’t? Well I don’t have to. I can beat games in 40 or 50 hours. I’m not pulling my hair out wanting to get to the next session.

45 hours in – fetch fetch fetch…..I feel like a dog.

50 hours in – OH GOD WOULD YOU STOP ALREADY!

55 hours in – I am so tired of this. Please just let me get back to the story. PLEASE!

60 hours in – I swear to god. One more hour of this crap and I quit.

65 hours in – oh thank god. Some story…..and it’s pretty good.

It really is depressing to me though. Excellent games come out and they are overlooked or criticized for not being long enough. Dead Space is my Game Of The Year for 2008 due to it’s excellent gameplay, frightening atmosphere, and excellent narrative. Yet I see all over the interwebs people bitching about how it wasn’t long enough and that there was no replayability. I’m sorry what? Yes, it was shortish for a game nowadays. Really only about 8-12 hours or so depending on the amount of time you could dedicate to it. No there aren’t branching paths or alternate endings. But why should there be. It was an excellent narrative told brilliantly with an atmosphere that caused me to have to change my underoos more that a few times. Shouldn’t the biggest caveat to replayability be that a game is great to play? Why is 8-15 hours too short? Especially since it allowed for the perfect amount of time to go play a tight cohesive story with a constantly progressing narrative from start to finish. Isn’t that what we should ask for in our games.

70 hours in – Story is really ramping up, looks like the final act is about to begin.

75 hours in – Oh god not again.

80 hours in – ugh, really?

85 hours in – That’s it, I’m done.

90 hours in – Ok this time I’m done for reals.

95 hours in – ooh some plot. I think I’m getting to the end. Yep that looks like the last boss through those gates.

100 hours in – Right before last boss……I’m gonna try this new game I bought. I’ll fight the last boss later.

And the game languishes for an eternity on the shelf until someday…..I swear I’ll finish it eventually… Maybe… Bastards

Geek Out of the Week – Comics – Blue Beetle # 35 *little tear*

DC, I hate you for canceling this. I know it was necessary but it’s far too much fun for it’s own good. The art, the characters, the fun. It’s all going to be missed and my grief will shake the foundations of the Internet. I’m the Brian Bendis of Internet sadness. On a serious note, The coming of the Khaji Da Revolutionary Army is brilliant. Every character shines with the grace they have for 35 issues and Sturges manages to truly equal the glory that was John Rogers. Carlo Barberi also manages to keep the art feeling like it has since the beginning. It’s not a sudden shock coming from Albuquerque. Please give me more artistic runs on a book like this one has had. It’s had many a fill-in but it’s always kept the same feel. Thank you for that. I’m done being sad. I’m happy that I’m getting it for one more month now. Next month is going to be another bittersweet one and after already losing Manhunter I don’t know what will get me through losing this one. *Sniff* I got a little something in my eye.

Geek Out of the Week – Gaming – Harvest Moon : Rune Factory 2. – Nintendo DS

That’s right. The best game I played this week is a game about farming and picking up the ladies. Getting married, having a family and milking my beasts as I harvest eggs and other brilliantly awesome farming activities. But wait, there is more. DUNGEON CRAWLING! No Really, Farming and dungeon crawling makes this game go from a nice diversion to being a very entertaining nice diversion. And when the Wii version is released soon… you bet I’m buying it. It’s weird. It’s a game that I know I should hate. I know it should suck. I mean it’s pretty much a farming life sim with some RPG elements thrown in. But I’ll be damned if it ain’t a heck of a lot of fun.

Next Week in Geek – (Sounds better than Next Weeks picks…..plus keeps with the theme of the site eh)

It’s a sad week for new game releases so it’s all comics this week. And if you want to ask why the Fallout 3 expansion wasn’t on my list last week. Well, it was lackluster and honestly I won’t put fallout material on my list until the game gets it’s new ending in march. So what should you look forward too next week then.

Secret Six #6 – Gail Simone is a flippin’ madwoman and I love her for it. Nicola Scott is fantastic on art actually making everything seem like it has weight and personality and the book, well the book is a fun romp of sadistic glee. Buy it, Enjoy it, or Catman will stop going shirtless.

Locke & Key Head Games #2 – The original run was my big surprise last year and the second story in the series started just as excellently as the first. So color me excited for this one. I’m a huge fan of the very Lovecraftian Horror taking place in the town of Lovecraft… Wow, that’s convenient. The book is brilliant Conceptually and I can almost guarantee that unless something surprises the hell out of me again this is going to be the geek out for next week.

Dynamo 5 #19 – Jay Faerber is brilliant. Another of his more soap operatic Superhero titles it’s been an absolute blast with every issue and after the battle in the last issue I can’t wait to see where it leads us. Here is hoping this book keeps going for a long and fruitful run. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do yourself a favor and give it a try.

Madman Atomic Comics #13 – Oh Mike Allred. How I love the glorious experiment that is every issue of Madman. A book centered not on big action but really on fun and experimentation. It’s what I love about comics because it proves that really, you can do anything with them. You can have issues with no dialogue or sound, you can have issues with just one long image with no break, you can have issues where every panel is in the style of a different artist, and you can have it all make sense and draw your attention to the beautiful simplistic complexity that is the mind and art of Mike Allred.

Scott Pilgrim : Vol 5 : Scott Pilgrim Vs The Universe – If you aren’t buying Scott Pilgrim I am a better person than you. No Really, because if you aren’t reading pure concentrated awesome and I am, wouldn’t that automatically make me more awesome than you? It’s one of the best things in life. Knowing just how much more awesome I am than everyone who doesn’t read Scott Pilgrim. So do yourself a favor, Be Awesome – Buy Scott Pilgrim. You won’t regret it. Plus, it makes you more awesome. Did I mention that it’s awesome?

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