If Game Is “Too Short”, You Know It’s Great

Several other fellow indies are blogging about quality over quantity. Cliff Harris writes about “size doesn’t matter” and 2D Boy posted a blog post about Too Short.

This reminded me about one thing: when after finishing a game I think “this game was too short”, I’ve always have been thrilled about the game. Full Throttle was said to be too short adventure game. I think it was awesome game, something that I wanted to keep playing more. Same happened with Max Payne.

And same happens more and more.

If the game is “too short”, it just (probably) means you’ve enjoyed playing it “too much”. So to speak.

Short is good.

Too short even better.

I don’t need 40+ hour gaming experience. I want solid 15 minute snack that I can enjoy over and over when I want, if I want. And maybe end playing after few hours.

In fact, nowadays I feel that my time is so precious that I deliberately avoid playing games that are long. If somebody wants to sell me their game, they should make darn sure that I can finish it in 2 hours. I have no time for 40+ hour epic adventures.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Did anybody recognize the quote?

    It came from a GREAT game that took longer than 20 hours to beat.

  2. Quit focusing on length of play and focus on actual gameplay…God help us game developers.

    If you can’t tell…I’m sick of hearing about this.

    8 hours, 12 hours, what’s the magic number?
    I’ll tell you a secret:

    “Master using it and you can have this.”

    it = gameplay

    this = great game

  3. Good point. Short, but replayable games win over the long-epic games. And against long replayable ones too, I guess.

  4. I dont really have a valid opinion here as im a student and so have a fair amount of time, but me and my friends enjoy the long games as much as short ones, possibly even more as it has much longer for you to connect to characters or make your own as well as complex stories to fill time. But i can see how they would be much harder for an adult or anyone with full time work to play through. In that situation short games can still acomplish the same quality and fun levels and may have more replayability in them. Although I have finished some RPG titles thinking they were too short, which I agree is a great thing.

  5. Yeah I’ve been enjoying some shortish XBLA games recently, and XBLIG are even shorter. Too long can definitely get boring unless it’s a top class RPG. There’s some kind of sense of achievement to completing a game and now I’m an older busier dude I need short games to have that feeling. Maybe that’s why Casual games at $6.99 hit a sweet spot for many players.

    FFX took me 100+ hours according to the in-game clock which may have incremented when I left it paused. It was too long, and super-addictive, and probably made me anti-social/bad parent.

  6. Yeah I agree with you. I really enjoy RPG’s like Final Fantasy and Eternal Sonata but I have limited time to finish them. In my case any FF game I play results in a project with a lifespan of multiple years. I believe it almost took me 4 years to finish Final Fantasy X. Currently I’m trying to finish Final Fantasy VII, which I picked up somewhere in 1998/99 I think.

    On the other hand, if a game seems too short I’m disappointed if I’ve already finished it. Pioneer, a indie game released about 1,5 years ago I think, was very fun to play, but when I completed it I didn’t feel like I was done yet as I completed it in a few hours.

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