As far as I remember, I’ve never really paid attention to how many hours of gameplay certain games have. I’ve always read from reviews if the game is long or short. Recently, buddy of mine described that Skyrim is epic game with huge amount of content and places to explore. This was enough for me to describe the fact that Skyrim can provide hours of gameplay. I don’t know if it’s 10 or 20 or 152 hours, but something pretty big. I know my buddy, and when he says that there’s tons of stuff in game, I know what he means.
Portal 2 on the other hand is relatively short game. People describe it as short and that’s enough for me. Short, medium, long are pretty close to the accuracy I can accept for games. To me, seeing that game has 20 hours or 100 hours of gameplay doesn’t tell much about length of those games. If one game is 8 hours and other 16 hours, which one is larger? I doubt that 8 hours game is half as short as the other game. I doubt that very much.
It’s different with movies and books. Movies can be 2 hour long. Books can have 400 pages. These tell you something about how much stuff there is.
But for games, the “game is 12 hours long”, in my proud opinion is:
- Very subjective figure given by developers, and doesn’t really tell much about how much stuff there is.
- While time as unit is quite same to all of us (who don’t travel as fast as light), then 60 minutes to you is pretty close to 60 minutes to me. But, when you and me play game X, you might say that it provides 7 hours of gameplay and I say 14 – we both are right.
- Accompanied with other information (ranging from game budget to different reviewer’s opinions to filesize to whatever factual information), we can get some idea whether game is “2 hours long” or “perhaps closer to 30 hours long”.
Bottom line is, these estimations are given by developers.
The same developers who say that “adding feature X is no biggie, I’ll knock it together in 2 hours” and when you come back 3 days later they say “I’m 90% finished, but there’s some bugs that appeared after adding feature. This might take couple of hours more”.
To summarize: I never paid attention to “hours” listed. I don’t see much idea why they are used or generally accepted as a way to tell “how big game is”.
What you think?