Hot Takes Friday: Why All Video Games Should be Shorter

Hot Takes Friday is a column where the GR staff and community sound off with their strong, but perhaps unpopular, opinions. Let us know your thoughts on this week’s Hot Take in the comments section below!

When I begin a 5000-hour RPG, I know that I’m probably not going to see its ending. I’ll start it up, get sucked in, start drifting into the side-quests, and then get bored before I complete it. This seems to be a prerequisite of time-consuming video games — you don’t stop playing when you’ve completed them, but rather when you just can’t be bothered to play them anymore.

With this in mind, I believe that all games should be shorter. And no, I don’t mean this in a bullshit, centrist, “not literally all games because that’ll offend some people, please hand me some more lubricant for the fence I’m sitting on” kinda way. I mean this in a “yes, ALL VIDEO GAMES SHOULD BE SHORTER, ACTUALLY” way.

No game I have ever played has ever benefited from being indefinitely lengthy. In fact, I have yet to play video game that was just the right length. Either they outstay their welcome just a bit so that gamers won’t go red in the face when it’s revealed that they’re 6 hours long, or they completely overshoot it in order to slap “100+ hours of gameplay!” on the back of the box. But for me, there will never be 100+ hours of gameplay, because I’ll get bored within the first 20.

It’s why multiplayer games appeal to me so much. At their core, multiplayer games are intended to be played until you get bored with them. You don’t feel disappointed if you drop out early, because you had experienced all that the game had to offer and decided that you’d had your fill. If a story was attached to these games, and I could only find out the rest of this story by digging it out from beneath 40 hours of fetch quests and other shit I didn’t want to do, I wouldn’t play Overwatch every damn day.

People confuse game length with quality. If a game requires a larger time investment, then they are getting more for their money, so it makes it a more worthwhile purchase. But this is a bad opinion. Extra hours don’t need to be force-fed into games just to keep us playing them, and I’d much rather the end credits roll when I’m still enjoying a game, rather than when I’m sick of playing it.

What are your thoughts on this Hot Take? Let us know in the comments section below!