Playing games? Easy. Finishing games? Well... Finishing a game takes time. Sometimes, it takes too long. Though, not all games take 35 hours plus. Portal, for example. Portal takes about three hours. So, what does the game's writer, Erik Wolpaw, think about game length? He thinks this:
They're constantly referring at Valve to people who really think a lot about games and play games, and many of my adult friends never, ever finish games anymore. Like, they don't finish them. We just thought it would be nice to have a game where, if you play it, you probably will finish it, unless you just don't like it.
In direct opposition to your mixed feelings about how people are reacting, I'm surprised at just how positive the reaction has been, or what a non-issue, in a lot of cases, it's been. At two hours, I think a lot of players are more dedicated to it. In Steam stats, it's more like three and a half. Regardless, though, it's still short.
Although it seems to be a trend. In Call of Duty 4, the single-player is awesome, but I think it took me five and a half hours or something. So it's not super-long either. That seems to be the trend. BioShock was pretty long, but it almost seems like a throwback, in how long it was.
...There's a practical constraint on time for people who aren't 14 years old. You just can't spend that much time playing a game, so is it a good thing to have games that people eventually just get sick of before the end, or run out of time? A lot of games I would like to come back to, but there's this barrier of reentry, in which I don't remember what the hell I was doing a month ago.
So so true.
Kim Swift and Erik Wolpaw Talk Portal [Gamasutra]