How Are We Supposed To Play All These Enormous Video Games?

How Are We Supposed To Play All These Enormous Video Games?

I played the opening few hours of Batman: Arkham Knight in August. You know what I did after that? I opened up the map, saw that it was forested with icons, and then turned the game off forever.

This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK.

This has started happening quite frequently. Here are some huge games that I would love to have played, but did not manage to even touch over the past year or two: Pillars of Eternity, Shadow of Mordor, Assassin’s Creed Unity or Rogue, Wasteland 2, Dragon Age: Inquisition. Many more I played for somewhere between 10 and 30 hours and then had to move on from: Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, Dark Souls 2 (and I’m such a big Souls fan that I’m literally writing the book on the original), Divinity: Original Sin.

Ain’t nobody got time for this

Meanwhile, this year, I’ve greatly enjoyed Bloodborne, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and The Witcher 3, all of which I’ve played for 50 hours or more. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d played Rocket League for 50 hours too. (That game is insidious. You don’t know you’re addicted until it’s much too late.) But half of them still aren’t completed, and meanwhile the Metal Gear Solid V disc languishes unplayed in my PS4 whilst other enormous games like Fallout 4, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Just Cause 3 sit just over the horizon.

I know that I am far from the only person with this “problem” (I use the quote marks because seriously, in no world is having too many video games to play an actual problem, but it is a little concerning when it’s my job to know about them.) Keeping up with video games, even just the biggest ones, is becoming impossible for anyone with a job, a family, a social life or indeed other interests and passions. And it’s not just open-world games that have become extremely demanding of our time. The MMO-style rhythm and updates of games like Destiny and GTA Online means that you’re never really “done” with them; you just have to decide to stop. Then there are things like Elite: Dangerous, which are basically alternate lives at this point.

Oh, and then there are the MOBAs. I ain’t even touched the MOBAs. I’ve seen what they have done to some of my friends.

Welcome to Boston! You will not be leaving for probably 80 hours, so I hope you like it!

Not every one of these games is worth so many hours. But this year especially, a great many of them are. I was actually quite relieved to learn that we won’t be seeing Persona 5 until next summer (in Japan at least, and probably not until the end of the year for Europe), because I really want to be able to devote proper time to it. What do you do when there are seven 50-hour-plus games out in a single year that you’re really, really keen to play?

It’s been the case for quite some time that offering hours and hours of “content” is not enough to make a game worth playing. In a world with this many enormous games, the onus is on developers to make them worth all that time. I think this is a large part of what’s behind the pretty tepid critical reception of games like Mad Max and (to a lesser extent) Watch Dogs. When you’re presented with a game that needs that much time from you, especially if you’re a critic who has to play the whole thing (or certainly most of it) before being able to offer a considered verdict, you quickly start to resent it if it wastes your time.

The only solution I can see is just to stop worrying about it. Everyone over about the age of 25 grew up in a world where you could feasibly play all of the worthwhile games that came out in a year, but that’s not the case anymore and hasn’t been for a while. As the audience for video games as a whole continues to grow, more and more of those people are not generalists, but specialists: people who play maybe one or two games predominantly, but might spend hundreds of hours on them nonetheless. Some ruthlessness is in order: instead of thinking “what am I getting for my money?”, I think “what am I getting for my time?”.

Don’t look so sad, Snake, I WILL play you eventually

So, I want to know: how do you cope? Does it bother you that there’s a pile of unplayed games sitting beneath your TV? Have you become more selective, or narrowed your gaming taste? And if you do manage to play all these enormous games, how the hell do you manage it?

This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour with a U from the British isles.


  • I don’t mind big games but it would be nice if they reduced the amount of filler. Just look at that assassins creed map, we don’t need all that garbage, there should be fewer more meaningful rewards for exploring rather than just scattering 10 different types of collectables randomly over the map 100 times that might unlock an alternate costume if you collect all 1000 of them.

    Its an MMO level time sink for no reason at all.

    • Haha you fool! 1000 collectibles doesn’t unlock the costume, these days it unlocks the option to buy the costume from the digital store!

      • Really? I thought a 1000 collectibles unlocks the option to collect 2,500 different collectibles, after which you have the option to buy some sort of combining agent from the digital store where you have a chance of unlocking a costume.

        Have I mentioned that the costume changes per season, so to keep it up to date you have to redo the above over and over and over again?

        • I think that unlock only activates after you also use the companion app to collect daily login rewards for 7 consecutive days, watch five trailers for game of war, take a 15 minute survey and then install four companion apps that involve sport betting and lottery gambling, hotel bookings, food delivery and another random game app that you must upgrade to level 5.

    • For what it is worth, it doesn’t look like all the chests are showing on that map. They only show up if you’ve either (a) travelled close by the collectable at some point, or (b) bought the micro-transaction to unlock all the chest locations.

      The map in Unity is really nice to explore, but I agree that they could have drawn you through it with far fewer collectables.

      • Unity has been updated to allow all the chest to be unlocked in game.
        Previously there were some that were only available if you had the smartphone game too.

        I absolutely agree with you about the Unity being a nice place to explore though.
        Hell, at this stage I don’t even play the Assassins Creed games… I just enjoy them as virtual tourism experiences now.

    • Who wouldn’t want to run around in an awesome new costume after you’ve spent and invested so many hours completing the entire game and collecting every collectible in the regular boring costume.

      You guys are missing out, the game doesnt truly start until youve completely finished every aspect it has to offer and you get the cool outfit. Its SO much more fun playing the game with no objective and looking a little bit different whilst you’re aimlessly running around.

  • If the game is genuinely fun or engaging and any filler content has actual meat on the bones, I don’t mind a game having an enormous scope, If it doesn’t however then then it usually falls flat

  • I’m like this, and I have nothing but time :/ I looked at the Witcher 3 map and got a little disheartened. I’m playing through Mad Max a little at a time. I clear a zone and that’s usually when I put it down for the next installment. Mad Max seems easy to pick up and play whenever. Then I think of all the other games I haven’t played yet. I think it really helps when you are immersed in the game and universe, which is something I love about Fallout.

    • To be fair to the Witcher, it’s probably the best example of a map full of sh*t that’s actually worth doing.

      As far as I can tell all the stuff on the map is either a unique quest with it’s own writing and context or something useful like a shop or fast travel sign post.
      There’s no ‘Collect red box 1/10000’,‘Pick up 5000 arbitrarily placed feathers’ or ‘capture the randomly generated thief/ convoy’.

      It’s more like Fallout than one of the really bad offenders (sorry Ubisoft).

  • This isn’t a problem, it’s preference. Why are individual preferences now being indulged so much to the point where people feel they are objective?

  • I’ve stopped playing games that are filled with pointless dead-content.
    Playing Far Cry 4 was like playing cards with a mate who yelled “52 pickup!” after every hand and threw all the cards on the floor.

    I did finish Dragon Age though.

    I think we’ve hit a critical point where gamers are going to rebel against too much boring content. In the past I was always happy to see a high number of gameplay hours as selling point, but the market is now saturated with open-world ‘collect-em-ups’.

    Give me content that’s either rich in narrative (The Witcher) or strong in the “30-seconds of fun” (Gears of War).

    • Yeah… No.

      The only critical point we’ve hit is with the amount of people thinking what they like is the ONLY thing people could possibly like… So let’s take away content others might actually enjoy because who cares about anyone else, right?

      • I think the complaint is more that the types of games that “they” like are becoming pretty uncommon. Most big-budget games these days are enormously long, 50+ hour experiences. But what if you want to play something short and sweet, committing 10-15 hours to a game with a satisfying conclusion rather than wading through 50 hours of similar content? How many of the recent AAA games have been relatively short?

        Given the choice between playing one game of 50 hours or two each of 25 hours, I would probably pick the two of 25 every time; more variety, more different stuff to do. But those shorter games are becoming relatively uncommon.

        It’s probably due to complaints by reviewers and gamers about “short” games not being good value for money. It’s a fair complaint, but the perhaps overzealous reaction now means it takes an enormous time commitment to complete a single game. Those short but great experiences have almost evaporated.

        For time-poor gamers, the result is that they get to finish few of the good games. The alternative is to play all the good games but not finish them. It seems wasteful, but it may be the only choice for those looking for AAA “short but sweet” experiences.

      • Well, that was a dismissive and generally rude response.

        I never said there wasn’t a market who still like to bury dozens of hours into the bloated additional content (that was YOUR assumption about what I was saying), just that as @gregorvorbarra broached above, there’s going to be a tipping point at which a significant portion of the market is either going to start actively asking for less unfocused content or buying fewer games because they’re drowning in ‘bloat’.

        I stopped playing Farcry 4 because I found that well over 50% of my time with the game was spent doing boring, repetitive tasks. The game is fun, the game is easily 25 hours long as a basic run-and-gun story but it then bloats itself out to 50-80 hours of dull tower climbing, box opening, plant/ mask/ poster collecting, repetitive random encounter type missions ect.

        When key points of gameplay are tied to repetitive content the I’m well within my rights to prefer a streamlined approach. If I’m enjoying the game less because it’s harassing me to stop and pick up a mask, or I’m losing immersion from my character because I’m walking past a village that’s being randomly slaughtered for the 3rd time today and I just don’t care anymore… those are hours of “gameplay” that I could do without.

        I understand where you’re coming from because I’ve been the same. I collected every agility orb in the original crackdown FFS!
        I am sick of it now though, I think it’s probably a sign of the open-world genre still being an immature medium that so many early titles have focused on being huge for the sake of being huge. I think the Witcher is a much better game for its lack of procedurally generated missions and arbitrary collectables.

  • I try to just stick to one big game at a time among smaller indie PC or PSN games. Still haven’t bought a PS4 so will have a lot of open world catch up to do, sigh.

    • Me too. Try being the key word and I have failed that last 500 times. Especially this year, can not recall any other time that I have so many games on hand to play with.

  • Give me an Uncharted, Until Dawn or The Last Of Us-style narrative driven game over a massive universe any day. GTA nails the open world system by having extras that are clearly marked as extras and can be ignored entirely to focus on the story line parts of the game. The fetch quest is played out.

  • I enjoyed Witcher 3 and Skyrim and Fallout 3 and New Vegas but you’re right. I don’t think I’ve ever actually finished playing any of those. I’m not complaining though, I’d rather have a game be too much game for me than too little 🙂

      • That one-child policy sure kicked everyone in the testicles.

        All of my chinese friends have roughly 1.9 million each because they get their grandparents + parents will. Meanwhile, here I am working like a sucker while they’re all going to auctions to inevitably gain more moolah.

  • Not really an issue for me. I don’t care about 100%-ing a game – I’ll do the missions and side missions but have zero interest in hunting down every treasure chest or plant on the map.
    I also don’t really care for the Souls, Witcher or Batman games so that helps.

  • I do indeed feel this problem. I’ve been off work the past year recovering from 2 foot surgeries as well lol thought i’d have plenty of time, but every games open world now that i want to play. Even mgs5! :O

  • 90% of those markers are OPTIONAL stuff, just play through the main story and move on, and you will find you have plenty of time to play more games ;D

  • Word.

    This article speaks to a generation – one who were hitting their formative years just as the first really big, open-world games starting to take off. Following on from the early big RPGs like Fallout and Baldur’s Gate, big 3d games like Morrowind and GTA3 redefined the idea of the open world and the potential hundreds of hours of gameplay (for the price of one game!) sounded wonderful to our teenage ears. Then, as many of us have moved into our late 20s or early 30s, with careers and families, our priority is no longer how much of my time can be occupied for $60, but how much quality entertainment can I get for $60.
    Despite enjoying the first 10-12 hours of both Dragon Age: Inquisition and Shadow of Mordor, I have little motivation to pick either up again.

    • wow, couldn’t have put it any better.

      With 2 toddlers, it is really tough for me to find times for gaming. So I have to either A. rush through the story mission and ignore everything else (dragon age) or B. leave it completely and promise myself to go back to it latter but never do (shadow of mordor).

      Currently I really wanted to finish Witcher 3 and/or Metal Gear Solid 5 but then Destiny DLC happened. I wasn’t going to jump back into that time suck but my friends (which i may need to find new ones after this) dragged me back.

      • annnnd that’s why I’m not playing destiny. I have 3 kids, 2 part time jobs and I study full time. From reading reviews I KNOW I don’t have the time for destiny. Not when I’m so busy making my own. Yucks!

    • I found Mordor to be really ordinary. It just felt like ‘make work’ to me.

      Loving phantom pain though. Even though I just do the same thing again and again and again. I guess you have to choose your poison with games.

      • MGSVTPP is great. It’s my GOTY so far. And about Destiny, it just goes to prove that you are much wiser than I am.

      • Really? I clocked it last weekend. I have spent maybe 20 hours on it, and thought it was a total blast. The combat was great (very Batman-esque, which I dig), the abilities are cool, and the nemesis / branding system is awesome.

        I’m maybe 20 hours in, I’ve unlocked all the abilities I want to and have finished the main storyline… probably uninstalling tonight. But I like that though! It’s nice to be able to get everything I want to out of a game and not have to sink hundreds of hours into it (looking at you, Skyrim).

  • I got The Witcher 3, opened the A3 piece of paper that contained the map… And never even bothered to start the game. MGSV, for all it’s enjoyability, sits in my PS4 waiting for the time I’ll play it again. Arkham Knight I played the main story, then never touched it again. I have other games that are just dust collectors.

    Getting 3-8 games per month leaves little time to actually sit down and enjoy them to their conclusion, let alone trying to 100% it.

    • Getting 3-8 games per month leaves little time to actually sit down and enjoy them to their conclusion, let alone trying to 100% it.

      Why the hell do u get 3 – 8 games a month if you don’t have the time to complete them (i don’t mean filler content – that shit is a waste of time). Are you primarily a pc gamer and picking up games when you think they’re of value (sale on steam humble bundle etc)? Otherwise just chil man – no need to buy the “latest and greatest” it’ll be there a year later and prolly cheaper to boot!

  • When it comes to bigger games I tend to pick and choose what I’ll play. Main missions yes and some side missions if they’re compelling, but fetch quests and item collecting I avoid.

  • Man, I thought I was the only one with this problem. Believe it or not, the game that keeps me locked down atm is Destiny. I swore that once MGSV released, I’d dedicated all my time to finishing it before diving into the Taken King.

    It’s now 3 weeks after release of MGSV and I’m nowhere near finished it because all my friends play Destiny and I have FOMO. Plus I have a bunch of games from LAST YEAR’S Steam Summer Sale that I haven’t touched. Pillars of Eternity being the major one.

    I just feel so helpless 🙁

    • You and me both… friends dragged me back playing Destiny. We should have gotten new friends 🙂

  • It helps that for 6-8 months of the year there’s usually very little worth buying or playing. Large time sinks that don’t immediately grab me will usually be revisited when there’s a serious lull in new games (like around June/July or January/February).

    The other trick is to pick one ‘main course’ game (like The Witcher 3) and a couple of ‘palate cleanser/dessert’ games (Rocket League/Journey PS4 or a shooter or an indie) while your ‘entrees’ can be a quick hour or 2 of the shiniest new games to judge if they’re worth upgrading to your next main course or if they’re lull period games.

    • Sounds like a plan,but I found myself likely end up eating the same thing for the whole 3 courses. Or worse, having 3 mains…

  • I don’t have time. I’ll never play Assassins Creed, or the Witcher, or GTA, or Just Cause, or Monster Hunter or Mad Max…
    I’m currently playing Batman Arkham Knight, but I can barely get an hour or two a day, so it’s slow going (I only started after the August patch. Yeah, I’m on PC). I’ve finished the main plot and most of the sidequests, now I’m currently focussed on clearing out the militia, then it will just be Batman vs Riddler and his gajillion trophies, which I’m actually dreading. I’m currently trying to decide whether I should lookup youtube videos to help me clear them out or just skip them entirely and watch the ending on youtube.

    • I did everything but the Riddler collectibles. Then watched the 100% ending on youtube. Dont feel bad about moving on. There are too many games that you havent played to play the parts of games you find boring.

  • Agree completely. I’ve posted similar sentiments on other articles, too. Games are just getting too big, too time consuming, to the point where I barely buy any of them any more because it takes me months to get through one before I can move on to the next. I bought BloodBorne and The Witcher 3 this year. Loved them both, but they just soaked up way too much time (especially Witcher 3). I bought DriveClub cheap in between and bought Until Dawn a week or two back just to play something a bit more manageable, and that’s pretty much it for the year.

    The strange part is that I think it’s actually counter-productive for the games industry. It’s not the money that’s an issue for me – I’d happily buy twice as many games as I do now if only I had the time to play them. The problem is that too many of the games I do buy end up taking up so much time that I don’t need to buy another one nearly as soon.

    I want to play Arkham Knight and GTA5 and MGS5 and Shadow of Mordor and Just Cause 3 etc etc, but I just can’t bring myself to buy any of them because of the amount of time they’ll take. Instead, I’m going to wait and buy the Uncharted collection in a couple of weeks. I’m at the point where I’d rather buy an HD remaster of a bunch of games I’ve already played (although I absolutely love them, which makes it more tempting) than buy any of those new games simply because Uncharted has a bit more respect for my time than these newer games which seem to have adopted “bigger is better” as their guiding principle. Perhaps if I didn’t have so much other stuff going on in my life then I’d be more inclined to sink weeks into these games – if I were still a student who was eagerly looking forward to several months of holidays over summer then I’d probably be all over these games. But those days are way behind me, so I need to be a bit more selective about where I spend my gaming hours.

  • My issue with a lot of todays RPG’s is the massive amount of side quests. Personally I’d be happier if half the amount of filler quests were cut in order to give the main story the attention it deserves. The Ultima games are a good example of this.

    • Problem is with these giant open worlds that everybody seems to assume all players want now. You ditch the sidequests and you’re left with a map with a whole lot of nothing on it. So you either fill that nothing with sidequests or you shrink the size of your open world. But then you can’t bang on about how huge your open world is, so the marketing department won’t love you any more.

  • I like big games. I don’t have a huge amount of gaming time, but I’ve played over 100 hours of Dragon Age: Inquisition since it came out. But I’d much rather play a small number of large open-worlders that I can really enjoy, than lots of little games that don’t have much depth.

  • Ive 2 (wonderful) girls and I still enjoy finding the time for a good 30 hour game. My trick is that I don’t start something else until I’m happy that Ive seen everything in the game. More often than not, its the story, sidequests plus collectibles as I see this as a good excuse to explore a lot of the world the artists took the time to make that I would have otherwise missed. So many locations in games like GTA that you would never visit otherwise. I’ll gladly ignore any grinding multiplayer stuff as I just don’t have the time in one sitting for that.

    What -really- grinds my gears is when games include missable achievements, that would force me to go through another 30 hour romp just to pick up. GTA had a couple, based on how I chose to finish the game. Borderlands Pre-Seq has a few shitty ones too. Far Cry 4 has been really nice – theres achievements for collectibles and activities but not -all- of them, despite which I’m still finding myself compelled to find that extra mask or help that extra survivor to unlock a new weapon or some such… but if I get to the end and I’ve missed one or two (I’m looking at you, bridge runs in GTA) then I wont feel compelled to pull my hair out to find.

  • The problem here is that everyone’s looking at this the wrong way. Games are a form of entertainment. If you’re playing them just to “get through the game” and worry about how much time it will take then don’t play/buy that game. Simple.

    If you’re playing a game because you enjoy it then how much time it’s going to take doesn’t matter. You play it when you feel like it (and have free time) and if it’s starting to feel like you’re running against the clock, trying to beat it so you can move onto the next one then stop playing it. Play games to enjoy them, not to rush through them so you can move onto the next one. If you do that then you’ll never get as much enjoyment out of them that you could by playing it at your leisure.

    • So much this.

      However, speaking to buddies whom are gamers I can notice a distinct difference between them which helps identify why they play games. I have some theories as to the types of gamers and I’ll put them into some categories below to illustrate my point:

      Spoilered for length:

      a) The Completionist: The story? Yeah, look I forgot what happens but I solved all 200 of the Riddlers riddles in The Arkham Knight and collected all 1,200 feathers in Assassins Creed II. These guys are about achievement, if it’s not getting their gamerscore pumped up it’s the achievement of ticking off all of the activities in the game, like it’s a work plan. Generally hype for AAA games but do play obscure games occassionally that appeal to this sense of accomplishment, they’ll invariably be finishing games 3-4 months after they’ve come out.
      b) The Casual (single):: I picked up The Witcher 3 last week, such a pretty game. I didn’t get out of Kaer Morhen because I was still learning the controls, I’ve been playing Clicker Heroes & Crossy Road all weekend, though.. These guys play for maximum fun with as minimal investment as possible. Games like Hotline Miami, Flappy Bird, etc. where you can pick up a game and play, usually in tidbits: on the train, waiting in line for something, etc.
      c) The Consumed Player::: I spent all weekend grinding Helium FIlaments to upgrade my Suros, ran 3xNightfalls and cheesed 2 legendary and 1 exotic engram. These guys are about the meta. Whether it’s breaking the game or getting the best gear in the game, these guys will invest maximum time in a game. This person will invest almost all of their spare time into a single game. Different from the Completionist as I see The Consumed player playing more MMO’s and multiplayer games rather than The Completionist who focuses on single player games.
      d) The Casual (multi): Splatfest was fun this week, I ended up ranking 2nd for my team across the four games we played so I’m happy. These guys game as a means to keep up with their online or IRL buddies. These are the types of gamers to own a Wii U, FIFA, NBA, Evolve, etc
      e) The Story Lover: How good was Season 2, Episode 2 of The Walking Dead? Man there were some serious cliff hangers, I thought ‘x’ was dead for sure. These guys I feel appreciate the quality of a game as an art form on a different plane for others; games are viewed by people as a medium to discuss themes and the like. You will know people who like games like Life is Strange, The Witcher, The Last of Us, etc. games that are incredibly rich in their story, using motifs and character progression to entertain and provoke feelings/thought in players.

      I hope not to offend, just some things I notice of my gaming pals. I need to flesh out a formula for how this works, you can tell I really enjoyed posting this lol.

      This is all without including competitive gamers and obviously we are all at different parts of the spectrum where we can enjoy all different styles of gaming.

      More or less what I’m getting at is that there are any number of choices out there for us to enjoy, let us enjoy the smorgasbord of games that exist 🙂

      • “100+ hours in a game is a sure sign that this player is addicted to the game.”

        Well if 100+ hours is a sign of addiction every game i can recommend i have been addicted to.

        100 hours is a bare minimum i expect an rpg to have if the content is under 100 hours worth it better be damn good.

        386 hours on skyrim and not addicted to that
        384 hours on Terraria and same
        285 on the binding of isaac
        and 281 hours on ffxiv (will be 1000 in a year or so)
        200 hours on Garrys mod
        143 on the binding of isaac rebirth and 132 hours on gta v.

        100+ hours isn’t addicted imo.

      • “100+ hours in a game is a sure sign that this player is addicted to the game.”

        Well if 100+ hours is a sign of addiction every game i can recommend i have been addicted to.

        100 hours is a bare minimum i expect an rpg to have if the content is under 100 hours worth it better be damn good.

        386 hours on skyrim and not addicted to that
        384 hours on Terraria and same
        285 on the binding of isaac
        and 281 hours on ffxiv (will be 1000 in a year or so)
        200 hours on Garrys mod
        143 on the binding of isaac rebirth and 132 hours on gta v.

        100+ hours isn’t addicted imo.

        • I didn’t use the term ‘addicted’ to be a negative connotation, I’ve spent 300+ hours playing a game. Maybe I should rename it the ‘Consumed’ gamer. That’s a serious amount of time for gaming, looking at the posts above it would seem you’re winning the most time playing video games award! \o/

          • The 100 hours for addiction probably needs a time period to go along with it…”I played 100 hours of this game in a year” as opposed to “I played 100 hours of this game in a month”. Most lengthy RPGs I play tend to be around 80-100 hours for me, and then up to double that if I repeat it with another character/build etc.

            I have the most time in Binding of Isaac with something like 400-500 hours between the original and the remake. It’s a nice casual game for me to play when I have an hour spare, play it for an hour on 3 nights a week on average. My total time in the game doesn’t make me addicted though.

            Similarly I have over 100 hours in Nuclear Throne which isn’t even released yet but I’m still not addicted. It’s just one of my go to games at the moment.

            Last time I was addicted to a game it was WoW. That was something like 30-40 hours a week of play time if not more.

          • I take your point about Binding of Isaac, I think I need to flesh out in my mind what that style of player I’m trying to describe really is.

            One could argue that spending over nearly 4 days worth of your year on a single game could be grounds for addiction, BUT I am guilty of this myself so I’m not throwing any shade whatsoever (Spending over 12.5 days worth of time playing Europa Universalis IV has left me no room for being sanctimonious lol) 😛

          • Two points here…4 days in a year equates to about 1.1% of the year. Spending 1.1% of my time on something hardly equates to being addicted. I spend much more time than that at work, does that mean im a workaholic?

            Second point is i never said the time in Isaac was over one year…that’s my total playtime from when I first started on the original game to now…something like 2-3 years.

            Addiction can’t really be measured just in terms of time played on a game. You have to look at it in terms of how much free time someone has, how much of that is spent on the game and whether or not playing that game has an influence on the rest of their life. E.g not going out with friends because you want to raid in WoW.

          • That’s a pertinent point you have about % of time spent over the course of the year, by my logic if you spend 8 hours a night sleeping you’ll spend 45 days a year sleeping (meaning you’re a sleepaholic). There’s a flaw in my thinking there.

            I thought Binding of Isaac was released this year, my mistake.

            Agree with you on your final point as well, I will say finally my thoughts initially were at most rudimentary and a work in progress lol.

          • Yeah i consume way to many videogames but i have a reason (being disabled and unemployed).

            I should really make my own videogame one day…

          • You should! A lot of people on the TAY thread here on Kotaku are making games, you should drop a comment there and flesh out your ideas! We have quite a few working on Visual Novels at the moment.

        • Also, I’ve updated the ‘The addicted player’ to say ‘The Consumed’, just so if somebody comes back and reads this it will make more sense 😛

  • I feel like developers have somehow decided that making their game longer provides a perception of higher value, and so they arbitrarily pad the game out with filler content. Assassin’s Creed is probably the worst of them at this but basically all the big AAA developers are doing it.

    I’m a big RPG player but increasingly I find it difficult to get through anything because of how long the games are. I’m not averse to spending 30-40 hours on a good RPG, but if I’m expected to be spending 60-80+, I need it to be worth my while. The Witcher 3 is the only recent example of that I can think of. It’s enormous and long, but the thing is that every hour spent in it feels worthwhile. The content is all substantial. You never know if the quest you’re on is just a small fetch quest or going to turn out to be several hours long with multiple steps and everything. Everything feels dense and you feel like you could start anywhere on the map and head in a random direction and find stuff to do. It stands in stark contrast to Dragon Age Inquisition, which had a similarly-sized world but aside from the main plotline and the companion quests the stuff you were spending most of the time doing was bland and featureless like something out of a mediocre MMO.

    I feel like 30-40 hours is really the ‘sweet spot’ for an RPG-style game for me, and I’m happier if I can spend even less than that. That genre tends to have an enormous amount of fat on it that could do with being trimmed. One of the game series I gravitated toward over the last couple of years was Ys. With those games (especially the two most recent, Seven and Memories of Celceta), you get a pretty substantial JRPG-like experience in the 25-35 hour range. The fat is trimmed. There’s very few RPGs out there that are 60-80 hours that couldn’t have removed some of the fluff, concentrated down to a 30-40 hour experience, and be better off as a result.

      • You must have an enormous amount of spare time. Still in school / university?

        EDIT: Or based on below, are one of the rare people that has the patience to stick with one game for hundreds of hours rather than wanting to jump from experience to experience every few weeks, in which case I salute you, you’re getting far more value out of your purchases than a lot of us.

        • I study but i can’t get a job because i’m disabled and have meltdowns due to my disability so i am unemployable all i can do is study and hope to make my own income without getting a job.

          So between studying i have like a whole week free when im not volunteering or studying.

          So yup a ton of spare time which is why i love big videogames without them i would never have gotten through life so far and stayed sane

  • “100+ hours in a game is a sure sign that this player is addicted to the game.”

    Well if 100+ hours is a sign of addiction every game i can recommend i have been addicted to.

    100 hours is a bare minimum i expect an rpg to have if the content is under 100 hours worth it better be damn good.

    386 hours on skyrim and not addicted to that
    384 hours on Terraria and same
    285 on the binding of isaac
    and 281 hours on ffxiv (will be 1000 in a year or so)
    200 hours on Garrys mod
    143 on the binding of isaac rebirth and 132 hours on gta v.

    100+ hours isn’t addicted imo.

  • I wish some games were bigger like i got 386 hours out of skyrim ..good game.

    Wish i could have gotten a few hundred more hours out of it though 🙂

    Sweet spot for the time to play and RPG is

    1-80 hours – to short
    80-300 – Great
    300-450+ AMAZING.

    That being said i hate filler content that isn’t fun.

  • I’ve become so tired of massive open world games with endless side quests that take you forever to get anywhere. I prefer games with some kind of narrative structure these days.

  • I totally agree. This is something I have been saying a bit over the past couple of years. There is a reason why Bloodborne is my game of the year so far this year. It was all killer and no filler. Even the great Witcher 3 started to outstay its welcome with me by the time I was about 3/4s of the way through, and I am starting to get the same feeling from MGSV (also great).

    Then you get the really cookie cutter open world games (Mad Max, anything by Ubisoft) and i just lose interest almost immediately.

  • Expansive maps with filler aren’t just the problem. It is also endless amounts of cutscenes and pointless talkie dialogue. I like games which just respect the need to get the game on, Nintendo still largely adheres to this rule.

    Double Dragon Neon was a fine example, just like the original. Woman is standing outside, gets socked in the breadbasket and hauled away by thugs. That’s all I need to know to take the fight to the streets. I don’t need Christopher Nolan length justifiers as to what is happening.

  • I like rpgs but I can just never get into them and not through lack of time. I told myself I would get into Witcher 3 but I played it for a couple of hours and havent been back. I played Skyrim for like 30 minutes and didnt go back. I dont know how I ever passed Mass Effect (not rly an rpg), didnt play the sequals. Spent lots of time on Kotor 1 and 2 when I was younger but never passed.

    On the flipside I have so many days playtime of Wow from back in the day, Rift, swtor, swg, Guild wars. I dont play mmos anymore because they dont offer me what they used to. Especially wow, back in highschool a bunch of my friends we would all play together after school as soon as we got home and it was great being able to play with friends all the time. I quit after icecrown came out and some of them kept playing in patches. Then I got Draenor and so did 10~ other friends and they all played steadily for a month or so but then less and less people ket playing and I was like… I have been the only person online for days. It was quite sad, so much expectation and it resulted in nothing, I rly wish I hadnt gotten Draenor at all.

    I dont consider myself a casual gamer but I mainly play mobas, fps, sport games etc because they are accessible and quick to start. I just prefer being able to go into HOTS and get right into a game quicker than having to load up a heavy game like Witcher 3 and having figure out my bearings and what I have to do next.

    Oh well time for rpgs when I am retired i guess.

  • Eh. I’ve said on posts before that I love long games. Especially RPGs. I work full time but don’t really have any other hobbies. Used to play on a band but that’s about it. Even then I still managed to rack up a lot hours.

    I enjoy tighter, narrative driven games as well. Why can’t we have both?

  • I just pick a game, usually I’ll play through the stories and that’s it, if I like it, I’ll stick around. I’m really liking Final Fantasy Type-0 and I think I’m going to be on it for a while, until Battlefront comes out.

    I thought Witcher was kind of boring actually, I enjoyed it but I haven’t been wanting to play it for a while now, I didn’t even finish the story.

  • One quest at a time. I guess it would be tough for completionists, but I got over not 100%ing a game when I was a child. I didn’t have the time then and I don’t have the drive now.

  • Turn map icons off. Having every point of interest pre-marked is stupid and immersion breaking. So are quest markers but games these days are built around them as the sole means of completing quests, urgh.

  • The problem is real. I only -really- started playing Witcher 3 about a month after it came out, and now I’m obsessed, and have been hooked for about a month, but I don’t even feel like I’m a third of the way to completing the game. I want to play Mad Max but at this rate by the time I finish The Witcher 3 Mad Max will be in bargain bins (which is an advantage for me).

    Still, as far as problems go, this is a great one to have.

  • Oh the pain! I am so tempted to get The Taken King but I know I’ll become seriously addicted to Destiny again if I do. I want to get through some Digital Only games on my PS4 plus finish a few others, so it looks like I won’t be buying it after all. The problem with online game is that you can’t go back to them in a few months to play during quiet periods because either no one is playing them any more or you’re too low level compared to everyone else.

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