The Long and Short of RPGs

The Escapist is offering up a new article titled “The Long and Short of RPGs”, in which the author suggests that role-playing games should only last a couple dozen hours.

So you can see why I tend to progress through your typical RPG only slightly faster than a narcoleptic snail. I certainly enjoy the journey, but usually run out of steam after about 20 or 30 hours of gameplay. Mass Effect and Fable joined the exalted ranks of Games I’ve Beaten not because they’re so much better than other RPGs – though they are both excellent – but simply because they fit within my 20-30 hour attention window.

The obvious answer is to just not do that, of course. And I’ve tried. With fierce resolve, I have steadfastly refused to explore entire sections of maps, left doors unopened, ladders unscaled, bureaus unsearched, pots unbroken. And I’ve had a miserable time. Eventually, I simply had to admit that if I don’t search a game’s every last nook and cranny, I end up fretting about what I might’ve missed and don’t really enjoy myself. Yes, I have issues, I know. I’ll consult a therapist later. In the mean time, I have a solution that will allow gamers like me to enjoy even the most epic of RPGs: a length setting.

A length setting that dictates the number of side quests and “extraneous story”? Sorry, not interested.

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