Clive Thompson has a great column in Wired about what he calls the myth of the 40-hour gamer. So many games these days promise dozens of hours of gameplay, but Thompson says he rarely has time to get through it all. He wonders who does.
I’m with Clive. Last year, I finished two games: Resident Evil 4 (the GameCube version, without all the PS2 extras; 25 hours, I think) and Psychonauts (finished the second half after a 3-month hiatus; upwards of 20 hours, I think, not counting the many times I died and had to redo a level because of the infuriating controls or camera angles). This year, I’ve only finished Prey (12-15 hours? Don’t remember, but it wasn’t super long), though I almost got through Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter.
To be honest, I find the length of a lot of games — the sandbox ones especially, like Saint’s Row, The Godfather, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion — intimidating. I played more than 10 hours each of Godfather and Elder Scrolls, and I barely scratched the surface. Then again, with such bad writing, they gave me little reason to go on.
– September 26, 2006