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The Mythical 40 Hour Gamer


#1 botticus   GHM4Life CAGiversary!   16520 Posts   Joined 13.4 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 12:21 AM

Stumbled upon this article by Wired's Clive Thompson.

http://www.wired.com...tory_page_prev2

The problem is we occupy two sides of a howling cultural canyon, with utterly divergent experiences of precisely the same games. The 40-hour gamers are able to play in a way that I used to when I was a teenager, but can't anymore. They devote full evenings and entire weekends to marathon play-sessions. They get into the zone -- that Csikszentmihalyian state of "flow" where all distractions drop away, and you focus with lizard-brain survival intensity on solving the puzzles, leveling up, methodically remounting and remounting dread fights against the bosses until you spy the chink in their armor.

And hell, anyone can lick a game in 40 hours easily if they play like that. What you need is to have very few distractions and commitments. That's why a recent study by the NPD Group showed that hard-core gamers -- those capable of truly monklike devotion -- are, as you'd expect, aged 6 to 17.

In contrast, folks like me -- "soft-core" gamers? -- also crave to play these richly narrative, long-lasting titles. But we can only play in dribs and drabs -- an hour here, an hour there. The unspoken truth of gaming is that this creates a vastly different, and vastly inferior, mental space for game playing. If you're continually loading the game into your mental RAM, only to dump it out again an hour later, you can never concentrate as fully on grokking its internal mechanics. (This is also true of work: When I need to focus really intensely on a project, I start work at 9 a.m. and finish at 4 a.m. the next morning. But I can't afford to play games that way.)


I sadly know exactly where he's coming from, as I'm sure a large number of CAGs do as well. I no longer yearn for 40 hour games. I love the 10 hour slugfests that I can sit down with on my DS for a few days and get the satisfaction of finising. RPGs that I used to be able to knock out in a week or two now extend months if they ever finish.

How do you cope with this problem, or have you even found a way yet? How should the industry?

#2 paz9x  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 12:32 AM

yea he hits it dead-on. it really takes away from gaming as i just dont have the time to really enjoy games.

Ive tried to set times for playing. like last weekend i committed to beating king kong and starting prey. this weekend (i have a 4 dayer) im going to finish prey
and try and finish up cod2.
I too love(d) rpg's but really, they dont fit my life anymore.

Stumbled upon this article by Wired's Clive Thompson.

http://www.wired.com...tory_page_prev2

I sadly know exactly where he's coming from, as I'm sure a large number of CAGs do as well. I no longer yearn for 40 hour games. I love the 10 hour slugfests that I can sit down with on my DS for a few days and get the satisfaction of finising. RPGs that I used to be able to knock out in a week or two now extend months if they ever finish.

How do you cope with this problem, or have you even found a way yet? How should the industry?



#3 RedvsBlue  

RedvsBlue

Posted 26 September 2006 - 12:32 AM

At 10 hours, its perfect for me. 20 hours makes me a little weary but I'll give it a shot. 30 hours means it has to be an amazing game. If its 40 hours, I may start it but I know I'll never finish it.

#4 cochesecochese   corrompido e imoral CAGiversary!   4894 Posts   Joined 13.3 Years Ago  

cochesecochese

Posted 26 September 2006 - 12:41 AM

I just don't buy them. It's a lot easier to look at the backlog and know that of all the games I 've cleared yet haven't scored perfect on I can finish in an hour. I would really like to play Disgaea 2 or WoW but I just know that they're too much of a time drain to get into.

I think Twilight Princess is going to be the last big epicfor me and then it's going to be short arcade games or all handheld all the time.

#5 Kapwanil   You: Harm / Us: Nuke CAGiversary!   1852 Posts   Joined 13.4 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 12:42 AM

How do you cope with this problem, or have you even found a way yet? How should the industry?


It depends. I honestly think I'm at the point where my game purchases are pretty much done for the time being. I can live my life without playing a good number of games, I think, and I won't be missing out on much. No problems there, even more money in my wallet, everyone's happy.

But overall...I love playing through the short titles nowadays. I went through Zone of the Enders last week for the first time and I was thrilled even by five hours. Sure, sometimes it's great to have a 50 or 60 hour game to pop in and enjoy but there's nothing wrong with beating a shorty in a day or two either. It makes me feel like I'm actually doing something.

In the end I'll just be thrilled if I finish half of the games on my PS2's HD at the moment. 24 titles in all, comprised of all of the games I have at home that I finally want to load up, play through, and enjoy. If I can do that in the next eight months I'd be thrilled, especially since I don't necessarily have the most free time in the world.

God, I miss those old days...vegging out with 14 straight hours of Dark Cloud 2, marathoning 25-something NES games in 10 hours...good times.

#6 zewone   Thursday CAGiversary!   43156 Posts   Joined 14.6 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 12:52 AM

Y'all niggers old.

#7 Scahom1   Back from the dead CAGiversary!   1775 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 12:58 AM

I really REALLY wish I could enjoy games like I used to years ago. But with a 45+ hour job a week, plus a girlfriend, and a love for movies, I find my gaming time extremely limited. This is the only reason why I won't even bother buying Dragon Quest 8 or Elder Scrolls 4, because I don't want to tease myself.

Regardless of what I do in my free time, I perfer short games anyways. Money isn't really an issue as long as I am entertained by what I am playing. I would rather spend $60 on a fantastic 5-8 hour game then a so-so/good 20 hour game.

#8 Reality's Fringe   Goes sex for pussy CAGiversary!   7112 Posts   Joined 14.9 Years Ago  

Reality's Fringe

Posted 26 September 2006 - 01:37 AM

Long games are usually boring. It's not because they're long, but because they fucking drag on and on. This is why I cna't play as many RPGs, and certain long-ass adventure/action games. I'm playing Tales of Symphonia right now, and while I like it I can't help but think "Fuck me, quit talking and get to the point!"

Eh, I guess it's depends on what genre the game is.

#9

Guest_Apossum_*

Posted 26 September 2006 - 01:57 AM

Sounds about right. at this point, I talk more about games than I play them.

I finish longer games over the course of a few months. Nocturne took me about 5 months for 75 hours, with lots of breaks in between.

I sporadically sink a few hours in to longer games. usually on saturday and sunday morning-- that's my favorite time to play..since it seems to be the most "guilt free." Those late night marathons make me feel like shit the next day.

#10 Chacrana   You wa Cock CAGiversary!   22669 Posts   Joined 14.8 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 02:03 AM

Hmm... I haven't hit the stage where time for gaming is an issue. I'm usually able to take care of my obligations during the day, then from like 7PM-2AM... game time. I did that with FFVIII recently and knocked that bitch out in a week without any problem... and by recently, I mean 10 minutes ago.

#11 Matrix2k3   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   288 Posts   Joined 15.4 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 02:10 AM

I miss marathon gaming:( I beat Legend of Dragoon in two rentals when I was like 12. I played like 12 hours a day, while unhealthy it was still really fun.

#12 Mr.Answer   want a spatula? CAGiversary!   1512 Posts   Joined 13.9 Years Ago  

Mr.Answer

Posted 26 September 2006 - 02:24 AM

I think the problem is not that people age and move out of the demographic for marathon gaming sessions, but rather the overall quality of games (as far as how long they are fun) has decreased. I've played 4 different characters of Oblivion for the 360 and each were over 35 hours in length (the last one is on 70 hours or so with alot left). I think over time the gaming public has settled for the 'average' game but 'hey it was a quick play' as the norm and have not rewarded quality old time fun gameplay.

Also, one isn't factoring in the online aspect of gaming, for me aside from my geeky love of playing for hours leveling up my dude in an RPG, I also play many hours of Perfect Dark Zero, Halo, Texas Hold'em, uno, counter strike, diablo, etc. far more than 10 hours.

#13 Mr.Answer   want a spatula? CAGiversary!   1512 Posts   Joined 13.9 Years Ago  

Mr.Answer

Posted 26 September 2006 - 02:32 AM

I went and read the whole article, I think the author's premise is incorrect. He said that completing a story-based game is very rewarding (I agree) but that instead of reading through War and Peace (or Moby Dick, or Huck Fin or whatever) he just wants the satisfaction of completing a story.

"The thing is, finishing a story-based game is an enormously rewarding experience. I'm depressed that I so seldom achieve it. It's like mixing the literary pleasures of finishing War and Peace with the itch-scratching OCD feel of completing The New York Times Sunday crossword. The delights of narrative and problem-solving compress into a single, narcotic burst of endorphins."

He wants the rush and experience of a whole story but much faster. Good grief if this isn't a commentary on western civilization I don't know what is. He wants the thrill, but without work, we wants the satisfaction but without commitment. He wants the satisfaction of reading an awesome story, but his schedule is just to busy so please just give him the summary.

Mr Clive Thompson, here is a time saver or two: Ahab is killed by moby dick, and Sora beats the darkness in the end.


There, happy? You completed a great book and a great game.

#14 VulSuck   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   50 Posts   Joined 12.5 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 02:57 AM

Good article. I was little pissed off when I reached this point in life and realized that I would never be able to game as I had in the past. It is fortunate though that there seem to be a lot of arcadey and short games in vogue these days, which sort of makes me think that there will indeed be a schism.

How do you cope with this problem, or have you even found a way yet?


That's a really good question. I had never really thought about it in the past, so I often ended up being frustrated by longer games. I have been naturally gravitating towards shorter games (Trauma Center) and arcade like games (Metroid Pinball) which is cool with me, but I still miss the experience of longer games, particularly the narrative qualities. I think it's possible to have short games with interesting stories but it will require that game companies actually invest in writing. Who knows if that will happen.

I'm currently playing Okami, and I love it so much that the first 4 days I had it, I put in 20 hours (which is huge for me). I'm pretty sure that I won't be able to keep that up, and I'm afraid that this will be another game that I will never possibly finish. Reading your question offered the possibility of a solution. Next time I play, I'll make sure that I stop playing at the entrance to a dungeon. Hopefully, if I put down the game for a week, I won't be faced with the (all too common) question I've been asking myself with every rpg I've played in the last 3 years: "What am I supposed to be doing and why should I give a shit?" Instead, I'll be able to jump right in until I get to the next dungeon. I haven't tried this yet, but it seems like it might work.

The other thing that I've been trying is to let go of my obsession to do all the sidequests, find all the hidden items, or whatever. It has been very difficult to do this, but I keep telling myself that I can always dig up every clover when I beat the main game (ha!). As a corollary, stay away from GameFaqs at all costs. That damn website is written for and by powergaming completists and will end up so frustrating that you'll just stop playing the game. If you're desperately stuck, look to forums first.

I think I've got a few more paragraphs in me, but I'm interested to hear if you have any solutions. If not, try mine and let me know if they work so I can start doing the same.

#15 trip1eX   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   1598 Posts   Joined 13.7 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 03:12 AM

To Mr. Answer,

I don't think the author is asking to finish games in 10 minutes or anything.

He's just like the rest of us working folk with alot of other responsibilites. We wouldn't mind seeing games we liked playing when we were younger except at a length that we have a more reasonable chance of completing.

******
HOw do I cope? PLay games like Battlefield 2. I can hop on for 15 minutes or 2 hours and instantly be in the middle of action. There's no keeping track of anything. Just fun action packed fairly competitive fighting.

I've gotten into Nintendo games too. The more arcadey types. Tho I've done a couple that have been nearly 30 hours that me months to finish. I think MP2 took me a year to finish. Hard to do tho. IT's easy to lose interest in long games when the pace for completing them is a minimum of 2 or 3 months.

#16 furyk   Captain of the Handheld CAGiversary!   3125 Posts   Joined 14.0 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 03:13 AM

I had one of those roommates in college. The fucker played Final Fantasy XI for 30 hours at a time. I was working nights at the time too which pissed me off, and he slept a good twenty hours at a time and gamed for another day. Needless to say, I took an asshole tax from it at the end of the semester.

These days, I mostly game on my the DS putting in an hour here and there. The last game I really marathoned was Mario Hoops, but can you really consider a game you can beat and unlock everything besides balls in under a day marathon gaming?

#17 Mr.Answer   want a spatula? CAGiversary!   1512 Posts   Joined 13.9 Years Ago  

Mr.Answer

Posted 26 September 2006 - 03:14 AM

I don't think the author is asking to finish games in 10 minutes or anything.

He's just like the rest of us working folk with alot of other responsibilites. We wouldn't mind seeing games we liked playing when we were younger except at a length that we have a more reasonable chance of completing.


I want my movies done in 6 minutes,

I want to watch my TV shows in 30 seconds.

Come on I have a lot of other responsibilities.

#18 botticus   GHM4Life CAGiversary!   16520 Posts   Joined 13.4 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 03:16 AM

I'm currently playing Okami, and I love it so much that the first 4 days I had it, I put in 20 hours (which is huge for me). I'm pretty sure that I won't be able to keep that up, and I'm afraid that this will be another game that I will never possibly finish. Reading your question offered the possibility of a solution. Next time I play, I'll make sure that I stop playing at the entrance to a dungeon. Hopefully, if I put down the game for a week, I won't be faced with the (all too common) question I've been asking myself with every rpg I've played in the last 3 years: "What am I supposed to be doing and why should I give a shit?" Instead, I'll be able to jump right in until I get to the next dungeon. I haven't tried this yet, but it seems like it might work.

Great, great point. Best example I have of this is Paper Mario: TTYD. I started that one a good year-plus ago after getting it free (eventually) after rebate. Probably played 5 or 10 hours. Fast forward to a few months ago. I'm in the middle of a subplot, with absolutely no clue what I was doing, what my current goal is, or where I need to go. So I spend hours doing something that may or may not be contributing towards completion of the game, which is what Clive was discussing with Tomb Raider as an example. You end up spending half the amount of time you have available trying to get back into what you were doing, and it just doesn't work.

Best thing I've been able to do so far is attempting to stick with one game, if at all possible. That doesn't mean I can't throw in Mario Strikers for a game or two, but keep to one story-driven game, so a) you play it more and b) you don't lose track of the story if you're away from it for a short time as easily as you would if you were involved in a second story as well.

#19 Mr.Answer   want a spatula? CAGiversary!   1512 Posts   Joined 13.9 Years Ago  

Mr.Answer

Posted 26 September 2006 - 03:25 AM

I hear where you are coming from (especially about the bf2) but I think that while not going to the point of silliness, that he does want them much much shorter. He wants a satisfying game experience but in a much shorter time.

Very American mindset/





To Mr. Answer,

I don't think the author is asking to finish games in 10 minutes or anything.

He's just like the rest of us working folk with alot of other responsibilites. We wouldn't mind seeing games we liked playing when we were younger except at a length that we have a more reasonable chance of completing.

******
HOw do I cope? PLay games like Battlefield 2. I can hop on for 15 minutes or 2 hours and instantly be in the middle of action. There's no keeping track of anything. Just fun action packed fairly competitive fighting.

I've gotten into Nintendo games too. The more arcadey types. Tho I've done a couple that have been nearly 30 hours that me months to finish. I think MP2 took me a year to finish. Hard to do tho. IT's easy to lose interest in long games when the pace for completing them is a minimum of 2 or 3 months.



#20 Javery   Drug-Dealer-Keeper-Awayer CAGiversary!   22419 Posts   Joined 15.0 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 03:30 AM

I want my movies done in 6 minutes,

I want to watch my TV shows in 30 seconds.

Come on I have a lot of other responsibilities.


Exactly. I don't have time for that shit anymore but I don't want to miss out. I can't wait until someone invents a memory chip you can just download in your brain so you never have to waste time watching TV or movies again.

Outside some RPGs made for the hardcore, all story driven games should be 10-12 hours MAX.

#21 Duo_Maxwell   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   5752 Posts   Joined 14.3 Years Ago  

Duo_Maxwell

Posted 26 September 2006 - 04:38 AM

Meh, maybe I'm the only one who doesn't have a problem plugging away at a game for about 8 hours a week or so. I average maybe a little over an hour a day of playing. Then agian I usually get one weekday off (cause I work one weekend day) where there's not too much to do during the afternoon. I put in my hour a day and it doesn't bother me a bit if it takes me four weeks to finish, in fact I sometimes like it even more that way if it's a story I really enjoy. Now if it's a story I find bland, then I'll have little will to finish it, but that'd be same if it was 5 hours or 50 hours of gameplay.

Now I can see a point where I get less and less time and why some people have less (kids, family, etc.). But even an 45 min to an hour a day isn't that much really. I'm sure most have around that much recretaional time to themselves at some point, it just comes down to do you want to game during said time or do something else, your choice. And can you stick it out to play long games? Again, also your choice.

#22 ratzombie   aka yunkie CAGiversary!   12864 Posts   Joined 13.3 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 05:46 AM

I think about 20 hours is about right for me, games that are any longer than that will take me a very long time to finish, or it will probably remain in the backlog until I die.

#23 Graystone   ` CAGiversary!   15662 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 05:48 AM

I would agree with the NPD study that says 6-17 year olds are the "hardcore gamers" When I was that age if I wasn't outside playing I was inside playing games. When I turned 12 or so everyone in my neighborhood moved away. So it was just me and Playstation. I would hang out with friends sometimes. But mostly my weekends were going to blockbuster renting movies and games. Then playing games all weekend. I'm talking 20-30 hour sessions of Tomb raider, and Syphon filter. I've always played games in shorter time spans (3-4 hours) since I was 5 but never like those 2 or so years. Actually nowadays I can't really play for more then an 1 at a time. When I first got my 360 I got battlefield. I was playing that online all the time. But that stopped after a week or so.

#24 TahoeMax   Tastes good with milk CAGiversary!   1761 Posts   Joined 12.3 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 06:08 AM

I have spells where i won't play a game for a month, but then i'll get into something and sit down for 90 minutes after classes, before i'm ready to dive into homework. That comes out to 7-8 hours a week plus a few hours on the weekends, depending on other commitments. I can kill a decent rpg in a couple weeks that way. Dragon Quest 8 took me about a month and a half to finish the monster log, but that's the longest i've played since the month FFX released. It's very cyclical for me, but i still find time for even the most serious rpgs. Med school might change that, but I typically have a longer fuse than most people I know, and it gives me more free time late at night to take care of my gaming. 6 hours of sleep is plenty, so i'm usually up until 2am putzing around, and i can still make it to work by 9.

#25 ViolentLee   Still Man Fights CAGiversary!   3655 Posts   Joined 14.4 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 07:27 AM

I tend to agree with the long game-loathing stance, but the right game can still suck me in for countless hours. I spent a good 7 hours or so in one day playing Metal Gear Solid 3, and a few weeks prior did about 5 hours with Test Drive 360. Having played 175 hours of Oblivion, who knows how many several-hour time chunks I chipped away to get that sum?

But yeah, I'm basically over traditional RPGs. When I love games like Xenosaga and Suikoden 3 and still can't get past the dozen-hour mark, it doesn't bode well for the genre. I'm currently playing Yakuza; we'll see if this different take on RPGs holds my interest for any length of time.

#26 PinheadsNailGun  

PinheadsNailGun

Posted 26 September 2006 - 07:36 AM

Probably the only game that I've put more than 5 hours into in the past 3 or so years is Forza. I played the hell out of it when I got it soon after it came out, never realy took it online that much though.

Though, as I've said in other threads, an old friend is movingback in come Wed. When he was here for a visit Thanksgiving-New Years 2004, he'd sit and play all day long. I'm talking Halo 2 and MK: Deception marathons of 12 hours a day. It would kinda piss off everyone else in the house though. As everything was (and still is) in the living room. Of course, seeing as I have a 360 now and a 42" HD set, I'm sure he'll probably be gaming a quite a bit for a while. Won't really bother me too much (at least now I have a DVR to record whats on while he plays), as I still watc TV mostly in the bedroom. At least it'll get my ass back in gear gaming lol

But really, even if I did sit and play more than 10 hours a week, I don't see myself really caring for a game that is over 20 hours.

#27 tehweezner   Mother Leopard CAGiversary!   1243 Posts   Joined 12.3 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:05 PM

jesus i can't play a game for more than a couple hours at a time, longest session w/o stopping probably like 6 or 7 hours... people are crazy

#28 VulSuck   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   50 Posts   Joined 12.5 Years Ago  

Posted 26 September 2006 - 10:28 PM

Outside some RPGs made for the hardcore, all story driven games should be 10-12 hours MAX.


Agreed. However, I can't think of many games off the top of my head that fit the bill. Trauma Center seems like a fit, maybe Phoenix Wright (haven't played it), and Trace Memory almost certainly is one. And they're all DS games...

I think one of the issues here is that the major game review sites (particularly the big 3) will emphasize the fact that any short game is in fact short. I think that until the big 3 recognize that there's a huge audience for shorter games or more publishers recognize that the big 3 are worthless, we're not going to be seeing all that many short games. Anybody know any other good short games?

#29 Predator21281   The Parking Lot Pimp CAGiversary!   919 Posts   Joined 13.3 Years Ago  

Predator21281

Posted 26 September 2006 - 11:05 PM

All true. When I got into Final Fantasy X, I played that for about 60 hours in a week. Then I got all the sidequests done except for Tidus' legendary weapon an I said "Who gives a fuck" That didn't happen when I playd ToS. I got everything done and still wanted to continue forward pushing the 70 hour marker. I think it's just that some of the longer games are just boring and burn you out. The fun ones are the ones you'll want to keep playing.

#30 Predator21281   The Parking Lot Pimp CAGiversary!   919 Posts   Joined 13.3 Years Ago  

Predator21281

Posted 26 September 2006 - 11:08 PM

A good game that's short and is very story driven, MGS comes to mind. Without the cutscenes you could blow through those games like nothing.