Poll Question 246 – Should games and mods carry estimated play times?

22nd October 2011

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

I’ve been thinking more about the comparisons between games/mods and other entertainment media and one thing that struck me yesterday was that every film/TV show and every book (unless it’s short stories) has it’s length quite obvious to the viewer or reader.

Yes, I know I’m not the first to highlight this, it just happened to seem relevant considering I posted the Anonymous mod idea a few days ago. I’ve had to submission for that but unfortunately neither were suitable).

Of course, film and TV are different because they are completely fixed and books can be read at your own speed, but we have some idea.

You may know that I add a “playtime” TAG to each map or mod I add to the site, giving some guide to its length, but I doubt many readers pay much attention to the fact.

That said, when I but I game I think I might like to know how long the average plays takes to complete it. Sure, that stats offered by the developer won’t be as detailed as those released after the game has been out for a while, like these Episode Two stats, but they might add another point of information.

The key here is the “estimated”. Should it be just an average or could some industry standard be created? I suppose different games would require different standards. I mean how would you measure them? Walking through the game in god mode, taking into account all the secrets and caches?

I don’t know.

Maybe all we need is the walk through time. That would tell players the minimum time required to walk through the whole game without all the fights, caches, back tracking etc.

The more I think and write about it, the less I am convinced it’s possible to create a fair and honest system. Perhaps Valve has the perfect answer with those stats. Of course, hesitant users would have to wait for the early adopters to play through.

Or, Valve could get 100 players of varying skills to play through before the game is released, perhaps at their offices to ensure maximum control, and then publish those results at the time of release.

What ideas or thoughts do you have?

Should games and mods carry estimated play times?

The Poll


  1. Rog

    My immediate thought is “Yes” but with the caveat that it’s difficult to estimate such things.

    There is however, the website http://www.gamelengths.com/ which attempts a crowdsource answer to the problem.

    1. WOW, what an excellent website, I’ll add it to my links.

      In fact, I’ll think about how I can include something similar here for mods.

    2. Derbler

      Thanks for posting this site. Made an account and added some of my own times.

  2. Lambda

    Well with a mod (minus multiplayer), I assume it’s a few hours of gameplay at most; therefore, I never really care about that. The only complaint I ever hear in regards to mod time is, “oh I wish it was longer” never its vice. Indie games though, thats a different story. Then again unless its an epic rpg I assume a few hours.

    The only time I think people really start to care about hours is an RPG where it comes to 30 hours vs 60 hours vs 120 hours but even then you can speed run through fallout: new vegas in probably 12 hours; however, if you get all the caches and secrets (I was nowhere close and I had clocked in over 26 hours) it could be a lot longer.

    I am not someone who judges games by the length of them but by the personal value I find in them, for example, do people automatically regard an hour long television show better than a 30 minute show?

    1. Bradley

      I took 72 hours to complete Fallout: New Vegas, and there’s still so much I haven’t seen yet 😛 And about the “hour long television show better than 30 minute show” thing, I think its different in that you don’t pay per show in most cases, and you don’t go through really any hassle either.

      For example, if I see a mod here that is like over 100mb and has an hour playtime, then I don’t really bother because the download isn’t worth it.

      Similarly, while I loved the game “Prototype”, I completed it in a few hours and didn’t consider it worth the full £30, though I didn’t mind since I got it for my birthday.

  3. Normally I didn’t care too much about the length of a mod because I had plenty of time and I was generally able to finish most mods in a single sitting.

    However, I’m finding that my time available to game is diminishing rapidly as of late so knowing how long a mod might take to finish gives me another criteria to prioritise what I play. Because I like to play mods in one go, I will probably play the shorter ones first and when I know I have a little more time I will play the longer ones.

    As for longer singleplayer games, I don’t really care how long it takes because I play them like I read novels. I will pick it up for as long as I can and put it down when there is a relative lull in the story.

  4. AI

    I voted “I don’t care” why? cause I don’t! I’m not picky about the size or name,etc. I have plenty of time (retired) and I don’t go by some of the reviews (some) Guess I’m old enough to make up my own mind! It’s nice to go at your own speed and see the sights! There are alot of good mods/maps out there if you take the time to play ’em!

  5. Hec

    Well every mod is like a big box of chocolates quoting forrest gump, so I don’t care that much, what I care is that if they’re bad is a pain in the ass playing long ones, and if they are too good, but short u want more!

  6. Diokana

    I say “no” only because I don’t think it can be done in any accurate way. It would be nice if it could be done, but there are so many variables to a game that any single number would be meaningless to a player.

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