Before we begin, I'd like to congratulate HarassmentPanda, author of the excellent video game law blog Laws of Play, for the banner he created. Thank you very much to all other contributors, I know it was an act of kindness and I really appreciate the wild stuff that got sent in.
On with the week's post.
It's always an awkward topic to bring up the concept of getting burned out with someone who plays games. Many folks are used to being told that they're a waste of time (usually by someone who watches a lot of reality TV) and don't exactly want to say that they get sick of games. Instead the game is labeled bad or you get someone explaining that all video games have officially ceased to be fun. There's the added caveat that with contentious children who cannot accept critical opinions of their favorite game, well, admitting you get tired of video games is just another bullet to use against you.
Like most of you, I obviously enjoy video games. It's just a matter of accepting the fact that I get sick of them sometimes. Not all of them and not any particular genre (I'll play anything once) but rather just the huge time commitment they involve.
It's not really a problem of ALL games being too long, it's just that a lot of games are too long for their actual game design. Take the FPS. How long is running around shooting stuff going to actually stay entertaining and new? When is it eventually just going to become a grind because you know everything about the game design? Far Cry 2 got away with it for about fifteen hours, games like Call of Duty pace better but they still go on too long. The gold standard of brevity in the FPS, Portal, is not just a model game because it's fun or it has a clever design. It's the right length so that by the end, you're about done with it. There is some designer term for this, chunking I think, but I'm rushing out the door to work and would rather admit to being wrong now than have it happen in the comments.
There's lots of problems with pointing out the reality of this. People dropping 60 bucks for a game that's the proper length (see Wanted) are going to be pissed about the principle of the matter. Price drops, social change, and the growing recognition that lots of the people who play games do not have buckets of free time are all factors keeping this back.
There is a very kind group of people that are actual writers connected with the industry or who work in games that are always very eloquent and polite with me. I asked around and decided to see what they thought of getting tired of playing games.