Say no to gaming obesity
Today is Size Doesn't Matter Day.
Despite the name it's not a feel-good day for men with body image issues, but a bid by indie game makers to counter the tendency of players and game reviewers alike to slam games for being too short or not having a supertanker's worth of hidden content.
The results of such demands for longer games filled to the brim with bonus content is that many of the games released today are prone to obesity. Games are being developed with an "everything but the kitchen sink" mentality that makes them unfocused or needlessly long.
Limbo's a victim of this knee-jerk call for more. Some have criticised it for being too short (around three hours according to those boring enough to measure these things).
Would Limbo really be five times better if it was a 15-hour marathon? Of course not, it lasted pretty much as long as it should have. It would have been easy to pad it out, the developers could have dusted off some of the second or third rate ideas they thought weren't good enough and avoided such criticism.
It's to their credit that they didn't and instead gave us an exciting, visually distinctive and perfectly formed game instead.
There's no padding, no fat, just three magical hours that shimmer with the passion of its creators. And yes, at the end, you'll probably wish Limbo carried on, after all it's rather good.
But just because we wish it would carry on doesn't mean it should have. The greatest games don’t outstay their welcome or drag things out so that you lose interest long before the end.
Or, even worse, keep you slogging on and on so that actually finishing the game feels like a relief rather than the climax of a great experience.
A great game should leave you wanting more. To reach the end and wish that it, like a good holiday, never stopped isn’t failure – it’s success.