Why are games so long?

Following Tuesday's post about Batman: Arkham Asylum, hooman78 commented about how games demand too much from players, asking who with a full-time job

Given how some games demand so much commitment that you may as well head down the registry office and get hitched to them, probably very few. And that few includes game designers, many of whom confess they hardly ever play games because of a lack the time.

It’s easy to blame hardcore gamers, who seem to spend the few minutes when they aren’t playing games complaining on the internet that Fallout 3’s main story was too short.

I'm not kidding by the way, there are people who think Fallout 3 is too short since they finished it in less than 17 hours (and while I'm on the subject what on earth possesses people to tally up exactly how long they played a game for or calculate hours played to price paid ratios anyway?).

But the real reason games keep getting ever bigger and longer is because game makers tend to think that reproducing a hit game with a double rather than single barreled shotgun and even longer stories make for a better game.

It doesn’t and 9 times out of 10 a simple sniper rifle will be far more fun than the latest version of Doom’s BFG 9000 weapon.

What Batman: Arkham Asylum shows is that you get a better game when designers focus on the experience rather than adding to the feature list.