This is perhaps a topic with a lot of perspectives but almost no hidden nuances - can you ever have too much game? What's too little?
Not that many games are hailed as ‘just right’ in any criteria and duration is surely in the minority of that minority - but it does happen sometimes. Thatgamecompany's blisteringly beautiful mute adventure Journey lasted just a couple of hours but still managed to be epic. But then again that's about the length of a movie; is there something to be said for being able to finish a game comfortably in one sitting?
Books, movies and LPs come in whatever length they come in and we don't get upset with them as often as games, even if a few people did get deep-vein thrombosis watching the Lord of The Rings. We’re just about willing to let art be itself. We do of course pay quite a bit more for the average game than the average book or film and naturally want to get our money's worth, but we also recognise how much work goes into each game and by how many people, all of whom need a paycheck.
But who are we to talk? Recent surveys show that on average nine tenths of us don’t finish our games anyway, so how do we know if we’re satisfied with their length? Other major digital retailers combined sold 45,000 copies of The Witcher 2, while Steam sold 200,000 copies, making it a good sample. Of those 200,000 Witcher 2 players, 14.5% have unlocked the achievement that requires a player to “Finish the game at any difficulty”. Steam’s statistics also show that only 30% of people have finished the last story mission on Skyrim, and even last year’s acclaimed (and relatively short) Tomb Raider has only been finished by 45% of the people who've bought it.
So - does quantity have anything to do with quality in games? Is it right for us to track the lengths of games and have expectations? How do you decide what length is right? The list goes on and on. What games stood out for you because of their duration and why was it the right length or the wrong length?