Modern video games boast longer and longer playtimes – but does the idea of spending hundreds of hours on a game make you feel excited, or exhausted?
In the winter of 1996, I almost lost my job because of the acclaimed management sim Civilization II. I was supposed to be reviewing it for the video game magazine Edge, where I was a fledgling staff writer. But I got so hooked, playing it was all I did for three weeks. During that period I ate, slept and drank Civilization II. At the end, I handed in my extremely thorough two-page review: the only thing I had submitted for the entire issue. I was supposed to be writing 25 pages a month. My editor was … displeased.
On Saturday evening, video game publisher Techland proudly tweeted that if players hoped to fully complete its forthcoming apocalyptic adventure Dying Light 2, they would need around 500 hours – “almost as long as it would take you to walk from Warsaw to Madrid”. The message immediately provoked a storm of controversy. Many respondents were critical, complaining that there wasn’t a chance they’d be able to find enough time for such a challenge. Writer Andy Kelly summed up it up by tweeting: “How not to market a game to anyone over 30 years old.”