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Default The Escapist - The Long and Short of RPGs

September 14th, 2008, 15:33
The Escapist complains most RPGs are too long in a piece called The Long and Short of RPGs. Nearly every example is a console JRPG but the author does include western RPGs in the intro. Oddly, she doesn't call for shorter games - but rather a setting to allow players to choose a shorter or longer version:
The obvious answer is to just not do that, of course. And I've tried. With fierce resolve, I have steadfastly refused to explore entire sections of maps, left doors unopened, ladders unscaled, bureaus unsearched, pots unbroken. And I've had a miserable time. Eventually, I simply had to admit that if I don't search a game's every last nook and cranny, I end up fretting about what I might've missed and don't really enjoy myself. Yes, I have issues, I know. I'll consult a therapist later. In the mean time, I have a solution that will allow gamers like me to enjoy even the most epic of RPGs: a length setting.
Difficulty settings make games like Halo or BioShock accessible to players of all skill and patience levels, and a length setting would do the same for RPGs. At the game's outset, you would choose either Long, which provides the full-blown experience, or Short, which hits the highlights of the full game, but cuts out a lot of the sidequests or extraneous story. Essentially, it's the Cliff's Notes version of the game, providing the broad brush strokes of the experience, but not all the detail.
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September 14th, 2008, 15:33
That has got to be the dumbest idea *ever.*
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September 14th, 2008, 15:46
I thought a sausage wrapped in a pancake and put on a stick was the dumbest idea ever, I was sadly mistaken. Goes to show that if you try hard enough you too can achieve the most idiotic idea known to man.
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September 14th, 2008, 15:52
She really is insisting to cheat the system and in essence has missed the plot, she just can;t be bothered. If she was a window cleaner she would miss the corners ! ….but she's a woman so i'll forgive her.
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September 14th, 2008, 16:11
She's asking for the game developers to implement ridiculous and design changes to eliminate what is essentially a personal problem.

Nice to see "The Escapist" is still offering the same quality content they always have.
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September 14th, 2008, 18:12
Dear God. I thought not knowing what the Bush Doctrine was qualified as "pretty bad"; I suppose I should thank her for setting me straight on what stupid really means.
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September 14th, 2008, 18:43
One word response to this article = no.
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September 14th, 2008, 20:23
Sounds like the editorial of a typical, almost cliché-like "casual gamer".

And I'm quite sure that several companies will embrace this article as "the ultimate truth in gaming business !" - Because it expresses what they want to hear.
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September 14th, 2008, 21:44
The worst part was the comments. I can't believe all the ZOMG11!!!METOO!! responses agreeing that RPGs are too long and should include a short version to the ending. What would be the point of getting an almost completed jigsaw puzzle? Or buy climbing gear and then hire a helicopter to take you to the top of a mountain so you can claim that you made it to the top? Why even bother?

That said, this comment from over there made my day:

"While I am interested in this subject I just couldnt get through the three page wall of text.

Could you please post a brief synopsis of your article?"
Last edited by Darkion; September 14th, 2008 at 23:09.
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September 14th, 2008, 23:35
Why would any game dev take such an idea seriously? It would require twice as much work - Geez talk about a nightmare trying to finish one version only to go back and rewrite the entire quest and dialogue structure to maintain the same results. I can't even begin how retarded that would be from a design or business prospective.
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September 15th, 2008, 02:03
i dont think that she is actually, literally, seriously (w/ straight face and all) positing this as a suggestion, it's probably meant to be taken in jest to get others to laugh along w/ her at their own "RPG OCD"
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September 15th, 2008, 02:51
The idea of a "length setting" is rather dumb, indeed. At the very least, this would increase significantly the QA needed, and you can bet that at least one of the modes would be broken, maybe even both.

The author does have a point about RPGs being too long. Sure, I enjoy a long RPG as much as any of you, but sometimes a game can be too long and get dull. They also compel the player to do things like completing an item collection or a bestiary, which are often more time comsuming than the core of the game itself. I try to complete a game as much as possible, but sometimes I give up on some sidequests when they get too annoying.
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September 15th, 2008, 06:01
I was rattling off a list of some of my all-time favorites recently - Lost Odyssey, Drakan: The Ancients' Gates,, Disgaea, Persona 3 - when I realized something rather unsettling. I adore RPGs, but I hardly ever finish them.
As I thought about it, I could only recall a handful of role-playing games that I'd seen through from start to finish: Grandia II, Super Mario RPG, and A Link to the Past were the only titles I was sure I'd beaten. Excellent games, to be sure, but all also several years old. Surely I'd finished something more recently? Nope. Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Twilight Princess, Persona 3, Eternal Sonata all sit half-finished, patiently awaiting the day that I pick them up again. Which, judging by my experiences with Dark Cloud 2, Dragon Quest VIII, and Final Fantasy X-2, is never.

Every single RPG mentioned in that article was a console rpg.
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September 15th, 2008, 09:00
While the suggestion doesn't have me jumping out of my seat with excitmetn I don't think it would be all that hard to implement. If you structured the game arond a main plot that formed the entirety of the short game and then extended it with side quests to give a longer long game for the compleatests it might even satisfy everyone.
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September 15th, 2008, 10:42
I am reminded of Curse of Monkey Island where you had the choice at the beginning for an easier game with less puzzles. I just always chose the full-blown version because I didn't want to miss out on anything. I can't imagine wanting to play the short version in case there's some really cool content that's only included in the long version.

The problem is not that games are too long, it's that they need to keep momentum throughout all of the game. If a game gets boring half-way through, you're doing it wrong. If the game is awesome, I really don't mind that I can sink 60 hours into it, or more. It actually becomes one of the great parts of the game. I want to be disappointed that the game is finished already after a total of fifty hours. That's how you know that you had a blast playing it (unless the end is disappointing, but that's another thing).

Unfortunately, the reality is that something more shiny usually comes along and I end up playing that instead. I guess these days gamers have short attention spans.
Last edited by Thaurin; September 15th, 2008 at 10:48.
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September 15th, 2008, 14:21
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Every single RPG mentioned in that article was a console rpg.
Ah, that would explain why I've never heard of any of 'em.
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September 15th, 2008, 16:27
I hear that. Something tells me that Baldur's Gate or a pc game of that nature would have her in fits!
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September 16th, 2008, 01:09
It depends on the type of game. For games that are really combat heavy, as is the case with many console rpgs/jrpgs, a length setting which simply reduces the frequency of hostile encounters could make a lot of sense (it would have to be accompanied by a corresponding difficulty adjustment to ensure that the player isn't too underpowered for the boss fights as a result). I've given up on plenty of games for no other reason than the sheer volume of tedious, mindless, repetitive combat. I just wanted to get on with the story and explore new areas.
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