When I read the first couple of paragraphs of the “Mythical 40-hour gamer” article, my initial response was “LOLZ GO PLAY BEJEWELED, N00B!!!11!!”. Then I read the rest of the article, and mulled over it more, and realized that, while I’ve really enjoyed spending an entire year playing Disgaea off and on, I can understand not quite wanting to spend that long on a single game. I also realized that even I currently have numerous games that I haven’t finished, something that would’ve been unthinkable 10 years ago when I was a college student with tons of free time that I was supposed to be spending studying.
I think one of the best solutions, as he mentions in the article, is episodic gameplay. That way people with a time crunch can spend 10 hours playing an episode and have a feeling of accomplishment, while others can spend 80 hours churning through the entire series for a greater sense of accomplishment. Now that I’ve whipped through HL2:Ep1 I’m a lot more interesting in buying and playing HL2:Ep2 than I am in going back and slogging through any of the other games I already own but have lost interest in.
Another good solution would be for companies to switch from putting all of their eggs into one 80-hour basket, to making several 20-hour games instead. This would have the added benefit of encouraging experimentation and innovation; if you’re throwing all of your money into one giant game, then it better have androgynous guys with swords killing monsters, because that’s what sells. But if you’re splitting that money up into a bunch of smaller games, then you can afford for one of them to be about rolling a giant ball around picking up people and cars and buildings, as long as all the rest of the smaller games are about androgynous guys with swords killing monsters. This is already the modus operandi of many indie game companies, and hopefully it will spread upward to the big companies as well.
Either that, or there should be people who are paid to play videogames all the way through, and then interpret them for the people who don’t have the time to play them. Maybe they could give prepared speeches based on the game to large audiences every Sunday morning, or something.
“And lo, on the fourth day, Cloud did dress as a woman so as to infiltrate the brothel, and was cast down into the sewer for his trespasses.”
Then there would be huge battles between the people who listened to the guys who played Final Fantasy, and the people who listened to the guys who played Dragon Quest, and the few people who shouted “But both series are made by Square Enix!” would get drowned out, and the streets would flow with the blood of the unbelievers.
Whoa, sorry, I kind of wandered off topic at the end there…