I was recently doing some research to plan my gaming year. With that research came an interesting topic of thought.
Each year, I have a notebook I keep for all things gaming (I keep one for books, too). I list the games I’ve completed (and the dates), the games coming out that I want to keep an eye on (and I update release dates as they become available), and various other lists that likely only mean anything to me (games I’ve started but not completed, etc.).
This year, I went through all my current gen games for all platforms (PS4, Xbox One, Wii U), listed the games I have that I’ve yet to play, and went through and listed the estimated times to finish them as found on HowLongToBeat.com. This gave me a far clearer idea of what sort of time commitments I’d be looking at for various games.
I like lists, and I like to plan.
As I was doing this, I ended up briefly discussing this topic with another person about how someone classifies how long a game takes to complete (oddly enough, this topic also came up on a video I watched recently).
It’s funny because, to me, I felt it was a given that, in real-time hours, the game takes from when you start the game, to when you see credits roll. Apparently that isn’t how everyone sees it.
Some people use an in-game clock (if the game supports such a feature) to gauge their completion. So even if a game took them ten real-time hours to beat, if the game says, let’s say, six hours to beat (due to deaths, setbacks, etc.), that’s the number they walk away with.
The more I thought about this, the funnier it became. I still can’t see completion in any other terms than how many real-life hours it took me to beat it. If it took me ten hours to beat it, that’s how long it took me (quite literally) to beat it. If the game for some reason said anything less, I’d still report that it took me ten hours. Sure I understand that someone else may beat it faster or slower than I, but that’s the number I’d have, as that’s the truth of how many hours I spent in supplication of completing it.
So I ask this: how do you tackle this subject? How do you consider how long it takes you to beat a game? Do you go off real-time hours? Or in-game hours? Or something else entirely? The topic kind of fascinates me, and I’m curious to see how different people view it.