If you're like me, your time is incredibly precious and you need to ration what little free time you have, putting some of that towards games and projects you know you'll enjoy and be able to complete... So when was the last time you grossly miscalculated the amount of time you'd need to invest into a game?
That's where HowLongToBeat.com comes into play.
April 13th of this year was the date that my girlfriend headed back up to Scotland following a lovely 2 week visit. In a long distance relationship being able to enjoy your time apart as well as together is a relationship saviour. We'd spoken previously and concluded that we both love a game every now and then, so we decided that a good PS3 multiplayer game was a must.
I decided to drop the £11.99 needed for a 90 day subscription to PlayStation Plus at my local GAME, granting me access to PSN's Instant Game Collection. The IGC was a perfect way to make sure both me and my lady had the same games at the same time. Easy!
I'd seen publicity surrounding the release of Okami HD around late 2012 but had never looked into it enough to justify trying it out. It sounded like an interesting concept on paper - Manipulate ink and brush strokes to change and influence the world around you. I'd been looking for something that breaks the current trend of "shoot this, hide behind that" for a while now. Add the recommendations from its dedicated fanbase lauding it as one of the best PS2 games ever made, and I would have been daft not to add it to my download queue. At this point I had zero background knowledge of this game at all.
I'm now 30 hours in and there seems to be no end in sight. My issue with lengthy games is that they eventually become projects, not just pass-times. My attention begins to fade but simultaneously it annoys me if I leave anything unfinished, especially having invested so much time into it. At this point I'm stuck between a rock (having invested a large amount of time already) and a hard place (not knowing how much more time I'll need to spend).
I turned to Google, and a quick (read: enervated) search is what led me to HowLongToBeat. HowLongToBeat.com gathers player's finish times across most platforms, and gives you more information on the average time it takes to finish games. Did you know it takes the average player 11 hours and 11 minutes to complete Bioshock Infinite?
The data on HowLongToBeat is all user submitted and covers a range of playstyles, including Main story alone, Main + Side Quests, 100% Completion and Speedruns. As data isn't pulled from any database automatically however, numbers are fairly low. For example there are only 367 submitted play times for Half Life 2. In comparison as of February 9th, 2011, Half-Life 2 has sold over 12 million copies. It's worth saying that perhaps not even half of those numbers equate to playthroughs to completion. Still, that's quite a shame.
Of course it's most definitely no big deal. After all you only need a handful of statistics to pull a rough mean. Regardless I've no doubt that the website will be an invaluable resource for those of us with too little time to invest in the next big RPG.
In time maybe HowLongToBeat can develop the traffic it deserves. Average finish times are an important piece of information, especially to those who practice speedrunning.
For now however, I need to find the other 20 to 30 hours that it's telling me I need to inject into finishing Okami HD.
When Viexi isn't writing articles, he's taking all of your questions and emails over at DanVXC@Gmail.com, or looking at his Pile 'o' Shame, wondering how he'll ever get around to playing any of it.