It was bound to happen. The Last of Us came out with some new DLC, and despite all high praise and the official Kotaku recommendation, somebody dropped the bomb. The "$15 is too much to pay for two hours of gameplay" bomb. I've seen this type of complaint far too often. While I understand and even partially agree with the reasoning behind it, the "X dollars equals Y hours of game" way of thinking is kind of bad, guys.
Like I said, there's a fair reasoning behind it. After all, I wouldn't ten bucks to watch a thirty-minute movie nor pay full price for a book with one chapter. So, yeah, I'm not going to pay $40 for a game that is essentially a two-hour demo, even if the game is highly repayable. That makes sense.
But I think that there's a point where the "X dollars for Y hours" mentality breaks apart. I think we all know we buy games for more reasons than a price/time ratio. It's why I'm willing to pay $60 for 13 hours of The Last of Us but wouldn't drop $15 for 70 hours of Final Fantasy XIII. There are other qualities that we use to justify our game purchases.
I'm just saying there isn't just one set criteria for buying a game, and sometimes one reason for buying a game can make up for another. A good story can make up for less-than-stellar gameplay. Amazing gameplay can make up for poor audiovisual presentation. And high overall quality can make up for a game's length.
Think of it this way: you can pay $10 for 10 McDonald hamburgers, or one really good gourmet hamburger. Or $10 worth of chocolate or steak or pizza or something. What I'm getting at is that there's more than one way to justify that $10 purchase than just quantity.
If this sounds subjective, it is. Maybe that guy complaining about the price/time ratio is actually really really concerned about how long his games are, I don't know. But let me just say this to anybody who stresses out over very specific time/price ratios: do you think that way because you truly feel like the game hasn't compensated in some way to justify the price, or do you feel that way because you think the game owes you? Because if it's the latter, then I suggest really rethinking your purchasing priorities.
Quick-Quack is a series of short articles by Zachary D Long AKA InvadingDuck. If you want, you can follow him on Twitter @invadingduck . His most regrettable purchase I've ever made was Sonic 06 at $30. It wasn't even worth that much in negative dollars.