On Game Length

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On Game Length

[started Dec. 4 2006] http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20061201/qotw_01.shtml Talks about the length of games.

This is of value to me because [I say] long games are ill-suited to school environments.
School learning comes in bite-sized chunks, single lessons; units that last a few weeks. Unless we begin to require dozens of hours in homework, there is no way for games to fit into formal school environments. It may be part of the reason why puzzle games predominate when it comes to school games. Their length is better suited to the environment than a game like Oblivion.

I think that many modern games are *not* suited for use in schools because of the time commitment required to play them vs. what we can get out of them in terms of meeting outcomes. That also means that the model provided by such games may not be especially useful for ed-games. A game that takes 100 hours to complete is just not going to work in school, whereas a 10-hour game might. Even if the 100-hour game were to match perfectly with a whole pile of general outcomes, it is still a huge time commitment. The amount of flexibility around the time commitment for any game is going to depend (at least in part) on what level of organization the ‘schedule’ is set at. In other words, if the province sets the amount of time available for something we have almost no hope of affecting that; if it is done at the board level the chances are better but the case still has to be made that this change will be good for all schools in the district. However, if the decision is school-based we have the greatest chance of influence.

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