Great video games

  • Mirror’s Edge

Parkour never looked so good. When Mirror’s Edge came out in 2008, the free-running, climbing, jumping game made movement exciting again, instead of just something you have to do between battles. It even worked the whole “travelling by foot in a futuristic city” thing into the game’s narrative. Alas, critics were quick to point out that the game was just way too short, with some calling it the “first chapter” in a new franchise, which would at least have made the quick intro forgivable. What nobody knew was that the next chapter wouldn’t be out for at least another eight years, and it would be a reboot. Even time trial modes didn’t really rescue the Edge universe from being a four-hour, one-playthrough experience.

  • The Order: 1886

Even before The Order: 1886’s release, Destructoid was already reporting that the full game ran shorter than the average workday. On the one hand, eager players would only have to call in sick for one day. But on the other …. damn, that thing was sixty bucks. Generally, overly brief games are accompanied by an online multiplayer mode to kill the time, but The Order is a self-contained story. There’s a lot of be said for a coherent, conclusive narrative … except developers Ready At Dawn kinda bristled at the implication that their game was too short. Vampires are forever, but this vampire game is so short, you won’t even have to take a bathroom break.

  • Marble Madness

If ever there was a game built for speed runs, it’s Marble Madness. After all, the game rewards you with extra time for completing levels quickly. Impressing people in the arcade in 1984 was certainly worth all of the quarters plugged into the machine, but not so much at home. For roughly $50, skilled home players had about three minutes of solid marble maze enjoyment, and players who sucked had all the joys of repetition and practice … until they reduced Marble Madness to a three-minute game. That’s time better spent learning the clarinet or eating half a sandwich, but certainly not worth everything in your piggy bank.

  • Trine 3

The beautiful Trine series wouldn’t have made it to a third game if the series sucked, but it might just be the threequel that drove the nail into its coffin. After developer Frozenbyte spent over $5 million developing the game, they were still unable to realize all of the ambitious ideas they’d started with. The result was a game that was immediately panned for being too short, according to PC Gamer. Frozenbyte went on to say that in order to make the game any longer than it already was, they’d have needed triple the budget. Further DLC hasn’t been planned, and despite otherwise positive reviews, the studio remains unsure about the future of the franchise after Trine 3’s weak reception.

  • Brutal Legend

A unique theme, innovative and unusual gameplay, multiple awards, a top-notch cast of voice actors and musicians … and about six hours of actual gameplay. Brutal Legend presents an interesting mix of action and strategy, plus a pretty awesome, heavy metal-themed story. Soon after release, however, word spread about the game’s length. Fans quickly realized that the game was a weekend rental, rather than an all-out purchase, and sales numbers suffered. Also, casual game buyers couldn’t figure out what the game was actually about, aside from Jack Black and metal music.