Should the average play-through be included in descriptions? (Poll)

A question/issue/topic that comes up regularly is that of the wordcount per play-through.
I believe the latest thread with it is about whether or not the wordcount given in the description influences the possibility of a purchase.

A ‘long’ game can have a short average length when there is a lot of branching, while some games are almost as long as the wordcount with code, due to little branching.

Thus the question:

Should games include the average play-through, to give players an idea of what to expect?

  • Yes, it would give a good idea of things
  • No, it’s alright as it is
  • Other (please comment)

0 voters


To me, the general rule of thumb when looking for games is the playthrough and wordcount. This gives me the idea of how big and how branching the game is.

Heck, doesn’t have to be accurate ± 100 words. Just tell me those with ~5k words deviation. It’s fine.

P.S. Additional info such as “shortest playthrough” and “shortest playthrough, but actually reaching the ending” is also welcome


Yup, it just gives a better idea to the player and the content that they’ll get for their money. I honestly don’t see a reason not to have it :slight_smile:

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It’d be nice to know if I’m playing a long game with minimal branching, or a short game with lots of branching.

Also, as a potential buyer, I feel like I’d be more likely to buy games with shorter wordcounts if I knew how much of a playthrough I’d get out of it.


I’d say ‘no’ only because the advertising average play length could have the opposite affect. Let’s say a game has 400k words and is priced within $5 to $8 (which is probably fair a fair price because that’s over novel length).

Then the prospective customer reads the average play length and thinks “Wow. The APT isn’t even a fourth of the actual game’s length.” and then makes the decision to not buy it based on that.

Obviously, this could go the opposite way “Oh! Cool! Multiple playthroughs!”, but the first scenario is something to consider since it could have an impact on the product’s potential purchasability.

To add onto this a little bit more, I think - and this is only my opinion - not knowing how long your play through will be (especially if there are multiple branch ways) could encourage replayability by forcing the player to think “Well that sucked. Time to try a new route!” if they reach the end of a lackluster route.


That is a very good point, makes me reconsider my vote…

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For me, the bullet points describing the kinds of things you can do in the game are more useful than average playthrough. Although the playthrough length is interesting, everyone reads differently and may read quicker or slower than when reading a book. But if there’s a wide-ranging set of options or themes listed, then I know there will be more replayability and exploration available for subsequent games.


As it is I basically ignore the wordcount because it doesn’t tell me if I’m looking at a long game with little branching or a short game with lots of branching.


Semi-related to topic, but who would calculate the APT word count? :thinking:

It should included if helps the author . I mean you have to be intelligent with your game marketing. If The game is linear fashion and with tons of words per playthrough that is good advertising for most casuals. So put it the data.
For me the data is normally something that makes me NOT buying the game. If game is 100,000 words and you have about 45,000 or50,000 per play. The game has the interaction of a brick . So no way I will buy it…
Put the data is a doble edge blade … You probably will scare off half of your possible audience


when you run Randomtest with ‘show text’ it gives you a wordcount of the number of times it played through on a seed. divide that by the number of plays and you got an average average


You’d want to trim out “dead ends” where the story cuts off early due to main character death or because you don’t walk into the haunted house and instead go off to live a long and happy life that this story is not about.

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Half the fun with stuff like this are the dead ends and surprise endings. Granted, IF there’s dozens of those and just one or two ‘final endings’ (in the sense that there’s only one path to actually reach the actual end, not that all branches come back together) then, yeah, get out the hedge trimmers.


If it’s early enough in the story I’d be inclined to start a new playthrough; they’re fun but I don’t consider them “full playthroughs” of the sort I’m interested in the wordcount of. And they have an unduly large impact on the average because there’s a huge gap between them and others.


Those lost ends worse the pace and make narrative and immersion a joke. How could I role playing seriously if I am afraid of tje author decided that in base they own canon that X action is to be doomed from start. Due he is thinking in a character with no agility and I am role-playing an acrobat professional in base the only stat that really have to do with physical progress is Fighting. Lol It happens so much that author is so obviously only thinking about their mental character. If you add to that early dead ends game will turn… GUESS WHICH ONE IS THE ONE THE AUTHOR WANTS YOU TO CHOOSE

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If you did want to remove outliers for calculations, it wouldn’t be hard to change the *goto gameover to a *goto otherpath while randomtest did its magic (I’d do it on a separate copy to avoid accidentally breaking something on the way back thorugh). Especially since there should not be a superton of these.

I think the only time I liked dead ends in a story was with Tin Star, because the checkpoint system didn’t force me to replay the game from scratch but also penalized me with a slap on the wrist. Didn’t make me waste my time, but also kept me from the “Oh, I can just keep throwing myself at this until I get it right” scenario that kinda kills tension for me. Other than that, I’m not a huge fan of surprise endings.

I’ve got a sharp memory for written text, so going back through usually means going into autopilot (since the text is exactly the same and I’m not looking for a reread at that point) then continuing on a different branch which…isn’t really that exciting.


I would say no , cose word count won’t tell you if those ‘branching’ actually have impact or make the story have alot of replayability . It’s kinda misleading if anything .

But if an author wanna add it…I don’t see why they couldn’t if they want to .

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“shortest playthrough”

It’s something of a judgement call, but if you hit an end like ten screens in I don’t really count it as a playthrough. Even if it does resolve the story. I forget the name, but there is a game where there’s a choice early on that’s basically “enter the haunted house?” and if you pick no you get a screen that says something to the effect of “congradulations, you have succeeded at not being trapped in a haunted house! This is the end of the story of your interactions with the haunted house. You go on to have many adventures, but that’s another story”

I liked that; it was hilarious and the proper outcome for a character who wouldn’t go into the house. But I don’t really count it as a playthrough as such.


Well, if you wait long enough in Pagan Min’s mansion, you’ll be taken to the shrine and finally put your mother’s ashes, effectively resolving the Far Cry 4 plot.