Monday, May 26, 2008

The Pledge (Do you finish every game you buy?)

Just glancing over at my shelf that contains my console games I have over 50 games. Some of them are sports games so I can't really count them as the sort of game one would finish. However, I would consider completing at least one season in a sports game to "count" as a game being finished. So including the sports games I would say I have finished exactly one of them. That would be Oblivion for the Xbox 360. Looking over at my PC collection reveals another ratio of finished to owned games that is rather sad. I should say that I don't trade in games for the most part. I stopped doing that some time back. I imagine the ratio would be a great deal worse if I still had the games I traded in over the years.

Am I spoiled? Maybe. Games aren't like movies and books in the sense that one fully expects to complete them when they are purchased. I do expect to enjoy them and if I don't like a game, I don't hesitate to return it. This works for console games for the most part, but not PC games. Stores refuse to take back PC games for fear of piracy. I don't blame them, but it makes me be a bit more discerning when purchasing a PC game. That might be part of the problem the PC gaming industry is facing lately. At the very worst, if I don't like a console game, I can trade it in if I am not able to return it for some reason.

In the past there may have been good reasons for people to not have finished a game. For one, it may be that the game was just too difficult to finish. I am thinking about Ghouls and Ghosts or games of its type. It could also be that a player gets to a certain point in a game and realizes that they just don't like it anymore, that it has become repetitive or too difficult to put in the time to finish. I remember playing some Lucasarts adventure games that had some parts that I thought were just impossible to solve. It turned out that with concerted effort and perseverance I was able to complete them. I can't think of any movie or book that I purchased that was too difficult to finish. Some of them I didn't like so I stopped reading them. These days video games have gotten a good deal easier. Their are pros and cons to this phenomenon. Players for the most part no longer have to worry about screwing themselves over so badly that they can't finish the game and need to restart. However, there can sometimes be so much hand holding that it makes your choices irrelevant or uninteresting.

There is no good excuse to not finishing a game these days. They are designed to be finished. High scores as a measure of skill are gone and games have many levels of difficulty so that they can be played all the way through at various difficulty levels. I guess the bottom line is that I have no excuse for not finishing the majority of the games I own. I purchased them in the first place because they have something about them that I like. I have played them enough to know that I don't want to return them. With that in mind I have made a pledge to myself. Over the summer, I am going to dedicate my game playing time to finishing games. I want to raise the ratio of completed to owned games by a big margin. I'll report back with my progress and give some thoughts about whether playing all the way through these games was worth it.


Bartlebe said...

I definately do not finish every game that I buy. I actually have a terrible habit of NOT finishing games, even if they're great.

I usually only finish games that are truly fantastic in their stories or gameplay.

The last game I finished was Mass Effect on the 360. I am trying to finish Penny Arcade Adventures on the PC but I dunno...

Flying Norseman said...

oops! I forgot about Mass Effect when I wrote that post. So there is one more, I finished!