I’ve been a gamer for a number of years. I’ve put countless hours into various genres of titles. Some great, some bad. One thing however has stayed the same.
I have a problem, one I hope I’m not alone in having. That is...
...I rarely complete a game.
Since a young age I’ve only completed a small number of videogames. Why is this? How have I not completed Mass Effect 3 yet?
As much as I get drawn into well-written storylines, complex characters or even just good old fashioned enjoyable gameplay I can only best describe myself as a ‘Magpie’. While an actual Magpie is drawn to shiny objects for it to pick up in its beak and fly away with, I on the other hand pick up videogames with my hands, buying or borrowing new titles/classics I’ve never played or curious games I wish to know more about. Regardless of what game I’m playing until that point, and again regardless of my location within the game’s life span I cannot simply resist temptation. “I’ll just have a quick go to see what it’s like” turns into a couple of hours. I then rarely go back to whatever game I was playing beforehand (usually turning my attention to another title altogether or playing more of the recently acquired game).
Some videogames I’ve got within maybe a little over an hour of the final conclusion, only never to see it through to the end. One such game is the Gamecube classic, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Everything about that game had me hooked, and I still regard it as one of my favourite Zelda titles...but I never fully finished it.
Various elements have contributed to this problem. Staff discounts, borrowing titles from work or friends, hype, expectation and curiosity to name but a few. Even as a child however, when I got to play games on a more regular basis for longer periods of time without the funds to purchase new games...I still didn’t finish a large number of those that I did have.
I occasionally look at some of the games I’ve gathered and feel like hanging my head in shame.
One game did break this trend,
A game from the creative minds at Square-Enix,
An RPG that divided opinion.
That game is Final Fantasy XIII. While not being one of the best titles from the series it didn’t deserve quite the level of negative attention it received by quite a number of critics and gamers. Besides, my enjoyment of FFXIII wasn’t purely down to the game itself, but more so the build-up to the first time I’d placed the game into my Xbox 360.
A friend of mine invited me to join him and his girlfriend on a trip to London for the launch event of FFXIII, which was being hosted by HMV. We arrived at the large Oxford Street store just after midnight and had to wait around until late in the afternoon for the event to begin. I’d be lying if I said between the hours of 2am and 5am I hadn’t thought about catching the next taxi that went past and ask to be taken to the nearest Travelodge as the temperature dropped. However, we all made it through, getting our copies of the game/strategy guides signed by the game’s producer and art director before heading back home. We also got interviewed by a number of people from the gaming press prior to entering the event (which made me realise how much I’d like to break into the games journalism field, one which I continue to press towards today).
Seeing as I’d gone to such lengths I felt as though I had to complete XIII. Many games fought for my attention, but still, even after a number of months in some cases I still kept returning to the world of Lightning, Sazh and Co in an effort to finally finish the game off. It took longer than I ever anticipated, but after 2 whole years I finally saw the ending credits.
I’d actually finished the first disc and half in a relatively quick time, while the rest of the game saw me increasingly getting distracted. Other games I’ve completed haven’t taken anywhere near as long, for example Bioshock which I completed in and around a month.
I love seeing the cinematic endings of titles, the twists and turns of the storyline right down until the credits roll and the general satisfaction of finishing the game. Yet still my Magpie-like mind continues to prevent me from seeing the above mentioned points.
Will I ever get over this trend of not finishing most of the games I place in my consoles? Probably not, however now that I no longer work in games retail I’ve found myself purchasing less games. In fact, in the past couple of weeks I’ve returned to a number of games I’d yet to finish, with my plan tonight being to finish off THQ’s Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (I’m a massive Warhammer fan).
Let’s also not forget that all important element, Time. It’s a precious thing nowadays, with work, a girlfriend, friends and family to think about. I’m lucky to get to play games as often as I do, with a increasing amount of my gaming time going to my iPhone or handheld consoles. I wouldn’t change my social life however to accommodate more gaming. You could even say I enjoy my gaming time more than I’ve ever done as I do less of it (even if it’s to play a terrible game).
I’d like to think I’ll return to Mass Effect 3 next and see the ending which caused an uproar in the videogame community earlier this year. I almost feel ashamed for not being able to join in when the battle lines were drawn between those who felt it was fitting for the end of the trilogy and those who didn’t.
I’d like to stress that a number of games I’ve never or nearly completed isn’t purely down to my enjoyment of that particular title. Mass Effect 3 is an incredible game, it’s just a case of getting distracted by other titles.
So, Gaming Unity readers, do any of you suffer from the in-ability to finish a large number of your games? What’s the longest period of time it’s taken you to finish one of your games? Can any of you beat 2 years? Comment and discuss below.
If any of you are interested in reading more about the launch event for Final Fantasy XIII then please click this link.
It contains more information on my night in the capital, the cosplayers on display and videos of me getting interviewed and featured!