Commitment issues

When I don't finish games I get angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

I love video games for many different reasons. They’re social, they’re an art form (Ebert, this is one more person that disagrees with you) and most of all, they’re a distraction. I remember when I was 8-years-old, playing Tetris on my Game Boy (you know, those things you slot your debit card into to pay for your meal at a restaurant) under the duvet of my bed with that quality light/magnifying glass attachment that meant you could play while your folks just thought you were sleeping. I remember popping 19 AA batteries into my Game Gear a few years later to power the chunky handheld for around 13 minutes as I was sword-molested by a skeleton in the original Prince of Persia. I have lots and lots of fond gaming memories, but I also have something that plagues my thumb-twiddling fun and haunts me as I jump from console to console: I rarely complete the games I buy.

I probably don’t finish 70% of the games I purchase, which is a pretty shit statistic when you think about it. When I say ‘complete’ I mean just getting to the end of the single player campaign, I don’t mean netting all the achievement points and unlocking everything there is because I don’t think many gamers manage that these days. So, why do I not finish the games I buy? Well, I think I’ve found a few reasons. Sorry, excuses.

Excuse #1: There are too many good games and too little time to play them.

I work full time, I go to the gym, I spend an hour cooking some fancy-dan bastard pasta dish because I’m scared the narrator of Come Dine with Me will mock me for eating something very simple. By the time I sit down on a weeknight to play a game, and this is presuming the missus doesn’t want to watch something on the TV or we have a new Love Film disc, it’s probably 9pm.  This means I have less hours to play and by the time I’ve got myself in the middle of one game I’ve had it for ages and another game I like the look of has been released.

Excuse #2: I buy games I probably won’t like because I want to like them.

Another excuse is that I often buy games that get great review scores, regardless of the genre and whether I actually have a history of liking those kind of games. I don’t like games that feature fairies and potions and Japanese teens with over-sized pets, but I’ll read a glowing review of a game and end up buying it because it will be the one that I think will convert me. I don’t like to trade games in so I just leave it on the shelf and tell myself I’ll try it again soon. This, I realise, makes me sound like some flash twat who walks around buying whatever he likes because he can. Trust me, I  don’t have the cash to be buying games foolishly. Unfortunately the internet is (kind of) free and the people writing the good reviews can still reach me. I wish they’d leave me alone.

Excuse #3: I get hooked on one game and don’t bother playing anything else

I’m very guilty of this one. When I get my paws into a game I love for its multiplayer I can play it for a very long time and ignore anything else because I’m a habitual creature. When Halo 3 came out I played it for a solid 2 years online, pretty much every other night. That was replaced with Modern Warfare 2 a few months ago, which I’m doing the same thing with now. I have a couple of mates who influence my gaming habits and these mates just so happen to be into the same games and we end up playing them together online a hell of a lot. I’m honing my talents in one game and disowning everything else. The simple solution here would be move cities, not tell anyone my new contact details, board my windows up, never leave the house and effectively rid myself of any and all social contact with my mates. Or just stop paying for Xbox Live.

So those are my excuses for not completing the majority of games I buy. Maybe I’ll revisit a lot of these games and sort that though (I’m just saying this to make myself feel better and probably won’t do that at all.)

Am I the only person to not finish games? Anyone else that would care to ‘fess up and lead some of the pointing fingers away from my guilt-ridden hands?

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2 responses to “Commitment issues

  1. I’ve had similar problems in the past, but have gone for a more disciplinarian approach. I fear I may be about to expose my madness. Please don’t judge…

    I enforce a turn-based system. Games are ordered by date of purchase and played in this order, one game/night, until completition (or until it becomes clear that it’s just not that good). Who said gaming had to be fun!

    Certain exceptions are made. If it’s a new game, or something that has totally immersed me (I still dream about Black-Mesa) I *might* stretch to two days. Depends.

    There’s so many good games, across multiple platforms, that it becomes nigh on impossible to do everything. A nice problem to have, but a frustrating one nevertheless. I feel your pain.

  2. Sounds like a good idea Jon, I might need to enforce some kind of system like that. There’s a huge level of satisfaction with finishing games I think and my impatience isn’t helping!

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