I’ve Started, So I’ll (Maybe) Finish
If you’re anything like me, not only do you have access to more than one gaming platform, but you also like to take advantage of sales, deals and other such discountery in order to bolster your video game collection.
This is good. We like games. We like good games. We like good, cheap games. Unfortunately, the planet we live on isn’t terribly sporting and refuses to increase the number of hours available to us on any given day, so at some point that collection becomes just a little too unwieldy. We can’t possibly play everything through to completion, so choices need to be made, priorities readjusted, lovers unspurned, etc.
In the past I’ve cultivated a rather nasty habit of starting a new game, getting anywhere from 10-90% into it, then gleefully abandoning it once something newer and shinier comes along. In short, I’m a gaming polygamist. Which I guess is a fancy-pants way of saying that I’m easily distracted.
A casual glance at the PlayStation 3 games on my shelf reveals a startling number of titles that have long since been abandoned, simply because I bought something else (probably many something elses) before I finished them. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Red Dead Redemption, LA Noire, Fallout: New Vegas. They all stare accusingly back at me, demanding to know how they wronged me. A similar glance at the (gulp) 230+ games on my Steam account earns similar disapproving looks from those I grabbed during a Steam sale and have barely touched since.
Why do so many games in my collection remain unfinished? Has my attention span shortened over the years? Am I buying more games than I have spare time to play? Or are developers at fault for failing to deliver a sustainable gaming experience?
I pondered these questions a couple of months ago after I noticed just how many games I’d purchased since Thanksgiving. To that end, I made a conscious effort (I guess you could call it a belated New Year’s Resolution) to see more games through to completion, or at the very least play through one game at a time. I started out well, playing through the PC version of Alan Wake from start to finish in less than a week, before moving onto Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and then spending a week or so with Journey.
I’ve currently clocked up about 16 hours with STALKER: Call of Pripyat. I purchased it when it first came out, but the desktop PC I had at the time wasn’t quite up to snuff, so it wasn’t until I put a new system together in February that I finally found myself with the opportunity to go back to it. I’m very much near the end of that game now, although I have been a little bit naughty and have started to overlap with a new play through of LA Noire. In fact, Rockstar’s 1940s detective epic has become something of a bedtime ritual for me, where I’m able to play through one new case each night. The game’s episodic nature lends itself quite well to shorter, concentrated bursts of gameplay, which contrasts nicely with Call of Pripyat’s more voracious time consumption.
Assuming I do manage to stick with more titles through to the end, or not play as many games simultaneously, I don’t think I’ll be able to completely curtail my bargain hunting tendencies. But I am being mindful of reducing the quantity of sale items I end up purchasing. Sometimes it’s too tempting to grab a title simply because it’s down 75% to $4.99 rather than because I actually have a burning desire to play that game any time soon. So now my bargain hunting will be conducted with an eye to choosing titles I’m more likely to play.
Thankfully I’m not alone in all this madness. Many of my online peers report the same problem—too many games, too little time to play them. I guess we should count our blessings that our favorite hobby consistently delivers products of an exceptionally high quality, otherwise this problem wouldn’t exist in the first place.
More shitty games, please, developers? It’s the only way some of us may ever hope to catch up with our backlog.