How To Be A Better Gamer: Finish Your Games

95% of the games I own I have yet to finish.

They're just waiting around to be played with like Woody and the gang from Toy Story 3. That number is an educated guess, and I am in the process of figuring out the real percentage of unfinished games I own, but fearfully I know that's probably going to be close to what it is. I can honestly say this is a problem I've always had. I buy way more games than I have the time to play them, and what happens a lot of the time is I end up selling or trading those games I barely touched. Worse than that, some stay among my collection as a reminder of my horrible habit. I need to remedy this problem.

The problem I thought was the source of my obssesive purchasing was that I considered myself a completionist. I would spend a lot of time on one game trying to 100% it, and let all other games fall to the wayside. In retrospect, the completionist mentality I have wasn't the problem. In fact, I think it's completely healthy to want to play a game all the way through, and to have a sense of closure with it, if that means obtaining 100%. But while seeking that closure, I was still buying other games, sometimes at release, only to go back to that game I was trying to complete. That inability to finish what I started without starting a new task: that is the problem. And it's not only effecting my gaming.

The more I realize that I love to start games but never finish them, the more I see that my real life projects suffer the same fate. It's a very upsetting thought, and it makes me question why I play video games. I know I am very passionate about video games, and it is my favorite hobby hands down. Most of the time, all I would want to do is play games than do anything else. Yet I think I've reached a point in my life as a gamer that I've become saturated with the wealth of gaming possiblities around me that I need to regain control of my passion.

When I was a kid I didn't have this problem, because I could only play the games my parents bought for me. I had the luxury to focus on one game because chances are it would be months before I received my next one. Sometimes I got really lucky and would get two, maybe three games for Christmas! In the past six months I've downloaded probably three times that from XBLA alone. When I was responsible enough to afford my own games my purchases became out of control, and no matter how many times I tried purging my library of unplayed games, it would build up again.

I fear that the future of gaming poses a real threat in exploiting my weakness in controlling my purchases. Games are going digital. They have been for a few years now, and will continue to do so. I fully embrace the movement; I love having all my games in a digital form than physical. It's simple and easy to purchase a game and to start playing right away. It's also very satisfying for me in not having to worry about the space a my collection of games takes up. But then there are all these attractive sales that happen on XBLA and Steam, and week by week I will purchase a game and instead of it sitting physically on a shelf my games suffer a similar fate digitally, which somehow seems more tragic. It's almost as if it helps keep my problem hidden because I can't see all the moeny I've spent on games I've played once or twice staring back at my constantly. Plus, I can never resell any of these purchases; they are now with me for life.

The prospect of my games being more of a negative financial impact on my life than a positive one is the big indicator that I need to change things around. I tried over a year ago to remedy this, vowing I would complete my unfinished games. Sadly it was a failed experiment. But I want to turn over a new leaf. If I can have a sense of maddening persistence in some the games that I play in unlocking an achievement or secret, I need to incorporate that into my real life and behavior. If I can be so passionate about games, than I owe it to myself as a gamer to give each one I purchase the time it deserves. Lately I've been feeling games are a negative in my life, and I need to make them positive again.

I used to think being a completionist was a negative habit to have...but not anymore. I admire people who set out to complete games because they have an enjoyment in that experience that I strive to have. The games that I've 100% completed in my lifetime have always stayed with me more so than the games I just beat once. I was replaying Gears of War recently, a game in which I use to own and only beat once. I was amazed as to how little I remembered: I barely remembered some of the missions or characters, and even the controls felt foreign to me. Yet when I purchased Super Mario World on the Virtual Console, a game I had 100% in my childhood, it was like riding a bike. I remembered pretty much everything, and after a few minutes it felt like I had never stop playing. There are a few games I have that experience with, and it is a joy that overwhems me because that is why I play games.

I want to complete the games I have, but I don't want to make it a burden. I don't want to challenge or limit myself to this goal feeling pressured that if I don't accomplish this, I have failed. This time, as I set about completing my games, I'm going to have fun. It's not a race to the finish line, it's simply me reconnecting to why I play games in the first place. I also have to start letting go of the need to play other games because honestly, they aren't going anywhere. It's going to be all about focus. If I can do that, I can be a better gamer.

Do you struggle with this issue, or something similiar? How are you trying to resolve it? I would love to hear some advice. Thanks for reading.

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Posted by lionheart25

95% of the games I own I have yet to finish.

They're just waiting around to be played with like Woody and the gang from Toy Story 3. That number is an educated guess, and I am in the process of figuring out the real percentage of unfinished games I own, but fearfully I know that's probably going to be close to what it is. I can honestly say this is a problem I've always had. I buy way more games than I have the time to play them, and what happens a lot of the time is I end up selling or trading those games I barely touched. Worse than that, some stay among my collection as a reminder of my horrible habit. I need to remedy this problem.

The problem I thought was the source of my obssesive purchasing was that I considered myself a completionist. I would spend a lot of time on one game trying to 100% it, and let all other games fall to the wayside. In retrospect, the completionist mentality I have wasn't the problem. In fact, I think it's completely healthy to want to play a game all the way through, and to have a sense of closure with it, if that means obtaining 100%. But while seeking that closure, I was still buying other games, sometimes at release, only to go back to that game I was trying to complete. That inability to finish what I started without starting a new task: that is the problem. And it's not only effecting my gaming.

The more I realize that I love to start games but never finish them, the more I see that my real life projects suffer the same fate. It's a very upsetting thought, and it makes me question why I play video games. I know I am very passionate about video games, and it is my favorite hobby hands down. Most of the time, all I would want to do is play games than do anything else. Yet I think I've reached a point in my life as a gamer that I've become saturated with the wealth of gaming possiblities around me that I need to regain control of my passion.

When I was a kid I didn't have this problem, because I could only play the games my parents bought for me. I had the luxury to focus on one game because chances are it would be months before I received my next one. Sometimes I got really lucky and would get two, maybe three games for Christmas! In the past six months I've downloaded probably three times that from XBLA alone. When I was responsible enough to afford my own games my purchases became out of control, and no matter how many times I tried purging my library of unplayed games, it would build up again.

I fear that the future of gaming poses a real threat in exploiting my weakness in controlling my purchases. Games are going digital. They have been for a few years now, and will continue to do so. I fully embrace the movement; I love having all my games in a digital form than physical. It's simple and easy to purchase a game and to start playing right away. It's also very satisfying for me in not having to worry about the space a my collection of games takes up. But then there are all these attractive sales that happen on XBLA and Steam, and week by week I will purchase a game and instead of it sitting physically on a shelf my games suffer a similar fate digitally, which somehow seems more tragic. It's almost as if it helps keep my problem hidden because I can't see all the moeny I've spent on games I've played once or twice staring back at my constantly. Plus, I can never resell any of these purchases; they are now with me for life.

The prospect of my games being more of a negative financial impact on my life than a positive one is the big indicator that I need to change things around. I tried over a year ago to remedy this, vowing I would complete my unfinished games. Sadly it was a failed experiment. But I want to turn over a new leaf. If I can have a sense of maddening persistence in some the games that I play in unlocking an achievement or secret, I need to incorporate that into my real life and behavior. If I can be so passionate about games, than I owe it to myself as a gamer to give each one I purchase the time it deserves. Lately I've been feeling games are a negative in my life, and I need to make them positive again.

I used to think being a completionist was a negative habit to have...but not anymore. I admire people who set out to complete games because they have an enjoyment in that experience that I strive to have. The games that I've 100% completed in my lifetime have always stayed with me more so than the games I just beat once. I was replaying Gears of War recently, a game in which I use to own and only beat once. I was amazed as to how little I remembered: I barely remembered some of the missions or characters, and even the controls felt foreign to me. Yet when I purchased Super Mario World on the Virtual Console, a game I had 100% in my childhood, it was like riding a bike. I remembered pretty much everything, and after a few minutes it felt like I had never stop playing. There are a few games I have that experience with, and it is a joy that overwhems me because that is why I play games.

I want to complete the games I have, but I don't want to make it a burden. I don't want to challenge or limit myself to this goal feeling pressured that if I don't accomplish this, I have failed. This time, as I set about completing my games, I'm going to have fun. It's not a race to the finish line, it's simply me reconnecting to why I play games in the first place. I also have to start letting go of the need to play other games because honestly, they aren't going anywhere. It's going to be all about focus. If I can do that, I can be a better gamer.

Do you struggle with this issue, or something similiar? How are you trying to resolve it? I would love to hear some advice. Thanks for reading.

Posted by Ubersmake

I definitely need to finish more of my games. But I hate completing them for the sake of completing them. I spent a lot of time in Mass Effect doing the (relatively mundane) side quests. Part of it was me wanting to complete everything. And part of it was me wanting to see how far Mass Effect's world really went. I suppose there's a very blurry line dividing the very different goals of completing a journey and enjoying a journey.

I continue to make the mistake of playing games for the sake of playing through them, as opposed to playing in them, and it's something I have to work on. I'm trying to start with controlling my purchases. I'm trying to only buy things when I know I can make time for them, because I'll always be able to get games later, for cheaper. And I'm trying to remember to enjoy the ride.

More than anything else, don't forget to enjoy the ride.

Posted by Pazy

Ive always been terrible for finishing games. I dont feel the need to complete all my games, some I stopped because they are frustrating as opposed to simple boredom, but I completely very few of the games I got. I wanted to counter this so I made a list of how many games I know I have completed and it covered about 80% of an A4 piece of paper.

I decided that by summer, this being Febuary 1st, I should at least finish the page. At the same time I said I should complete at least one game a week, it shouldent be too hard as most games are about 5 hours long and I have a lot of 1/2 or 3/4 completed games. The page was completed in early august, its close enough to summer that I was happy, but mainly I was happier to be a little better at finishing games.

I kept writing up this list as I completed games and one day in early december I decided to count it up. I counted 26 games that I had completed since Febuary, I noticed this was exactly half of the the 52 weeks of the year, if I had intended to completed 1 a week then I had about two months to complete 26 games so I have made a point to complete more games since then. In the past month ive finished about 15 games. I didnt rush any of them or stay up too late to get it done, I simply had more of a drive.

Im currently sitting at 40 of 52 games with a mind to get all 12 of those games done in about 20 days. Im not sure if ill complete this idea but even If I dont I wouldent consider it a failure. Before I started this list most of the games I finished were either franchises I love, like Mass Effect and Ratchet and Clank, or co-op games were I continued more for my friend than myself. Im now able to fully enjoy more of my games without going as far to be "completionist".

Fingers crossed anyways, 12 games in 18 days.

Posted by Dr_Ventum

I finish most console games that have a definite end to them. I'm iffy when it comes to more open world games like Skyrim. And I usually don't finish most of the free PC games I play. Mostly because I'm bad at games and they're very hard.

Posted by jozzy

It seems like for you completing a game means to do 100% of it. If that is the definition of completing a game, I am probably on 99% not completed too. I am really not interesting in S-ranking a game. I do finish most games, as in reaching the end and seeing the credits.

Posted by BraveToaster

I don't think that completing all of your games makes you a better gamer. Most of the games I play don't keep me entertain enough to finish them. I'd rather put a game aside and spend my time playing a game that I enjoy.

Posted by OverLord00

I have soooooooo many uncompleted games. Mostly because I lose interest and then play competitive multiplayer stuff with friends.

Posted by GaryDooton

It's something I'm more aware of these days, for sure. I recently became a dad and, seeing as the little lady takes up most of my time (and indeed comes first every time, no matter what, I should probably point out), my gaming habits have already changed. I had an existing problem of buying too much at once and then never playing, two examples being buying Mass Effect 2 and Yakuza 4 at the same time (why?) and then never playing Yakuza 4 and, the most egregious example of the two, buying Final Fantasy X and Okami at the same time, and starting with FFX, only to play Okami for 3 hours and never return to it.

It used to bother me greatly but now I don't have the time (or energy) to care as much. I love deep, immersive, long long LONG-ass gaming experiences and certainly don't want to stop playing them, but I have declined to grab certain games as of late because I know I'll never get around to finishing them, especially seeing as I bought quite a lot of content during the Christmas Steam sales.

Ironically, a game like Skyrim is absolutely perfect for my current lifestyle. It's a game you can play for a very, very long time but, due to the nature of the story content, I can dip into it whenever I have time, pause it whenever I like and not feel disconnected from the world and the story. It can be trickier with other games. For example, I grabbed Prince of Persia (the cel-shaded one) and Dead Space in the sales and, as fun as they are to play, they've already fallen by the wayside somewhat. Everytime I reopen them, I have to remember what the controls are, where I am in the story and what the hell I'm supposed to be doing.

This has an especially crappy consequence with something like a horror game, because it's not that scary if you're creeping through a corridor and you have to pause it, go change the baby, cuddle her to sleep, put her down and then come back to continue this now not at all scary set piece. It's like watching a horror film and pausing it every 20 minutes to take a piss. It loses much of its impact.

So yes, it does affect me somewhat, but I've just changed what and how I play. I'm happy to read about certain experiences and keep up to date with gaming by reading sites like Giant Bomb. So long as I can enjoy some games and stay in the loop in general, I'm happy.

Posted by Hizang

I am trying more now to finish games, this year do far I have beaten Brutal Legend and Killzone 3.

Posted by fieldafar

Heh... I'd love to finish off games I've started, but I still have unfinished games on my SNES! I don't know why though, doesn't seem to matter whether the game itself is good or not.

@kingzetta: I'm fascinated with the fact that you managed to 'finish' Skyrim.

Posted by WatanabeKazuma

@kingzetta: I have a similar list, and I agree with the sentiment of this thread, finish your damn games! Obviously there are certain exceptions, like anything which is horrendously bad , but the point still stands.

@fieldafar said:

@kingzetta: I'm fascinated with the fact that you managed to 'finish' Skyrim.

Most of this is based on differing opinions though, I assume the goal is to finish the main game? Ideally the story and a few other things besides. But that's probably getting into semantics of how "finished" and "complete" can be applied to video games.

@lionheart25: As serious a hobby as this is for many, I think people tend to get worked up about having to experience absolutely everything that is on offer. Its something I've made my peace with; I just don't have the time to be playing every revered RPG that's out there (as much I'd like to), let alone adding other genre's into the equation. Its all about a happy medium, as patronizing and cliched as that sounds!

Posted by kingzetta
@fieldafar said:

Heh... I'd love to finish off games I've started, but I still have unfinished games on my SNES! I don't know why though, doesn't seem to matter whether the game itself is good or not.

@kingzetta: I'm fascinated with the fact that you managed to 'finish' Skyrim.

I beat the main quest, the civil war, and all the guilds
Posted by Vexxan

I have a hard time to move on to other games if I didn't finish the previous one before firing up a new game.

Posted by kingzetta
@Vexxan said:

I have a hard time to move on to other games if I didn't finish the previous one before firing up a new game.

yeah if I do that, the one I left unfinished sticks in my mind.
Edited by M_Shini

I used to finish everything and go over them with a fine tooth pick, altho back then i wasnt working and had a limited budget and used every game to its fullest potential, but even tho thats not what i do anymore im kidna ok with just droping them when im bored and moving on, Im generaly Finished with a game when i get bored or run into something just just screams bordom, i remember when Ac:2 told me to go back and pick up every codex page i droped the game then and there, i was pleased with what i got out of it tho so no regrets.

As to if it makes you a better gamer, wouldnt go that far(altho i dont think thats what you meant by being a better gamer to be clear), helps to have played some games for longer in terms of actualy skill in certain games sure, but slonging through a game that has outlived its welcome just to get to The End is more sheer will and determination and for alot of people just to put they're minds at rest, Its sort of like a cleaning ocd when i feel like that.

Edited by kgb0515

I usually have the same problem as the OP, but I played through more single player campaigns last year than ever thanks to rental by mail sites. I know it doesn't apply to PC games, but I would get a game and marathon the hell out of it until I finished so I could get the next one. I played through the first 3 Assassin's Creed games in a few weeks this way. I stopped renting now though since I want to focus more on quality than quantity. I'm going to "finish" Skyrim as best I can.

Posted by dudeglove

I almost gave up on LA Noire but forced myself to the finish line. I was more angry at myself for wasting my money on the game in the first place than at the game itself. Most of the other games that I paid filthy lucre for have been played to completion, but LA Noire stands out as the horrid almost-exception.

Posted by lionheart25

@Ubersmake: I had a similar experience with trying to 100% Mass Effect on my other gamertag. I wanted to see more of what it had to offer, but it became so tedious and frustrating because I got bored and disappointed that outside of the main story, the game wasn't as fleshed out as I imagined it to be. I should've stopped, but instead I kept going because I also felt the need to complete the game. I ended up getting all the achievements except from the Pinnacle Station DLC because I was so burned out at the end. It was an experience that I learned from, and although I am on a quest to finish more of my games, if I encounter a situation like Mass Effect again I definitely won't push myself as hard to finish it.

Posted by lionheart25

@Pazy: It's your kind of persistence that I have tried and failed time and again, and I admire that you are having so much success in pursuing your goal. The way you have approached it; without being in a real rush and only wanting to enjoy the games first and foremost is the philosophy I lacked when I've always tried to complete my games. I have great enjoyment in fully completing my games, but when that's all I cared about, I would actually become overwhelmed and waste more time in my gaming experience. Lately I've been approaching my sessions like you, focusing on having fun more with the game or with friends, and I've noticed that I'm able to progress much faster in my games because of that.

I hope you achieve your goal!

Posted by Humanity

I play every game I own to the end or at least try to. Even when I'm not enjoying the game that much, unless it's a complete chore I'll power to the end. Usually I do this because no matter how bad the story I'm interested in seeing how it ends. In the case of a game I'm not enjoying I sometimes feel like unless I beat it I can't honestly argue against it because I didn't see it to the end. Take Bioshock 2 for example. I did not enjoy it very much, I was curious to see where the story went though. In the end I can say Yah I played that game, to the end, and I didn't like it. Theres nothing worse than people telling you "oh man it gets REALLY good at the end!" and while that doesn't makeup for the game being shitty up to that point, it does feel like you should have pushed on a bit more.

Also Skyrim has a definite end and thats the main storyline. You can do sidequests I guess but once the main story is finished then thats technically the end of the game. I actually think a lot of people saying how they sunk all those hours into Skyrim but never touched the main questline is indicative of the writing to a certain degree.

Posted by Three0neFive

Ironically, I find that the more games do away with actual difficulty in favor of troves of collectibles and procedurally-generated content, the less I bother actually finishing - or in many cases, even starting - them.

This generation is full of babby games.

Posted by lionheart25

@Humanity: The mentality you have does push me to finish games more. I'd like to know how a game ends because than yea I can say this was definitely something I did/didn't enjoy. On many an occasion has my opinion been reversed the more I stuck it out with a game, for better or worse. I think most the time, like a movie or TV show, you owe it to yourself to finish a game at least to the end of the story so that you can say yes I've done that now it's time to move on. Thanks for the comment it really made me think some more about why I finish games.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

I finish games as long as I am enjoying them, and most of the time I pick up games I enjoy them enough to do so. Skyrim is a weird outlier because I've spent maybe an hour and a half on the main quest line but well over a hundred doing everything else.

Posted by Humanity

@lionheart25: definitely!

I have an old example but true none the less - Mafia, the original that came out on PC way back. Honestly I thought it was a bad game when I started playing it. The cars were slow, the police ridiculous and everything seemed underwhelming. I stuck with the game though and it is one of my favorites to this day. The story and gameplay evolve so drastically over time that it's criminal to give up in the beginning.

The flipside of this argument is BioShock 2. I hate to drag it through the mud again but everyone online kept saying how the ending to that game is pretty crazy, and how the final plasmids make everything so wild. So despite not really enjoying the gameplay aspect of that series I played to the very end and before all this awesomeness kicked in the credits were rolling. I later checked the spoiler comments and what others found amazing I thought was very underwhelming.

Still I don't think I regret finishing any game no matter how bad it got. There was always something rewarding along the way!

Posted by lionheart25

@Three0neFive: To an extent I would both agree and disagree with your comment, only because of how I like to enjoy my games. I don't mind that games fill up their worlds with treasure troves of unlockables or collectibles. As long as I feel it's really rewarding ad fun, I'll be more than happy to explore them. Case in point: trying to find every pigeon in GTA IV versus the survivalist/treasure hunter challenges in Red Dead Redemption. Finding those pigeons in GTA IV was, for me, like finding a needle in a haystack. The city was so detailed and intricate you cannot do it without the aid of a map. The challenges in RDR might seem as daunting at first, but because of the design of the world, it actually made it easier to complete those tasks, and for me it was more fun and rewarding because I did not have to resort to a guide for a single one.

Now that leads me into your comment on this generation being full of baby games. I think skill is relative, not only to the game you play, but also who you are as a player. Sometimes I'm shocked at the lack of skill I see people have in let's say Halo Reach, but also I've been playing Halo since day one of the original Xbox so that gives me an advantage. In fact, I think the reason why we might feel that games are too easy these days (we meaning gamers who have played games for at least 10-15 years) is because we have seen it all and done it all. We rarely meet a game that challenges us with a learning curve or something radically different because we have life experience in games to relate it to.

Also, we have to be realistic sometimes in our perception of games that we think to be hard games of generations old. My favorite example is Contra. When I was a kid, that game was tough. I mean, wasting through the entire Konami Code worth of lives tough. When I replayed it when I was in high school, it was a breeze. I thought, "why the hell did I think that game was so hard?" It's because I was five and didn't have any years of playing games under my belt.

I do think there is a different kind of challenge that is expected from the gamer today, when it comes to 100% a game. And that challenge is mainly dedication. I think spending X amount of hours to finally obtain that 1000th orb can be just as fulfilling to some people as it is to beat a very difficult boss battle after the 1000th try. It's a personal victory in a different way, and it depends on how you play your games.

I appreciate both, which is also why I can also agree to your statement. I do miss being beat by games. I do miss seeing that game over screen. I love how games have evolved but also I use to love fearing that if I lost that one life, I would have to start over from the beginning again. I don't get stuck in games anymore, and a part of this is becasue I've been gaming so long but I also do notice certain games just don't have that challenge in them. Around high school I started to venture past the normal difficulty because I was missing that challenge games use to offer, but now even some games on hard or insane or whatever extreme difficulty it has doesn't present that challenge.

The one hope we have is now we live in the online multiplayer age, and no matter what a human opponent will always be more difficult to beat than an A.I.. Halo on Legendary doesn't really need to be too hard because once you go online, you will always find someone better than you to keep the cahllenge of playing the game going.

Thanks for the comment, it really does make me think how important difficulty can factor into a goal like this.

Posted by lionheart25

@MordeaniisChaos: A lot of people have been bringing up Skyrim in relation to this topic, and it will be interesting to see if and when I do get it (might have to complete a few games before then) and see how I feel about it. I was a little overwhelmed with Oblivion; that was another game that ended up in my Hall of Shame, because I barely played it and ended up trading it. At the time, I was intimidated by the amount of stuff in there to do and I had bought too many games around it that I knew I was never gonna come back to it.

I do not want to make that mistake with Skyrim. I also don't want to make the mistake of having to just complete it for completions sake. I am going to play it and let my enjoyment dictate my course of action.

Posted by MrRedwine

If I get 6 to 8 hours out of a game I am ok with putting it down even if I haven't completed it. I mean I go to a movie and pay $20 I only get 1.5 hours of enjoyment out of that. 6 hours is four times that, or $80 of enjoyment. So I guess I figure it's worked out.

Posted by lionheart25

@Humanity: I actually enjoy that you keep referring to Bioshock 2, because that was one of the few games that I actively decided not to pursue 100%. I loved the first Bioshock. It practically changed my life and how I viewed games, which isn't something that happened in a long time at that point. I played that game countless times over and 100% it on separate occasions. That was a game I loved.

No matter what, I knew I had to finish Bioshock 2 before I played it. I was either going to love it or hate it, and I told myself before I inserted the disk that I have to play this and nothing else until the end, only because I had so much investment and passion from the first.

I ended up not feeling strongly either way. I appreciated it for what is was, and what I at least thought it was trying to do, but I don't really steer anyone to play it either way as much as I favor Bioshock. When I beat it, I did replay it once more for the different ending, and after that I was done. I decided to continue on with my other games and it was at least the first time that I had such a fulfilling experience with a game I didn't love, or even like that much. I am sort of indifferent about the game now.

But at least I can be comfortable with that feeling. I won't ever try to 100% it now because I don't have to. I got what I needed. And that is the experience I want to have with all my games. I'm glad to know there are others out there who seek out similar experiences with their games, because it can be very rewarding and have a positive influence on our gaming lifestyles.

Posted by lionheart25

@MrRedwine: That's a neat way of looking at it. And that also ties into what value we can place on our games and sessions involved. I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule; if I would have stopped six hours into Red Dead Redemption I would have missed out on a ton of great value that game had to offer.

Would you prefer a game to offer more of a compete experience in a shorter time or does it not really matter because either way you decide how much time you will put into it? I would be interested in knowing.

Posted by WilliamHenry

I always want to finish every game I start, but if I'm not having fun with the game any more, I don't force myself to finish it just to finish it. I'm not going to waste my time playing a game I don't like just so I can say I finished it.

Posted by lionheart25

@WilliamHenry: Very well said, and that is exactly the kind of philosophy I want to adapt to better myself as a gamer. I think I can easily do that, but I need to break the habit of wanting to buy more games than I need.

Edited by MikkaQ

It's too late for me, I have hundreds of unfinished games. Steam sales are partially to blame, though I buy a lot on the xbox and PS3 that I plain don't finish.

Posted by RedRavN

I currently have dead island and dead space 2 on the backburn. I would really like to finish dead space 2 but i doubt I will be able to complete dead island. No more horror games for a while I think. I am also playing arkam city but I think I am just going to do the story and most of the sidequests. I just do not feel like I need to 100% the game to get everything out of it.

Edited by believer258

@GaryDooton said:

Ironically, a game like Skyrim is absolutely perfect for my current lifestyle. It's a game you can play for a very, very long time but, due to the nature of the story content, I can dip into it whenever I have time, pause it whenever I like and not feel disconnected from the world and the story. It can be trickier with other games. For example, I grabbed Prince of Persia (the cel-shaded one) and Dead Space in the sales and, as fun as they are to play, they've already fallen by the wayside somewhat. Everytime I reopen them, I have to remember what the controls are, where I am in the story and what the hell I'm supposed to be doing.

This has an especially crappy consequence with something like a horror game, because it's not that scary if you're creeping through a corridor and you have to pause it, go change the baby, cuddle her to sleep, put her down and then come back to continue this now not at all scary set piece. It's like watching a horror film and pausing it every 20 minutes to take a piss. It loses much of its impact.

This is what I have found as my life gets busier. Work and college butt in on my free time and I have a much harder time getting to the end of games. However, Bethesda RPG's and Skyrim in particular are perfect for the reasons stated above. It's incredibly long, fits like a glove, and takes almost no time to get absorbed in and almost none to drag yourself out of. This is also a good part of the reason why I play Call of Duty a good bit as well.

Meanwhile, my backlog of games is far bigger than I'd like it to be. Like the OP, I just kept buying new games without beating the ones I already had, and now I have way too much to play and not enough time to play them all. This would have been a dream come true as a kid but these days it feels like a burden more often than not.

Also like the OP, I want gaming to be positive in my life again so I've begun to work on games I already have and don't play much else until I've beaten it. While this hasn't been going on for long and it's often hard to maintain, it's making my gaming that much more satisfying. Right now I'm concentrating on Kingdom Hearts 2, of all things. It's captured my attention like I though the series never could again.

As a general rule of thumb (and a final note), completion for me is getting to the end of the game and seeing the denouement. Of course with Skyrim, racing games, etc, this is a blurrier definition, but that's why it's a general rule of thumb and not an absolute one.

Posted by nintendoeats

I own almost 1100 games, a majority of which I will never play. Regardless of that, games are too long to play merely on principle.

Posted by kingzetta

Beat your games, it builds character

Posted by Spike94

@lionheart25: You described the exact same thing that I am going through. Literally down to the childhood similarities. Oh those beautiful-yet-ugly Steam sales...

The only difference, really, is the fact I own a PS3 and not a 360, ha. I too have started to apply a solution: play games for fun. Not to complete them. That makes them a burden. Kudos to you and enjoy.

Also, thanks for reminding me of these things- I need to take it slow and ultimately enjoy all of these experiences more than if I didn't.

Posted by GaryDooton

I think the main issue is feeling like you've missed the boat - or at least it is for me. I've finished Saints Row: The Third recently and I've done some missions on L.A Noire, but I had to skip large sections of the GOTY discussions because they talked about the twists an the ending and so on throughout. I know it's been out for a while but (a) I was waiting for it to come out on PC and (b) I had a load of things to do / other games to finish. As a result, I feel like I've missed the boat on this.

Maybe that's just me, but there's an added value and excitement for me personally to get a game I've been looking forward to at launch, knowing that I'm playing through at the same time as everyone else who has just picked it up. Maybe it's to do with my forum interaction: I do like to discuss and share experiences as I play through, but with so many titles out and so little time for me to dedicate to games right now, this is becoming rarer and rarer.

You don't even want to know how much Bejeweled I've played on my phone. I feel dirty.

Posted by Rekt_Hed

When I was growing up with the SNES and such games didnt have half as much content as they do now. If I had unlimited time it would be cool to get all those extra collectables n shit but most of the time those things are just thrown in there purely to add extra game time and dont really add anthing to the completion of the game other than just a check box.

My point being that I feel fine for playing a game enough to a point where I feel ive played enough of it to feel complete with that experience. Now im not saying im lazy and this is a cop out excuse because the games that really take my interest and make getting the extra stuff worth while are the games I spend a shit ton of time with and do tick every box.

But even then developers are constantly moving the goal posts with DLC. Saints Row the third being my most recent example as ive 100%ed it and when the DLC comes out that game will techically become 99% done again with new achievements. Now im not complaining because even after 65hrs of game time im totally up for more Saints Row.

My point being is that it shouldnt bother you if you have unfinished games. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much content gets put into them these days that if your holding down a job it makes it almost impossible to see everything that gets put into these games unless you just cut off all human contact. And sometimes its nice, like you said with Gears, to come back to a game you may have played a ton but still be able to find things you may have brushed over before.

Edited by Hector

I'm going through my owned games now, I guess the only way to actually finish my games is to not buy new ones until I beat the ones I currently have. If I don't they'll keep piling up.

Posted by Nottle

I'm playing Chrono Trigger DS because I never beat it. I have also never beat Banjo Kazooie, FF3, FF8, FF9, FFX-2, PERSONA 4, Persona 3 FES the answer, Fallout New Vegas ( I was 50 hours in before I even went to New Vegas), The World ends with you, Pheonix Wright 3, Skyrim(I'm going to do the main quest after the mage college, 57 hours in and I've only met the graybeards), Dungeons of Dredmor, Binding of Isaac's 10 runs, Cave Story, Castlevania HD, DMC1, DMC3, OBLIVION, Dead Island, MGS Peacewalker, XenoGears, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Madworld, SMG2, Hitman: Blood Money, Soul Blazer, Final Fantasy Tactics, VVVVVV, Aquaria.

I'm sure there are other things, but yeah, I need to knock some of this stuff out.

Posted by lionheart25

@MikkaQ: Does having unfinished games ever bother you? Or does it not matter?

Posted by lionheart25

@RedRavN: I hear Arkham City has a lot more unlockables this time around. Did you play the first one? I was able to 100% that in a week, but judging by what people say that might not be possible with Arkham City. I think of all the new releases, that has been the toughest to hold out on. But I need to break my bad habit, so I'm going to wait until I've completed a few of my games and I'll probably get that one first.

Posted by BBQBram

I would have that problem if I could always afford all the games in my wishlists. In reality it's more like two games a month. And I used to be a completionist to that degree, but nowadays it really depends on the game. Sometimes I need to 100% it for closure, sometimes just finishing the campaign will do. Depends on how engaged I am.

Posted by lionheart25

@believer258: I think you make a great point about the difference between a general rule of thumb and an absolute rule. What has always held me back with my games is that I would pressure myself to finish them because I held these strict rules that I tried to abide to. Of course, rules were made to be broken. This time around, I have created another set of rules for myself but it gives me more freedom so that I can actually enjoy in the experience of completing my games.

I think about how I use to have all the time in the world when I was younger, and how happy I would have been that my only problem in life was I had too many games to play. But like you and GaryDooton, my real life responsibilities are what's important now. If I can find time to play games that's fantastic, and I should make the most out of it not by just trying to complete my games for completion sake, but for fun.

I have a similar relationship with Halo: Reach like you have with Skyrim and Call of Duty. I'm able to just jump in and play for a bit whenever I can, and that's great. For the past couple of weeks I've been feeling very good about how I've been changing the way I game, and I think it's because I am not being so strict. I think it's good that with any hobby, you create certain rules or boundaries for yourself because you don't want them to become a negative in your life. The amount of money I was wasting on games I never played was getting out of control, and I needed to impose some rules to fix that. Now I'm not stating that I can never buy a new game ever until I play my old ones, but still it has been helping and I actually am looking forward to just playing my games for now. I'm sure I'll buy a new game eventually, but at least I can say that I'm getting better about finishing my old ones.

Posted by lionheart25

@nintendoeats: If games are too long, do you rather focus on playing smaller games? 1100 games sounds like a lot of money to spend over the course of many years...are the majority of your games unfinished? At my peak I had about 100 plus games where about 85 of those were either I never beat the story or played, and that was very upsetting for me because I felt like I should have been smarter about my purchases. Do you ever have this feeling? Or does that not factor in to why you play games?

Posted by DoctorWelch

Here is the solution. Stop playing shitty games that you dont like, and only buy a game that you intend on playing through at that moment in time. To explain the first part, I mean stop playing games if you think they are just okay. I used to be in this weird state where I felt that I had tons of games to play but half of them were kind of a mediocre experience. Because I follow the GB guys so closely I want to play most of the stuff they play which is an insane thought because even each individual GB crew member doesnt play ever game. Over time Iv basically figured out what games are good for me and what I will like playing, so it only takes a quick look or a small amount of time with a game to know whether I should play it. Just as an example, I wanted play Dragon Age Origins so I bought it and started to play. I got a few hours in but just never liked it so I havent gone back and I told myself its not worth my time if I know I wont like it so that game (in my mind) is finished. Also, I dont really own too many games because I sell the ones that I know I am finished with, but being finished with the game doesnt necessarily mean you completed the game. For instance, I sold Skyrim on ebay for $40 dollars even though I hadnt beaten it because I know my time with it had ended. On the other hand though, I have not finished Dark Souls but I will never sell that game because it is one of my favorite games of the past few years and I know I will come back to it.

I used to feel really overwhelmed by all the games I wanted to play, but then I decided its stupid to be overwhelmed by something that is supposed to be extremely fun. So basically I just relax, play what I want to play and what I like, and make sure I'm being fiscally responsible.

Posted by nail1080

Sounds to me like you're just not good enough to finish most games ie you a noob bro

Posted by lionheart25

@GaryDooton: Oh man, Bejeweled, talk about a productivity killer!

I share the same sentiments about wanting to get a game at release. There always have been that satisfaction knowing you can engage in the same conversations on what's new with everyone else: from the school lunch tables to the message board forums of today. Sometimes I get to still be a part of that, but that usually means I'm not playing the 20 other games I all ready have because I'm spending every moment with that new release.

Just recently, I was able to get a copy of Red Dead Redemption. I was about half way through the story when I texted a friend of mine about how awesome I thought this game was. He replied, "way to figure that out two years later." It was funny cause it was true; I felt like someone who just heard of The Beatles. But that's just the thing: games will never go away. The timeframe of a new release will come and go, but depending on the game, that shouldn't ever change your experience with it.

There are ups and downs to playing a game later than everyone else: you might have the story spoiled or if it's a multiplayer game you might not run into as big a crowd online, etc. But I think the beauty of what makes games fun is that they can be like a classic film or great piece of music and become eternal in their own way. I tried to think about it that way, and then it doesn't seem so bad that I didn't get Skyrim or Arkham City on day one. Plus (and this might sound absurd) some of these games will get sequels down the line, and depending on the game, you might just benefit from that because you will be playing a better version of a still classic game series. By thinking of it that way recently, I've been able to let that impulse of buying a new release slowly go away.

Posted by lionheart25

@Rekt_Hed: I definitely agree that you shouldn't burden yourself with completing all your games. This is a concept I've more recently come to embrace, except my problem still is that I will buy so many new games that is what ends up driving the amount of games left unplayed/unfinished in my collection.

I think it's about finding a balance, and for everyone it's different. You bring up a good comparison about games of today and games of the Snes era. Back then, all I had to do was beat Mega Man X. If I really wanted to complete it; then I'd spend the time finding his armor and sub tanks. Compared to what's offered today, that's nothing.

I think my OCD nature would compel me to want to buy the next DLC just because my 100% is now 99%, and that wasn't always a good thing. Like you said, if it's a game you've all ready put 60 plus hours in and you had fun doing so, then go ahead. But if it's not a game you enjoy, do you really need that DLC? That an extra 10-15 dollars you can spend somewhere else. This has been my internal dialogue recently, and by writing about it and hearing how other people feel, it helps keep me motivated to play the games I like for fun, and complete them because I wan to.

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