By lionheart25 62 Comments
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.