Does beating games matter?

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Hizang

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Edited By Hizang

My gaming habits have changed drastically over the years and the one I want to talk to you all to today is the beating of a game, some may say its the most important thing to games while others look at it as a bonus if it happens.

I used to be obsessed with beating games and it drove me to beat and play loads of games, kind of like those "Read 100 books in a year" challenges that you see at the start of a year. My younger self participated in these types of challenges throughout my youth and yes it did get me to actually beat a lot of games. But I started to realise that beating the game became the objective and often the only objective, I would want to find the most optimal route to beating a game even if it meant missing out on some content that probably was fun. I also ended up beating games I would have stopped playing because I was no longer enjoying or enjoyed in the first place.

Two years ago I was playing Seikro and I got to a boss I could not beat, I think I was like 70% into the game but I just couldn't get past this one boss (The head comes off in second stage and he flings poo) so I came to a realisation. I can just put this game down and move on to something else, I don't HAVE to beat it, so I gave in and put it aside and started a new game. But I hated myself for it and took a while for me to accept that I got beat by a game, but who the fuck cares am I right?

A recent example is Dragon Quest Elusive age or whatever for the PS4, I got like 90% of the way through, but I had had enough of the game at that point so was like eh I think I've played what I want and was able to put it down and move on. This time it was easy to move on and not give a second thought as I've started doing that a lot more in my adult life. Time is limited and games often are much longer or infinite now depending on what you play, so I no longer force myself to beat a game if I've had my fill of it. Just because I've put like a lot of time into a game no longer means I HAVE to keep going because I've put all this time into it already, I no longer see that as a waste of time but more just I had fun playing it up till this point now want to move on.

I do love playing games and have beaten so many in my time, but the act of finishing it is no longer my main objective anymore, because who am I here to impress?

What do you guys think? Does it actually matter if you beat a a game or not and is that the purpose of the games?

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imunbeatable80

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@hizang: I think thats a very complicated question as to whether it matters or not beating games. The "point" of playing video games are just that you are having fun or enjoying your time with the game.

However as to beating games, i think it depends on the game as to if that is the point or not. Beating Mario Party isnt really the point, but beating "the last of us" is seeing the completion of a story.

For me, i like to complete a story or game to see it through to the end, but that isnt for everyone.

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theonewhoplays

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I've been valueing my time more so I'm more likely to drop a game if it doesn't hold my interest, but I still get some satisfaction from beating them. Sekiro has some rough spots but I ended up getting all the trophies. I can't put up with tradional JRPGs any longer, though.

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Justin258

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#3  Edited By Justin258  Online

It's not a yes or no answer, and the answer will vary from person to person.

Dedicating yourself to beating a game you're not enjoying is a fast way to start hating video games. Seriously. Don't do that. If you're doing it just because you feel a need to beat the game, step back and do something else for a little while.

Personally, I find finishing a game to be pretty satisfying. Getting to the end, seeing all that you wanted to see, doing all that you wanted to do, finishing off the final challenge, realizing that you "got good" enough to do everything, that's a very satisfying feeling. So, yes, seeing a game through to the end is important to me.

I think this comes from a period of time where I rarely actually finished games. In my early-mid 20's, when I finally got a job paying me well enough to have some spending money, I bought a lot of games. Steam sales were more generous in the early 2010's and used game stores were overflowing with games from the 2000s, so I picked up a lot of stuff and rarely finished any of it. I'd buy a game, play it for an hour, say "that's cool, I should finish that", and then rinse and repeat for most things until I finally just went back to playing an old favorite. Breaking out of that habit wound up being more difficult than expected, and these days it's still sometimes tough to focus on one or two games until I've beaten them. Still, having a pile of unfinished games stressed me out, so I'd rather just stick to something until I've finished it or I get to the point where I actually need to set it aside.

Generally, I think it's kinda unhealthy to have a whole bunch of things sitting behind you unfinished, whether that's video games and books or personal projects and hobbies. Sometimes you do need to just drop something because it's too much, or because it's not doing for you what you need it to do, but most of the time finishing one thing is way better than dabbling in twenty different things.

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Graxlar

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At this point I barely start a lot of games anymore , let alone finish them.

I do have a slight ff14 addiction right now with a full time job and a wife/kid it’s hard to find the time to sit down and play through games past the first hour or so. It has to be a very good game or (in the case of code vein) I have to have a weird desire to see a rubbish game through fo completion to get past 5 hours. Heck I have only 10 hours on Monster Hunter Rise and the MonHun series is one of my favourite.

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Humanity

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It only matters if you have an achievement to show for it. Obviously games without achievements don’t matter.

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TopCat88

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I find that once I get going with a game, I'll complete it. I drop games in the first 25% of progression quite often, but there comes a point where I decide I'm going all the way no matter what.

Having said that I don't play long games. I look at hltb often and if it's over 15 hours, I'm wary, if it's over 20 there's little to no chance I'll even start it.

Gamepass is my friend. Haven't bought a game since RDR 2. ( Which I'm aware is over 20 hours, and is the exception that proves the rule.)

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Shindig

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Yes. On a matter of principle, I should beat a thing I paid money for. Or at least get whatever I consider my money's worth.

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kopcik

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Today games are to long. Its boring and definetly not brain stimulating when dealing with the same mechanics for more than 20h.

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Whitestripes09

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I've actually been thinking about this too and I was in a weirdly similar situation.

I love Sekiro...as far as I have played it. I didn't beat it because I was exhausted playing the game and it's gauntlet of bosses. I'm hoping to get back into it soon, but if I don't beat it, I'd be probably be ok the rest of my life without doing so because I played a good 90% of it seems. I may not know that final moment of beating the last boss, but I feel like I get the game enough to understand what it's trying to convey and feel that accomplishment of dying repeatedly to get that sweet satisfaction of beating the boss finally.

The book analogy is great because you're right. It's like reading a book you don't really enjoy, but you feel the group peer pressure to finish it because it's regarded as being really good by a number of people. I feel like that is such a waste of time when you can move onto something you do really enjoy.

Playing through the original Mass Effect trilogy I've realized that the reasons why that series has such a great following is because how easy it is to pick up. It's a third person shooter RPG with condenses linear levels. It's not a huge sprawling world that has a 40+ hour game to sludge through. Sure, the game mechanics can be the same with shooting, but it's sprinkled with great character moments that give you the illusion of player choice and each level is carefully designed to be different than the last. Andromeda threw all that out the window in favor of a big open world that was boring to play through.

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Besetment

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No.

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HHAP

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I'm terrible and like to obtain 100% trophies/achievements. I've come to realize that some games are devilishly hard and it finally caught up to me after getting frustrated and having hundreds or so uncompleted games. I still can't get over the hump of completing games partially, so now I'm actually looking at user completion rates on tracking websites to see if it's doable, what trophies/achievements require multiple playtroughs, speedrunning, etc.

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ll_Exile_ll

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#12  Edited By ll_Exile_ll

I think the very terminology people use for completing games, "beating" them, speaks to the psychology around the topic. Games today are much more than the pure challenge based experiences that you needed to overcome, or "beat," that they were in the '80s and early '90s, but I do think that mentality persists to some extent.

Even if subconsciously, people see finishing a game as an accomplishment, oftentimes one worth persevering through to achieve. You'd never have the mindset to push through a TV show you weren't enjoying just so you could accomplish the feat of finishing it, but often finishing a game is viewed this way.

Personally, I no longer associate the term or the concept of "beating" a game with finishing it. I approach games like I would other long form entertainment like books or TV shows. If I'm enjoying it, I will likely finish it. If I am not having a good time with it, I will drop it.

I finish most games I play, but only because I know what I like and generally don't waste my time with games that aren't to my tastes. Every now and then I'll start a game and find it wasn't clicking with me and drop it, but I finish probably 80-90% of the games I play.

Some advice I will give to anyone that finds themselves compelled to finish games they aren't enjoying, do away with the idea of "beating a game." It's not an accomplishment to finish a game that you're not enjoying. You've achieved nothing other than wasting your time.

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AV_Gamer

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#13  Edited By AV_Gamer

It depends on the game. Personally, I finished games I both liked and disliked depending on the type of game, how long it was, and how much I invested in it beforehand. I've also not finished games I liked, because something else got my attention, or I liked the game so much I didn't want to rush through it. Then there is the question of what does a person mean by "beating it". Do they mean just going through the story and main content, or do they mean beating the game at 100%?

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bybeach

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#14  Edited By bybeach

That I beat some games is important for me, because I do like some of them, I am getting something out of them, and I want to say that at least I am competent with some of them.

But I do allow myself walking away if something has reached a limit. I did that with Ghost of Toshima, and before that, Prey. I respected both games, and wasn't taking an ass kicking. But for some reason, something wore thin.

And then there was Bloodborne. I didn't want to give it up, because if nothing else it was a souls-like game, and I had hung in there with all three Dark Souls games. But I was banging my head against an early boss, and the graphic art and mood of the game kind of got to me. I don't suffer clinical depression like what I have heard described. But I felt better for it, being a quitter with that game.

On the other hand, I just got done with Garage; Bad Trip. I do consider the boss sections kind of 'hard', but I wasn't about to not finish. Uneven, but a real neat top down shooter.

Also I feel really shitty if I spend many dollars on a video game, and then I don't want to play it. Come to think of it, I guess that's called a Steam Library (though I have been having real fun playing these small team shooters I have acquired!)

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styx971

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i don't think it maters persay. i've been trying to actually beat more games to 'clean' my backlog in recent years but frankly while doing that i'v also learned that i think if your just not into something like you thought youd be its much more worth your time to well...respect your time and bounce off of it and say no i'm ok not beating X. its hard to feel good about spending money on something and not beating things but you can never get that time back so why not enjoy what your doing and play something else if your not feeling it.

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Fluidk

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I think it’s important to point out that you can only beat games which are constructed to challenge you. Most modern games are not, and therefore cannot be “beaten”, only “finished” as with a movie.

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vasta_narada

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I rarely finish games anymore, I find. Usually that's because I get bored with said game, and I find that a lot of things I take on are too long (doesn't help that I typically play JRPGs). If I finish a game nowadays, it's usually because I'm very into it, it's not terribly long, or I have an urge to see it through. The last condition usually comes up when I'm trying a new series, or the game is jank/bad and I have to know. But as long as I feel like I got my money's worth of entertainment, I don't feel bad about not finishing games.

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Kyary

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#18  Edited By Kyary

I think "did I beat the game?" is not a useful way to think about games (or any media, really). Once the experience stops being enjoyable and there's nothing pulling you forward except for inertia, it's time to stop.

I say this as someone who actively plays Destiny 2, a game you cannot "beat" in the traditional sense but which I continue to enjoy. Don't play stuff you aren't actively enjoying or getting something out of.

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OSail

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#19  Edited By OSail

Not so much. Most people who play games will not finish them, and that's fine, but it took me a few too many years to realize that.

I do like to try to commit to my favourite games, or new (to me) mechanics or ideas I know I should adjust to even if I may struggle initially, but if they lose me after a fair amount of time then I move on. If you give time to something and you get a positive from it (or not and you feel it's wasted your time somehow) then it's fine to leave it. Though if you do find a game you can spend a lot of time with, with constant fun/enjoyment/other interesting stuff, then great!

In my late teens to mid 20s I did have a somewhat annoying habit of wanting to Fully Complete every game I picked up during the big realization of achievements across Steam and consoles. The power of odd things that really add nothing to games, innit? But it meant a lot of wasted time with every game, even my favourites, all to complete a checklist and to get a satisfying pop-up saying I'd done something. Positive reinforcement for something probably not worth being proud about at all. It was surprising cuz I am one of those annoying people who is big on working out and studying the purposes of art and values of them in different systems, so I shouldn't have been so easily tempted by a checklist which means sweet FA in life.

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kronixi

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#20  Edited By kronixi

depends on the game and its subjective to the individual. If you're still having fun with the game and using completion as an exscuse to keep playing the game then go for it. If you have seen all you wish to see and dont think there is much depth then leave it

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cikame

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I want to see what people made and part of that is seeing all of it, so my objective when playing a game is to see it through to the end, which is where me and rogue-like's don't get along. There's rarely anything interesting to see in rogue-likes due to the mashed up nature of its level design so i've never seen one through to "the end".

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alistercat

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I prefer to term "complete" or "finish" rather than "beat". It feels like a loaded term.

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Leopold

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From personal experience, beating a game matters up until the moment it does not.

Every relationship has a unique ending and games are no different. =)

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Kunakai

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#24  Edited By Kunakai

Recently I've decided to start completing games prior to allowing myself to buy anything, incentivising completing games and deincentivising impulse purchases. I've also adopted a one on one off policy in regards to what's installed on my PC, which also helps prevent impulse purchases.

There are games I'll still fall off. I started Hades not so long ago only to find myself in the position of not liking it. It feels like I'm grinding with every run opposed to actually trying to achieve the goal of escaping, a common problem for the genre in my experience. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is another title I tried to play not so long ago only to feel the narrative a somewhat empty shell of possability (The game throwing 10 routes of escaping the first island at you left me feeling like none actually matter. Coupled with the difficulty of the game, I last quit feeling like I'd need to level to advance without getting my butt kicked).

@fluidk: "I think it’s important to point out that you can only beat games which are constructed to challenge you. Most modern games are not, and therefore cannot be “beaten”, only “finished” as with a movie."

How much challenge is too much challenge and how little is too little? The measure you're applying is both arbitrary and subjective in that it's defined by an individuals skill and a games difficulty. Most people are likely to experience some challenge when playing most games, in my experince there are exceptionally few games without any form of challenge. Most can't be passively played as with a movie.

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eukara

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If you play a story-driven game and never complete it, it breaks the story-teller's heart for sure.
And besides skill being a barrier of entry there's also time. Even subconsciously we make a decision all day as to how we should spend our time. Otherwise we'd all be grinding it away at those hundred hour long JRPGs if we all didn't crave that much deeper sense of progression that transcends dialogue boxes telling you a party member leveled up.

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ll_Exile_ll

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I prefer to term "complete" or "finish" rather than "beat". It feels like a loaded term.

It's definitely a relic of an earlier era of video games. Sure, the term may apply to some modern games, but in other cases it doesn't really make a lot of sense. To me, saying you "beat" a game like The Last of Us is like saying you beat a TV show by watching every season.

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judaspete

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The way I see it, once a game stops being fun, there is no reason to keep playing.

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Kunakai

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@alistercat said:

I prefer to term "complete" or "finish" rather than "beat". It feels like a loaded term.

It's definitely a relic of an earlier era of video games. Sure, the term may apply to some modern games, but in other cases it doesn't really make a lot of sense. To me, saying you "beat" a game like The Last of Us is like saying you beat a TV show by watching every season.

This kind of literal analysis of common parlance is a little obnoxious to honest. Everyone knows what the title was trying to convey.


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Shibathedog

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I can barely get further than the first 2 hours of most games now. Once I get into the gameplay loop I think "Ah I get it." and put it down. By the time I go to play it again I'm fussing about trying to relearn the controls and not really having fun. The last game I 100% beat was Horizon Zero Dawn which is pretty recent (PC version) so it's not like I never finish them.

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hatking

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#30  Edited By hatking

@ll_exile_ll said:
@alistercat said:

I prefer to term "complete" or "finish" rather than "beat". It feels like a loaded term.

It's definitely a relic of an earlier era of video games. Sure, the term may apply to some modern games, but in other cases it doesn't really make a lot of sense. To me, saying you "beat" a game like The Last of Us is like saying you beat a TV show by watching every season.

It's my understanding that "beat" is more of a western colloquialism. I seem to remember hearing some conversation about this where pre-internet folks had their own parlance for describing finishing a game (admittedly, pre-internet me said "beat" as far as I remember), and it seemed to be regional. Can't remember if that was a Giant Bomb email discussion or not. I find myself saying "finished" or "wrapped up" more than "beat" these days. The idea of "beating" a game does feel weird now that I look at games more as cohesive narratives rather than sport—that said I probably wouldn't hesitate to say I beat a boss or a specific mission.

As far as rolling credits on a game mattering goes, I think it does. But, I think the onus is on the game to compel me to finish it rather than me to overcome its challenge. In that regard, I think finishing a game matters because it is a sign that I thought the game was worth seeing through, not some metric for my ability to play it.

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ll_Exile_ll

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@kunakai said:
@ll_exile_ll said:
@alistercat said:

I prefer to term "complete" or "finish" rather than "beat". It feels like a loaded term.

It's definitely a relic of an earlier era of video games. Sure, the term may apply to some modern games, but in other cases it doesn't really make a lot of sense. To me, saying you "beat" a game like The Last of Us is like saying you beat a TV show by watching every season.

This kind of literal analysis of common parlance is a little obnoxious to honest. Everyone knows what the title was trying to convey.

I don't think it's meaningless analysis at all. The topic of this thread is the value or lack thereof of finishing a game. Many view finishing a game as a point of pride or even obligation. I feel like the term beat ties into the psychology at play. Someone that views completing a game as "beating it" may be more likely to stick through a game they're not enjoying because they see finishing the game as an accomplishment. Someone that views games as just another form of entertainment may be more willing to drop a game they aren't enjoying.

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Kunakai

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ll_Exile_ll

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@kunakai said:

@ll_exile_ll: Do you move goalposts for a living?

Are you rude for a living? How about you scroll up and see my post from yesterday where I mentioned the same exact thing. If consistently making the same point is moving the goalposts, I guess I'm guilty.

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Yosus89

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I think there are games that should be beaten... I personally think beating and eventually platinum Bloodborne was an incredible and satisfying experience. But it's important to have fun with the game, I find Bloodborne very fun to play, but some games I don't finish because not having fun, like FF15 I was bored out of my mind with that game, so I put it down after 6 hours. Do what you want.

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ZombiePie

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I see an opportunity to cite Erik Wolpaw's "Wolpaw's Law" for reviewing video games!

The creator [Erik Wolpaw] of the often-mentioned "Wolpaw's Law" for game reviews. While freelancing for GameSpot, Erik would often be assigned some of the worst games ever made for review. During this time, he turned in at least one review where he essentially said that he didn't finish the game and didn't need to finish it in order to determine its awfulness. He supported this claim by saying that even if the payoff or ending was excellent, it wouldn't be enough to redeem everything that had preceded it. Secondly, that even if he had played the game to completion, the review for the game would ultimately be no different. His colleagues at Gamespot (including Brad Shoemaker, Jeff Gerstmann, Ryan Davis and Greg Kasavin) determined that "Wolpaw's Law" was an acceptable reason to not finish a game before completing and publishing a review on it. "Wolpaw's Law" was also employed by Erik Wolpaw while reviewing games on Old Man Murray. One example of this included his review forFreedom: First Resistance where Mr. Wolpaw spent his entire review blaming the game for blowing up his monitor.

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huntad

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It depends if the game is fun. I will happily beat a game that holds onto my attention. But I recently put down, and deleted, Horizon Zero Dawn because the story just wasn't doing it for me and the combat felt tedious. I have no issues with never returning to a game that is not fun for me.

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Bollard

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Very few games I enjoy have an ending. The ones that do I very rarely finish.

Part of that is that I mostly enjoy multiplayer experiences, and part is that there are just too many good games to play for me to squeeze every last drop from a game that I'm not absolutely in love with.

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FacelessVixen

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#40  Edited By FacelessVixen

I mean, it's nice to finish a game in the sense of finishing a book, movie or TV series. But not everyone has the time for an open-world Ubisoft adventure, and this ragtag group of 30 and 40-year-old something duders have more money than time for games, so seeing a game to its end becomes more over rated the older you get; at least, that's my theory.

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noobsauce

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No, it never mattered. Unless you made it matter.

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flagranterror

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I don't think there is a correct answer; trying to determine the "should" of it runs into people's capacity for time and attention. In general most "should" questions are pretty subjective.

A poster a few above me wrote that they put down and deleted Horizon: Zero Dawn. HZD is actually the only game I've ever platinumed, but I completely respect their opinion, because they are right, the combat can get pretty tedious, and some of the story elements are whiffs. It hooked me enough to keep going.

Substantively, I don't finish most games these days, because I simply don't have time, and games have just gotten too long. I like horror games because they are usually a good length. (Everyone seems to know that a too-long horror game gets boring.) RE: Village was a good length. I don't have time for a 70 hour game in my life, and most people in my situation (mid 30s, careers, kids) don't either. I liked the Call of Duty: MW campaign. On the other hand, I picked up FFVII Remake last year, and I enjoy playing it, but I can't shake the "well, there's no way I will finish this" feeling, and that feeling makes me more inclined to put down a game. Sort of a fatalism. When Destiny 2 came out, people complained that there wasn't enough to do with it, and after completing the Leviathan raid, I really disagreed with that and felt like I'd gotten more than my money's worth. Bungie reacted to this by adding a bunch of layers and systems to the game that made progression more complicated. The result was, yes, there is "more to do" but that "more" felt too much like a job to me, so it wasn't fun.

I wish studios made more 8-12 hour games with DLC or sequels, so if you were really into the game, you could keep going. Quality over quantity.

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Ravey

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#44  Edited By Ravey

@flagranterror: A high return on investment in hours of quality gameplay might be what a game needs from the get-go to create fans. I've often wondered if a 100 hour horror game would work. Could you create horror superfans who were down with playing a deep horror game 8 hours/week and that's their thing for the next three months?

More can be a mark of quality.

If people don't want to play your game because they think it's too long or a time sink, that's a problem. If developers add too much complexity after the fact and lose some players, that's a problem. If players think that shorter games will result in higher quality games, that might also be a problem.

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BaneFireLord

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It doesn’t, except when my neuroses dictate that it does. Largely I try to apply the “if you aren’t enjoying yourself, don’t waste your life on it, no matter what” maxim. It’s generally been effective…I once dropped a game and sold it during the final boss fight because I just couldn’t abide another minute of the dreck. But sometimes I get anxious when I’ve started half a dozen games and haven’t finished any of them and will push through one or two to make my brain shut up, even if they aren’t especially worth my time.

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BladeOfCreation

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I often feel "obligated" to finish a book or game, even though I know that's silly. I've definitely arrived at the point where I will happily turn the difficulty of a game down to easy in order to finish it. I remember one game in particular that drove this idea home. The final fight in The Banner Saga was so difficult and frustrating that by the time I finished it, the emotional response I had to final cutscene was just so far removed from what the developers intended because all I could think about was how bullshit that fight was. My hard drives are scattered with the downloads of games I intend to finish one day. Most recently, I finally uninstalled AC Valhalla after playing for 80 hours and getting bored with the story.

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Big_Denim

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Sekiro failure gang, checking in! I made it super far in that game, and then one boss in particular (Owl) just totally exhausted me. After many attempts with what felt like little to no improvement, I decided I was done with the game. There's too many great games and so little time in my life these days. I can't be bothered to pound my head against the wall for too long before I decide it's time to move on. I did something similar with Cuphead too. I don't think there's any shame in it.

Life is short and time is precious. Play what you love, and love what you play. That's what I say.

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ShaggE

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I've embraced the "play a game until you no longer want to play it, whether that be 20 hours or 20 minutes in" approach lately, and it's so much nicer. Instead of having a backlog, I simply have options.

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#49  Edited By apewins

I try my best to finish a game that I've started unless I've felt that the game sucked from the very beginning. I generally have a huge problem of not finishing stuff that I've started in all areas of my life and somewhat forcing myself to finish games has been helpful. For example last year I finally beat Fallout 2 for the first time, after having started it probably more than 50 times in my life.

I don't agree with the common wisdom in this thread "if you're not having fun, stop playing". Every game, even the very best of them, has sections where the game drags or you don't know what to do or are having trouble with a boss that you just have to grind your way through. If the game overall has been good and has received good ratings, then it very likely does get better again once you're past the troublesome part. Forcing my way through some games has led to some amazing experiences recently, it's like going to the gym, you never feel like going, but in the end you're always happy that you did.