Are You There, Player? It’s Me, (Game)

I have to start this post off by saying that I’ve been quite remiss in participating in the NBI- I’ve of course been on the forums, have been reading and have been happy about my fellow NBI Initiates’ blogs, and their progress in general. I’ve been neglecting the writing prompts, the contests, etc. Not out of any particular one reason, just due to being busy (life) and uhh procrastination. So this is my first foray into writing with a  prompt given to me by that organization!

 The topic being: Why don’t we finish our games anymore? Below are my first three thoughts on why:

  • don’t have the time
  • don’t have the attention span
  • fear of ‘The End.’

I’m going to be working my way backwards through this list, because reasons.

For me, the last point is the most relatable.  If I’m really enjoying a game, a story, a particular character, I don’t want it to end. I actually have a couple games in progress, because of this reason. I know you can always replay a game, can see it from even a different perspective, IE play the character differently if it’s a Mass Effect/Dragon Age type game, can play with a different build, or try a different strategy. Change is scary, too. Whether it be real life, or in a video game, or any other scenario. The familiarity of the game, that added routine, the sound, the feel of it, gone.  The next game you pick up, you might not enjoy it as much. It might not be the same level of awesome. I tend to play games that are similar to each other, usually an RPG of some shape or fashion. Each one is good, is unique to some degree, but once I play and finish a game I absolutely love, I miss it. I think this is part of why I have So Many Games, because they can only hold my attention so long.

Second point! Missymojo  touched on this in her post, that we all want instant gratification. We all want to love the game, right off the bat, and if we don’t, it’s left in the dust. It’s so easy to obtain games nowadays, you don’t have to go to the store and actually hand over money, can do everything at home in your pj’s. I’ve guiltily played through a lot of games I haven’t necessarily enjoyed, just because I want to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. Something drew me to the game, which turned out to be the only thing I liked about it.

I also pick up games due to what friends suggest, maybe we’ll start playing a game together, or we will find out we each have been playing/enjoying the same game, and we’ll group up. Then begins the intricate dance of I can only play at certain times, they can only play at certain times, do we wait for each other and take forever to finish the game together, or split off and do our own thing, totally negating our original idea of playing through it as a team. Usually, one or the other is left behind, which for me, kind of leaves a sour taste in my mouth. My friend has beaten it, has the cool achievements, etc, and I’m still derping around at the beginning or middle. There’s the other side of the coin too, where I either feel like I’m getting power leveled or rushed through the content, then when I try to play solo I have no idea what’s going on, haha.

As to the first bullet point, time; like most of us, I work full time and try to have a social life. This limits my time that I can play games, which also limits the games I want to play. If I’m not enjoying it, if it’s frustrating or I can’t get past a certain part, I’ll essentially give up on it. This isn’t necessarily the game’s fault, but more of my own. I think as a culture, we tend to embrace the New and Shiny. I know there are plenty of games sitting in my Steam library that I have uninstalled, or that are just sitting there collecting dust because of my reluctance to play them.

I wanted to use a certain game as an example for this, it’s kind of a blend of the first and last point, so I’ll just put it here at the end! Skyrim. The game has been out forever, I know this, you know this, we all know this. I got the game as a gift right when it came out, and I played through and beat the whole thing. Now you’re sitting there looking at the title, wondering where I’m going with this. There is a method to the madness, don’t worry! I had computer issues, very long story, had to reinstall everything, ended up losing my save file. So I had to start from scratch. If any of you have ever played Skyrim, you feel my pain. I made the character as similar as I could, but it has never been the same. She’s still a Khajit, still a stealthy archer, Boss Lady of the Thieves’ Guild, assassin person, bounties in various cities for absolutely no reason, I promise. I have purchased most of the houses again, but it still doesn’t feel the same. I feel like I rerolled. I am still enjoying the game, don’t get me wrong. But I’m miffed that my save file somehow vanished (I blame Garrosh) and that I have had to start over. This has given me a new grasp on the game though, when I play through some parts of it again, I understand the story more, or get an extra chuckle out of the dialogue, and I’m seeing things in a new way. It still just doesn’t feel the same though.  This has made me leery of finishing the game entirely, as I feel like even if I play through, complete everything as I did the first time around, it’s still not going to feel the same when I finish it. I won’t have that rush of excitement, of accomplishment. I’m also afraid that if I do finish it, I’ll be done with it, as in I won’t want to touch it ever again.

After all these words from me, what do you think? Is our culture to blame? Our want of things right NAO? Or are we as players too needy, too flighty, to really sit and enjoy a game for all it has to offer? 

Have a great day!

-C

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