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Bob Muir avatar 12:44 PM on 10.27.2007  (server time)
Friday Rantoid: A day late, but I don't care; Startgame Syndrome's dark secrets

Author's Note: Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to get this out on Friday. Furthermore, the material is somewhat shorter than my usual rants. Alright, I'll be honest, I was out getting a 360 and then hanging out with people. Expect a better, longer, and on-time rant next week!

Colette's article on Endgame Syndrome last week really hit home for me. There have been too many times where I've been right before the final boss and then dropped the game from my playtime. Worse, sometimes I'll refuse to beat a game until I complete the remaining sidequests and either lose interest along the way - because sidequests are usually optional for a reason - or waste tons of time that I could be spending introducing the final boss's Ass of a Thousand Sins to my +5 Boot of Heroism. About 8 times out of 10, I'll finish a game, and in the past few years, I've made it a greater incentive on my part to actually finish the game I spent my precious grocery money on.

For me, though, there is a much greater issue than not finishing the game, a lesser-known but just as deadly affliction known as Startgame Syndrome. A person diagnosed with Startgame Syndrome will often buy more than one game at a time, start one of the games, and then never get around to starting the other games. Distressingly, the gamer will also sometimes be at the start of a brand new game and drop it without warning when he happens upon a new gem tucked away in some bargain bin that "he always wanted to play, man, but [he] could never find it anywhere." And all the while, his stack of unplayed games grows larger while he makes little progress in diminishing the pile. A gamer suffering from Endgame Syndrome can't finish what he started. A gamer suffering from Startgame Syndrome doesn't even get to the endgame.

There could be a few reasons for why this happens. The purchase of more than one game could cause confusion as to what should demand your attention. Similarly, if the playtime of a game takes longer than the time before the next game, then the purchase of a new game can interrupt the flow of the original game, as eager gamers want to try out the new game they just spent $60 to see how the initial impression is. Another possibility is the fact that the game could have a particularly boring introduction/tutorial and cause the gamer to lose interest in their investment. I know many people could not get into Paper Mario 2 or Zelda: Twilight Princess due to a drawn-out set-up phase and therefore missed out on how fun the games actually are.

Needless to say, these people need our help. If you see your friend come home with three games, steal their wallet. Sure, they won't be able to buy food and might get arrested if they got caught driving without their license, but it's a small price to pay for making sure that they fully enjoy the games they purchase. Are they spending too much time writing a paper for class or working on a new project for work? Hide their computer so they can concentrate on the game. They may fail the class or get fired, but they'll thank you for helping you beat Persona 3 later. And as much as I hate to say it, make sure that they aren't in Dtoid IRC. Because of its awesomeness, it's just too distracting for any gamer that needs to concentrate on grinding to beat the secret bonus boss.

Now if you excuse me, I have some games to start.

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