Last time I wrote about the phenomenon of quitting a game right before the end, never to play again. This time, I'm interested in why people (read: me) suddenly quit games smack dab in the middle. One day you just quit Final Fantasy III like Brad quit Jen. Why? What does a game have to do to become dead to you? Should you tell the lifeless Zelda TP draped in your lap like a silicon Pieta: It's not you, it's me?
My first theory is random battle fatigue. I find this the most in epic RPGs that have the encounter equation turned up way to high. I'm not a story-first RPGer; in fact, I like to leisurely explore the game world. Not enter into a random battle every 10 steps with a creature who is 34 levels below me, because of all the random battles I've been forced into. At least most RPGs eventually let you obtain some item that lets you reduce the amount of random battles. The trick is playing long enough to obtain it. But would a weak, solo wererat or something really throw down on my party of four battle-hardened, well-equipped warriors? No, he should scurry away whilst pretending to be a harmless woodland creature, and so should most underpowered enemies (unless you lure them to you).
Second is time crunch. I've enjoyed Zelda TP, although it's no second coming of Christ. It's not even a first coming. But what keeps me from playing the game is knowing that I can't really achieve any particular substantial in-game objective in less than an hour. Like many people with jobs or a demanding academic program, I actually have to think twice about allocating more than an hour to a particular game. As the gaming population ages, programmers have added in features like frequent saves or anytime saves to try to get people like me to finish epic games. Frankly, that helps. But I'd also like some way to get keep the sense of progress moving along in smaller, bite-size increments. Introducing new enemies frequently, or having rare or unanticipated events occur, can help with this.
Am I just too picky? What games have you played intensely, and then mid-game dropped like an NOA executive?