I think I mentioned it before - this problem I have. I don't finish my games. I can't claim that I never do, because sometimes I do. But mostly I don't. It is not a matter of increasingly limited time, it's more of a general attitude. During an extremely painful process of self-analysis I established three categories: the Good the Bad and the Ugly.
You need categories.
That moment I dread
Whenever I really like a game, especially if it has an elaborated narrative structure I reach a point in that game (usually towards its grand finale) at which I quit playing it. As if I was afraid of all the good things to come to a sudden end. Which they do, since I stop playing the game. I am afraid it is not a very logical approach. When I was just a sapling I used to get me every JRPG there was. I only finished Suikoden. The first one. Until this day (and Breath of Fire 3
to be honest). At a certain point people actually started to make fun of me.
My last Fallout 3
save file is embarrassingly old and it took me about 4 years to finish Red Dead Redemption
. I just picked up Metal Gear Solid 4
again. After several years of hibernation I eventually started to miss Snake's steel-buns, forged in heaven.
It's not because I grow bored with these games or due to the constant stream of exciting new entries into an increasingly intimidating backlog-queue. Far from it. I was really into Demon's Souls
for example but after beating up a GIANT CRYSTAL DRAGON I danced this little dance of joy, turned off my system and never took it up again since then.
What is wrong with me?
is a good game, no doubt about it. But if you have to reckon with your system to freeze the moment you leave a town or jump into water or attack a dryad or open your inventory...you know what I mean. I also had a lot of fun with Legasista
which turns my screen into a black void after I complete a certain dungeon. Game-breaking-bugs!
As mentioned before I regularly take breaks from my games - long breaks. These breaks in combination with complex design or convoluted control schemes usually mean the death-blow for games in my library. Bayonetta
, which I really admire, makes it difficult for me to pick it up again. I gave up the recent Batman
-series entirely for that matter. Who can remember all that gimmickry? I depend on calendars and notebooks for survival in RL - if I need one of those for playing a game I thinks it is time to run for the hills.
Insert Triple-Baterangs here
I also notice very soon if I like a game or not. The time-slot for that decision-making process is a veeery narrow one. Enslaved
lasted about an hour until I got sick with the game's fighting system. The last iteration of Tomb Raider
left my PS3 after approximately 10 minutes. I can't stand that spoiled brat.
I also stop playing whenever I lose myself in a more or less secondary aspect of a game. So very often this aspect involves excessive looting and/or grinding. I like to follow the yellow brick road. Preparing for the next major encounter with the ultimate fiend I get stuck with all the preparing - mistaking repetitious labor for a big fun-time - often to an extent where I am appalled by the game that tricks me in such a devious way and by my obsession with it.
At a time when I still used to smoke and play games with a stoned grin on my face, I had a moment of clarity and disenchantment once - with Dynasty Warriors 3
for the PS2
After having spent days and weeks with leveling up my favourite officers I noticed the game's messages to me for what seemed to be the first time ever: the constant affirmative background noise, computer voices telling me how well I am doing and what a swell warrior I was. I felt brainwashed that moment and abjured the ghastly time vampire (until Warriors Orochi
came along that is).
Pang Tong told me to do it
for the WiiU
is a textbook example of course. After 120 hours I just can't cope with the treadmill again. I feel a physical resistance within me to pick up the gamepad. I might never hunt again.
Follow the yellow brick road
The same happened with Ni No Kuni
. Not such a revelation to begin with, I spent hour after hour with hunting the infamous Toko for the massive amount of experience points they shed when getting killed. These battle-critters don't evolve by themselves, you know. And I got to see those final transformations.
It was a massacre. I felt dirty.
Kawai this, Kawai that
I was about 50 hours in the game when I finally quit. It rests on my "play-it-again-some-time-soon-pile" though, slowly gathering dust. All in all I still don't know why I turn around and leave just before the finishing line but I definitely feel much better now.