Finishing games. Is that tougher than it sounds? Is it the gamers’ fault or the game designers’ fault?

There were definitely some difficult games to finish back in the day – it wasn’t everyone that just rolled up and finished a JRPG or some ridiculous Commodore 64 puzzle game. But modern day games have much more hand holding and are generally more forgiving (with some exceptions, of course), prompting the player to experience the full game.

I know why I don’t finish games: I have too many of them, and I’m constantly getting excited for the “next big thing” before finishing the last big thing. What about you?

Sunday, 6:50 pm – Albert

Holding it down like a champion Ricky! But i’m back! Had a gaming binge and i’ve finally been able to pull myself away from Project Zomboid (I bought it finally), and Tropico 4. Both are amazing games! I would recommend both (although I know the reaction for the former).

Where to start? There is so much content to cover…

I know Preezie loves to finish games, and I can definitely understand and appreciate that. But for me? Not as important. I think that it might have to do with a little bit about what Gavin said about having money to buy multiple games. There was a period where I was buying a new game almost every other day and I playing them as well. It’s like Ricky was saying with playing the new “hotness”. I want to be involved in the hype and read about the stories and kinda follow along with the crowd. On the other hand, I just think that sometimes I get my satisfaction with a game and if it doesn’t hold it, then so be it. I don’t think I need to finish every game to appreciate it and have a great time with it. Especially if other games DO keep my attention.

The best example I can give most recently is Skyrim. I played 168 hours and completed all main quests, 99% of the side quests (including daedra weapons, treasure hunting, buying houses, all guilds, etc). I consider that game done. I could have stopped at any time, which i’m sure people do but it kept bringing me back . I feel the same way about Fallout 3 and Fallout:NV. I played both of those games to the end as the “Evil”, “Good” and “Neutral” vault dweller. I’ve 100% Red Dead Redemption which was easy enough because it was such a captivating game (wink wink nudge nudge Gavin). I’ve also hit my lows where i’ve 100% Dead Rising, and Dead Rising 2 where they’ve almost taken me to the brink of insanity, yet I finished those games anyways (including the 72 hour challenge where you cannot save your game and must find a finite amount of food to survive).

Preezie was right in saying that an important aspect of hooking gamers is with great story and characters. I find that when I can create my character or there is a rich history that it’s easy to stick with. I’m totally fine with not finishing games that don’t hook me, is that a problem? I hope not. I agree with Ricky too in saying that if a game doesn’t live up to my expections, it’s time to move on. As well, I think that if the feeling of playing it or the hook doesnt’ have sticking power then … meh. And I’m not even going to touch achievements.

On another topic, Trials Evolution is still amazing. Getting onto my Xbox 360 and trying to beat Ricky’s time is my only motivation. However, once I beat his times, I got bored. I’ll have to give him more time (Heyooo!)

I am super pumped for Diablo 3! I hope Preezie draws the Barbarian… because I know he doesn’t want to… *fingers crossed*

Sunday, 4:47 pm – Ricky

Did this turn into a one show all of a sudden? I guess everyone is out enjoying the Blue Jays game, while I’m stuck indoors thinking about vidyagames.

Mostly, I’m thinking about Diablo 3. With only a couple of weeks left, the hype train is just about ready to pull into the station. The PC-owning Gamentary crew (which includes everyone except matt) has decided that the best way to go about picking characters is to have us throw all the classes into a hat and choose one at a time. There will be video of the event, but until then, here’s a TV spot to get going in the pants area.

Friday, 2:16 pm – Ricky

If you’re reading this the day it’s posted (and even the day it’s not), go to Google and type in “zerg rush”.

You’re welcome. Again.

Also, yesterday we played some more Trials Evolution – a little bit of multiplayer, and some pass-the-controller-around single player tracks to improve my medal count (thanks guys!). Today’s Penny Arcade explains how I play this game with words and pictures!

Friday, 1:27 pm – Ricky

Just in case the anticipation level hasn’t amped up enough, here’s a link to an image of all Diablo 3 armor sets on the 5 different characters.

You’re welcome.

Thursday, 12:59pm – Gavin

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CAPITALS.  I DON’T EVEN LIKE THEM, BUT EAT IT, BOSTON.

I couldn’t get over the “Grand Theft Horse”-ness of RDR (yes, I know I’m not the first person to make that comparison).  I’m sure it’s a great game, but I just don’t care to start it.

I like achievements when they force you to try something new, like half of the achievements in Left 4 Dead.  But when they’re just “grinding” achievements, like half of the crap in Gears of War, then I just get frustrated with them.  There’s no real sense of accomplishment for them for me, especially in the case of the Lambda Locator achievement on Steam for HL2, which was a broken achievement because it wouldn’t recognize the lambda symbol half the time you actually captured it in your frame.  Apparently I stand at 16/49 lambdas located, despite the fact that I captured something like 30 of them in my frame.

The Gears of War achievements aren’t rewarding you for achieving some new aspect of the game; they’re rewarding you for spending too much time on your ass and not enough time trying to touch women (or men, if that’s your thing).  You get the Seriously 2.0 achievement when you kill 100,000 enemies (in campaign mode I believe, horde mode doesn’t count).  I’ve had the game for nearly three years and I’m still at something like 20,000 kills.  And I played that game a LOT.  No wonder obesity and sedentary lifestyles are so common amongst young men.

Wednesday, 8:22 pm – Ricky

I’m watching this during the first intermission of game 7 of the Capitals and Bruins, so forgive me if it’s brief.

I love to 100% Rockstar games. Actually, I think those are the only games I’ve ever 100%ed (Bully, GTA IV, and Red Dead (WTF GAVIN!?!?)), aside from Borderlands. I think the Age of Achievements™ is a driving factor for some to complete a game. I used to be in that camp – I wanted to have that awesome stat next to my name in the Rockstar Social Club or on Xbox Live. But these days, I just can’t invest that kind of time in a game.

That being said, I still think it’s important to finish a game. Developers put many more hours into creating a game than we put into playing it, so I feel like getting to the end-game is usually worth our comparatively minimal effort. As I mention above though, I don’t have time to waste on crappy experiences, so if a game isn’t living up to my expectations, I think it’s best to cut ties early and go our separate ways.

My greatest and, equally, most depressing completion was tracking and killing all 200 pigeons in Grand Theft Auto 4. I ended up resorting to a guide when I passed the 100 hour mark for total time played. I can’t imagine dropping 100 hours into a single game today… Well, maybe GTA V will change my mind.

Last night, I completed Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack on the PS Vita. It’s a great little indie title (created here in Ontario, Canada!) that’s worth the $10 or $15 on PSN. It’s a smart physics-based puzzle-platformer – if that sounds like a mouthful, believe me, it’s much easier to play than it is to say. I’m still working through Trials Evolution, Fez and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, and I’m determined not to drop the ball on any of them. Although, I did just pick up a digital copy of Diablo 3… Preloading now!

Wednesday, 7:08pm – matt
I’m back! I was a bit busy trying to finish a couple of games… 🙂

in all seriousness I HAVE to finish any game I own, I can’t have any incomplete story line gnawing at my respect. I feel like a chump if I can’t beat a game, and honestly cannot think of the last game I purchased that I never beat. I grinded the hell out of Final Fantasy 13 just to rid myself of that horrid piece of trash.

it’s been a long conversation between myself and my long time friend Ricky about your inability or lack of desire in completing games… always onto the next best thing I guess.

I think one of my better “completions” was getting every single gap as a 4 foot black kid in tony hawk pro skater 2.

Wednesday, 3:08pm – Gavin

I think the fact that we don’t finish games these days is due to the fact that we can afford more and more games. Think back to your early video gaming days – you saved your allowance, or you saved your paper route money for months on end to buy a game. Or you got maybe two or three games a year as presents, so you played them for months on end. I remember it being a rather big deal that I dropped $60 on the original Rainbow Six and Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza, or the $70 or whatever I paid for Super Metroid back in 1994. Nowadays, we wipe our butts with $40, so buying a new game means less and less.

Back with the SNES, I owned Super Mario World, Super Mario World 2, Super Metroid, Illusion of Gaia, Zelda: Link to the Past, Donkey Kong Country, NBA Jam, Super Mario Kart, MLBPA Baseball, and Mortal Kombat 2. I think I got the SNES at more or less the beginning of 1992, so for a console whose effective lifespan was 1991-1996, I ended up with an average of less than two games purchased per year for that console. Renting was much more accessible as you could rent a game for $3 per night, instead of $10 per week at Blockbuster, before those dicknoses went bankrupt. Compare that to now, especially with Steam sales, and I’ve already destroyed that in one holiday season alone.

I hate not finishing games. It makes me feel like a greedy consumer, that I need to have the most up-to-date stuff all the time or else I won’t be satisfied. If a game stinks or if I just can’t get into it, then I’m not going to waste my time on it (see: Alias, also Red Dead Redemption [which I know is a great game, but I had Super Mario Galaxy 2 on the go at the same time, and SMG2>*] ), but the sense of accomplishment when I finish a game is too great for me to not finish it. That’s why I always feel like crap when I don’t finish a game. I agree with Preezie that you don’t need to 100% a game to finish it, but at least work through the main story arc and some of the side quests (as applicable).

One of the most important factors for me with a game is replayability. There are tons of games I could pick up and play through once, but the ones I want to play through numerous times (either for a different experience, i.e. Deus Ex or Fable, or for the same experience again, i.e. Illusion of Gaia or Half-Life) are the really great ones.

Oh, the other big game I didn’t finish is Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, but that’s because I played the vastly superior Chaos Theory first, and thus had no real desire to play PT, so it was more a case of me not getting into it than not finishing it.

Wednesday, 2:30pm – Preezie

WHO DOESN’T FINISH A VIDEO GAME?! I MEAN, WHY EVEN PLAY IT AT ALL IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO FINISH IT??

Sorry. Let me start again. Great topic, Ricky! Interesting responses so far. I hate not finishing a good video game (when I say “finishing” I mean completing the main story line and a good chunk, if not all, of the side quests. Achievements are fun but that doesn’t dictate if I have finished a video game or not.) I guess I can understand giving up with open world games like Skyrim or maybe even something like Assassin’s Creed which take a ton of hours to finish but the completest in my YEARNS to finish the good games I play. Especially nowadays with games having a handful of different endings which get determined by certain decisions you make during the game! Don’t you want to see the fruits of your labour?!

Ask Albert. Weekend after weekend, all I wanted to do was come over and finish Mario on the Wii with him. I’m sure he loathed it. I’m sure he wanted to play something else. But I NEEDED to finish this god-forsaken game. We put in so many hours, why stop now? We finally finished it and it was pretty rewarding watching the final cut scene knowing that we trucked through the whole game (thanks for that, buddy)

I guess the most important aspect is hooking gamers in with in-depth storyline and interesting characters all while being fun to play and non-repetitive. Doesn’t making a video game sound easy?

It’s like a good movie to me, I want to see the ending. See what happens to the character I’ve helped through this adventure and the other characters that helped us along the way.

Wednesday, 1:29 am – Albert

Busy Week! I know that this week’s topic is focused around me and I couldn’t wait to get in here and talk about my favourite topic: Not finishing games.

I guess it depends on what you consider “finishing” a game. Gavin hasn’t finished GTA IV (which kills me) but does finishing mean killing all those damn pigeons? Or finishing the main story line? I will never 100% GTA4. For me, I finished GTA IV when Nico’s story ended. But I digress, why don’t I finish amazing games such as: MGS4, Deux Ex: Human Revolution, Settlers 7, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, Starcraft II… ? The answer is: I don’t know. All those games I really enjoyed, and I got incredibly far, almost beating it. But I just lost interest. I seem to just burn out towards the end, and i’ll play something new and never return. It’s kinda like when you have a pet, and you really enjoy your dog, but eventually you don’t take care of it. Then your parents say their taking your dog to the “farm” never to be seen again.

But why don’t I finish games especially when close to the end? I don’t know. What do you want? It’s late. Maybe i’ll explain better in our next podcast.

I did play The Bourne Conspiracy… but yeah… could not commit. As usual. Great combat and fun movie references.

My times will be avenged! Trials Evolution will be played!

In the meantime, here is a video as I count down the days until Diablo 3 releases.

Tuesday, 4:02 pm – Gavin

I’m hard-pressed to think of a reason why I don’t finish some of the games I have, but I’ve never finished Grand Theft Auto IV. I just couldn’t be arsed to actually do it. I have way more fun just screwing around, getting up to blinding speeds on the motorbike and then crashing and seeing how far I can launch my guy, or climbing to the maximum height in the helicopter, moving forward at top speed and jumping out and seeing if I can bounce my guy off a specific building. Rockstar makes good games, but nothing they make is as fun as me screwing around for three hours on a Sunday afternoon.

The one game I’ve got that I feel bad about not completing is The Bourne Conspiracy. I got it as a present a while ago and it’s like a high-octane Splinter Cell. Less stealth, more action, but still very enjoyable. It had a bunch of QTEs, some great product placement and the frequently-changing camera angles would mess you up horribly, but it was very well put-together. Here’s a PS3 video of the first mission:

What a surprise! It’s made by Sierra, and I’m a crazy Sierra fanboy!

Tuesday, 9:50 am – Ricky

Last week, Gavin shared a “rage quit” video for Trials HD. Well, that same guy is at it again with Trials Evolution. Check out the video below and share in his nerdy rage! DIRT BIKES! HELL YEAH! Also, NSFW audio. Like, really fucking NSFW audio.

For my part, I played a bunch more last night and beat some of Albert’s times, so that felt good. I’m trying to get 100 medals so I can unlock the next set of tracks, which means going back to medium level tracks and trying to up my medal count. I was doing pretty well at first, but I fell into a pit of despair for about an hour on one track and I finally gave up in favour of sleep. To be continued later this week though!

Monday, 8:24 am – Ricky

Don’t think you’re getting off THAT easily! Here’s the podcast that we posted late yesterday. There. Now you don’t have an excuse.

Download it here (right click –>; save as) – Gamentary Round 3 – or listen below

Gamentary Round 4

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