Have it, Might as Well Play It (Game Completionism) - hist Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Have it, Might as Well Play It (Game Completionism)

Many of you who know me know that I am a Compulsive Completionist (I even go to the monthly meetings). When I start a game, I have to finish it, unless it's just boring the pants off of me or I reach a frustration level that makes me move on to something else. When that happens, though, I generally don't go back to the game.

Recently it's come to my attention that their is a subset of people affected by this illness that I am also a member of. (Really, I'm just a very sickly human being and should probably be treated like Old Yeller).

It's called "If It's In the House, It Must Be Played" syndrome. (They might be able to form a Foundation for these people if they could ever come up with a catchy title).

Basically, what it amounts to is that any game that enters the household falls into the "Play Vortex" that's swimming around the gamer's console or PC. These games that are moving around the black hole that is my Xbox have to be played at one point or another. Even if I didn't put them there by choice, if they enter the vortex, they get in line with all the other games.

I discovered this when I bought my new PS3 a while back, but it really hit home recently with my new Xbox. Both consoles came with free games. Both sets of games were games I actively avoided buying when they first came out. They either weren't my type of game or they were a genre I liked but I had no interest in these particular titles. I was proud of the fact that I had resisted the lure (nasty gamers going around singing these games praises like Sirens trying to draw in the unwary).

But they came with the console! They had entered my Play Vortex. Now they must be played.

Sometimes when this happens, you get lucky. The God of War I & II collection was one that came with the PS3 console. I typically don't play those types of games with special combos of fighting moves as you go through the story (though the Batman games are lessening that reluctance to play them a bit). Everybody loved the series. They went on and on about how awesome this series is.

But I resisted, and I was happy to do it. There were other games I'd rather play.

Now, though, they were in my house. This is where I discovered my illness, though it didn't truly connect with me that I was sick.

Maybe that's because the games *were* actually fun? That might be it. I was denying my sickness because it was actually having a good effect on me.

Thankfully, this doesn't apply to games that have already been played. The Uncharted 1 & 2 collection that came with the console is still shrinkwrapped because I've already played them.

The reason it has hit home now, though, is my new Xbox. It may have been masked at first because of my giddiness in finally being able to install games (I had one of those small add-on hard drives on my old one). But when I finished Mass Effect 3, the two games that came with it sat there.

Calling my name.


The two games in question are Halo Reach and Fable 3.

I'm not a big Halo fan (I know, that's sacrilege to some of you). I bought and played Halo 3, but that was my first Halo game. It was ok, and I enjoyed it, but it didn't wow me like it has so many people. I barely played the multiplayer. The couple of games I did play just didn't thrill me.

It's not surprising, then, that I ignored Reach when it came out.

Now it's here, and so I must play it.

I entered the download code for it (thank God for the new hard drive!) and started it up.

It's all right. I am enjoying it for the most part. I'm doing a chapter/mission at a time, and have just completed mission VI (also thank God for story achievements so I know how far I've reached!). I have to say that while I'm not hating it enough to stop playing it, I'm not really that engaged with it either. I'm sort of going through the motions, enjoying when that "Achievement Unlocked" sound goes off. 

That's why this illness is so insidious. It's in my house, so I have to play it. I have to finish it, because I'm not hating it. It's in my nature. I can't not play it. I'd probably at least try Street Fighter if it came with a console I bought.

Considering things I've heard about Fable 3, I'm not looking forward to what this sickness is going to make me do next. But maybe I will end up hating it enough that I will be able to stop myself? And maybe it will actually cure me of this? They say that you sometimes have to hit rock bottom before you can start improving.

Hi. I'm Dave Roy. And I'm addicted to Completion.

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