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Veteran Member - Level 11
I did something I don't normally do. I bought a game.
Specifically, I bought Borderlands 2. Now the problem isn't that I bought a
game or that it just so happened to be Borderlands 2. The problem is I bought a
game I wasn't really ready to play yet. I wasn't ready because I already have a
handful of games I'm trying to finish and didn't need to get another game to
occupy my already very limited game time (the story of my life). Sure, the ones
currently occupying my time are older games or games with no definitive ending.
Let's see, I'm over half way through Bioshock and God of War 2. I started Heavy
Rain and really want to finish it but it's definitely a "minimum daily exposure"
type of game (meaning I can only play it in small doses). Then of course there
are my mainstays - Team Fortress 2 and Minecraft...I can play those games anytime
and for any length of time, and they never get old.
I planned on getting Borderlands 2...maybe. Honestly I was
undecided. But after watching the Game Informer live stream I guess I got caught
up in all of the excitement. Contributing to the rash decision was a number of
my fellow GIO friends who were on Twitter coordinating who was getting it and
for what platform (born4this, I blame you for even bringing it up). So, I ran out, purchased the game and have
been playing it here and there ever since. I'm a few hours in (four hours
maybe, and Level 6 I think) and enjoying it so far.
Borderlands 2 isn't the problem. Neither is buying a game in
the first place. I don't regret getting it. But I haven't finished those other
games yet either and now I'm not sure when I will.
It's somewhat common information that independent studies
reveal only half of gamers complete the games they play (some polls
say only 10% of gamers complete their games - yes 10%). This is a statistic
I've mentioned before in other blogs and that I've seen others quote.
Truthfully, I don't know how accurate is - 10% or 50%...who can say for sure.
Seems a bit low if you ask me (I thought everybody was like me and had to
finish every game they started, but apparently that isn't true), but assuming
it's true, I have to presume part of the problem associated with gamers not
finishing their games isn't because they're not interested; isn't because the
game is somehow lacking; isn't because the game is too difficult and the
players are struggling to get through it. No, it's because of peer pressure (or
maybe industry pressure).
There is a finite period of time when a game is released
that others are playing (and hyping the game). If you wait too long to hop
aboard then you will miss out. Think about some of the big titles released this
year; games like Mass Effect 3 and Darksiders II that are potentially future
Game of the Year contenders. Of course there are people still playing them, but
not the huge influx we witnessed standing in line at midnight and over the
course of the next few days and/or weeks. I was a bit late to the Mass Effect 3
extravaganza and even by the time I joined the fray, most of the controversy
about the ending had already dispersed. Everything I wanted to talk about was
old news and nobody was really interested in it. I had several (at least three)
blogs I wanted to write about Mass Effect 3, but since I was late to the party
and due to the saturation of ME3 blogs I missed the window of opportunity.
I dunno, maybe it's me but it seems like the lifespan of video
games continues to shrink - we don't even finish them and we're already casting
them to the side for something else. Or maybe it's because I'm from a time
where we didn't see annual video game releases of the same title so I'm used to
playing a game until the wheels fall off, or in this case...until I've "been
there, done that" and there is nothing left to compel me to continue playing
the game. I've done everything you can do.
I suppose with me and
my decision to purchase Borderlands 2, I felt like I wanted to be a part of
what was going on now; wanted to be able to play it and discuss it (and yes
blog about it) while most everybody else was too. If I waited too long, that
opportunity would pass. It sucks when people are talking about a game and you haven't
played it yet. Never mind the spoilers that might get revealed or not
understanding what fellow gamers are talking about...I'm more worried about not
experiencing one of those moments that defines who we are as a gamers...an epic
moment in the history of gaming. This wouldn't be the first time I played a
game just for the experience, not because I was interested in the game.
Sure, you might have heard of "The Cake Is a Lie" but unless
you've played the game it doesn't mean anything (and you almost HAVE to finish
the game to understand it). The same is
true of "Thank you Mario but our Princess is another Castle." Play the first
few levels and you might see a trend, but if you don't press on, get to that
final level AND actually find the Princess, it isn't quite the same.
Anyway, by purchasing (and playing) Borderlands 2 I've now
put games I was already playing on hold (and contributing to that 10-50%
statistic). I think this byproduct of trying to keep up with the industry might
be the biggest contributing factor as to why more gamers don't finish the games
they're playing. Seems obvious I know, and I agree it surely can't be the whole
reason, but it does seem like it's a part of it...a big part of it.
I recall a few articles I read not too long ago that talked
about how video game developers are trying to figure out creative ways to "inspire"
gamers to finish games (I have some ideas how to fix that too). You can read one
of them here
if you're interested but I'll summarize it. Initiatives like achievements and
shorter games could help get gamers to finish the game, but what you don't
usually read is...
Quit releasing so many games so often!
Of course there are too many developers and publishers vying
for your dollars and this suggestion isn't as simple as not releasing games so
often, but really I think that will be a necessary step if developers truly want
gamers to finish their games more frequently. It'll never happen of course, and
the numbers will hover around where they are (or get worse) but hey...as long as
they're making money and we're having fun, does it really matter?
Maybe...I guess that depends if you're one of the ones who
finishes the game or not.