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The Great Lengths We Go To Finish Our Games

We want to play every video game that looks cool, but some things get in the way of us having a good time. Over the years, the Game Informer crew has collected a few anecdotes in our ongoing quest to finish our games in the face of adversity. Whether it’s battling minimum PC requirements or navigating circumstances in our lives, we find a way by any means necessary.

Clear Objectives

I reduce the resolution to 800 x 600 and turn on windowed mode. I squint at the illegible mission objectives. The frame rate is teetering around 20 frames per second. The Witcher 2 should not be experienced this way, but it can be. Playing a game on a PC has its advantages – if the PC is good enough. With the wrong computer, I have to get creative. I follow the quest marker on the minimap as best I can. When I can’t figure out what the objective or the journal says, I stare at the ground, crank of the resolution, wait a minute, take a screenshot, and reduce the resolution. – Isaac Perry

Dotting the Eyes

I bought a decent laptop to take to college in 2004, making sure that it would be able to play Half-Life 2 releasing later that year. Despite making sure it was capably strong to play the game, when I started, none of the characters had pupils. At first I thought it was part of the game, that everyone under alien influence had lost their pupils. When I realized that normally people in Half-Life 2 were supposed to have pupils, I couldn't figure out why it was happening. I was so eager to play the game that I gave up trying to figure it out, and continued to play, doing my best to ignore the fact that every human I interacted with, including Alyx, had a glazed-over, inhuman look in their eyes. – Kyle Hilliard

Hardware Hurtles

I have no idea why this worked, but to this day, if a game I’m playing freezes, I try this trick before anything else. I’m playing Socom 2 and my PlayStation 2 freezes for the third time during a cutscene. I feel my heart sink in my chest. It’s at the end of an extremely difficult level. Demoralized, I hit the eject button, and when the disc pops out, the sound from the cinematic continues to skip. Without turning the game off, I put the game back in and see the cutscene move forward a single frame. I repeat this a dozen times. The cutscene ends and magically I have an opportunity to save. – Isaac Perry

Hiding from the Kids

As a parent, playing mature games means waiting for the kids go to bed, closing the office door, and putting on the headphones. I love playing the stuff the kids shouldn’t see, but those titles inevitably take longer than something more child-appropriate. – Mike Futter

Prioritizing Anticipation

Just a few weeks before the start of finals in my senior year of college, my copy of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword finally arrived. I knew I wouldn't be able to concentrate on anything, much less studying, until I'd beaten the game. I decided on a Zelda marathon, so that I'd have more time left to study. For the next two days, I did almost nothing except play Skyward Sword. I barely slept, hardly ate, and refused to see anyone. – Katie Seville

Saving the World a Second Time

I loved Dragon Age: Origins, despite having a PC that could hardly run it on the lowest settings. The characters weren't pretty, but I was still invested in the drama of my rising Grey Warden. Occasional frame-rate chugs and other technical issues couldn't distract from the rock-solid strategic RPG gameplay. Then I reached the end. 

I went about the last boss battle all wrong. I didn't notice a few key environmental tools that are there to soften up the big bad guy. Despite this I managed to win the severely uphill battle. Just as the last sliver of life disappeared from the heavily armored enemy, the program completely crashed. I was booted to my PC's desktop and stared blankly. I had won the most difficult, demanding battle in the game, but was robbed of the conclusion. Had it been another game I might've watched the conclusion on YouTube. But the moral choices peppered throughout BioWare's epic journey meant there was a tailor-made ending for my Grey Warden. So without knowing whether the game would crash on me again, I decided to face the final battle one more time. In the end I won, but at the cost of much bewilderment and many curse words. – Tim Turi

Enduring the Glitches

My friends and I were committed to beating Dead Island, despite the fact that every time we chop up a zombie there is a slim chance that the world might implode around us. Starting off with an in-game electrical crackling sound, the bug swiftly comes down on us. Fog rolls in. The zombies’ groans turn into a roar. Frame rate drops and soon we are dead. This happens so frequently that near the end we aren’t fazed. We restart the game and with no more than a sigh we are back in. I – albeit, mistakenly – convinced my friends to play it, and for some delusional reason we’re going to beat it. – Isaac Perry


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