I’m done playing Breath of the Wild – or rather, my dad’s borrowing it for the next couple of weeks so I can’t actually play it. So, I’ve spent the last couple of days tracking down every last shrine and learning to accept that finding 300 Koroks is still a lot of Koroks. But really, this experience has made me think a lot about how you know when it’s time to call it quits with a game?

 

There is of course the easy answer of you stop playing when the final credits roll. Once you’ve reached the end of the story, that’s all there is too it. Now, this is absolutely true for some games – once I get to the end of the story I put it down and that’s it. I tend to do this with more narrative heavy games like a Telltale, Life is Strange, or any number of small indies I’ve picked up over the years. There’s something about reaching the end of a story that feels so final – not to mention many of these games don’t even give you the option to keep playing.

 

Take Night in the Woods. I loved every second of that game, only to learn that there’s nothing to do once you beat the game. I was hoping I would get the chance to return to the town, maybe fine small collectibles. Instead, I’m forced to replay the entire game just to be able to complete all of the diary pages. While I’m more than happy to replay Night in the Woods, there’s something about how self-contained this game is that’s off-putting. Maybe it’s me coming off of a serious of collectible heavy games, but I miss that feeling of knowing that I’ve done everything I want to do in a game.

 

 

Of course, just because a game gives me a chance to 100% it and return to the world to explore more, doesn’t mean that I will. While I’m anxiously waiting to replay Night in the Woods, I have no desire to replay The Last Guardian to find all of the different outfits and feed Trico all of the barrels. I got to the end of that story and I was more than content to put that game back on the shelf until I get the urge to play it again. So, what’s the deal? Why do some games leave me wanting more to play, and others I’m fine leaving behind?

 

Part of me thinks that it has something to do with this idea of collectibles and 100% a game. Somewhere along the lines I’ve become a bit of a completionist when it comes to games.  It’s why I’m unwaveringly determined that I will, at some point, find every Korok is BotW even if it takes literal days of gameplay. You give me a collectible, or a quest and I’ll try to complete it. Maybe this is why I have such a hard time putting a game down once I “beat it”? It’s hard for me to say that I’ve beaten a game until I’ve gotten everything – or close to everything out of it.

 

Is getting all you can out of a game as simple as beating the story? Or does it really come down to finding all of the extra items, or completing just one more quest. Heck, I’m content to stop playing Majora’s Mask after the Anju and Kafei quest every single time. Are we only done playing a game when we’re satisfied? But where do you draw that line being beating a game and being satisfied in what you’ve accomplished?

 

 

I’ve still never completed a Pokedex but I’ve gotten every star in the DS version of Mario 64 at least 3 times. How do you know when you should stop playing a game? How do you tell yourself that you’ve gotten everything out of the game that you can? And of course, where in the world do open world games like BotW fit into all of this? I’ve always been a little bit afraid of open world games because I know that I can get a bit obsessive about finishing a game and that’s a lot of game.

 

What about you guys? When do you know when it’s time to stop playing a game? Does it come down to seeing the final credits or is about completion? Or, is it just as simple as feeling out each game? Thanks for reading!