Most games get boring near the end
I seem to have dozens of games on the go at any one time, and it’s very rare that I actually get around to finishing one. Why is that?
Some gamers have a strict one-game-at-a-time policy. They get a game, they start it, and they play no other game until this one is finished. At which point they get another and only play that until it is finished and so on. Not me. I’m way up at the other end of the scale. I seem to have dozens of games on the go at any one time, and it’s very rare that I actually get around to finishing one.
I don’t really know why this is, as there are very few benefits to this approach. It means I often go back to a game I haven’t touched for weeks, unable to remember the controls or what it is I was supposed to be doing, and spend more time trying to figure that kind of stuff out than actually making any progress. It also means I struggle to follow game stories. Not a huge problem seeing as most game stories suck ass, but I’d be helping them out if I at least gave them the chance to have a bit of continuity in my mind.
I’m not complaining about my job or anything – far from it – but this issue has been taken to extremes by the fact that I just keep getting more new games sent to me, so I get a few hours into one game before another one lands on my desk and I’m all, “Ooh, shiny!” Then the next week, same thing happens again… and so it goes on. I’m not really blaming the job though – I was always like this.
I was like this since I was a kid, but when I was a kid I couldn’t finish games. Very few people could. They were incredibly hard back then. You had lives not checkpoints. I had a great time playing them anyway, so I guess I’ve grown up not believing that reaching the end of a game is particularly important.
Another factor is that most of my favourite games can’t really be finished. A lot of my gaming time is taken up by Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, Peggle, FIFA 11, Civilization V and a variety of racing titles. Cyclical games that I just don’t get bored of. Again, my preference for this kind of thing probably goes back, in part, to my gaming ‘upbringing’.
However, I think there’s one more important point that stops me finishing games. If I think about it, there are a lot of games in my collection that I’m pretty sure I am very close to the end of and have been for months. But when I think to myself, “Shall I just finish that off?” the idea just doesn’t appeal. I just know there’ll probably be some long, tedious, unnecessarily hard battle to tolerate before the story wraps up with an unsatisfactory, sequel-friendly whimper. My gaming instincts tell me that last hour or two of tedium, irritation and disappointment might spoil what has otherwise been an enjoyable experience.
I know it’s not always the case – some games do build to memorable climaxes – but it’s a fact that most game designers will blow their load on the bit they know everyone will play, namely the start, and gradually run out of ideas as the game goes on, finishing up in a bit of a creative rut by the end.
But even if games do tend to tail off, I’ll admit that my lack of enthusiasm for finishing them is an overreaction of sorts. A sometimes self-defeating psychological tick that I can’t see myself getting over any time soon. So yeah, I won’t finish Uncharted 2 or Dead Space or BioShock 2 tonight (yeah, I’ve got it that bad) – I’ll probably just play Civilization V ‘til 2 in the morning. Again.