Why We Finish Games We Don’t Want To

I recently found myself with a rather large back catalog of games that I have yet to finish. So stubborn fool that I am, I chose to go through them, one by one, and finish every single one of them. Even if it wasn’t fun, I was going to get my money’s worth.

I could easily make this about how we shouldn’t play games we don’t enjoy. I could just state that if you don’t like a game, you shouldn’t have to give it a chance. But that’s easy. You already know not to do unenjoyable things.

My question is why do we do this in the first place? What is it about the game that got away, that makes us go back? Why do we feel like we need to finish it after such a long time away?

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                                            Guilt Because You Didn’t Finish

I know part of my initial reason is my perceived guilt at spending too much money on games that I haven’t finished. A Steam sale happens and suddenly, I’m left with a bunch of games that I never saw to the end. My attention span gets the better of me and I’ve moved on to the newest, hottest game.

The thing to remember when buying games on sale, is that you are only saving money if you were already going to get the game. But if you needed the sale as a push to get you to buy the game, no money was saved in your purchase. Don’t let this fact make you feel bad for giving games a chance, however. Sales let me discover some of the best games I’ve ever played.

It Could Get Better… Right?

Perhaps we go back to unfinished games because of the possibility of the action picking. Maybe there’s a saving grace that can make everything you’ve gone through worth it. This can never really be the case. As much as you wish it were.

I might be alone here, but when someone tells me, “It gets good after the first 15 hours or so”, I’m not inclined to want to play. First of all, it’s a major time sink. And more importantly, there’s no guarantee that it’s true. But we sometimes continue games for that possibility.

A Time When It Worked Out

I recently finished the indie game Iconoclasts. I liked the platforming. It had interesting mechanics. But something made me not want to finish it. Then it hit me. It was the pacing.

Well, I sped through all the unnecessary dialogue that slowed down the action and made it to the end. And while I did discover that the game has fantastic boss fights that I would have missed otherwise, it didn’t make up for the slow pace of the rest of the game due to a very wordy story.

I know that this whole time, I’ve been saying “you”. But I only wrote this to make sense of one of my bad gaming habits. Or even if it is a bad gaming habit. I don’t even know if any of you out there finish every game you buy. But I guess we all have gaming habits we need to work on.

But what do you think? Do you finish all the games you buy? What games have you not finished and why? Let us know in the comments below!

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Mike Nigrelli

I’ve been writing almost as long as I’ve been playing video games. I also do standup and improv. The game that made me realize that video games could be more than just a toy, was Metal Gear Solid 2.

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