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Why Don't We Finish More Games? 341

IGN has an opinion piece discussing why, as video games get shorter, we seem less likely to finish them than in the past. For example, BioWare said only 50% of Mass Effect 2 players finished the campaign. The article goes into several reasons gamers are likely to drop games without beating them, such as lowered expectations, show-stopping bugs, and the ease with which we can find another game if this one doesn't suit us. Quoting: "... now that gamers have come to expect the annualized franchise, does that limit the impetus to jump on the train knowing another one will pull up to the station soon enough? ... In the past, once you bought a game, it was pretty much yours unless you gave it to somebody else or your family held a garage sale. The systemic rise of the used games market now offers you an escape route if a game just isn't your bag. Is the middle of a game testing your patience? Then why not sell it back to your local game shop, get money back in your pocket, or trade it in for a game that's better – or at least better suited for your tastes? After all, the sooner you ditch it either at a shop or on an online auction site, the more value you stand to get in return."
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Why Don't We Finish More Games?

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  • Isn't it... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:08AM (#34279658)

    because we're not 15 years old anymore?

    • Re:Isn't it... (Score:4, Informative)

      by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:21AM (#34279712)

      because we're not 15 years old anymore?

      Could be. I just don't have as much time anymore. Also, a lot of games seem to be just a bit too tedious to finish. Finishing Civilization could get somewhat tedious too, but nothing like Medieval Total War 2, for example. I can't even finish the short version of that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Sometimes you just come up against some blatently unfair or extremely hard section of the game and give up. GTA San Andreas was like that. It's fun as long as there is a real and genuine challenge, but once the game starts to cheat just to make it harder I find I loose interest rapidly.

        • Sometimes you just come up against some blatently unfair or extremely hard section of the game and give up.

          Dara Ó Briain calls this effect "games deny[ing] you content", and talks about GTA (where he claims never to have seen Manhattan because of the dullness of driving in traffix), and Gears of War (where the bit where you have to dodge through doorways he's never done): []

        • Myst Uru (Score:5, Informative)

          by geobeck ( 924637 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @09:33AM (#34280708) Homepage

          Does anyone remember Myst? Great story, superb graphics (navigating through stills to provide high res scenes), and great use of Quicktime mini-windows for animation in the days before full 3D rendering. I finished that game many times.

          Then came Riven. Five CDs full of that immersing world, and a storyline better and more complex than the first. I finished that game quite a few times as well, even though it was much longer.

          By the time Uru: Ages Beyond Myst came out, other companies had begun producing fully rendered 3D universes that were as good or better, but I bought it because it was a Myst sequel. I played through the first part, solving the challenges, then picked up the expansion packs.

          When I got to the last part, there was a challenge I couldn't figure out. After spending hours going back and forth through the section, trying to find what I had missed, I gave up and went to a walkthrough site. There it was revealed that, in order to progress further, I had to stand in one place for exactly fifteen minutes and catch a pebble that was dropped from a mechanism. I couldn't just leave and come back in approximately 15 minutes though, or the pebble would time out and leave me stranded for another 15 minutes.

          I don't know whether the game creators were trying to enforce some sort of RSI break to compensate for the carpal tunnel syndrome their games may have induced, but I felt cheated. Every other part of the series to that point I had solved myself, but how could anyone be expected to figure out that solving this last challenge required standing around doing nothing for as long as many games require you to complete an entire level?

          I turned off the game, uninstalled it, and have not played anything from those game developers since.

          • Re:Myst Uru (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @10:18AM (#34281118) Journal

            Does anyone remember Myst? Great story, superb graphics (navigating through stills to provide high res scenes), and great use of Quicktime mini-windows for animation in the days before full 3D rendering. I finished that game many times.

            I remember Myst. The story was barely there, not even worth mentioning compared to LucasArts and Sierra games of the time. The graphics, were prerendered not impressive. Again the hand drawn graphics from other adventure games at the time were far prettier (e.g. King's Quest IV). I will say that the design that went into it was quite good. As for the gameplay, it's about the same as a magazine rack logic puzzle book. That's OK, I guess, but I expect more from an adventure game. By taking notes, I was able to finish Myst in one sick day home from school. Other adventure games kept me busy for days or weeks.

            Yeah, I remember Myst. It was my first experience with casual gamers shitting up a perfectly good genre. The success of Myst changed adventure games from interactive stories to puzzle books with illustrations. I think that is what really caused the crash of adventure gaming in the late 1990s.

            • Re:Myst Uru (Score:5, Insightful)

              by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... minus city> on Friday November 19, 2010 @11:22AM (#34281762) Homepage

              I'm glad someone else felt the way I did about Myst. It was, quite possibly, the shittiest adventure game of all time. All the puzzles were mechanical things, you had no interactions with the only other characters, the plot was, literally, 'find six things'.

              Sure, it looked nice, but that's damn easy to do with first-person still photographs.

              And, yeah, it did kill the genre, although that was more other companies fault for jumping on the 'acclaim' of Myth. 'Oh, let's make adventure games with as beautiful graphics as possible. Which means we can't have characters or an interface.'

              As opposed to the 3-D games which had just become possible, and were quite well received by actual adventure gamers. And as opposed to the FMV games, which weren't really catching on, but were also getting there, and actually had a chance to improve the adventure game genre. Okay, both those were slightly early, but Tex Murphy pulled it off, combining both those into a perfectly good adventure game.

              Sierra, of course, saw the value and went ahead with FMV, whereas Lucas decided to go with just 3-D.

              Everyone else attempted to turn adventure games into damn postcards displayed in hypercard. Myst was incredibly well selling to people who'd never bought a computer game in their life. Why, those people are the perfect customers! Let's finish developing the games we've started, and then develop a game exactly like that!

              Half those damn games came out straight to the $10 rack.

              Then there was the infamous problems at Sierra, causing it to be sold and dismantled, and the LucasArts just giving up on the genre because of the fact the market got flooded with crappy Myst clones, the bottom dropped out because no one was building 'adventure games' because that had come to mean 'wander around and poke things with a stick while reading a background novel you get two pages at a time', with no actual plot or characters or anything.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Belial6 ( 794905 )
              Exactly. Myst was so bad it took down the whole genre.
    • by Fumus ( 1258966 )

      I started playing Sangband when I was 15. 7 years later I still did not finish the bloody game :P
      People who killed Morgoth in MAngband are crazy haxxorz, I can tell you that.

    • some people will remain 15 for ever
  • I know that in the past I finished all levels of a game, repeated it, downloaded custom levels, created custom levels, repeated it again, and so on... However now I'm indeed less likely to do that, but I think this has something to do with the fact that I grow older, so I'm not sure if it's really the fault of the games. I know I'm less attracted to them, because there's more difficulty in playing them (they're more locked in, DRM stuff, slow load times, no more LAN connection, etc...). I still play indie g

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) *

      I grow older, so I'm not sure if it's really the fault of the games

      This line of argument really bothers me. I sort of resent the notion that "it's our fault" that a $60 game doesn't hold our interest until the end. It shows just how badly the advertising-industrial complex has messed with our heads.

      You want to know a game that nobody didn't finish? Half-Life (and Half-Life 2, and the Episodes). Why is that? Because you wake up on your way to work and end up on fucking Xen, fighting to keep the fabric

      • by TheLink ( 130905 )

        I didn't finish Half-Life, started it, shot stuff, got bored, gave up. And Half Life 2 gave me motion sickness I dunno whether it was the FOV or something else wrong with the "camera" (alignment?).

        For some reason I finished Crysis... I was starting to get bored at one point but a friend told me it was close enough to the ending, so I finished it instead of giving up :). I finished Doom, Doom II (not in nightmare mode though ;) ) and AVP2 too.

        • by Bigbutt ( 65939 )

          Funny thing was I started Half-Life and got stuck in the elevator shaft and stopped playing for a bit. When I started it back up and started over, I figured out how to continue and went pretty far.


  • It's been a while since I've played a long game that felt compelling after the first few hours (at least in single-player). If it's just a slog, why bother?

    • Yep, a lot of the popular games these days have awful single player, but are fun online.

      The best single player experience I've had recently was Uncharted 2, although it is on PS3 only. I played it for 13 hours straight until I'd completed it, it was great :)

      • Even games that are fun online can have their foibles. My first thought when I opened this article was my experience with Guild Wars: Factions. I can't play often enough to belong to a guild so my fiancee and I usually just team up to play. Unfortunately, we're now stuck on a mission that is going to require at least one more human player (and really, probably 3 or 4 more human players) to beat. It's just too complicated and difficult a mission for us to rely on AI companions. In our circumstances, tha

        • by TheLink ( 130905 )
          Is that the Eternal Grove mission? Once in a while it comes up as a zaishen quest then lots of people try to do it. Not all know what they are doing, but your odds get better :).

          If it's you and your fiance doing Eternal Grove, I suggest bringing Eve for energy, and one of you being a minion master.

          I have GW Nightfall and EoTN, so it's easier, since it means I get Heroes (who are AI companions with weapons, armor, skills and secondary classes you can change). Just another way for ArenaNet to get people to pa
      • by Kosi ( 589267 )

        Just 13 hours? I'd really feel ripped of, if I paid the 50 to 60 Euros a PS3 game costs, and then found out that they just sold me some beginner levels for the price of a full game. The games I grew up with usually took much more time to get through. Games like "The Bard's Tale" or "Pirates!" provided fun for several weeks while playing from one to ten hours each day. And even simpler ones like "Airborne Ranger" could not be finished in just 13 hours (maybe except for people using a walkthrough).

        The problem

        • I was already pretty experienced with the game style and controls from the first game. If I replayed something like Half Life or Half Life 2 I'd be finished it in well under 13 hours. These games are worth it for the story, plus they have multiplayer modes should you so wish.

          Uncharted 2 obviously doesn't have any of the mods that made HL 1 and 2 such crazy good value for money though. But I was commenting on how good the single player experience was. It has good fun combat, climbing, puzzle solving etc. The

          • by Kosi ( 589267 )

            Being familiar with "Pirates!" wouldn't enable you to finish it in even 24 hours. I became so familiar to the game, that I usually needed only one of the four parts of a treasure map to find the hidden treasure. I was so good at fighting, that I could attack a 280 man war galleon with 8 people in a pinnace and win it. Even then it would have taken me at least several days to complete. Modern games seem to lack that kind of complexity very often.

  • by balaband ( 1286038 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:18AM (#34279686)

    Yeah, yeah, I know this is a /., and saying something like this is bound for karma burn - but anybody that collected ALL of those crack-cocaine-figurine-thingies in GTA has waaaaay too much time.

    And please, yes - I know finishing campaign is not the same (I have done so), but what exactly is "game over"? With all those achievements, different difficulty levels and DLC where do you say that you finished the fscking thing?

    • Yeah, yeah, I know...but what exactly is "game over"? With all those achievements...

      Well, obviously you've never played Ninja Gaiden.

    • I don't even think it's "too much time". I had "too much time" when GTA:SA came out and I still didn't collect them all; there are more interesting things to do, including play /other/ games. Collecting them all feels more like an obsession than just boredom.

    • Yes, the problem is time to finish most games. And assuming you're a normal person you have to share this time with your work, family, maybe his wife and children, etc.. I have many interesting games on my computer that did not even installed yet, due to lack of time for them.

      And another important factor was the difficulty in many games, most people do not have the skill of a ninja to win the "supervillain" a certain point of the game, nor the patience to keep trying for hours to win. The result therefor
      • Yeah, time is a bitch, isn't it?

        I've put a near moratorium on buying more games, because I have a ridiculous collection amassed that I haven't really played through yet, and I'm into RPGs, which eat a big chunk of time each anyways. Losing a HD and with it my Arcania, Dragon Age, and ME2 saves doesn't help either.

      • Yeah, I like the big sandboxy games because since there is soooo much to do I don't feel compelled to do every little thing. I can follow quests that interest me, ignore the ones that don't, and I still feel like I get a full experience.
    • by bloosqr ( 33593 )

      The other version of that, that made no sense was collecting all the stupid feathers in Assassin's Creed.. random feathers.. scattered around a random world .. there was no point to them and other than obsessively running around a world with duplicates of the same buildings..

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta ( 162192 )

      It's not that there's not enough time. Collecting shit for the sake of collecting shit is the worst thing to happen to video games ever as far as I can tell. Give me all the time in the world, and I would never collect all the bananas in Donkey Kong, never collect all the Skulltulas in Zelda, or all the hidden packages in GTA. It's just _not fun_. It's not even close to pretending to be a simulation of something that used to be fun. It's tedious, it's frustrating, it's *work*. No thank you.

  • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:22AM (#34279716) Journal
    You know, with our modern society and the value placed on games, the impetus to finish the game...

    Let me come back to this later...

  • Repetition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:23AM (#34279720) Journal

    I've been looking at my game shelves and thinking about this myself recently. Like the author(s) of TFA, I find myself completing a far lower proportion of the games I buy than I used to. Looking at the games in question, I'm starting to sense a common factor; repetition.

    I think that as I get older, find work taking up more of my life and find my genuinely free time getting more and more constrained, I don't have the tolerance for repetition that I once did. This has had a pretty large impact on how likely I am to finish various types of game.

    TFA begins by talking about Mass Effect 2, but to be honest, I had no problem playing through that to completion (and will likely do a second playthrough at some point in preparation for Mass Effect 3). Aside from the planet scanning (which you can ignore past the game's mid-way point quite safely), there's precious little repetition. Bioware did a great job of making all the side-missions feel pretty unique. Combined with a strong plot, I never came even close to giving up on Mass Effect 2 (nor on any other Bioware game I can remember).

    I find myself strugging a lot more with Japanese RPGs these days, because that genre as a whole (and there are rare, welcome exceptions) has not yet grown out of the idea that levelling up is about running in circles for a couple of hours fighting identical monsters. I have twice tried to play through Star Ocean: The Last Hope and have run out of steam both times because of the sheer quantity of the grinding needed (the game has weird difficulty spikes - the bosses are much, much harder than anything else in the game). I struggled through the grinding in the PS3 version of Eternal Sonata because I was so deeply in love with the game's concept, plot and style, but I would have enjoyed it far more without the grinding (and I did come close to dropping it several times). Even Valkyria Chronicles, which I would rate as arguably the best game of the last 5 years, frustrated me because of the need to do multiple replays of the skirmish engagements for experience points.

    I wasn't always this way. I remember playthroughs of Final Fantasy VII where I spent many hours levelling up in and around Midgar so I could beat the Midgar Zolom the first time I met him (nabbing the Beta enemy-skill far earlier in the game than you were supposed to be able to get it). But these days, the thought of doing that just makes me despair. I constantly find myself wishing that Japanese developers (and it is primarily Japanese developers at fault here) were confident enough to make a game as long as it needed to be, rather than trying to deliver the 40-60 hour playtime that they think the fanbase expects.

    It's not just RPGs where I find myself increasingly intolerant of repetition. Even in action and platforming games, I hate (really, really hate) being made to replay sections I've already completed. Action games which have no quicksave function and which think it is funny to be sparing on checkpoints are likely to get dropped (Halo: Reach came close several times and had the campaign been slightly longer it probably would have). While I generally liked Mario Galaxy 2, I hated the fact that the lives system meant I found myself repeating sections of levels that I could do with my eyes closed just to get back to the section I was stuck at.

    This isn't to say that repetition always means I will drop a game. Where there's a compelling enough reason, I can tolerate it. I've played through Persona 3, its FES "director's cut" and Persona 4 despite their grindy nature, just because the game's social mechanics are so unusual and compelling that I wanted to see them through. But I don't think that enforced repetition ever adds much to a game. Developers: please, work out how long your game needs to be to tell its story, deliver the gameplay experiences you want to get across etc. And then make it that long (or if you only had a 3 hour game left, you may need to go back to the drawing board and rethink your concept). Don't think that we're all sat ou

    • Re:Repetition (Score:5, Interesting)

      by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @07:42AM (#34280096) Homepage

      I like repetitive games, if they are fun and challenging.

      Stupid, boring grinding (go here, collect 5 items, go there, sell them, etc) is annoying, but I usually don't even play games which have that.

      Fast and challenging repetition is OK. Examples:
      * online FPS matches
      * replaying Metal Slug from scratch, over and over, until I could finish the game with 1 coin
      * Tetris

      Even now that I have less time, a short session of repetitive yet adrenaline inducing game is my favorite type.

      • Metal slug was awesome like that. It was all the little details, considering the low resolution etc, its funny talking about details. But a lot of games lack that kind of polish IMO. I even like some of the sequels.
      • Oh yes, sorry, I didn't want to imply that absolutely every game that involves repetition is rubbish. I've put far too many hours of my time into Geometry Wars and its sequel for that to be the case. But the games I tolerate repetition from tend to be those which you don't play through and complete. If a game is about firing up a session and aiming for a high score, then fine. What bothers me is when a game has a beginning, a middle and an end, but pads itself out needlessly by adding tedious repetition.

    • by khchung ( 462899 )

      I struggled through the grinding in the PS3 version of Eternal Sonata because I was so deeply in love with the game's concept, plot and style, but I would have enjoyed it far more without the grinding (and I did come close to dropping it several times). Even Valkyria Chronicles, which I would rate as arguably the best game of the last 5 years, frustrated me because of the need to do multiple replays of the skirmish engagements for experience points.

      Are we playing the same game here? Cuz I played through both Eternal Sonata and Valkyria Chronicles, and the don't feel any need to grind, except a little for the final boss in Eternal Sonata.

      The final boss in Eternal Sonata is so much more powerful than the monsters right before it, that I think I ground an hour or two to level up a bit. That's after wasted an hour trying to beat the final battle without grinding. BUT, having an encore to play the whole thing again, that's grinding to me and I never both

      • In Valkyria, I did no grinding of Skirmishes until I was a good way through the game. But I was finding that as I got further (to about chapter 12 or so), my squad were falling behind the enemies in terms of levels. So I was having to cope with enemies evading and so on far more regularly. This was limiting my ability to get the higher rank scores, which in turn limited the rewards I got from each mission (forming a vicious circle). I had to go and grind old skirmishes to keep up, and found that I needed to

    • I wasn't always this way. I remember playthroughs of Final Fantasy VII where I spent many hours levelling up in and around Midgar so I could beat the Midgar Zolom the first time I met him (nabbing the Beta enemy-skill far earlier in the game than you were supposed to be able to get it).

      I prefer to chocobo past him, enter the mines, finish the mines, get Yuffie in the forest near Fort Condor, visit Fort Condor and make it my "base" for leveling up limit breaks in the Mythril Mines with the help of Aeris's Fury Brand...once I'm high enough level then I go back through the mines to take on the Zolom to get Beta. Then it's on to Junon. I'm also one of those that goes back to the Junon area once I get the buggy (and Manipulate) to pick up White Wind, the Mythril (for Great Gospel), and I pic

  • Maybe there's just too much choice. Who here hasn't invested hundreds, if not thousands of hours in games like Elite, just to achieve Dangerous or Deadly status? I can't imagine myself, or anyone, for that matter, investing that amount of time in a single game nowadays. Well, WoW and EVE seem to be capturing people's attention for a really long time, but single player games? If it gets even the tiniest bit boring or grinding, just drop it and play something else. But back in the '80s, there just wasn't all

    • I can't imagine myself, or anyone, for that matter, investing that amount of time in a single game nowadays.

      I sank about 150 hours each into the two Disgaea tactical RPGs released for the PSP, and highly recommend them both. If that's not your genre, consider these facts:

      1. I hate every other TRPG I've tried.
      2. I hate nearly every other JRPG I've tried. Disgaea pulls off humor AND avoids most of the cliches shitware companies like Square have pushed.

      I think the last game I spent even close to that amount of time on was Fallout 3 (at around 40 hours).

    • even when i had too much time back when a teenager, i didnt invest in that much time to achieve any 'status' or 'title' that i couldnt do anything with.

      its pointless. just acquiring a title does nothing, if it has no value in the game. ie, if it doesnt open new doors, or do new things, its just a text label that appears in a variable.

      i feel the same for most 'achievement' style fish hooks in recent games. pointless.
      • by mcvos ( 645701 )

        its pointless. just acquiring a title does nothing, if it has no value in the game. ie, if it doesnt open new doors, or do new things, its just a text label that appears in a variable.

        It depends. Yeah, the title itself doesn't do anything. It's playing the game that should be fun, and Elite definitely fit the bill for a long time. In the end, though, getting more kills to get a higher rating just turned out to be a grind, rather than about skill.

        Playing and replaying games like nethack and adom to get further in the game was definitely about skill, though. And luck of course, but still. While the game itself may have appeared grindy, it had enormous replay value.

        Also playing Civilization

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:35AM (#34279784) Homepage

    Those extra people who game now are - axiomatically - more casual gamers than the people who always gamed.

    Casual gamers are less likely to finish games.

    Wow, people get paid to analyse this sort of non-puzzle? I'm in the wrong job.

  • Did we ever? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:35AM (#34279788) Homepage

    In my Spectrum days, a lot of games weren't completable anyway. Of those that were, I completed exactly one - Nonterraqueous - after myself, my brother and my dad dedicated several nights to mapping the damn thing on the largest piece of graph paper you've ever seen in your life. Typically, the next week someone published one in the computer games magazines. But that was it. I never completed Back to Skool which is three screens wide. I never completed any of the other 200+ games.

    On consoles, the same thing happened. We completed Mario All-Stars on SNES by just sitting down and working through it hundreds of times as a family. I don't remember completing any other game on SNES.

    In the arcades, the same thing happened. I only completed one game - Final Fight - by finding an old dusty machine in an old arcade with my elder brother while my parents were trying to get rid of us - we put about £5 in 10p coins into that machine but eventually we "won". We nearly won at Bad Dudes vs Dragonninja that night too.

    On Gameboy, I completed the 2nd Mario game on my own but it wasn't exactly difficult. I also "completed" Tetris on any skill level you care to select. I may have completed TMNT too but it was a very simple game to complete.

    On PC, a similar thing happened - most games that "could" be completed I just never bothered to. There are even some in that category that I love playing but have *never* managed to complete. I love Heroes of Might and Magic but have never bothered to "complete" it, I just like playing it. I love Age of Empires II but I've never bothered to complete the campaign, I just like playing it. I love Master of Magic but I've never completed it. I love Syndicate but I've never completed it (stupidly difficult last level doesn't help). I love Driver but I've never completed it (same thing). I have put hundreds of hours into games before now and never completed them. Some of them I don't even know *how* even if they are completable. However, I have completed Half-life 2 and all the episodes. I have completed some games to the point of "every achievement". I have completed some games with the help of tutorials and/or got to the point where, as far as I'm concerned, the game is complete. I have 200 games on my Steam list and completed about 3 or 4 at most.

    And what classes as "complete"? Got to the end stage? On what difficulty? Just getting there or getting 100% completion? Does having co-op friends count? Do you have to do it all in one session? Are you allowed continues?

    The reasons that people don't "complete" games any more are many, and still the same as always - They never really *did* complete lots of games. They don't need to in order to play for thousands of hours. Sometimes it's not possible to complete the game at all. Sometimes it's stupidly difficult even if they enjoy the game. They don't put the time into any one particular game. They don't like the game enough. The game has more content than can hold their interest. They have a life outside computer games.

    To be honest, I've completed many more games in recent years than I ever did before (i.e. when I had lots of free time during the day), but I've also left many games on the very first level or demo thinking "this isn't worth my time". With modern games what puts me off is not being able to just play the damn game. I don't want cutscenes or intros or being forced to watch storyline, I just want to play because that's what I bought a game to do - allow me to play. And it's hard to "complete" a modern game because many of them are multiplayer and / or achievement based and it just means that completing consists of grinding away on silly achievements that you're unlikely to ever hit during the course of the game naturally (think Half-life 2's Gnome achievements).

    I don't buy a game to complete it. In fact, I often wish that I never complete any game that I buy because then it gives me more to go back for. I buy a game to play it and have fun. Once I c

  • by MatthiasF ( 1853064 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:39AM (#34279804)

    I think the combination of bad game mechanics and bugs can cause some games to just be too frustrating to play for some. But this coupled with the new trend in DLCs, I think most people probably feel the game was never really completed or they aren't getting their money's worth.

    Mass Effect 2 for instance made me incredibly frustrated by the cover system employed (that I could avoid in ME1 using crouch), constantly getting stuck on things when trying to sprint around, and then crashed on me several times. Had I not been enjoying the story so much or been so enamored by the franchise because of the first game, I probably wouldn't have finished the game. In fact, each time I buy one of the DLCs Bioware produces I find myself getting re-frustrated by the same things after months had passed and I had forgotten about them.

    Fallout 3 was also known for quite a lot of bugs, so much so that I have several friends that just stopped playing out of frustration as well. I had fond enough memories of the game that I decided to buy the DLCs and found myself getting annoyed at the same bugs and frustrating crashes all over again.

    Because of these experiences, I have absolutely no plans on buying the new Fallout:Las Vegas after videos were reported of the same bugs and crashes. And depending on how they change the game-play in Mass Effect 3, I might be skipping that one as well until the "ultimate" edition with all the DLCs are on sale for less than $10.

    I'm just not willing to buy a game for full price when I know it's going to make me just as frustrated at times than entertained. Not only because it feels like a waste of money that's really only getting myself annoyed, but also because these same companies are trying to subvert the game market with the DLCs. Most of the games packages that include the DLCs (like the "ultimate" edition I mentioned) also include DRM that won't let you sell it used. This drops the value of the game to me if I can't share it with a friend when I'm done or sell it if I hate it.

    The more they devalue their own products by making bad decisions not only inside the game but also in business practices, the less likely they'll be successful with sales since it would be more likely drive someone will avoid buying it (either to avoid the product entirely or pirate it). While I've never pirated a game, the current trend has led me to investigate video game rentals in lieu of buying using services like OnLive or Gamefly.

    Which from what I've heard, has already been eating away at game developer revenues. But as I'm trying to stress, they're doing it to themselves.

    • Must have played through HL2 about six times, got 90% of the achievements. Also played through the episodes a few times. LOVE it.

      What makes HL so much more replayable than other games? I think it comes down to: (a) story (b) environment (c) decent AI, in that order. I was bored instantly with the L4D series because it had no plot. Environment plays a big factor but missing a good story (Fallout 3 I'm looking at you) is crucial too. And even if you have both of those things and it's no fun to play the single player game because the enemies are stupid, that's a quick game killer too.

      It also probably helps that I identify with the nerdy protagonist :)

      BTW, Valve, you listening? Thanks alot for leaving me with the biggest cliffhanger ever and then not finishing it. It's like the end of Red Dwarf. Exciting at the time but turning into more and more of a letdown. I'm getting the feeling that I'll never know what happens after the forest strider buster battle. GAH =)

    • by khchung ( 462899 )

      Fallout 3 was also known for quite a lot of bugs, so much so that I have several friends that just stopped playing out of frustration as well. I had fond enough memories of the game that I decided to buy the DLCs and found myself getting annoyed at the same bugs and frustrating crashes all over again.

      Wow, thanks for reminding me that. I played FO3 quite some time ago and have forgotten the frustration of the crashes. I am almost going to buy the FO3 DLC to play as lately I am getting bored with the games I have.

      I am going to put it off again and instead look for other games to buy.

      • by Jaysyn ( 203771 )

        Between applying the Unofficial Patch & leaving the Railroad Rifle at Megaton, I see way fewer crashes when playing Fallout 3.

  • It might sound strange, but I've actually stopped playing a few good games (granted, I've beat them before) simply because I didn't want them to be over. Besides that, it's the usual reasons like the game being too tedious, boring, etcetera. But I've never really played a game that had so many bugs that it prevented me from wanting to finish it.

  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:54AM (#34279864) Homepage Journal

    feeling one gets as the progress in many games. The "damn, if I haven't seen THAT ten bazillion times before. Far too many developers are blind to the repetitive nature of their games, somehow think they are unique among designers and came up with something we never saw elsewhere. Then you can also top it off with what I call dick moves. Essentially dick moves are mechanics whereby the player will do it the designers way or no way. Dick moves are things like gratuitous loss and such. Gimmick fights and over use of gimmicks also tends to dull one's willingness to follow a game to its end (I am looking at you HL2 : yeah I know you have a physics engine but damn if I am not tired of finding the one item I need to move from X to Y so I can cross a three foot chasm)

  • The main reason why I don't finish all my games is simply because they are big enough that I haven't finished them yet.

    I don't go and do the final mission/quest/whatever before I have completely finished all side quests, unlocked all skills, crafted all items, leveled to the max, etc. Going to the final mission prevents you from going back and do all these things, and these things take a very long time to complete, so I rarely do the final mission which is what I suppose people mean by "finishing" the game.

  • ...only 50% of Mass Effect 2 players finished the campaign

    The completion of most games is much less than 50%. Mass Effect 2 is special game here, and a big achievement (he) for his creators because managed to have this completion. A very high completion in a decent lenght game means a lot of people seems to like it enough to stick to it to finish. So ME2 is a very good game for a lot of people (?) is a objetive fact.

    You can see the average completion of games in Steam, looking at general achievements, ..

  • by macshit ( 157376 ) <snogglethorpe@gm ... com minus author> on Friday November 19, 2010 @07:11AM (#34279948) Homepage

    It seems like every time I stop playing a game in the middle, it's because I reach a boss or something that's simply too insanely difficult, with no obvious indication that anything except raw luck and endurance will get me past.

    If there's any hint that I'm getting better with repetition, even if slowly, then I may stick it out, but few games really seem to have that finely tuned a difficulty curve -- they tend to either be fairly easy (boss takes 2-3 tries) or just insane beyond reason...

  • I find it quite easy to answer the question of why I'm not finishing a lot of games.

    Perhaps a few isntances of games I did and did not finish:

    Assassin's Creed 1 & 2 (playing Brotherhood now)
    Anno 14 something campaign
    Godfather 2
    Call of Juarez 2
    Star Wars: KotoR
    God of War 1-3

    Not finished
    Brütal Legend
    Civ5 (as far as you CAN finish this... Let's jsut say I stopped after two completed civilizations)
    Star wars: Force unleashed
    Mass Effect

    Now, what made me play through the

  • I'm shit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @07:22AM (#34279992)

    I never finish games because I'm a shit gamer. There I said it.

    Actually, that's not quite true. I finished Prince of Persia, Half-life and Half-life 2 but nothing else.

    Why? Because I get stuck on one point to which I simply cannot progress. After playing it for what feels like the hundredth time I get bored and move on to something else.

    This is why I like something like the helper in NSMB on the Wii. Sure it's cheating in a sense, but quite frankly, I don't care as I'd far rather be helped by a computer to get past one really difficult part than accept that I'm probably never going to be able to get past a stage and never play the game again.

    • Cheating in a SP game used to be part of the "difficulty adaption". Since you were playing alone, you weren't really cheating anyone.

      Nowadays with all the achievements and badges that must be collected to prove you're better than your friends, cheating in a SP game is almost a crime:|

      I liked more when we discussed the game itself, rather than how much we need to play to achieve that pointless goal.

      • cheating in a SP game is almost a crime:|

        Some games don't punish you for cheating. Fallout: New Vegas is an example. And yes, I rapidly got to the point of using a cheat to unlock even the easy terminal hacks because I absolutely HATE their 'hacking' subgame. If I had to actually do their word play hacking without the cheat, I wouldn't have finished the game from frustration.

  • It seems to me that the game market has changed, if we go back to 20 years ago a lot more (popular) games were platform games, single player RPGs and the like. And as fun as those games were at the time I just can't be bothered playing them much anymore, it just seems like repetition to me.

    My favorites these days are RTS games, Civilization-style "god games" and WoW but even with these I often find myself not finishing them anymore.

    With the two former categories I tend to get fed up with cheating AIs and an

    • by Kosi ( 589267 )

      If an AI cheats on you, and the game description contained nothing like "cheating AI" then why don't you give the game back, get refunded and buy a game with a decent AI?

  • Define "finish" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @07:24AM (#34280004)

    If by finish you mean they haven't got the achievement to run round the game world 200 times looking in every crevice possible for the last magical flashing blob that must be collected then the answer is because this is the most fucking awful game mechanic that has been put in modern games since, well, forever.

    If it's that they're not finishing the main story line, then well, it's probably something else altogether, like, people simply being fickle.

    Personally though I think I finish more games now than I used to. Here's a question though, sure they have stats now like only 50% of people completing Mass Effect, but how do they know more people used to finish games when those games were nearly always offline and hence they have no way of measuring completion rates of old games? Are they sure they're not just assuming people used to finish more games?

  • It's because the game gets boring. It gets boring because it becomes repetitive. You make it repetitive by continually handing players more of the same. I never even finished Zelda: A Link To the Past (which might conceivably be one of the games I've spent the most hours with) because it became so samey. There's only so many hours I can spend swinging a sword at enemies that move in annoying patterns. Didn't I spend whole years of my life doing that in the 8-bit era?

    You can extrapolate this out to any other

  • by IceFreak2000 ( 564869 ) <ed AT edcourtenay DOT co DOT uk> on Friday November 19, 2010 @07:33AM (#34280048) Homepage

    I can't speak for anyone else, but the main reason why I rarely complete games these days is 'Real Life'; much as my disposable income has disappeared with the arrival of children, so has my disposable time. Years ago I could fritter away hours at a stretch playing Civilisation, but no more. It's very rare that a game comes along these days that I can muster the enthusiasm for to invest time and effort in to complete.

    The last game that I played through from beginning to end was "Enslaved: Oddesey To The West", which was an almost perfect title for me; the overall length of the game was quite short (the whole thing was completed over a couple of evenings), the learning curve for the controls was slight and it had a character-led story that I actually wanted to see through to the end. Generally though the sequence goes something like:

    • Purchase new game and play for a few evenings when time permits
    • Real Life gets in the way and game is not booted for a few weeks
    • Arcane control system needs to be relearned
    • Plot has become lost in the mists of time
    • Cannot be bothered to retrain muscle memory / relearn the plot (such that it is), so game goes back on the shelf

    GTA IV is sitting on my hard drive, barely touched - I liked what I played, but I just don't have the time to spend on it. Likewise Left 4 Dead, Mass Effect 2, Arkham Asylum and so on. It took me at least three attempts to finish Bioshock (and I'm really glad that I did), but that's one of the few exceptions. Nowadays I'm finding myself playing more and more 'casual' games (Cut The Rope, Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies mostly) rather than 'serious' titles - maybe after the kids leave home and before arthritis fuses my hands into impossible shapes I'll get time to play properly again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Apologies for replying to my own post, but the more I think about it something else occurs to me:

      Back in my ZX Spectrum / BBC Micro gaming days, the availability of games was lower than it is now; I remember playing games to death simply because I'd spent the time and effort going down to my local WHSmith and forking over the £10.00 for a cassette. The other factor was the time and effort required simply to play the damn things; remember how long it took to actually load the game into your home micro

  • It sounds a little counterintuitive, but games are better these days, so by the time you get halfway through a game, you want to play the next amazing thing on the market. Games rarely improve after the halfway point, and they almost never have new, interesting ideas at that point.

    And the, of course, there are more of them. And they seem to all come out at once. For the first half of 2010, I badly felt the lack of good games. ('Good' meaning I liked them, and nothing else.) Now, I have about a dozen ga

  • If the storyline of the game is not interesting enough to make people WANT to see how things turn out, then people won't bother finishing it. In other cases, there are games that are generally good, but then come up with some stupid "action sequence" that just takes away from the fun of the game. Hit left, now jump, roll, right, left, and then you are through the stupid sequence and can get on with the game. This is the sort of thing you see that makes people either get frustrated and give up, or ju

  • My experience (Score:4, Insightful)

    by V50 ( 248015 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @07:56AM (#34280152) Journal

    I finish a very low percentage of the games I buy, certainly less than 50%, probably less than 25%. The biggest reason is that I now have a great deal more money than I did when I was a preteen/teenager. Back then, I'd save up money for months to buy a game, so I'd like it to last me as long as possible. Gaming was also one of my only real interests back then, so I'd go through them faster. Now, a single paycheque can net me several hundred dollars in disposable income, a fair portion of which I still blow on video games. At the same time, I have less free time, with university, work, World of Warcraft, books, and other interests I've picked up along the way.

    Not finishing a game doesn't mean I didn't enjoy my time with it, just that I went on to something different before the game ran out of gameplay. Some games I really enjoyed (like GTA4), I never ended up finishing for one reason or another. I also have a tendency to go back and finish games I started years ago, sometimes with a fresh start, other times picking up the old save file. I also prefer a variety of gaming experiences to spending a ton of time with one single game (WoW excepted, but that's more due to the social aspect of WoW.) I've never really done the whole 100% complete thing on a single player game. I suppose this makes me the ideal consumer, heh.

    I know I really ought to look for games with a 10 hour single player campaign, which I actually beat consistently, but my instincts for long games from when I was 12 kick in, and I often buy long RPGs I rarely finish, for instance, I picked up FFXIII when it came out, but I don't think I've beat the tutorial yet, despite being around 20 hours into it. :-/

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by microTodd ( 240390 )

      Not finishing a game doesn't mean I didn't enjoy my time with it, just that I went on to something different before the game ran out of gameplay.


      I felt a lot better when I realized I'm not obligated to finish every game I buy, just as long as I enjoyed the time I had with the game. If I know I'm never going to finish it but really enjoyed the story, I'll find a wiki to learn what happened.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @07:57AM (#34280156)
    i used to write a long and complete answer to every slashdot article. But now I have less time so I
  • its the same old same old. i dropped mass effect 2 probably at 10%, and even forgot it was on the hard drive after a few days. it was just a more polished version of the older one, but, quite dumbed down to the extent that i feld playing an interactive movie like the games back in mid 1990s. (early cd era, remember). click a few things, watch a cutscene, shoot some, watch a cutscene. actually clicking was also even out of the picture.

    its the result of extreme industrial corporatism in gaming. everything
  • It used to be you'd get a cool movie or a cut scene epilogue after completing a game and that was a satisfying way of wrapping things up. I finished Civ5 with a Space Race victory after 5 solid days of play, crashes, recovery, AI cheats, and gross over-simplification and what do I get? A dialog saying "Congratulations on your space race victory, do you want to continue playing?" Whoopee-doo... If I'd known that's what I'd get for my £30 and 5 days of struggle with that buggy POS, I'd never have hit th
  • ... invaded gaming. Gaming used to be a hobby for those dedicated to it (would finish the games) they are the conniseurs of gaming, but the masses have infected gaming and the masses aren't really "that into games". So only those who are passionate about what games are about (challenge, systems, rules, rewards, etc) will go the extra mile because deep down they get games.

    Average gamers who give up half-way through or are interrupted by life-stuff and just never get back to it just aren't all that interest

  • I completed 60% of GTAIV before I got round to setting up multiplayer, now it's the only mode I play and I haven't returned to SP. That's one explanation.

    Indeed, what counts as 'complete', is it 100% progress, because this is very hard to achieve in many games.
  • I tend to always make an effort to finish a game that I start playing, even if I begin to dislike it (much like I do with books and films - I've never walked out of a movie, and only stop reading a book if it really, really is doing nothing for me). I rarely ever play games online (like many here, I'm unable to cope against exhaustively practiced 12-year-olds), so it's the single player experience for me that counts.

    Generally, I also only ever have one game on a go at a time, which I guess helps things.

    I ev

  • I've never understood the game console and the concept of game completion. Why does it have to have an end? To what point? Who actually cares you got there?

    Personally I would like to L4D or Bioshock with a level-less mode. No bosses, no achievements, just play. There are days when it would be nice to just sit down and bash, shoot and stomp the shit out of zombies for 2 hrs and do nothing more.
  • I'd like to point out that the younger generations (today's teens and early 20's) are wired differently than the older generation. It's a fact that they are great at multitasking, however they have the attention span of a squirrel. That generation simply doesn't have the attention span required to play through a 20-30 hour game, they're easily distracted by the next shiny.

    Anyone with a kid in that age range can tell you that they constantly see them chatting on Facebook while texting a friend while listenin

  • Has anyone here ever completed Ghost and Goblins or its hellish kid brother Ghouls and Ghosts? Or even had the patience to make it through the second, or first stage?

    It's because of bad controls. When your most dangerous enemy is your own inability to move as responsively as you would like, or the camera hiding critical information from your eyes, what incentive do you have to even keep going?

  • 1. Don't make me sick.
    2. Don't bore/irritate me.

    Games I have played.
    All Duke Nukem
    All Wolfenstein
    All Resident Evil
    Ratchet & Clank (first three were best, and replayed), the last one was boring/irritating unfinished
    Demon Soul (completed many times ... still playing)
    Assassin Creed II boring/irritating unfinished
    PoP was droped
    Many... more over 20years including some ASCII-D&D ...

    Realism I do not like (SOCOM, Vietnam, WWII...). Escape to fantasy FPS and Adventure are fun.
    The graphic texture and detail clean 1080p and delay free web-play would be appreciated.

    Ratchet & Clank started irritating me with to many or eventually any retro-game and pattern-section/level locks.

    Demon Souls needs a better random action generator for action-surprises. Invadors need to be better matched to invadees, but always fun getting whacked and whacking as invader or helper. In the next version they should just open some more hidden passages, gates or doors and keep the familiar turf with improved play/gaming. A special flying dragon killing tool would be nice 100+ arrows is boring. The muck-swamp needs something or just drop it as too dang easy. Every on appears to like the 1st and 5th worlds (good danger/balance).

    Anyway, most games I stop playing on the first day or within the first week. Games I like I run through (on average) in one week some times two.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.