Recently I played all the way through a game that lost my interest after about the first three hours. Nothing was inherently wrong with the game, it just wasn’t fun anymore to me. I’ll talk about that title here, but in the end, I did enjoy the final levels of the game. Something I wouldn’t have gotten if I didn’t push through the middle of the game. So today we are going to look at life and gaming under the microscope of finishing what you started. Even when you don’t like it.
This is a concept that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. It could have been that your parents had you do sports or learn an instrument growing up and you hated it. Perhaps it is that you did the laundry, but you still need to fold it and put it away, or that you signed up for an eight-week exercise class and want to quit after two sessions. I get it, things are hard.
Jumping back and forth here, but when you slow down in gaming there are basically two reasons. The first is a spike in difficulty that throws you off from the normal and halts your progress. The second is the progress just isn’t rewarding or fun to you, through loot or a narrative it can simply die. A game, movie or book all need to keep you going and feel that you are making progress in something. Video games hit a special place for people when we feel rewarded for beating a level, boss or finishing a quest. That special place is good old dopamine. So again when progress slows you miss out on that and your body and mind just wants you to move along.
Already some of you are saying, “I play games for fun, why do it if I’m not having fun?”
Just give me some time to hear me out.
Some games put this paradigm to the test and make them far more difficult than average. This allows you to feel even more rewarded when you do get past to the next point. Again any souls game or even Cuphead can fit into this category. It openly tells you that there is an option to beat it however, in a sense dangling a carrot in front of you to strive onwards. Games that just suddenly require you to be twenty levels higher and the reward stays the same fail at this and lose people fast.
Which brings us to the second problem, when progress is just too slow and unrewarding. The game I finished over the last week was Borderlands The Pre-Sequel. A shock to my system since I had loved every other Borderlands game to date and had only missed this installment from bad timing and not sitting down to go through it. Seeing the trailer for the third game pushed me to knock this game out so I didn’t miss any of the lore that may be needed for that title.
The game had so much good going for it and yet fell flat. Maybe it was from a different studio working on the title, or that the characters didn’t grab you as much as the other games did, sure you have Jack and Athena to really drive it home, the others were just kind of there. Moxxi for instance just happened to have a moon bar, and Lilith and Roland were there on a date? I don’t know, something just felt odd. With this the guns progressed for damage a lot slower, meaning that mundane fights with bandits or “Scavs” in this title took far longer. Also if you wanted to explore the moon, you moved so much slower in the low gravity than you did in other titles normal speed. You would find yourself boosting with your oxygen reserves just so you didn’t move at a snail’s pace.
The first twenty levels of your character dragged hard. I can say that the ending was sweet and as you found out the big secrets in the title it was rewarding to see why things were happening. Even if the Raid boss is just the final boss over again, with more health. Bright side, Tiny Tina narrates the battle and the quest to it.
So why did I even play the game if I didn’t like it?
I learned a lesson in life that I have to finish what I start. I still am glad that I beat the game to check it off my list and to know how it all ended, actually enhancing my Borderlands 2 experience with new lore and insight into the characters. It comes down to something simple than that. In conversation time and time again I mention a title and I get the response, “I didn’t finish that.” It shakes me every time at how many unfinished things people leave going in their day today. I suppose I am weird that if I have something I need to finish it stays on my to-do list until it is done.
Now the goal of this blog is to promote playing games and having fun doing it. So if you don’t want to finish a game, don’t. There is a small chance if you take the time to go finish what you started, you will be that much happier with yourself. Take that into your life and follow it too. Don’t let an opportunity you started pass by you and just complete what you say you will. Find someone to hold you accountable, and put a little time in each day if you can.
In the end, you live life however it makes you happy but damn to I love filling in checklists as complete.