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Why Don't We Finish More Games?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the attention-deficit-dis-hey-what's-that dept.

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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341 comments

Isn't it... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34279658)

because we're not 15 years old anymore?

Re:Isn't it... (3, Informative)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Isn't it... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34279858)

most game 'stories' are fillers or repetition of the same mechanic again and again.

tie that with boring plot, unsurprising and lampshaded plot twists, cheating ai that becomes frustratingly difficult to beat as the game progress just because difficulty has to ramp up and a moron character and you'll be bored to death halfway through the campaign.

medieval II starts cheating as hell when border empires are cornered. they never surrender, they never retreat. they get full army stack just out of tin air out of your sight. how am I supposed to be motivated to beat a game like that?

most rpg have you the player guess what the enemy is a quarter in the story. and then the enemy which almost always is a purposed friend of your side comes at you you the character could not kill him just because it was programmed as if I the player are a moron and I am not supposed to known, at that point, who the real enemy is. how am I supposed to b motivated to move along that campaign, just to see in the end that I was right since the beginning but that stupid moron of me in the game had his hand knot by developer who tough they are the next agata christie?

Re:Isn't it... (2, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280396)

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.

Re:Isn't it... (1)

Fumus (1258966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280084)

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.

nethack (1)

higuita (129722) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280204)

have been playing nethack for about 15 years and still didnt finish it... not even close!! :)
ok, i'm just play a few weeks then stop for some months/years, but those are fun and HARD games, finishing then is a real challenge and that is what make then still alive after all this years

possibly, but (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280438)

some people will remain 15 for ever

True for me (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279672)

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 games and Flash games though, simply because they start up much faster, can be played in Linux and are enjoying.

Re:True for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34279932)

Exactly, the slow loading times are the real reason. If i have to wait 10 minutes to start playing a game or 10 minutes every time i die, then the game feels like work not game. For me, that's number 1 reason for not finishing. I like the games, i really do, but every time i think i playing them i remember the loading times and i read some web comics or stuff instead.

Re:True for me (2, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279994)

Surely load times are the one thing that's got better over time, or maybe I'm just too old that I can remember playing games off cassettes (five minutes to load then the thing would crash and you'd have to rewind and start again). For me the big issue is that I tend towards things like sandbox games/free roaming RPGs. Unless I can finish the game over the course of a few days, going back even a month later can be incredibly frustrating when the game does little to remind me of what I was doing prior to the break, and even worse when it's vague on what I'm meant to be doing next. This seems to be the aspect of these games that's most overlooked. Give me a screen with all of my recent quests/dialogue/sidequests and a summary of where I am in the story, a decent map and clear instructions about where I'm meant to go next and I'll happily go back and finish the game. This goes for DLC, too - if you want me to go back to the game in six months to play an expansion, don't leave me lost with no idea what's meant to be happening.

Re:True for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34280042)

Surely load times are the one thing that's got better over time

Yes and no on that. I/O devices are much faster than they used to be in the days of old but they are typically being asked to transfer one heck of a lot more data. A modern gaming grade video card has in the neighborhood of 64x to 1024x the memory capacity of a typical PC computer system of 20 years ago. Loading all the textures in a modern video game can take quite some time, even when compared to older games running far less detailed graphics on far lower end systems.

Re:True for me (1)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280164)

I don't want to offend, but it seems you never played games on the old 8-bit home computers like the C64. I don't recall exactly, but loading a not so small game from the tape drive without a speeder really took around that ten minutes, maybe even more. Much less than an actual gaming rig needs to start a game. But we didn't really care, or did we?

Back in the 8-bit days we got a copy of "Turbo Tape" or bought a (maybe pimped) disk drive to make the games load faster. Nowadays we buy some more RAM, a faster HDD or even an RAID0 made of four SSDs. What's the difference?

Re:True for me (1)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280176)

Grmbl.
s/less/longer/

Re:True for me (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280492)

That is no offense to me. I started playing games in the Wolfenstein 3D and Duke 3D era, up until the Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 era.

Re:True for me (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280514)

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 of reality together. It's written brilliantly, that's why. Instead of being written for 13 year olds and the rest of us have to put up with it, it's written for adults and forces the 13 year-olds to run to catch up. Just like the best science fiction, just like the best movies, just like the best...well, anything. See, even the 13 year-olds know when something is written for a 13 year-old and they don't like it either. Even they are a little bit offended that the author (or director, etc) felt they had to pander to them, that they couldn't handle the truth, that they couldn't deal with reality.

You want someone to finish your game/story/movie/book/podcast/album/seven-course meal? Then make it good..

 

just not compelling enough (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279674)

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?

Re:just not compelling enough (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279910)

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 :)

Re:just not compelling enough (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280236)

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, that's going to mean doing the mission with a pick-up-group, so we haven't played that campaign for months, ever since we hit that wall.

Re:just not compelling enough (1)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280376)

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 is this: Nowadays they waste so much of the budget just for fancy eyecandy, and don't get that mostly this makes the games worse, not better. If they'd just cut their eyecandy budget by a quarter and add that to the gameplay guys' budget instead, there would be much better and longer lasting games.

Some of us have a life, you know (5, Interesting)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:Some of us have a life, you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34279718)

With all those achievements, different difficulty levels and DLC where do you say that you finished the fscking thing?

Colloquially and in the context of the article you finished the game when you completed the main story.

Re:Some of us have a life, you know (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280038)

In many games, finishing the main story is incidental to all the other things you can do. If people make up their own meta gaming experience and enjoy that (maybe you prefer playing poker in RDR to doing the stories, maybe your idea of "finishing" Fallout: New Vegas is levelling up your character to 30 by exploring and fighting in the wastes) then why do the producers even care. If you give someone a sprawling sandbox world to play in, don't be surprised if they find ways to have fun that don't correlate to following the "on the rails" story mode. With a lot of games these days, finishing the story is something that people race through to get it out of the way before the real fun of exploring the game world begins.

Re:Some of us have a life, you know (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280160)

You make a good point. I prematurely "finished" New Vegas the other day, and went back to do it differently. My most recent loves have been Bioshock 1 & 2, Fallout 3 & NV because there isn't a singular "finished". You can play as a good guy, a bad guy, an indifferent guy, or a combination. I get more mileage out of these games because I finish them multiple times, even if I don't start completely over.

Fallout NV isn't quite as good as 3 when it comes to roaming around the wasteland, but it is fun to do, and after ending the game enough times, I just ~tgm and player.additem $x to try all the weapons in different scenarios. It is kinda nice to have a silenced, scoped sniper rifle at level 2, just to go postal on some bad guys. Obviously, this is what the creators intended as they made it very easy to do.

Re:Some of us have a life, you know (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280372)

Is it "not quite as good as 3" or "not quite as good as 3 after all the DLC for 3"?

Re:Some of us have a life (2, Funny)

shivamib (1034310) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279756)

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

Well, obviously you've never played Ninja Gaiden.

Re:Some of us have a life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34279980)

I remember completing Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden II. Killing Jaquio was quite an achievement.

Re:Some of us have a life, you know (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280060)

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.

Yep, the problem is time (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280142)

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 therefore is that the player ends up getting tired and giving up the game.

Solution? I think an example is fallout3 (once you fix the bugs, of course). You have many options, you can scour every corner of the game if you're curious or just go straight for the "main story", and there are usually several ways to achieve a given objective, and it's hard to get "stuck" somewhere because of some action of too great difficulty.

Re:Yep, the problem is time (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280394)

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.

Re:Some of us have a life, you know (1)

bloosqr (33593) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280476)

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..

I've got a few thoughts on the subject (4, Funny)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279716)

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...

Re:I've got a few thoughts on the subject (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280330)

As soon as I ascend in nethack I'll get to those other titles.

@ D

Repetition (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279720)

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 out here saying "hmm... this RPG is only 25 hours rather than 40, so I'm not going to buy it". If your game's concept and design is strong enough, let it stand on its own. Vanquish took me 6 hours to complete, but I loved it, while the thought of picking up Star Ocean again makes my heart sink.

Re:Repetition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34279836)

nice comment . Although imho not only the points you have stated it is also about innovation. In asense I feel there is a missing epic factor. look at some classics like quest for glory I, baldurs gate, ff I - IX. Everything is real time or ego like now. No new real innovation except run of the mill stuff with some decent graphics. No real epic factor to finish a game. also the selling model you want the extended story wait ingame while your browser connects to the dlc $. also the x platform is killing the market watered down games just so they can be published for 10 platforms so they can make a buck. No nice printed manuals with epic maps if your lucky you get a b/w pdf

Re:Repetition (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280410)

I'll add lack of imagination to lack of innovation. Last imaginative FPS I played was the original Bioshock. What happened to all the cool ideas? There were tons of them in the late 90s early 00s! We had the GHOUL system in Soldier of Fortune, where you could shoot a gun out of the bad guys hand (or shoot the hand clean off) or No One Lives Forever with the funny spy stuff (who could forget the "wanna buy a monkey?" story) or Red Faction with the destructible walls, or SWAT with its cool mixing of the bad guys and good guys so you never knew how many of each you'd have, or even Nosferatu where the entire GAME completely rearranged itself so that even restoring from a save you couldn't take rooms being cleared for granted!

Now everything seems to be the same old cookie cutter bullshit. It is all WWII or Modern Warfare, with totally shitty AI, multiplayer sucks most of the time, NO story worth finishing, just the same old bland bullshit. Hell I have more fun playing NOLF I and II or even an old cheese fest like World War Zero than most of the new games! It just seems like the new stuff only cares about bling bling bullshit while ideas, story, or even functional game mechanics, goes right out the window. How many times have you played a game where they have ragdoll physics everywhere but a chain link fence or a thin wooden door works like a fricking force field? Totally lame IMHO and with the limited time I have for gaming it doesn't take too many BS moments for me to just move on to something else.

Re:Repetition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34279888)

Agreed, repetition is the main reason for me as well, and by logic i assume majority of people.

For instance the last game i didn't bother finishing much less reaching half of it was prince of persia (both, but the "first" with the side kick chick was actually not bad, the light comedy/romance dialogs were like a small treat to tease and grab the player to the story). The repetitive platform elements get tiresome and the puzzles were frustrating mostly due to making the player struggle with the controls like jumping to the wrong side to death and restart the whole thing, will quickly lead to stop playing.

Re:Repetition (4, Interesting)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280096)

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.

Re:Repetition (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280262)

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.

Re:Repetition (1)

khchung (462899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280114)

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 bothered.

In Valkyria Chronicles, I don't feel any need to grind the skirmishes at all, unless maybe you want to level everyone up to max? I completed the game without maxing up every class, so I don't see any need there.

Re:Repetition (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280242)

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 pick up Big Guard from the Beach Plugs as soon as I get that buggy. I also level up Cait' Sith's, Vincent's and Cid's Limit Breaks once they're added to the party and I don't go to Wutai, until that's done. That's also why I always have materia when Yuffie tries to steal it...if you have enough she won't take it all. And the moment, I get cloud back after searching his memories in the lifestream I focus on Chocobo breeding/racing to get the 4 special materia, the Ancient Forest (via a Gold Chocobo), and then the Gold Saucer Duel. Easy place to level materia at that point is the forest at Mideel, enemies in groups of 3 and 4, smack em with Bad Breath to turn them into sleeping, confused, mini'd, and poisoned toads, Magic Hammer to get your MP back, kill them with physical attacks.

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.

this RPG is only 25 hours rather than 40, so I'm not going to buy it". If your game's concept and design is strong enough, let it stand on its own. Vanquish took me 6 hours to complete, but I loved it, while the thought of picking up Star Ocean again makes my heart sink.

IMHO it's in part the conformism that's part of Japanese culture that makes them do it. FF and DQ are like Madden and WWE games here, the game that plenty of people who don't play other games buys. So they want to give them their 100 hour experience that they expect. Also part of their appeal is that it takes Mr. Salariman back to his days in 1988, which is why they still have young protagonists. Also the American game reviewer otaku at Gamepro or EGM would complain if they didn't have all that "stuff" in them, of course, those guys do nothing but play games so it distorts their viewpoint. I personally stopped playing Dark Cloud 2 because simply put, I realized it simply had too much stuff and it was starting to feel like work, start up the game, grind some weapon XP, repeat. Not to mention, the spheda, the collection (and leveling up) of monster transformations, the customization of Steve, the fishing, the fish racing, the medals, collecting the additional NPCs...do I even have to mention the 100 level bonus dungeon that they put in there, on top of the HUGE main game. They could have cut half the extra stuff and still had more than the game really needs. Though they did fix the item scarcity...at least you don't level grind only to find yourself with less consumables than when you entered like what could happen in the first Dark Cloud.

They could easily fix a lot of this by upping the XP, items and money granted in a "I want to finish the game in a reasonable timespan" mode.

Re:Repetition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34280250)

> 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).

Did we play different games? At which point exactly is the Mass Effect 2 plot ever even remotely strong?
The weak and pretty much non-existent plot is the major weakness of the game. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed ME2 very much and the individual stories of your crew members are fascinating, their loyalty missions are diverse and fun to play. But that's pretty much all the game is - there are a total of three (!) story missions that actually move the plot forward. That's like 10% of the game actually being about the plot. As fun as the individual missions are they stand alone, unconnected, not relevant to any bigger picture. There simply is no real plot in ME2 and the real achievement the creators of the game managed to pull off is that it is still fun.

Too much choice (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279728)

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 that much choice if you wanted a big game.

Re:Too much choice (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280306)

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).

i didnt (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280464)

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.

Once upon a time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34279730)

Once upon a time games actually had a replay value. That was back in the days when the game didn't repeat itself endlessly before you finished it.
I still enjoy playing through Monkey Island 1, Dune or Dune II once in a while.
Too bad I never managed to finish Frontier Elite II.

I finish my games? (1)

Ventriloquate (551798) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279738)

Maybe it's just a generation thing. Younger players might not be as patient or as skilled?

Re:I finish my games? (5, Interesting)

lmcgeoch (1298209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279868)

Maybe it's just a generation thing. Younger players might not be as patient or as skilled?

My 11 yo beat Wii's Zelda : Twilight Princess at least 3 times. She is now has a 62 Balance/Resto druid in WoW and is REALLY into Civilization. Meh..depends on the kid.

Re:I finish my games? (2, Interesting)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279990)

Well, at least you won't have to worry about being able to beat up the geeky sort of boyfriend she brings home one day...

Jokes aside, kudos on you. So long as kids don't play games all day it's great. Some of my best memories with my father were playing The Legend of Zelda (the original) together all Saturday afternoon and evening until we beat it in one go. We did it a few times, and we also went through many games in the N.E.S. catalog.

Re:I finish my games? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280154)

She's playing two time-intensive games at once. The fact she has a 62 balance / resto druid, and not 3 level 80's, is pretty much the same thing.

It's just costing £8.99 pcm for the privilege.

Re:I finish my games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34279968)

hmm, maybe so, but many games are boring today, and I dont fit into that category, I always try to improve my skills, nor am I young.

But still a fact many games are boring.

More people game now (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279784)

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? (5, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279788)

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 complete a game, that fun is reduced because I know what's coming (and that's what makes multiplayer so much better - you never really know who you're going up against or what they'll do). My parents completed Paper Mario on Wii and I literally got bored halfway through the first 100-level grind crap. They didn't get any achievement from it and will probably never play it again so the 100-level thing was pretty unnecessary. It just frustrated them, then they completed it so they could throw it back in the box and never play it again. They have honestly never opened that box since.

Completion of a game isn't a sales factor. I don't *want* a game that I can complete. I want an infinite, sprawling, unpredictable game that keeps me interested for years with new things all the time. Games that can be completed have just run into the wall of realism in that they can't do that and thus have to have an "ending" which is determined by plot and/or funds. And most people have absolutely no interest in completing a game. Have a look at Steam statistics for those games that give you an achievement for each chapter you finish. Almost everyone completes the first, the completion rates steadily decrease until the last few which normally only less than 1% of people who have BOUGHT the game ever bother to see, let alone complete. Completion isn't important. Making me come back for more is.

I'm in the middle of a game of Master of Orion at the moment. I don't really care if I win or lose, I just enjoy playing it (and actually, I'm playing races off against each other and hardly have any ships at all, just BUCKETS of research and cash). When I load up AOE2 or some of my old Spectrum games, I don't really care about completing them. When I replay Syndicate, I don't even bother with the last mission any more - as far as I'm concerned, I've "completed" that game again once I get that far. I've never seen the end-screen.

Completion doesn't sell and most (i.e. more than 99% of people who play those games on Steam) people don't want to complete a game. That's why.

Re:Did we ever? (5, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279872)

Who has time for games anymore? I didn't even find the time to finish reading your comment.

Useability decline, rise of frustated rage! (4, Insightful)

MatthiasF (1853064) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Useability decline, rise of frustated rage! (4, Insightful)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279918)

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 =)

Re:Useability decline, rise of frustated rage! (1)

khchung (462899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280134)

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.

Re:Useability decline, rise of frustated rage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34280232)

There's a lot of hate for Fallout 3, and also New Vegas with regard to crashing. I've notched up a couple of hundred hours on F03 (about half a dozen different playthroughs) and while I've had a couple of CTDs, I've never thought it was something that was particularly game-breaking. The CTDs that did occur were somewhat mitigated by the frequent auto-saves.

I've logged about 80 hours into Fallout New Vegas, and had about five CTDs. High, but it's a relatively new game so I'm prepared to overlook this. I'm also enjoying it massively - it may well be the novelty of course, but I think it's a better game overall than FO3. Not bug-free by any stretch of the imagination (and some of the subtitle/dialog mismatches infuriate my inner pedant) but it's a solid game.

Now Dragon Age on the other hand - now there was a bug-ridden POS. Sorry Bioware - I loved both the Mass Effects; Baldur's Gate 2 is one of my top five games ever - but Dragon Age fell over with such utter regularity that I really had to drag my heels to complete. I'm not certain what caused it - there were rumours that it didn't sit too happily on Phenom processors - and there were work-arounds that involved setting processor affinity (which may have helped - up until the cutscene before the final battle, which crashed reliably unless both cores were enabled) - but christ, there was a game that desperately needed patching. Oh, and the DLC delivery system was atrocious.

As for ones I haven't completed... The Witcher - there may have been a decent game in there but it was let down in its execution. And there was a severe bug at the start of one of the chapters - three or four, I forget which. Oh yes, and non-skippable cutscenes, particularly that one near the burning dog battle early on - that got old really fast. Bioshock came close due to it's anticlimatic latter half, but I eventually ran through it. Velvet Assassin got discarded, as the stealthiness tended to be shelved in favour of large gun battles as you approached boss-fights. Oh and Icewind Dale (via GOG) - I'll have another bash at that during the drought early next year, but how the heck does anyone complete that without enabling cheats?

Re:Useability decline, rise of frustated rage! (-1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280478)

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.

Fallout 3 was buggy like Oblivion which was something I could live with somewhat. The game offered me something new and different from the swords, wizards, and dragon type games. Fallout 3: New Vegas was mostly like Fallout 3 but I'm finding it very difficulty to continue in that game because:

* The same bugs are still there in the new game as the old. (Hello, Fix it before release!)

* More ammo types making things more messy in my inventory.

* More crafting which loads up my inventory with all kinds of components and makes things more confusing and messy in the inventory.

* Changed how healing works when eating food, everything is a heal over time now except stimpacks. I found that to be really annoying.

* Inclusion of Steam with no mention of Steam on the packaging.

I'm going to uninstall Fallout 3 New Vegas this weekend and not bother finishing it. Just too much hassle and not worth the game play. Original Fallout 3 was more fun and less annoying. I'm also going to stop buying Bethesda games since they're starting to hook up with Steam and I really don't like Steam.

Too good (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279834)

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.

Well, could be the rubber stamp (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279864)

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)

Games are just big (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279880)

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.

Thankfully, a couple of games (most of them japanese) have understood the concept of "post-game" where you can still go everywhere you want in the game even after you've dispatched the final boss.

Here's an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34279900)

... buy fewer games. Then play them all the way through.

Article is wrong (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279928)

...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, ...most games have achievements for finishing levels (or similar). Is a very depressing thing, since most gamers never finish the games, you have decent games where less than 10% of the people finish, it, and you have very bad games with smalligh completion ratio ( maybe 1% ).

That "only 50%" in the article is wrong because of that. Is like "I drive at only 180 Km/h in my car".

difficulty spikes interest (5, Informative)

macshit (157376) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279948)

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...

Re:difficulty spikes interest (1)

garutnivore (970623) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280208)

There have been a number of times lately I felt that to win the game I had to be able to read the game developer's mind. The fight with Loghain in Dragon Age was one such case. By the time I got there, my party was able to win most battles without difficulty. Sometimes there were battles which required more strategy but battles were not overwhelmingly difficult. With Loghain, I got my ass kicked in 2 seconds maybe 4 or 5 times before I wised up. Can you say difficulty spike? I decided that I was not going to put up with this shit. I went to the Internet and found that if you put Morrigan against him, it is a piece of cake. Then I moved on.

I had a similar experience with the last battle in Bioshock. Got there, got my ass kicked several times. Again, the previous battles were difficult but not overwhelmingly so. I read up on some strategies but still got my ass kicked. Then I read that if you have selected this and that ability it is a piece of cake. In this case, I said screw this, uninstalled the game and watched the final cut scene on Youtube.

I doubt that developers read this but just in case. This shit is precisely why I decided to NOT buy Bioshock 2. I've also decided that I'm not going to buy any more Dragon Age.

Balance (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34279966)

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:

Finished:
Infamous
Assassin's Creed 1 & 2 (playing Brotherhood now)
Anno 14 something campaign
Bioshock
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
Darksiders

Now, what made me play through the first bunch and not the second? Simple math:

(fun gameplay x entrancing story x cool characters) / (annoying bugs x repetitive gameplay x bad story x no connection to environment or characters)

I am not one of those 100% gamers. I play as long as I'm drawn back to the game, not to complete every single sidequest and get every last item. I will be drawn back by cool style (wild west, star wars, Infamous, Assassin's Creed) and/or if I like the gameplay as such (Infamous, Assassin's Creed). I love collecting stuff that helps you along... like building up the Villa Auditore in AC2 or cleaning out city parts in Infamous. I like to see my accomplishments and profit from them.

What I absolutely hate is repetitive gameplay that does nothing for you. That's the problem with Force Unleashed. You just walk through a predefined path, with bad controls, and slay your way through. The story might be cool, but I'm already fed up. Brütal Legends wasn't intuitive... at one point, I encountered a bug and since I didn't understand what the game wanted from me anyway, I've never gone back, even though I loved the setting of the game.

So it depends on how big the good parts are compared to the bad ones. Godfather 2 was repetitive too and a bit buggy, but the positive side was stronger.

Since this is all very subjective, MY question would be this: Was it any different ten years ago?

I'm shit (5, Interesting)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:I'm shit (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280132)

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.

Re:I'm shit (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280224)

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.

Re:I'm shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34280146)

If you really do get stuck, look up the walkthrough to help you over your tricky point. It's no different from asking a friend how they did it, and it'll allow you to see other parts of the games you buy.

Having said that, not all games are worth completing.

Re:I'm shit (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280290)

If you really do get stuck, look up the walkthrough to help you over your tricky point. It's no different from asking a friend how they did it, and it'll allow you to see other parts of the games you buy.

True but with some games even a walkthrough won't help because it's more about skill and luck rather than following the correct path.

I just realised I did also manage to finish Monkey Island. Still not very impressive gaming credentials though!

Depends on game type (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280002)

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 annoying scripted events (in the RTS games), I'd like an AI that's scales in "cleverness" rather than speed when I turn up the difficulty. Most RTS AIs are pretty much retarded at any difficulty setting, the only difference is that if you turn up the difficulty they do things faster and faster and the cheating becomes more obvious.

As for WoW, there isn't really an attainable "end" to it (I suppose technically there is an "end boss" and levels of completeness like "getting all achievements"), it's a lot more fun to just quest with your friends, play a dungeon or two, maybe do some world PvP but you're not really working towards "beating" the game (yes, there are those that look at it that way but most people I interact with don't seem to play it that way and it's really annoying when you get one of those guys in a PUG [wowwiki.com] dungeon group).

So at least for me it's a combination of the changing game market, stale games and the fact that I'm just not putting that much value into "beating" games anymore (it was more important in 4th grade when you could brag to your friends). I suspect this is true for a lot of people.

Define "finish" (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

More of the same (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280018)

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 game these days. Most of them are just some stuff we've seen before. We're jaded and it's hard to impress us, as a group.

The game I've played most in life has to be Alpha Centauri. How old and buggy is that? It offers a new challenge in each game (if you're not a hero at these games, which I'm not... just adequate. would be nice if you didn't have to micromanage everything, that's the current limiting factor. people don't just sit with thumb in ass if you don't tell them what to do...)

The Curse Of Real Life (4, Insightful)

IceFreak2000 (564869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280048)

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:The Curse Of Real Life (2, Insightful)

IceFreak2000 (564869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280318)

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 from tape? Fiddling around with the head because the damn thing would fail to load after 10 minutes of waiting?

Nowadays, gaming is so instant and available that there isn't the compulsion to stick at a single game and see it through to completion

It's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34280050)

I don't think it's less. It's just because 10 years ago, we didn't had services like Live/PSN tracking every stat possible.

Local game shop? I don't think so... (1)

No Grand Plan (975972) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280072)

"Then why not sell it back to your local game shop, get money back in your pocket..."

Were you to try that, you would likely get less than a tenth of 'your money' back in your pocket.

Games are better and more plentiful. (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280094)

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 games that I want to play all at once. It's little wonder that I'm not completing most of them, and I probably won't, since other games will come out later and the excitement for these has died off.

It's too hard to return to a game after a pause (1)

picz (264520) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280100)

As the generations age, more and more adults are playing computer games. In my "adult life" I have played a lot of games and only completed two or three.

The reason for this are complicated controls and level of skills required to continue an interrupted game.

Let's take GTA IV. It's a nice game. The controls are kinda advanced and difficulty of the levels raises as the game progresses. An adult person with a job and a family can play a game like GTA few nights a week and complete some of the missions. Then something happens and there is a pause. Maybe your kid gets sick or you have a busy period at work.

After a while, I would like to pick up the game and continue the progress. But then I find out, that I have forgotten some of the controls and some skills have been lost and the game kicks my ass. After a few failed missions the frustrations takes over and I turn of the PS3 and never pick up GTA IV again.

As a busy adult with work and family, I do not need more frustrations from a computer game after a long day at work.

Decline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34280138)

Have they ever considered it's because games have become all about graphics whilst everything else has been neglected to the extent of devolution?

Seriously, if the industry ceased being a bunch of graphic whoring pansies, I would buy and play a LOT more games.
The problem here is that so few new games contain anything of substance. The games are literally just become tech demos for their respective engines.

Is there a point to playing? (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280140)

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 just disgusts people and makes them lose interest.

It is like these "boss encounters" as well, where the player needs to try things over and over and over again, not because of needed skill, but because luck plays into it a bit too often. If the story is not interesting in the first place, then people just stop playing.

Now, there are some ways to help, such as making multiple difficulties so you can make things much easier, but it really just comes down to game design, and some designs just being really poor. If I feel like the entire game is "doing the same thing over and over for no reason", then I just don't enjoy it(which is why I hate first person shooters, because shooting everything that moves bores me to tears). Other ways are to make it so you actually have some choice in playing and the order of events in the game, so if something is too difficult in the early stages of the game, give the player the option of doing that difficult part later, after you have better equipment/abilities.

Another thing that some people like and others hate is being lead by the nose, like playing through a movie and not being able to change ANYTHING. If a game is 100 percent linear, if I like the story I will play through ONCE, but that is it, but if you can change events a bit, then I will play through multiple times to see how my actions change things in later parts of the game. If anything though, people want CHOICES. If you play on the "good" path, you shouldn't end up with the same options as someone who played the "evil" path, and things SHOULD diverge based on the choices you make.

We do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34280148)

I'll need more evidence than that half ME2 games got finished. I've never played it but gather it's a big, sprawling epic with many distracting side quests. 50% seems like quite a good figure for such a game. Give me the stats for a COD - not completing one of those is just laziness/boredom.

My experience (3, Insightful)

V50 (248015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280152)

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. :-/

Its abit like slashdot posts (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280156)

i used to write a long and complete answer to every slashdot article. But now I have less time so I

Games that aren't meant to be finished (1)

MeesterCat (926256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280158)

Personally, I've always been a fan of games that never really end.

- The Civilisation series.
- numerous Microprose simulations.
- The Football Manager series.
- MMOs (WoW & Eve in particular).

None of these ever finish and as such have more replayablility (if that is an actual word).

Of the games that I own that do 'end', very few have made me want to. Notable exceptions being Half Life 1, 2 & the episodes so far, Deus Ex, the first KOTOR game.

I think, what I'm trying to say in a very round about way, is that a lot of games are failing to create any kind of narrative that are making players *want* to finish them and the games that succeed despite this lack of narrative are ones in which the player creates it him/herself.

Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34280180)

In Soviet Russia, game finishes you!

Re:Obviously (1)

RoverDaddy (869116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280264)

But in post Cold War Russia, game doesn't finish you!

AI (1)

HazMat 79 (1481233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280202)

In the last 5 years I think the only games I have finished are the Halo 1 thru 3, ODST, Doom 3 and COD Modern Warfare. I have a stack of about 50 Xbox 360 games and a few computer games. The pc games are mostly RTS and sim style games. RTS games I normally play the first campaign level then jump into multiplayer, and SimCity, well thats never really done. The main reason I do not complete games anymore is AI. A good example is Halo 1 vs the new Halo Reach. Halo 1 was a very enjoyable game with a smarter than most AI. The Elite were hard to land plasma grenades on and the grunts played the perfect cannon fodder. The flood would overwhelm you and you found yourself running for your life. Since then if you played a Halo game on normal you could run through it in three hours on normal. Up it to Heroic and the game does not get smarter, it just increases the HPs for the enemies. Then it just becomes a grind and that really pisses me off. I want to be challenged by the "skill" of my opponent not the the health. This has lead me to play more of them online, with all them damn Xbox kids muted of course. That leads to complaints about lag though. Bungies matchmaking sucks. I don't know though, could just be me.

We don't finish them because they're broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34280210)

Both Bioshock and Bioshock 2 have a big problem on 64-bit operating systems: some of their "auto-save" locations simply crash the game and can't be gotten past. Bug reports simply go to a knowledgebase message, from a player, not a Bioware engineer, about turning off sound drivers, which does not fix it. This happens with both the DVD and new Steam releases of both game.

So don't even *think* of laying blame for not completing those games at our feet as being due to our "short attention span". The "short attention span" is of the black hole they now use as a tech support department.

Rehash. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280226)

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 is for profit, no risks taken, whatever made money before is rehashed and pushed in front of people.

and people just drop them.

Because the pay-off's rubbish? (1)

garyok (218493) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280284)

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 the Purchase button. Why should I keep hitting the feeder bar if the food pellets are made of sawdust and ashes?

Cost/Availability of Games (1)

rax313 (1923570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280304)

Maybe because back then I remember I did not have that much disposable income and so was stuck longer playing with the games I own forcing me through boredom to finish the game regardless if it's a quality game or not

Because the masses... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280322)

... 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 interested in games.

This does not mean how-ever that the content is wasted. The problem with statistics and numbers is that it's used to justify cost and corner cutting an we're already seeing that in major franchises, this is only going to lead to the core abandoning gaming altogether because it's been infected by the masses who of flies who will eat shit in large numbers (Call of duty 5/6 I'm looking at you).

Too much repetition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34280378)

Too much repetition. Repetition is boring, thus a game with lots of repetition is boring. Sometimes it's called grinding. Sometimes it's called leveling up. Sometimes it's called unlocking. Sometimes it's called earing "money" to buy the item you need to continue.

Game makers seem to be convinced that what is important is how long it will take to finish a game. They will add these repetitive parts to make it take longer to finish. However, games are meant to be fun. Adding repetitive parts makes the game less fun, because you have to *work* (without even getting paid for it, unlike a real job) to get to the next fun part.

I own all four Gran Turismo games. Each of them I have played until somewhere around being able to buy a stock NSX, then the fun was lost. Ok, in GT4, I was able to get quite a bit more money, but only because one race gives loads of money (second one in special conditions, AFAIR). Yet, even that got boring, and I'm not sure I even got around to buying the NSX. Didn't play for half a year. Then I got an Action Replay disc, and was able to download a save game with all the cars. Suddenly, the game is fun again. Load the save game, go into arcade mode, pick a track (way more tracks then before), pick a car, anything from a Ford model T, to a Le Mans race car. Now there's alway something I haven't tried.

The point is: Downloading a completed save game should not be needed to make a game fun.

We did?, games were HARD! (1)

franciscohs (1003004) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280404)

On my early days, mostly Amiga, games were so hard that I almost never finished a game. Games like shadow of the beast are hard to finish today with cheats and everything. Games like monkey island I finished but took almost a year per game. But what I most recall is the frustration that meant to play games, long load times, die in 30 seconds, another long time to see a game over screen... it was ridiculous. Even so I loved that era. If you think about arcades, it's basically the same, who finished arcade games?

Simple (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280430)

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 always do! (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280454)

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 even made it through to the end of Demon's Souls, a feat that I know many either gave up on or were simply unable to achieve.

I've been playing games since I was about 8, moving from a Commodore Plus 4, to C64, to Amiga, to PS1, to PS2, and now to PS3. I have noticed a sharp decline in the number of games that I play, through. Likely I'll become far more casual and start to only play games on my phone or something...

Why does it have an end? (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34280484)

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.

me 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34280498)

I didn't finish Mass Effect 2 because of that TINY MINISCULE font they used on all of the conversation UI. The whole game is predicated on what choices you make in conversation, so it's really important that you read each of these options, some of which are pretty detailed.

Meanwhile my TV is not a high def plasma or something, it's a little LCD with poor resolution.

They should have warned me before I bought the game.

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