Out of all the games to suck me in, I've been playing No Man's Sky for almost 30hrs the past week. Looks like third time's the charm


redknightalex's Blog (13 followers)

Completing Games Part 1 - How Did I Even Get This Far?Permalink
On some of my better days I've been thinking more and more about the idea of completion. And not just the idea but also the will to go through with getting the plat - or the 100% - knowing full well that, when you start a game, you may not even enjoy it enough to want that 100% as much as the next game on your list. So, as a start of a two to three part blog series, I'm going to examine my evolving idea on completion, what it means to have the motivation to complete a game, the obstacles in my way, and how I value it in regards to my other gaming habits.

For this first part, I'm going to examine how I've gotten to this point, how I've even begun to consider my completion percentage an important indicator of my gaming lifestyle, and how I'm now looking more to completing a game than buying one.

But, first of all, let's start this blog post off correctly and look at some recent trophy accomplishments since my last entry.

The biggest things I've done since mid-February has definitely been the 100% completion of both Assassin's Creed: Unity and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. The Unity plat was much harder than I really wanted it to be, from collectibles to the horrible in-game completion stuck around 90% when I was done with it, and the ratio isn't that indicative of how awful I found getting roughly 500 glowing pieces of shit.

Assassin's Creed UnityMaster AssassinThe Master Assassin trophy in Assassin's Creed Unity worth 402 pointsEarn every Trophy.

That's the problem with TT ratios, or PSNP's dealing of DLC, you just don't get enough credit for completing some really stupid trophies. This next one from Driveclub, however, is totally justified in its ratio:

DRIVECLUBWelcome To The LimitThe Welcome To The Limit trophy in DRIVECLUB worth 236 pointsReach Driver Level 50

Other than those, I've mostly got Watch_Dogs left, which is currently about 60% done. I glitched out the trophy for Geolocated, which really bites, except I think I can still get it if I restart while being offline. Starting a new game half-way through my first playthrough helped me for many of the trophies since Uplay tracked most of the online ones for me, yet for this one I'm really screwed. Ubisoft online says I've checked in everyone except the in-game progress wheel has me at 25/100. roll Glitches...

And, right now, Watch_Dogs is the big game I'm going for right now, the one I want to complete the most. It's even on my goals to complete within a few months from now, giving me ample time, and I find myself actually trying for it. Now this begins our journey into...

Completionism and how the hell did I get here?!

Not too long ago I would have given up on Watch_Dogs and started a new game. As some of you may know from my previous blogs, I have a backlog big enough to contend with any gamer and certainly enough games to tempt me into playing. Hell, I'm getting two new games this week without the flash sale I know is coming! Why have I suddenly decided that I wanted to finish Watch_Dogs? Or Sherlock Holmes? Or Flower? Have I been bitten by the completionist bug?

Well, no, I don't think so. For all my text in my last post, I was starting to really think about my buying habits, my hard drive space, and how best to balance my slightly-compulsive game buying habits with common sense. For all the games I buy, I want to play and finish just as many so, it would stand to reason, that I should play, and finish, more games, wouldn't it?

That's really where it hit home as I replied to comments on my last post: I'm buying the games (note: NOT wasting money) yet failing to have the experience I could very well enjoy. If I'm filling up my PS4 hard drive with games I don't play, why not delete them until I'm ready or finish them off? Then, at the end of the day I started to wonder, what kind of gamer am I when I don't even finish the main, typically 10-15 hour story?

This led me to cleaning up Unity. This brought me to 100% Black Flag. This got Watch_Dogs back in the disc slot. This had me playing Sherlock Holmes on better days, enjoying the puzzles, and getting halfway through before I even knew it. Did I enjoy every moment? Admittedly no, yet, then again, not every story you'll read or hear is all flash and substance. One of my favorite TV Shows, Battlestar Galactica (reboot), always fails to keep my attention right around the really stupid episode called "Black Market." Does it mean I didn't enjoy the other parts? No. Does it mean I can just skip it or play a game while I watch the annoying bits? Yes.

Finishing up Unity was, in many ways, a real turning point for me as I watched another plat ding, another completion percentage tick upwards, and another disc I could put into the storage pile. Completing it, even if I hated the DLC and the collectibles, was enough of an endorphin rush that I automatically went through my trophy list to find another game I could finish up with minimal fuss. That led me to completing Toren after 15 minutes of play. 15 minutes! What was I doing with a game 15 minutes away from completion? And, really, how did I get to the point that 15 minutes wasn't worth completing the game?

During this currently ongoing process of moving more towards a completionist gamer, I'm looking more at my list for games I should finish, for watching that completion percentage meter move up every trophy I earn, and seeing my PSN/TT levels go up as well. There's a lot to be said for earning the right to say I've finished a game, to call it done, and I think I forgot what that really felt like. I forgot that, although I may start a couple hundred games, what's the point if I never experience the story, the gameplay? Where's the point in not giving a game the chance to wow me?

So this is where I am, from arguing that completion isn't that special a year ago to noticing my own desire to complete games, and taking active steps to ramp up that completion. I've even waited on buying Far Cry Primal after the positive reviews with the mindset that I already have way too many games to finish, much less start (I give it until after I've finished Far Cry 4). Still, I'm stuck with the other side of the coin, wanting to try out a game I bought day-one that has been sitting in my pile for three months now. That, however, is for my next post, Part 2.

That's a lot of words. I hope I've adequately explained my slow process to thinking more about completion, and how it's changed my habits, mostly for the better. Although, come to think of it, I probably could have said it using one paragraph instead of ten. Oh well. If you aren't here to read a long blog post than I'm not sure you know what you're doing anymore!

Phew, that was a harder post than I thought it would be. I'm going to forgo the normal editing this time, so forgive me my simple grammar errors or horrible wording (I'll regret this in the morning!).

Next time, whenever that may be, I plan to look at the problems I come across when going for the completion and I bet you'll be surprised at how that happens. I am too, to be honest.

Until then, thanks for reading and happy hunting! cn_guide

(Why are there so many blog posts about backlogs? Don't they just get boring after a while? Somebody slap me if I ever do that on a regular basis!)

(Second PS: there's a lot of isms and ists in this blog post but, thankfully, none of them mention gender, race, occupation, sexual orientation, or any other potentially harmful bigotry. My goodness the world these days....)
Posted by redknightalex on 15 March 16 at 18:59
UlvenFenrir very good read. alot of good points that i can relate to. the one i noticed the most was:

"Did I enjoy every moment? Admittedly no, yet, then again, not every story you'll read or hear is all substance."

exactly! in my opinion, to know what a good game or heck, even a movie is you have to experience both sides of the coin. if you never play a crappy game or watch a horrible movie, how would you be able to tell what is good and what is bad?

out of most games i enjoy, i rarely ever enjoy it 100% through because no game is perfect. a game can have an awesome story and awesome gameplay but eventually it will reveal it's flaws and that is where the "i didn't enjoy every moment of it" comes in.

this is why i complete games and get every trophy possible (excluding dlc most of the time because i'm not rich) even if i end up disliking the game. i want to experience the bad games as well as the good games to be able to get a better picture and understanding of what exactly makes a game horrible and what makes a game awesome. without the experience of both sides, then you won't have the same knowledge.
Posted by UlvenFenrir on 15 Mar 16 at 20:27
biff_beefcake Nice post! Congratulations on your recent trophy accomplishments, too! smile I know exactly what you mean about the endorphin rush of getting that last trophy before 100%: for me it's a nice way to say farewell to a game. And then there's that excited feeling of "what's next?" I kind of miss it since I haven't been able to play games much these last few months.

As always, thanks for writing! I'm looking forward to part 2. :)
Posted by biff_beefcake on 16 Mar 16 at 06:50
MonkeyBrad91 Yes, on Xbox, I wasn't a big completionist. I'd get as many achievements as I could or wanted to, then move on. Since coming to PS, I started off strong with completing over 90% of my games, and I've kept that going. The satisfied feeling when you 100% complete a game and can delete it from your hard drive or sell it back to a shop knowing that you did EVERYTHING that game had to offer is one I've become hooked on, and it's a great feeling to have. Congrats on the recent tough trophies you picked up, and I look forward to parts two and three. :)
Posted by MonkeyBrad91 on 16 Mar 16 at 15:26
Fitzquaid Good post, Alex.

I'm terrible at completing games. I have a track record of starting something new and never going back, or getting near the end of a game, deciding that I don't feel like doing all the optional side content, and just quitting instead - it's not really great. I'll try and be inspired by you. smile

(And you're right, Black Market is a pretty rubbish episode.)
Posted by Fitzquaid on 16 Mar 16 at 17:17
Prem-aka-Prince Nothing like a bit of inward-looking development clap
I don't think it's a bad thing that you're taking the time to think about your changes and what they mean. There's no universal truth that A is better than B, but your journey between says a lot about who you are in this time period.

By the way, I didn't spot any errors in the writing, so I guess that means your natural writing level is very good these days?

(I do ignore all the generic posts about backlogs, like 'look at me I made an emotionless list!', so what? You trying to compare lengths or something?
...But I think any post that has reflection on the list, opinions and advice (whether from or to the writer) has a place and is contributing something to someone. Even if that someone is the writer- by contrast nobody gains anything or "grows" from writing a nondescript list with zero analysis.)

Commenter edition
I agree with UlvenFenrir, though I saw it ever so slightly differently. Rather than concluding into good or bad games, rather I think of good and bad parts of each game, to which our attention is drawn thanks to the trophies. Think of a game you played (or re-played) where the later trophies gave you some new perspective on the game. Examples that come to mind include FFXIII (deep timing-based combat system), Assassin's Creed series (which idiot put in all these f*ing collectibles!!), MGS4 (you can fumble through the story but you really have to master the game 1000x better to get the plat), Transistor (I didn't realise that combination would do that and -wow!). This is a kind of knowledge, a kind of experience, a kind of insight exclusive to completionists.

Oh and also I wanted to say that sometimes you have to go through to bad to get the hard-fought rewards, both in-game and out. You kind of alluded to it when you talked about ratios being representative in some cases more than others. Sometimes the rewards for collectibles or challenges outside of the story are good in and of themselves (infinite ammo bandanna in MGS?), sometimes you just do it for the trophies, but either way you wouldn't know about them if you only did the story. That's why simply doing the story is not always fully experiencing the game.

By the way, when biff_beefcake talked about completing games and then that excited feeling of "what's next?". I imagined a person standing triumphant over a pile of defeated games, looking around the arena for challengers and shouting "Who's next!?"
...I don't even know where the idea has come from. Maybe it's just some subliminal messaging from Mortal Kombat. Who says violent video games don't rot your brain. laugh
Posted by Prem-aka-Prince on 17 Mar 16 at 18:43
redknightalex So it's taken me almost a month to get to these comments but I suppose better late than never...right?

I don't have much to add for this post right now other than to say thanks for all the feedback and, more importantly, for reading! I've stumbled a bit when it comes to completing games, although I have finished a few storylines, as my tastes went to the other end and forced me to play Skyrim and Civ Rev. 2. When I'm a few trophies away from a plat I find it gets harder, not easier, to finish it off. No logic in that one.

Should be ready to focus on Part 2 of this set, which will be all the problems I run into, this weekend if the gods of health allow me to. Otherwise I'll give you a hint: trophy streaks.
Posted by redknightalex on 08 Apr 16 at 19:30
Prem-aka-Prince trophy streaks are the devil nuff said laugh
Posted by Prem-aka-Prince on 08 Apr 16 at 19:43
AtsumaKarin Another excellent read and once again, sorry for the lateness. redface

Even before the dawn of time (or in this case, trophies, because that's clearly the same thing...) laugh I was a completionist anyway. I'd always try to 100% every game I played and would almost always succeed!

Of course, it was easier back then because I couldn't afford as many games and the overall quality of the games I got was clearly better as I had to be more choosy but even so...this habit has very much remained with me through to adulthood. I guess it's a case of: "if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well", perhaps.

I also get those endorphins every time I get a new Plat, it's a very visible recognition of: "Congratulations! You win!" I still enjoy 100%'ing non Plat games as well but I do admit that it does feel a fair bit less satisfying to me in general. Maybe that's (partly) why trophies resonated with me more than Gamerscore, though it's a bit more complicated than that and I don't wish to elongate this comment needlessly. (It's long enough already reading it back!) laugh

I also have an immense backlog and trophies can definitely be a good motivator for going back to unfinished games. In fact sometimes, you might go back to a game you'd left having not enjoyed it the first time and think: "wow! Why did that not click with me the first time?" Dragon Quest Heroes was probably the best example of that for me this year.

Of course, you might still hate it but it goes to show that you can't always judge on the first play.

In fact, even recently, been playing Dragon Quest Builders and honestly, I was quite bored the first few hours playing it but decided to persevere and am starting to actually like it quite a bit. It's not perfect of course and it still has its dull moments but it's quite compelling somehow anyway. smile

I also agree with Ulven's remarks on needing to play the bad games to know when you play a good one. This is especially true if someone's thinking of being a Game Dev as much as it is being an avid reader/film buff if you want to be an author/director. Seems obvious writing it out but doesn't seem so much when there's so much genuine trash out there in every field. laugh

Also: I like Prem's image of biff_beefcake lol. Just give her a cape and a big BB on the front and she'd really look the part! smile
Posted by AtsumaKarin on 25 Oct 16 at 12:55
Prem-aka-Prince bro, you're so late the universe has already gone through the Big Crunch, oooooooooooooh snap!
Posted by Prem-aka-Prince on 25 Oct 16 at 13:41
Perfect_Sinn nice start to the blog mate
i used to have an account that i played and tried to maintain the high completion rate, but i got a little careless and hit a few games devs wouldnt fix, so i made a new account which kinda links to your dedication to do this, my account is a 1 game at a time account till i get the plat or 100% :) and to make it more exiting i am trying to keep my trophy streak lol
im gonna follow your blogg and stay in touch with how it goes

all the best
Posted by Perfect_Sinn on 05 Apr 17 at 11:29
Prem-aka-Prince Are you okay, Alex? The last time we heard from you was over a year ago now. That causes me quite some concern
Posted by Prem-aka-Prince on 08 Apr 17 at 10:02
Perfect_Sinn i have added an update to my blog mate, i am way behind on it but i am going to try and dedicate myself to it a little bit more than i have, cant wait to hear how yours is going
Posted by Perfect_Sinn on 10 Dec 17 at 11:07