About GamePeople

Not Finishing Games

11/09/2007 Family Family Gamer Article
Created by
Game Reviews
Home | Family Video Game Guides | Family | The Family Gamer Column

Paul's Content

Content for this writer is available here:

Subscribe to articles:

Okay, so it's confession time on the family gamer couch. I have a secret and I'm not sure how to talk about it without invalidating myself as a gamer, and perhaps more importantly as a games writer. My secret is that I don't always finish games. I have hoards of these play-things on shelves throughout my house, but surprisingly few endings have ever seen the light of day.

In a world populated by completist collectors and highly skilled hardcore players, there is little space for those of us that dip out halfway through the major franchises. These, apparently more dedicated players, scratch their heads and wonder why you would leave the room before the climax of so many of the biggest and best game experiences? How can you call yourself a gamer if you leave these gems scattered around your abode without a by-or-leave to the culmination of their narrative arcs?

Admittedly, I am not the best person at finishing things. The thrill of a new game on the horizon has always been more appealing than settling down and methodically working through the current offerings later stages. Perhaps I am something of a game-hussy flitting from game to game without ever really committing. I remember back at primary school, my overboard enthusiasm over a new project, and then how it waned as the weeks dragged on with only mediocre progress.

This is not to say that there haven't been games, even in my recent family-focused years, that have so captivated my attention that I have played them to destruction and extracted every last ounce from each and every level.

But, in my defence, there are only so many hours in the day I can wheedle out for my video game habit. I suspect I am not alone in this, as we all seem to cram ever more experiences and commitments into the same 24 hours, that used to be the sole reserve of our juvenile rest and relaxation regime. Family life, friends and work all take their toll on the possibility of devoting hours to the latest Zelda or Halo game. Life seems to just get busier as you get older. You start to value other things alongside those treasured gaming moments, and they get demoted down the priority list.

However, I think we need to call a halt to the presumption that you have to finish every game you buy. Surely it is more important to have fun playing them rather than progressing through to the end. These are things we buy to have fun with aren't they, rather than another demanding voice in our lives that we have to answer to?

This is not to say that there haven't been games, even in my recent family-focused years, that have so captivated my attention that I have played them to destruction and extracted every last ounce from each and every level. These are experiences I return to again and again, each time pealing back the layers and discovering new aspects of these old and trusted friends. These games, like the books and films that have knocked me sideways with a challenge and connection to everything I have known, are treasured experiences I want to share with those around me.

As we redefine and broaden what games have to offer the world at large, we need to relax our approach to their enjoyment. The frenzy of achievements and points and completion only serves the hardcore few. A more attractive and comfortable approach for me is to imagine games as something that can be picked up like a paperback. We read a few chapters and put it down, stumble across it in another setting and read a few more. Sometimes, almost by accident we read-on forgetting the time and the demands of the day as we are lost in a story that both fascinates and understands us.

I made a decision today, whilst I outed myself as a non-completist, that I would no longer feel guilty or less of a gamer because I had not played or completed the entire gaming cannon. I would be happy with who I was, someone who loved playing games and sometimes got lost in their worlds, the pressures of the real-world receding until the credits rolled.

Written by Andy Robertson

You can support Andy by buying Not Finishing Games

Subscribe to this column:
RSS | Newsletter

Share this review:

Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

© GamePeople 2006-13 | Contact | Huh?

Grown up gaming?

Family Video Game Age Ratings | Home | About | Radio shows | Columnists | Competitions | Contact

RSS | Email | Twitter | Facebook

With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.

But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.

What sort of gamer are you?

Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: