Sessler's Soapbox: Finish What You Started

Posted: August 23, 2011
Sessler's Soapbox: Finish What You Started
Sessler discusses the recent CNN article that claims only 10% of gamers play their games through to the end of the single player campaign.

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  • shadowofthetoaster

    Wasn't able to finish this video.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 10:41 PM
  • CoalitionofOrderedGovernment

    Well I'm turning 17 this year, I have a job, school, and a relatively vast social life but games I buy, I always finish even if they make me frustrated or angry just so I can be done with it and pretend it doesn't exist in my collection, however, any games I buy and enjoy it will take me roughly 3 hours to beat (thats just an average by the way) for example games like Gears of War or Call of Duty I beat in a short amount of time whereas the Elder Scrolls franchise took me a week minimum to complete everything I wanted to do. I agree with you Adam, the best time to play is early in the morning on weekends when nobody is awake with coffee by my side and nothing to do. I can finish whatever I needed to do early and have 30 minutes of free time and just play a match or two and feel stress free for a little while.

    Granted I have been called a hardcore gamer but with every thing I balance and small amount of time I can actually spend on it would more or less call me an accidental speed runner.

    I apoligize for the massive run-on sentence.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 10:26 PM
  • iminari

    There're only 2 or 3 games that I just completely gave up on and got rid of. The reason I did was because they'd literally angered me so much I either broke the controller I was using at the time or I broke the chair I was sitting in. The 1 game I clearly remember this happening( I decided to forget the others so the rage wouldn't return) was Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny. It was the part where you have to use both sticks to turn cranks and open a door to escape. I tried to do it for 4 hours, but the game said I never did it right.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 10:16 PM
  • channelcy

    see this is the interesting on noting red dead redemption and rockstar in general. Red Dead is considerably longer than L.A Noire, and that really didn't bother me. LA noire seems like a game that real could've went on forever but it decided not to, as if R* had an deliberate need to go in, say what they needed to say, then leave. Just as Adam says, games can be a great 40 hour exeprience and a great 10 hour experience

    I play some games like LA Noire or Bayonetta when i don't have alot of time on my hands and just need a quick and much needed fix, and when you have do have a good chunk of time you take out the long form games (ie a bethesda game, mass effect, or RDR)

    developers when creating games must know if they are really creating a "quick fix" game or a "long form" game, specifically to know if the mechanics actually fit the game itself.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 10:10 PM
  • hayseman

    please disregard that last 2 line paragraph. It was a thought that I started and decided not to finish.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 9:35 PM
  • martyg

    This article really hits home for me. Lately, i've labeled myself as more of a game collector. The crazy thing is i'm totally ashamed of this! When I was a kid, I used to beat tons of games, but anymore I am just too distracted by my surroundings to really commit 100% to finishing a game. I find myself reading about great games, like the reviews and previews etc., more than I do actually playing them, lol. I will put a game in, play it for an hour, get bored, and throw something else in. Not to mention, there are so many great games these days it's almost impossible for me to keep up. I recently made a promise to myself to stop purchasing games until I have beaten all of the ones in my current library. I have a LOT of work to do!

    Posted: August 23, 2011 9:31 PM
  • hayseman

    This is something that I have been struggling with as well. Personally I buy a game with the intention of finishing it. But the problem I have is that there are several great games coming out very consistently in the past five years so I keep on buying new ones and the next thing I know I have a 30 game library of unfinished games without really realizing it. I agree that games are a major time investment unlike music or a movie etc. and I am finding it pretty frustrating just because in my adult life I can't just lock myself up and play them 24/7 nor do I want too.

    I think the longest game I have ever completed was Twilight Princess. But the thing that made that game so great was the challenge that it had. I wasn't overly challenged throughout the game during any quest except for one where I had to find a scent which turned out to be in a obscure room of a building that I didn't know was there. But anyway the pacing of the progression of the game was perfect. I felt like I had accomplished something every time I finished playing it for the day and that gave me a level of satisfaction. But not enough to make me want to stop completely.

    But other great games I stuck with are Beyond Good and Evil, Metal Gear Solid 1, 3, and 4, God of War 1 and 2, Super Metroid, and Halo. What all of those games have in common is the great feeling of progression throughout the play through. And for me that is something that not all games have.

    I have beaten games that were just a heavy grind until the end. The most recent was Battlefield Bad Company 2. I felt that they ran out of ideas in the end so the designers decided to just kept on throwing more and more troops at you until you finally reached the so called "Climatic Sky Dive Shot". I felt so exhausted at the end I didn't feel satisfied at all I was just glad that the damn thing was finally over. But other games I have beaten had the exact same problem. And its a killer.

    I agree that design is a huge factor in the player's willingness for seeing the game through until conclusion. I think depth of the gameplay is a huge factor because there are always new mechanics or skills to develop or weapons to experiment with or whatever. If I roughly estimate it I think it is safe to say that at least 85% of all games is gameplay. And if you don't have a good game that has great mechanics and interesting scenarios to play through then what is the point of continuing?

    Now I noticed in the slide show behind you that there were a lot of screens of Demon's Souls or Dark Souls. Demon's Souls for me is an interesting case for me. For one I suck at it. I really do. I have invested 50 hours into that game and I still feel like I haven't scratched the surface. But despite how much I suck at this game I keep it spinning in my PS3. But I believe that its the gameplay that brings me back to it time and time again. The mechanics are so well thought out and implemented that it in itself is deeply satisfying despite how merciless it is. And I just not want to beat it but play it again as several different classes with different moral choices. It is something that is phenomenal and I have heard the same thing from a lot of different people that stuck with it again and again.

    but all and all playing video games demands a great time commitment. And it really comes down to how well the game is made. Quality definitely holds my attention the longest and I think it is the same for the majority of hardcore gamers as well.

    Story is important I believe but there hasn't been that one great story teller that's producing games yet. (In time there will be. I believe.)

    Posted: August 23, 2011 9:29 PM
  • UnDeadAngel

    With games like Cod and BF that are multiplayer-centric, I'm not that suprised people don't beat the campaign. Me, though, I just don't have enough time between job, school,friends, and other hobbies to finish every game i buy. It was only 3 weeks ago I FINALLY got to beating Portal 2. It also doesn't help if you have younger brothers who love our 360.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 9:21 PM
  • Socratz87

    The only time I don't finish a game is when I hate it.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 8:55 PM
  • Rankshot

    I agree, and I do believe that certain games go unfinished, due to Lack of Free Time, cause most people have a job, and they have to do errands before they could ever have free time, and even when they do, they might be tired from all that work.

    That reminds me, I still need to finish Mass Effect 2, Devil May Cry 3, Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, Final Fantasy X, Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, can't think of anything else.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 8:07 PM
  • modestlaw

    Story structure is a complicated thing in games. I think most games try to take a Hollywood movie story and extend the action parts (the gameplay) from 10 mins, to about 45 mins.
    What you end up with a novel long commitment with a movie sized story. So in the case of most games, unless it creates a compelling novel sized story with a novel size game (Half Life, BioShock, Mass Effect, ect) It can be hard to maintain the emotional commitment to see the game through to the end.
    I really think games will become more like Super Mario Galaxy and LA Noire. Where you can get a complete beginning, middle and end gameplay experience in a hour rather than having to dedicate 3 to 5 hours to continue a story over a long period of time, while still having the option to do so. At it's core, I think one of the main reasons multiplayer has become so popular is because right now, It's the best and most common way to get a complete experience in a hour and feel you achieve something.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 8:01 PM
  • BoydofZINJ

    I meant to say the RPGs that have no Multiplayers (I guess the only Multiplayer RPGs that I can think of {right now} are MMOs).

    Posted: August 23, 2011 8:01 PM
  • BoydofZINJ

    I will be honest. I do not always finish games. Some of the games that I have not finished has been Dragon Age 2, Witcher, Fall out 4, Borderlands (well the DLC after the zombies), and Batman Arkham Asylum. Some of he games I am proud to have finished are ALL THE COMMAND AND CONQUERERS, All of the Dawn of Wars (I and II), Dragon Age Origins and most of the DLC, StarCrafts (all of them), and Mass Effect (multiple times).

    There is a pattern I noticed lately, the buggy games like Fallout and RPGs in general (that have no single players) I tend not to finish. Mass Effect, is a game I plan on playing before 3 comes out. I often wondered why I am growing out of my RPG stage. Work, real life, time, MMOs, women, and OTHER games all eat away at my life and I tend to stop playing long games that get ... I dunno... non social.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 7:59 PM
  • druidsflame

    This is why Gamefly is so awesome. I get as many games as I can play and I only pay $17 a month. If I encounter a game that is just horrible or sucks taint I quit playing it and send it back :D

    All the games that I bought before I joined Gamefly I just take forever to finish them. I will admit I haven't finished RDR yet, but it was a series of events that made it so. First event was that it made my Xbox RRoD then when I got my Xbox back Crackdown 2 came out so I switched my focus to that and didn't really play RDR very much after that. I didn't beat Crackdown 2 yet because HALO: Reach came out and I played the crap out of that (beating it on Legendary). Then Assassins Creed: Brotherhood came out and I played that with all it's side-quests and main-quests. After that I joined Gamefly and have been playing and finishing 95% of the games I get from them.

    In fact, the only games that I didn't beat were Biotic Commando (found the game very boring in the first 2 levels with really bad mechanics) and Duke Nukem Forever (Rage quit this one. I don't like plaing stupid games that kill you in 2 hits).

    Posted: August 23, 2011 7:40 PM
  • CHM27

    I'll finish a story heavy game like Bioshock or Fall out 3

    Posted: August 23, 2011 7:39 PM
  • cardinalsfan1122

    Very interesting Soapbox, but I believe that the majority of this study must have been a mixed demographic because most of the hardcore gamers I know finish games relatively quickly. And alot of those people make time for their video games as you said early on a saturday morning, they make the effort to stay up and finish that game. But I believe it all depends on the demographic you survey like on G4 visitors I'm sure the percentage would be much larger.
    @sally Wong
    I found your post very interesting and indeed their is a section of the user agreement that states excessive use of the report function can be subject to ban. But what I find interesting is that I myself use the report button quite often and I have yet to be banned. It could just be that you excessively reported them and Sony could not find evidence of cheating and assumed you were a spammer. But what I have also found is that in killzone 3 that game has regular errors like shooting through walls in specific scenarios just as flaws in the game(this effect can also be caused by lag) no offense to you but it may be someone you think was cheating but wasn't just someone who knows how to beat the system.If I were you I would contact them through customer service they usually listen fairly well, and voice your issue to a representative. They usually resolve issues quite quickly. Good Luck

    Posted: August 23, 2011 7:39 PM
  • Latrudos

    While the study is interesting. I am compelled to ask what the researchers considered "finishing the game. Is it finishing the story mode or is it 100% completion. I play through the story on most of my games but I can honestly say that I haven't hunted down every achievement or completed it on every difficulty level. So depending on what was considered "completing the game", I could have finished 90ish% or 10%.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 7:33 PM
  • mrx3009

    I'm actually surprised to find out how common it is to not finish games. When I was younger, I played and finished games that are really long compared to a lot of games today. Now that I'm working full time, by the time I get home, have dinner, and hang out, there's not much time left to play games.

    Some of the games that I don't finish are really highly reviewed, but I just don't have the motivation to keep playing them. I notice that all of the games that I do finish have a really strong story and interesting characters (i.e. Uncharted 2 and Red Dead Redemption), which gives me the motivation to keep playing even after the mechanics get kind of boring.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 7:18 PM
  • EliteOp11

    IF you dont finish RDR you should be shot. So many great game endings. FFX, every MGS, every game i buy i beat, now i dont buy many a year say maybe 4-5 that can be beaten (I play sports games also). but those games that have a Sp addition I play thru to the end.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 7:03 PM
  • mase210

    I used to not finish games because of the bitter-sweet feeling i would get after the game was over and missing that world and those characters. I knew i could just replay the game but that feeling of adventure and surprise would be gone because i had played it before and already know what happens in the story arc. Example: In Mass Effect when you find out Saren's ship Sovereign was actually a Reaper. So by not finishing my games i felt like the story would never even and neither would that feeling i would get when i played them.

    Posted: August 23, 2011 6:54 PM