It’s 2AM. You’ve been playing the latest triple-A release for several, forced hours now, trying your absolute hardest to get as far as possible. You just want to finish the game, get it off your list and move on.
You don’t understand what’s going on. This is a game you’ve been looking forward to for months, and it’s all your friends can talk about. You’ve heard great things about it, and you can see for yourself that the game is worthy of the praise its getting. So why isn’t it clicking with you?
For whatever reason, all you want to do is get to the end, put the game down and be happy knowing you haven’t left it as another game on your list. Why spend all that money on a game you aren’t going to complete? Surely it’ll get better for you as you play more?
What you need to know is that it’s okay to leave a game unfinished.
Having a backlog of games is something that pretty much all gamers can relate to, and something that can be caused by many different things. Sometimes it’s because the game is too time-consuming, or isn’t what you thought it would be, or has simply been replaced by a newer, more interesting game.
No matter the cause, building up a backlog a really stressful feeling, especially when more and more games are being released every single month. It can often feel like you’ll never get through all of the games you’ve left behind, no matter how much time you make for them. When you consider that gaming is supposed to be a hobby, it’s crazy to think how much stress it can sometimes cause, especially to those who take it seriously.
But why do we feel like we have to finish every single game we buy?
A lot of the time it comes from a place of pride. Gamers as a community like to play as many games as they can and experience as much from the industry as possible, even if that means forcing themselves through ones that aren’t suited to them. Most of the time though, it’s just for the sake of completion.
What we as gamers need to realise is that not every single game we play is going to click with us like we want it to. For every game that becomes one of our favourites, there are always going to be some games that get dropped.
For me, there are two extremely prominent examples of games that I’ve left unfinished and always felt bad about. One of them is the critically acclaimed Horizon: Zero Dawn, a game that I was initially excited about. Despite hearing how great it was and being fairly interested in, for some reason it just never clicked with me. Even knowing that I wasn’t enjoying the game, I tried to push on and finish it but to no avail. Even now it sits on my shelf mockingly.
The biggest example for me is one of this year’s biggest and most popular releases– Monster Hunter: World. Despite loving the beta and pre-ordering it, I came away several hours with the game unimpressed. Thirty hours and several difficult bosses later and I just couldn’t keep forcing myself to play it.
Just because I didn’t enjoy the games personally doesn’t mean that I don’t see why others do. Horizon has an engaging story, amazing graphics, a world worth exploring and a great combat system. Monster Hunter: World is fantastic when it comes to combat and studying the monsters, and the loop of killing monsters to make armour is extremely addictive. Even knowing that, I also know without a doubt that neither of these games is for me.
Instead of putting all of this time into games you’re only playing out of compulsion or need, play something else. Play the online games you’ve been neglecting, or go back to those massive sandboxes you’ve left full of side-missions. Start a new game that truly interests you, or just take some time off and do something else. for the sake of it.
Whatever you do, don’t force yourself to finish a game you have no interest in. It’s okay to leave a game unfinished.