Game Over, Do You Continue?
OK, this is pretty crazy. I missed playing Last_Defender, a Tower Defense title that I reviewed recently for just one day (review here), and I got creamed within the first 20 waves of creeps in my first attempt this morning. Some folks may say that “practice makes perfect”, but having played the game a lot since my daughter’s birth, I had to ask myself: “Hey man, it’s just a one day break and you are getting the crap kicked out of you?”.
Case in my point, if I were to have a pick-up game of badminton with my mum now, who played at state and national level when she was younger, I’m still gonna get creamed despite her not picking up the racquet in YEARS. Probably my substantial hours on Last_Defender still isn’t enough for me to not get pwned (or probably the sheer lack of talent for TD games), but this brings us to the next question, what do you do having gone through the jaws of defeat?
I used to play a lot of strategy games back when I was in college. The Command and Conquer franchise, the Heroes of Might & Magic series and StarCraft to name a few and depending on the amount of time invested, the longer it took me to get back into a game whenever I got pwned in a level. It wasn’t uncommon for me to take a two week break from Red Alert 2 after a particularly tough final level engagement with the Reds (damn that Iron Curtain).
More recently, mid-campaign engagement with the Tau in Dawn of War 2 was enough to put me off the game entirely, simply because their long-range lasers questioned my commitment to heavy bolters. Games like Torchlight and Diablo made it easier to get back into the game despite the time invested, simply because they don’t set you back by much. The penalty is often just an XP/gold dock and you get resurrected from the point where your character was slain.
“Haven’t you heard of the “Quick Save” function, boy?” You may ask me that question but who the heck remembers to press the proper function key while you are busy (trying to) execute the demise of NOD/the Soviets/those darn Protoss/etc etc. It used to be the incentive to continue fighting would be the story, but then again, StarCraft II aside, there’s not much to fight for, not in the spoiler-filled environment of the Internet (praise be to YouTube). And I’ve never been a completist in the first place.
But if there’s one recent development that has proven to be an incentive of sorts for finishing a game, it would be Achievements. Almost every major platform (bar Nintendo) has them, and my Raptr profile’s list of Steam achievements is something that I’m proud of, that and the number of hours I’ve spent in Torchlight 2. Achievements played a role in me finishing Torchlight 2 (review here), AND replaying the game again, to completion, in the NG+ mode. There are a crazy amount of Achievements in the game, some of which will require multiple play-throughs to finish.
You can say that I’ve gone from not being a completist, to an Achievements fiend, and it has an unintended effect of me finishing games. I do still take breaks from time to time though. The level that I found too tough in Stealth Bastard Deluxe was surprisingly easy a week later. No amount of achievements would have persuaded me to continue and I chalked it up with fatigue after blitzing through level after level of jumping and sneaking around.
So, enough of me, what about you? What drives you to complete a game? I’m going to go play a game of RAD Troopers on the iPad..
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