Editorial : Raining on my parade

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by Charlie Fripp

OrigamiK

Wait…what? Only 72% of players finished Heavy Rain? Excuse me for being a bit jaded, but aren’t gamers supposed to finish the games they are playing? Are we such spoilt bastards that we don’t even finish games anymore? And when did this become a trend?

I suppose for a bit of clarity, we need to examine what it means to finish a game. According to my Xbox Achievement list, I finished the original Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth. It’s not something that I’m terribly proud of, but gamers will know exactly why I played it. Avatar TLA TBE is one of two games on that list, the other being EA Sports Fight Night Round 3.

But I can promise you that I didn’t finish it. Hey, I didn’t even play 20 minutes of it. But it’s on my screen in green and white under my “Competed Games” list. So does it mean that you completed a game when you have maxed out the allotted 1000 gamers score?

Need For Speed Hot Pursuit is another good example. I played through all the missions, if we can call it that, but hardly touched on the multiplayer. I “completed” the game when I was around level 10 for Cop and level 11 for Racer, but a friend pointed out that I didn’t finish the game.

After a heated discussion, we decided that once the credit start rolling, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are done. See, I don’t know how, but I got to the point in the game where I completed the story line, but I still had a number of cars left to unlock and one or two unfinished races.

So would that qualify me as having finished the game even though I had unfinished races, locked cars and who knows how many achievements that are begging to unlocked? I think so. I’m absolutely convinced that I finished the game…

Singing in the rain

NG2pic

But then on the flip side of the coin, another friend is a demon at Ninja Gaiden 2, and has had the courage, or stupidity, to play through all the difficulty levels. Only after finishing the game for the fourth time, did he sit back and proudly proclaim that he has now “finished the game”. It’s bloody suicide and would drive me absolutely nuts, but each to his own I guess.

But back to the point of Heavy Rain… In the IGN article, it said that the industry average is only 25% for completing a game. That is completely unacceptable to me, as so many people work their butts off to deliver some of the best entertainment we have ever seen.

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We are so quick to fire off comments on how bad something was designed or how poor the graphics are and get very upset if developers don’t listen to us, but why should they if only 20% even bothered to play through the whole thing?

I’m not being a sanctimonious asshole here, and anybody who wants to check up on my Xbox gamer progress is more than welcome to do so (Lokj4w), but I too am guilty of not completing every single game I have every owned.

Who am I kidding?

Sure, I’m a gaming journalist and I might be a bit jaded when it comes to games, but I still appreciate a good game and will award merit where it is due. But I’m really surprised that people fork out over R500 for a game and then they don’t finish it.

When I was younger, we were lucky if we got a new game once a year, so throughout my years I have learned to appreciate games. I partly blame the release circus for creating this monster as well, and come to think of it, I can start to understand why the completion rate is so low.

Players have started to become overzealous and greedy when it comes to new releases and they expect more games, more often and they want them now. It’s incredibly easy to drop a game if a newer one has just been released, leaving the former title incomplete.

I seriously think that we need to reduce the amount of games flooding our market, and then maybe one day, gamers will start to actually appreciate the lost art of video game making.

Sure, go ahead and moan – you’ll thank me later.

Last Updated: March 4, 2011

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