|Editorial: The Tipping Point|
It happens sometimes, you hit a certain point in a game and suddenly your whole aim in that game is drastically changed. It might be the moment you decide “screw it, I’m never gonna get 1000/1000 on this game” when you notice one irritatingly difficult/time consuming achievement. Or it might be the moment you’ve been stuck on the same puzzle in Zelda for 2 hours and decide the time has come for a quick trip to Gamefaqs.
Whatever it is, whenever it happens your self imposed rules are torn up. Once you succumb to a game guide for one puzzle, you’ll be quicker to do it again when you hit another brick wall. Once you’ve given up on getting all the achievements, those daft little pointless collectables you’ve been hunting out so painstakingly for the last 8 hours suddenly don’t matter at all (think Alan Wake and his Coffee Flasks)
I most recently experienced this while blasting through Trials Evolution, right around the time I started onto the “Extreme” tracks. My aim up to then had been getting a Gold medal on each track, and I’d been doing pretty well with only a handful of tracks so far still sitting on Silver medal status. The fact that some of those Golds took me an hour of effort to get didn’t bother me at all, I enjoyed the challenge. It took about five minutes of the first Extreme track for that to change though. I knew I had absolutely no mission of ever getting Golds on all the 8 Extreme tracks. Suddenly the goal I had been striving for was seemingly unattainable, and in the blink of an eye my goal was now just to finish all the tracks and forget the Gold medals. And I was fine with that.
So, yeah, I pussied out and gave up on my challenge. I was a quitter. So why don’t I care? Because in my opinion I’m not admitting defeat. I probably *could* get all the golds if I spent enough time, I just don’t want to any more. It’s reached that point where it just wouldn’t be fun to me – it would be more of a chore. Above all else, gaming is meant to be fun. It’s a hobby, it’s something that you pay money to do in your spare time and it shouldn’t feel like a chore. If it ever does, maybe you should remind yourself of that and change the rules, or change the game completely.
The completionist in me makes me want to beat every game I start, but there’s so many amazing games out there nowadays that if I’ve completely lost enjoyment in a game I’m not gonna keep playing for the sake of it. Towards the end of Disc 2 of L.A. Noire I grew tired of the seemingly random nature of the interrogations and the old Rockstar trademark of dragging out a story with too much filler so I haven’t played it in about a year. The beauty of it is you can go back to it any time you want should you fancy another crack at the challenge. In my case I’ve spent long enough away from the fantastic atmosphere and change of pace gameplay of L.A. Noire that when I go back to finish it off in the next few months I’ll enjoy it a lot more than I would have if I had just ploughed through it back when I started it.
Every game comes with its own set of rules and gameplay constructs, but don’t forget who’s really in charge of your gaming experience.
This guest post was contributed by Phil Wilson