Good day, you adorable Lusi-sprites.
Some misinformed, intellectually underdeveloped boobs have given me just a smidge of flack for my unapologetic love for The Sims games and similar-ish games (SimCity, Harvest Moon, FF: Martin Luther King, etc) because they are not games, there is no point, no ending, no successful rescue of the princess from the correct castle. This is all true. It is also true that I have recently (and less recently) had conversations with various friends about MMORPGs, and how they too seem to have no real end, no real way to beat the game. Even if I defeat the Lich King in World of Warcraft, for example, and get myself best-in-slot gear, max all of my skills, etc … guess what? Expansion time is right around the corner. The cycle repeats. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again, as they say. So it is not just fuzzy-wuzzy sandbox sim games that have no real end, no way to beat the game.
The inability to actually “beat” a game is not a new phenomenon by any means. Back in ye olde days, when we would hitch up our horse and buggy and trot down to the local arcade, there were many games there that simply had no real end. The best one could hope to do is “wrap” the game – score so many points that the score rolls from 99999999 to 00000001. Of course, the game would become so difficult, so fast-paced and insane that not even highly-trained Ninjas had sufficient reflexes to keep going long enough to wrap the score, but still, it is the principle of the matter here. Suffice to say, games that you could not finish decisively and completely are not a new thing here, and not just the hallmark of casual ” not really a game” games.
Now, before Noob gets his Australian thong in a twist, I am not trying to compare The Sims to games like Tetris or Space Invaders, or even WoW or Eve. I am not that naive. I am curious, though, whether it matters whether or not a game has a traditional ending. The obsessive compulsive in me certainly yearns to put a big old check mark in the “done” column next to a game on my list. I am prone to excessive time wasting when a game is open-ended, or impossible to complete. I almost need those ending credits to roll before I can convince myself that it is time to put that game down and move on to another.
For myself, I am trying to limit the amount of time I spend playing games like WoW, Tetris and The Sims 3. I try to only play these when I have something else to do, such as a podcast to listen to, or a Skype call to be attentive to. When I can devote my full attention to a game, I would rather focus on games that have a clear finish line that I can work towards. What about you guys? Do you prefer to play in the sandbox, or would you rather race to a finish line?