Being a gamer today can be tough. A lot of us grew up playing video games most evenings after school, or at a friends house on the weekends. Skip ahead ten or fifteen years and our lives have grown more complicated. Between our jobs, family life and other issues thrown at us by adult life, our free time we have to game is considerably shorter. Not only do we have less time to play, we also have a wider selection of games to choose from. It is no wonder then that we often buy more games, but complete fewer of them.
One of the simplest reasons we complete games less frequently is because we become distracted by real life. The same generation that spent many hours on the early Sega and Nintendo consoles simply cannot afford to give up that sort of time any more. We would all like to devote one hundred plus hours to a new RPG that has been released, but realistically we have to go to work and earn the cash to pay our bills.
The Entertainment Software Association recently decided to include mobile platforms in their data when analysing the average age of gamers. This brought the age down from thirty-seven last year to thirty. While under eighteens account for roughly a third of all gamers, the older generation still enjoy spending their free time on gaming. This translates into a large percentage of individuals who are able to earn their own income and are therefore capable of purchasing their own consoles and games.
Flashback briefly to a childhood in which we had to save up pocket money for months, or drop hints at Christmas and birthdays in the hope a family member would gift us a new game. These were the days when every ounce of fun had to be extracted before set a game aside as they were few and far between. Now return to the present day where games need to hook and reel us in. As soon as a game loses momentum, another one is just around the corner to take its place.
Most games today offer some form of achievements, DLC content and side missions that can affect the games ending. What starts out as a relatively short play through can wind up taking twice as long while trying to achieve one hundred percent of the game. MMOs have often been touted as a genre in which gamers can play for a short while and come back again later. The recent expansion for the behemoth that is World of Warcraft practically demands constant attention if players want to be at all competitive.
The rewards of currency used to buy gear has been toned way down since Cataclysm. Instead of completing seven dungeons at the players leisure, the same amount of dungeons done daily will only just earn half the weekly cap. The rest is earned by guiding twenty-four screaming children through four bosses in Raid Finder, or completing almost one hundred daily quests over the course of the week. That is without doing extra quests to earn reputation for better gear.
Learning how to ‘break’ a game can be fun. Final Fantasy 6 has many oddities that can be exploited if they can be found. What is less fun is breaking a game by accident. Glitches can erase saved data or even corrupt a game entirely, destroying hours of work. Games often have day one patches to fix any issues found after they have been printed, but that does not help a player whose game is in an unplayable state.
Faulty hardware can muck up a game experience also. This generation has been plagued with hardware faults from the beginning. The Red Ring/Yellow Light of Death are well known among gamers. It can take some time to replace a dying piece of hardware, and the time taken to do so can put a gamer off anything they were in the middle of when the fault occurred. The loss of save data that can accompany hardware faults does not help either.
The last reason a gamer would give up on a game is grinding. Not only can the actual task put off even a seasoned player, once the task is completed a game might not offer sufficient guidance to get a player back on track. Spending a few days away from the main story can lead to confusion as to what was happening, and may stop a player from coming back to the game again.
Have I forgotten any reason for finishing games? Have you ever given up on a game without completing it? Will you be breaking Final Fantasy 6 during our upcoming play through? Let me know in the comments!