This morning I was reading Dusty Monk’s latest post over at Of Course I’ll Play It. It’s a great read about Guild Wars in particular and difficulty in games in general. Dusty just finished the Nightfall campaign after a lot of struggling, research and experimentation. So how’d that feel? To quote him: …when you do at last get through that last mission, you are filled with an incredible sense of accomplishment.
It got me to thinking about difficulty in games and overcoming adversity to get those tough wins. I have vague memories of such conquests from back in Ye Olden Times but really nothing that recent. So that set me off to naval gazing about my gaming habits again.
To be blunt, when I run into a really difficult point in a game these days, I just move to another game. I wish that weren’t the case but it is. Is it because I’ve become a gaming wimp? Do I just suck more than I used to? A little bit, particularly when it comes to twitchy games. My reflexes and eyesight aren’t as keen as they once were.
But the bigger issue is that I HAVE TOO MANY CHOICES! Whenever I’m playing a game about 85% of my concentration is on the game I’m playing and the other 15% is thinking about what I’m going to play next, since my “Pile Of Shame” (games I’ve purchased but not really played much) is always growing. So whenever I hit a point in a current game that stops forward progress it makes me feel like it’s going to be even longer before I get to the next game.
Now obviously this is a First World Problem. Gaming is my main hobby and I’m financially comfortable enough that I can buy pretty much any game I really want. I’m not complaining about that. But it does create a situation much different from the days when a good game would come out once a month or even less often. Back then I had fewer distractions and so I was more willing to stick with a single game.
So well I really enjoyed reading about Dusty’s extensive research (both hands-on and archival) that finally brought him to the end of his journey, I have to be honest with myself and admit that I’m never, ever going to finish a Guild Wars campaign if it means hours of research figuring out how to do it. In the same way I’ve accepted that I’m never going to play EVE Online meaningfully since it, too, is a game that requires a lot of research and playtime in order to play the game well. Wurm Online, same thing.
I love that these games exist but I have to accept that I just don’t have the ability to focus on one game for that long any more.
And yet at the same time I rant and rave about it when an IP gets a long-awaited sequel or reboot and it’s been made easier.
Because I am apparently a crazy person.
Side Note: My old PS3 died a week or two ago. Tried to fix it but no dice. So I ordered a new “Slim” model. Rather than copying the data from my old PS3 over, I just copied off my save games. On the new PS3 I’ve installed just 4 games. Assassin’s Creed 1, Little Big Planet 2, Dungeon Hunter: Alliance and Need For Speed Shift 2. My plan is not to install anything else until I’ve finished one of these 4, just as a way to try to keep myself focused. My old PS3 had 95 PS3 games and a bunch of Minis and PS1 classics installed on it. It was overwhelming!