151: This is The End

This is The End

"Every videogame veteran can recall a time when he had to grit his teeth, hunker down and just grind through the minefield, whether it was the Library in the original Halo or the twitchy session of hide'n'seek with chainsaw-wielding dimbulb Piggsy in Manhunt. "Continue?" Yes. "Restart from last save point?" Definitely. "Sure you want to keep going despite the fact that this really isn't doing either of us any favors?" Exactamundo."

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I can actually relate a bit. I bought a game called Musashi for the PS2. That game was incredibly boring and slow( but it looked great, thank you Square Enix), yet I tanked through it and finished it in the end. Still wonder why to this day really.

Are you sure Ico is so perfect in this respect?
It was a bit irritating not to finish the game, but I hit a puzzle I just couldn't solve. I consulted GameFAQs, to find that all the surrounding puzzles were so similar, I couldn't work out which paragraph related to the area I was in.

So I abandoned it, after some 10 hours of play.

I'm not sure what this article is supposed to convey to the reader. I was hoping to find a three page (and long overdue) rant against poorly constructed and mind-numbingly difficult levels, but in the end the writer seems to be confused as to whether he should praise or condemn such developer idiocy.

I rarely complete games. I simply don't have the time to play something that I'm not enjoying. A few badly placed save points are enough for me to throw in the towel and pick up something more fun. Take Red Steel. Even though the sword fighting bit sucked I was rather enjoying it, until they decided that a mode change was not enough to trigger a save. So I got to an enjoyable gun fight, completed with ease then into a much harder (to me) sword fight. Dead. Back to the gun fight. Repeat a few times, chuck game in box and play something fun.

Super Paper Mario with its "go back and do it all again" stuff has also beaten me. I really don't want to go up and down the damn clouds. Really really don't.

I fear Lost Winds will soon enter this large list of games I just can't be bothered with.

This is all very through baddly placed save points do destroy games. A game that I would place into the cattagory of poorly built rpeditive games would be Guantlet: Seven Sorrows. Me and my friends all chipped into but it a year ago so we could play it on my friends multitap in my house and it was so repeditive we stopped within a day.

Mafia is one of the most solid games I've ever played. Fantastic storyline, fun cars and chases, and atmosphere as thick as the blood pounding through your temples. I'm not surprised the control scheme on the PS2 is wretched, but it was always a breeze to handle on PC.

This article reminds me a bit of the time I kept Dogmeat alive throughout the entirety of Fallout. Many reloads, that took.

Beery:
I'm not sure what this article is supposed to convey to the reader. I was hoping to find a three page (and long overdue) rant against poorly constructed and mind-numbingly difficult levels, but in the end the writer seems to be confused as to whether he should praise or condemn such developer idiocy.

I suppose he ends ambiugously because it's evident he has only his own masochism to blame, not because he's unsure how to feel about a lackluster game. After all, he subjected himself to it. I'm also not sure a three page rant about poor or overly difficult level design would be particularly interesting or original past the first page. We all know it sucks.

Anyway, I found interesting comparisons to be made between this article and "Hard Times" from Issue 148. They're not so much contrasting views on game difficulty as complementary ones. "Hard Times" begins with the era of purposefully nigh-impossible games that aimed to beat the player, while "This is The End" addresses a later era of accidentally nigh-impossible games. I recommend that anyone who hasn't read "Hard Times" do so in conjunction with this article.

mrfredy5:
This is all very through baddly placed save points do destroy games. A game that I would place into the cattagory of poorly built rpeditive games would be Guantlet: Seven Sorrows. Me and my friends all chipped into but it a year ago so we could play it on my friends multitap in my house and it was so repeditive we stopped within a day.

The thing with the Gauntlet series is that it's almost purposefully bad. It's certainly arcadey and repetitive by design. But then, my experience with Gauntlet has been contrary to yours--more on the side of "play until the sun comes up."

From the early start with the SuperMario bros to now, there were many games, good and Godawful. Lately, I'm using the 5-10 minute technique, if I'm not having at least some fun in that time I almost never come back to that game.

Justification? 10 minutes is just enough to see the foundations of the game and they are gona follow you the rest of the game, so if things like story, main character, moving, aiming or interacting are annoying me there's a good chance it's just gona keep annoying me more and more so why bother?

P.S.
I <3 you Blizzard!

Yeah, there is a very real difference between "Nintendo hard" and "The devs stopped caring by level 3 hard". My own personal minefield was the PC version of Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green. It wasn't so much that the game was "hard"- in fact, it was laughably easy- but that it was utterly repetitive and counterintuitive, not to mention that it had taken a promising franchise and premise and flushed them both right down the toilet. No self-respecting zombie game should allow five shots to a leg with a .22 rifle do the same damage as five shots to the head with a .22 rifle.

I slogged through it, yes, but I try to make a habit of not playing games that feel more like torture than recreation. Life is too short to play bad games.

This is a topic I have some feelings for. I often don't finish games. I'm such a hypercritic and stickler for understandable and useful elements of play in something so deliberately concieived as a video game, that I "protest" games where I feel they have fallen short in some manner. It's not something I talk about publicly very much. The beginning of HL2 leaps immediately to mind as an example, until Ravenholm the game is boring as hell. Super straightforward and literally disinteresting, I had to force myself to play. Which I simply view as a philosophical mistake, bordering on idiocy. It took me months of real time to reach Ravenholm I was so bored with it. There are gameplay elements that have gone stale, and really need to be abandoned. In Bioshock, (Which I still haven't finished) going back through to find some little participle of gameplay after some blockade arose was such an old motif that I was unwilling to boot the game for a long time.

I've come to a kind of peace with these things, I've swung left and right and back left again. One of the things of real importance to consider is that a gamemaker, (Which is not just one person I might add) may be trying to tell a story that has more depth than this medium can convey. Some difficult parts of a story may seem poetic to the writer, but play like they are simply toil to many. I presume these elements at times and places. At others I attribute it simply to bad design. Also there is the consideration that things in life are not necessarily smooth going or intuitive, that in life things arise that seem trivial, yet must be surmounted...I think this may be a real consideration for a small number of intelligent game designers, that the game in ways should resemble real life. Which is important for art in order for it to gain credibility as humanistic...anyway, that's a whole other topic. But the point of this comment overall is that a poetic and "realistic" treatment of matters may not yield a perfect gameplay experience... Or something like that. This brings up issues as to what is important to games, but I think developers wrestle with how to get their work viewed as art. Maybe I give them too much credit, but I think in some circumstances, elements like this exist.

Video games are at a bit of a crossroads, There are limits to the control schemes that can be concocted, which eliminates some gameplay elements that may have been desired or would, on an intuitive level, seemed important to play, but are excluded for reasons of keeping controls assailable. Some elements are dead and done, They just don't know it yet. And also, given controls, gameplay considerations, story, and the kinds of activity that make for a viable game, games tend to function in a very narrow bandwidth, things get dumped and juryrigged in order to make the game workable at all.

I feel like you have to allow for some failures and see people attempts and laud them, be diligent when appropriate, discard when appropriate. It's a very relative thing, it's dependent upon both the player and gamemaker, but I think by being diligent about it, the community could make more intelligent and meaningful criticisms and also allow for gamemakers to make a mistake or experiment without their name being dragged through the mud too far. And also give games the potential for a status as art.

This isn't whole or complete, but it sort of gets the point across.

In the SNES days of old, I would always get a new title, and play it until completion and/or until mastery. Street Fighter 2 (the orginal) was a prime example; very slow compared to the arcades, very predictable at times, ungodly cheap and scaled unfair to the player's disadvantage with some of the characters. Beating the game with every character and mastering them all only had the satisfaction that you could whip your friends into submission in 2pl mode - but really it was rather hollow in its victory.

There are many more prime examples, but I believe at the time I bought my N64, the days of "Playing until completion" were over. The only games I ever had for it were Quest64, Castlevenia64, Zelda: Ocarina of time, and (much later), conquer's bad fur day.

I couldn't plow through the first three parts of "Quest" before really just thinking the game was crap, and Castlevenia didn't have the same 'feel', so I never got into it - Zelda? Just never interested me at all, and I was an advent Zelda fan.

By the time I started playing Playstation a bit more, and when I finally got my xbox and gamecube, I wouldn't complete a game I couldn't "get in to". Red faction I got about half way through, T3-Dawn of fate just didn't appeal to me, Musashi felt like a grind (and the town layout really got to me), and even though the Resident Evil series always had a special place with me, Playing "Zero" netted me an "ehh" feeling and I never got past the beginning.

Games that are too repeititive or flat out boreing to me (Robbin Hood: Defender of the Crown fits both) just never get "finished". I've started to play more and more PC titles and now I'm by far a PC gamer (I don't even have a '360' or a Wii - 7th gen consoles, I just don't have the 'warm fuzzy' about).

I seem to enjoy retro games a lot more than new titles, but if something catches my eye I'll take it home and give it a shot (I started Killer7 a week ago and so far I'm still playing), but Ephemeral Fantasia I had to stop playing - that game is so open-ended you need a strategy guide else you'll have to trial and error and grind your way to the point of insanity to discover how to progress.

He doesn't really need any 'conclusion' in this thread, it's more an "ode to 100%, or lack there of" type of article.

Good post. It's strange because most people seem to have gone from 'I'll complete this no matter what' to 'If I'm not having fun I'll drop you straight away', I seem to be travelling the other way.

Back in the Spectrum/C64 days I played games because I found the mechanics, physics and rules of freshly created fictional worlds incredibly engrossing. I got genuine pleasure out of the control method of Gribblys Day out, the structure and game design of Paradroid and the smooth arcade feel of Uridium. As soon as I got tired of one game, I'd switch it off and load another. I never actually thought of trying to 'complete' a game, I played for the sake of playing.

Now even FPS games have storylines and cut-scenes and are clearly cinematic in structure. There is a beginning, a middle and an end.

Given the structure of these games, I simply have to complete them in the same way that having bought a film I wouldn't stop watching it halfway through. I have to say that I'm invariably disappointed by this form of gameplaying. Once the game is completed it will be many years before I even consider loading it up again and with some games (Oblivion, I'm looking at you) I would rather begin self-harming then go through the pain of completing all those painful quests and fighting the ****ing 'self-levelling' creatures again.

I long for the days where 'Press Fire to Start' meant that I was one button click away from action and it was up to the player to be ready. I miss games where scores were compared with friends to measure respective achievements. I can't find new games with that arcade feel. If it isn't 3D with cut-scenes and voice acting then it isn't considered good enough for the modern gamer.

Jeez, I'm old tonight.

I hate annoying games and hate it even more when I continue to play, because all my other games are old shit. Trying to pick up the nack of playing the old classics.

I have the same drive to finish a game - whenever I buy a game, I intend to play until completion - but I usually don't. In fact, I quit a lot of games. As others have said, it can be anything from a boss battle that's just a little too frustrating to a badly-placed save checkpoint.

There are even some (supposedly) very good games that I have quit. I stopped playing "Chrono Trigger" when I forgot to save for a very long time and it froze up. That wasn't even the fault of the game, but I just didn't feel like playing through a whole section of the game all over again.

Another thing I do is stop playing a game, forget about it for months, and come back to it and start over again.

After reading that article I sort of related to the writer. Not because he was good, but because he had put me through a similar experience to what he was talking about, except through text instead of games.

I haven't finished most games I've bought. I get bored, then I stop. I've had my fun with them, and then that's it. I find I only really finish games with good stories, and as most games still have pretty shitty stories...

I do hate the insane difficult parts of otherwise very good games, though. Mafia, for example had that awful racing level that took forever (I found it to be an incredibly good game, though, glad I played it on the PC). I remember System Shock 2 had that teeth jumping thing that was pretty hard for most.

I remember hearing once that Max Payne had a system where if you kept dying in a certain spot, the difficulty would gradually decrease with each reload. I don't know if this is true, but it's a good idea. A challange is fun, but sometimes it's just ridiculous.

For me, on most games, I just don't have that feel. Except for RPG's. Maybe thats just my niche. I like FPS but even though they try to make them like a RPG, its still the same unforgiving feel if you lose and not much help to "win" the situation. Where is RPG's have more of a (sorta) non-linear way. I come from the Ultima 4 and Zork age so the difference to me with those and WoW now is not that much different. You still can work with your character, making them better and in the end, you don't feel you have to complete them. But with CoD 4, it gets under my skin on some of the missions. After the 100th time of the same place that the save point puts you back in, you then find out you didn't get the right gun for going further, you really don't want to run the WHOLE "chapter" over again just for one gun. That and the endless enemies until you hit a "spawn ending point". I am liking the CoD 4 game but I just don't have the need to complete it and therefore, I go back to WoW, that is 4 years old. Of course, I also feel that the console generation now does not have the feel of what games should be like anymore. But that maybe because I am old too. And don't have ADD.

It might just be me, but it seems like the quality is really going out of video games these days. I mean, the most hyped "fighting" games in years have been based off of whatever anime was popular on Adult Swim at the time (read as: Dragonball Z/Naruto/Bleach). It looks like the developers are gearing their games towards a singular demographic: people with very short attention spans and lots of disposable income. You know, the kinds of people that can go out and buy another chest-hair inducing shooter or angst filled JRPG when they get tired of the one they've got.

While I'm thinking about it, for all the others feeling old as we complain about them young hooligans, this link will bring you to the Howard & Nester comics from Nintendo Power. Ah...simpler days. http://hn.iodized.net/main.htm

Really? Urban Chaos: Riot Response?

I finished that. It wasn't that hard. Sure, the game kicked my arse several times, but show me a game that didn't suck that you managed to finish without dying the first time round.

I have this problem with Pac Man. It's terminal.

You ever play Drakengard? Or some Chaos Legion? Better have some Disagea or something on standby, the dull, driving repetitiveness might cause you to lose faith in humanity and kill yourself.

a game like that is animal crossing, it sucks but for some reason i can not stop playing it...

pyromcr:
a game like that is animal crossing, it sucks but for some reason i can not stop playing it...

I have the same issue

except I see the genius of a simple game like that :P

the_carrot:
The beginning of HL2 leaps immediately to mind as an example, until Ravenholm the game is boring as hell. Super straightforward and literally disinteresting, I had to force myself to play. Which I simply view as a philosophical mistake, bordering on idiocy. It took me months of real time to reach Ravenholm I was so bored with it.

I had the exact same impression of HL2, except I stopped playing the instant I reached Ravenholm. However, I have to thank you for inspiring me to continue past my last save (a few years old now). Like you said, it wasn't because of a difficult spot, but a difficulty in keeping my interest.

My most recent experience to push through a game was last year when I completed the Prince of Persia trilogy on my original XBox when my 360 RROD'd. I had always meant to finish the "Two Thrones", and this gave me the perfect opportunity. The quicktime hell that was the Sword and the Axe fight in a Soulcalibur-type arena was excruciating...I started that at 1am and finished around 3:30am. It was ridiculous, the closer I got to getting the unforgiving timing nailed down, the later it got, the more sleepy I was becoming, the slower my reflexes became, the angrier I became, and I was too worked up to head to bed. I was either going to complete this stupid event, or fall asleep with the controller in my hand as the sun came up. (Note: this was never a problem before I hit 30...sleep wasn't an obstacle that gaming couldn't handle back then.) Now, I can say I've completed the entire story arc, but for what? I don't get an achievement for it, and only my brother appreciates my story, and he's probably forgotten about it by now. It was satisfying finishing the story, but man is it an embarrassing reminder of how OCD I was at that moment.

Zera:
I can actually relate a bit. I bought a game called Musashi for the PS2. That game was incredibly boring and slow( but it looked great, thank you Square Enix), yet I tanked through it and finished it in the end. Still wonder why to this day really.

Oh god. You played the horrid sequel. The original was much, much, much better.

Anyway, I can't be bothered 100%ing Japanese games. Those guys really like a challenge.

Western devs tends to just put shit like Hidden Collectables. Japanese devs are just EVIL.

 

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