Why I stopped playing so many games in 2011

James Haresign January 3, 2012 - 10:00 am

Blog: Left feeling unfilled with quick daliances with games? James Haresign is too, and he argues it’s time we started to take our time with them more seriously.

2011 was the year I stopped trying desperately to play everything. Though it really started last year, when I was happily playing Castlevania: Lord of Shadows, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood‘s release date was closing fast.

Castlevania wasn’t the most in-depth game and it was a slow starter, but I was taking my time with it and enjoying the little things once the game got going. Suddenly, with Ezio’s Roman Holiday pressing ever closer, I ignored everything and ploughed through the last few levels. Considering it was a game I’d enjoyed up until that point, that ending became one of the most unrewarding experiences of my gaming life, simply because I rushed it.

I then rushed the end of Brotherhood because I’d already ignored Fallout: New Vegas and Dead Space 2 was just round the corner. Slowly it dawned on me what I was doing, and I’d been doing it for a while. I’d loved the first Dead Rising, but with the sequel, I’d bombed my way through the campaign and cast it aside to move onto the next, ignoring half of what the game offered. These are all series in which I’d previously loved exploring just to see what their vast worlds offered, but my time with the games had been reduced to speed-runs so I could notch up another completion and move onto another frivolous encounter.

We seem to have decided we have to play everything these days. Everyone got Modern Warfare 3 on launch, right? It would be silly to miss out. And we should probably check out how Battlefield 3 does things. Skyrim‘s unmissable. The last Saints Row got a lot of good press so we should try the new one. The reasons just keep piling up.

It’s not all our fault

The publishers aren’t helping either. It’s no secret the gaming industry has shifted to a Hollywood-style ‘opening weekend’ take on whether or not something is successful. This is questionable at best with films, and they only take two hours of your time; even a short singleplayer campaign takes three times that, and then there’s the multiplayer as well.

There is no way you can enjoy what a huge game has to offer in a week and then move on. Just look at Skyrim – half the gaming world has now forgotten ‘the next big thing’ as they bury themselves in Tamriel, and the rest of us are swamped with ‘but I took an arrow to the knee’ jokes.

I’ve not played Skyrim, nor Modern Warfare 3. Even Halo: Anniversary has been sitting waiting ’til after the festive season, and that’s saying something for me. Why? Because I’ve still been enjoying Battlefield 3′s multiplayer, because I took my time with what Assassin’s Creed: Revelations had to offer, and I decided to revisit some old games that I originally breezed through.

Last month I went back to Dragon Age II and played the DLC, as well as doing some things I’d never do in my ‘proper’ playthrough, such as torment sweet little Merrill and generally be a bit of a bastard around Kirkwall. The next game I intend to play? I might give Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis a go.

Some games offer so much, and most of it isn’t lying on the surface. Don’t be in a rush to jump on ‘the next big thing’ just because Call of Duty 17 has just been announced. The chances are you don’t go to see every major film the second it emerges in your local cinema. Let’s stop treating games differently.

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar of gillri

    Excellent article, personally I try to not rush games ever particularly because I always take my time with games anyway, for exmaple UC3 took me 12 hours and Skyward Sword took me 60 hours both of which I got around christmas time

    I never feel as though I have to get a game on release day

    Although I did rush Xenoblade Chronicles a bit because Skyrim was coming out 2 weeks later

  2. Avatar of Volente

    I don’t really feel the need to play games as soon as they come out, but I definitely feel the pressure of all those unplayed games in my Steam library.

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