By Matthew Lopez
Most of us enjoy a good beginning; the start of a new game, the promise of new thrills and adventure that await you when you first start up a great game. Not much can compare to the first time you received your Pipboy 3000, the first time you awoke on the pillar of autumn to face the covenant, or the first time you descended upon rapture. The feeling is insatiable sure, and with so many great games coming out nowadays it would be a shame to not get excited for these new beginnings. But before you grab your sticks and embark on a new journey take a step back and take inventory of how many adventures you’ve actually completed. As gamers we shouldn’t be quick to neglect those games that provided us with an exciting beginning just to move on to the next new high. Given the chance, the ending of a game can be just as exciting and even more rewarding than the beginning. Continuously juggling between games at any given time can rob you of the full experience. Of course, in this context I’m referring to games that are actually story based or have a cohesive ending. Adventure games such as Assassin’s Creed, RPGs like Chrono Trigger, and even the Call of Duty shooters fall under this category and have endings that deserve to be realized. It’s no different from completely finishing a movie or listening to an entire album. Video games, like many other mediums deserve to be consumed in full.
Back when I was working at GameStop I made it a habit to play as many games as possible. I would buy the latest and greatest title only to have it be pushed aside the following week for an even newer one. Over time I became satisfied with only getting about midway through a game and never quite reaching the final chapter or conclusion to a story. To me, it was the thrill of a new relationship that kept me going. Now that I’ve grown a bit older though, I’ve learned, like many before me, that it’s actually the long-term relationships that truly reward you in the end. By playing several games at a time I was not only diluting my experience but in turn I was also missing out on the sense of accomplishment one gets from fully completing a game. With all the hype surrounding upcoming games it’s easy to forget that we already have great games at home that have yet to be finished. I’m not saying you should halt your purchase of new games altogether, but perhaps slow down a little and enjoy the titles you’ve already begun before reaching for your wallet. These games are just begging to be played in full, giving us completion stats and ways to add to the game via DLC. In a way, many modern games provide us with more than just a past time.
Console and some handheld games nowadays are inviting us to live mini-lifestyles. Boot up any new game and you are greeted with a main menu followed by a hub devoted entirely to that game. Links are provided where you can purchase in-game items, Downloadable content and even real life merchandise. Not to mention the hub has a way of providing news to the gamer straight from the publisher, akin to a CNN news feed crawl. Games invite you to explore their worlds. This has become even more evident with the introduction of DLC. Many gamers choose to go against DLC but those that belittle it don’t understand that the DLC that they are against may not particularly be for them. They are meant for those that live the mini-lifestyle and are already completely immersed in the game’s universe. To a gamer that has completed their journey 100%, DLC is welcomed because it allows them to continuously live in their own personal world.
In my case, it was Borderlands 2. I bought the game on the first day of release and had been playing it for well past that date. The game was over a year old but I was still happily blasting away and leveling up my commander. For my time spent, I got hours of enjoyment and my Commander became pretty badass over time. The beginning of the game was great but it couldn’t compare to the first time my automated turret set off a nuke. Seriously, this is a thing, go check it out. It’s these types of enjoyments and rewards that many gamers are missing out on by quickly moving on to the next game.
These days I don’t’ have much time to sit down and play console games and as a result have been relying heavily on my 3DS to fulfill my gaming needs. My latest completed adventure came in the form of Pokémon Y. I’ve been straying away from the series since Pokémon Black/White just didn’t hold my interest at all (I was about 3 hours in before I called it a day). But with all the rave reviews circling the game I had to give Pokémon another chance and boy am I glad I did. It’s been too long since I was able to devote about 70 hours to any one game. The streamlined gameplay and fresh new look allowed me to go past the elite four and I’m now working to build a great competitive Pokémon team. By not letting other games get in the way I was able to fully see what the latest entry in the catch-em-all series was doing right and it rekindled my love for it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I wasn’t tempted to embark on a new adventure elsewhere. As a huge Legend of Zelda fan I was itching to begin playing A link Between Worlds but I was also having way too much fun with Pokemon. The latest Zelda title released just as I was getting my third badge in Pokémon. I stuck to my guns however and am glad I did. Now I’m ready to tackle Link’s latest adventure and I will devote as much time as needed to see it to the end.
It’s a great time for gamers, with many genres and niches being explored we should all be able to play them all. However, the next time you get the itch to purchase a brand new game, make sure you’ve spent enough time to fully enjoy the last game you purchased. Allow the game to fully show you it’s potential before you move on, trust me, you’ll be glad you did. Not to mention there is the added incentive that it helps the wallet as these games don’t come cheap. So why not squeeze every last drop of enjoyment out of them? Let’s finish the journeys we started. Finish off the flood with Master Chief, Explore the entirety of a Washington D.C. wasteland, and discover all there is to discover from Rapture. The new beginnings aren’t going anywhere so in the meantime, let’s finish what we started.