When is a game “Finished”?
As the flood of holiday game releases start next week now is a good time to tackle this question. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or a casual one, when is a game finished for you? For each person a game is “finished” in different ways. In ye olde times a game was finished “When I finished the game”, i.e when the story was finished. Between trophies/achievements, challenges, varying difficulties, multiplayer and more this is a reason not many people use today.
First let’s talk about trophies/achievements. With the exception of Nintendo systems almost every other console and PC game service has its own system of trophies/achievements. These are collected in the form of achievement points and PlayStation trophies depending on the system. For some these arbitrary systems are a waste of time and don’t really show or express anything, while others find them as a merit to their gamer cred. Still there is another group that just gets them because they like collecting things. These are the collectionists (me included!) who when playing a game try to unlock everything they possibly can, trophies/achievements included.
There are times though when it is impossible for a specific player to unlock all the trophies/achievements in a single game, whether its a skill or time related issue. For example I myself am only at 90% of the trophies in Resistance 2, because the last trophy I need requires 10,000 kills in the multiplayer portion of the game and I was just never inclined to put forth the time to earn that trophy. So one way to look at when a game is finished is when the individual has achieved all the possible trophies/achievements they can earn.
Trophies/achievements are not the end all be all with games. Story and in game pride also play a key part of playing a game. There are games with single players that have varying difficulties, just one difficulty as well as new game + options. All of these add extra incentive to play and for some, are a big part of finishing a game. It’s a way to brag and demonstrates your skills.
Multiplayer has two forms, competitive (like shooters, RTSs etc) and the MMO. With these, games are literally endless as there is always new content or someone to beat. With these fatigue in, sometimes you’re not really finished with a game but you’re just tired of it. In MMOs in particular people regularly “quit” the game only to return later when new content becomes available (i.e a new patch or expansion).
Downloadable Content (DLC) also plays a big part in the modern question of whether a game is finished. DLC can come in both a single player or multiplayer form. In multiplayer this more often comes as map packs (if it is a online shooter), or a patch/expansion (for MMOs).
So with all these new modern gaming methods of extending gameplay, the question of when a game is finished becomes harder to define than it was in years prior. Personally for me I don’t have a strict rule I go by when I’m done with a game, its subjective based on each individual game. How do you define when you’re done with a game? Do you purchase games based on any of these ideas mentioned in the article? Sound off in the comments!