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At what point does beating/100%ing a game turn into a waste of time for you? [roundtable]
I recently went on a rant about Smash Bros Wii U's single-player/Challenges section after getting infuriated with it last night, and it got me thinking about how I use my free time for gaming.

Pretty much everyone here is an adult, and as adults, we have a lot less free time than we did as kids. Do you find that your gaming habits have changed in terms of what you spend your time on now? Were you the type that got all 120 stars in Mario 64 when you were 11, but now can't be bothered to finish (or even open) half the games you buy? Or is it more of a game-by-game thing, where you try to 100% complete your favorites and simply do a quick run through of other games? I still try to go for 100%, but I have to admit that it seems kind of pointless nowadays if I'm not really enjoying myself. In the back of my mind, I kind of think "It'd be great to have this fully complete and show people or something," but I know that'll never happen--no one cares if I get every doodad in a platformer!

Aging is kind of a freaky thing. I used to spend hours in games' edit modes, like Mario Paint's song creator, and Warcraft 2's stage builder. Nowadays, I'd rather spend that time creating something I can use in real life (art, music, candy ideas, etc).

I guess what I'm trying to ask is, at what point do you throw your hands up with a game and decide that your time is better spent on another game, or on work, etc?

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Posted: 03/04/15, 19:31:34
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I pretty much don't care about 100%ing games anymore. Ain't got time for that.
Posted: 03/04/15, 19:34:24
I haven't tried consciously to 100% a game since I was a kid. I seriously get no joy whatsoever out of unlocking content in a game and wish games were designed less around those sort of collect-a-thon mechanics and more around giving me choices to interact with the game however I want. I don't see completing games as an accomplishment the way I did as a kid and I have absolutely zero interest in playing any video game beyond the point at which it stops being fun.
Posted: 03/04/15, 19:36:43
anon_mastermind said:
I pretty much don't care about 100%ing games anymore. Ain't got time for that.

Although actually I'd say I never cared.

The only exception I can think of offhand is the Mario games, where I like to collect not just every star but also the bonus coins. But in large part that is because they are (usually) unique gameplay challenges. I'm not going to collect junk just to collect it.

Oh... an example of a time I did try to "100%" something (not the whole game, just a function in it) and really regretted it is scanning every planet in Mass Effect 2. You pretty much never find anything worthwhile but I scanned every freaking one, most of them during a single 5+ hour stretch one night. It was a huge waste of my life I will never get back. It seriously left me depressed and demoralized, like... why did I do that?! I don't even understand why I did it, which kind of worries me. I think I have some OCDish tendencies sometimes.
Posted: 03/04/15, 19:39:16  - Edited by 
 on: 03/04/15, 19:42:41
I try to resist the "gotta beat this challenge because it's there" mentality that could lead me to keeping smashing my face against a wall long after I've stopped enjoying a game. You're right: nobody cares about our gaming achievements (unless you're a world class speedrunner). If we're going to grind away at a challenge that we don't find fun, might as well choose one that's constructive, like learning a new language.

Not to say that I don't like to challenge myself in video games. I just try to recognize when I'm having fun failing over and over again in a game. Some challenges are infuriating in a good way!
Posted: 03/04/15, 19:40:54
I think I gravitate more towards 100%ing games I really like. The problem often arises, though, that while I may really enjoy the game, getting/doing everything in it is much less fun than the initial run-through. Smash is a good example of this, since there's so much single-player stuff to power through that's honestly not that fun in the same way that the multiplayer is (lots of AI-exploiting like in Cruel Smash, All-Star, Classic on 9.0, Smash Tour, etc). I think I just need to get better at recognizing that exact moment where I realize I'm not enjoying myself and the game has turned into work. Because like Guillaume said, you might as well work on something constructive in that case.
Posted: 03/04/15, 19:48:51  - Edited by 
 on: 03/04/15, 19:49:22
I'll only 100% a game if I'm having fun doing it. As soon as it feels like a chore then that's when I stop. I'm not the type of person who wants to play as many different games as possible; I'll spend a long time on a single game to finish it completely if I enjoy doing it. I've always been like that, and it hasn't changed as I've grown older.

Right now I'm trying to get rainbow 3 stars for every game in NES Remix, and I'm having a lot of fun doing it. Who knows if I'll actually go through with it, though. At least I can brag about it on Miiverse if I do!
Posted: 03/04/15, 20:26:31  - Edited by 
 on: 03/04/15, 20:27:05
If I'm having fun with a game, I'll try to 100% it. It really depends on the sorts of challenges a game offers but Smash is a good example of a game I'd probably never 100%. It becomes way too hard for me personally that the fun is just no longer there.
Posted: 03/04/15, 20:29:20
I've been pretty good about only buying games that I'm definitely going to want to beat, even in this age of budget games and my own increased spending power. And then actually playing them and beating them and enjoying myself usually isn't a problem. If I still want to keep playing, I'll try the extra challenges or content.

canonj said:
I'll only 100% a game if I'm having fun doing it. As soon as it feels like a chore then that's when I stop. I'm not the type of person who wants to play as many different games as possible; I'll spend a long time on a single game to finish it completely if I enjoy doing it. I've always been like that, and it hasn't changed as I've grown older.
Yeah, this is where I'm at, though I do have stretches where I'll play a handful of short games in between the big ones I concentrate on. Usually these stretches occur shortly after a Steam sale...

Using the Smash example, I'd love to go for all the extra challenges, but they take so long to finish and are just way less fun than playing online, so why bother? It's tougher in a game like Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, where the initial run is quite fun, and going back for all the hidden music and figures will surely be worthwhile, but I'm suspicious that the extra 1-minute challenges will feel tedious, and collecting all those little stars for the gold medals isn't really my style...
Posted: 03/04/15, 20:41:40
When the game is balls.
Posted: 03/04/15, 22:02:25
When I have to collect an absurdly huge amount of random crap that serves no purpose - the Assassin's Creed games comes to mind. 100 fucking flags to collect in the first couple of games? That's just a waste of time. Now for a game like Mario it's fine because the game is designed to challenge you in that way, but AC games are not. I don't mind collecting things if it's either well thought out or there's not an ungodly amount of them.

Each entry in the Batman games added more busywork. I 100% completed Arkham Asylum, but I have no Arkham City and Origins just added tenfold more busywork and thus made it not worth it to get all the achievements. I only 100% completed anything related to the story.
Posted: 03/04/15, 22:40:38
Mr_Mustache said:
When the game is balls.

Posted: 03/04/15, 22:58:53  - Edited by 
 on: 03/04/15, 23:00:57
Posted: 03/04/15, 23:15:32
Comes down to whether I enjoy doing stuff and if the reward is worth it. I 100%'d Arkham Asylum because I wanted EVERYTHING out of that game, but I 100%'d Majora's Mask because I wanted that GD Fierce Deity Mask.
Posted: 03/04/15, 23:35:32
I think this might be good to discuss on the podcast tomorrow.

As for the question at hand, the short answer is that for me, I often have the urge to even as an adult, but for most games it stops when I realize the path ahead is boring. This can happen when the challenge does not get more doable as I try, or if the repetition becomes tedious. It also depends on what is requested of me to gain that 100% moniker.

A recent example is Fantasy Life. I was chugging away earning top ranks in a handful of classes but then I spent two hours trying to find a single elder palm log and I said, screw it. I realized there's no purpose anymore to strive for that.
Posted: 03/04/15, 23:55:04
When it stops being fun.

You were probably looking for something more complicated than that, but it's that simple for me.

Yes, that is different from when I was younger. The main reason for that is probably because we didn't have all that many games growing up, and so I had to make the most out of each one and valued them more than I do now. As far as time goes, as an insomniac I still have a good amount of free time, though I still value it enough to not waste it on unfun games. If it's something that I can use a walkthrough for though then I'll try that route before quitting entirely.

I do have a mound of unplayed games also, but that's more of a backlogue topic so I won't get into that here.

@DrFinkelstein When you can't find something in Fantasy Life then you should enlist the help of a friend. ;)
Posted: 03/05/15, 00:23:39
Yea, if a game is really grabbing me, I'll try to 100% it. Doesn't mean I'll be able to. Like in Xenoblade, I didn't get some off the missable side quests and I never killed some of the super high level enemies. But I still enjoyed myself doing my best and I don't feel like I blew it by not getting there.

With Smash, it just feels right to at least try, given how much effort they put into filling the game with goodies. Plus I'll be playing the game for years to come, so it's not like I need to rush. I 100%ed Brawl very quickly, making a Sticker factory and everything. If I'd just been patient, I would have done it naturally. Not sure I'll be able to get through all the challenges (Dr. Mario doesn't seem to be getting any better at destroying Trophy blocks), but I'm not going to give up so easily.

Generally, though, it depends on what kind of challenges there are. Scanning everything in Metroid Prime never appealed to me in the slightest. Getting all the stars in a Mario game is just obvious, it's hard to even think of it as 100%ing, it's really just experiencing everything the game has to offer. Something like getting all the Zelda hearts is somewhere in between. Whether I do it or not depends a lot on how much I'm enjoying that particular entry in the series (definitely did it in LBW for example). In most games, if something really feels optional and I'm not completely hooked, I'll stop at the credits. That especially goes for score attack type stuff. Not my bag.
Posted: 03/05/15, 00:53:23
I have a bad habit of continuing to try and 100% games long after I stop having fun. I'm trying to get better at recognizing stuff like that, because there have been times that it has completely soured my experience with certain game. For a while it made me dread playing Smash U. I generally tend to try and 100% Nintendo games because I like them so much, but I'll also do it with other games if I'm close by the time I finish. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother though.

Like with Arkham Origins, I got to 97% or something and then those last few riddler trophies were going to be a pain in the ass, so I spent about 4-6 hours working at something that isn't intrinsically enjoyable, has no real meaningful extrinsic reward, and I didn't even finish. Same thing with getting all the blast shards in Infamous 2, but I actually finished that. No idea why I did, though. I didn't need them and you don't get anything for it. There were there and getting them wasn't that laborious; just time consuming. So I just did it. It's not like, say, Banjo Kazooie, where getting the individual collectables feels good on its own AND getting to them is a joy. It's not even like 100%ing Pikmin 2 or a 3D Mario, where it feels like you've accomplished something. Looking back on some of this stuff, I feel like a really wasted my time. I didn't even question why I was getting those riddler trophies or blast shard pieces. This is something I try to be mindful of now because I have less time and I've been burned enough time to realize that I should switch on to completionist autopilot. There have been several cases where I caught myself going down this road again and stopped before it was too late.
Posted: 03/05/15, 01:36:25  - Edited by 
 on: 03/05/15, 01:44:32

I don't really go for 100%ing a game anymore. I might do it if it's easy. Like if there are icons on the map or something like that. Generally I get to a point in almost every game I play where I get tired of wandering around and decide just to plow through to the end.
Posted: 03/05/15, 02:39:46
I'm trying to get out the habit of buying games, playing for a hour or two, getting bored and then giving up. Recently I've been pretty much forcing myself to at least try and 100% a game unless it's something I'm really not enjoying. The incentive is mostly financial, I'm trying to be more responsible and buy fewer games, although I've also found that it's fun to really dig in and beat a challenging game to utter completion, it forces you to raise your level of play. For example playing through Tropical Freeze and going for all the letters and puzzle pieces has made me a much better player than I was when I sloppily bungled my way through DKCR only doing the bare minimum to progress. I'm still not very good mind you but I'm a lot better than I was!
Posted: 03/05/15, 03:27:25  - Edited by 
 on: 03/05/15, 06:38:33
@Jargon I can see someone not wanting to 100% a 3D Mario game though. A lot of the challenges can feel arbitrary or fillery. Sure, it can be a challenge to get 100 coins, but that might not be someone's cup of tea.

Playing through the Prime games now, I don't care to 100% them at all. I've gotten 100% on one or two of them, with all the missiles and stuff, and I suppose I did that because I just freaking loved those games. Now though, I generally just scan to learn more about enemies and the lore. I love reading about the different alien races and what the Chozo brought to them and how they all interacted. Or how the Chozo were successful at things while others weren't. There's some really cool stuff going on in there. I wouldn't blame someone for skipping that stuff though.
Posted: 03/05/15, 05:26:59
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