Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Game completion is subjective
  • Achievements don’t equal true completion
  • Setting personal goals enhances gameplay enjoyment

Is a video game a job or a form of recreation? Most people would pick the second option, but if you look at how obsessive some players are about “100%-ing” their games, it seems that the grind doesn’t stop when they clock out of their day jobs.

What Does It Mean to 100% Complete a Game Anyway?

This might sound like a silly question, but when have you actually finished a game? Is it when the credits roll? Is it when you’ve ticked all the items off the achievements list? Maybe it’s when you’ve seen all the content, including Easter eggs and secrets? Is it when you reach a kill screen? The highest possible score?

Clearly, what counts as beating a game or getting a 100% completion in a game is substantially subjective. People who truly love a particular game may end up inventing things to do just to keep playing. For others, seeing the credits roll once is enough to move on to something else.

I Figured Out Achievements Don’t Equal Completion

Epic Games Achievements
Epic Games

A common view seems to be that when you get 100% of the trophies (e.g. a PlayStation platinum trophy) in a game, that means you have 100%-ed the game. Except, that’s not at all what you’ve done!

You’ve simply completed a laundry list of tasks that may have nothing to do with seeing or doing everything in the game at all. Even worse, many achievements are just busywork or filler. Has someone who decides not to collect 100 items, or who doesn’t bother pulling off some random time-wasting trick really completed less of the game than someone who has? I’ve argued that achievements aren’t that great in the past, but whether you like them or not, they aren’t really related to game completion.

Making My Own Goals Is Way More Fun

If I’ve seen the credits roll, and I’ve done a normal playthrough of a game, I find it far more fun to make my own goals if I want to play the game some more. Perhaps I will play a pure evil or very low intelligence character in an RPG. Maybe I’ll try to play a game by just using the pistol. Maybe I want to see if I can completely break some in-game system. This is far more interesting than engaging with a game on someone else’s terms. At least in my personal opinion.

When the Fun Is Gone, the Game Is Done

More than anything, I’ve adopted a principle where if I am no longer enjoying a game, I don’t feel obligated to even finish it. There’s always the issue of the sunk cost fallacy where you feel that since you’ve spent money on a game, you need to finish it. However, consider that at the point where the game is no longer fun to play, you’ve already got your money’s worth from it, and beating that particular dead horse is costing you additional time that could be spent playing something you actually like.

It’s also good to be aware of the psychological tricks that game designers can use to compel you to keep playing, even if you’re not really enjoying things anymore. Having a bit of self-reflection about why you’re still playing and why you care about seeing a game to the credits, or until the achievements list is complete, is a healthy habit to develop.

You Can Always Come Back Later

The best thing about a game is that you can drop it and come back later. Sometimes we’re just tired or burnt out on a title, and switching to something else can help get you back in the mood for your unfinished games. I always have several games in rotation. Usually of very different genres.

If I’m sick of VR, I’ll play handheld JRPGs. If I feel like old-fashioned FPS fun, then my PC is right there. There’s virtually infinite variety in gaming and leaving a game you’re grinding through to rest for a while is perfectly sensible.

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By John P.

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