Thursday, January 29, 2009

Continually Overwhelmed

Quite some time has passed since the big onslaught of games from the holiday season rush of last year, with many gamers finished with the big-name titles that were released and claiming to have nothing to play because very little has released so far this year. Myself on the other hand still has heaps of games to play and because of this I feel continually overwhelmed by the pressure of the progress of other gamers. While they are desiring new games to play, I'm desiring time to stand still for a while so I can catch up.

My recent series of posts on Fallout 3 is a good example. I am still playing the game over one hundred hours later while everyone else has seemingly moved on. Granted my time with the game is longer than others' because I am the type of gamer who likes to explore everywhere and complete everything, but even so the speed with which other people got through and over that game simply bewilders me. The game is huge, yet people can complete everything in three days? It's not just Fallout 3 that I have to play though, I also have Fable II, Midnight Club LA, Mirror's Edge, LittleBigPlanet and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts to finish. That's not even mentioning the games that sit on my shelf still in their shrink-wrap, nor does it mention the backlog of games I have accumulated over the years that need to be completed as well.

The purchase of my PS3 and LittleBigPlanet is another example of just how overwhelmed I am. I have barely played the game which pains me to say because I absolutely love it and would like to spend more time with it in the future. Even my girlfriend has played it more than I have, which while not a bad thing makes me realise that perhaps I bought the console at the wrong time of the year when I already had so much to play. That said, I don't regret the purchase at all so don't get me wrong there. I am sure I will have plenty of time with the console in the future and I do look forward to it.

To get to the point of this post though, a post written by Michael Abbott from The Brainy Gamer titled "Chew Your Food" has been on my mind ever since he wrote it back in October. In it Michael describes a similar feeling of being overwhelmed and appeals to his audience to slow down a little with their games, only if they want to though. The post struck a chord with me and as a result I have spent the month of January caring a lot less about how quickly I play and finish these games before moving onto the next one. For both November and December, I wanted to stop feeling like I had to rush through these games thanks to the post but still tried to play them quickly anyway so I could be 'in' on the conversation. I am clearly too slow to be on par with the speed of everyone else so chewing my food has been a much better option for me and I'm glad Michael indirectly suggested it. Perhaps I should have listened to my parents all those years ago at the dinner table...


In Raptured Reality news, I'm quite happy to have successfully committed to a week focusing on Fallout 3 and am looking forward to doing the next series of posts surrounding a particular game in the near future. Finishing that week also showed me that I can be consistent with entries and while I didn't do anything last week due to catching up with some TV shows I am confident now that I can form some sort of regularity for this place and aim to do so starting in the month of February. I have the Always Connected series to finish and I'm disappointed that the length of time between that series' posts has been rather long. I also have posts upcoming on all of the games mentioned above as well as many other ideas, so please bare with me while I continue to chew my food and take the time to enjoy each of these games. I am already much better with managing my time this year than I was in the last few months of last year, so hopefully that translates into some interesting stuff that you guys enjoy reading. Happy gaming everyone.


ThrawnOmega said...

We all play through games at different paces. After completing Fallout 3 + Operation Anchorage, I'm at about 55 hours of play. To you, that's probably rapid. Since I know March's DLC is going to increase the level cap to 30, I intentionally stopped going to places, so I have plenty of new places to visit while I work on those next 10 levels.

Since I'm in the process of making a GSL team, I will definately be one of those fast movers in mid-Feb to mid-april LOL.

Michael Abbott said...

It's good to know I'm not alone. :-) I think the desire to keep up with the "in crowd" (which seems to plow through games virually overnight) has driven me to jump from one game to the next in the past, and it's a silly thing to do when you stop and think about it.

Given all the work developers put into these games, surely we owe them more of our attention. Maybe the bottom line will turn out to be: we can't possibly play all the games that come out, so let's fully devote ourselves to the ones we can.

Steven O'Dell said...

@ThrawnOmega - Your pace through Fallout 3 isn't as fast as the speed I was referring to in the post, although it is clearly faster than my snail-like pace. I know of two people who finished the game in three days straight and that just bewilders me. How is that playing and enjoying the full experience that Fallout 3 can provide? I just find it unbelievable. As always, thanks for the comment man. :)

@Michael Abbott - Thank you for the unexpected surprise of a comment. I guess it really is true that if you mention someone's name on the Internet, they will then appear to respond. ;) I absolutely agree with everything you said in your second paragraph and actually wonder if developers feel disappointed with the industry at times because the audience - both critics and consumers alike - moves on so quickly. Almost seems sad, doesn't it?

Joseph Rositano said...

Sometimes I feel rushed to complete games as well actually. When there's a forum topic on some of the boards I go to, I want to be on the same page as other people and discuss what I thought about the story or the boss battle etc.

The only game last holiday season I took my time with was Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. I enjoyed exploring the main hub world at my leisure, and sometimes I'd just fly around the levels without any particular goal, just enjoying the scenery and messing about. I suppose though, it does depend on the player. Some people merely want to complete the story, while others want to level up their character(s) fully so they can see just how powerful they are. It’s an interesting debate, and it has certainly inspired me to go a bit slower in the future.

pete said...

I've completely given up trying to blast through games (says he, who just finished a week-long hammer-thon of Prince of Persia for a 1000/1000).

Actually, scratch that - I've completely given up on the need for new games. We're in a stage now where the number of quality (for some definition of the word) games coming out is a veritable torrent; which is exactly The Brainy Gamer's point. But I guess I've learnt to restrict my buying impulses somewhat to match my tastes; sure, that means I'll miss Fallout 3, but that's because it doesn't suit me down to the ground.

And that's the great thing about this point in time: choice. There's oodles of games out there, many more in the pipeline, and if something doesn't sound like it'll press all your buttons, you merely have to wait awhile.

I pity the reviewer's lot, though ;)

Daniel Primed said...

I decided that I wanted out of this game of continual pressure a few years ago. As a player I've always been a bit behind the 8-ball and once I got infront of it I realized that the price of admission simply wasn't worth it. It's like "everybody" is trying to climb to the top of an infinetly tall mountain, only to end up tired.

I reached a point where I decided that it'd be better for me just to step back and fill in the gaps in my collection, rather than spend so much money to be at the forefront, slogging through new releases at rampid speeds. Since then I feel so much happier about playing games.

The truth is there is plenty of undiscovered merit in older games, that never had such a community to discuss them previously. I personally find it much more interesting to slowly play whatever we feel like, unearthing that merit, rather than battle over a few shared opinions of the coolest 3-5 just released games.

That's just my take anyways, just like with games, I'm late to the party on this post. Oh well, nice blog BTW. ^_^

Steven O'Dell said...

@Daniel Primed - Thank you for the comment and stopping by. I agree completely that older games deserve to be looked at, analysed and discussed which is why I appreciate things like the VGC that Michael Abbott and company are running. In fact I'd prefer it if more of the blogging community were able to spend time looking at the older games out there, while also managing to play what they want out of the new releases. After writing this post, I definitely feel more satisfied in knowing that if I pass on a new release game that it will always be waiting for me if and when I do decide to buy it and that in the meantime, I have plenty of other games to play. You say that your decision led you to being a happier gamer, I can understand that as I am starting to feel the same way in just the short time since writing the post.

TrevHead said...

As someone who has been playing games for 25 years and discovering new genres every couple of years, the backlog of games is astronomical especially as I spend half of my time playing shmups, spending sometimes months on one title in a effort to master it.

The rest of my gaming time is spent playing mainstream games but even those I tend to spend way too much time in one game trying to sample everything it has to offer and at my own slow pace.

To use your chew food analogy what I need to do is not swallow whole but chew faster so I can finish my games quicker while still experiencing most of the best bits while skipping the fat.

Steven O'Dell said...

TrevHead -- I'd argue that the way you play currently is a good way; it's certainly an approach I'm personally taking more and more. I wrote a similar post to this one recently here which continued my feelings from this post, but perhaps with less frustration as a lot has changed for me in the two years since I wrote this post. I take my time with my games these days, I don't let any one or any thing dictate how I play them and for the most part, I'm much more satisfied with my gaming generally than I was when I was trying to keep up in early 2009. I still buy some new release games but my interest is definitely in the titles that take my fancy, not what everyone else is playing in any given week.

Anyway thanks for commenting even if it was on a post I wrote a couple of years ago. It's much appreciated!

TrevHead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven O'Dell said...

TrevHead -- Ha, it's all good. I still appreciate the comment anyway!

In some respects it correlates with the topic at hand, too: why should an old post no longer be relevant? If old games can (and do) deserve attention as I seemingly keep advocating for, then why can't old articles receive the same treatment?

That's the problem with the Internet in general: what's current is old too damn quickly, and what's old doesn't exist (apparently).

TrevHead said...

Damn you read that comment quick I was gonna replace it with something else, but nevermind now :)