You know what makes it really difficult to really extract value from games? To really get into the meat and potatoes of an offering? I’ll tell you; it’s– SQUIRREL! … By which I mean to say, for those unfamiliar with UP! (for shame!) I am very easily distracted when it comes to my gaming interests.

To such an extent, I don’t really understand how some people can play and finish one game. Then the next. Then the next. Then the next- and on. It seems to me they are crafted out of different stuff. Some form of precision German engineering, perhaps. Or maybe they’re wizards. But, when these people take the definition of ‘finish’ as “I have 100% of the game’s achievements”, then clearly, space magic is the only answer.

Common Causes of Distra- SQUIRREL!

Other People

I resisted MHS2 for a while. I thought it was a cut-down, budget version of MH. Wrong. It’s as fully featured as World or Rise, just in a Pokemon/JRPG format. Incidentally, it was a friend who talked me around on it too.

Other people are the worst… When it comes to keeping me on track with a given game. It was a recent example of this, in fact, which has acted as inspiration for doing this post! Frostilyte wrote about Enter the Gungeon, and even though I’m still enjoying Final Fantasy XIV and Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin a lot — it did still cross my mind to perhaps give Gungeon another try and throw it into the mix too.

Bad Nait! No!

This effect is strongest with friends and people in our li’l community.

But general zeitgeist or YouTuber attention can get me to sit up and pay attention too.

As a side note to this one: For now? I have managed to put the lid back on considering Enter the Gungeon. I think two ‘major’ games at a time is enough for variety while without removing any chance of completing. Dark Souls: Remastered and XCOM 2 still sit on the sides as somewhat situational, so they’re fine.

Game Releases

New stuff is fun!

Starbase launched into early access today…

Space Engineers on Steroids!

…In this particular case, I’m holding off. I’ve been following the development a little, and it seems this is quite a rough and ready launch. Early reviews seem to be suggesting this is the case, too.

But other times, a new launch has the power to derail anything that might already be underway. … Or else it might fall to the bottom of the ‘Play Soon’ pile and never get played. Hoping against hope that I might select it one day, even if only for the #MaybeInMarch Love your Backlog event. ;)

Game Updates

Doesn’t have to be an entirely new game.

Big updates to games I already like have a large pull factor as well.

X4: From the 3.0 Beta. Of course, we’re now up to 4.0 — and I still haven’t actually jumped back in yet for any significant time.

No Man’s Sky does this to me quite frequently. Some of their updates have been insanely good and I always appreciate being surprised by the next one.

They can have an almost opposite effect too though.

When I know significant updates are coming for a game — two from CDProjekt Red spring to mind here actually; with the ‘Next Gen’ patch coming for both The Witcher 3 this year, and Cyberpunk 2077 I think next year now.

CP2077 might be perfectly playable now, particularly on PC. But I’m still going to wait! Likewise for The Witcher 3; I’ve had a bit of an itch to play again. But gonna wait! I don’t want to pick these up now and make any progress, ‘missing’ the updated versions.

Can I Do Anything About It?

Should I do anything about it?


On the one hand — variety and not being ‘tied down’ to anything in particular is a valued part of my gaming style. Focus is for work stuff and general adulting. Gaming should be free! FREE!

But on the other hand… While completion doesn’t rank incredibly high up on my gamer motivation profile at all… I still like the idea of it. Of at least giving it something more of a shot, now and then.

And sometimes — as is the case with FFXIV right now — the motivation is to be ready for something new. I want to complete the current story content before November if I can. I don’t know if that’s achievable with the hours I’m putting into it — but it’s what I’m working toward in any case. So, for once, I can be part of the new expansion hype with FFXIV. :)

So what am I doing?

Well, for one — I’m still giving myself the flexibility to have two different games filling the function of ‘me’ games. FFXIV and MHS2. I can pick and choose and play whichever I want in the moment. They might still be surrounded by other things for MP within my friend group — but I don’t intend to drop either of these until they’re ‘done’.

Whether I’ll stick to that, who knows! Both of these are fairly lengthy titles, so I haven’t exactly started on easy mode here. If I had to predict which I might drop first — I’d say MHS2. When I play it, I’m still loving it and it has the power to keep me up altogether too late. Buuuut it still has the potential I think to feel like a bit of grind.

So we’ll see.

Open to other suggestions too, on things that might mix completion with flexibility. :)

Categories: Gaming


Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.


Tessa - Narratess · July 30, 2021 at 11:42 pm

No idea what to say because I have max 2 hours of game time per day and even that I often won’t use up. There’s a lot I want to play, but like with books, I’m a mood gamer and my energy levels definitely affect my choice of game.

    Naithin · July 31, 2021 at 2:23 am

    I hear you on that. I could game a lot more than I actually do. Sometimes I’m perfectly content to just browse, watch a show, read, whatever. Certainly leads to a lot of variance in my gaming hours month to month. Or at least, a lot of potential variance.

    Books though I almost never have a DNF, and I almost never read more than one book at a time. In fact… If the author is new to me, I’ll often blitz through their back catalogue before jumping to a different author.

    Most certainly not a focus I have in the gaming space!

Nimgimli · July 30, 2021 at 11:54 pm

I hear “The Ascent” is really good!! :)

(I am the little devil on your shoulder.)

Sometimes I just get it stuck in my craw that I WILL finish some particular game. Right now that game is Dragon Quest Builders 2, which I feel like I’ve been playing for approximately 36 years. It just goes on and on and on. But for some reason I can’t really quantify, I’m determined to finish it. I’m not even really enjoying it at this point but I feel like I must be near the end.

Honestly it kind of feels silly because like you say, games are about having fun.

    Naithin · July 31, 2021 at 2:27 am

    Well Thbbbbbbbbbbbt to you! xD

    Although really, The Ascent will probably get me at some point. It’s even on Xbox Gamepass! Does sound like it needs a little more patchin’ love before being jumped into too heavily though, particularly if lookin for the co-op.

    On DQB2 — I’ve looked at maybe getting it a few times now. But I never have, mostly because I then recall I didn’t even finish DQ11 when I tried it, so probably not a good idea to get a spin-off game in the same series.

    The art style just really does my head in. It isn’t my favourite, to say the least.

Frostilyte · July 31, 2021 at 12:10 am

I knew this was the post even before I saw the ping back.

I mean I feel like the “should I even try” question is probably the best starting point. I know I go through stuff one game at a time and then move onto the next thing, but I try to not let that get in the way of my enjoyment.

Example: when I felt like playing a card game a couple months back I played 60 hours of Monster Train. I don’t even think I made any content from that time either. Or when there are days that I want to play a fighter I’ll pause whatever main game I’m playing and spend a couple hours on that.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that how I go about things isn’t as magical as it may seem.

    Naithin · July 31, 2021 at 2:44 am

    Noooo, the maaagic, it’s broken!

    Though actually, it helps to know! I’ll give this a go, but it isn’t going to be something I beat myself up over if it doesn’t work.

    Gaming is way too far down my list of things worth taking seriously to do that for. :)

      Frostilyte · July 31, 2021 at 2:59 am

      The rule of fun should always be number one lol

Rakuno · July 31, 2021 at 12:30 am

I am pretty much in the same boat. In my case though I know that I have a mild case of ADD. So as much as I’d like to be like others and be able to focus in one game at a time until it is completed I know it is impossible for me and that will never change.

Unlike you though, I find it frustrating because there is a lot of games whose stories I’d like to see the end of, just for entertainment and closure. And with ADD in the way this is always complicated for me.

Hm. Maybe I should try to make a post about this after all. I just need to see if I can make this into more than a couple paragraphs which probably won’t happen…

    Naithin · July 31, 2021 at 2:50 am

    I think it would be an interesting post to read if you did decide to go ahead with it.

    I think if all we had to go on was my gaming habits, I’d likely be diagnosed ADD as well. But it isn’t really that, or at least, not in the more general sense. A lot of my focus goes into work, so when that mode switches off it seems I just go the other way by default. Hehe.

    Still; you managed to get through all of the FFXIV story, it seems! And that is no small committment!

    What strategies do you have for games with stories you especially do want to see for entertainment and closure?

    Maybe that could be something in your post. :)

Jeromai · July 31, 2021 at 3:41 am

I don’t even bother to fight the SQUIRREL days, weeks, months. Learned to roll with it by now.

I’m fully into full SQUIRREL mode recently, to the point that I have 12 borrowed ebooks from the library and an inability to decide which one of them to finish and return before they all expire. So I just told myself, read one chapter from each book, continue till it gets boring, then flip to the next book. Two or three days of this and I have at least one book half-finished (turns out it was more interesting and more readable than the rest), five more one chapter in, and one book 3/4 of the way to complete (non-fiction reference, not necessary to read word for word, cover to cover)

That last was near enough to completion that I managed to sit down and skim the remnants of it – if only because I wanted to replace it with a new ebook that I had on hold and it just became available. One down, another just took its place. So it goes.

Same goes for games. Bounce from one to the other, maybe one gets complete, maybe one gets near enough to some kind of completion state that I can tolerate sitting down and making a Project out of it to complete X goal.

For the real Needs-Focus Long Term Game Projects like making a GW2 legendary or solo grinding Warframe relics and parts for a Prime, out come the spreadsheets and the giant tracking/planning checklist. Those need a driving motivation though. The I-Really-Want-This moods that help in latching on obsessively to a declared goal, so that the answer to “Why am I doing this to myself again?” becomes temporarily “Because you said you were going to.” After that, it’s break time for-SQUIRREL!

    Naithin · July 31, 2021 at 11:15 am

    :D I wish I could like this comment more than once.

    I think the last time I busted out a spreadsheet for a game was less about chasing a goal in this manner, and more about working through the economics of EVE and my production chain.

    It’s a good idea though and I could even see it working for me if it was, as you say, something that I really want and have the right mindset at the time.

    On books though! Like I mentioned to Tessa, I am almost a completely opposite creature when it comes to reading. One book at a time. Almost never a DNF- the last one I recall was midway through Robin Hobb’s Soldier’s Son trilogy. I just couldn’t take it any more. Love everything else she has written under that name, but this. Nope. Could not even brute force my way through it.

    More than that though, once I start a series, or even just an author more generally, I’ll often go through the better part of their backlog before jumping to someone else again.

    Not always, and I can and will break that pattern for releases of favourite authors, but often enough that it’s something I know is a definite part of my general reading style.

    Not sure why I treat the two entertainment hobbies so seperately!

    TV series are somewhere in the middle of the two, but lean more toward how I treat books.

    It’s really just games where- SQUIRREL!

Rakuno · July 31, 2021 at 7:29 am

I am trying to collect my thoughts in a way that makes sense but no idea yet if I can turn it into an actual blog post.

But I can answer that question already: there is no secret for how I finished the MSQ in Final Fantasy XIV. I never did it in one go, I took breaks and having helping friends playing helped to keep my interest.

Even right now I am on a break and have to do all the post-Shadowbringers patches. The only reason I am not doing it right now is because it requires better gear than what I have and the grind for those is kind of a pain. So I decided do unsubscribe for the time being and waiting for the next expansion so I can get he gear with regular tomestones. The fact that the economy here is really crappy hasn’t really helped either in justifying to keep a subscription for a game I am not playing.

Rakuno · July 31, 2021 at 7:30 am

And crap! I meant this to be a reply to your reply to my comment but forgot to press the right button first! Sorry about that!

GW2: Return To … – Why I Game · August 27, 2021 at 6:04 am

[…] mentioned in the comments of Naithin’s Extracting Value Fr- SQUIRREL! post, when I get into one of these extended project moods, I break out the spreadsheets. Usually […]

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