A break from all the space-game (and X4 in particular) talk that is. Perhaps from other things in your life too, but I’m afraid I can only offer you the first.

Although I should add this is not (yet) from any weariness of the game on my part. The game isn’t going back in the box just now. Rather, this break is brought to you by the power of… Monday. Rather than playing earlier and then writing, it was working earlier and then writing. The playing will have to come later. Sure, there are other tales I could regale you with without playing another second — but… You probably need a break.

Instead, I wanted to jump into something Bhagpuss brought up a few days ago.

I’m beginning to think that getting all wrapped up in a single game for months or years isn’t necessarily the universal good we always believed.

We all do it, don’t we? Some of us more than others, naming no names (Points at self.) One minute it’s Valheim, Valheim, Valheim, then Lost Ark is the best game ever made and no-one’s ever going to need anything else (Yeah, that wasn’t me.) Game after game, month after month, year after year, individually and collectively, we get obsessed, talk about nothing else, play every hour we can snatch, then…

Silence. The toy goes back in the box. Once in a while we get it out, play with it for a few minutes, put it away again. Eventually it disappears, lost, no-one remembers where, or cares.

Bhagpuss (Inventory Full), ‘Embrace the Future!‘ (August 2022)

Alright, I’ll own this one. Lost Ark was me. Although… in my defence, I would probably have kept playing (and so talking about it) if life hadn’t decided to throw a bit of a curveball. But even if I had, ultimately, Bhagpuss’ statement would have been rendered true whether days, weeks, or heck, even months later. And besides, I’ve found something resembling normalcy now, and it isn’t like I leapt back in there, is it?

I think the most part most telling of my underlying beliefs, though, is that this does feel like something to be ‘defended’.

I’m pretty open about the fact I enjoy, if not outright require, variety in my gaming, but it still feels like admitting to being absent a virtue. Be kind. Be patient. Be diligent. And damn it, finish the games you start.

It’s one of those things that are rooted deep into a sense of ‘right and wrong’, but unlike many of the other instances that become engraved upon our souls over years of life, it is difficult to pinpoint a direct source. It wasn’t taught in Sunday School or normal school, nor a topic of parental lectures. I’m not even sure that there is an overwhelming tide of societal pressure on the matter either to have created such an imprint.

Just because the post isn’t about X4 doesn’t mean I can’t use its screenshots. This one is from a sector related to the latest expansion, Tides of Avarice. The star in this area of space is prone to breaking out into super solar flares every so often, much to the detriment of anyone not safely docked as the wave of supercharged energy rolls on by.

Perhaps it’s nothing more than the fact it’s different to how things used to be.

Games weren’t always on tap for me. Picking up a new game was a big deal! They required a trip to a physical store and were expensive! Picking a new game on the basis of its box alone was often how I had to do things. Then, like the game or not, that was it for a good long while, so I really would have to make the most of it.

Or maybe more likely, it’s an extension of the old addage to ‘finish what you start’.

Whatever the source, at least for myself, there is quite a disconnect between the conscious beliefs held and the underlying. Consciously; I care not a whit that I stick to games about as well as a 2nd rate 3M knock-off. At least, not most of the time. Every so often it might bubble to the surface in a semi-formed desire to stick to things a little more consistently, like I used to in the days of old.

Ultimately though, I say: ‘Yuss‘ to the likes of Bhagpuss coming around to the all-the-things way of thinking. The more the merrier! Gaming, after all, is a path to fun. Or should be. Some people’s paths are more meandering than others, but hey, as long as you get there in the end… So be it. :)


This was posted during Blaugust 2022, the annual blogging event hosted by Belghast. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in year-round!


Naithin

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.

4 Comments

Bhagpuss · August 22, 2022 at 10:19 pm

Heh! I was indeed thinking of you when I mentioned Lost Ark but you were by no means the only one singing its praises and making bold statements about the long-term. Is anyone in this part of the blogosphere talking about it now?

I think there’s a necessary distinction to be made between single-player games (even if they’re also co-op) and MMOs. MMOs never end unless the company running them switches the servers off. There’s a functional paradox, where it’s technically possible to play nothing but that one game “forever”, while simultaneously being emotionally impossible. You’d go crazy if you tried.

I think I might be an outlier in not caring whether or not I finish single-player games but the idea of sticking with one MMO for the long haul really seems to be slipping. People still pay lip-service to it but how many follow through? It’s almost certainly healthier for us all if we don’t.

    Naithin · August 22, 2022 at 11:59 pm

    Agree on making the distinction, although Games as a Service (everyone’s favourite) certainly blur those lines somewhat.

    I played Asheron’s Call for at least 3 years before taking my first substantial break from it, and then when I dipped back in, it would be for at least 6 months at a time… In the early (well, relatively speaking) days at least.

    I spent perhaps a year, year and a half solid in EVE (once I finally penetrated its surface, after bouncing off no less than 5 or so times).

    Between those points, I was certainly taste-testing other MMOs along the way. There was a time, in fact, when I could truthfully say I’d played every MMO out there (except for SWG, by the time my eye was cast in that direction, it was by all accounts already ‘ruined’ and shut down shortly thereafter).

    Those days are long past, of course, but I’d say even by the time WoW rolled around with it’s classic release, I expected an MMO to last me (at best) 3-months in a single stint.

    There were still exceptions, e.g., later into WoW’s cycle when I started raiding in BC/Wrath, I could do 6 or so months in a stint, but very unusual.

    Now though? I reckon an MMO is doing well by me if it goes solid for more than a single month.

    Give it another decade or two and 5-10 minutes might be enough for me. ;)

Nimgimli · August 23, 2022 at 8:00 am

For me I think there are 2 aspects that cause this vague feeling of guilt.

First is value. I paid for the whole game, I better play it all otherwise I’m wasting money. There’s no real logic to this because I feel it even if I get a game on some super sale. I also always eat everything on my plate even if I’m starting to feel full. Blame my parents!

Second is that I like that satisfaction that comes with “finishing” a game (which for me generally means getting to the end credits). This of course doesn’t apply to MMOs or even on-going games-as-a-service titles, tho the latter usually have some kind of campaign to complete.

I really like that feeling of having competed something, to the point where I rarely play ‘session’ games like, I dunno, a city-builder or a sports game. If they don’t have a “The End” screen then I have a hard time getting into them, these days.

    Naithin · August 23, 2022 at 9:20 am

    So interesting to me that the feelings around ‘finishing’ a game are so strong as to exclude whole genres!

    re: City Builders or similar, do you think it might help at all to specify some form of goal ahead of time? e.g., ‘Make it to the last population milestone’, or ‘Unlock all the unique buildings’?

    The ‘finish everything on your plate’ is an interesting one though. :) I had more of a, ‘Don’t eat when you’re not hungry’ — but balanced of course with not taking more than you can reasonably expect to eat in the first place.

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