Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Highs and Lows of Finishing a Game

I know I've been working on my favorite games for each system and I promise I'll get back to those lists. I have notes and all the games for the remaining systems but I've been thinking about others things. Maybe I'll do a second post today with a list.

One of the other things I've been thinking about is finishing games. Since that's what started this whole blog I think it's only natural that this topic comes up every now and then. Unfortunately neither my brother or I have finished the agreed upon games. I even had to restart Final Fantasy VII because I accidentally sold a materia that you can only get from one place . . . and I've lost access to that place. And since those Mega Materia (or whatever they're called) are only good if you've mastered all types of the same materia I had to start the game over so I could get . . . and keep . . . that missing materia. So although I haven't finish the designated games I have finished other ones.

Both of the games I've finished have been Xbox Live Arcade games. The first one was Jewel Quest. When I started playing I thought it was a fun game that I would return to every now and then. I certainly wasn't setting out to finish it, come hell or high water. But after playing one particular level and losing about 10 times I was damned if I was going to let a stupid game get the better of me. It became a mission to finish the game. Every time I got stuck on a level and burned through all my lives I screamed as my score was reset to zero. Each achievement unlocked was a thrilling victory for me over the computer. But the payout in the end wasn't as exciting as I would have liked.

About 2 levels from the last one I was burning through lives like crazy. I knew I was close to the end but I couldn't seem to get past this one level. When I finally made it past I figured the last two level would be even harder. The next level only took 2 attempts to get through and then I was faced with the final level. Only one grid stood between me and a finished game. Less than 2 minutes later I was done. I got through the last level on the first attempt and apparently triggered a cascading domino effect that almost cleared the whole board in a single move. Yes, I finished the game and after all my hard work on previous level it seemed a little anticlimactic.

The second game I finished was Hardwood Backgammon. Some of the achievements I unlocked without even knowing what they were. Some I unlocked through the normal course of playing the game and some I had to really work for. The hardest being the "win 10 games in a row." I tried doing this against humans but that was a complete mistake. So I set the AI to easy and tried grinding it out in single player. The problem I had was the longer I played the more careless I got. After winning 7 in a row I'd lose a game and have to start the streak all over again. I finally limited myself to playing only 2 games a night. It took awhile but eventually I got the 10 game and 25 game winning streak achievements.

And while it's great to finish a game, what about those games I won't be able to finish (or at least get all the achievements)? I don't have a vision camera so I can't get the face mapping achievement in Rainbow 6: Vegas. With all the boosting going on in Chromehounds I'll never get any of the Gold medals. And don't remind me that I missed a golden, and tiny, window of opportunity when Sal Kar's Secret Weapon came out. When will I get that chance again? Then there's achievements like "play this game online with someone who has 'the mingler' (or another special designation)" Hell, if I were a person who had it I'd never play that game online again. It's a rare achievement to get so why would I want to pass that along?

It's great finishing a game, but then I'm always reminded of all the ones I haven't finish and some I may never finish. I guess I have to take the highs with the lows when it comes to finishing games.

No comments: