Focused on a Game
February 5, 2004 4:06 PM   Subscribe

One for the MeFi Gamer Corps: Are there any decent techniques for staying focused on a particular game? I find that when I pick up a new title I play it like mad for a week and then, finished or not, my attention invariably drifts to something else. What do you do when you want to make sure you see a game to its completion?

I ask because there are a load of RPGs I want to take on but can't trust myself to finish. Case in point: I started a game of Final Fantasy 3/6 on the SNES last week, and this week I'm sitting around playing Zuma and trying to decide what to do.
posted by Monster_Zero to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total)
The problem is, most games suck. Don't force yourself to finish a game if it isn't fun - games are meant to be fun. Case in point: Baldur's Gate 2. I know I will NEVER complete this game, because it gets boring. However, I keep the saved games on my PC so I can reinstall and play a bit now and then. If you really want to force yourself to the end of the game, use a walkthrough, but by that point the game has been reduced to a chore.
posted by Orange Goblin at 4:26 PM on February 5, 2004

My cure: stop reading gaming web sites. When I don't know which other latest and greatest releases (or even demos) have hit the shelves, I'm more focused on finishing what I've already started.

Having said that, FF3 and Zuma aren't exactly the latest big-hype shooters either. FF3 is such a classic though that it's worth the attention. Try zooming through it without getting bogged down by the optional locations, side quests, and bonus characters so that you can focus on the plot, then start a new "full clear" game later if you think it's worth replaying. This is what I usually do with RPG's, since I can never get everything done right the first time.

Orange Goblin: Blasphemy! Go for the eyes, Boo, go for the eyes! :)
posted by DaShiv at 4:31 PM on February 5, 2004

Surely if your attention drifts, you're not really enjoying the game, in which case why play it through to the end?
Agreeing with Orange Goblin, there are a lot of poorly designed games out there.

I find cheats help, when I'm intimidated by the toughness/scary-ness of games and would otherwise consign them to the bookshelf. And walkthroughs.

Someday I'm going to get the nerve up to finish Thief, for which there are no invincibility cheats. What I need is more of a handhold than a walkthrough, though: that zombie crypt scares the pants off me.
posted by Blue Stone at 5:00 PM on February 5, 2004

Actually DaShiv, thats good advice. I always find that I try to do everything in an RPG cos I don't want to miss out, and I end up getting nowhere.
posted by Orange Goblin at 5:01 PM on February 5, 2004

For Blue Stone: Visit TTLG - a whole forum full of steady hands to guide you past the zombies... and the Hammerites... and so on.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:35 PM on February 5, 2004

Oh god! He's EVERYWHERE!
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:04 PM on February 5, 2004

try to do the whole game in one sitting too. in my wilder days, I spent a single 30 hour session playing Final Fantasy 6/3 all the way through. hell of a game!
posted by mcsweetie at 10:45 PM on February 5, 2004

for ff3, running it on an emulator might save you some time since you can use save states instead of having to backtrack from an in-game save point each time you die. how much of a savings that amounts to depends on how frequently you actually die though.
posted by juv3nal at 12:34 AM on February 6, 2004

My cure: stop reading gaming web sites.

That's really good advice. I don't have any tips because I suffer from the same disease, but I think the root cause is following things to closely. Plus, all I get out of the sites and magazines nowadays is that Halo 2 is moving back.
posted by yerfatma at 5:09 AM on February 6, 2004

Dashiv, I actually take the opposite approach. I'm nearly pathological about compelting every possible quest the first time through. The second time I'm more focused since I know where the big payoffs are (and were all the cool stuff is.) Plus you can tailor your characters to better use what you know you will find the second time around. And aren't RPG's really just about killing things for their stuff? :)

I also try to avoid cheats and spoilers, but if I'm stuck and the game is starting to become a chore then I will. No shame there.
posted by Cyrano at 8:05 AM on February 6, 2004

I'm nearly pathological about compelting every possible quest the first time through.

Stay away from Dark Cloud 2. I've racked up 55 hours so far, but some people have racked up 100-200 doing all the side things. There are like a hundred small dungeons, each with a bonus if you do some requirement (such as finish without healing, or using only your sword) and sepertate bonuses if you do the golf and fishing challenges on each dungeon. Plus all the picture taking. It's the ultimate 'leveling up' game.

I'd also recommend playing 16-bit games on an emulator, it makes rpg a lot less repetative since you can save states.

And if a game if boring you, just walk away. I couldn't finish FF6 either, though I loved FF7. I ditched Dragon Quest VI halfway through too.
posted by bobo123 at 9:51 AM on February 6, 2004

Thanx to grabbingsand
posted by Blue Stone at 10:01 AM on February 6, 2004

Response by poster: Emulators are a decent idea for the reasons mentioned above, but I'm more of the mindset that having to fiddle with the cartridge and hook things up and use the original controller just feels more authentic. Also, I'm really, really bad at overdoing the whole Save State thing to the point where it borders on cheating.

But good suggestions from the lot of you, thanks! Since there seem to be some former FF3 addicts out there I should perhaps mention that I'm stuck on that nasty Floating Island thinger, gunning for Kefka and all that.
posted by Monster_Zero at 10:40 AM on February 6, 2004

Stay away from Dark Cloud 2... It's the ultimate 'leveling up' game.

That's pretty lethal. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is far, far worse.
posted by furiousthought at 1:48 PM on February 6, 2004

Best answer: I've actually have a similar problem. I'll start a new game, play for awhile, not play it for a day or two, to take a break, then get...well, intimidated, for lack of a better word. I feel that I might've forgotten important parts of the plot or quests, or that it's not going to feel the same, or that I won't play the game the way I want it to (like in an RPG forgetting about neat sidequests or whatnot,) and goof around on the Internet instead. Then, too much time passes, I feel that I can't start from my save game, because to much time has passed and I would need to start over, which is also more intimidating, so I start playing a new game, and the cycle begins anew...bleh. Basically, a really geeky problem.

So, I made a geeky solution. I made a simple spreadsheet in Excel (very simple, since I don't really know how to use Excel anyway,) with 3 columns. The first is for games installed and console games, the second for hours played, and the third for current ranking, with 1 being the current favorite (and one I'm currently playing.)

The idea was to play my number 1 game, and really focus on that. If for some reason it doesn't work with me, then move on to game 2, and so on. I might play game 13, for example, but only for a little bit, then back to game 1. If I started to play another quite a bit, then I would reorder my game priorities.

By seeing how many hours I've played a game, I can decide if I want to reorder my priories (i.e., start focusing on a new game,) and, weirdly enough, keeping track of the hours and ranking is kind of a little game itself. It seems to have worked so far, since I finished Fallout for the first time since buying it in 2000. I'm not sure why it works, but I guess it might be like any other list making activity, it is compelling to check off all the various games, and to make sure I have "quality time," as it were, for each game.

Anyway, I should be getting a swirly anytime now. Hope this helps.
posted by Snyder at 8:53 PM on February 6, 2004

Yeesh, Snyder, and I thought I took my gaming seriously. I have 17 games currently installed on my system right now (plus 5 mods) and I just click on whatever tickles my fancy when I have some time to kill. (Currently it's an old favorite, Medieval: Total War.) It doesn't bother me to drop stuff and pick it up again though, so that's where we differ.

Re FF3 and Floating Island: If memory serves, you're near the end (assuming you're at the part where you have to coordinate two parties). Don't feel bad about using a walkthrough to get "unstuck", especially to tackle the two-party puzzles. Before the advent of online walkthoughs I had bang my head against the wall over many a game, and really it's kinda silly to get stuck on a single hurdle for so long. There are tons of walkthrough sites, such as GameFAQS, that will get you unstuck.

Enjoy fighting Kefka and all that!
posted by DaShiv at 10:57 PM on February 6, 2004

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