When do you decide you're "done" with a game?


#1

By “done” I don’t mean “finished”, as in, you’ve concluded the critical path or reached a certain percentage of completion. I mean, at what point do you decide you’ve emotionally and mentally processed the work you consumed and are ready to move onto the next thing?

You could apply this question to any medium, but I’m asking it here because I beat Gris only a short while ago, and it was an intense, mournful experience and as much as I realize that I have many games I’d like to play, simply moving forward feels weird. It was an affecting time and I’d feel bad just letting it get lost in the shuffle. Should I write something down somewhere? Lay off games for the rest of the day and ponder my navel? I’m unsure.

What have you done in this situation, if it’s applicable?


#2

Although it is not the same level as your post. I feel you are done simply once the game no longer appeals to you. Say for newer fallouts you could stop without the dlc, but they’re designed somewhat to shepherd you to it.


#3

Not always applicable, but I consider myself done when the narrative is over, like closing a book.

Drives me crazy when I can’t finish a story in a game b/c of lack of skill (happens way too often)

If it moves me in some way I’ll write about it somewhere, twitter or other journal equivalent. Also keep a log of games finished because it helps me process thoughts and my memory is terrible.


#4

I feel like it really depends on the game, if i really enjoy it I will got for 100% completion, get every achievement, see every nook and cranny. If the game was good, but not something I want to keep going with than as soon as I finish the main story. If its something I grew to hate then as soon as I burned out.


#5

obligatory:


#6

I feel like I’m done with games long before I’ve seen all the capital C content these days. Whether it’s because they’re pseudo-live games like the most recent Assassin’s Creeds or activity-ridden open world games like Skyrim, I’m finding myself getting bored and “done” with games much earlier.

I’m playing Just Cause 4 right now and having a fantastic time but it’s because I was making my own fun from the jump. As soon as tethering a soldier to a car and then to a rocket gets old, there will be nothing to keep me playing.

I think it’s mostly because I do need to be invested in something bigger than the mechanics. Very few games can keep me engaged when I only like one thing about them. Increasingly, big games are laden with Satisfying Feedback Loops that just don’t interest me, yet are clearly being used to compensate for a lack of the shit I like e.g. level design that’s actually interesting, inherently satisfying mechanics, clever systems etc.


#7

It depends on the game, but for any game where I’m in it for the story or the characters more than the gameplay, I will peace out once I know the ending. And usually that entails playing to the ending, but I remember the day I stopped playing Horizon Zero Dawn and sold it back to Gamestop because it was the play session where I figured out probably a good… 10 to 15 hours early? what the point of the story was, what the big mystery was. And all of my desire to finish playing it melted away.


#8

When I was younger, I wouldn’t be done-done with a game I liked until I basically devoured the entire thing or hit a wall that too hard for me to continue. Now basically I’m done the moment I hit credits. I would have liked to play more Octopath to get to the final final boss, but didn’t have the time. I could have put 1000 hours into Into the Breach, but needed to do other things.

Basically I’m done with a game the moment I put it down for more than a month. I can say I’m going back to it, but I’m probably not. There’s just too much else to do. I can’t even imagine putting in 100 hours into FFXII again and fighting the whole four-hour fight against Yaizmat ever again.


#9

Sometimes I’ll drift away from a game. I’ll put it down one day and want to play it more but don’t pick it up again (Persona 5, Valkyria Chronicles 4, Trails in Cold Steel). Other times I’ll make the conscious decision to put it down, either because I don’t think the story is interesting or the mechanics have become boring. For instance, I stopped playing Ocarina of Time when I was in the Gannon’s Castle. I didn’t like any of that game, and by the time you’re at Gannon’s Castle it’s not going to throw new ideas at you. I had played A Link to the Past and A link Between Worlds in the 6 months beforehand and they all had identical plots up to that point so I knew the story wasn’t going to pay off. I knew I could finish it in about an hour, but I decided I’d rather spend that hour doing anything else.

My original battle with Yiamzat took 3 days. My builds weren’t very good. The first day I got him down to about 25% heath. Didn’t want to go save since I heard he heals and levels every time you do, so I kept my PS3 running overnight. It froze the next morning. It was the only time in my 300 hour save that it froze. Next day got him to about 50% and saved but ultimately wiped with about 100K HP left. Third day did the final 50% HP. When I played the Zodiac Age last year my builds were better and it has the 4x speed option so it took less than an hour.


#10

If I’m engaged, I’ll finish most of the side content (though not collectible-driven quests cuz screw that) until I’m ready to enter the end game. I NEVER mainline the critical path, because even with games that dump you back into the world post-credits, I can’t stick with them if I finish the story. I’m happy to finish 75% of the side quest stuff as I usually hit a wall around then. I’ve never platinumed a game and likely never will.


#11

As others have said, it definitely depends on the game:

if I’m not enjoying a game, of course, I can be done with it long before it’s finished;

but I also increasingly find that if a game continues on for too long, I’ll drift away from it if I take too long a break between sessions (I’ve never finished Opus Magnum, for example, despite enjoying it, because I just didn’t get around to coming back to it). I’m not sure if I’m “done” with these games completely - there’s the possibility that I might come back to them - but in practice, I rarely do. The period of time this takes depends on how much I’m actually enjoying the game, and also on how busy I am with other stuff in the same period.

for almost all games which I complete, I’ve been done with them basically as soon as I get to the end of the “narrative”/“You Win” screen.

there’s a minority of games which I’ve liked enough, or have been short enough [the shorter a complete replay is, the less I need to have liked it to do this] for multiple playthroughs soon after the first run through. Usually I’ll feel done before I finish a second pass though (I got about 2/3 of the way through Transistor on NG+ before stopping, for example), and I think it’s only Analogue: A Hate Story and its sequel Hate+ which I’ve actually exhausted all the possible endings for.

(There’s also the separate category of “nostalgia games” which, like old books, I might pick back up briefly for replays, or partial plays, of long after the time I first played them. Tellingly, most of these are from more than a decade ago - in fact, apart from Spelunky and Super Hexagon, almost all of them date from before 2000 - so this is a different kind of thing I think, more of a “formative experience” being returned to. I’m not even sure if Super Hexagon counts as this - it’s arcadey enough that it might just be a good flow game…)

As I get older, more games fit into the first two categories for me than any other. Like keydemographics noted, lots of modern games seem to be increasingly full of “Content for the Sake of It”, and that means that they tend to outstay their welcome, for me.


#12

I think it depends entirely on the game and how I am feeling at the time. Sometimes my life is in an amicable place and a great game comes along and I will devour as much of it as I can. Sometimes I will keep going back to it. Other times the appeal of the game fades and I am really busy so I might say thank you and goodbye to a game well before I thought I would.

I find that my enjoyment of the game I am playing can be diminished if I feel like I should be playing something else or doing something else. Nowadays I just acknowledge the entertainment and value I have gotten from a game and move on, even if I am not complete.

Right now I am playing Warhammer 40K Mechanicus, Hollow Knight, and Divinity Original Sin 2 Definitive edition. The latter two are long term projects and the former I will likely beat once and move on.


#14

I get this with books more than games tbh. When I finish a game no matter how it emotionally impacted me I can pick up another and go.

When I finished A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers however, I had to stew on it for a few days to think about not only what it made me feel or what the story said but also why it made me feel that way. Why I related to the characters I related to as much as I did and so on.

As others have said, writing is a good outlet for that kinda thing. I have a half finished piece about that book sitting eternally in my google drive.


#15

Yiazmat heals but heals slowly, (I’m not sure what the mechanic is, maybe I knew when I wrote my walkthrough ten years ago but I can’t remember) you just can’t be gone for longer than a few minutes. I had enough time to fly over to Balfonheim to buy more healing items, and I had more than enough time to save a couple of times.

Definitely you’ll need to run away a few times if you lose too many characters.


#16

Damage is also no longer capped at 9999 in Zodiac Age making it even faster. I didn’t even lose any characters, while in the original a lot of my time in the fight was reviving.


#17

I had a similar feeling when I finished Epistory recently. It was a deeply engaging time. Sound, Art, Story, and Gameplay capturing me. That’s unusual. Too much going on in life. Too many distractions. I rarely finish games at all, let alone finish in an emotionally connected state. The next couple games I tried fell flat immediately and I ended up just driving around Forza Horizons 4 for the next few days.


#18

I tend not to decide; I just fizzle.

What I’ve found lately is I am often not that interested in the end of the game. I like exploration. I like seeing things which are shiny and new, yet also somehow familiar. I like character development, new worlds, overall plot arcs and a bit of exposition, but conclusions? I don’t know. They often just feel like a formality. I’m rarely rushing to the end to find out what really happened.

The Last of Us was like that for me. The character development and world were highly interesting, but the story and its conclusion were largely uninteresting, it was forecast quite heavily early on, and I felt like there wasn’t much room for character growth or world exploration in the last portion of the game. I did finish a playthrough. But honestly, I didn’t need to for the sake of ending the story. I just figured, meh, it won’t take that long on this difficulty setting. The Left Behind DLC, on the other hand, I felt compelled to finish. Sure, we could see where it was going from the beginning, but for some reason I felt really compelled to see it through. I wanted to be there in that space and time. I was invested.

In those rare cases where I really do want to know, I sometimes get frustrated by all the gameplay in the way. I feel weird for mentioning this game twice in two posts (it’s not like it was that into it), but I actually quit Horizon: Zero Dawn for about six months before going back and completing it. I wanted to explore the old ruins, but there was too much killing people in the way. I did enjoy the combat, but when it came to creeping through the old facilities and unravelling the story, I just wanted to explore every nook and cranny, and all the bad guys between me and my objective? I just wanted them to leave me the Hell alone. I wanted to feel at leisure to look around without getting distracted by having to arrow another dude in his stupid facehole. So I quit. Moved on to Persona 5, I believe.

I had no intention of returning to the game either, though I kept it on the hard drive for a long time. I only went back because someone told me the plot keeps getting darker. The combat to exploration ratio still felt too high to me. It’s a persistent issue for me in games. But I’m glad I went back. Ordinarily, the odds would have been low. But in a lot of cases, I feel like most games (including those I play through all the way) don’t really have that much pay off in completion.


#19

I don’t really decide so much as no longner feel engaged.
If the moment to moment gameplay feels engaging, fun and varied enough I can keep going for a while. By eventually no matter how fun or engaging s game is I’ll eventually start feeling the loop.
That’s when everything like the graphics, music or story stop having any sort of effect on me. They just become background noise after a while as I concentrate on whatever gameplay I’m doing.
When I get to that point it’s just a matter of time. I could choose to watch a movie or work on my creative stuff one evening instead of game, and the spell is immediately broken.

With most games, this has been around 10 hours in when things start to feel repetitive and the seams start to show. If I can make it past that, then it’s a pretty special.


#20

when it bores me.

this could mean anything from hitting a point where I can no longer progress due to a lack of skill (e.g. Shovel Knight), getting to a point where the game no longer mechanically engages me (e.g. 9S route in Nier Automata), or hitting a point in the story where a distasteful choice is made that turns me off the entire game (e.g. Transistor, which is why I never went in for a New Game+ even though a good chunk of lore was in there). I can also just straight up burn out of a game by playing too much of it to the point where I need a break (e.g. Dragon Age: Inquisition).

Usually it has to be a really big thing though, like a large amount of playtime, a terrible ending, or deciding that shifting your game from character-action combat focused to a SHMUP is a good idea. I hate shilling out money for something, or spending a lot of time on something, or even just getting really emotionally invested in something, only to end up at a point where I feel like i’m better off dropping it.


#21

I almost always have two somewhat dissimilar games going at once, so if I feel fatigue starting to set in on one, I can switch to the other for awhile and hopefully avoid burnout. Most recently it’s been Red Dead 2 and Mutant Year Zero, although I just finished MYZ so I’ve been trying to sniff out what the next one is going to be. When I start looking for a third is when I know I’m probably done with the first one.

I think OP’s observation about being “finished” with Gris but not really “done” with it is interesting. There have definitely been times where I finished a game and just needed to take a break. Sometimes it’s just to decompress, other times it’s because I know whatever game I pick up next will not be able to stand up and I don’t want to proactively ding it by constantly comparing it to what I just finished.