It’s an ongoing joke with anyone who knows me that I never finish the games I buy, especially not steam games. They can sit in my to-play list for years before I finally get around to them and even then, it’s rare that I ‘finish’ them. In truth I don’t own many games that have a solid ‘ending’ where I can sit down and feel confident that I’ve ‘beaten’ the game. Finishing a game is a pretty subjective point of view no matter how you look at it. Is a game completed when the story is completed? When you’ve earned all of the achievements? When you can’t progress a single character any further? What about games that have no real ending? Games like Sims 4, Banished, or Cities: Skylines? What constitutes the ‘end’ for you there? What about in an MMO, when have you ‘finished’ the game? When you’re at the maximum level available? When you’ve defeated all of the end-game encounters? There’s so many different values that you can attribute to the end of a game that it’s hard to know when one has completed it. At least for my games of choice which are typically sandbox games or at least games with sandbox features. Games like Super Mario World are much easier to decide when ‘the end’ is – but what about trying to accomplish all of the goals the game sets forth, for some people just making it to the end of a game isn’t actually ‘the end’.
So how do you decide when you’ve completed a game? How do you know when you’ve reached that point where there’s just nothing more for you to do and what do you do after that point, do you never return to the game even though it may have been one of your favourites? Or do games have unlimited re-play potential so long as you’re enjoying yourself?
Of course the whole reason this question came up is because I was glancing through my steam library trying to decide how many of my games (if any) I had ‘completed’ over the years. I’ve played through Magical Diary a handful of times now and seen multiple endings, so does that count as me having ‘completed’ the game? In the end, so long as I’m having fun, I suppose it doesn’t much matter – but it is fun to think about.