Monday, June 14, 2021
Barriers to entry and exit
On my PC I usually have a limited number of games installed. And of those there usually are just one or two which I consider myself to be "currently playing". Only a minor part of that is a technical limitation: The 557 games GOG Galaxy 2.0 says I have access wouldn't all fit on my hard drives simultaneously. The bigger part is that whenever I start a game, it takes me some time to learn the controls and then the finer points of gameplay, strategy, and tactics.
The result of this is that when I stop playing a game and start playing the next one, it becomes harder and harder over time to go back to the game I stopped playing, because I simply forget what I was currently doing in that game, or the details of the controls. Once in a while I go through the list of games installed on my PC, and uninstall those that for some reason I stopped playing a while ago. There are so many new games, taking up an old game again isn't that interesting in comparison.
Like most players, there are a lot of games that I start but never finish. And there are relatively few games that I finish playing, want more, and thus start playing again from the start. Sometimes I make a conscious decision to stop playing something. But it also happens that my plan was to just take a short break from a game while playing the new shiny that caught my eye, and three months later I notice that I never got back to that game.
Being conscious of that leads to some weird situations, like the one I am currently in: I am playing Wasteland 3, and I am not enjoying it as much as the other CRPG games I played this year. But somehow I am also reluctant to start playing something else, because that would probably mean that I never take it up again. I've only done one of the three children of the patriarch, so I guess I haven't seen even half of the game yet. In theory I should like the XCom-like combat system much more than I actually do. Does the game "get good" later, or is it really just not so much fun?
So there is not only a barrier to entry into a game, where it takes some time and effort to get into the game. But also a barrier to exit, where the FOMO (fear of missing out) makes me play a game longer than I am actually having fun with it. I'll probably overcome that soon, because honestly, I don't think my life will be any worse if I don't get to see the ending of Wasteland 3. But maybe I'll do the second son before stopping.