I guess part of the angst I feel from my video game collection comes from the fact that I’m something of a completionist. For whatever reason, I feel that not managing to finish something I’ve started is some sort of gross personal failure on my part.

It’s not just video games I feel this with. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read that I was only mildly interested in that I’ve plowed through just to say I didn’t leave it half done. I mean, that’s pretty much what got me through the Wheel of Time series while I was in college. This drive is what got me through grad school, when they were actively trying to weed us out.

Seriously, though. Wheel of Time? Each book was longer, taking place over a smaller and smaller period of time. One even took place in the past.

But I digress. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, on some level, each unfinished game in my collection feels like a failure. Each one represents something I set out to do/play/experience that hasn’t happened yet.

Of course, my use of The Backloggery doesn’t help that mindset at all. My number of unplayed and unfinished games is right there at the top of the list, for all to see. And the language they use, while designed to encourage people to work through their backlog, can make me feel more guilty when I’m in a dark state of mind.

But I don’t always feel this way. I haven’t even come close to reading every book in my collection, especially now that I’ve picked up several ebook bundles. And yet I don’t feel nearly as guilty bout that as I do about my video game collection. And it’s not like my purchasing habits between the two are really that different; when I don’t get them from the library, I tend to buy used books, especially if the bookstore is having some sort of “3 for $4, 20 for $10” special.

Although that is a good point. I don’t tend to buy many books these days (aside from ebook bundles), but I am still actively buying video games. So there’s much more of a feeling of “sunk costwith video games. And given how I’m often frugal to a fault, a part of me likely resents any money I spend on “non-essentials.”

Thinking and writing about this has helped. If nothing else, it’s made me realize the ridiculousness of resenting one collection of entertainment media over one equally unengaged. Remembering that all the time is of course going to be a challenge, but at least I’m feeling better about it now.

1 thought on “Completionist

  1. Servillo

    I did this, a lot. I didn’t just want to finish the game, I wanted to do all the sidequests, get all the unique items, all the spells and abilities and so on and so forth. The only thing I refused to do was level grind beyond what the game needed. And since a lot of games in my preferred genre have limited time windows for a huge number of their sidequests, usually requiring backtracking to areas I would have never thought to visit, it’s very easy to miss stuff. So I used guides, walkthroughs, etc. to make sure I didn’t miss anything, which inevitably led me to skip ahead a little to make sure I wasn’t going to miss something…and winding up spoiling the game as a result. Sometimes as far as the final boss, which really killed any enthusiasm I might have had.

    Now, I don’t care. I still buy games because I want to try them. If it grabs my attention, awesome! If not, then it still looks pretty on the shelf, and one day it will draw me back in. Or not. The collecting is now as much as a hobby as the gaming itself, and I’m actually okay with that. It’s cool to see all those titles lined up on my shelf, even if I’ve only finished a third of them, left another third half played, and the last third not even opened past the shrink wrap. I get what entertainment I want out of a game, and that’s that. Were it not for wanting to see my collection ever growing, Gamefly might actually be a good service for me to use, and I have considered it before.

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