I have this sort of love/hate thing with video games. I’ve been playing video games since I was about 3 years old which is right around when we first got our NES. Now, I’m 25 going on 26 and still have the same problem that I had when I was 3 and I just started playing Super Mario Bros. That problem is that I can’t beat most video games. I shouldn’t say it’s that I can’t. More or less, that I just don’t. Think about it for a second… neither do most of you.
Most of you are now cycling through your memories remembering all of the games you’ve beaten thinking something like; “Oh, I played through and beat the original Legend of Zelda.” I mean, who hasn’t beat that game? I’m talking about how many of us have beat a modern video game? And I’m talking FINISH THE GAME. Some may now be questioning what I mean by that, but the truth is that most of us haven’t. In fact, only the most hard core of gamers have enough of a combination of love for a game and time on their hands to finish a modern video game. And some will argue the definition of “Finish,” and to that I say “pish posh.”
Let’s Look At An Example: Any gamers in the room who haven’t played Super Mario World need to raise their hands so we can know who not to give a microwave and aluminum foil to. Seriously. That game is not impossible, but it fucking might as well be. I know every one of us sad souls have a copy or two of that piece of gold lying around our house. All the save files read something pretty similar: Mario A … 78, Mario B … 95, Mario C … 83. Most of us haven’t ever gotten 100% of that game finished because, let’s face it, after a while you’re just like “fuck this.” And who is to blame you? Out of every 100 people who play video games (and most all of them should have played, if not owned, Super Mario World) I would say maybe 1-2% of those 100 have actually completely taken down every inch of that game. How many of us love Super Mario World enough to do it? Let’s put it another way: how many of us have enough determination to just want to say you did it?
And that was only the beginning of video games offering that next ‘layer’ of game to finish. Sure, there were some games before it that did, but Super Mario World really put it into the mainstream. It was a fairly new concept then: a game that has an ending, but can go back and be replayed to unlock additional secrets, levels, and challenges. That little concept back then has snowballed into the modern games of today with the advent of Achievements and to a lesser extent, Trophy’s (and whatever bastard rip off the Wii will eventually come up with). Yeah, you’ve played through the story of Call of Duty 4 once and you’ve hit prestige 50 thousand times (you’re sick, by the way). But only the truest of the true COD fans have probably played through and earned ALL THE ACHIEVEMENTS because, let’s face it, eventually that shit just gets old.
And that is the sad part. We get bored, or frustrated with something that is supposed to be FUN. It’s not supposed to be that way. Our beloved past time has become something that starts out fun then eventually becomes a chore to finish. Game developers are stuck in this purgatory where titles are either too difficult or too simple and there is no middle ground left. So, they pack a game full of Achievements and un-lockables adding more (some would argue, false or un-needed) incentive to play the game more after you’ve finished to create replay value. You pick up a game and play for a while, and maybe you really like it, but nobody likes a game (or hates themselves) enough to play a game to it’s full completion. Well, I found someone that hates himself just enough to spend way too many hours on one video game… THIS GUY!
I have decided out of sheer respect for the developers (a multicultural team of various faiths and beliefs, mind you) and lack of respect for myself that I’m going to beat and finish Assassin’s Creed 2. Achievements. Feathers. Treasure Boxes. Missions. Side Quests. Extra Shit. I’m gonna complete the game the way the developers would want me to. Some would ask; why Assassin’s Creed 2? And I’d say; why not? But, ultimately, I’ve chosen Assassin’s Creed 2 for 3 reasons.
Reason 1: I feel it’s a very well done game and a great improvement over the first game and I’m kind of a fan-boy after playing the first one.
Reason 2: I would have chosen Grand Theft Auto 4 but I think that I’d need a month off of work and an IV in my arm to keep me hydrated.
And Reason 3: Because my friend Goat doesn’t think I can do it.
So, there it is. I’ve made my decision. I’m more than most of the way through the game now and I have already started collecting most of the menial shit that’s left. I’m getting into that home stretch part where it’s becoming tedious and the redundancy is causing me to begin to lose sanity. I’ll have to play a different game in between sessions so I don’t break down and give up (I’m thinking Arkham Asylum). So, in part 2 of this little journey I’ll have hopefully finished this game and not have murdered a cat in a dark alley trying to convince myself I’m the Devil. I’ll see you guys in hell… Wish me luck.