RIP The Finished Game

Last weekend I managed to Team Deathmatch myself to a Commander (level 70) in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Considering it took me over 50 hours of online play to get there, I’m extremely loath to select Prestige and revert myself back to a Private. I’ve played online with people who are currently on their 4th Prestige and it would appear that the game offers badges up to a 10th run through the ranks:

Ranks 1-5 Ranks 6-10

Now I appreciate that because my aim wasn’t to grind up through the ranks as quickly as possible, level 70 could have been reached far quicker but I suspect that hundreds of hours could be sunk into this game without ever considering it complete. Modern Warfare 2 represents the current gaming climate well enough to pose the question of when can you say you’ve completed a game?

The concept of achievements and trophies (not in fake leap years, mind you) fails to provide a good metric. The only game I’ve ever achieved the full thousand gamer score in was King Kong and that was one of the first Xbox 360 games I owned. I consider it a game I’ve completed, not just because I’ve squeezed every last achievement out of it but because there is nothing left to do in the game: no collectables missed, no online options, no DLC – there’s a clear ribbon across the finishing line.

I know that our community has its fair share of completionists, not least our very own Zoey who frequently spends time squeezing the last achievements out of older games but the definition of completing a game is now as varied as gamers themselves. I wonder whether developers’ consideration of game lifecycle has diversified in the same way or even if they consider the concept of completing their games nonsensical, let alone possible?

We’re a good few years on from the days of King Kong and it’s fair to say the day of clear finishing lines in games is long gone. The idea of completing a game was a badge of honour in my youth, you either had finished the last level or you hadn’t. These days the holy grail of a thousand Gs is only as sacred as the next DLC release date.

Level 70

The (un)intended consequence of this situation is that it promotes inclusion for all walks of gaming life. By obfuscating a game’s status, the ability to differentiate gaming skill becomes equally difficult — even selecting Prestige just means you’re repeating what you’ve already done. When I started off on Xbox Live, I was frequently comparing my achievements to everyone else’s but now I forget the last time I looked. The upshot is that I care more about the individuals I’m playing with rather than their ability and that can only be a good thing.

The finished game may well be a thing of the past but its passing has left us with a brighter future.







6 responses to “RIP The Finished Game”

  1. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    When I beat the last boss, win the last race, finish the story/campaign etc, then I have beaten the game. I have completed t when I have my 1000G. I do not worry about picking up 0G achievements and don’t play alot of online.

    Whatever people decide to play, as long as they are having fun, then that’s what matters.

  2. Anthony avatar

    Unless of course it’s Burnout :).

  3. wcd45 avatar

    I had the same predicament when i went through the first prestige, i couldn’t decide whether i should do it or not as I had finally found the gun i love in the ACR and i knew it would take me a while to get it again through ranking up. But i decided to prestige anyway, now I’m a level 69 on the verge on second prestige and once again i really don’t know if i can be bothered to have to play a lot to get the gun i like. Oh BTW, i have found that the best game type for bonus points is demolition, it’s a nice mix of death and objective gameplay. Oh and the only games i have the full GS for are Halo 3, ODST, Lego Batman, Lego Indy 2 and TMNT =)

  4. Rhyle avatar

    My advice is to prestige once to unlock the Prestige challenges, then sit on that – that way you won’t be missing out on anything!

  5. Simon avatar

    Very interesting point Anthony, not something I’ve thought about before.

  6. Anthony avatar

    There are prestige challenges? Arses, I fear I may have to. I’ve also remembered that I also achieved 1000 GS on the original Viva Piñata, a game I unashamedly enjoyed a great deal but obviously not memorably so.

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