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Game you wasted the most time on before giving up


kitsunebi
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So there's this thing that happens to me all the time: I play a game, investing countless hours into it, driven more by a stubborn desire to finish it moreso than by any actual enjoyment. Then at some point, I have a moment of clarity: "What the hell am I doing with my life? I could be playing something actually FUN instead!" and I quit/delete the game.

This just happened to me while playing the SNES remake of Megami Tensei. I was probably 75% of the way done with the game, but that final 25% was still probably going to eat up at least another 10 hours. I was tempted to push on, if only to validate the time I'd sunk into it so far, but that moment of clarity just couldn't be denied. There are hundreds of better games I could be playing instead, so what the hell was I doing wasting my time playing one second longer?

So my question is, what game have you sunk the most time into before giving up? This has to be a game that can actually be completed - no MMOs and the like. My longest would probably be Tactics Ogre, which I had invested over 100 hours in before putting it down. I enjoyed the game, and didn't purposefully "give up," per se, but due to the extreme length, simply lost interest and stopped playing. And of course, so much time has passed since playing it last (around...uh...14 years, maybe?) that if I ever decide to play again, I'll have to restart.

edit: honorable mention - I've sunk I don't know how many hours into the original Grand Theft Auto attempting to complete every mission in the game, but never actually finished it. On my most recent attempt, I even ran it on an emulator so I could easily continue using save states. Even so, by the time I got to the 3rd city, I just couldn't take it any more and deleted the game and my save files.

Edited by kitsunebi77
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Hmm, interesting topic. Quick top of the head answer? My last attempt to play FF7. It's not that I don't enjoy the game, I've beaten it probably 4 or 5 other times through with varying approaches. Just for whatever reason, gaming in general wasn't really appealing to me at the time, this being around 2010 or so.

Less obvious answer? Pretty much any Gran Turismo game. I don't know that I've beaten a single one of them, save perhaps GT3. Those last few races, such as the F1 and Group C type races are a bit beyond my skill as a driver, even with a nice wheel setup. Then by GT5, you had Nascar and some ridiculously long endurance races. Much as I enjoy the games, I have a hard time with the strategy of Nascar, and I just don't have the patience to race for 12-24 hours in one sitting...

Overall though, I'm pretty damned stubborn when it comes to commitment to a game. Perhaps that's why I'm a bit anxious to try new ones sometimes... Combine that with a slight perfectionist / completionist streak, and well, you can see why I'm picky about what I dive into.

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  • Retromags Curator

Final Fantasy X on PS2.

I poured I don't know how many hours (35+) into that game, unlocked the airship, and was literally two boss battles away from completing the game when I realized I hadn't enjoyed ANYTHING about the game thusfar, set the controller down on the coffee table, got up, ejected the disc, and turned off my PS2. I've not touched it in fifteen years, but I still have the save game for it on a memory card. :)

*huggles*
Areala

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Dying Light, probably. After unlocking every skill, the game became a tired pile of garbage that I never even bothered to beat, even though the last boss is a QTE.

Press a button get a cookie? Gee, that's exactly what I want my game ending challenge to be. If I could roll my eyes harder I'd probably fall over. :P

Batman on NES. That game was so hard and I always got to either the Joker or that last guy before Joker. Never was able to beat Joker though...

Watching James & Mike (of AVGN) play through Batman was a lot of fun. Mike is really talented at these old games, and even he had a hard go with those last two battles.

Final Fantasy X on PS2.

*huggles*

Areala

You know, I remember putting a lot of time into that one as well. About all that really stuck with me though, is that the game was beautiful, the atmosphere was neat, the characters all felt very unique, and it was a lot of fun to tinker with the battle system, particularly into the monster hunting part of the game. There was one turtle like thing that I finally gave up on, for whatever reason I couldn't ever beat or capture or whatever it is you did with the monster hunts...

Still, I picked up the PS3 version, would like to play again some day.

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I have a hard time watching James and Mike run into every damn enemy, pit, and bullet, while missing every obvious secret and pattern in every game, while Bootsy just styles all over them. When Mike solo-streams, he seems to be much better at the games he's playing. Wonder if he's jobbing for the purposes of fair play.

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You could very well be onto something there. Personally, I can't watch Mike play the games solo. The pausing to read the chat bits really get on my nerves. Fortunately, the internet is FULL of other things to enjoy these days.

Bootsy though, I think that guy might actually just BE the Wizard...

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I feel bad for Mike Matei. So much of the internet hates him (not referring to you guys, just in general). He always struck me as a decent, enthusiastic (if a little spazzy) dude.

So there's this thing that happens to me all the time: I play a game, investing countless hours into it, driven more by a stubborn desire to finish it moreso than by any actual enjoyment. Then at some point, I have a moment of clarity: "What the hell am I doing with my life? I could be playing something actually FUN instead!" and I quit/delete the game.

Huh. For me this is defined as "Final Fantasy VIII".

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Huh. For me this is defined as "Final Fantasy VIII".

Yeah, I suppose RPGs are gonna be the main culprit here, since they take so long to finish usually. Unless they're paced really well, it's easy to lose focus/interest. I've never played VIII, but I lost interest halfway through FF7 and never finished it, and the same thing happened a bit later with Xenogears. Made me long for the days of FFII on the SNES where I was gripped by the game from start to finish.

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RPG's will definitely be high on this thread's target list. I think an rpg either needs good pacing, or a dedicated player. Some fine tuning of the battle rate certainly helps too. I mean, it's one thing to teach me the system, it's another to constantly bombard me with pointless fodder battles.

Every FF game that I've played, I tend to go through it at least twice. Once to tinker with the battle systems, learn the game, grind a bit, usually end up breaking the poor thing, then another run where I'll rush through it as quick as possible. Basically, divided the game into a game play, and a story play.

The only rpgs I can say I have a firm grasp on the story would be FF7 (repeat exposure), Vandal Hearts (great pacing), Suikoden (it's fairly short), and to an extent, Suikoden II (again, pacing). The list of rpg's I've played quite a lot of (we're talking totals of over a thousand hours, maybe two thousand?), but can't seem to remember more than character art / style, combat mechanics, and the odd bit of music or atmosphere, let's see...

-Dragon Quest 8

-FF4

-FF6

-FF8

-Xenogears

-Parasite Eve

-FF9

-FF10

-FF12

-FF Tactics

-Suikoden 3 (bugger all, there's hardly anything to it, and a huge missed opportunity by not focusing on Thomas as the main character, whole game through... no, I'm not bitter... promise.) :P

-Suikoden 5

There are likely others, but you get the point. I have a terrible memory.

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The only rpgs I can say I have a firm grasp on the story would be FF7 (repeat exposure), Vandal Hearts (great pacing), Suikoden (it's fairly short), and to an extent, Suikoden II (again, pacing).

I think Vandal Hearts may be my favorite JRPG of all time. Great pacing and (for me) the sweet spot in not-too-long length.

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Yeah, I suppose RPGs are gonna be the main culprit here, since they take so long to finish usually. Unless they're paced really well, it's easy to lose focus/interest. I've never played VIII, but I lost interest halfway through FF7 and never finished it, and the same thing happened a bit later with Xenogears. Made me long for the days of FFII on the SNES where I was gripped by the game from start to finish.

Ah, good on you. Final Fantasy IV (in particular, the original SNES experience that was "II") will always be my favorite game in that entire series. For the handful of things that it did wrong, it did so much else so wonderfully right.

It's not even that FFVIII was a bad game (I mean, I guess I can't really vouch for it, having abruptly abandoned it, but it didn't SEEM like a particularly bad game), it's that I just found myself so completely over it, despite having logged a good 15 or 20 hours into the game by that point. There have been games where I found myself too frustrated by a lack of progress, too daunted by insurmountable challenge or even too bored by what I'd vainly hoped would become an exciting title. But FFVIII was the only experience I can remember that saw me literally just sitting there, controller in hand, with the epiphanic feeling of "Wait...why am I even playing this?" washing over me. It wasn't irritation, it wasn't anger. It wasn't even boredom. It was sheer, shrugging indifference. I felt like I'd wasted my time on something that I would likely never finish, because I'd come to the sudden realization that I no longer even had the desire to finish it. I turned it off and popped in Silent Hill instead. I never touched Final Fantasy VIII again.

From that day forward I never invested so much as a single hour into any of the subsequent Final Fantasy games (save for re-releases of the 8 and 16 nit games) and likely never will. Just like that, inside the span of one unpredictable moment in my life, the urge to play new JRPGs (Final Fantasy in particular) disappeared completely.

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Mike, I'm curious, what did you find to be a flaw in FF2? I know I enjoyed playing it, but I breezed through it in something like a week or two, back in a period of my life that the memories are a bit fuzzy in general.

As for the ambivalence toward FF8, you're starting to sound like the main character, Squall, so maybe the game didn't miss the mark entirely haha! Good choice picking up Silent Hill though...

And err... wait. You've never played FF9? You sir... owe it to yourself. I'd wait for the re-release this summer though, supposedly they're fixing something that made the battles take a long time. Frankly though, I played it on PS1, and can't say I remember any odd delays?

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I knew I was forgetting one... Valkyria Chrnoicles 2. I absolutely LOVE the first game, it's great. The sequel introduced quite a few new classes and a fresh cast, what's not to like, right?

Well, for starters, the game felt neutered. Gone were the expansive maps, the feeling of large scale you know, battles in a larger war. The game felt less engaging, and more like an RTS, in the sense that you manage resources on a map. Don't get me wrong, VC2 isn't a bad game by any means, but it definitely wasn't as good as the original. I think I made it about halfway through the game before realizing that I just wasn't having much fun with it.

...and yet here I am, hoping that they'll remake it for PS3, and bring back the cohesiveness the original has.

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Less obvious answer? Pretty much any Gran Turismo game. I don't know that I've beaten a single one of them, save perhaps GT3. Those last few races, such as the F1 and Group C type races are a bit beyond my skill as a driver, even with a nice wheel setup. Then by GT5, you had Nascar and some ridiculously long endurance races. Much as I enjoy the games, I have a hard time with the strategy of Nascar, and I just don't have the patience to race for 12-24 hours in one sitting...

Yeah, me too. Le mans And all the GRiD series too, man I sucks at driving games.

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  • 1 month later...

This happened to me recently with Skyrim. I had already beaten the game when it came out, but there was recently a sale on the DLC so I decided to go back and play it. I played for a good ways through the game before I got bored and decided to try something else.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

i've actually beaten maybe 10% of the games i own. sometimes it's due to challenge, sometimes because of lack of free time, but usually it's just that i get invested in something else instead. i actually had to force myself to go back and beat the Wii Zelda games (this is my favorite video game franchise of all time, and i actually enjoyed the games!) because i had never finished them back when i picked them up. my Skyward Sword save file was last played in November 2011 (THAT'S WHEN THE GAME RELEASED!) but i had only played thru about 30% of the game. i started over and finished it within a month earlier this year.

but to actually answer the question, undoubtedly it is Diablo 2. i mean, technically i beat the game on multiple difficulty levels, but i never maxed out my character and i never beat it on the hardest challenge level. this is my singular favorite game of all time. i used to have what i called "Diablo 2sday" where, every Tuesday, i would get off work and start playing D2. and drinking Captain and Cokes. and play until i was hammered drunk and couldn't even focus on the screen. and i've got quite an alcohol tolerance, so this would be like 8-10 hours. EVERY WEEK. the kicker is that i didn't play online, so i did everything myself. and i explored every part of the map. every time i played.

finally lost interest once D3 came out, and was vastly inferior. now that i'm thinking about it, it's been over a year and a half since my last session. maybe next week....

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This thread begs the question, how many hours of our lives do we spend playing games? Figure, a standard 40 hour work week equates to 2080 hours per year, keep it at a nice, round 2000 for a couple weeks off.

Think about that a second. If I were to add up just the rpgs I have save files for, I would probably hit around 2000 hours in those alone. Nevermind games that don't have any sort of timer logging your play time. I wonder how many YEARS worth of work I've put into gaming... three? Five, perhaps? I'm only 32 now...

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As another 32 year old, I am consistently finding myself NOT playing games. I read about them, I watch LPs and reviews and whatnot while I work on stuff (incidentally, often game development), but I don't really feel I have time to play them anymore. I look at RPGs, which I remember liking, and thinking "who can play this tedious gridfest bullshit?". I gravitate towards indie games with significantly less time investment required, and even then don't usually bother.

Recently I played Glitch Dungeon (featured on Rock-Paper-Shotgun's Freeloaders) because it was the weekend and I had 20 minutes to kill, and felt that it was about as much time as I wanted to put into a game. Somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind is a teenager who is screaming at me.

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So this isn't exactly a "give up" story but I like to tell it anyhow.

Back in the day, one of the best games ever made - ever - was released for the Super Nintendo. Titled Super Metroid (aka Metroid 3, aka One Of The Best Games Ever Made), I couldn't afford the game outright so rented it for the weekend from a local supermarket.

The rental game had no manual included. It didn't have one of those 3rd party pseudo-manual summaries either, so I was entirely on my own.

So I started the game, quickly realizing I was playing something very special - one of the best games ever made, even - and found myself enjoying one of the finest gaming experiences of my life. At this point, I had intentionally attempted to avoid as many Super Metroid spoilers as possible (which was far easier during the Internet's formative years) so was almost always surprised with each new area discovered, each new item upgrade found, each new boss guy battled. Loved it.

I eventually found my way to the final section and after one final save point, began to do battle with the [redacted].

And I battled, and battled, and battled. To no avail. No matter my strategy, no matter my tactics, no matter how accurate I was with my weaponry, I couldn't defeat this horrific boss.

So I did what I had never done before - I called Nintendo's hotline for assistance.

"Thank you for calling Nintendo - how can I help you today?"

"Yeah, so I'm playing Super Metroid, and blah blah blah I run out of missiles and super missiles and bombs and I can't seem to hurt [redacted] any further. Any suggestions?"

"Using your missiles and bombs is a great strategy [support tip #1: always compliment the caller], but if you run out of those items, you'll want to continue your battle by using your charge beam."

"My what?"

"Your charge beam."

"I don't have a charge beam."

"You made it to the [redacted] without the charge beam!?"

"Um..., I guess so. How do I get the charge beam? I can't seem to leave this section because I saved after entering the [redacted]."

"Oh...."

"Hello?"

"I'm sorry, but you're going to have to start your game over. You can't retrieve the charge beam after saving in the [redacted]."

You'd think - having invested all that time - I'd be a little miffed over the situation. And if were any other game, yeah. But I couldn't have been happier, actually. I knew I was playing one of the best games ever made and honestly didn't want it to end.

But I gave up, deleted my save file, and started from scratch.

So pro-tip - when playing Super Metroid, be sure to find the Charge Beam BEFORE saving your game in the [redacted]. It's one of the few flaws in what is otherwise one of the best games ever made.

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Confession time... I've never played the Metroid games. It's probably the only Nintendo franchise I've never given a go at. That said... I will. Perhaps not today, nor tomorrow, but I know how games like that hold up, so I'm not worried in that department.

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