Analysis Paralysis

Righto, the kids are in bed, my wife is happily reading her book, the couch is mine! Time for some GA-A-AAAA-MING.

You need a new game. GTA V[i].[/i]

No way, it's time to dig into my Pile of Shame. I've got so many well-regarded games I've barely played that're just sitting on the shelf, waiting for me. Besides, it's 8pm. What am I going to do, drive down to JB now? I've had beers, it's not happening.

Use Steam. Something's probably on sale. Witcher 2[i] sounded pretty cool.[/i]

Nup. I want to chill on the couch and I don't want to wait for the download.

Use PSN. Get something new ... Dishonored[i]'s new DLC is out.[/i]

I said no! I don't want to spend any money when I've got all this latent value to tap from my unplayed games. I'm walking down the hall to the games shelf now, and you can't stop me.

[i]Bo-ring![/i]

Here we are ... Bayonetta. Awesome fighting mechanics! I've been looking for a good brawler since the God of War games.

God of War: Ascension [i]is probably cheap on PSN.[/i]

What did I tell you about money? C'mon, we played Bayonetta for a bit and it was fun. I only stopped when my save file wouldn't transfer after I bought a new PS3.

[i] Yeah, that was stiff, especially because you transferred your same hard disk into the new machine. You'll have to reinstall it, then replay those opening levels. Do you really want to retread old ground? And the story is crap; you'll just be skipping cutscenes the whole time.[/i]

Good point. ... Well, I never finished The Saboteur.

[i]Ergh, Nazis. So cliched. Plus, the stealth mechanics are woodgy, and you'll just be driving around a lot in those floaty-boat cars.[/i]

Maybe, maybe. Cars, though, there's an idea. How about Driver: San Francisco? The ability to jump into other drivers is pretty cool. Hey, do you think they were inspired by that for GTA V?

Yeah, GTA V[i]![/i]

Quit it.

[i]Anyway, some of the Driver missions were hard, and timed chase missions suck. You're too drunk to drive accurately, as you just told me.[/i]

In that case, what about some good ol' Burnout: Paradise? Then I can smash into whatever I want. Yeehaw!

[i]You've finished that already. It's more fun with mates and beers, only one of which you have right now. You should catch up with your mates more too, by the way — not that they want to hang out with you, because you're boring and only want to play video games.[/i]

OK, I'll organise a barbie or something soon, but I gotta focus on tonight. I spent all week at work wanting more time to play games, and I have a low-level humming guilt about the size of my Pile of Shame. Tonight is the perfect opportunity to address these matters. Fight Night: Champion was pretty fun.

[i]Mates and beers ... you're stuck on that last fight, which is too long and too hard.[/i]

Yeah. I pretty much got what I needed out of that game. Darksiders was good.

[i]You are nearly at the end of that too, and it was also getting annoying with those portal mechanics. There's not much left in there for you to enjoy except maybe another overlong boss fight.[/i]

True, true. Maybe I could replay a game ... I always wanted to go back to Alpha Protocol and make different choices.

[i]You'll still have to deal with those tricky shooting mechanics when your skills are low. Are you really going to play through it all again, or just quit halfway through like you did with building the cubbyhouse?[/i]

All right, geez, I'll get on to that tomorrow. God of War 3 is wicked. KRA-TOS.

[i]If you don't replay it on Hard, it's boring. If you do replay it on Hard, it's too hard. Don't you just want some relaxing fun after a long week at work?[/i]

Alrighty then, back to the Pile. Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Stealthy stealthy!

[i]The controls were too fiddly, and you'll just be lurking in shadows waiting for guards to finish patrol patterns. May as well go straight to bed now.[/i]

I was enjoying Crysis 2 when I lost the save due to changing PS3s. That was pretty cool. Action stealthy!

[i]Yeah, you really should have done your homework better on changing PS3s, you lost a lot of saved games there.[/i]

I followed all the Youtube instructions I found, I backed up my saves. How was I to know that some of them register to a specific PS3? Not my fault.

So you think Crysis 2[i] was good enough to replay ALL that early stuff?[/i]

You have a point. Modern Warfare 2 — I never really even started that.

Really? Jumping into a dumb military shooter? You played Gone Home[i] this year; you're better than that now.[/i]

Fine. Bioshock Infinite.

It's pretty, but it's too redolent of Bioshock[i]. It's essentially a linear progression from shootbox to shootbox, plus you can never use the Vigors as much as you want to.[/i]

Then why did you make me pick it up from the shops last week, tool?

[i]It was on sale. $50 off![/i]

Journey is on my hard drive.

[i]Walking simulator.[/i]

I Am Alive?

[i]Finicky combat, confusing climbing mechanics.[/i]

Rayman: Origins?

[i]Baby game.[/i]

3D Dot Game Heroes?

[i]Retro off-brand game trading on nostalgia for a game you never played in the first place.[/i]

Civilization: Revolution?

[i]How many thousands of times have you played Civ? C'mon man, play something NEW and exciting.[/i]

Folklore?

[i]Maybe you don't actually want to play a game. No one who likes games would suggest that.[/i]

How about a proper RPG? I could go back to Kingdoms of Amalur.

[i]Single-player WoW.[/i]

Or Dragon's Dogma.

[i]Too much walking. The lack of fast travel holds it back.[/i]

Skyrim, then.

[i]Haven't you sunk enough hours into that game? You've finished it twice. I thought this was about the Pile.[/i]

Right, right. I have the Metal Gear Solid HD collection. I loved Metal Gear Solid 4, why not get into the back catalogue?

You tried MGS3[i] for a bit, and the controls were weird. You'd have to re-learn them. Sounds like work.[/i]

Ahh, Shadow of the Colossus: You can't argue with this one; it's an undisputed classic — the My Dinner With Andre of games.

[i]Meh, it's basically just a lot of walking to boss fights and trying to get the hang of (high five!) those gripping mechanics. Do you want to play something that slow?[/i]

Ico? Some of the puzzles were pretty cool.

[i]Escort mission.[/i]

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2?

[i]Button-mashing snoozefest.[/i]

Game Of Thrones?

[i]Watching extended conversation between two static character models crossing and uncrossing their arms while supporting cast members from the show phone in some voicework? No thanks.[/i]

C'mon, there has to be something here.

[i]Maybe you quit these games for a reason. Maybe not everything you buy has to be finished. You don't owe anything to these games. If they can't hold your attention, that's their fault — not yours.[/i]

Maybe you're being too critical. How about when I picked up Far Cry 2 after leaving it on the shelf for a couple of years, and had a blast? How about when I finally finished Tomb Raider?

[i]They were awesome.[/i]

See? Digging into the Pile can be fun.

[i]But none of these games are as good as those.[/i]

They could be, if you'd let them.

[i]I'm just trying to make sure you have a good time. You've only got a few hours to game, gotta make them count.[/i]

Frankly, anything I play right now will be OK. Otherwise it's watching Trailer Park Boys again.

[i]No fair! You just rewatched them all last month![/i]

And I'll do it again if I can't find a game. So ... Killzone 2? Shadows Of The Damned?

[i]Are you sure you have the hand-eye co-ordination for shooting right now? What about a strategy game?[/i]

Well, you've already vetoed Civ, so ... R.U.S.E. instead.

[i]RTS on a console? Bleurgh. Gotta be turn based.[/i]

Easy, then. XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

[i]No, you're waiting for the expansion to come out soon. Keep your powder dry for that.[/i]

"Powder dry"? That gives me an idea.

[i]Whaaa?[/i]

You leave me no other choice. Port Royale 3!

[i]Bo...[/i]

It's strategy.

[i]But it's just trading![/i]

There's ship combat, too.

[i]That's ... [/i]

And you didn't want combat anyway.

[i]But ...[/i]

It's settled. I'm walking back down the hall now to play Port Royale 3.

[i]I suppose the ocean sounds are soothing. And it has nice, bright colours ... [/i]

Damn straight.

Comments

Sigh, it's like reading a conversation with myself. Are we really this jaded for entertainment now? Or I may just miss the "good 'ole days" when I could tear into a game for weeks straight. Now if it's longer than a few days I'm amazed.

You lost me the moment you dismissed The Saboteur.

But otherwise, yeah. Totally have done that.
What is it with games where you can have a wall full of them and think "Hrm, nothing to play"?

All too familiar. And usually I've wasted so much time deciding that I change my mind and play something else because I need a bigger block of time to play the original game. And the cycle continues...

Spaz wrote:
You lost me the moment you dismissed The Saboteur.

But otherwise, yeah. Totally have done that.
What is it with games where you can have a wall full of them and think "Hrm, nothing to play"?

If I had to guess, I'd say it's the paradox of choice. Fewer options makes the choice feel less onerous and leads to lower expectations from that which we choose.

This is why I like minecraft... Always something to do... you can always build or dig... You can watch tv or listen to podcasts while doing it...

As someone who has this problem a lot... along with the guilt of not finishing a good game... minecraft is my alternate... it takes up no hard drive space and the worst consequence is having to do exactly what you were already doing... more.

I found this a little harsh. Speaking only from my own experience, it sounds like you really didn't want to play a game and were fooling yourself into thinking you did.

I've complained before about what I call "media glut." I'll have some free time, and between television, movies, books, comics, articles, and games I can't figure out what I want to do. I used to feel guilty sometimes when I ran through the above scenario and finally decided that I really wasn't up for video games and had to step away for a bit.

Now I just go with my impulse at the moment I have some free time, and try not to put too much thought into it. Sometimes all of the above media lose and I just go for a quiet walk.

Darksiders was good.

Really? Jumping into a dumb military shooter? You played Gone Home this year; you're better than that now.

Made me laugh.

I Am Alive?

Finicky combat, confusing climbing mechanics.

Made me cry.

Folklore?

Maybe you don't actually want to play a game. No one who likes games would suggest that.

Made me laugh and my roommate cry.

(He's also waiting to hear why you don't like Folklore )

Or Dragon's Dogma.

Too much walking. The lack of fast travel holds it back.

Made me shake my fist in righteous anger.

Well done. I'm glad to see I'm not alone with a pile full of "nothing" to play.

This is why I have a backloggery page with 9 choices to pick from. If I don't know what I should play, I just look at the game on that list that's closest to the bottom (played least recently) and decide if I feel like that, then move upward. Of course, the choice of what to play recently has been really easy. FFXIV.

You should just suck it up and play Bayonetta, and go through the early levels again. I'm going to have to go through the early levels of FF4 again, and I was 30 hours into that game before I switched from PS1 to PSP. If I can do it, you can do it.

Folklore is a fantastic game. I played all the way through it from beginning to end for Extra-Life 2012. Saboteur was one of the first games that I platinum-ed as well.

I did just fine with this phenomena. And then I found Steam. Now my pile is absurd.

Thanks Obama Glorious PC Master Race!

Heh. I suffered this very same problem. But then I came up with a solution!

Yeah, I go through exactly this every time I have an evening to myself.

If you don't replay it on Hard, it's boring. If you do replay it on Hard, it's too hard

And I had exactly that experience with GoW3. When they say Hard, they really mean it.

Minarchist wrote:
Heh. I suffered this very same problem. But then I came up with a solution! :)

And it's a solution I've been using myself. I've finished more games since starting doing this than I probably ever did prior.

I just wish I had time to play stuff...

wordsmythe wrote:
Spaz wrote:
You lost me the moment you dismissed The Saboteur.

But otherwise, yeah. Totally have done that.
What is it with games where you can have a wall full of them and think "Hrm, nothing to play"?

If I had to guess, I'd say it's the paradox of choice. Fewer options makes the choice feel less onerous and leads to lower expectations from that which we choose.

Research is showing that it may not be a paradox but a quantifiable phenomenon:

http://www.columbia.edu/~ss957/artic...

I posted this paper once before, but it's relevant to this discussion as well:

These experiments, which were conducted in both field and laboratory settings, show that people are more likely to purchase gourmet jams or chocolates or to undertake optional class essay assignments when offered a limited array of 6 choices rather than a more extensive array of 24 or 30 choices. Moreover, participants actually reported greater subsequent satisfaction with their selections and wrote better essays when their original set of options had been limited.

Just exchange jams and chocolates with games.

I got turned on to this particular research project from the Bodies Exhibit here in NYC. The opening movie they showed before we entered the exhibit also touched on this idea as well:

- technology has freed up a lot of our time (think laundry machines and cars instead of hand washing and walking)
- free time means more choices of activities to fill it with
- more activities to choose from actually leads to more stress
- this particular stress comes from the feeling that one is 'missing out' on some other activity that is available to them

conclusion: more free time leads to greater choice on how to spend it, but also leads to more stress because one either tries to do to many things, or is constantly worried that there is something better that they are NOT doing.

nel e nel wrote:

Research is showing that it may not be a paradox but a quantifiable phenomenon:
The "paradox" is that we think we want more choices, but evidence indicates that we actually are happier with fewer choices.

Jeez. Going through this tonight.

Wife is out of town for work until Tues. I've got loads of gaming time. Can't decide what to play.

I used to have this problem. Then I started using Backoggery, took stock of the damage and started culling the pile (or stalling its growth).
And when faced with analysis paralysis, I just use the fortune cookie function.
Look to the cookie!

Every. Single. Night.

Nice piece!

BC, if you have this problem every night, you have too much time on your hands!!

Stele, I have that same issue when my wife is away, I have lots of time to play but often don't feel like playing anything I have. Sometimes I wind up watching TV instead, which is ridiculous because it's the last thing I want to do when she is around, for the most part.

It's tied to loneliness, for me, because I want to have her around all the time, even when we aren't actively doing anything together. If she's in the house, I'm happy, if she's not, I get fretful, and the longer she's away the more fretful I tend to be. That's really saying something, though, because I grew up quite solitary and have only started feeling this way since meeting my wife.

I think there is another thing at work here, again, possibly only for me. I am one heck of a procrastinator, and I can honestly say I derive the most pleasure from a game when I am supposed to be doing something else. I can sometimes give myself a list of things that need doing and purposely ignore the list for most of the day, which provides great stimulation for gaming!

[size=6](evidently I enjoy lying to myself!)[/size]

This sounds similar to how I try to make sure my son only gets one new game at a time for his birthday or for Christmas. I feel like it's actually *more* fun for him that way.

If you have one new game to play: You happily play it!

If you have two new games to play (and both look like fun): You pick one and start playing it, but in the back of your mind you're wondering if you wouldn't be having more fun if you switched to the other one?

ccesarano wrote:

[i]Maybe you don't actually want to play a game. No one who likes games would suggest that.[/i]

Made me laugh and my roommate cry.

(He's also waiting to hear why you don't like Folklore )

I'd like to say I have a well-considered critique of Folklore (after playing it for all of 4 hours), but I don't. I think it just comes down to JRPGs not being my thing.

Dakuna wrote:
BC, if you have this problem every night, you have too much time on your hands!!
[size=6](evidently I enjoy lying to myself!)[/size]

Well, it rather comes with being single, now... that much more time at time to devote to myself... hehehe, still don't know if I'm lonely or enjoying my solitude.

I get like this about twice a week; it always ends with me starting up Crusader kings II.

I've seen people talk about the problem of too much time, and I don't really know how to parse that idea.

wordsmythe wrote:
I've seen people talk about the problem of too much time, and I don't really know how to parse that idea.

I made a sarcastic response. Feel free to not read it

Spoiler:
Ok here goes:

If there are 24 hours in a day, and I use 8 hours for sleeping, that leaves me 16 hours. Of those 16 hours, I spend 2.5-3 hours driving, leaving me with 13 hours, 8 of which I spend at work (unless I work overtime). So 5 hours are left for me to use for household chores, eating, talking to my wife and being entertained. Let's suppose I do 2 hours of chores per day (hah!), and 1 hour I use to eat my food (lunch is included in the 8 hours from earlier). I now have 2 hours left to do with what I like.

The idea behind having too much time on your hands results from not having anything you want to do for those 2 hours, at least in this example (your amount of 'free time' may vary).

I'm afraid I may not be able to math.

I didn’t delete all my games, or tuck them away, but I did impose a rule on myself similar to the One Game Challenge (and applied it to books as well). I have to finish one before I begin another.

I realized how often I was dropping something to pick something else up on a whim.

Not only does it lead to lack of mental focus, it doesn’t give the works due consideration.

It can also be a great incentive to get through a dry patch in one game if you know there’s another one you want to play.

The problem I have is the two nights a week I have to play, I waste with this conversation, and 'start' to play at 10 PM, from an 8 PM start.

The one game rule works, but, I still have the same conversation deciding which 'one' I am going to focus on