The Unfinished Game Curse

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It's something that haunts us all, preying on the mind like a disease. On the outside, the world sees a happy, accomplished gamer, whilst inside fear, doubt and bitterness takes hold. Like a modern day Dorian Gray, only the portrait in the attic reveals the true torment we gamers feel over the unfinished game.

We've all got them lurking under the telly, silently taunting us. Unfinished games are not necessarily a poor reflection of your gaming prowess, just a fact of life. There are many reasons why a game slips from the "currently being played" list to the "unfinished games" list – and once there, they are sadly, often irretrievable.

Only games of a certain quality become ‘unfinished' – bad games just get dismissed and any intention to play them quickly dissipates after getting to the end of the first level, unless they're real bad, in which case you don't get much further than the tutorial. On the other hand, unfinished games bask in good intentions. One day you WILL play them and that's why they can never be sold, swapped or {gasp} chucked out.

Getting stuck will often claim a game that was well on its way to being finished. A walkthrough can sometimes get you out of a sticky situation or three, but sometimes the boss is so darn hard. Or just knowing the treacherous task ahead is enough to send another game to that illustrious pile under the telly. And there it will sit with "so you couldn't finish me, huh!?" written all over it.

Then there are the times when the games industry's release schedule is a gamer's undoing. When a run of good games come out together, it's all too easy to let the first get usurped by the second and the second get usurped by the third – okay I'm gonna stop there because the likelihood of four good games coming out together is like, next to nil.

Yes, it takes an iron will to complete each game before moving onto the next. I mean, surely you have to take a sneaky peak at a new release, just to be able to chat about it in the pub with your mates. Otherwise they'll be all like, "Ooh, have you seen, such and such 2?" and you'll be all like, "Oh no, I'm still finishing so and so, which means I can't buy or play anything new yet." And they'll be all like, "Oh, right"weird!?"

There must be a happy medium that can be struck, or maybe I just don't have any staying power. The sad fact is that I have more brilliant games than I care to mention gathering dust in my room. I can see them now, as I write – a plastic cased embodiment of my failure to complete a game.

I do know people who actually finish games and sometimes marvel at how they do it. One is my own brother, for goodness sakes and one is my mate Dave.

Now, take Dave – not only has he completed Halo several times, even on mega hard, but it wouldn't be unusual to find him revisiting his favorite battles. Then there's Age of Empires"I think he may have even finished that, I thought those things were endless. Yep, there's no getting around it, Dave's got staying power.

Then there's my brother"he finishes everything. I bought him Bauldur's Gate for Christmas and by February he hadn't even touched it because he was in the middle of Max Payne or something. I mean pur-lease, nobody's really that anal.

Then there's our very own Mr. Breeden, the puppet master, aka editor at GiN. He is the only person I know in the flesh who's finished Morrowind. I mean, that thing is vast"it's like Tolstoy does gaming epic and heck, adds another couple of chapters for good measure. He's always finished something or other and I'm always being a fickle mistress and busy trying something new.

I know I'm not alone in being a victim of unfinished game syndrome because Konami Boy's got it too and there must be more of us. Just the other day, we were talking about how we must be the only people who were relieved to hear that Halo 2 was sketched in for 2004, purely because it would give us time to finish the first one. I can't believe I've just admitted that – it's okay, you don't have to say it, I already hang my head in shame on a regular basis. But I will finish it; it's top of the pile, honest {sheepish grin}

There should be some kind of confessional for gamers like me. Bless me father for I have sinned. It's been four days since I last tried to do the Malaysia level on Hitman 2. And also, I've been coming home and playing a couple of matches on DOAX instead of trying to get past level 3 on Ikaruga and making my eyes bleed.

It's no good, I've decided the only thing for it is to take a sabbatical and spend it finishing those games that deserve to be finished.

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