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Topic: The contentment of the patient gamer

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stuzster

Okay, I will get this out of the way right off the bat - I almost never buy a game within the first 6-12 months after launch. Whilst I may own a modern console, I won’t be playing the newest and greatest titles until most other folks have long since completed them and moved on. My reasons for gaming this way are many, and I thought I would see if any of you share a similar mindset.

But, before I explain, let me quickly go back to the earlier ‘me’, from around the PS1 and early PS2/Dreamcast days. Back then, it wasn’t unusual for me to buy a game on day one, play it for a weekend or two, then buy the next release I had been waiting for, and then a few weeks later....you get the picture. I never allowed myself to ‘dwell’ on a game for long, thinking I had to start playing the next one on my list soon after release. Either that, or I just couldn’t resist buying something whilst browsing the shelves in my local game shop. Subsequently, I would often have several recent titles sitting on my shelf, having barely scratched the surface of any of them. This was an expensive way of gaming, and the madness would often reach it’s peak when on the odd occasion, I would find myself trading in some of these nearly new, barely touched games for something even newer. Bluntly, I never really got close to enjoying anything in my pursuit to experience everything!

Fast forward to the XBox 360 era, and my approach changed somewhat. Although still capable of slipping back to my old ways from time to time, I found myself increasingly ignoring those newer titles until I had got my moneys worth out of my current ones. This was born partly out of a dogged determination to actually finish more games and get my moneys worth out of them, but also an increasing feeling that I didn’t want to touch another game until I had finished my current commitment. This meant I was often spending months to finish up games when friends were finishing them within weeks, and hoovering up those new titles at a rate that astounded me. But then, one look at their trophies or achievements showed me that although they had played way more titles than me, their completion rate was low and they hadn’t completed much of the game after all. In short, they were kind of like the gamer I used to be: impulsive, impatient and easily distracted.

This lead me to conclude that not only had I gotten a little older (and arguably wiser), but that I had become a more measured gamer, more content, better engaged. The games that I had put off playing were now noticeably more affordable than at launch. Sure, I was missing that feeling of being part of the launch ‘community’ - but I had learned that this was now of little importance to me. A good and interesting game would still be a good and interesting game in 12 months, 18 months, 24 months.

So, I waited. Waited, and played my current title more thoroughly, more intensely, more enjoyably. Finishing it was something that just happened when I was ready for it. Now I was allowing myself to be thoroughly absorbed in the game worlds, and allowing myself more time to really get deeply into playing and enjoying the game purely on my terms.

This means that these days, I often don’t start playing a game until way after all the internet hype, reviews, opinions and trash talk have melted away, and I can enjoy my game without being constantly exposed to all the critical attention that current, newly released titles seem to attract. With this approach, I find that my patience can have some pretty sweet rewards...

Often, when I do get around to choosing my next title, it has had the benefit of extensive patching to fix major issues. I can pick up better value Game Of The Year editions, with added content if I choose. Also, I have a wealth of online videos, reviews and playthroughs to inform my choice more effectively. And, there is the obvious benefit of being able to pick up a once £40 or £50 game at a fraction of the cost. Since owning a Playstation 4, my average spend on a game (including some trade-ins) is less than £7.50 - and this includes many of the recent essentials like God Of War, Horizon Zero Dawn and Red Dead Redemption 2 amongst others. Although saving money isn’t my prime motivating factor, it is nonetheless a nice by-product of my approach.

Now, I’ll be honest - once in a while a new title will come along that will test my resolve. But, even then, I can exercise a degree of patience. I can enjoy being part of the launch experience by watching some live streams, which are a great way of judging content, and assessing something which even the best of critiques fail to cover effectively for me - pacing. These allow me to virtually ignore reviews, and form my own opinion on a game - and hopefully tag it for a future purchase. The last time I felt like paying full price for a game was Shenmue 3 - but even that was to add funds to a Kickstarter to give one of my favourite gaming series another chance to shine. Gaming doesn’t have to be expensive or restrictive, and I think more people would benefit from not buying everything the minute it becomes available. If you simply have to play all the new titles as soon as they release, then no doubt Game Pass and the like will go some way to lowering the outlay for some people, although I do prefer physical copies to digital equivalents.

So, I favour the wait. It’s an approach that has not only enriched my gaming enjoyment significantly, but it also means I still get to play all the games I want to - and they taste just a little sweeter a little further down the road.

stuzster

kyleforrester87

It’s a good point and a good approach to gaming. I don’t like to be so far behind the curve but in recent times I have been happier to wait. I’ve actually found myself to be pretty disgusted (for want of a better word) with how quickly we can all disregard a game a week or so after it comes out when we were looking forward to it for so many years prior.

kyleforrester87

PSN: WigSplitter1987

RogerRoger

@stuzster I really enjoyed reading this; thank you for posting it!

As somebody who pre-orders and plays at launch, but who only plays a select few games per year, I can understand your position without personally adhering to it. There have been a couple examples, usually during unusually busy release windows, where I've made the mistake of rushing to something I could've easily waited for (Just Cause 4 and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus being the most recent; didn't need them, rushed them, have yet to go back to them) and were I somebody who played a wider range of games, I think I'd adopt your approach... but only after I'd learned the lesson for myself. Hey, I'm only human.

As it stands, I tend to be selective and only pre-order and play new games that I know I'll like (at least to a reasonable degree). But we're halfway through 2019 and thusfar, my top gaming memories of the year have come from downloading and discovering older games that came highly recommended, were dirt-cheap and had been patched to as close to perfection as they were ever gonna get. And I'm okay with that.

FOMO may be defining a generation at the moment but my personal fear is that, one day, I might wake up and not actually enjoy gaming any more. For now, I can just keep things as balanced as I can.

The core concept of your post, I'm totally in agreement with. Between those select few pre-orders every year, I replay my collection. Rather than constantly searching for the new, I like to go back, take my time and really explore and understand things I've enjoyed (or give things I haven't a second chance, nowadays after a good few patches and often with some DLC thrown in for good measure). That's the key word you used, engagement; not with media hype, communities or friends, but with the product itself.

I play games first and talk about them second. Can't very well talk about something I don't understand.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

themcnoisy

@stuzster
Games have changed - on the ps1 and n64 only the big RPGs had weeks of content (ff7 is under 50 hours / Ocarina of Time took maybe 30) Compare those massive games to the 100 hour Witcher 3, 100 hour RDR, 100 year destiny etc. The time required to average human life ratio does not compute.

Forum Best Game of All Time Awards

Multiplat 2018: Horizon Zero Dawn
Nintendo 2017: Super Mario Bros 3
Playstation 2016: Uncharted 2
Multiplat 2015: Final Fantasy 7

PSN: mc_noisy

DerMeister

I made a thread similar to this one last year. There I described how I've historically been late to most consoles since I started gaming. I got a PS1 right as the PS2 was about to take over, a 360 a couple years before the XBONE came out, a PS3 a year before PS4 came out (Kinda cheating, because I originally had one a year after it came out, but it broke down within the year, so I don't really count it), and I've had a PS4 for two years now. The PS2 and Wii were the only consoles I had within their first few years of arrival.

As a result of that, I'm kinda 50/50 between patient and impulsive with my personal mindset. I've bought plenty of titles well past their relevancy period (I only recently bought Horizon Zero Dawn and Yakuza 0, for example), but with games I'm really, really interested in, like Kingdom Hearts III and Devil May Cry 5, I get day 1, backlog be dammed. Speaking of backlogs, being a 20 something with a job, I've built one up pretty quickly. However, I only focus on a few games at a time, because otherwise, I'd just add stress to gaming, the last thing I want my favorite hobby to be. As a result, it tends to take me some time before I go after most new games. And since my next big release is Death Stranding, I'll be saving up money for a while, and be working on that 'log in the meantime (assuming I don't add more to it till then).

As much as I like taking part in a game at it's most relevant, it's hard to deny that reaping the benefits of waiting helps out. Cheaper prices, especially. I paid a little over full price for one new game for Horizon, Yakuza 0 and Kiwami 2 combined. I can't get upset over that. And if I ever decide to get titles like Assassin's Creed Unity, which was busted at launch but patched, waiting would definitely be great in that case.

"We don't get to choose how we start in this life. Real 'greatness' is what you do with the hand you're dealt." -Victor Sullivan
"Building the future and keeping the past alive are one and the same thing." -Solid Snake

PSN: HeartBreakJake95

WanderingBullet

I bought my PS2 roughly two years after it was launched. I think it was the same with my PS3 too. PS4 was around 18 months after launch.

As for games, for me day one purchases are usually important when it comes to live-service games since there are usually limited time events or rewards that I don't want to miss out on.

Edited on by WanderingBullet

Huntin' monsters erryday.

stuzster

Another effect of my approach to gaming is that the concept of a ‘backlog’ is something that I simply have no need for, as I will generally only buy a game when I am ready to play it. I don’t like having a ‘queue’ on my shelf at all.

stuzster

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