I recently finished playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I put over 60 hours into the game when all was said and done and that ranks up there pretty high with the most time I’ve invested in a single player game. Those 60 hours were spread out over about 4 months meaning that about 1/3 of the gaming I’ll end up doing this year will have been devoted to that game. And yet when all was said and done I felt like I had skipped almost half of the game.
The thing about The Witcher is it’s a game that is seemingly endless. You can’t take a crap in that game without unlocking 2 or 3 new quests. And the more that I played the more things became available for me to do. It eventually got to the point where I decided I needed to say to hell with the side quests and just barrel straight through to the end of the game. If I was ever going to get to my growing backlog of games I’d have to skip the content I hadn’t found yet and just go to the ending. I even skipped many of the gameplay mechanics built into the game. I only play a dozen or so games of Gwent and I don’t think I ever crafted a single item or brewed a single potion. These are huge parts of a game that I just didn’t take the time for.
And after I finished The Witcher, what did I move onto? Destiny! I’ve put about a dozen or so hours into the game and finished the story, but now I have to figure out what the difference is between a strike and a raid. Or an exotic weapon and a legendary one. Heroic this and Nightfall that. And what the hell do I do with a strange coin?! The amount of information and terminology required to get a grasp on this game is absolutely exhausting. And I only have the base game! That still leaves 3 expansions worth of crap to figure out.
And it’s not that I couldn’t figure it out. If I can read books on theoretical physics and kinda/sorta follow along I’m sure I can figure out how to find Xur. It’s just that I’m not sure that I want to. Not even taking into consideration the time commitment to these games, I don’t know if I want the games I play to be so complicated. Part of that might have something to do with the fact that if I play a game during the day I have screaming children to contend with, and if I play at night I’m battling just to keep my eyelids open. Neither of those are ideal situations for learning complicated crafting systems or voice chatting with a team of squadmates.
I guess what it comes down to is that I might prefer to turn my brain off just a bit when I play games. I can handle the simple things then. Red barrels go boom, tilt up for star power, and the floors that look like donuts will fall if you stand on them too long. You can call me an old fart if you want or tell me that I’m losing my “hardcore game cred”. That’s fine, it doesn’t hurt my feelings. All those young whipper snappers can max out their Destiny characters in the first week and spend 200 hours in The Northern Kingdoms. My old ass has to get to bed because it’s after 9pm.