Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Rule of Four

SCAVENGER HUNT: You have hound the first post in which I reference my on-again, off again Rule of Four. The second prize number is 4.

CLUE #3: You can find the third number in a post I wrote without any prior plan as to what I'd be writing about before I started.

I consider myself a "casual" completionist. I want to get all the points in every game I play, but I won't cry myself to sleep or avoid a game if there's one of two achievements that just seem like too much trouble. DLC add-on points can sometimes annoy me, but right now I'm really not concerned about them and their effect on my completion percentage. I certainly don't care about ever hitting 100% (or even 90+%) completion. A global 75% or better is what I'm striving for.

My problem has been I can't keep my attention on a game long enough to get all the way through it, most of the time (I mean all points, not necessarily the whole campaign). Some people can pick up one game and see it through to the end without problems. Unfortunately, I just can't. Even with the best AAA games, my attention will eventually begin to flag before I get to 1k. I need to keep bouncing between several titles if I'm going to have any success getting through and completing all of them (and even getting to the ending of some longer games).

So, once again, I'm trying to think of a method that will give me the variety I need, yet keep me focused enough to actually complete things. I swear I've tried this so many times, and nothing has worked, but I think this idea will fare a little better. If this doesn't work though, I'm probably uncurable, and should just stop caring about completions =)

The Rule of Four ...(plus one)

My backlog is extensive enough that it's not hard to be simultaneously working through 4 games, or three plus one from gamefly. Whatever these 4 games are, once I've put a game in the list of four, it stays there until I complete it. Once I've completed a game, I'll decide at that point what game I want to put in its place, based on the other games/genres I'm working on, and my mood. For example, if Eternal Sonata is currently in the 4, I'm not going to pick another JRPG.

I don't want to plan ahead what will go into the rotation of 4, as I've found that never works. When I try to plan games ahead, it feels too much like work, and one's hobby shouldn't be work, right? Hopefully, having three options to choose from when I get bored of a game, and bouncing back and forth, will work wonders for me.

As I was coming up with this idea, I wondered how I should handle extremely time-intensive achievements, like lvl 100 in Gears 2, or Inferno in EDF 2017, for example. If I'm sinking a huge amount of time into those, it'll quickly feel like I only have three options, plus the time sink. So, I decided to have a (+1) game on the list. The +1 game is there because it's achievement(s) take forever, and will never get done unless I give myself a lot of time to do them. The +1 is meant to be a break if all 4 other games are somehow getting stale to me, or as something longer to work on as a break from quicker achievements.

The Current Four +1

erfect Dark Zero
Silent Hill Homecoming
Penny Arcade Episode 1
(#4 is TBD. Those 3 have kept me entertained enough that I won't pick a #4 until I need to)

+1 = Gears of War 2

Of course, this isn't ultra-rigid. If an opportunity comes along to boost something, or people are getting together to play something not in the 4 (R6V2, L4D, UT3, whatever), I'll be joining in. This is just the general rule for my solo play from here on. Hopefully it'll allow me to complete more games, and have more fun while doing it. We'll see.

I've cut Gamefly down to one game at a time , and I'm considering cancelling it completely next month. Money is tight, and I have a huge backlog to work through, so maybe I should shift my attention to focusing on games I've already paid for until I find that thing called a JOB.


  1. Interesting concept you have here which I think I do without realising. I'm currently playing Feeding Frenzy, Pure and Phantasy Star Universe so there's 3 that I'm working on.

    But fortunately for me I am like the majority and can just stick to one game until it's done. That's what I like to do but with so many games to choose from at the moment I vary it.

  2. Yea I am exactly like you. I just don't understand how one can focus on one game and only that game until its completion. It just wont happen for me if I try. Good read though and if you are looking for a suggestion to put in your 4th spot you could try to put one game from the GSL that you need to go back to there. Just a thought.

  3. I told you the last boss without healing was hard. But I didn't make a save so I have to replay the gamestart to finish for that achievement.