My Thought Process on Choosing the Next Game To Play

So, as I said while talking about my second playthrough of Persona 5, I need to choose a different game to play because while I could play Persona 5 again, the time I have to play games is shrinking and I’m not convinced that I could play Persona 5 for 5 months without either getting distracted by something else or else having Persona 5 take over those times when I really should do something else. So, I’ve been musing about that off and on while things compile and install for the past days, and my thought process seemed fairly … unique. So since I’ll need a post anyway I thought it might be nice to let you guys into my head for a bit to show you my thought process on this.

Note that I very much hope to have decided this by the time you see this post, since my time to play video games is Thursday and this is set to come out on Wednesday. So comments here might or might not influence my decision.

Anyway, I have a block of about 3 – 4 hours once a week to play video games. I really don’t want to extend or be terribly tempted to extend those hours for at least the next 3 – 5 months or so, because there are many, many other things that I want and need to do that I’ve put off for too long. I should have started this back in January, but as usual got distracted and was aware that Persona 5 was going to show up in April which, well, was going to throw everything out of whack. So I definitely don’t want to distract myself again with something else that will take up that time, especially since I’m facing work pressures and won’t have the time to waste. Which ironically means that I probably don’t want the game to be too good, since I’ll want to play it when I shouldn’t be.

Because I have so limited a time to play during the week, I also don’t really want to play a really, really long game either, because it will take too long for me to finish at that rate. Persona 5 fails both this and the “too good a game” criteria, because at 4 hours a session for a roughly 80 hour game it would take me 20 sessions or 5 months to finish, which is a long time for me. I’ve been musing that three months is probably the limit, and even that is shaky (but I’m willing to give it a try).

But another consideration is that if I can only play for 3 – 4 hours a week, I have to be able to feel like I did something in each session. It’s fine to only grind to get to the next couple of levels or open up missions if I’m going to play it again tomorrow, but if I’m going to stop for a week I really want to have had a lot of fun doing it and/or have really accomplished something. Plus, since that 3 – 4 hour time span is both a bit variable — I may have slightly less time one week and slightly more the next, depending on work and what I need to do when I get home — and is a fairly hard limit — I have to stop at a certain point to do other things like going to sleep — the game has to both get somewhere in that time period and can’t have really long sections where I won’t be able to save the game and stop for the night … or, at least, it has to let me know what those are so that I can prepare and, well, stop for the night before getting into it and leave the long section for the next week.

Another factor is that I’m going to go home, eat, and then play the game, because that’s already my Thursday schedule and the gaming is going there mostly because right after eating a large meal I usually don’t want to do anything that requires walking around. And since I tend to pace while writing, that includes writing on the blog. Thus, console games work well in that slot because I can — and have, with Persona 5 — eat and then immediately sit down and play the game, gaining anywhere from a half-hour to an hour in the process. This also means that console games are slightly preferred because I game on my sofa and that’s a really good place to be right after eating. But that’s not that major a factor.

Another minor factor is that I keep thinking that if I’m going to pick a game to play here, it should be one of the games that I have lying around that I want to finish. Like one of the games on the “List of Games to Finish”. This is counter-balanced by my whims and distractions, which I’ll get to in a minute when I go through some of the games I’m thinking about. These are minor, but ultimately will have an impact on how I feel about the game and so how long I manage to stick to that game.

So, I considered starting over with Persona, which I played for a while but never finished. It’s a bit more reasonable in terms of length — 50 hours average main story plus extras — and then I could go on and replay all of the games again, which I really do want to do. But to do all of them would take me over a year to finish, probably even if I cheated. Even with there being five different games to play, that’s probably too big a commitment to make right now, and Persona itself doesn’t interest me enough to just play it for itself. If I was going to do that, I’d just play Persona 3 or 4 … but those are 80 hour games as well.

I’ve mused about playing Shadow Hearts or Shadow Hearts: Covenant again. They fit neatly into the time frame and are games that I really liked playing. I’m a bit worried about some sections and not being able to either stop in time or get something done, though, and I’ve already played both, so it’s not a game that I would be finishing.

From the list, I’m definitely thinking about playing Fatal Frame and then the two that I didn’t finish. The biggest problem with this is that I’ve very walkthrough dependent with these games, which means I’d have to run the computer, too, and I’m not sure that I’ll always be able to save when I want to. The same thing applies to the Silent Hill games.

Record of Agarest War and Conception II are games that, are. of course, ruled out for being too grindy.

I was originally thinking about playing Saint’s Row The Third, but I’ve never played it before, don’t know how long the missions take, and am not good at more FPS and action-focused games. There’s just too much risk of this being a disaster, so I think I’ll save it for some time when I’m on vacation.

I’m considering Bloodlines again, although it gets a slight knock for being a PC game. But it has “Save anywhere”, which is good … but I haven’t played it in so long that I’m thinking of starting over, which means that I’d have to do the warehouse again, which is very, very bad.

I also recently re-watched a lot of the video game videos at SF Debris, which has gotten me feeling like I want to play some of those games again. I’ve considered Knights of the Old Republic, but I recently replayed the first one and when I tried playing Sith Lords right after I found that it dragged. So I’m considering resubscribing to TOR and going through one of the story missions again, as I can finish a planet — or at least a few areas of one — in about the right time now and it would only take me about three months to finish one run through Corellia. I’ve also been tempted to play Dragon Age: Origins again, but if I did I’d want to play Dragon Age 2 again, and then maybe Inquisition again to finish out the series … and, as you all know, I definitely don’t want to do that. Fortunately, I feel no real reason to play Mass Effect again, at least not yet.

I’ve also recently re-watched .hack//Sign and Liminality, which then gets me wanting to play the games again (I managed to get part-way into the fourth game). It’d be a console game and each game is about 20 hours if I recall correctly so it fits into the timeline, so it’s definitely a possibility. I’m just not all that fond of its gameplay.

I’ve considered playing another full season of baseball again, but the season is so long that it falls into another 5 month plus commitment.

I’ve considered just playing Pinball Arcade again for a while, but that’s more a time waster than an actual game. It thus risks grabbing me too much so I don’t quit in time, and also I really want to, well, actually kinda play something where I make progress, which doesn’t happen that much with that game.

I’ve thought about playing Star Wars: Rebellion again, but that is a game that definitely and absolutely makes me forget about time, so I’d waver between not feeling like playing it and getting so caught up in it that I don’t go to sleep on time.

I’ve considered the Hearts of Iron games, but there seems to be a lot to learn with them from what little I’ve played with them and I’m not really up for that at the moment, especially for a game that I’m mostly interested in seeing how things might change rather than in playing out the strategic parts.

I’ve actually thought about playing the Gold Box D&D games again, as they should be short enough and I should get somewhere in a couple of hours.

There are also a number of other games that I’ve bought from GOG.com that I think might work, like some of the Star Trek adventure games. And probably a few on consoles or the Vita to consider. I hope to decide very, very soon, and will tell you when I do.

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2 Responses to “My Thought Process on Choosing the Next Game To Play”

  1. Thoughts After Re-watching .hack//Sign and Liminality | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] managed to get through three of the four games in the series and had started the fourth, and mused about playing it again recently. But, all in all, I think the animes worked better. But maybe I’ll play it again and change my […]

  2. The Importance of Goals | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] with my experience, I have to feel like I’ve made some sort of progress in the game. As I commented when trying to decide what to play after Persona 5 — as well as at other times — it is important to me to feel like I’ve managed to […]

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