The Myth of The Second Playthrough

I am about to shock a lot of you, but I very rarely ever consider how many games I buy in a year. It really doesn’t cross my mind unless something or someone forces me to really look inward and go “Shit I spent an unfathomable amount of money on an adult hobby with my disposable income”. Okay, to be fair I have never had a voice that blunt or direct talking to me in my head, and if I did it would likely be telling me to buy another game for my Switch, or another collector’s piece for my shelf because I absolutely can’t call myself a collector unless I have -Insert Game Here-. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the fact that I have Object Permanence and a (mostly) working set of eyes, I probably wouldn’t notice the fact that every year my game shelves get a little fuller, and my spending in the early and late parts of the year goes up dramatically, despite what I make only marginally going up. So, given the sheer volume of games, and taking into account I only really purchase one Genre of the game primarily these days, do I even replay games?

Honestly, this question or even this idea of “replaying” games for me is one I hadn’t considered since the days of asking my parents for a ride to the local card shop. When you think about it, games have changed quite a bit since the days of our youth, in ways I am not sure we ever really considered beyond the “Games look better” mentality.

Throw Away Entertainment

I honestly never imagined I’d have such a strange take as a game collector that gaming has become a very throw-away hobby. But when you really look at it, how far from the truth is that really? Let’s consider a few key points here, shall we? Video games come out at a seemingly breakneck pace year to year, many times we find ourselves staring down the barrel at 2 or even three games releasing in a month’s time and we aren’t even talking about Indie games, that many times can have DOZENS of them out in a month if not more. Game companies fight for our eyeballs, our wallets, and our time. You would believe that with games claiming longer experiences that these would be less likely to get thrown by the wayside, likely to be picked up again at a later date, and last the test of time. On the contrary these games more and more not only fail to last, they oftentimes see themselves pushed aside for newer releases (Or even worse, OLDER releases).

Speaking from my own, and somewhat specific experiences. If I put a game down, it’s oftentimes very rare I ever pick it back up. This could be for a variety of reasons, time, ability to play the game, some oddball quirk of the game I don’t fully understand causing me to fall out of playing, the crushing realization that I am in fact growing older, and will someday die and all games will be left to rot. If a game gets put down, and I don’t have some super active, or valid reason to put it down, let alone pick it up. It is likely it’s gonna stay that, and believe me, as someone who put nearly 200 hours into a handful of RPGs only for YouTube to take up my attention and cause me to not go back. That is both frustrating and absolutely honest.

For the sake of fantasy, let’s imagine that I picked and finished pretty much every game I ever played. As much of a far-flung fantasy as that is on its own merit. Realistically the older I get the less likely it is that I would be interested in starting a game over again for another run. Which even then makes me scratch my head, don’t we have open worlds for a reason? Isn’t this the whole reason we have narrative options and choices? To keep us coming back? To be frank, it seems unlikely. Remember the world we live in, every year we have DOZENS of games for a single person to choose from, and even if you are the picky gamer to boot, Id says you have at least half that a year to look forward to. There are people who despite their literally being entirely genres of games they have never tried let alone heard of continue to buy, rebuy, and rebuy again games like Madden, FIFA, and even Call of Duty. They do this every single year without fail. And I in a ten-plus year period can’t think of more than one game I have been motivated to play again to completion. Dumb apes like me are playing through 70-plus hour games, spending days looking at forums, and watching videos about the best character builds, only to beat it and move on. Now that I bring it up, I can’t think of too many modern games I have been greatly motivated to go and replay. Mass Effect? I get a few hours in and get bored, Final Fantasy VII? Deleted save stopped that play through for years before I finally came back, and when I did it was for nearly 100 hours, Final Fantasy IX, I never beat until just a year or so ago. And If I were honest with you? I don’t think I’d ever go back to play them again, even games as good as Persona 5 Royal (And it is a master class) I doubt I’d ever consider going back to it again if given the chance and the free time. Times are too short, I am getting old, and trying to balance more than one giant RPG is in fact a challenge if not sometimes impossible.

Is this the fault of Millenials having short attention spans? Us kids not know how to manage their money? Are our brains being completely rotted by TV, Media, and that damn Rap Music? Well, maybe the last bit, but generally speaking no. We are the victim of too much choice, a rather posh problem to have if I may say so myself. Why replay a game if I have a newer shinier game. Or at least I think so, but hey, who am I? Just some guy who plays JRPG’s.

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