When Is A Game Truly Complete?

I had been pondering this question for a while as I looked at what percentage complete some of my games were. The problem with completion is that there are so many different ways to consider a game complete, and you don’t have to complete a game just because you have started it. I am a bit of a perfectionist so you would think that this would mean that I need a game to be 100% complete but don’t be so sure.

This isn’t a new thought by any means, the wonderful Adventure Rules covered a similar thing here a while ago. You should check out Ian’s post on the subject as well.

Do I finish games to 100% competition? No, I don’t generally. I have comparatively few games which are completed to 100% and most of these are from a period where I had more time to play to begin with. Time being a usual issue for an adult but I work round that. Well then, do I think of games as complete if I have less than 100% marked? Yes, of course. I tend to define completion dependent on the game. Some games I aim for 100%, for instance Lego games. That said even some Lego games I haven’t got 100% on because of a few pesky gold bricks and I don’t mind this. Other games, I am more flexible with my definition of completion.

There is obviously completion by finishing the main story. A simple definition and a good one. Where a game has a great main storyline, I will finish this and count this as complete. This doesn’t necessarily mean I look at the side missions, although I do generally work on most, if not all side missions, but I don’t need to complete these to count a game as complete. For example, the Mass Effect games I class as complete, but did I manage to do every side mission? Nope. Did I get every Riddler trophy and defeat the Riddler in all the Batman Arkham games? Definitely not (I truly admire you if you did! I mean in Arkham Knight there are over 200 Riddler collectibles). But I still say I have completed these games. Part of this is these types of games are so long and some tasks are time limited. So much planning would be required in order to do everything in a game and I like playing different games and as such don’t want to spend every gaming minute I have on the one game to do and see absolutely everything. I also don’t want to follow a walkthrough for my first play through in order to complete absolutely everything.

Yet completion could also mean getting all the achievements/trophies in Xbox/PS games. This would be a good and simple way of noticing if you had completed a game and it generally ties in with 100% completion although there can be achievements/trophies which are outside of the story. Achievements and trophies which are outside of the story includes things like collecting all the characters, use this weapon for (insert specified number) of battles/kills, or something that relies on you playing in a specific way. For me this sort of completion doesn’t often happen, unless it is a single player only as my skills in multiplayer depend a lot on the game in question. I don’t generally play much on the multiplayer side of games partially because of my skill level, partially because of time and partially because playing online with random people is less enjoyable for me, so for me this would be out of my grasp. I play some fully multiplayer games, for example Overwatch, a game which I really enjoy… I just happen to be distinctly average at it (at best, on a good day, with the right team…). I am never going to get all the base (ie not tied to timed events) Overwatch achievements, not unless I suddenly become Overwatch master overnight. Or invent a time machine or get access to a Time Turner and I can spend days playing without it impacting on the rest of my life. I dip in and out of Overwatch but can’t bring myself to prioritise this over other games.

The type of completion I generally do is a happy medium or at least what makes me happy. My happy medium is attempting to complete the story/all the levels as best I can. This doesn’t mean I see everything or know everything inside out. It doesn’t even mean that I do actually finish the story just that I aim for that. Although there are only a few games that just haven’t suited me that I didn’t keep going as it felt like a drag trying to complete the story. It means I play a game whilst I still enjoy it and I can do as much as I want to outside of the main story or I can run through it. I complete games to a level that I am happy with and that is fine by me.

Often completion to 100% (in terms of achievements and trophies) requires replaying the game on a New Game + or a harder difficulty level. I have interest in this, but only to an extent (although I have challenged myself to do this at one point this year). I want to enjoy my games and not feel as though they are a chore or going on for too long. If I don’t like a game, I don’t want to force myself through something I am not getting any enjoyment from. That doesn’t mean I don’t replay games either, sometimes you just feel the need to replay an old (or new) favourite or a “comfort” game if you will.

I am also increasingly pushed for time that when I do get a chance to play games I don’t want it to feel pressured into getting to 100% on a game when I actually want to play something else. I have an interest in playing some games to a harder difficulty but I also don’t want endlessly punished due to my skills at certain game types being less than what is required once the level difficulty increases.

Do you consider completion of games? Do you aim for 100% or when do you think of a game as complete? Let me know in the comments.

24 thoughts on “When Is A Game Truly Complete?

  1. Thanks for the shout out! I enjoyed seeing your thoughts on the matter and I agree strongly with your points here. We only have so much time to play games – why waste time doing obscure stuff to 100% one game when you can play through the parts you really like of another one in the same time?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Time is always the problem with gaming and with the length of some games to finish the story the thought of adding an extra however many hours to find all the collectibles or get so many kills with this type of weapon etc can really put me off. So the choice between that and a new game tends to push me to a new game. Sure if there is a game I want to see everything in then I will continue but only whilst I still enjoy it. As long as I’m having fun and happy to play then that is the main thing for me even if I don’t see anything 100% complete by other people’s standards.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Exactly! I recently “finished” Assassin’s Creed: Origins campaign (great entry in the series IMO) but couldn’t bring myself to slog through and find every little question mark for that final achievement of completing every location.

      Previously, before spouse and kids, that achievement would have been mine no doubt for that 1K gamerscore. Now? I’ve got better, and more productive ways to spend my time. Like the new God of War!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hope you are enjoying God of War! I need to get back to Origins (stopped as playing that and Breath of the Wild at the same time was too much open world). I can only imagine how many question marks I will see when I get back to it.

        I think time and becoming adults definitely changes the way we define completion but we get to play more games as a result.


  2. I tend to start with 100% in mind, and then that declines rather quickly when the endless searching for collectibles becomes annoying. For me, it tends to be when I’ve finished the campaign and done any extra stuff I fancy doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I relate to this post a lot! When I was younger I wanted to see everything/do everything in a game to call it complete. Now I adjust my goals on a game by game basis. If I have really special feelz for a game, I’ll go for a true 100% (like Platinumimg the FFXIII trilogy). I do have a weakness for the PlayStation platinum trophies though, haha.

    There are a lot of games I want to play and a lot of those are big open world games. I think forcing myself to move on after the credits roll is the best way to go for my playstyle.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I have grown my definition of complete has changed. If I really want to play it in its entirety I will, but mostly as long as I finish the story I’m happy. Though there are times I’d love to do a complete 100% in terms of achievements but the second they involve multiplayer I revise that decision.

      Haha I think that is a difference with PlayStation, being able to say you have a platinum trophy sounds much cooler than the equivalent on Xbox with I have 1000/1000G (or different in some cases) in gamerscore. Platinum trophy sounds much better haha.

      Big open world games I would love to see everything because the developers have put so much into them. However I also know that I want to play lots of games and some open world games I could be playing for the next year and still not see everything or get all the achievements for. So I would rather finish the story and whatever else I want to do and move on. As long as I’m still enjoying myself whilst I’m playing and I have done what I want to do with the game then I find it is complete for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Completing a game 100% is typically something I don’t try to do, simply because there’s so many great games I want to play. I usually complete the story mode and, if I enjoyed it, do some side quests and little missions before finishing. It’s very dependent on the game though; I could see myself trying to complete Mario Odyssey 100% because there’s a very clear goal to achieve (obtaining all the power moons), but games like Xenoblade 2 are just too large for my personal taste to complete.

    For me, a game truly finishes when the end credits roll and you reminisce about the great memories you’ve had when playing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have so many other games to play as well so that definitely puts me off getting 100% of everything in every game I play. Plus the time needed to do every side quest and get every achievement and so on is kind of off putting with the length of some games and the vastness of some open world games.

      I would like to get all the power moons in Super Mario Odyssey as well, though I am not playing it at the moment. I also know there are some that I will struggle to get so I will probably dip in and out to do some more of and see what I can get to.

      I love your last sentence in your comment. The great memories you had when playing are definitely important.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t really ever set out to 100% games (and very rarely actually achieve it!). Even in games that have a very clear % system, I usually end up just wanting to complete the story rather than chasing after missile expansions I don’t really need! It also means that if I play a game again I won’t already know all it’s secrets.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Whenever I click on the New Game option on a video game’s menu, I’m always thinking “Yep, this is the one. The one I’m going to 100% complete!” Unfortunately, that day has not happened yet.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Adding myself to the chorus here, but yeah, 100% on a game to me feels subjective at this point. I want to experience everything a game has to offer, but when the limits of that become strained by gathering collectibles or killing 1000 of a certain type of enemy or something of that sort, I usually settle for a different benchmark to achieve my own 100% feeling before the credits roll.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely think as long as you feel happy with it and you feel that you have completed it then that is what matters. I am happy with my very flexible ideas of completion as they depend on the game.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m all about the happy medium. With time being a huge bottle neck I only play a game as long as it doesn’t feel like a chore. If it’s getting tedious or my interest wanes, it’s time to move on. Which only means I’ll be back later when I feel like it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think I tend to think of a game as complete when I’ve done as much as I want to do with it. So for some games, I’ll just do the main story and go ‘aha, complete’. (And in fact I think anyone’s perfectly justified in claiming to have ‘completed’ any game that they’ve finished the main storyline of.) For others, I’ll do a bunch of side quests, probably not all of them but as many as I’d like to see and experience; for a very few games, I will attempt to get all the achievements because I think that doing so will give me more good, fun experiences. Although, come to think of it, I probably think of a game that I’m trying to 100% as complete even before I actually get to 100%. So I suppose there are sort of… degrees of completion?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Degrees of completion sounds about right for how I complete games. If anyone says they have finished a game regardless of what time in the game they have that ‘aha I have completed this’ moment I say it is complete. I like when achievements give more fun and interesting experiences, achievements that are like use this 150 times or something like that I’m unlikely to go for it unless I actually do whatever it is they ask anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s my favourite sort of achievement too! One of the first games I got all the achievements on was Mirror’s Edge, because they mostly weren’t along the lines of ‘find 1000 collectibles’ or ‘do the same thing 60 times’ but ‘find a way of pulling off this really cool trick just one time’. So for example, I think one of them was stringing together a wallrun, turn, jump, run up *another* wall and then vault something and nail the landing, or something like that. It encouraged playing with the mechanics to work out how to do really cool things.
        (There were also quite a lot to do with completing levels really fast, but those were enjoyable too because that’s sort of the point of the game.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sounds really fun. I like when it challenges you to try to do something like that, which may not be your natural choice when you are playing but gives you an extra thing that is fun to try and achieve.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, it’s not about just doing something for ages until you win, but about really understanding the mechanics and how the game works in depth. Then you get to do some sweet tricks with it, which is a great reward even without the achievement!

        Liked by 1 person

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