How Do You Finish an Open Game?
  • I was posting in the "Great games you never finished" thread a couple seconds ago and I listed Morrowind as one of the games that I never finished. That got me thinking. Is there any real way to finish such an open, sandbox game like Morrowind?

    The goals in early games like Tetris and Mario were fairly simple: Get to the end of the level, kill all the enemies, get the most points until you get game over, etc. As games evolved, you got more and more things to do. Then Rockstar came along and introduced the concept of open-world sandbox games to the wider gaming world (or maybe Elder Scrolls came first... I dunno). Now, the GTA series still has a storyline that is meant to be completed, so its completion could be seen as the goal of the game, but their importance in widening the scope of gaming from linear paths and whatnot to actual worlds and places.

    What about games that are fully-contained worlds like MMORPGS like WoW and EVE Online? There is a form of progression in those games, but no real end. Sure, WoW has a level cap, but they keep increasing that and you can keep improving your character. What is the end of those sorts of games?
  • Nice Topic.

    For me, i see open world/sandbox games as either a toy to be played in without end or i set myself some goals to complete while in the world and stop after i've finished them.

    The whole idea of open world being a toy can be a little tentative though. Because as with any toy, you can get bored off it.

    It's finding that balance between giving the game enough depth to play around in and giving the game set goals that gives you a sense of accomplishment on completion.
  • i had that problem with oblivion i wanted to dominate everything in that game, so i got a checklist of the net of all quests including side missions and did every single one of them (not including expansion) at the end though i felt nothing, a small sense of achievement, not us much as what i had when i got all 1000gs
  • I agree with Nergy. A game does need a good balance of the two. An example of a total sandbox game, 0 goals, just complete freedom is Garry's Mod, but almost anyone who's played it (Not including servers running RP scripts and whatnot) will say the game gets boring very fast. Even though you have complete freedom to do and make almost anything you can imagine, it doesn't hold the players attention because of the lack of missions. Then you get 100% linear games that give very little other choice than to do your jobs. A game does indeed need a healthy balance between the two, which is hard to find due to varying player tastes.
  • If the Sandbox has a story mode...thats finishing the story mode. If it has skills to learn, thats finishing the skills. Leveling up, hidden stuff, hearing the radio. Over all...I say anything you can collect and see...once you get them all you have "finished" the game. However...sandboxes games never truely end on the "fun" ;) well...some times.
  • Well this what I would say is the way to beat Morrowind
    1.Beat every quest ever
    2.Steal every item and put them all in one room
    3.Kill absolutely everyone

    But seriously games like Morrowind and GTA are only finished when you are. Oh and this topic has reminded me of a question which I've always found almost philosophical which is "Do you beat Pokemon when you beat the elite four or fill the pokedex" I dont know why but I've actually seen people argue over the answer to that question for hours.
  • For Oblivion I went a pulled up a Guide and did all the quests on it, was master of all guilds, finished up the main quests found some secrets made by the developers, then I considerded I had finished to games...

    But a half years later I returned, having found the growing Mod Scene, I became a regular 'tester' for mods and joined an online 'guild' who tested mods, mods became my life in Oblivion.
    Sadly enough school/other games came by and took my time away, ending with the destruction of the guild and me stopping playing Oblivion, after around 200 hours.

    That's what I call a bit finished :)
  • I asked a question similar to this a couple episodes ago... when I got mentioned on the show it made me really happy...

    Anyway, I was messing around with the Spore Creature Creator today and I was thinking about playing Spore (haha, marketing worked) and I was wondering if there was any real way to "win". I've read and heard about all these things about how you're going to be able to spread across the world you create and eventually enter space and encounter other life forms. There was also something about there being millions of stars and whatnot, more in one "game" of Spore than you could ever discover in a lifetime. This is truly a game without boundaries. Without boundaries, there is no end, and a game (by conventional definitions at least) HAS an end, has boundaries.

    That is what I've always thought was the main difference between a game and life. I've heard people say stuff about how "life" is a game and I sort of incorporated that into a college essay that I sent out to a bunch of different colleges (I think that might be what got me into UNC - CH... XD). But... all games have an end and even-open sandbox games have "walls" of some kind. Like in Mercenaries, if you went beyond the boundaries of the game world, they sent air raids against you, and even if you put in the invincibility cheat, you still hit an "invisible wall", and of course in the GTA games the wall is simply endless ocean.

    So... I dunno, maybe some of you have gleaned some sort of information or whatever in my ramblings. XD
  • Life too has an end and some boundaries although those boundaries are much wider than those in any game.

    There are various philosophies to what constitutes finishing a game.

    1) Beat the final level - Final bosses/levels came out of necessity. The first games where just a test of dexterity where your only gauge was getting the highest score possible. Eventually games became more complex and introduced a story. Because a story cannot go on forever developers had to end the game somewhere so the concept of levels and bosses was introduced. For all intents and purposes you could boast of beating the game if you killed the final boss or traversed the last level. Seeing the end credits gave you bragging rights. Most casual gamers usually need a final level to beat otherwise they fail to see a sense in playing the game.

    2) Do everything there is to do in the game - Some games, while still incorporating a story, expect you to do more than just get from start to finish. Consider Super Mario World which would still mark your game as 70% complete even if you got to the end. You had to find all the hidden stuff if you really wanted that 100% completion. This concept prolonged the life of games back in the day where there was only so much you could fit in a cartridge. The idea did crossover even when more space was avaliable to fit in more content since such tactics cost less to implement. The 360 implements this in many games with the concept of achievements.

    3) Mastering the game - Some people consider they have finished the game when they become better than average in said game. This reasoning is often applied in games where there is no real end and has an element of competition (MMOs, games with leaderboards, multiplayer FPSs). A friend of mine, for instance, considered himself finished with WoW when he got his druid to be recognized as one of the best in that particular server. This reasoning could also be applied to classic arcade games with high scores and most sports games.

    4) Till you had enough - How could one finish the Sims? There are no levels, no achievements, no scores. The only thing you can use to gauge your success is how much wealth you build but you would find that few people play it with that goal in mind. They play because they enjoy it and that's it. They like discovering things and finding out how situations work. Once they had enough the game is over. Can you really tell someone who played over 500 hours and seen tens of generations go by that he/she has not completed the game? If the game was not made to be completed then you can only finish it when you just had enough playing it.

    My opinion is that there is no hard rule and everyone approaches it the way they feel best. It all boils down to what you look for in games. If you are the competitive type then you might find that approach 3 is your preferred approach. If you play solely to have fun and kill some time then its probably approach 4. If you value the story above all else you might consider the game to be over once you have seen all there is to see.
  • back with the pokemon thing personaly i'm trying to get every pokemon in pearl legitametly (except for deoxys ect.) and make thier final evolution have its ultimate set of non tm moves. i've racked up 200 hours of game-play and i'm less than half way.

    put realy i think that openended games are only ended when you feel you've finished up. you can always strive to do more stuff in an open ended game thats the idea but realyif have a high egnough sense of acomplishment that i feel that i don't need to prove myself in the game anymore. that's when i stop.
  • back with the pokemon thing personaly i'm trying to get every pokemon in pearl legitametly (except for deoxys ect.) and make thier final evolution have its ultimate set of non tm moves. i've racked up 200 hours of game-play and i'm less than half way.

    put realy i think that openended games are only ended when you feel you've finished up. you can always strive to do more stuff in an open ended game thats the idea but realyif have a high egnough sense of acomplishment that i feel that i don't need to prove myself in the game anymore. that's when i stop.
  • Half of the games I play are open-ended and have a high degree of replayability. That is a big problem, because I like to finish a game, be happy about it and then delete off my harddrive. But those open-ended ones do not let me do that and take away the time I have for those other games.
  • I hate open ended RPGs like MMO's and the TES series. They never end, they aren't fun (for me), and I generally get lost unless I look at the map every 15 seconds trying to calculate the heading so I can hopefully get to the next objective. This usually falls to pieces and burns in a fiery ball of FUCK when I die by falling off a cliff or running into insanely hard enemies.

    GTA on the other hand is a different story. While it's still entirely possible to drive your dumbass self off a cliff or pier, its not all that hard to get back on track. The minimap is always there in your face and alight with pretty objective icons. And there aren't any enemies you can't kill without the aid of your left front tire. I quite enjoy GTA despite its sandbox nature. I've never finished a single GTA game, ever... but I thoroughly enjoy them for many hours nonetheless.

    Fallout 3 is looking awesome with a capitol 'Fucking A', but I'm afraid that since it has the open ended sandbox nature of the TES series *Angry fist shaking in Bethesda's general direction*... I'm probably not going to enjoy it as much as I would like to and will probably never "finish" it. That's a shame, but I'll try extra hard because it makes my brain happy just looking at the videos.

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