Did you know most people don’t actually finish video games? A game like Elden Ring can sell 20 million copies, but if you look at the trophy completion percentage, only a little under half of the people who bought the game on PlayStation actually saw it through to the end. There are a lot of reasons for this, many of them totally valid. AAA games are getting longer, and our lives are getting busier. But occasionally we may have a reason for not finishing a game that is a little, well, questionable. Some might even say embarrassing, depending on the reasoning. Here are a few bad reasons we never finished a video game.
Demon’s Souls remake
I’d started in on a brief Soulslike kick at the beginning of the pandemic for a guy I was seeing, and we played Bloodborne together. Despite some initial friction in getting a handle on the game’s structure, I actually really enjoyed it and was looking forward to playing the Demon’s Souls remake together when the PlayStation 5 launched. Then he broke things off and I just realized I would be putting myself through double the emotional anguish of playing one of FromSoftware’s notoriously difficult RPGs while being reminded about why I started playing these games in the first place, so I never picked it up again. I was able to play Elden Ring with zero association in 2022, though, so maybe it’s time to go back to it. - Kenneth Shepard
Dead Space 3
Around halfway through the seventh generation of consoles, I took a break from gaming for a few years. The plus side? Whole trilogies and sequels had long come out in my absence and were mere dollars in the used bin at GameStop. Being a fan of the first Dead Space, I was excited to play through the whole trilogy. That turned out to be a poor idea.
Firstly, I played it alone, so most of the game’s shoehorned co-op features (common for games at the time) were lost on me. On top of that, its heavy shooter emphasis just continued to wear on me. I don’t mind a change of pace in a series, and I love Gears of War. But there was something about snapping into cover and getting into firefights with other humans in Dead Space that just felt thematically wrong. (It also wasn’t implemented terribly well.) The dark allure of this world fell away for what was basically just a mediocre shooter.
I kept feeling like I had to finish it though. I’d gone so long without playing video games, I tried to convince myself that this was the fun I’d been missing. But finally, round after round of banal shooter sequences pushed me to the breaking point and I simply said, out loud, “I don’t want to do this.” I ejected the disc from my PS3 and tossed it across the room into the trash.
At times I still think that I might not have given Dead Space 3 a fair shot. And while I don’t think quitting a game I didn’t enjoy was the wrong thing…maybe throwing the disc in the trash was an uncalled for act of aggression on my part. - Claire Jackson
Stray was fine, and I enjoyed it well enough last year. But it also made me sad. No, not because of its dystopian cyberpunk universe where the only thing left of humanity is its robotic creations, but because you play as a cat, and I am allergic to those little guys. So while I was doing cute cat shit while learning about this desecrated world, all I could think about was how I never get to see feline shenanigans like this in my everyday life because I would sneeze and be miserable all the time. So I stopped. - Kenneth Shepard
My friend gets irrationally angry that I haven’t beaten Metroid Dread, so now I just refuse to finish it because I think it’s funny how much it angers him. - Jeb Biggart
I came into Outer Wilds with next to no context about what the game truly entailed beyond the fact that it had a time loop mechanic at its core. When I started playing through Mobius Digital’s enigmatic adventure game, I was immediately captivated by its clockwork solar system and wanted to learn more, though I knew I would only have 22 minutes to explore this space before I was promptly plopped back to the beginning of my journey. Outer Wilds had me in its clutches for about an hour, until I got fixated on one particular planet. Through a process I think I have actively suppressed from my memory, I ended up floating through the infinite void of space three times within my early loops. I had nothing on my person to get me out of this situation, so I had to just float until the time loop reset. Quite the existentially haunting fate for a fledgling space explorer. This happened three times, and instead of reflecting on how I ended up in that situation three times in a row and adjusting course, I simply elected to turn the game off forever. - Kenneth Shepard
Super Mario 3D World
Many years ago, I met this person who I really liked. We spent some time together, just as friends, but to me the time I had with them felt like rain after a long drought. I knew I wanted to know them in a real way. I also knew, in the back of my head somewhere, that they almost certainly didn’t feel the same way about me, but once in a while, you have to have hope that something is possible.
One night that I crashed on the couch at their place, we talked into the wee hours of the morning about their family, movies, all kinds of things, all of which only made me more aware of how much I wanted them to be a big part of my life. We also spent hours playing Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U cooperatively, and of course it was a blast, endlessly charming and fun.
Soon enough, of course, it became clear in ways I couldn’t ignore that what I wanted with them was impossible. An unforeseen casualty? My ability to play Super Mario 3D World, which I now had nobody to share with, and which playing only reminded me, painfully, of the time I’d spent playing it with them. (Yes, it’s silly. This was a game I absolutely adored and still do, in my opinion one of the best 3D Mario games, so I was only denying myself pleasure.) Many years later, I did play through it on the Switch alone (though the incredibly challenging optional final stage remains unconquered), but even then, it was bittersweet, a reminder of the close connection and partnership that I’m still looking for. - Carolyn Petit
I played through Persona 4 in college, right in my dorm’s shared living room. As many of you know, RPGs like this aren’t short. And at this time, games like Persona hadn’t really broken into the mainstream yet, so as far as my friends were concerned, I was just subjecting them to weird-ass penis monsters and endless AaAAaaaAAAAAAAAaaa from The Velvet Room in this game where all I seemed to be doing was walking around in the countryside. Anyway, I finished the game, cried, and immediately started a new file. But when folks noticed that I was starting it again and was doing the same stuff again, they started roasting me and I was too embarrassed to finish my new game plus. RIP. - Patricia Hernandez
Yakuza (the series, not the original game)
Back in 2018, a friend of mine had been hounding me to play the Yakuza games, but I’d thrown Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s crime drama series into the abyss of my backlog for years and figured I’d get to it eventually. Yakuza 0 hopped to the top of my list when that same friend and I made a deal that if he played the Danganronpa games, I would play the Yakuza series. Or, at least a comparable amount of Yakuza, since Spike Chunsoft’s murder mystery franchise has fewer entries. But presumably, he figured, I’d be hooked on Yakuza and want to finish all the games in time for the next one. So we both started playing these games and were pretty into it. I could take or leave the beat-em-up mechanics, but I was very quickly invested in the campy, soap-opera drama of it all. Meanwhile, my friend was surprised to find he was into Danganronpa’s investigation and mock trial setup. By the time he was finished with the first chapter, he was publicly admitting the games were good, and I hadn’t just been talking out my ass about them for years.
But friends, there are two things to know about me: I don’t forget anything, and I can hold a grudge like nobody’s business. So when my friend stopped playing Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (not out of any malice or lack of interest, just because life things came up), I, too, stopped playing Yakuza 0, and swore off playing the games until that friend gets back on Monokuma’s despair train. I have not played a Yakuza game since, nor will I until this blood oath is fulfilled. - Kenneth Shepard
I didn’t actually not finish Twelve Minutes, I just wish I had. - Kenneth Shepard