Everyone has their own way of playing games. For myself it could be summed up in one word: completionist. Throughout my life, I have never had the extra money to just buy games on a whim. The more time I could spend on one game, the fewer games I would need to buy over time. While I do have a little bit more money now, I still try to buy fewer games and put the saved money to better uses like paying down my debts faster or donating to charity.
I would not call myself a pure completionist though. I do not complete all content at all costs. It depends on the game, but I have come up with several types of content that I will ignore. Usually this is stuff which I have limited control over, such as content that requires a lot of coordination between players or progress based on random luck instead of player skill. Because I have no control over much of that, I will not feel obligated to play that content in a game. In addition, I might ignore content that I feel is too grindy.
For me fully completing a game depends on the game genre:
|Platformer||Complete all stages, collect everything, and get all achievements.|
|Real-Time Strategy||Complete all campaigns with all factions, try every faction in multiplayer, and get all achievements.|
|Turn-Based Strategy||Beat the game and all scenarios with all factions, and get all achievements.|
|Role-Playing Game||Complete the game and all available quests with all character classes, obtain the best items, and get all achievements.|
|Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game||Get all classes to level cap, complete all solo quests, see all group content at least once, obtain the best items (within reason), and get all achievements.|
|In General||Complete all solo content, try out all multiplayer content, and get all achievements.|
However, sometimes I do become bored with a game, not because it is a bad game but because I have simply played it too much. In those times I like to switch around to different games, slowly making progress until some of them get completed. To that end, I made up three progressive levels of “completing” a game.
The first is what most players would call beating the game. I go through the whole story one time. Whenever I buy a game, I may not be ready to dive in and do everything. I will just beat it once, so I do not have to worry about seeing spoilers later on. No matter what, I have to beat the game once to consider it completed.
The second level is completing all the content. Depending on the game, this can be fast or slow. Some games like RPGs can take hundreds of hours to complete all the content. Shooters, on the other hand, can be completed in one weekend. As I wrote above, I will not always do everything. For example, in Diablo 3 I do not worry about getting the absolute best items because it is too luck-based that I would find the right items. Likewise, I do not concern myself with hardcore mode because bad luck with my internet connection could prevent any hardcore goals from being completed.
The third level is completing all achievements. I do it in this order because many achievements will be completed automatically on the way to completing all content. Achievements are most likely to be ignored based on my limitations above. For example, I ignored the achievements in Starcraft 2 to get 1000 wins with each faction. When I have an interest in playing multiplayer Starcraft 2, I am happy to make progress in those, but I do not make it a requirement for having “completed” the game.
Last year I came across a forum thread asking readers if there were any games they had bought but had not completed. This inspired me to make a big spreadsheet with all my games and my progress in each to keep track more formally. I have a lot of games. Some I had thought I had fully completed actually still had content I never experienced. Whenever I do not know which game I want to play, I just take a look at the spreadsheet and pick a game to make more progress on.
It is fun to check off a game as fully complete. By the time this happens, I have played the game so much, I will probably never play it again. So the spreadsheet has the dual purpose of letting me know whether I can uninstall a game or whether there is an ounce of gameplay left that I can extract from it.