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I achieved something increasingly rare the other night, on my homeward commute. I finished a video game. Who made what, thanks for playing, the whole shebang. It's a sign of how little time I actually get to play video games - properly, that is, rather than dipping a toe (okay, I'm usually in up to my knees) - that I couldn't immediately recall the last time I caught a credits scroll.
The game was Pikuniku - a relatively short (HLTB reckons three to four hours) puzzle-platformer of primary colour goodness and Devolver seal of approval. It's a supremely funny, witty and weird experience, and comes recommended by this guy, at least. We actually made a wee video about it, which you can watch below. I played it on Switch which, given my daily back-and-forth from the south coast to London and the other way, is the system I spend 90% of my gaming time on, with Home Consoles Proper only getting used at weekends.
Before Pikuniku, though (which I was right at the end of, without realising it), I'm not sure I'd finished any game in 2019. I've played - and am still playing - a lot that's come out way this year, such as Resident Evil 2, Metro Exodus and Wargroove. I've got Devil May Cry 5 lined up, and can't wait to get stuck into Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, too. But while I am excited about just how great games continue to be this year, that enthusiasm is forever tempered by the fact that I so rarely get time to actually finish the darn things.
Part of this is my fault: I had kids, and kids take up a lot of the Free Time that used to be Game Time. And when I do get to turn on the Xbox One or PS4, it's usually with the kids around, which means the PEGI 18 offerings I've got piling up aren't an option. It's all Super Mario Maker, Minecraft and the LEGO games, at our place. (Zelda gets a regular look in, too.)
But, when I really scrunch up my brain and force it to do my bidding, what do I have when it comes to Games I've Actually Finished of late? Marvel's Spider-Man and God of War both got ticked off in 2018. With a few glimpses of a guide, I finished Celeste (one of our favourites of last year - check the video below) on my commutes; and managed Florence with no help at all (lol), though it does clock in at about half an hour long. The Gardens Between, GRIS and Shadow of the Tomb Raider: check, check and check. There were others, I'm sure. But the vast majority of what I started in 2018 will *never* be finished.
And the same applies to my games of 2017. And 2016. And 2015. And you can see a pattern forming, going back to 2010 and the final year before kids came along.
But is this anything to be ashamed of? Anything to be worried about? Of course not. There's no demand on anyone (most of the time) to finish a game. The games that I've reviewed for outlets in the past few years have always been finished, to some extent, before words hit page (though I will confess to not seeing through all eight storylines in Octopath Traveler before sticking a score on it, last year.) And anything else? If I get there, I get there, and if not, I've had my fun. Usually.
Which is to say: I really, really wish I could find the time to see out the Yakuza series, explore that Horizon Zero Dawn DLC, and learn to love Persona 5 anywhere near as much as I did its golden Vita predecessor. (Once again: portable play FTW.)
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