Personal Crux

I would put a pretty screenshot here, except that Steam and Bethesda have made this impossible. How obtuse can you get? Edit a $%*@#*% .ini file?? ARE YOU SERIOUS??!!!???!!!

What happens when the crux of a game, for you, is getting past the tutorial zone? Or doing anything past the introduction?

I ask because when it comes to specific games, it seems that I’ve got this built-in crux – a point in the game beyond which I cannot seem to progress. This isn’t an issue of difficulty, or time, or effort. It’s simply a matter of coincidence – Fate intervenes, interest disappears, or my attention is pulled elsewhere just as I’m getting back into a game and I find myself, again, abandoning it. At the same basic point where I left it the last time. And six months later I return for another try, only to start over again because I don’t remember the  story or the controls or some other critical piece that I feel I should know.

I’ve run the introductory catacombs/sewers of Oblivion over ten times. I did it again yesterday; there must be something about this game that makes it worth going back. But for whatever reason, that quality evades description and never seems strong enough to hold my attention. (This time, however, will be the time because Skyrim is on the horizon, I never finished Morrowind, and I refuse to go into the next game completely ignorant.)

I’ve made a point in the last year or so to go back and either revisit and finish, or outright start, a good number of single-player games that I had to skip since the kids were born. I’ve had mixed results:  Indigo Prophecy (Good). Assassin’s Creed (Nice). Mirror’s Edge (Very nice). Borderlands (SWEET!). Batman: Arkham Asylum (THANK YOU JEEBUS!). Risen (Meh). F.E.A.R. 2 (Ughh). Deus Ex: Invisible War (Dear God, why?).

Every one of those involved multiple attempts (with the exception of Invisible War, which I only started once and quit after an hour). And nearly every time I found that once I pushed past my “personal crux” I had a really fun game on my hands that was well worth the time. Oblivion is my latest effort; we’ll see how it goes this time.

This phenomenon is not limited to single-player games either; at least, not for me. EVE Online and Everquest 2 immediately come to mind as games in which I have a lot of interest, but every time I try to commit some effort to them I fall flat. I’m genuinely intrigued – for story, for world, or for gameplay – in all of these games. I want to experience them to their fullest, I just can’t seem to ever get more than a sample.


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