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Monday, April 20, 2015

39% = Mission Accomplished

I did it. After unlocking the Menace of Magneto achievement yesterday while playing LEGO Marvel Superheroes, I raised my average game completion rate up to 39%. I've been writing my last few blog posts how I'm trying to raise my percentage before the Steam Summer Sale (I would put a link to them but you can just check my blog history on the right).

I set the bar really low for this goal. No clear percentage I needed to hit; as long as I raised it by one percent I would be happy and considered my attempt a success. Yesterday I did that. And it felt good.

Why'd it feel so good? Because I didn't realize I had raised my percentage until a few hours after I did it. By setting the bar so low and not putting a lot of pressure on myself, I've been able to achieve what I wanted to achieve the most: playing my games and not worrying about it.

Not simply to play them for the sake of playing them, but to enjoy them. To go back to a time when I was excited to get my hand on ANY game. Somewhere in the 25 years that I have been gaming, I lost that feeling.

I look at my Steam library (or Wii U, Xbox 360, 3DS, etc.) and I feel overwhelmed. "THERE ARE TOO MANY GAMES!" I would yell in caps. I would stare at my collection, undecided on what to play, and then not play much of anything as a storm cloud floated over my head and rained down the feeling of never being able to play my games ever.

But I'm on a mission to change that. Raising my Steam percentage by one percent is only the beginning. Technically, yeah, I did what I set out to do. But I'm not done. It's only one game, one percentage, one challenge. There's a lot more to play and do.

And for the first time since I started this blog about five years ago, I feel excited and unafraid of what lies ahead.

Getting my groove back

Now, I don't want to get ahead of myself. I only started this challenge less than two weeks ago, on April 8th. That was the day I started playing LEGO Marvel Superheroes, one of the many games in my Steam library I had purchased part of some sale, but had never played.

I wanted to raise my percentage from 38% to AT LEAST 39%. When I started playing LEGO Marvel my percentage instantly dropped by one.

I was shocked so much I wrote a blog about it. Realistically though, I wasn't too stressed. The main reason why I chose LEGO Marvel Superheroes as my first game to help me achieve my goal before the Summer Sale, is because I had 100% a LEGO game in the past. I never played LEGO Marvel, but knew that if I started playing and really liked it, I would be committed to playing it 100%.

So far, I have a total of 30 hours of playtime with LEGO Marvel. I have 30 of 45 achievements unlocked, which gives me a 67% rating within that game. That's how much work  playtime I had to do in order to raise my percentage by ONE  TWO Percent.

Seems like a lot. The debbie downer in me would say, "30 hours? I don't have that kind of time to play video games!"

This is why I've been keeping a commitment log. I started playing this game ten days ago, but only have played it eight of those days. The most time I invested in a day was six hours. The least was one.

And those six hours of gaming wasn't in one sitting, it was spread throughout the day. And it wasn't a fluke, as I gathered two six hour gaming days with LEGO Marvel.

I have a busy life, but there is time for me to still play my games. To be able to stay that is a huge accomplishment for myself.

A small step is still a step

I keep this log because it encourages me every day to stay focused on my task. The amount of games in my library can look intimidating. The amount of hours or achievements can feel suffocating to my personal time. The growing number of games in my wishlist seems unrealistic and foolish.

But when I update my log every day, and see that I am making some sort of progress, I start to feel better about it all.

Even if I play an hour, I need to take pride in that. For the ten days before I started this challenge, I hadn't put any hours into my Steam library. I probably would be shocked to see how long it's been, if ever, I got 30 hours of gaming done with my Steam games in the past six months!

A percentage jump may seem like an insignificant step up, but it's not to me. Or I should say, I don't think of it as being insignificant. A few years ago, when I started this blog, I was rushing to just play games to unlock achievements as fast as I could. I felt like I needed to catch up, and I wasn't satisfied that I was actually playing my games or unlocking achievements, just disappointed that I wasn't where I wanted to be.

I burned out fairly quickly, and that negative thinking stayed with me for a very long time. It wasn't until recently, without even thinking about it I had noticed I kind of stopped caring about having too many games I'll never have time to play.

I realized my logic was wrong all along, because without trying I was playing games. All of the "time I didn't have" was being used to create fun and memorable gaming experiences. And I've forgotten that's what it's all about.

So I started this challenge not so I could eventually 100% my completion percentage (a feat I know is impossible) but really as an excuse to play my games FOR FUN.

I created a "goal" that I can never fail at, because all it requires for me to do is to play my games. Doesn't matter which ones or in what order, as long as I play them. I'll use the achievements as guides but if I'm not feeling the vibe of a certain game, I don't have to play it. I can move on to another game in my backlog collection.

I used to look at things in a negative way. Now I'm starting to think more positively about my gaming "TO PLAY" list. I'm tired of feeling shameful, and this is the first step to not feeling that way.

One step forward is still propelling me in the right direction. I'm still making progress towards my goal. It's ironic because I would always get overwhelmed looking at all my unplayed games, when really all I had to do was make a "game" out of playing them.

All of this I'm writing about is something I never used to think about because I just did it. I played games for fun. I completed games for fun. Somehow along the way I lost site of that.

This one percent increase is the first step in getting back into that mindset. They say the first step is the hardest. If that's true, than reaching 50% completion should be a breeze.

Wait, did I just give myself another challenge without finishing the current one?


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