You've got to love games that throw in little side quests or tempting tidbit-like collectibles that see you wasting away the hours without getting any closer to the game's end. Sometimes a game requires that you grind away at a certain side job which results in you spending hours on adding minimal value to your character. No matter what it is, games simply love throwing these types of elements at you, taunting you to try finish the actual main game without looking twice at all the other stuff going on.
With that in mind, here are 4 times when a game's side mechanic had me wasting much more time on it than I had initially planned.
Fable 2 - Lumberjack
Having not played Fable 1 (at the time), Fable 2 was simply mesmerising to me. Here was a game which offered so much real life similarities that I just couldn't comprehend it. Not only could I dress up my character in crazy outfits, or witness scars turning to tattoos, or the need to buy property, get a wife, have children, have an affair... er I mean *cough*... but to do all that I was also required to make money, by getting a job of course.
One of the jobs you discover early on in Fable 2 is that of a lumberjack where you can sit and chop wood by playing a simple mini-game. On discovering this, and the fact that you could rent out property and make money while the game wasn't even loaded, resulted in me spending about 8 hours straight chopping wood. I can still recall the smell of burning as my Xbox 360 started to overheat as it struggled to put up with the same function over and over and over again. But there I was, making as much money as I could in 8 hours, buying property, renting it out, and then chopping some more the next few days. Looking back, it probably killed the game for me, but I was addicted to that chopping and making money. Good times.
Mass Effect 2 - Planet Scanning
Yes, I hear you, planet scanning was largely a complete waste of time in Mass Effect 2, and annoying to boot. However, it wasn't nearly as annoying as the Mako adventures of Mass Effect 1, where driving around planets and locating various elements resulted in you getting a big fat nothing. Planet Scanning had some use at least, but even knowing that I wouldn't derive any great benefit from it, I still spent WAY too much time doing it. I wanted to scan every planet possible, went back to certain planets to scan more. Finished the game and then did even more planet scanning. I think at one point, when I went back to make sure I hadn't missed anything I did around 5 hours of just scanning. What a senseless waste of time, but there you have it. Jarred. Must. Scan.
Assassin's Creed 2 - Feathers
As someone who usually hates collectibles that add no value to the game (most collectibles), I cannot provide a rational reason as to why I got so hooked on the feather collecting in Assassin's Creed 2. I had finished the majority of the game and was content with the finale (it's a truly magnificent game!). But there I was, spending hours and hours locating feathers until I had found every single one of them. I recall seeing feathers in my sleep for days after, as I wondered where they might be hidden in real life... you know, should someone decide to plot them around the city and ask me to locate them. One never knows.
Red Dead Redemption - Liar's Dice
Don't hate me, but I didn't enjoy Red Dead Redemption. I found it incredibly tedious (as I tend to with big open-world games). I am well aware that the majority of people love it and cannot wait for the sequel. For me though, my only real enjoyment of the first game came with the unlocking of Liar's Dice. It's an "extra" that has you gambling away against opponents as you bid to teach them a dicing lesson (no cars or horses involved). I mastered Liar's Dice after hours upon hours of playing it. Nothing after was the same for me. Exploring the worlds, shooting, riding a horse... nothing compared to sitting in the bar and throwing those damn die. Perhaps that's why I never finished RDR... oh well.
There you go. My 4 game experiences where I wasted time on almost meaningless side mechanics. Feel free to share yours!
Sarcasm and irony are his greatest tools, sport, adventure and shooting all the fools. Platformers =admiration, horror games = contempt, plans to live forever or die in the attempt.
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