What's The Quickest You've Bailed On A Game?

I don’t think I ever played New Super Mario Bros. Wii U past the second boss, didn’t play past the tutorial in Rainbow Six Siege. Life is short, I’ve got too many games to play, and sometimes I just need to bail early. Same with you?

As a kid and as a college student, I squeezed everything I could out of a game. I got every star in Mario 64 and cleared every difficulty level of Perfect Dark. As I got older and got access to more games, I cut back on being exhaustive. Just getting to the end of a single player game became enough for me. These days, with my curiosity driving me to buy so many games, I’ve got more to play than I have time to play.

So I’m trying to be realistic - and ruthless - about what I just decide not to play.

Over the weekend, I did a sweep of my Switch, which is dusty with games I’ve bought, downloaded and never started. I felt a little bad about it, but I needed to shorten my mental to-play list (and clear some space on my SD card). It was brisk:

  • Mum Hid My Game - Cute, silly puzzle game about finding hidden game systems. Played 11 levels (of 50?) and quit.

  • Swim Out - Puzzle game about swimming. It’s nice but I want to play other stuff more. Bailed on the third puzzle.

  • Cluster Truck - First-person platformer about running and jumping across moving trucks. Great concept but… I was more in a Bad North mood, and an I-should-start-Golf-Story mood and an I-really-should-finish-the-new-Doom-someday mood. Bailed after the second mission.

Hey, at least the well-meaning developers got my money, right? Oh… I’m already feeling guilty and thinking about redownloading them.

It’s possible to bail on a game because you just don’t like it. I loved Punch-Out back in the day but hated Super Punch-Out and took it back to the store for a refund after a couple of fights.

It’s also possible to bail on a game even if you like it. Far Cry 5 is fun enough, but after clearing the southwest region, I haven’t felt the urge to play more. The Last Guardian seems cool, but I left the opening cave a year or two ago and have never played further.

Some people bail because they’re busy, or because sometimes a little excellence goes a long way. Many years ago when Shadow of the Colossus was all the rage, I was talking to some famous game designers about it.

They raved about it, so I asked them their thoughts about one of the last of the game’s 16 boss battles. They didn’t know about it. They loved the game, but had never played past the game’s fifth enemy encounter.

Yesterday, I saw some of my colleagues talking about how quickly they had bailed on Destiny 2. Didn’t get past the chickens in the Farm, one of them said. That sounded early, but I haven’t even started that game yet. It got me wondering which big game I’ve bailed on faster than any others. I’m not sure. What’s yours?


    Every game I start, I tend to play through to completion. I almost never bail on a game. The last (and only game I remember in recent memory) bailing on was ZombiU. I got about halfway through the game and was just incredibly bored, I got tired of needing to constantly travel back and forth back to my safe house where the storage box was to take stuff in and out of it. That's all I can think of, really.

    I honestly can't recall. I've played most of my collection through to completion at least once.
    Having a kid really eats into your gaming time so I'm struggling to see anything through to completion properly.

    What's the tutorial area in League of Legends called? I never made it out of that before uninstalling.

    Aliens: Colonial Marines. Played until the first time you see an alien with their awful janky movement, and noped out.

    A friend convinced me to try Shogun 2: Total War at one point, even though I usually don't enjoy the TW series (Rome 1 was okay). I played through the tutorial, got to the siege tutorial and failed it. It sapped what little interest I had, so I quit and never went back.

      I quit Alien: Isolation at the first encounter with surviving humans. It’s before you even get to the Alien!

      I get put off by games when I read reviews that the game drags or sucks at the end, so when that encounter got me 4-5 times (I suck!) I just put it down. I knew there was a 99% chance I wouldn’t finish it anyway. I even went back a few more times but just couldn’t be bothered getting past that first bit.

      The other game I insta-bailed on was Resident Evil 6. I walked through the first room and noted the terrible controls, tried a janky melee slash, then opened a car door (or something) and it had a standard RE plant inside with a fluro green glow coming out of it….. at that point I laughed at Capcom for being stuck in the mid-90’s and turned it off.

        Alien Isolation was ruined for me. I played up until the first encounter with the alien - something glitches out and alien starting spinning on every axis while half submerged into the floor.
        The atmosphere was entirely ruined and I never went back.

    Probably Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii.

    I played and finished the first one, absolutely loved it, but then I tried the second one (and was quite excited) but I felt it was almost exactly the same as the first one... which unintentionally discouraged myself to continue playing. I didn't even make it past the first world/area.

    The next game would probably be Assassin's Creed: Revelations. I played Brotherhood, absolutely loved it and completed it to 100%, went to play Revelations and again, it felt exactly the same that I just couldn't be bothered. I only got up to the tutorial of when you use Ezio's assassins in a mini-game to defend a base or something.

    I've bailed a ton.
    If it requires more than 10 minutes to actually learn the UI and the game itself, I find it way to hard to stick at as I get those "You've gotta grind for 5 hours" feels.

    Destiny 2, Halo MCU, Banjo Kazooi - I love them but I just couldn't get through it.

    AC: Liberation, 20 minutes. Of the bigger games this is probably the quickest one. Had no concept of who I was, or what I was doing. Like an entire backstory prologue was missing from the start of the game.

      Frozen Cortex was another one that didn't gel for me.
      Played the heck out of frozen synapse but only got a few rounds into this before it wasn't working for me. Maybe I'll revisit one day

        Frozen Cortex just takes a few multiplayer games to get its hooks into you. The SP campaign just doesn't cut it at all, less so than any other game like it.

        With multiplayer, it's the second (and third and fourth and fifth) guessing that makes it so sphincter-clenchingly thrilling. Reading a players intent and outfoxing them at every step is such good fun.

        Add DarkMellie in-game and shoot me an invite... I'm always keen for a match!

      I forced myself to finish that, but yeah it wasn't a good opening.

    I'll usually buy big games at release (Mario, Zelda, Smash, Splatoon) and smaller games when I have not much to play. I probably won't pick up any smaller games until I'm done with Dead Cells.

    I bought Lego Dimensions on the Wii U and planned to play it, my wife ended up playing it a bunch and I never touched it.
    Other one was Mario x Rabbids. I played it for maybe an hour or two, then got distracted by other things. I mean to go back one day but it hasn't happened yet.

    RE 1 and 2 on switch. Played once, found out that motion control is only available with Joy Cons and not the pro controller. Cut my losses there and don't ever plan on going back unless it's patched which is unlikely at this point.

    Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I just saw the long stretch of JRPG in front of me with a combat system I didn't really like and bailed. Felt super guilty because it was a gift, too!

      this makes me sad

        Hey not everything's for everyone. If it were a 10 hours thing instead of a 70 hour thing I might have kept going to see how it panned out, but I knew I wasn't going to be able to commit the amount of time it seemed to need to get a handle on it and find the systems satisfying. If the story had hooked me, maybe, but that didn't grab me either.

          i do get and i really cant blame you, still makes me sad. JRPG's are so amazing but they can be super painful all at the same time.

    I can't really remember titles but my bailout point, or rather my "reassessment" point, is around 4 hours. If I'm still questioning whether I am actually enjoying a game by that point then I'm most likely not going to really enjoy the rest of the game.

    Generally that's turned out to be a reasonable expectation of any game's design which is why it always annoys me when people start saying things like "It takes 20 hours before it gets good" or excuse poor pacing with "It's a slow burn". Good writers/designers can achieve slow burns and subtle build ups while also creating mini-climaxes to keep people invested throughout the first section of a game.

      That's a really good way to look at it. It makes sense also because it's not just writing. It's a game. Gameplay is important too. You know if a game is fun by 4 hrs. 20hrs for someone like me is almost 2 wks of gaming. Just not going to do that if it's not fun.

      Look at Dead Cells. It almost doesn't have a story. I play 30mins or so almost every day because it's so easy to pick up and put down again.

      That's around what I've come to as well. It's like when people say a show doesn't really get good till season 3. Like I understand that things get better later, but I don't necessarily want to slog through 20 hours/2 seasons of something I'm not enjoying to get there.

    I was really excited about Mass Effect Andromeda, I'd never played a Mass Effect game and the hype really got me... I bought it the day it came out, played it for 3 hours and then turned off and sold it the next day

    Demo of The Division. Didn't even get to the end of the first street before I turned that pile of turd off.

      Worse yet, I actually purchased The Division. I played it for 2 hours and hated it, then uninstalled it.

      Last edited 30/08/18 12:58 pm


    Loaded it up thinking it'd be exactly what I'd want to play. Did a flip and realised that that was how I'd be moving the whole game and deleted. Last all of five minutes.

      Bound was released ages ago on PS+. I found out recently that it had a VR mode. I quickly downloaded it and gave it a go. Kind of cool, but I only spent about an hour playing to 'experience' it, and haven't gone back since.

    Civilization VI is currently in the "I'll never go back to this" pile. Got halfway through the tutorial and found out I couldn't save. Need to finish play through it, but dont have that many hours straight to actually get there.

    Fallout 4 would be the biggest one for me from recent times, just doesn’t click with me whatsoever.

    The original Dishonored was the same, played for about an hour, didn’t get on with it, came back about a year later & loved it. Sometimes it feels a bit right game, wrong time...?

    A lot of free2play games... I get past the tutorial play 1 or 2 things and once I figure out the gameplay or the grind isnt fun or rewarding.

    Heroes of the Storm, didnt even complete the tutorial.

    The only game that comes to mind is Two Worlds. Played the first five minutes and noped all the way back to return it.

    I bailed on Punch Club after a couple of hours. It was OK, but nothing hugely exciting, and I've got a bunch of other things I'd rather be playing.

    I think I've bailed on Doom (2016), but it's still on my tentative "might go back to" list. It didn't really gel with me, but I've heard that it can take some time to get used to the gameplay, then after that it's great. We shall see.

    Stopped playing Dead Island very quickly, despite a friend consistently bugging me to play co-op with him. Didn't grab me.

    The opposite to quickly bailing was Borderlands 2. I played about 50 hours of it, got right to the end, and quit before finishing it. Another game came out, which I wanted to play far more, and I just never went back to Borderlands.

    Vampire Rain. I got killed by the first vampire and refused to relive the pain up to that point.

    Yakuza....3(?), Vanquish for the PS3 & one of those squad based shooters with horrible AI, and if you get shot twice youre dead for the xbox 360. Didnt get more than half an hour before ejecting and never trying again.

    Rainbow Six Seige, returned the game as soon as I found out there wasn't any offline single player, you know, the reason why you bought most previous R6 games initially... Considering their last game R6 Vegas 2 was so epic... this was a huge disappointment

    Assassins creed - tried the first 3, lasted less than an hour into each.
    Far Cry - got 2 hours in the 2nd game.
    Bound by flame - didn’t even get through the tutorial
    Call of duty (any)
    Fallout 3
    Dead Island
    Dead rising
    Halo 3
    Yooka Laylee

    To be honest there are many. But when a game gets its hooks into me I play like I’m possessed. Like dark souls.

    Last edited 30/08/18 2:26 pm

      Far Cry 2 I can understand - it's somewhat 'realistic' and the whole game relies on that. They got a lot of backlash for increasing the realism too much, and every subsequent Far Cry is wayyyy more casual and open-worldy-smashy-shooty.

    Anything by David Cage. Yuck.... like having a skin cancer removed.

    At the end of the day, who has time to sink into a game you’re not feeling?
    Sometimes if you persist you learn to love the game, but most seasoned gamers know what they are going to like or dislike based on experience and intuition.
    However it is nice to surprise yourself with something out of your usual comfort zone.
    Part of the problem is the FOMO crap that the current climate of social media feeds into.
    And the ease of buying shit you don’t need whenever there is a psn/steam sale. You end up with a pile of stuff and no quality control.

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