The time since my last post has been spent gathering collectibles and unlocking bonus levels. This was a deceptively fun activity. The best part was the clinking sound the LEGO bits made when they hit the ground. It managed to sound both toy-like and yet strangely valuable.
The worst part was playing the original versions of the LEGO Star Wars vehicle missions. There's no permanent death in this game, so persistence is bound to be rewarded eventually, but even so the difficulty of those mission was a stark contrast to the rest of the game. I wound up having to replay certain sections a half-dozen times or more. I can only imagine the frustration that would come from being a kid and having to get through those levels without 20 years of gaming experience. Then again, kids can be surprisingly clever at figuring out their favorite games, so maybe I'm not giving them enough credit.
In the course of collecting all these doodads, I noticed something unexpected. The collecting portion of the game was my favorite part. I enjoyed it more than even the base game itself (there's just something about turning the disorder of undiscovered doodads and empty character slots into a nice, neat inventory). Yet I have no desire to continue. I think I'm getting more jealous of my time. Like, "thank you LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, for giving me plenty of stuff to do, but I don't really need you to fill my schedule."
Which isn't to say that collecting virtual LEGO bits and unlocking the video-game LEGO versions of obscure minor Star Wars characters compares unfavorably to anything else I could be doing (and it is kind of embarrassing to me that the previous sentence is 100% true), but rather that as I've gotten older, I've found that my potential hobby activities have exploded beyond all reasonable measurement. Five years ago, I could have gone after 100% completion (and I'm fairly sure I actually did) because my entertainment choices were much more limited. Now, I have all the stuff I had back then, plus everything I've accumulated in the meantime.
It's probably not a coincidence that this all started to snowball around the time I got my current job (before that, the steadiest work I had was as an office temp), but I can honestly say I did not expect this consequence of my modest prosperity, nor that my increased free time would paradoxically expand my ambitions. It's a good problem to have, but unfortunately for LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga's sake, it means that I have to manage my time far more strictly than I ever did as a broke young man doing a mentally exhausting job.
LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is a fun, goofy kids' game, and a nice change of pace from more serious, less forgiving games. However, as much as I love the Star Wars movies, I think if I ever want to take a break in the future, LEGO Marvel Superheroes is the game I prefer. The later game is simply more polished and more diverse. Both are simple enough that I stopped being surprised by them a couple of hours in, but with the Marvel game, I can mix things up a bit when it starts to feel stale, whereas with Star Wars, it was a very homogeneous experience.
That's a pretty fine distinction, though. I thoroughly enjoyed both games, and would gladly play either again. But much like last time, after 20 hours with a LEGO game, I'm ready to sink my teeth into something more substantial.