Too many games, too little time

I had some time to kill the other day, so I took a wander through the Foyles bookshop in St Pancras station. As I idled through the new-books section I was astonished by the sheer number of titles that had been published in the run-up to Christmas. Most were the usual shelf-filler, but half a dozen or so caught my eye, and as I wandered through the rest of the shop I found at least a dozen more new books that I’d really like to read. But then I was struck with an oddly jarring thought: I will never be able to read these books.

Say I went back and bought all 18 books right now. In all likelihood, by the time I finished reading them, 18 new books I want to read will have come out for next Christmas – and what about the 30-odd unread books I’ve got on my shelf already? It’s the same with games – I’m still struggling to play through all of the games I bought last year. I’m as excited as everyone else about getting Assassin’s Creed IV, but I already have Assassin’s Creed III sat on the mantelpiece, chiding me for a lack of attention.

I definitely will get round to playing Assassin’s Creed III (and IV) at some point – I’ve come too far in the series to stop now, goddammit – but looking down my games backlog, I’ve come to the realisation that there’s a huge chunk of them that I’ll never get round to playing. Shockingly, I realised that I bought some of these games five years ago, and I still haven’t given them the attention they deserve. In the end, there’s only so much time I can devote to gaming, so inevitably I’m going to spend that time playing newer and more exciting games rather than trawling through old PS2 classics that are undoubtedly great but are starting to look a bit creaky by modern standards.

Anyway, I thought I’d give this little lot a wordy salute before I ship them off to eBay. In the meantime, let us know in the comments what’s your longest time between buying and actually playing a game. Beat five years!

GTA San AndreasGrand Theft Auto: San Andreas – I was living in Japan when this came out in Europe, so it almost completely passed me by – it didn’t get a Japanese release until 2007, three years after its Western debut. I loved Vice City though, so I bought San Andreas a few years back with the intention of catching up with the rest of the Western world. Unfortunately, since then GTA IV and GTA V have come and gone, and I still haven’t got round to playing San Andreas – and frankly it’s never going to happen. I’ll just jump in with GTA V and carry on from there. Or maybe I’ll wait ’til GTA VI

gta-vice-city-stories-ps2Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories – Ditto for the above. I’m sure I’d love this game, but the thought of slogging through this huge open world just puts me off. I still haven’t played Fallout: New Vegas or Elder Scrolls V, so if I’m going to commit to a huge open-world game, I’d rather get stuck into one of those.

Gregory_Horror_Show_CoverartGregory Horror Show – Now this is an interesting one. It’s based on a fairly obscure Japanese anime about people who are trapped in limbo, which takes the form of a creaky old hotel. Everyone is represented by a kind of animal, and at the start of the game, Death tasks you with stealing the souls from all of the hotel’s residents. However, each of the residents has hidden their soul carefully, and it’s up to you to figure out their movement patterns and hunt for clues as to how to distract them for long enough to nick their soul. There’s lots of brilliantly dark comedy, and I’d highly recommend it if you’re a fan of slightly ‘out there’ games. However, I never quite made it through to the end, and sadly I doubt I’ll ever get round to finishing it.

Prince-of-Persia-The-Two-Thrones-PS2Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones – This is the third game in the Sands of Time trilogy, and it continues the emo trend set in motion by the second game. I’m still not quite sure why they decided to make the Prince all moody and dark for the sequels – I fear it might have been the misguided result of focus testing with sulky shut-in teens. Still, despite this, I love the Ubisoft Prince of Persia games, but it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever get round to going back and finishing this one – especially when I have the new Tomb Raider game sat waiting to be played.

viewtiful-joe-2Viewtiful Joe 2 – I loved the first Viewtiful Joe, but I’ve just never found the time to finish its sequel. By all accounts it’s pretty much more of the same – not necessarily a bad thing, but not quite enough to move it to the top of my hypothetical ‘games to play next’ pile. And after my recent slog through The Wonderful 101 (which shares many graphical similarities with this game, just put Joe and Wonder-Red next to each other and you’ll see what I mean), I’ve had my fill of Clover/Platinum games for the time being. At least until Bayonetta 2 comes out, that is.

Fahrenheit XboxFahrenheit – This one intrigued me enough to search it out, but the mixed reviews it’s received meant that I was always reluctant to get stuck into it. It’s an early game from Quantic Dream – makers of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls – but by all accounts it’s far less polished and coherent than those later games.

Jade EmpireJade Empire – After BioWare did Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, they created this – a martial arts RPG. It seemed to slip under the radar a little bit, but it’s actually pretty damn fantastic and unique, and it’s certainly ripe for a revisit on the next-gen consoles. However, I don’t think I can really give it the time it deserves – after all, I’ve still got to finish Mass Effect 2.

Super Smash Bros Brawl box art PALSuper Smash Bros. Brawl – I loved Super Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube, but I just never really got into Brawl for some reason. It’s a fantastic game, I just… well, it just didn’t grab me. Maybe the concept feels a little stale, and it’s not clear where else they can go with it – the same reason I’m struggling to get excited about the new Smash Bros. game on Wii U.

So, farewell then, old games. And what am I going to do with the proceeds from selling all these? Why, spend it on new games of course!

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17 Comments

Filed under Backlog - The Mantelpiece of unfinished games, Opinions and Hearsay

17 responses to “Too many games, too little time

  1. Perfect BloggersTech
  2. I’ll buy at least one of those off of you! But seriously I have the exact same problem – and will take your 5 years and raise it to 16! Yep way back in 1997 I bought Donkey Kong Land 2 and have never played it. But my shelves are full of games from the 16-bit to current that I’ll probably never, ever play. I sometimes get a bit sad when I think about the fact that I may never play some of my favourite games again, just for lack of time to do so.

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    • lewispackwood

      16 years! Wow, that definitely takes the prize!

      I know what you mean – there’s a definite sadness when you realise that there are hundreds and hundreds of games, films and books that you’ll simply never enjoy because there’s just not enough time. The only solution is to just be very selective across a broad field or to specialise in a particular area.

      As I get older I’m finding that my tastes are tending to become more and more focused anyway – I know exactly what kinds of games I like – so it tends to be easier to pick which games to buy and play. I’m sure I would have enjoyed all of the games on this post, but I know there are other, newer games that I would enjoy MORE, which is why these ones have to go. It’s sad to say goodbye to them, although cathartic too.

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  3. A few years back I had a coming to Jesus moment about backlogs.

    I had not only accrued current-gen games that I hadn’t played, but a swath of Virtual Console releases that were in various states of unplay. I was unfortunately caught in the vicious cycle of riding the hype-train to new-game town without thinking of finishing what I already had.

    At some point, I realized that trying to keep up with the Jones’ was a moot point. I was treating games as a disposable thing instead of an erstwhile piece of media. So now I game like I read: deliberately.

    I don’t buy a new game until I’ve beaten the one I’m playing at the moment (unless there is an unpassable sale or deal, that is). It lets me take in the full experience of what I’m playing, and a lot of the time the price of said new game will have dropped dramatically by the time I get around to it. I’ve also used a website called the Backloggery to help me tackle my bulging backlog to keep me focused and on track.

    I’ve learned to appreciate videogames so much more now that I don’t try to pick up the new hotness the moment it comes out.

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    • lewispackwood

      An admirable stance! It’s true that trying to plough your way through an unmanageable backlog just makes you focus less on the game you’re actually playing. I’ve decided to stop buying any new games for the time being to just focus on the ones I really want to play, and get rid of any that I know I’ll never get round to.

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      • Sometimes starting fresh is the way to go. I did it a few months ago and, even though I had pangs of regret for all the stuff I got rid of, I’m happier for it.

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  4. I definitely know where you are coming from here. There are some games that as much as I’d like to get to them I may never do so. I’m not much of a reseller though so they will probably remain in my collection to taunt me forever.

    On the bright side, once you play the mess that is Assassin’s Creed 3 you’ll never want to play another AC game again!

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    • lewispackwood

      That bad eh? Well I’ll give it a go, but I might end up skipping straight to Assassin’s Creed IV – who wouldn’t want their own pirate ship?

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  5. Jade Empire is one of my favorite Bioware games, even going so far as to compete with Knights of the Old Republic directly. The gameplay wasn’t especially deep, but it was clean, RPG and martial arts fun, which is rare in its own right. Add in the setting with a lot of lore I am unfamiliar with, and it becomes an amazing game.

    I’d kill for a sequel.

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  8. Pierce

    I have to say, you are missing out NOT playing GTA San Andreas. This is by far, the best GTA game ever produced. The characters are amazing, the storyline is long and interesting, and you can hit the gym to get buff… It is that good, I bought it when PS Store re-released this on PS3. It is up there with Metal Gear Solid on PS1. ALL TIME GREAT!

    Liked by 2 people

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