Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Shame of it All: My Stack of Unplayed Games

Sometimes being a gamer means knowing when to throw in the towel. Some games are simply never going to get played, much less beaten. However, even that understanding usually isn't enough to stop you from buying those Clearance Sale treasures. And garage sales? They are veritable gold mines just waiting to be ransacked. But what happens when those neglected games start piling up? Will you ever get around to actually playing them? Chris takes a hard look in the mirror, at his stash of unplayed games, and how he got to this point.

Well, a while ago, I turned a corner. Videogames became more than a form of entertainment for me. They became something for me to collect.  Throughout my life, I've always had something of an obsessive personality. I find something that speaks to me, and I consume every single detail about it. My first love was Ghostbusters, and I had all the trappings. The tan jumpsuit, the Proton Pack and gun, the trap, the Slimer Big Wheel, I had it all. One of my earliest memories is going to see the Ecto-1 at the grand opening of a local grocery store.


After Ghostbusters, I became a huge TMNT fan. I had a treasure chest full of the action figures, and had all the VHS tapes my parents could afford. I saw the Ninja Turtles Live! stage show, in which Shredder threatened to steal everyone's voices in the audience. My young brain couldn't handle such a terrible deed, and I burst out into such uncontrollable tears that my aunt had to escort me from the building. I'm unsure of whether or not I actually saw the end of the show, but I know for a fact I owned the Pizza Hut exclusive soundtrack.

In the mid 90s, Star Wars started to get big again. The relaunch of the Power of the Force action figure line was huge for me. I spent nearly every week's allowance on the newest additions to the line, and bought nearly every Star Wars-branded thing I could find for the next few years. Fortunately, the prequels soon came along, and killed just about every shred of nostalgia I had for the Star Wars franchise.

After college, I decided that drinking was a pretty good way to spend the time. My roommate at the time, friend-of-the-site Adam Marcey, and I spent quite a few years drinking our early 20s away. Sometime in 2006, Adam brought home an Xbox 360, and hooked it up to his new HDTV. After several weeks of Call of Duty 4 waking me up with its massive explosions, combined with Adam's complete lack of ability to get past the TV station raid, I knew that gaming had gotten its hooks back in me.

Chris and Adam. In happier times.

I bought Marvel Ultimate Alliance and NBA 2K7, and found myself enjoying games for the first time in a few years. I had pretty much stopped buying games sometime in 2002 or 2003, and only occasionally got back into it. Games like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus were amazing, but I simply had better things to do. Namely: drink until I passed out.

In 2008, I purchased my very own Xbox 360, and ever since then, all bets are off. I've attempted to make up for the years I wasn't paying much attention to games, and my wallet has felt the effects ever since. I started off by buying Adam's old games off of him, and then progressed to the money vampire that is eBay. I bought up nearly all of the AAA games for the 360 that appealed to me: Bioshock, Skate, COD4, Assassin's Creed, etc.

At some point I started buying games faster than I could play them. Then, I started getting into the past generations.

A few PS2 games I always wanted to play caught my eye. Hitman 2 was only a couple bucks at GameStop. Lord of the Rings looked awesome. A Bard's Tale? Sure, why not. And Spider-Man: Friend or Foe continued my love affair with the Webbed One. However, I've never gotten around to any of these games. For one reason or another, they all sit on my shelf, unplayed and unloved. I keep telling myself I'll get around to them, but will I?

The answer is: probably not, but that hasn't stopped me from buying up all kinds of games I'll never get around to.

Fable III Collector's Edition was marked down to $20 at Target sometime around Christmas. I bought it immediately, as I'm a huge fan of Fable II. However, months went by and I never got around to opening it. At a certain point, the fact that it was a sealed Collector's Edition meant I COULDN'T open it, lest I destroy any collectible value it may have. To this day, it sits sealed on my shelf. Though, I'd actually like to play it sometimes. I even downloaded the DLC, for Christ's sake.

Fusion Frenzy 2 was a birthday gift from Rock, as was Deus Ex. Rainbow Six: Vegas was a gift from a well-meaning friend, although it's just too hard for me. Earth Defense Force was bought for its sheer dumbness at a Blockbuster Video closing sale. The rest of the games pictured were all spur-of-the-moment clearance sales, or thrift store finds. I swear I'll get around to them. Someday.

Speaking of thrift stores, they have been the source of some of my best gaming deals. MDK is a game I've been interested in for a long time, if only for the relationship it has to the Tony Hawk Pro Skater franchise. Both that and Cool Boarders 4 were bought for about $0.50 each, a price I feel is more than fair. Even if I never get around to playing them, I'd be losing money by NOT buying them! The N64 carts were part of the Craigslist purchase that net me a Jungle Green N64. I'm sure both Donkey Kong 64 and Cruisin' World are good games, but my N64 is basically a WWF No Mercy machine.

The SNES carts were bought at a garage sale for $0.25 each. I also picked up Mario All-Stars and Mario's Time Machine at the same sale. The only problem? I don't actually own a SNES. Hmm.

So as you can see, I've got quite a bit of games to keep me busy. For the immediate future, I'll probably continue to plug through Skryim. After that, it's anybody's guess. Is there anything you'd like to see me dive into? Cuz I'll do it. I got nothing but time. Time, and a lot of games.

Christopher Linendoll is in debt. He can be reached via Twitter, or found in the hummus section of your local grocery store.


  1. Yeah your stack of unplayed games is definitely taller than mine! I understand the feeling.

  2. I noticed wolfenstein in a corner of one of the photos. That game is actually worth playing! Plus, it has an achievement for beating the game in under 10 or 12 hours. This way, it wouldn't take too much time from you.

    1. Yeah, John, I heard that one was pretty good. I also hears that Singularity was decent as well. Apparently Activision is really only interested in advertising just one of their shooter franchises...

    2. Wolfenstein was actually given to me by Dan Amrich. He insists it's a good game, as well. I'm sure I'll get to it. Eventually.

    3. I got Wolfenstein from Best Buy for $9.99. The only reason I bought that game was probably because it was so cheap. It's a solid game, but it hasn't aged as well compared to Singularity. Regardless if it is a shooter made by Raven Software they been making nothing but solid rated 7 to 8 shooters for the past 16 years.

      I beat all of the EDF Insect Armageddon. Never tried 2017.

    4. 2017 has the craziest Achievements ever.

  3. Verily, I know of thy pangs of shame and restlessness.
    My story is pretty much identical - except replace Ghost Busters with Dragon Ball and Disney princesses (and some barbies, i admit), everything else, TMNT, Transformers, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.

    I can equally sympathise with the great alcohol induced blur of my 20s, I remember mostly playing Halo multiplayer completely drunk and to my great shame, Age of Empires (also drunk).

    Now I am furiously trying to catch up and have a shamefully large stack of games that I have no idea if I will ever play or not - one of those is the Witcher (SHAME!). I havent finished Ninja Gayden er... I mean Ninja Gaiden yet...*sigh*

    One tip though - dont play Fable 3, the burp function does not improve, what a waste.

    1. Yeah I think I'll try to get Pat to share how many of his Steam games he hasn't played. I have a feeling the list is prolific.

      Also, The Witcher is definitely worth a go. Even a few years after release, it's still a great game.

    2. Fable III will forever stay sealed, I think. And while I did miss out on some parts of pop culture due to my alcohol-infused early 20s, I wouldn't trade those times for the world.

      And Ninja Gaiden seems like a great game for me to get pissed at, and never play again.

  4. Rock,
    SIngularity was pretty awesome. I understand that it totally borrowed concepts from Half Life, but I didn't care. I had a lot of fun with that game.