Lame Claim to Shame

It haunts us...
Mocks us...
Taunts us...
Makes us question why we spent the money in the first place.

It's our gaming backlog.


Naturally, the first thing to come to mind is, geez, FF, that's a massive first world problem.


I agree wholeheartedly. We are, generally speaking, our own worst enemies though, and it bugs me that I've 'wasted money' on games that I have yet to play. (Steam and humble bundles, I'm looking right at you.)

My wife reassures me that I'll eventually play them. Even if that eventually is when I retire in forty(?) years. Yes, this is the reason I've never sold a console system; I feel the shame strongly and don't want to lose the ability to play them someday. It's also why my launch PS3 is still connected to my TV since it can play PSone games.

Time to fess up then. What is my oldest lame claim to shame? Final Fantasy VIII.

I'll admit right now that I haven't played Final Fantasy III (JP) but it's over on my Steam library so I don't have to think about it as much. VIII sits on the top of my shelf, collecting dust, never having had the cellophane ripped off of it. In my defense, it was an impulse buy from a bargain bin mall store that was going out of business.

Good ol' bargain bin. I wonder what it'd be in today's dollars?

The one benefit from this shame though? For most games my wife is totally right. You can eventually go back and play them, on your own terms, on your own time. Destiny, with your expansions and sequel coming? You may be my first shameful disc that isn't 'finished' before your servers go dark. I have enjoyed what time I've put into you though, so I don't feel it's a total waste.

My gaming history isn't all doom and gloom. I eventually beat Final Fantasy X-2, so I know the rest will one day follow. I just have to give it time and be patient with myself.

Right now my worst enemy is another emotion called guilt. I don't want to force the kids off of the tv in the evenings to play something that they may not be able to join me on. Then there's also the protection of not subjecting the kids to something M rated. It took me a year to find the time to play Beyond Two Souls. Not because the game was bad (I quite liked it) but because the subject matter put up a big 'you shall not pass' sign for my younglings.

What happens instead? My wife comes downstairs at 1:30AM to find me in the middle of an action sequence on a Friday night/Saturday morning. In the long run, at least gaming is healthier than some other Friday night pastimes, right?

Let's get some definitions out of the way so we're not getting hung up semantics. For me personally, I take a game off my backlog list when I've done at least one of the following:
  1. Beat it
  2. Exhausted its content
  3. Hit a design wall
  4. Not enjoyed it
Number one is pretty straightforward, but number two makes me think of things like MMOs or strategy games. You're never going to actually 'beat' World of Warcraft or Civilization. Their siren songs regularly entice me to load them up at the cost of playing something else. Sure you could beat the current raid content on the highest difficulty, get all the classes to max level, or conquer the world, but both of those games styles have so much content (or replay value) that beating myself up over not seeing it all would suck the joy of playing from the experience.

Design walls are harder. You as a player have hit a point in the game that you just can't get past no matter how many times you try. For me there probably is an aspect of that 'git gud' driving me to keep trying, but at some point you have to again recognize that you've stopped having fun, put it down, and move on. Sometimes it's just that your gaming session has gone on three hours too long already and you're tired. That obstacle will be easy the next time you face it because you face it refreshed. In one rare instance for me there's been the hard decision to walk away and not look back. It's a hard decision to make even in games (darn first world problems). Luigi's Mansion (3DS) was mine. Late game, there's a darn ghost that just won't let me pass no matter how many times I looked up videos or tried throwing the bombs down its gullet.

Which segues nicely into the last point: enjoyment. That's why we're here and gaming in the first place, right? So if you're not enjoying something, and that lack of enjoyment has started to sour or become toxic? (See what I did there?) Step away. Maybe you don't do it forever, but maybe you do too. It's easier said than done with my personality type, but I've done it. With the remake of Final Fantasy VII on the horizon I won't say exactly where it was for me, but I did name one of the female characters after my wife*... yeah, I don't name RPG characters after people I know anymore thanks to that. Somebody was cutting onions that night.

So what's the first game(s) that come to mind the moment you think of your gaming backlog? Don't be shy, you might give me ideas for other games I should add to mine.


PS. Yes, the title comes from a different song. Yes, I am a fan of Al, how'd you know?


*Okay, so she wasn't my wife when FFVII was out, but I'm sure you understand.

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