Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger, Super Metroid, Super Mario World, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy…Well you get the idea…The Uncharted Series, The Mass Effect Series, The Metal Gear Solid Series, The “Souls” Series, The Far Cry Series, The Witcher Series, Portal 1, Portal 2, Half Life, The Last of Us, Persona 4, Skyrim…“What’s this a list of? The best games of all time?”
Well, sure, but also a list of some of the games I’d never played prior to 2015…And I call myself a “gamer.”
Thankfully being in between jobs, sacrificing friends, family, and loved ones, and living off of 5 hours of sleep for the better part of a year, I have now caught up with most of the aforementioned games (alongside many other classics), as well as attempting to keep up with the new generation of games.
Playing these games has now given me a completely new perspective on the whole medium itself; with many life changing moments during my playing of these incredible titles. But even with this brand new sunny disposition, it’s quite safe to say that I am…exhausted. It might sound ridiculous, and you may scoff and say “how can anyone be exhausted from playing games?” – and though very valid, I can’t deny that I am.
I take games very seriously and so I don’t just play them for the sake of playing them. I like exploring each level, each nook and cranny, and completely getting lost into someone else’ world. It’s more than an escape for me. So when I put that much thought, focus, and emphasis with each game I play, trying to focus and dissect them as I go along, it exhausts the hell outta me. But I feel the need to do so as not only a person who’s passionate about playing games, but also writing about them. But what’s scary is that…I’m nowhere close to playing all those games that are considered “best of all time.”
There are still plenty of games I know I’ll never even play let alone finish. It’s different with another medium like movies. If you’re a diehard film fanatic, such as myself, it is possible to get through that “Top 100” list in about 2-3 months. But with games, something like Skyrim or The Witcher 3 could take upwards of 50 hours to finish. And even then, you may not truly finish the game. If you really wanted to do everything in those games, it’d take you between 150-200 hours! So those two games alone could take you a month to get through, and that’s with 8+ hours of playtime each day.
What really annoys me is that I love to play these games. It’s not like I’m going through a checklist and simply ticking one off as soon as I finish it. Even though I’ve played so many games this year, and it’s been incredibly overwhelming at times, I still loved every second of it. (Okay maybe not every second. Bloodborne and Mega Man made me pop a couple blood vessels.) But there are two major factors that make it so impossible to catch up on all these great games.
Let’s be real here, games cost a good amount of money. Even if the cost of them are comparatively cheaper than what they were a couple of decades ago due to inflation, they’re still not pocket change. Especially with DLC’s and Season Passes being the norm with the current gen. And if I went through and made a list of all the games/consoles I’ve (my parents) ever bought and tallied up the total amount, the number would be jarring.
I could probably pay rent for an entire year or perhaps maybe more with that number, and that’s scary.
Also, most people, mainly kids and teenagers, simply don’t have the funds to buy every new game/console upon release. So you’re obviously going to miss out on many titles each year. But even if you are able to afford every game that comes out, which would be like 2-4 major releases each month, there’s another huge factor that simply won’t allow you to play every game you buy, even when they’re staring you right in the face from your shelf.
You can buy all the games you want, but there’s simply no way you could play all of them. Unless you have a magical money growing tree, don’t require friends, love, sleep, food, or sustenance, you cannot best every game you want to play.
This is the biggest tragedy for adult gamers all over the world. With having a full-time job, a girlfriend/wife, kids, and just everyday life sh*t coming our way, we unfortunately have lost against our incredible backlogs. I know people who have bought games months maybe years ago, and have yet to open them from their plastic wrapping. There’s just too much to do on a day-to-day basis that keeps us from our controllers.
So…What’s The Solution?
Listen, I do believe that if you’re passionate about this hobby, and moreover want to look into getting a job in this industry, it is important for you to play some of the key games of the past couple decades. However, don’t kill yourself over it (much like I’ve been doing this past year).
Games, regardless of how much you want to intellectually dissect them, should be fun. They should remain an escape and allow you to explore and have that childish wonder come out of you. I stand by the notion that you don’t need to finish a game to really see it. Bloodborne – although a game that has made me curse and slam my head against the wall several times, is easily one of the best games I’ve ever played. However, I am nowhere near finished with it. I’ve put in a solid 12-15 or so hours, maybe more, into the game and now feel like I understand it quite well. It has given me a good taste of the Souls series, and when the topic arises, I can write or talk about it. I’ll probably never finish it, but I don’t think I need to, to know what it’s about.
So relax. If you you’re like me and have never played any of those “classic” games, don’t let it be a burden. Put time aside every now and then and just get into that game. There’s always going to be that moment when you’re like, “maybe I’ll start that game…or maybe I’ll take a shower first.” – Don’t let that happen, just get into it. And if you don’t finish it, that’s okay, and if you do, great. It’s not a competition on who’s played the most or who’s the most learn’ed, it’s a hobby and a passion that all of us share, and even the most “hardcore” gamers have a dreaded backlog.
So relax, don’t isolate yourself from friends and family and don’t lose sleep, because like it or not, your backlog is always going to win. So might as well just take it easy and game on.