When I was writing my last post, I realized that I have a pretty sizable stack of unplayed and “stalled” games populating my library. I thought it would be a good idea to take stock, if only to shame myself into finishing some games and prevent myself from investing in new ones. I omitted games I'm actively playing (like, in the past week-- Call of Duty, Viva, WipEout HD and Eternal Darkness) The inventory breaks down thusly:
Devil May Cry 4-- An important consideration here is that Devil May Cry is one of these games that will be utterly shameful to play in front of my new housemates. There's some things you just can't expect the outsiders to understand, and having some absurdly-coiffed Japanese dude with sweet abs chant “Blastoff!!!” as he mutilates demon hounds is one of those things.
Burnout Paradise-- I only have room for one racing game in my life, and it's the erratically capitalized WipEout HD.
Killer 7-- I'm just intrigued. I'm don't expect to like it as a game. But I think I'm the kind of person who would dig it as a conceptual exercise.
Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty-- This game is perfect for me, since I've never played any of the other Ratchet games, and I like my games compact and flavorful. When it comes to my gaming diet, I'd be more than happy to eat tapas every day. Hey game publishers! More tapas!
Knights of the Old Republic-- The problem is that I rarely get the RPG itch anymore. As much as I like to kill things and earn levels, I find myself reluctant to put in the work. I really should have just played this game instead of Mass Effect, because my willingness to sink the amount of time time necessary to garner sort of rewards offered by RPGs is getting pretty slim.
Fallout 1&2-- Ditto. The fact that it's only on PC is another deterrent. Honestly, i should really play this one before I buy Fallout 3. But who has the time to play a Fallout all the way through?
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time-- Better known as “the only game that Yahtzee likes.” In the comments section of my last post it garnered a lot of ups from the reader base, including a top-five o' the generation mention from the always-reliable Mitch Krpata. I think this one moves to the top of the stack come the completion of Call of Duty.
Legend of Zelda Promotional Disc-- I have never played Ocarina of Time nor Majora's mask; both were released during my lengthy gaming hiatus and I never owned an N64 anyway. I'm also nursing this pet theory that Windwaker is a better game, and I don't need to take a step backward for the sake of literacy. Amirite?
Stalled (Played but Unfinished):
Silent Hill 2-- I got stuck in the first apartment block. You call that puzzle solving? It's always get the red coin, then get the green coin with you guys. On the other hand, I'm kind of hooked by the atmosphere, the beguiling sense that you have no idea what the hell is going on, and the game seems very demure about letting you in on why you're wandering in about the fog with this terrible camera and zombie-smashing plank in tow. Once I polish off Eternal Darkness out the way I'll come back for you, Silent Hill 2.
Final Fantasy Tactics-- On the second mission, my computer-controlled ally barged into a swarm of goblins and got himself killed, and that was the end of it for me. I love me some turn-based tactics but, Nintendo puts everyone to shame when it comes to making strategy games that are streamlined and easy-to-manage; Square seems bent on putting obstacles (read: menus) between you and enjoyment. (I just read a great review of Grimoire of the Rift over on the excellent Murderblog 3D which totally captured my sentiments on this front.) When I have a yen for this sort of thing I just play more Advance Wars: Dual Strike, which is an inexhaustible well of delight.
Final Fantasy XII-- This game is actually excellent. But I haven't touched it since 2006. I ran out of gas in the village full of slinky, tall rabbit-women, and Stephen Totilo tells me that I needn't ruin a good thing by forcing the game to overstay its welcome. I don't think people give this game credit. It's easily one of the best games in the series, and it took a lot of risks in terms of streamlining the combat. I think people disliked it for not being Final Fantasy enough, but do you really miss the experience of mindlessly jabbing on A through each turn-based battle in order to level up? Also, the plot is actually good, as in, not actively insipid. Which is a step forward. Hey, why didn't I finish it?
Planescape: Torment-- No, seriously, why do we quit playing games we enjoy? For me the reason is twofold: 1) I feel like I just got distracted at some point, and now I don't feel confident that I will remember what I'm doing if I try to make a final push. I remember I was making some sort of dream machine, and that it was a feather. This ring any bells? 2) Even with games as good as this, I am rarely drawn in by the plot and characters. Like, I admire and appreciate what the game does in terms of its approach to narrative but it fails to fill me with a consuming desire to discover the next chapter of the saga.
I think I need to write a blog post about why we quit playing great games in mid-stream. We don't stop reading good books in the middle, or stop watching good movies in the middle. Why games? Is it just that we have to put effort into making them happen? In the case of the two excellent RPGs above, it's not a matter of challenge. I could get through them if I put my mind to it, and if I remembered what I was doing.
I also want guidance from the community: October 21 is soon upon us, and time is of the essence. I wholly expect to be exclusively designing LittleBigPlanet levels based on episodes from In Search of Lost Time for the Winter months, and it will leave little time for other pursuits. What are my priorities? Are there any of these stalled games that are worth going back to, or do I forge on to new challenges?