Gameological Q&A


Shameful Omissions

What games have you embarrassingly skipped?

By The Gameological Society Staff • September 19, 2012

Welcome to Gameological Q&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. It’s extremely similar to The A.V. Club’s AVQ&A feature. You might even say it’s exactly the same. If you have a brilliant question that would make a fun Q&A, send it to brilliantquestions at gameological dot com.

The question for this installment of Q&A comes courtesy of reader Staggering Stew Bum:

I occasionally refer to the Gameological Hive Mind in my comments, this is usually in reference to how the majority of contributors to this site talk about playing many critically acclaimed and universally loved video games, eg. Binding Of Isaac. But some of us in the Gameological playground are the uncool kids who get beaten up and have their lunch money stolen—we either weren’t aware of these games, never had the opportunity to play them, or perhaps weren’t even interested. So the question is, at risk of having to hand in your Gameological Society passport, which game that it seems everyone else has played and loved can you shamefully admit to never playing? For example, apart from Mario Kart 64 I have never played a Mario game. I have also never played a Zelda game, have no idea what a Metroid Prime is exactly, and have never even been interested in picking up any of the thousands of Final Fantasy games.—Staggering Stew Bum

John Teti
Resident Evil 5

Maybe this is a weasel-y answer, because I can’t say I have never played the Resident Evil games, but the sum total of my Resident Evil experience is about 45 minutes. I think that’s close enough to “never” for our purposes. I’m not big on zombies or “dark and gritty,” so the trappings just don’t draw me in. The 45 minutes is from two separate occasions when I gave it a try—once for Resident Evil 2 and then again for Resident Evil 5. It’s not like I threw the controller down in disgust; they were both fine. I just never came back because unless I’m playing something for work, I want something to be better than fine. I’ll also add that I might be disqualified because I’m not ashamed of anything I haven’t played—I had to admit to myself long ago that it’s impossible to play everything, and I’m at peace with that. But “ashamed” in the playful way that Staggering Stew Bum meant it? Definitely.

Drew Toal

There is plenty for me to choose from here, since I effectively quit playing games from about 2000 to 2005. Tony Hawk bears mentioning, but I’d say the biggest one I totally missed was Halo. I’ve watched people play it, and I’ve listened to plenty of wistful stories of hooking systems together in some kind of primitive network, but never really got the itch to walk a mile in Master Chief’s giant shoes. I was just never too into multiplayer kill-for-alls, and that’s what Halo struck me as being primarily about. While shopping for used games recently, I did give a long, hard look at Halo: Reach, and while I ended up going with Dead Island instead, I think I’m about ready to make amends. I understand that no one gets out alive? Perfect.

Steve Heisler

War games make me feel unsettled. I just have a hard time rooting for victory when I’m slaughtering so many people (as opposed to Deku Scrubs), and I now know that many of the games are literally commissioned by the United States military as a recruitment tool. For that reason—and also to emulate my hero Drew Toal—I have never played a single game in the Halo universe, nor will I probably ever. So far not a lot of shame, right? Well, may I introduce you to my younger cousins, who play video games like it’s their job—and playing video games literally is my job. They think it’s so cool that I get to futz around with controllers and track down images of Grey’s Anatomy: The Video Game for a living, but immediately ask me, every time they see me, “So, you play the new Halo game yet?” I shamefully always admit that I have not. This happens every time. I’m a big hit at family reunions.

Ryan Smith
Zelda: Majora's Mask

I tend to wear my notoriously middlebrow tastes in games on my sleeve—meaning that while I’ve played hundreds of hours of Call Of Duty, Rock Band, and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, I’ve never touched a lot of the indie games or cult classics that journalists rave about, such as anything made by Tim Schafer or Team Ico. The only thing that actually shames me, however, is that I never owned a Nintendo system between the SNES and the Wii, and missed out on all of the late 90’s/early 2000’s Zelda games: Ocarina Of Time, The Wind Waker, and Majora’s Mask—the former two of which are often heralded as modern classics. Whenever someone mentions “Navi,” I get confused and think they’re talking instead about the giant blue cat people from the movie Avatar. I’m not sure what keeps me from catching up, except perhaps subconsciously I’ve always thought of Link as a strictly two-dimensional hero.

Derrick Sanskrit

I have yet to play a single game with both the words “Final” and “Fantasy” in its title. Every other year or so I think, “This’ll be the one that finally gets me.” People tell me lovely things about XII. Crystal Chronicles looks delightful. Tactics sounds charming. Still haven’t touched a one. I tell myself it’s because I don’t like turn-based combat, JRPGs, fetch-quests, or the whole Square-Enix aesthetic, but there are examples of games I love that sport each of those features. Maybe it’s been over-hyped. Maybe the rampant fandom distances me like garlic to a vampire. Maybe it was watching my friends play Blitzball in FFX for hours when I was told we would be “hanging out” (this complaint goes double for the Elder Scrolls series). Maybe I feel like the series doesn’t need my support the way less-established games do. For whatever reason, I’ve just yet to feel a need for Final Fantasy in my life.

Matt Kodner
Final Fantasy VII

Like Derrick, I have a bit of a Final Fantasy blind spot despite my general love for visually bonkers JRPGs. While I played through the DS remake of III, and sort of enjoyed the first disc of IX, I have no interest in seeking out any other entries. Especially not VII: The amount of rabid hype I have heard has caused an earnest resentment towards a game I know literally nothing about. I once saw a video of a blocky lady who looked like a pterodactyl getting stabbed, and that was supposed to be a monumental part of gaming history. It did nothing for me. I don’t like being told what is amazing without hearing any qualifications other than its inherent awesomeness. Also, I don’t know how to play the card game euchre, and will probably never learn because I’ve heard the game often involves lots of cheating, and I’m not a fan of that.

Anthony John Agnello

It’s funny, but just hours before the Gameological Q&A call went out, I’d confessed my biggest gaming shame to Mr. Kodner and Mr. Toal: I’ve never played StarCraft. I’ve dabbled, firing up the game at a friend’s house. I even rented the N64 port back in the day. It’s not that I don’t find Korea’s national pastime interesting. Far from it! There’s something about the entire StarCraft milieu of bugs, soldiers, and purple aliens that I find primally appealing, even though I’ve only tasted it in passing, not unlike Shamrock Shakes. The entire real-time strategy genre is my kryptonite though. Whenever I’ve sat down to play StarCraft, or something similar like Command & Conquer, I run away screaming at the first hint of frustration. A cripplingly short attention span isn’t the big deterrent, it’s the whiff of addiction—I know that if I start playing and liking StarCraft, I might stop doing other things forever.

Joe Keiser

I’m always disappointed when a game wants to tell a story but relegates its writing to the backseat, which means I’m let down pretty often. So why have I yet to play Planescape: Torment, the classic role-playing game that many still consider the best-written work in the genre? I have no excuse for this grievous oversight, but if I had to make one up it would be that its traditional role-playing trappings, all menus and character sheets, become more arcane and intimidating with every passing year. But this is not insurmountable, and since its 1999 release, I’ve bought the thing multiple times. Every now and then I will install it, and tell myself that now is the perfect time to curl up and wrap myself in its dark, beautiful prose. And then I tell myself I should get some potato chips, and soon my hands are dirty with chip dust, and I’m just eating snacks with the lights off and you know what? That’s dark enough. But I will play it one day, honest.

Samantha Nelson

While I’m a huge fan of MMORPGs now, I used to hate them for their power to steal entire weekends from my friends. Somehow, I always found other things to do or people to hang out with, rather than getting sucked in myself, until my love of Warcraft III enticed me to try World of Warcraft. Yet my lingering spite at having friends disappear, and then come back wanting to do nothing but talk about their Guild Wars, EverQuest and Dark Age Of Camelot experiences—along with the massive amount of time involved in really sinking into an MMO—have kept me from ever checking out those genre staples. Plus, all my addict friends have moved on to get their fixes through other games.

Cory Casciato

My weird, shameful act of video game omission is the entire MMO genre. It’s especially weird given my deep and abiding love of tabletop role-playing games, and fascination with computer and console RPGs that offer some of the depth of an MMO (Elder Scrolls, I’m looking at you). It’s also not hatred of online gaming—I’ve played games online since the bulletin board days, and was such an early adopter of Xbox Live I have a four-letter user name that’s an actual, English word. It’s not even a lack of people to play with, since I’ve had any number of friends who’ve been deeply involved with MMOs from EverQuest to The Old Republic—people who have all but begged me to join their server, clan, or whatever. No, for me it was basically the same thing that kept Anthony from StarCraft: fear of falling so deeply down the rabbit hole I would never emerge. I tend to be a little bit obsessive with games. and after seeing people who possess far more self control than I do get sucked into games like World Of Warcraft and EVE Online, I know that the only way to keep from losing my family, home, and career to a debilitating gaming addiction is to simply never, ever play one.

Matt Gerardi

I think my gaming confession is a bit more embarrassing than those of compatriots. I haven’t played any Grand Theft Autos prior to IV. The reasoning: I wasn’t allowed to. When GTA III was released, I was a mere 11 years old. To be fair, it wasn’t exactly on my radar (I think I was a little too busy playing Paper Mario to care), but by the time Vice City rolled around, my circle of friends (by which I mean the other 12 and 13-year-olds on my block) was enamored with Rockstar’s sociopath simulators. My mother, however, would never allow such smut in her house. I’m glad she put her foot down and took control of what her kid was consuming, but it certainly was a strange about-face from playing Mortal Kombat with her four-year-old son.

Adam Volk
Metal Gear Solid

I love stealth action games, which is why I’m ashamed to admit that there’s a Metal Gear Solid sized hole in my geeky little heart. I can remember friends playing the original NES version of Metal Gear back when I was a kid, and over the years I’ve heard nothing but great things about the Metal Gear Solid series on all three PlayStations. Yet for some reason, I never bothered to pick up any of the games; and the longer I waited, the more difficult it felt to jump on the MGS mechanized bandwagon. In my defense, it is kind of hard to take a game seriously when it stars a dude who goes by the name Solid Snake, and is rocking a pretty bad-ass mullet and ’70s pornstar mustache.

Jason Reich

I must have had a lousy imagination as a kid, because I simply did not understand the appeal of Zork, or any of the Infocom text adventure games. Why would I want to stare at boring text when my PC monitor was able to display as many as four colors? My experience with the games ends the very first time I got eaten by a grue. To me, the reading was a chore, the puzzles were obtuse, and trying to communicate with the parser was a losing battle. I know text adventures were a major part of many gamers’ formative years, and I have friends who insist that a few Infocom titles still hold up as masterpieces. But try to convince me, and I’ll just give you the classic text adventure response: “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.”

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

864 Responses to “Shameful Omissions”

  1. NFET says:

    Outside of a few rounds of Call of Duty with my suitemates, every FPS ever. A lot of third person shooters too.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I’ll echo this except that I have played the Bioshock games, and casually played Goldeneye 64 as a youngster at my cousin’s house. Otherwise…this is not the genre for me.

    • Girard says:

       Likewise, here. I forced myself through Half-Life 1 and 2 a couple of years back because they were seminal or whatever (though I haven’t completed any of the ‘episodes’),but beyond that I’ve had no interest (but really, no “shame”) in playing any FPS games.

      • double_hawk says:

         ” I forced myself through Half-Life 1 and 2 a couple of years back
        because they were seminal or whatever (though I haven’t completed any of
        the ‘episodes’)”

        your comment hurts my heart and makes me very sad…..

        • Girard says:

           I just on a fundamental, ontological level, find FPS games invariably boring. It’s entirely subjective, and not a value judgment. Being a silent, floating gun is, like, the least compelling way for me to interact with a story or space.

          I got sick of Bioshock after the first one-and-a-half levels for the same reason. A game would have to be absolutely staggering in every other respect to get me to overcome the (for me) enormous handicap of it forcing me to deal with FPS mechanics.

          I haven’t tried Stalker or Pathologic, but there are things I’ve read about those that indicate they might be interesting/unusual enough to engage me.

      • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

        I can’t reply to your second reply for whatever reason, so I’ll reply here…

        (Seriously, why are the comments so stifling? Why is it impossible to engage in conversation after more than a couple of responses?)

        Anyway, I just wanted to second your point about what turns me off about FPSs. A “floating gun” is a good way of putting it…with two exceptions: BioShock and Deus Ex: HR.

        I think, for me anyway, an excellent story will always get me through an FPS. BioShock was so immersive for me, and Rapture (I felt) was the true star of the game anyway. In Deus Ex: HR, Adam Jensen is so richly fleshed out, I don’t have to see his face to know who I am and my motivations. Besides, I’m pure stealth, so there’s nothing floating anyway. :)

        • GhaleonQ says:

          To me, even if there’s attention to detail in the skirmishes, it still feels too artificial.  I love games where there’s full expression and animation of everything in the “foreground.”  I like more 3rd-person shooters than you’d think.  However, I need my character to stumble or fidget to feel like I’m not peering through a telescope.  This isn’t Time Crisis, you know?  My character should move his body as if he has a normal spine.  Live-generated, “random” motion on a flexible, spine-like y-axis based on character movement would do wonders for me.

          Games that take advantage of the-player-as-sentient-camera, like the Thief series (I never feel like a thief), are much more successful for me.

        • George_Liquor says:

           A good point. I think one of Halo’s most overlooked innovations is the ability to look down and see your own feet. It’s a small change that goes a long way toward dispelling the “floating gun” effect.

      • Stl_Bob says:

        Yeah if you don’t like Half-Life and Bioshock then FPS really aren’t for you, as you already know. Because those are the best that FPS (and in my opinion, gaming) have to offer.

    • SamPlays says:

      Hmmm, based on many other discussions on this site, I suspect I may one of the very few people here that actually enjoys FPS games. However, there are some caveats to my shame:

      1) I don’t care what you think.
      2) I’ve never, ever played CoD multiplayer and probably never will.
      3) I have no interest in Halo.
      4) Killzone 2 is probably the only FPS that I’ve truly enjoyed to date.
      5) Deus Ex: Human Revolutions is is a fantastic FPS, although it has very little shooting and more sneaking. I’ve realized that I enjoy First-Person Sneaking games a lot.
      6) Third-Person Shooters are more fun than FPS.
      7) I still don’t care what you think.

      Bear in mind that I play other types of games, most of which I am equally ashamed to admit. Perhaps my greatest shame is the fact that I have NEVER played ANYTHING that requires multiplayer. I have nothing against it but I’ve never involved myself in such a thing.

      • Enkidum says:

        I loveFPSes, but I don’t see how you can be one of the vey few people that a tally enjoys them if your #4 is true. But I guess you don’t have to care what I think.

        • SamPlays says:

          Most FPS games are disposable but I enjoy their entertainment value. Killzone 2, for me, stands out as one of the best the genre has to offer. For example, I feel less shame saying Killzone 2 is one of my favorite games than admitting that I enjoy FPS as a genre.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        I love FPS games. I actually think Call of Duty and Halo excel at the genre, especially at creating a fun multiplayer. But their communities are crap and their plotlines are just slightly above crap (let’s call them “piss”), which is the reason I don’t often fly my FPS flag. The cooperative FPS games, like Left4Dead and PAYDAY can be incredible, as well.

      • Merve says:

        You’re not alone in your enjoyment of FPS games. No One Lives Forever and Deus Ex are two of my favourite games of all time. I’ve also gotten a lot of enjoyment out of Human Revolution, Command and Conquer: Renegade, the Half-Life games, and Team Fortress 2.

      • djsubversive says:

        Have you played any of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series? Shadow of Chernobyl and Call of Pripyat (first and third games) are two of my favorite fps games, and I also do not care for Call of Duty or Halo. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. takes place in an alternate-universe version of Pripyat, Chernobyl, and the Exclusion Zone, where a second Chernobyl NPP explosion caused mutations and weird anomalies to show up in the Zone. The games are very Russian (well, Ukraine), open-world, and very unforgiving. PC-only, though, and the X-Ray engine was built with Ukrainian black magic or something – it’s very finicky and is not guaranteed to run well (or at all) on your bad-ass custom gaming rig that runs Crysis 4 on super-ultra-mega-high. 
        I’m also more of a fan of co-op multiplayer than pvp. Give me Payday and L4D (anything but versus) over CoD and Counterstrike. I’d love a co-op survival-focused open-world shooter, so I’m hoping that Vostok (former GSC devs, the guys who made the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games) can pull off Survarium, which is supposed to be exactly that (well, add “f2p mmo”, unfortunately).

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        I’d wager that most people on here are generally fine with FPS games. I like them quite a bit, though I wouldn’t really consider them a favorite or anything. I don’t even know that I’d consider it a genre. I love multiplayer though, Quake is totally my jam. There are a ton of different genres under that umbrella though, I don’t think I could reasonably compare Deus Ex to TF2, for example but both are totally awesome.

  2. Mike Mariano says:

    Good Lord, my answer was Matt Gerardi’s except I was like 25 when GTA III came out.

    Buying a Wii allowed me to play some of the Genesis games I skipped the first time around.  I have been playing Shining Force II and Phantasy Star IV recently.

    • caspiancomic says:

       I honestly have nothing constructive to add except to say that I love Shining Force II with all my heart, and if nostalgia-free eyes reveal it to be anything but a sparkling gem of pure holy joy, please do me a favour and never tell me.

    • SamPlays says:

      SF2 and PSIV are AWESOME! IN fact, PSIV is one of the few RPGs that I’ve played multiple times – I understand that many people will play videogames more than once but this is not something I tend to do. So, there’s something special about this game for me. I don’t know what’s available on the Wii as far as Sega games are concerned but you should definitely play the first Shining Force game and I highly recommend PSII, which is a pretty solid sci-fi RPG. 

    • djsubversive says:

       yay old Genesis RPGs! SF, SFII, and PSIV were some of my favorite games as a kid. Ah, memories… that damn chessboard battle, Peter the phoenix kicking ass before he even joins the party, Alys dying…

      Shining Force actually had a GBA remake a few years ago and it’s worth tracking down – it’s not just a port, but has improved graphics/sound, monsters have levels now (and an New Game+ that adds levels to everyone but your party), and there are a couple new characters (Princess Narsha of Runefaust and two totally forgettable dudes who help her before she finds the Shining Force).

      And, of course, no discussion of “Sega Genesis RPGs” would be complete without mentioning Shadowrun, the best version. Never buy frag grenades from a shady dude in the street. The chances he’s Lone Star undercover are way too high.

  3. HobbesMkii says:

    Interestingly enough, I have played Zork, but only because it’s the first thing that they make you learn how to write when you take classes on programming in JAVA. It was before my time, though.

    • Girard says:

       Ooh, I wish my Java class had required coding an IF parser!

      • HobbesMkii says:

        It wasn’t all of Zork, mind you. It was just the first room and the attendant North/South/East/West rooms to teach us how to nest IF/THEN and examine input Strings. It was a mini-Zork that (in my version) killed you 3 out 4 times. But once we’d done it, it had the potential to go on forever (in fact, I think we got bonus points that week if we created a functional Zork).

  4. WorldCivilizations says:

    I’m with Joe Keiser – never played Planescape: Torment, nor Baldur’s Gate 1 or 2, Icewind Dale – none of ’em. And I know for sure I would love them. I’ve spent large amounts of time playing everything else on this list, though (except the pre-WoW MMO’s, which don’t interest me).

    • Colonel says:

      I’ve tried playing Baldur’s Gate and those games but I just can’t get into it at all.  I like tabletop RPG’s and I know I these games have everything I crave but after I make my character I lose all interest.

      Same with Morrowind.  These games use mechanics that I just can’t (and kind of won’t) get used to.

      • Mookalakai says:

         Same boat here. I tried Morrowind and Planescape Torment, and….I just couldn’t get enamored with either of them. Maybe Skyrim is completely dumbed down and less original than Morrowind, but it was a hell of a lot easier to enjoy for me.

      • Cornell_University says:

        bought Morrowind for PC over the winter.  I only have a laptop, and it is an absolute bitch to play that game with a touch pad.  I bought a dualshock knockoff usb controller just to alleviate it, figuring I could set up the controls similar to how the X360 and PS3 versions of Oblivion use the thumbsticks… nope!  for some reason the first person viewpoint always pans down unless I hold the stick forward at all times.

        I honestly think it would be easier to just buy a used Xbox at this point and play it that way, because I WANT to play it in a way that isn’t infuriating.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Yeah, I think the interesting question is not merely which mega-selling franchise someone’s overlooked (both because avoiding The Sims is not particularly shameful and because the only way to play every blockbuster franchise is to substitute out games that would actually cultivate one’s particular taste), but which gaps are totally inexplicable. 

      I’ve actively tried to at least WATCH any game, past or present, that interests me, but Europe-specific games on Europe-centered computers are something I should really get around to doing.  I’ve posted before about Japan’s niche computer systems, but Europe’s bench is just as deep.

      EXAMPLE: Everyone’s had the Amiga’s Another World hyped for them, right?  Blah, blah, Ico, From Dust comeback, auteur.  While people are (were?) hyped on Molyneux, they caught up with Bullfrog’s landmark titles.

      BUT do Americans know anything about Rare before Super Donkey Kong 1/Donkey Kong Country?  People think they partnered with Nintendo out of the box on the Super Nintendo, demonstrated flawed ambition on the Nintendo 64/Game Boy Color, fell apart and made bad decisions on the Gamecube/Game Boy Advance, and then dashed themselves on the rocks with the Xbox and Xbox 360. 

      Most don’t know that
      1. Rare had 1 of the most severe drops in quality in video game history on the Nintendo, pushing out garbage title after garbage title because of unfamiliarity with the international market
      and 2. it was so severe because as Ultimate Play The Game (I suppose I don’t know how much of the staff came over, but the key players were shared), they produced some of the most famous and popular titles in Europe.  I’ve played Knight Lore for its historical importance and because anything that resembles Climax’s isometric -Stalker series makes me salivate, but I can’t commit fully to the concepts or executions.  I’ve skipped the rest, despite them setting sales records during our country’s video game crash.

      Summary: isometric role-playing games made me think of isometric platformers that I love, and now look what I’ve done!

      • Girard says:

         No history of Rare, nomatter how brief, is complete without Battletoads, especially since its particular combination of ubiquity, quality, and infamy make it one of the earliest and most vivid memories of a Rare game for many players of a certain (read: my) age.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          I wonder why, say, Killer Instinct, which FELT as ubiquitous to me, has largely faded from collective memory while Battletoads hasn’t.  Is it just the auto-scrolling levels?

        • Girard says:

           @GhaleonQ:disqus : Two possible reasons come to mind:

          -Battletoads’ infamously torturous gameplay scarred a lot of children in the early 90s, and those scars are a lot more indelible than generally positive impressions of a bitchin’ fighting game.

          -I think Battletoads’ graphics made a really big impression at the time (at least they did to me). The level of animation and detail in the relatively large sprites made it feel almost “16-bit,” and there were ambitious sequences like a boss fight fought in the first-person from the boss’s POV. The game looked so cool that you wanted to keep playing it, even though it was a punishing experience (which deepened the scarring that contributed to the previous reason). On the other hand, by the time KI rolled around, we were pretty accustomed to Rare’s CGI aesthetic from the DK games, and it wasn’t as striking, I feel. And there were certainly kids who argued (rightly or wrongly) that Mortal Kombat had already surpassed it with its digitized “photo-realistic” imagery and consequently more “realistic” (but still cartoonish) violence.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus Good call.  Also, I believe both Killer Instincts were in American arcades and the Nintendo 64, which certainly did have the Nintendo’s audience.

        • Cornell_University says:


          some things never leave you.

        • There were a lot of stupidly difficult games on the NES. Most of them weren’t very fun.

          Battletoads managed to combine every cheap death trap imaginable into a single game: Spikes, vertical scrolling with no backtrack, enemies that spawn in awkward places. Let’s not forget co-op. On top of that, muscle memory was often useless due to the random placement of certain obstacles.

      • RTW says:

        Whoa whoa whoa. Rare released a LOT of crap on the NES (I include Battletoads in that assessment), but I will not see the good name of Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll dragged through the mud. I simply will not. That game is a slice of fried gold.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          That game is so ridiculous, unique, and fun that I feel like I need to use a dated term like “boss” to describe it.  Who wants to talk about Sneaky Snakes?  I do!  All of the time!

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I’ve started all the big-name 90’s CRPGs, but never gotten more than a couple hours into any of them. Not in Planescape: Torment, not in Baldur’s Gate 2, not even in Fallout or Fallout 2. I consume newer games like candy, playing long, dense sessions and making it most of the way through a 50-to-60-hour game in a week, but I just can’t get into the older stuff.

    • Girard says:

      The CRPG gap in my experience is probably the most glaring, and “shameful” omission in my gaming background. I played one and a half Fallouts and KotOR, but beyond that haven’t gotten into any of them, even seminal older ones like Planescape. I’ve never played an Elder Scrolls or Bioware game (apart from the aforementioned KotOR). Maybe someday, when I have hours and hours to kill.

      Probably the most inexplicable omission in my gaming history is that I haven’t played a single MYST game. Considering how adventure games comprised virtually all of my PC gaming from middle through high school, you’d have though I would have gotten around to the game that was so ubiquitous that it created a market for CD-ROM drives. I think maybe it seemed too ‘lonely’ after playing more character-driven third-person adventures, and consequently didn’t stir me the way other adventures did.

      • GhaleonQ says:

        I feel the same way about 1st-person, well, games in general, but it really is a bellwether for future graphic adventures.  Mainstream gamers focus more on the 3rd-person stuff, especially during the decade-long “death” of graphic adventures, but after Riven, 1st person dominated from 1997 to 2006.

        Metal Gear is the 1st series I dropped out of frustration (reading the plot to Solid 4), but you could very well nerd out on the Acid series.  2, especially, is a garish mashup of weird nonsense: collectible card games, Metal Gear plots, 3-d, turn-based tactics, and, erm, the PSP.  Both are katamari-like in their quality and content.

      • George_Liquor says:

         I think Myst is more famous for it’s potential than what it really was, if that makes any sense at all. I remember seeing it for the first time and being amazed by actual orchestrated music, ambient sounds, (sort of) photo-realistic graphics, and full-motion videos. All of those elements are commonplace in even basic browser games these days. Without Myst’s wow factor, you’re left with a basic pixel hunt adventure game, with a paper-thin plot, that can literally be finished in five minutes.

      • WorldCivilizations says:

        @George_Liquor:disqus I have to disagree about Myst. The game can be very absorbing – I remember constantly scrawling numbers and whatnot on a notepad by the desktop, which soon looked like A Serious Man’s “Mentaculus”.

        As for the MGS series, the plot can be really offputting, because it’s extremely ridiculous and convoluted (which is sometimes mistaken for “depth”). But if you can get past the maddening cutscenes, MGS’s gameplay really is top notch. 

    • Captain Internet says:

      I was still in school when they came out, but after revisiting them recently I’d say that Planescape: Torment is the only one of those that’s essential. The writing is fantastic, but I can appreciate that getting past the UI and general old-ness of the thing can be a chore.
      Baldur’s Gate is more historically interesting than actually good.The Elder Scrolls games are all near identical as far as I can tell- they’re incredibly absorbing, but I can’t really remember the names of any of the places, or any of the characters. I can’t really think of a good reason to prefer Morrowind over Skyrim that isn’t nostalgia.

    • lokimotive says:

      I enjoy Bethesda style open world games quite a bit, but I have a very difficult time getting into Bioware style RPGs. I think a major part of that is that I have absolutely no combat strategy and consequently suck enormously at the fighting in Bioware games. I bought Dragon Age Origins at full price when it came out and still have yet to dent the surface. Similarly, I bought Baldur’s Gate ten or so years ago and it’s remained largely unplayed. I generally don’t feel much regret about giving up on games, but I feel like I’m just missing some fundamental approach to these types of games that makes playing them nearly impossible.

      • Merve says:

        I know what you mean. I’m playing Jade Empire right now, and I can’t seem to get the hang of the combat. I have to worry about attacking, blocking, dodging, targeting, fighting styles, and my party members, all at the same time. It’s a lot to process.

        • djsubversive says:

          Do you use your party’s “support” skills? If I remember correctly, they tend to stay out of combat when using it, and ghost-girl’s support helps you regen energy faster, I think, which is a godsend in long fights. I got about halfway through the game before I started doing that, and it helped a lot (didn’t have to worry as much about keeping them alive, and you get a bit of a boost in combat).

          Also, and I know I’ve said this before, but try to learn the combo moves that turn people into orbs. I think it’s something like: hit with a “support” style (stun, slow, stuff like that), then while they’re dazed, switch to a hard-hitting one and go for the big attack.

          Although, now that I’m thinking back on it, my JE experience DID involve a lot of excessive jumping over people. It may have been because I approached combat with the attitude of “make it look as much like a sweet kung fu movie as the engine allows.”

          *adds Jade Empire to the list of “stuff I need to play again soon”*

    • djsubversive says:

      Not to be this guy, but it sounds like you would be interested to know about Obsidian’s new Project Eternity (working title). The guys responsible for most of those old Infinity Engine games (Planescape, BG1 and 2, IWD1 and 2) and the first Fallout, and New Vegas, and KOTOR2… they’re making a new RPG that’s supposed to recapture the spirit of those games but, you know, in 201x. Old-school RPG without all the old-school issues (“the interface” is a big one they’re looking at updating). 

      Oh, and they hit their 1.1 million goal on Kickstarter in like a day and a half. Obsidian + old-school RPG + original IP that they actually own = happy me. :D

  5. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    I haven’t touched a Metroid game since the first one for NES, does that count?  Other than that I’ve played at least one of most of the big game series…though I really only ever played Halo multiplayer at a net cafe.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I’ll chastise you for having never played Super Metroid, which has to be in my top 5 games ever.

      Other than that, though, I’ve actually never played any of them since then…mostly because I haven’t owned a Nintendo system since the SNES!

  6. PaganPoet says:

    I’m guilty of (almost) never playing an Elder Scrolls game. I even have a copy of Skyrim sitting in my living room, borrowed from a coworker, and yet I’m too busy downloading PSOne Classics to even bother. I STARTED a game, but only made it like 45 minutes in…if I even tried to resume that particular game, I would have to spend another 15 minutes or so relearning the controls and mechanics.

    • double_hawk says:

       I played a bit of the previous elder scrolls game but just could never get into it (same with the fallout series)

  7. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    I bought the Ico collection for PS3, finally remedying not having played either when they first came out, having the legitimate excuse that I never owned a PS2.
       But now owning it, I’ve made it just past the second Colossus on Shadow of the Colossus and haven’t touched it yet.
       It’s especially strange since the game’s aesthetic and sensibilities are so in line with my likes it might have been made by a hypothetical way-more awesome me for the enjoyment of my actual, just regular me.
       Someday.  Someday I’ll enjoy the pleasure first-hand of slaying the remaining of a non-antagonistic race in the name of a vain quest.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       I’ve never played Shadow of the Colossus before this summer and I’m a bit ashamed to say that I actually gotten pretty far (to that damn energy-blasting Basaran), but life got busy and I haven’t made any progress for several months.  I like the game, but there are a few issues that really make me not want to go back to it.  For one, while I like the somewhat intuitive movement and control, that also means that the solutions to killing the collosi are intuitive.  Perhaps I’m just a bit thick, but I had to watch videos for most of the colossi before I figured out the exact strategy.  The game also comes from the age of futzy camera controls.  Granted, they aren’t as bad as they could be, but there certainly are times where I had to really wrestle the camera to the right view.  Lastly, there has never been a simulated horse in a video game that didn’t annoy me.  Aggro is way too enthusiastic, always walking into my shot when I’m trying to hit those rare lizards.

      Then again, I really don’t like horses that much in real life.  Lazy, dumb beasts.

      • George_Liquor says:

         If it makes you feel better, I’ve never played Shadow Of The Colossus either, and I end up dosing off each time I fire up Ico.

    • Girard says:

      Colossus really sucked me in when it came out. It was my first year out of college, and consequently the first time in a while I had had much free time to play games- it also came out on or near my birthday, if memory serves…

      Anyway, I plowed through it in, like, a week. Every morning before work I’d get up early and beat a colossus, and every evening I’d take down one or two more. I was so enamored with the aesthetics, the puzzle-platformer-via-ingenious-bossfight gameplay, the everything, that I just blazed through the game (my only gripe was that the instruction booklet never told me you could save at shrines, so I thought the game only saved each time you beat a colossus, meaning whenever I got killed, I’d have to make the trek ALL the way back from the central tower – however this also seemed to fit the game’s ludic austerity to me).

      I immediately played through it a second time – which goes way faster once you’ve learned the location and strategy for each one, and went through the hard mode (though I never beat the hard mode time trials).

      I’m not sure what prompted this recollection. I guess the idea of putting the game down is striking to me as the game, for whatever reason, was one I could not put down.

  8. Enkidum says:

    No Metroid, any iteration.
    Less than 2 hours (total) of Mario, any iteration.
    No Zelda, any iteration.
    (above 3 are because I’ve never owned a Nintendo product, I guess)
    No Elder Scrolls.
    No MMO, ever.
    No Rockstar other than GTA IV and RDR
    No Guitar Hero (or similar style games), except for once at some party where I was really high and sucked.

    There’s lots of other holes, but that’s good enough for now.

    • Girard says:

       For some reason, I’d always assumed your avatar was a baby dressed as link. Apparently I was mistaken, and on closer inspection, it appears to be some sort of alcoholic lima bean.

  9. caspiancomic says:

    Shame is pretty much my default mode, so I could probably just list any old game I haven’t played and technically say I’m ashamed I haven’t played it.

    Okay, that’s not exactly true. I have plenty of games that I’ve never played and don’t intend to. Most western style RPGs and MMOs as a genre don’t appeal to me at all. In fact, a lot of franchises that started with the current or previous generation (stuff as recent as Uncharted or as relatively old as Ratchet and Clank) I haven’t laid a finger on, since most of my gaming habits took root in the 16 and 32-bit era. Although I’ve always meant to play a Sly Cooper game, I’ve never really gotten around to it, and don’t know if I ever will. I was pretty embarrassed to admit to never having played Psychonauts, but now I have, and if that fucking Mac patch ever sees the light of day I may even finish it (maybe I’ll just get it on PSN…)

    But yeah, there are a couple of titles I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never played. I’ve never played a Metroid game, at all. I’ve played exactly one Legend of Zelda game (Link to the Past, and only this year). Despite being a frothingly rabid Dreamcast fan, I’ve never played Shenmue or Skies of Arcadia.

    But I think my biggest blind spot, and the one I’m actually borderline ashamed to admit, is that I’ve never played Earthbound. It seems right up my alley, and it’s deified royalty of 16-bit gaming, JRPGery, and art-game writing, so I really have no reason for neglecting it. Sometimes I feel like I should leave my indie-gamer-snob badge and Zapper on Teti’s desk, go home and put on my Sunday best, and quietly hang myself in one final desperate act to regain a sliver of control and dignity back into my life.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Oof.  No offense to Super Mario (which does its own thing, mostly), but I think Sly Cooper is the archetypal 3-d platformer.

      -near-perfectly realized physics
      -minor, developed action elements
      -heavy random mini-game focus (which was around in the 8-bit days but which had faded since)
      -“cinematic” presentation
      -moderate hand-holding
      -clever 3-d-exclusive level design still couched in 2-d concepts (pioneered by, er, Super Mario)

      I’m only partly writing this because I love it so.

      I think the Mother/Earthbound series is overrated (if still excellent), but, from your posts, it might ruin you for other video games. Among other great things, this is the name entry song for 1 of them. The series reaches Final Fantasy IX-levels of “wasting” excellent songs on 1-time events.

      • Girard says:

         “overrated (if still excellent)” is a good summation of the baffling phenomenon that surrounds those games. There’s such a weird hyperbolic fandom around the games, it’s almost enough to make you forget that they are actually quite good. Even the official media around the games pushes it a little – wasn’t the Japanese tagline of the first Mother “Finally, a game that will make you cry,” or somesuch?

        And that hyperbolic reputation seems to precede the games now. In the game-making class I taught this summer I overheard a 5th-grader mention Earthbound to a classmate – I was surprised he’d heard of the game and asked if he’d ever played it. His eyes got really wide, and he responded “My God…I wish!” in this kind of hushed, awed tone. It was weird.

        What’s strange is that, I also remember being really, really hyperbolically excited about the game when it came out around 5th grade – Nintendo Power was pushing it really heavily, and I remember reading all of the in-depth features about its development, finding the ubiquitous stinky clay-figure advertisements kind of funny, and something about the tone of the game really spoke to me, despite my not really being into JRPGs at the time. I remember going to Blockbuster to rent it, opining that I was going to play “The best game ever!!” and burning through more than half of the game over one weekend rental (after which I didn’t play the game again until adulthood – my save file was locked away on some anonymous cartridge on the Blockbuster shelf, and I didn’t want to start from scratch).

        So, uh, maybe there’s something about that game that really speaks to 5th-grade kids? And that sticks with some people well past that? I dunno.

        • PaganPoet says:

          I remember playing it as a child, and being somewhat mesmerized at the coffee/tea sequences…a recap of the story so far scrolls on screen over a trippy background screen with a jazzy tune: 

          I’d imagine that’s probably as close as an acid trip as any 9 year old can experience…or, at least, SHOULD experience.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          I totally agree.  It’s not like it was the only game set in the modern age or with child protagonists.  I’ve decided that it’s because a critical mass of children had it hyped in Nintendo Power, and it was 1 of the only weird games that was kept weird when it came over.  Couple that with the highbrow ties to it (oh, and all 3 games being quite good), and you can understand why they’re as annoying about it as I am annoying about Lovedelic.

          When there are only so many unique, well-known games out there, an island can get overcrowded.

        • PaganPoet says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus @GhaleonQ:disqus I’d wager that Earthbound’s sense of humor is what makes it so memorable. Let’s be honest, the gameplay itself is nothing special (frankly, it just apes the Dragon Quest series, doesn’t it?). But it’s the cartoony characters, the half-ambient, half-melodic music, and the bizarre sense of humor that sets it apart. I mean, it IS a parody of American culture, but through a Japanese filter, so that means everything is batshit insane. What other game would begin with a bee-prophet from the future being smash to death by your overweight neighbor’s mother? Everything about the game is just so…random, and I love it to pieces because of it.

          Now I’ve never played Mother 3, but I did play an emulator of Mother, and while it was still an enjoyable experience, it didn’t have the same tone or humor…but then again, that may have to do with the fact that it was a fan translation.

        • Girard says:

           Mother has a few of the things that make Earthbound special, even if they’re a bit rougher. The final battle has a similar subversive ludic twist that is fairly sentimental and surprisingly affecting (I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the really die-hard love for Earthbound derives from that ending, which would have been even more surprising and more affecting to someone at a young age who hadn’t been exposed to any experimental or ‘art’ games). There’s some humor in the interactions, and choice of enemies, and some wist in things like the vanishing of Magicant, but on the whole, yeah, it’s not as solid from a tonal or visual standpoint as Earthbound.

          I could see it garnering a small cult following if it had been released, but probably nothing so zealous as Earthbound’s.

          I would get a hold of Mother 3 through some means if I were you, it’s pretty great. It’s a bit of a departure for the series, but strikes a similar balance of melancholic and silly, has a novel surprising/striking endgame, and actually has an interesting female lead, which is a big step up from the pink-dress-bow-in-hair-healers from the previous games. The satire is a little different, and maybe not quite as funny, but it’s probably weirder, which kind of balances it out.

      • Raging Bear says:

        If I might add to Ghaleon’s list of Sly Cooper’s best attributes: mission variety, especially for semi-open world games (which the second two were; the first was more just a well-executed platformer).

        They dole out mechanics with excellent pace, mix them up, or have ones unique to a mission or setting so that things just about never get tedious.

  10. Merve says:

    Gaming oversights? Way too many to count. I’ve never owned a console, so I haven’t played many console exclusives. I’ve played a few through the magic of emulation, but that was long after they had come out.

    Still, I’ll list my major oversights just so that you can see the extent of my shame:

    – Any Zelda game
    – Any Final Fantasy game. Heck, any JRPG for that matter.
    – The Call of Duty series. (20 minutes each of Modern Warfare 1 and 2 doesn’t count.)
    – The StarCraft series
    – The WarCraft series
    – Any MMO not named Kingdom of Loathing. (I did have brief flirtations with Coke Music and Habbo Hotel, but they hardly qualify as MMOs.)
    – Any Tolkien-esque fantasy RPG. (My 6 hours with Oblivion don’t count, seeing as at least 2 of those hours were devoted to tearing my hair out because of all the bugs.)
    – Any sports title, outside of a match of NHL 98 on the PlayStation of the son of a family friend
    – The Thief series
    – The Myst series
    – The Diablo series
    – Any Peter Molyneux game
    – The Unreal series
    – Any Sid Meier game
    – The Battlefield series
    – Any game with “Tom Clancy” in the title
    – The Crysis series
    – The Assassin’s Creed series, aside from half an hour of screwing around in ACII on my roommate’s PS3
    – The Anno series
    – The Tropico series
    Wii Sports. I’ve never even tried it.

    I’m sure I’ve left many oversights out. (Hehe, I made oversights in a list of oversights.)

    Yikes. I barely qualify as a gamer.

    • PaganPoet says:


      That’s it, we’re coming to collect your badge. We’ll also be confiscating any Slim Jims, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, or Mountain Dew we find in your home.

    • Colonel says:

      Coke Music, fuck yeah!  My friend and I “played” the shit out of that.  Mind you, he made songs just featuring the cowbell and I focused mainly on Dada-esque confrontations that consisted mostly of one shrill note and me shouting obscenities at the audience*.

      *I was an insufferable teenager at that time.

      • Merve says:

        If I recall correctly, the song maker had a guitar riff called “Hanoi.” I used it excessively in all of my tunes. Mind you, I was into nü-metal* at the time. I was a stupid kid.

        (*For the record, I don’t hate nü-metal, and I find that the hyperbolic hatred spewed at it nowadays is kind of hilarious. It’s just not a genre of music that I actively seek out anymore.)

    • Fluka says:

      Yeah, my list looks pretty similar to yours, except more than twice as long, mostly because I only started gaming again recently after 6-7 years of playing almost nothing whatsoever.  And because I never owned a gaming console as a child, and reentered gaming via the route of PC again, which eliminates a huuuuge part of the past 20 years’ canon.  I have no gaming card to hand in, because I’ve never even tried to apply for membership.

      And you know what?  It feels GREAT.  I have a whole decade’s worth of games which I can play now for almost no money whatsoever.  I just bought Deus Ex 1 for $2.50 on Steam last week, and Planescape Torment is all of $7 on Good Old Games. Maybe I’ll finally get around to picking up Bioshock later this year, or Half Life 2.  And in the time it takes me to play those?  Lots of new games will come out, and maybe someday I can play those as well.  There’s a whole world’s worth of fresh games out there which are yet to be played!  I’ve done so little, and I qualify so little as an expert, that I don’t feel shame so much as excitement at a massive, unfinished play list.

      • Merve says:

        “And you know what?  It feels GREAT.  I have a whole decade’s worth of games which I can play now for almost no money whatsoever.”

        This. Possessing only a crappy laptop for 3 years before last spring, I hadn’t gamed much in a while. So over the years, I’ve accumulated a whole bunch of games that I’ve wanted to play, and due to the magic of Steam sales, I can often get them for cheap. $3.75 for Jade Empire? Sure. $3.25 for Saints Row 2? Why not? $12.75 for the Prince of Persia franchise? Sounds like a bargain to me.

    • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

      This is just me, but you’re REALLY missing out on Myst. I don’t think I’d be the “gamer” I am today if it weren’t for that series. Also, I believe I promised you a Steam game for giving me some excellent advice about getting my own realMyst game up and running.

      I do have to admit though, that I am very new to the Steam (since the last Steam sale) and have little experience with gifting games or talking privately.

      If you’re at all interested in giving it a try (and I’m serious about this), let me know and I will figure out how to get it to you.

      • Fluka says:

        Myst, along with Civilization, is one of my “failed” childhood gaming memories.  They both should have had a massive influence on me.  But Myst crashed whenever I tried the piano key puzzle.  And Civ crashed on startup.  What could have been!

        • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

          I should gift you the game, too, and then proclaim myself, Forgotten Quill: Bringer of Myst.

          Honestly though, that happened to me with American McGee’s Alice. I really liked that game and then one day…the save wouldn’t load and froze everything. I want to think I was about halfway through, but I don’t know, and I never found the energy or enthusiasm to start over. 

          There was a lesson to be learned from it though, which I’ve put to good use in my current RPG-heavy rotation: If you don’t have at least 20 saves, you’re asking for trouble.

      • Merve says:

        That’s very kind of you, @The_Forgotten_Quill:disqus. I’m merve3 on Steam if you want to hit me up, although my name isn’t searchable on Steam due to some ridiculous bug that Steam support assures me it’s working on. My name does show up on the Gameological Society Steam group member’s list, so you can find me there.

    • I don’t even.. can you name something you *have* played?

  11. feisto says:

    I hate the fact that there’s a huge, blackhole-sized void in my gaming life when it comes to anything Nintendo, from my never having owned a single (non-portable) Nintendo console in my life due to various circumstances, and it goes something like this:

    NES, SNES: Parents didn’t allow video games in the house.
    N64: Same, plus I was a broke college student.
    GameCube: Didn’t seem worth buying for the few games that piqued my interest.
    Wii: Got a brand new TV and was all set to buy a Wii when I realized, after the one and only time I tried to play a Playstation 2 game on it, that Wii games would probably look just as bad on an HD TV

    Since I haven’t warmed up to the Wii U yet, this streak may sadly continue for another generation…

    • double_hawk says:

       wii looks just fine on hd, plus wii u has hd

    • George_Liquor says:

      If you’re interested in playing NES or SNES games and you don’t want to go the emulator route, there are several “Famiclones” on the market that might interest you. The FC Twin, for example, is a single console that plays both NES and SNES games. The Retron 3 plays NES, SNES and even Sega Genesis/Mega Drive games, and you can plug each systems’ original controllers into it.

  12. The_Quirk says:

    I’ve never been able to get into long, pretentious mythologies, so games like Fear2, Metal Gear Solid The Guns Of Autumn Or Whatever, etc.  And I’ve never played another Silent Hill after 2 because (gulp!) they scare me.
      On the other hand, I’ve had to avoid a lot of Big Names simply because of tech restraints, like all MMO’s, most of the Marios, Balder’s Gate (which I’d love, from what I’ve seen), Binding of Isaac, Starcraft, etc.

  13. LoveWaffle says:

    I got you beat – never played a Zelda, Final Fantasy, OR MGS game.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go gather the wood for when you burn me at the stake.

    • Merve says:

      Burn you at the stake? I’d rather Wabbajack you to death.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Run!  Run!  Or you’ll be well done!

      Oh, you wouldn’t UNDERSTAND, would you?

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I’ve never played a Final Fantasy, MGS, or Zelda game that wasn’t the original (which I’m working through on 3DS right now, very slowly.)

      I’ve never played:
      any fighting game,
      any strategy game besides a couple hours of Civ IV,
      any JRPG besides Kingdom Hearts, which I never finished,
      any Mario but Super Mario Bros (again, on 3DS, and poorly,)
      more than 10 minutes of Beyond Good & Evil,
      any Halo,
      any Metroid,
      any Rockstar besides L.A. Noire,
      any Diablo,
      any Assassin’s Creed, besides trying the first one on PC and hating it before I even made it past the tutorial,
      any PS3 exclusive,
      a billion other things.

      We had a Genesis in the house when I was younger but it was my sister’s so I was rarely allowed to play, and then in about 2008 we finally got a PS2 for which I think I owned a total of 5 games. I have a 360 now with me at school, but again only own about 6 games because I’m a poor college student. I’ve got piles of games on my computer, but there are lots of big, console-sized holes in the catalog of games which I have played.

      • Girard says:

        I think we’ve uncovered the dark secret about why Gameological Society has one of the best commentariats of any video game website: GS commenters don’t play so many of those damned video games!

        • blue vodka lemonade says:

           Basically! Maybe I should listen to what my mother has to say about video games more often. She doesn’t play them at all, so she must be the all-time expert!

      • LoveWaffle says:

        I concede defeat.

      • caspiancomic says:

         You’ve never played Halo, a Rockstar game, any fighting game, any game whatsoever, but you have played Pathologic? I like your priorities!

        • blue vodka lemonade says:

           It’s part of getting all my taste in everything from the internet, rather than, say, those weird things I’ve heard people call “friends.”

          I literally don’t know a single Bruce Springsteen song and I’ve
          never seen Armageddon, but I can rant for a solid four hours on feminist
          themes in werewolf fiction or like, name 50 songs about sad ghosts. My entire 360 collection consists of Vanquish, Arkham Asylum, Viva Pinata, Silent Hill 5, Deadly Premonition, The Darkness, and Alan Wake. I also rented Shadows of the Damned and, uh, L.A. Noire.

          Fun Fact: my first video game (not counting a couple Nancy Drew adventure games and like, Rollercoaster Tycoon/Oregon Trail/Amazon Trail/Yukon Trail) was Silent Hill 2 for PC, which I asked my mom to buy for me on Amazon when I was 11. I’d heard of it by starting at Nancy Drew and clicking around the “people who bought this also liked” section until I got to something which sounded scary. From the description, I assumed Pyramid Head was a dude in a pinstripe suit with a square pyramid all-seeing-eye thing for a head. I think it cost about $6, and it came on a heap of discs in little black envelopes.

          I’m kind of terrible.

        • caspiancomic says:

           We are not living in the best of all possible worlds until “50 songs about sad ghosts” is a bona fide Inventory.

        • Girard says:

           @green_gin_rickey:disqus : That is an awesome first video game! Did 11-year-old you enjoy it, or did it freak you out (not that those are mutually exclusive)?

    • Maudib says:

       Also never touched Zelda.  Dragon Warrior got to me, then Final Fantasy, but never once did I want to bother stacking triangles.  Makes me glad with the Cult mentality fans have of the game.  Everyone I know who played it as a kid have a triforce tattooed onto themselves.  Video games don’t deserve religious reverence, snake handling should eclipse Mario with ease.  Alas, the world is backwards and upside down.

  14. Kevin Irmiter says:

    I don’t see how not playing Halo is shameful… there’s very little that the games can offer, aside from the multiplayer scene, that you can’t get in other FPS titles. Not having played Doom, or Half Life, would be a much bigger oversight in my book. But maybe that’s just because I’m biased in favor of GOOD games over popular ones.

    My biggest oversight would have to be Deus Ex. I didn’t really understand what it was at the time, so I never tried it out, and now I don’t want to play it because I don’t feel like I have enough time to devote to it.

    • Merve says:

      While I wouldn’t characterize not having played Halo as “shameful,” I think the first game in the series is worth playing. As far as combat mechanics go, it’s superb and streamlined. In fact, Combat Evolved got almost everything right. My main gripe with it is its atrocious, repetitive level design.

      • Kevbo says:

        I don’t know if it’s really worth playing… the multiplayer experience was fantastic for its time, and the lack of complexity which we FPS purists whined about actually probably helped make it that way by making the game more accessible. But you can get a better multiplayer experience today with newer games. Is there even an online community playing Halo now? I would think it would be fairly small, and populated almost entirely by enthusiasts who would pound the crap out of new players. It’s certainly not worth playing for the single player experience.

        Doom and Half Life, on the other hand, are definitely fun even without the multiplayer. The graphics may be dated but the gameplay is still fantastic for both of them, and they are very different from what you’ll find in games today.

        • Merve says:

          The single-player game was what I was referring to when I mentioned “atrocious, repetitive level design.” But I still think the actual mechanics of the game are superb, even in the solo campaign. If nothing else, if you can find it for cheap, it’s worth giving it a whirl, just to see what all the fuss was about.

    • Bad Horse says:

      We have Halo to thank for the now-nearly-standard console FPS control scheme. Just look at Unreal Tournament for PS2 – or, better, don’t – and you’ll understand how Halo earned its place.

  15. TomElman says:

    Wow, Enkidum and Merve, what are you guys playing? i also want to play what the anti-establishment wants to play! For myself, i’ve never touched ff7, an mmorpg, or any xbox exclusive.Follow up semi-related question: what gaming franchise or singular game do you actively dislike?for me it’s the aforementioned ff7, i always held a grudge when the franchise was moved to sony, and then when the praise started piling in that grudge really started to fester. after a while i stopped caring but by then i had largely moved on from jrpgs.

    • Merve says:

      What am I playing / have I played? In terms of major franchises, Batman: Arkham, BioShock, Command and Conquer, Commander Keen, Deus Ex, Fallout, Far Cry, Grand Theft Auto, Half-Life, Halo, Left 4 Dead, Mass Effect, Monkey Island, Portal, Prince of Persia, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Saints Row, SimCity, Worms, and a bunch of others, I’m sure. Also a bunch of other major releases and some smaller titles too.

      • TomElman says:

        i guess i was more asking about the smaller titles, was genuinely looking for new small and hopefully quirky games to play.

        • Merve says:

          Hmm, some smaller titles that I’ve enjoyed, eh? Here are some recommendations:

          Stacking is fantastic. It’s easily one of the best and most unique puzzle games I’ve ever played. It’s my GoTY so far. (It was released for consoles last year but came to PC this year.) And I’d say this game qualifies as “quirky,” if mixing an old-timey silent film aesthetic with matryoshka dolls is your idea of quirk.

          – I enjoyed Quantum Conundrum more than most, but to be frank, I think a lot of people were expecting something better than Portal and were disappointed when the game didn’t deliver. It’s a well-made puzzler that has a few very frustrating platforming sections. If you can pick it up on sale, you won’t be disappointed.

          – Don’t be put off by the incredibly negative reviews, Hydrophobia: Prophecy is pretty great, and it features some of the most gorgeous water effects I’ve ever seen. The game has been patched up the wazoo since its initial release, so many of the complaints are no longer applicable. If you’re looking for a mini-Uncharted set inside a flooding ocean liner, this will be right up your alley.

        • My current can’t-miss picks in indie games are Bastion (which .. isn’t that obscure) and the first 7/8 of Faster Than Light. Dunno if that helps!

    • Enkidum says:

      Hmmm… In terms of tentpoles, I’ve put in dozens, maybe hundreds, of hours on Starcraft I and II, played through all of Half Life II and the episodes (but not I), I used to play the shit out of Duke Nukem multiplayer and Unreal 2004, and will probably buy the new one if it ever comes out (Unreal, not Duke), Dragon Age Origins, Mass Effect (though haven’t really been interested in playing through II and III), GTA IV, RDR, God of War I (which is one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had), Virtua Fighter IV, Portals I and II, Jet Set Radio, MDK II, Stronghold, Diablo II (no interest in III), I dunno, lots of others. (Those are just the ones I would recommend, they’re all excellent.)

      In terms of smaller games, mostly the sort of things you read about on places like this website (indeed, for the past 3 years my main insight into what games are out there has come from the AVC/here). Braid, World of Goo, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Crusader Kings II… you know the drill. (Actually ITSP is the only one of those that I’ve finished.)

      These days I’m mostly playing boardgames on my iPad, which feels old and lame but I’m pretty old and lame. And yesterday I downloaded Double Dragon Neon after reading the review here, because I don’t have a pile of coding to do in a big hurry or anything like that.

  16. SisterMaryFrancis says:

    Street Fighter. Don’t think I’ve played a single one, which thinking about it seems odd. Quite a few of my friends are fighting game afficianados, some are professional even. And I’ve played some fighting games in the Street Fighter vein that I’ve sucked at (Guilty Gear, Soul Calibur, Marvel vs. Capcom) and some I’m ok at (Tekken and….. that’s it), but I’ve never played the grandaddy of them all.

    Also, Thief and X-COM. What the hell was I doing that caused me to miss those two?

    *resumes playing Myth, has dwarves blow up villagers*

    • wzzzzd says:

      Guilty Gear and Marvel are way, way harder to be ok at than Street Fighter, so don’t feel bad about sucking at them and don’t let that put you off.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      1.  Tag Tournament 2 just came out and is genuinely fun even if you’re atrocious.

      2. I actually think S.N.K. games and Virtua Fighter are the best in their genre for teaching mechanics.  If you ever want to “see” what your friends are seeing when they play, do a little training with those.  Street Fighter’s mechanics are pared down enough that it’s easy to spend hours without ever learning anything.  Your 1 go at it might be unconvincing.

  17. Staggering Stew Bum says:

    For example, apart from Mario Kart 64 I have never played a Mario game. I have also never played a Zelda game, have no idea what a Metroid Prime is exactly, and have never even been interested in picking up any of the thousands of Final Fantasy games.

    I totally haven’t played any of those games either, bro.  We should hang out!

    *high fives self*

  18. wzzzzd says:

    My ‘shame’ is less shame and more regret that I didn’t play things when they were current. I only got into Quake long after everyone I knew was playing Call of Duty (the first one) and I only got into Warcraft 3 long after every was already playing Starcraft 2.

    It’s unfortunate because both of the latter games just bore the crap out of me and I can never convince anyone I know in real life to play them with me.

    For things that are more in line with the question I don’t really feel any shame about them. I don’t care if people know that I’ve skipped Skyrim and Fallout 3 or that I grew up with a playing Counter Strike instead of Zelda (Twilight Princess was my first and only) or that I don’t like League of Legends. These are just facts and they’re fine as they are.

  19. doctuar says:

    Never played any of the ‘Devil May Cry’ series or Bayonetta which, as far as I can tell, is more of the same. I also own both Dead Space 1 & 2, but refuse to play them after watching a friend screaming at his own TV one evening. Similarly with Bioshock; installed it, the first time a screaming lunatic ran at me, off it went. I am trying to correct this crippling fear of everything, mind you.

    • Merve says:

      BioShock is scary only for the first half hour or so. After that, it becomes, “Oh. This game is trying to scare me again. *yawn*”

  20. Captain Internet says:

    Wow. It’s like people have been reading books or going outside or something.

  21. Effigy_Power says:

    I came fairly late to gaming, despite having grown up in the golden age of it. Sure, my brothers had a C64 and an Amiga500 and a bunch of consoles, but I wasn’t too big on it. I played a bit here and there, but not enough to consider myself a fan of any of the early franchises.
    The only games I finished before hitting my final Highschool Year were Maniac Manson, Half Life, The first Sonic on the Game Gear and possibly both Monkey Island 1 and 2.
    I put in a lot more hours since then, but I never played

    -Any Mario apart from the first Gameboy one for maybe half an hour
    -Any Zelda other than 10 minutes of Ocarina
    -Any Metroid ever, never even tried it
    -Apparently I played Mario Kart 64 with friends, but I was too high to remember
    -No FF apart from 12, so the fact that they had roundbased combat was news to me
    -No Rayman ever
    -No game with the word “Simulator” in the title
    -No game with the word “Tom Clancy” in the title apart from 3 frustrating minutes of the original Rainbow Six
    -No JRPG other than watching my gf sit through hours of shitty cutscenes in Xenosaga or whatever they were
    -No Street Fighter
    -No Halo, ever
    -No WW2 shooter other than 15 minutes of Medal of Honor, whichever one
    -No Flight Simulator (space doesn’t count)
    -No Star Trek game apart from 20 minutes of the MMO one
    -No Starfox
    -No DigDug, Bubble Bobble or other awfully titled arcade game from that time other than some Ghost’n’Goblins on a machine
    -No Asteroids after 45 seconds
    -No Galaga
    -Nothing exclusively with helicopters before sucking at it in ArmA2
    -No Planescape Torment either, must have just fallen into a bad timeslot
    -No Kingdom Hearts
    -No Tomb Raider apart from fiddling with the first one for half an hour
    -No Pokemon, ever, ever, ever
    -Never even touched a Wiimote
    -No FIFA, Madden, Hockey or NBA games ever
    -No Resident Evil since the dog/window thing scared the crap out of me
    -No Donkey Kong
    -No more than 10 minutes of any LEGO movie game
    -No Wrestling game ever
    -No Harry Potter game
    -Not a single second of Metal Gear, never even watched someone play
    -No Kirby
    -No Dragonball
    -No 007 Golden Eye shooter
    -No Mega Man
    -No Ratchet and Clank
    -No Castlevania
    -No Spyro (Dragon or Agnew)
    -No Dynasty Warriors
    -No Uncharted
    -No Professor Layton (kinda regret that one)
    -No Devil May Cry
    -No Minecraft
    -No Pikmin
    -No Animal Crossing
    -No NASCAR
    -No Burnout
    -No LittleBigPlanet
    -No movie Tie-in that’s not LotR

    So I can safely say I am up there with @Merve2:disqus when it comes to having missed a whole bunch of seminal titles. I regret very few of them to be honest.

    • Girard says:

       There are so many commenters on this story that make me want to prepare little care packages containing Mario 3, MegaMan 3, Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and MegaMan X, and leave them on your doorsteps in little bassinets.

      • Bad Horse says:

        You misspelled Mega Man 2.

        • Girard says:

           Believe me, I had a hard time narrowing it down, and even then still included more MegaMan games than any other.
          I’d say 2 and 3 are neck and neck for best in the “classic” series, but 3 is maybe a bit more amenable to a novice.

    • Captain Internet says:

      If that’s all you’ve missed, then it’s no big deal. 

      Clearly, leaving them off the list means that you’ve played the Shenmue games, the Ultima Underworld games, both of the good Thief and Deus Ex games, Power Stone, Crazy Taxi, VVVVVV, Bastion, Albion, Privateer 2: The Darkening, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, Jedi Knight, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, Stunt Island, California Games, Brutal Legend, Rez, I Have No Mouth Yet I Must Scream, Point Blank and Starship Titanic, right?

      So you’re all good.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        Let’s see.
        No on Shenmue.
        No on Ultima
        Yes on Thief
        Yes on Deus Ex
        No on Power Stone
        Yes on Crazy Taxi
        No idea what VVVVVV is
        Yes on Bastion
        No on Albion
        No on Privateer 2
        Yes on X-Wing
        Yes on TIE Fighter
        Yes on Jedi Knight
        No on Arcanum
        No on Secret Weapons
        Yes on Stunt Island
        Yes on California Games
        No on Brutal Legend
        No on Rez, I think
        Yes on No Mouth
        No on Point Blank
        Yes on Starship Titanic

        Still good?

      • djsubversive says:

        In case any of you missed that, ARCANUM: OF STEAMWORKS AND MAGIC OBSCURA

        “Dwarf with a top hat and monocle, shooting elves in the face with a rifle.” Do I need to say more? I do? How about “DaVinci-esque flying machines piloted by ogres who shoot down your zeppelin.” Or maybe just “magical fantasy world going through an Industrial Revolution.”
        There’s also “Gnomish conspiracy to keep ogres an illiterate slave race.”

        Arcanum is so good. Whoever you are reading this, I recommend that you try to find this game and play it. There are patches/mods that help it run on modern systems, and with modern resolutions. 

        • Captain Internet says:

          PC gaming at it’s finest: hard to get into, brilliantly written, buggy, imaginative, a bit too difficult and better with mods. 

        • djsubversive says:

           @Captain_Internet:disqus I didn’t find it too hard to get into, but I’ve read about somebody who never realized there was fast-travel, so he walked everywhere. Apparently he needed a big blue button shaped like a globe or something in order to… oh, wait. Okay, point taken. It’s very much a ‘PC Game’, but that’s my primary gaming device, so I’m all right with that. :D

        • Matt Kodner says:

          I played this game when it came out. I hated it then. Maybe I’ll hate it now?

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Maaaaaaaaaaaan.  Just play Outrun 1 and 2.  They take 5 minutes.  Put on headphones.

    • djsubversive says:

      You might be interested to know that I’ve figured out how to get a helicopter to pick us up from one place, bring us somewhere else, and then the crew gets out and starts patrolling around the camp, leaving a big empty helicopter just sitting there. 

      Of course, that only applies if it actually makes it to the camp.

      And, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but BIS also makes a ‘game’ called Take On Helicopters (don’t ask me WHY that’s what they named it; I can only answer “because Bohemia”), that is just flying helicopters. I guess it’s got missions and stuff to do, but you can also just fly around if you want. Probably something they developed for eventual use in ArmA 3, if they can get past the “two photographers arrested for taking pictures of military bases” thing.

    • caspiancomic says:

       I think this is the only comment here where if I scroll just right, the entire screen is a list of unplayed games.

      (Although frankly, you’re kind of cheating. Giving “No NASCAR” the same weight as “No Castlevania”? However, I’m prepared to forgive all for the fact that even though you’ve never played Mega Man, you have played Bastion. Right on!)

  22. Link The Ecologist says:

    Dark Cloud.
    Whenever I think about games this one seems to tug at the back of my mind. I have no idea how good it is, but it just seems to include all the elements that I would really enjoy.
    I’m just about to start a game of super Mario RPG, so that one can be wiped off the list, which is long, as wii has been my primary video game delivery device (and before that the gamecube) for some time now.

  23. JohnnyLongtorso says:

    I’ve never played a military shooter. Nor have I played any kind of team sports game since the NES era.

  24. bradwestness says:

    The stupid thing about Euchre is that there’s always one move to make that is obviously the best move, every hand. So you’re basically just shuffling cards around along with a predetermined algorithm rather than using strategy.

  25. dreadguacamole says:

     I lived in Argentina for a very long time, so I didn’t really have any excuse not to play anything I wanted – piracy was (and is, I imagine) so rampant there’s very little keeping you back (other than hardware) from whatever you want to play.
     As a result, there are very few game classics I’ve at least not tried. It’s left me with a slight gaming-related ADD that I’ve struggled with ever since (no matter how good the game I’m currently playing is, I’m always kind of wanting to move on to something else.)

     Games I haven’t finished, though, that’s a huge badge of shame – Nintendo in particular, there’s something about the stuff they make that just doesn’t click with me.

  26. OrangeLazarus says:

    I’ve never gotten very far in Deus Ex (as in more than a few minutes) despite owning it for 1-2 years now. I would try being stealthy and get caught pretty quickly. I just beat Deus Ex: Human Revolution and thinking about going back to the first one again. It may be that I need to mod it to look nicer.

    • djsubversive says:

      Mods don’t completely fix it (it still looks like a game from the late 90s), but you might want to look for something called the High-Definition Texture Pack for the first DX, HDTP for short. Other good mods: Shifter (adds unique weapons, changes some of the augments, combines a couple of them, and adds a few new ones, like the skul gun) and BioMod (lets you mantle over low walls and some other stuff, but that’s the big one).

      If you’re using Win7, you may have to engage in some trickery to get it to run properly.

      I know, I know, RPGCodex. But this is actually a useful thread, plus it has a distinct lack of neo-nazi bullshit, annoying codex-centric gifs, or any of the other things that make that place the pit it has become. I can’t make that claim for anything past the first post in the thread, though, since it IS rpgcodex.

      • OrangeLazarus says:

         I had no preconceived notions about RPGCodex. I didn’t know they existed and I wasn’t aware that there was a bunch of  Neo-Nazi bullshit. But this should be helpful, thanks.  

  27. Since the advent of the NES, I have never owned a non-Nintendo console (the presence of a PS2 in my home is my wife’s doing) and my PC has never been a gaming-oriented rig once technology moved past the early Sierra adventure titles (King’s/Space/Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry). So ignoring all of the teeming hordes of titles that don’t overlap with Nintendo exclusivity (which includes any non-spinoff Final Fantasy title after VI), I still have a few.

    – any Kirby title
    – most non-Mega Man platformers, which includes all Mega Man X titles beyond the first
    – no handheld Zelda other than Link’s Awakening

  28. Bad Horse says:

    I have a pretty big blind spot in the 32/64-bit era. Outside of MGS and the PS1 Final Fantasies (Fantasys?), I haven’t finished any game from that time period. To a modern player, they are all butt ugly with broken controls. 

    • Girard says:

       There was some good spritework on those systems, in things like the MegaMan games, Alundra (a very good Zelda-alike), FF Tactics, and RPGs like Grandia or the Breath of Fire series, which have aged pretty well.

      Some games with less realistic art styles, like the MegaMan Legends games, which have a sort of “blocky Windwaker” thing going on, have aged okay, too.

      But overall, yeah, that generation is visually really ugly. Like most Atari games, you kind of have to suspend your aesthetic sensibilities and just go in for the ludic experience.

      • Citric says:

        I actually love that janky low-res look, but I freely admit that this might be some misguided nostalgia.

      • Bad Horse says:

        You’re absolutely right that the sprite work on the PS1 generation is boss. Absolutely gorgeous stuff.

        I remember people trying to convince me in 1996 that Quake was better-looking than Doom. I didn’t believe it then and I still don’t.

        • Girard says:

           I still get hell for it, but I remember when Zelda 64 came out, being kind of appalled at how much uglier it was than Zelda III. It was so off-putting that I never got around to playing the game until a post-Windwaker completionist binge on the series in ~2004.

  29. indy2003 says:

    Great topic and some interesting responses. I’m in sort of a unique situation, as I gamed a good deal during my younger years (the late ’80s and most of the ’90s), then stopped completely after high school because I felt like it was distracting me from all of the things I needed to do. However, last December I finally jumped back into gaming with gusto and have been catching up on things I’ve missed. While this has been great in terms of the game selection, trying to figure out which direction to go in has been a little intimidating. So while I’ve caught up with a lot of acclaimed titles (the Mass Effect series, Demon’s Souls, the Uncharted games, Fallout 3, Bioshock, the Mario Galaxy games, etc. – plus some smaller games like Journey and Limbo), there’s still a ton of stuff I have yet to explore.

    – I haven’t touched Skyrim yet, as I decided to try Oblivion first. Currently 50 hours into that one and having a blast.

    – Tried to jump back into the Final Fantasy series with FFXIII, which proved a serious mistake. Got five hours into the game and determined that I just couldn’t take it anymore.

    – Haven’t played anything from the Resident Evil, Max Payne, Assassin’s Creed, God of War, Grand Theft Auto, Halo (which I can’t play at the moment since I own a PS3 and Wii) or Metal Gear Solid franchises. Or… well, the list of things I haven’t played yet is longer than the list of things I have. Catching up with the many things I’ve heard friends talking about for years has been fun, but the sheer volume of stuff I feel an urge to revisit can be overwhelming. So I’m trying to come to terms with the idea that I simply won’t be able to get to everything and that I should just focus on stuff I know I’m going to find rewarding.

  30. kalimotxo says:

    Related question: what’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve not known in a game, and how long before you knew it?

    I was about 45% through Fallout 3 before I learned there was the auto-targeting VATS. I spent a lot of time scrounging bullets before that. But I got to be a good shot in a way only Elder Scrolls teaches me now.

    • indy2003 says:

      If it makes you feel any better, I had plowed through a similar chunk of Fallout 3 before I learned that there was a fast-travel option. So many long hikes which could have been avoided…

    • Merve says:

      I played through most of Nova Prospekt in Half-Life 2 thinking that the antlions were still out to get me.

  31. double_hawk says:

     Holy shit some of these admission are just baffling! How does one get through life not playing mario at some point?!

    Closest I got is i tend to avoid the major rpg’s (except for original pokemon if that counts…).  Nothing against them, I even enjoyed the brief bit of FF7 I played, but just never grabbed me.

    • Girard says:

      I think Pokemon is a really interesting sort of generational litmus test. For people even just two years younger than me, it’s ridiculous to have never played (or never “been into”) Pokemon at any point. But for folks my age and older, it’s largely not on the gaming radar, and doesn’t really seem essential at all (in my experience).

      Of course, when you’re a kid, 2-3 years’ difference is HUGE. But now those people are my peers, and I’ll sometimes be talking with folks who discuss Pokemon as if its this universally familiar touchstone, and I’ll have to ask for clarification, and they’ll look at me like I’ve just admitted I never had a childhood.

      • Citric says:

        My nephew is a few years younger than me, and he was super into Pokemon, and he kind of assumed everyone cared about the series. So, he was trying to explain the intricacies of the Pokemen or whatever and I eventually got kind of sick of it, so I said “I think I might be too old for Pokemon.”

        I have never seen a more shocked expression in my life.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus Neither of your general points are wrong, but it’s worth pointing out that the generational touchstone is because of the series’ quality and depth.  There are much better examples of “games that everyone played that are, in reality, not very good.” The hooks got in them/me because of the cheap collection, monster/world design, and aesthetic bits, sure, but it’s anything but My 1st R.P.G.  If your nephew had cherry popsicle drying on his face while was talking about cool the penguin starters look, sure, chalk it up to nostalgia.  The intricacies of the statistic boosting, type combinations, and choices for limited movesets make it EXCELLENT brain training.

          I’d, no joke, put it as 1 of the handful of youth-aimed series that remains hardcore and 1 of the few that naturally and actually reinforce mathematics skills in children.

        • Citric says:

          @GhaleonQ:disqus I think there is kind of an age determination with Pokemon though, just because when you’re a kid you have the time to get obsessed with stuff, but as a grownup with boring responsibilities and crap you lose that ability. Pokemon is a series that rewards obsession. I’m on the edge with the series – I can sort of get into Red/Blue, since I played a bit of Red as a boy, but I can’t get into the later games. I know other people who adore the games that were current when they were kids, but dismiss any of the newer entries because they don’t want to learn about the new Pokemon.

          It’s a quality product, but it needs to be delivered at the right time to be super effective.

          I was mostly commenting on the idea that someone would be shocked that a person might be too old for Pokemon though.

        • Girard says:

           @GhaleonQ:disqus : I wasn’t indicating that Pokemon games weren’t solid (as one of Nintendo’s tentpole franchises, at the very least I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt), so much as enjoyment of them seem to fall largely on one side of a generational fault line. Basically, if you hadn’t started high school yet in 1998, it is a huge fucking deal, and if you had then it’s just something your little brother played.

          I think while the series didn’t court older players, it was certainly complex enough to remain engaging to the young people who first got into as they grew older –  and enough still meaningfully play the series into adulthood that there’s likely more at work than just simple nostalgia.

          Which is why ‘kids’ my little brother’s age still talk about it, except now that they’re in my peer group, they’re likely to assume I’m as familiar with it as they are.

  32. Mookalakai says:

    I don’t really know how to play chess, which I occasionally feel a little ashamed of. But the way I see it, real time strategy games are a complete improvement on chess anyway, so I don’t feel that bad. In chess, you can only choose from 2 factions, and they play the exact same.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Plus, you know, Battle Chess.  Why bother with the game of masters when you watch a claymation Queen bludgeon a Bishop with a sceptre?

      (Admission: I may generally like the Archon games more than chess.)

  33. lokimotive says:

    The sum total of my MMO experience consists of creating a character in Anarchy Online during a free weekend some ten years ago, crash landing on an island or whatever it is you did, and then sitting down so I could quit. I just have absolutely no interest in such an experience.

  34. DjangoZ says:

    All of the omissions are forgivable…except for Jason’s. That’s like saying “I don’t like radio, only TV and Movies.”

  35. Cornell_University says:

    My elderly parents own a current gen console and I do not.  

    I did not actually own a last gen console until about 6 months ago when I bought a PS2 used, mostly to play PSX games (because used PS2s are way more reliable than used PS1s, and yknow, double the potential library). 

    When I was a kid I was obsessed with Nintendo.  My grandmother bought me one against my parents wishes, and my brother and I lost our collective shit over Super Mario Bros 3 on an almost daily basis.  

    When SNES came around the same grandmother ponied up for one for Christmas (as well as a television for my brother, so we could play during my parents weekly Commish viewing parties).  Somewhere in there  I got a Genesis (AND A 32X!!!).  Gameboy, Gamegear.  

    Due to my cousin at the time working on the first Twisted Metal, I switched loyalties and jumped on the Playstation bandwagon early.  I forget how I saved up the $300 for it shortly after launch, but I did it.  Marathons of Goldeneye at friends houses and the looming shadow of Ocarina of Time got me to shell out for an N64 a couple years later.  I chose Gamecube over PS2 or Xbox, out of some inherent need to make up for my earlier disloyalty (it need not be said how Nintendo rewarded me for my decision).  

    And then…. nothing.  I’ve spent most of the last decade buying obsolete systems (Colecovision, Commodore VIC-20, Dreamcast) and games rather than trying to keep up with the new stuff.  That point where someone stops lusting after what’s now, cool, way hap, whatever and starts living and breathing nostalgia, I’m long past it.  Reexperiencing cartridge dust of old, buying sealed Genesis games no one wants on ebay just so I can experience unwrapping them again.  Digging for scratched up copies of PS1 games missing their manuals at flea markets like a pig for truffles.  

    Not that I won’t some day buy a PS3 so I can play Oblivion and Skyrim, because I totally will.  I’m just so woefully behind at this point, and there’s so many PS1&2 games I want to either replay or play for the first time, it will probably be years.  And I don’t have a ton of free time or money at the moment anyway.  I don’t feel shame for all this, it’s not ultimately that important in the grand scheme, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me a little wistful for a time where I had the devotion and disposable income to keep up with all this.And it should go without saying I guess that I’ve never played Halo.

    • Mr. Glitch says:

       You are my brother, sir. The highlight of my gaming year so far was tracking down a mint-in-box Atari XE GS that came all the way from a warehouse in Mexico. I tell ya, nothing beats that new Atari smell!

  36. Keiser, your intentions are good and you are forgiven.

    The rest of you except for one person shortly to be named, it’s cool, you’re not missing much – and what you are missing would be a big “yeah, so?” in today’s context anyway..

    Smith, GET OUT.

    (But, no, seriously – if you’d never consciously heard anything by the Pixies or the Velvet Underground, and in fact mostly just listened to Coldplay and Pink, would you feel comfortable as a music journalist? I’m curious.)

    • GhaleonQ says:

      *laughs*  I think a good followup would be the top 2 games on their backlog (not from this generation).  It’s 1 thing to put off Guild Wars I, another to swear it off.  (Note: Samantha will be lost to II imminently.)

  37. Mr. Glitch says:

    Shameless self-promotion: I’m working on an in-depth write-up of Super Mario World as part of a ‘better late than never’ section of my blog. I didn’t own an SNES or N64 when they were contemporary, and I only have a handful of Playstation games, so there should be plenty of fodder.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Righteous! I came to Super Mario World late myself (played it at Uni with some SNES-home housemates of mine), so I was able to examine it with nostalgia-free eyes. I don’t want to tip your own analysis one way or the other, but speaking purely for myself, I found it really, really great.

      • Citric says:

        If you would have said “Tubular” instead of Righteous I might have had some horrifying flashbacks to that [bad words] level.

    • Girard says:

       OH my God. I am simultaneously so sad that you missed out on the SNES but so excited that you have this wide-open range of amazing games ahead of you.

    • doyourealize says:

      These were going to be mine but you’ve beat me to it. No Super Mario World or Super Mario 64 for me. I have an excuse in never owning a SNES, but I had a N64…just never played it, or any Mario game after, really.

      Also, if you can get your hands on the Fear Effect games for PS, those are games I always thought were underappreciated.

  38. I can’t really think of anything (apart from seriously niche stuff like hex-based tank warfare strategy sims with supply lines and engine wear, or bus simulators) that you could consider a glaring omission from my “have played” list..

    But on the other hand, I’ve rarely finished anything. In the last decade or so, I’ve completed.. Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, the Portals, Half-Life 2 (but not ep1 or ep2), Disgaea (if you can call finishing the main story “completion”), Psychonauts (100%!), The World Ends With You, Bastion, Mass Effects 1 and 2, Max Paynes 1 and 2, and I think that may be it. 

    I’ve probably played upwards of 500 games for eight hours or more since 2002, and I have a horrible feeling that that’s probably literally the full list of ones I’ve completed. Unless you count snack-sized Flash games, which I don’t. (Or vestigial single player experiences of a lookit-the-shiny-graphics variety hot-glued to a multiplayer game, like the later Call of Duties. Anything that can be breezed through in the gap between work and dinner, basically.)

    I’ve also quit early on a lot of things that make certain people tear their hair out if I mention it in conversation, like.. 

    both of the Half-Life Episodes (my reaction was largely “I’ve done this for two games already, no mas por favor”)
    most of the Final Fantasies (“This is a ‘game’? These are ‘characters’? You call that a ‘plot’?”)
    Halos 1 and 2 (“..uh, yeah, I’m mostly a PC guy, I’ve played about fifty of these before”)
    Braid (I have no idea, I just forgot to finish it)
    Bioshock (“Fuck you, plot twist. You’re stupid. I’m taking my ball and going home”) 
    Dragon Age 1 (could not give a toss about any of the characters, except for wanting to strangle Morrigan and dump the corpse in a swamp, and boy is that game ever too damn long) 
    The Baldur’s Gates (Just plain too damn long)
    Diablos 1 and 2 and Torchlight (Skinner boxes for getting rid of troublesome excess spare time, no thank you)

    ..basically, any time you mention something that’s generally considered an all time stone cold classic, I stopped playing about halfway through and never came back.

    (This week, I got all the way to Quelaag in Dark Souls and then found I just can’t beat her no matter how hard I try. I’ve got a possible strategy for it but that would involve doing a lot of farming first, and, well, I’ve got all these episodes of Top Gear..)

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Since @dreadguacamole:disqus mentioned it, too.

      I don’t think we’ve had a “definitive” article about this curse of writing about games from The Gameological Society, so I’d also like to hear from them what “counts” as playing or finishing a game.  Games writers probably have more 60-percent complete games than all of us combined.

      Me?  I count “quarter-feeding” shoot-’em-ups as completing them as long as I grasp the key gameplay concepts.  Otherwise, I’d never get halfway through most.  I’ve mastered quite a few (50?) favorites, but I don’t have 15 hours per Dreamcast title to make my fingers match my thinking.

      • George_Liquor says:

         Man, the one thing both the Saturn and the Dreamcast did well was shmups. I just got my grubby little mitts on a copy of Radiant Silvergun for Saturn, and now I’m poking around for Ikaruga. I’ll probably cheap out, though, & just pick up the Game Cube version.

        • wzzzzd says:

          I don’t know about the Saturn, but part of why the Dreamcast ended up so good for arcade games like shmups and fighting games is that internally it was basically the same as the NAOMI-based arcade machines that the games were built for in the first place.

        • Doesn’t Radiant Silvergun go for something ludicrous like $120 used?

        • George_Liquor says:

           @twitter-16826090:disqus Yes it does. In fact it used to go for quite a bit more before it made an appearance on XBLA. However, my sister recently took a trip to Japan, so I sent her a list of games to look for while she was there, and an ultimatum not to return to the States without at least one.

    • djsubversive says:

      “bus simulator”

      Desert Bus is a goddamn classic.

      • That’s a level, not a game. I mean genuine straight-up intensely detailed public transport simulations. There’s a whole bunch of those. And at least one farming simulator where you plough and harvest and whatnot with authentic farm vehicles.

    • doyourealize says:

      Hit me up on Steam, Miko. Hanging out near Quelaag at around level 35 if you want help. You playing on PC?

      That is, if you haven’t quit yet.

    • Brian says:

      ‘Fuck you, plot twist.’ It’s elegant in its vulgarity! And I felt the same. ‘What? All this time invested for that storyline? Why?’

  39. Citric says:

    Most of the US-released PS2 iterations of the Shin Megami Tensei series, with the exception of Nocturne and Persona 3 and 4. It’s shameful mostly because I actually own them. They sit on my shelf and have been sitting there for a number of years. I bought Devil Summoner 2 on release weekend. My cat plays with the plush thingy that came with it. It has never known the inside of my PS2.

    Also in the dust collector camp is Devil May Cry 2-4 (I just have to finish the first one!) Sly Cooper 2 and 3 (see above), and Prince of Persia sequels to Sands of Time (no good excuses here since I have finished the first one.) and El Shaddai. Not to mention the cluttered Steam queue. I think there are others but this is what I can remember off hand.

    Odin Sphere used to be the same thing but I finally started it up recently.

    I don’t have a good excuse, but buying games I’ve never bothered to play is shameful.

    • George_Liquor says:

       I haven’t finished the third PoP either, and I can think of several good reason not to finish the second.

      • Citric says:

        I didn’t merely not finish it, I never even started it. It has never been in the console. It has sat on a shelf for five years or more.

  40. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    Oh man, where to start. 

    Alright, TONS of SNES RPGS I skipped out on. I’m currently playing through Earthbound for the first time. I played it at my friend’s house as a kid but never had the game myself. Also currently playing through A Link to the Past for the first time. 

    I’ve never played a Final Fantasy game, save for the Tactics sub-series. I missed out on most PC classics, Baldurs Gate, Planescape, Sam & Max, etc etc. Every PS1 game besides Tomba. I never got into any Elder Scrolls game. Fighting games, RTS games. I know I’m forgetting a bunch too.

    And I don’t like Star Wars.

    • Well, the non-Tactics Final Fantasies are basically Final Fantasy Tactics without the tactics (and with more exposition and trudging), so unless that sounds like your thing, you can prob’ly skip them.

      The Baldur’s Gate style old-school RPG is a bit of a pain to dig into unless you’ve been down that road before, so with some regret I have to say you probably don’t want to do that either.

      But what with http:// existing and enabling you to play Sam & Max, Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island 2, and a host of others on a tablet or smartphone (or a laptop, if you must be frightfully retro) wherever you are at the time – make five minutes of progress at a go while sitting in traffic jams, whatever – I have to say you should probably give those a poke.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        I have ScummVM along with Sam and Max Hit the Road on my computer now. I got frustrated with it after a bit and haven’t tried it since. I sort of hate point and click adventure games.

        • I has a sad now. S&HHtR is one of my favourite things ever. I’m temped to reinstall it for a fifth playthrough right now.

        • George_Liquor says:

           You’re missing out. Sam & Max has some epic moment in it.

        • Girard says:

           Sam & Max Hit the Road might be the best (or at least the most enjoyable) point & click adventure ever. But I can understand a UI aversion hampering your enjoyment of even the very best a genre has to offer – hell, upthread I’m complaining about how I can barely tolerate the Half-Life games because they make me put up all that FPS bullshit.

  41. The Guilty Party says:

    These lists would probably make more sense if they were limited to ‘genres you like’. I’ve never been into sports games or RTS games, so Warcraft and Starcraft are on my list, but it’s not like I’ve been playing inferior copies of them instead.

    For things I *do* enjoy, I’ve never played any of the Zeldas, nor the original Deus Ex. Never tried the former, and the latter I played for 5 minutes and just couldn’t get into it.

  42. AmaltheaElanor says:

    Like a few others on here, I missed out on a lot of gaming when I was younger (though I did play a fair amount on NES).  I’ve been playing various of the Marios and Zeldas for years, but it’s only with the upgrading of my PC and purchasing a PS3 that I feel like I’ve really started to get into more of the serious franchises.

    Does it count if I played part of Bioshock but gave up halfway through?  Also, I tried of few hours of both Morrowind and Oblivion and couldn’t get into either of them.  Elder Scrolls is not for me.
    I have Batman: Arkham Asylum sitting at home waiting for me to try, and I hope I do better with that.  I also have a list of games to try that includes Dark Souls, Heavy Rain, and Fallout 3.

    But as for major games I have never (and likely never will) play?  
    Anything Resident Evil
    And any MMO.  I wish that Multiplayer wasn’t becoming a mandated part of the gaming experience.

  43. doyourealize says:

    I guess I carry a little shame about not having played some “classics”, but the games I feel most shame about for not having played are the ones that clutter my Steam library that were bought on a whim because of some sale I couldn’t pass up for some reason, and now just take up space on my hard drive. But I don’t take them off because goddammit I’ll play them someday!

    So help my Gameological, I have a problem. My list of games I bought but I may never play or only play a few minutes of includes:

    1…2…3…Kick it! Drop that Beat Like an Ugly Baby
    AaaAaaA!! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity
    Alan Wake (I hope I play this)
    Arx Fatalis
    The Ball
    Bioshock 2
    Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
    Defense Grid: The Awakening
    Deus Ex
    Dungeon Siege 1, 2, and 3
    FEAR 3
    From Dust
    Garry’s Mod
    Killing Floor
    King’s Bounty: Armored Princes, Crossworlds, and the Legend
    Left For Dead 2
    Lone Survivor
    Mount and Blade
    Star Wars: KOTOR (no, I’ve never played it)
    Toki Tori
    The Wonderful End of the World

    I also bought a bunch of Ultimas from GOG, and just before I wrote this, I bought the entire D&D pack on GOG for $30. An excellent deal for people who will play those games, which I haven’t, and am now pretending I someday will.

  44. BillyNerdass says:

    While I might be late to the game on mentioning this: Ryan Smith, do yourself a favor and track down a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition. It’s got Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask plus the two NES Zelda games all on one GameCube disc. I got mine for around $40 on eBay a few years ago. The N64 games stand the test of time really well and it confirmed that Majora’s Mask is one of my favorite games of all time (which had been a suspicion of mine which I could not confirm after selling my N64 so long ago).

    • doyourealize says:

      I think all that’s available on the Wii for even less. Man, I love going through Zelda 2 and almost beating it, but not quite. I think it’s time for that again.

      I also agree about MM, though I’m not sure it’s a great entry Zelda game. I wonder how much of its appeal lies in the fact that it’s a Zelda game that strays so far from the formula.

      • BillyNerdass says:

        I totally agree; a ton of the appeal of MM is in how far it strays from the traditional Zelda formula. For me the familiar (but obviously skewed) Zelda gameplay coupled with just how weird and melancholy the whole game is just can’t be beat.

        Some of the sidestories that play out when you’re chasing down the different masks are really great. And in a way, it still feels like one of the most fully realized game worlds to date. Since the game only takes place over three days, most NPCs end up having unique/believable daily schedules.

        Jesus, I’m gonna have to go hook up my GameCube…

        • doyourealize says:

          All this it true, and that’s obviously part of the appeal, but I’m also wondering if this game would have received any attention if it wasn’t called Zelda.

        • GaryX says:

          @doyourealize:disqus I think that’s kind of a moot point because it’s very consciously a Zelda game that’s trying to break the Zelda mold. The format of it might be different, but the mechanics are just carbon-copied from OoT to the point where you can’t really separate the two. Even if they replaced all the names and textures, it would still be clearly a Zelda game underneath, and I’m pretty sure it would still have gathered appeal on the N64 (a system starved for such games as it is anyways).

          I love MM, and am actually currently replaying it. I often think it’s better than OoT (but inferior to ALttP), but I’m not really sure if you can fully appreciate it without playing the former.

  45. Girard says:

    I can’t believe the day is over, and this is just occurring to me, but the perfect follow-up to this would be games you are ashamed that you did play…

  46. Nightsong says:

    “Many” war games are commissioned by the U.S. military for recruiting? Uh, what? I can think of one, America’s Army, and that’s about it.

    The rest are made for the market, not for military recruiters. They don’t have any basis in reality. Their devs aren’t interested in authenticity. They want to make money, and if there was money in croquet simulators, that’s what they’d be making.

  47. Nightsong says:

    And my shameful admission is: I’ve never played Shadow of the Colossus. I know I was missing out on that one.

    Not so shameful admission: I don’t care about Call of Duty or any of the 3 million FPS shooters released every year. I find them tedious.

  48. Colliewest says:

    Slow McQuickly strikes again.

    These are the ones I’d like to play that I think are important. I’ve never played a Call of Duty game and if there’s the most famous/first of a series on there I’ve probably not played any of the others.

    King’s Quest
    Romance of the Three Kingdoms
    Might and Magic
    The Legend of Zelda
    Space Rogue
    Star Control
    Sonic the Hedgehog
    Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
    Secret of Mana
    Master of OrionPrivateerGabriel Knight
    The DigTie-Fighter
    Super MetroidEarthbound
    King’s Field
    Full Throttle
    Resident Evil
    Super Mario 64
    the neverhood
    The Last Express
    Moon: RPG Remix
    Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
    UnrealBaldur’s Gate
    Last Blade
    Descent: FreeSpaceMetal Gear Solid
    HomeworldAlpha Centauri
    Planescape: Torment
    Strider 2
    GuwangeThe Longest JourneyGrandiaSuper Smash Bros
    Silent Hill
    X: Beyond the Frontier
    Deus ExShogun: Total War
    TimesplittersGiants: Citizen KabutoStrider 2The Operative: No One Lives ForeverIco
    gta 3
    Metroid Prime
    Star Wars: KOTOR
    Galactic Civilizations
    Half Life 2
    Rome: Total War
    Cave Story
    Crusader Kings
    Ninja Gaiden
    Civ IV
    Odin Sphere
    Fallout 3
    Little King’s Story.

    But I did the Thargoid run on the original BBC Micro Elite when I was eight.

  49. coramo92 says:

    I have never touched an MMO, unless you count Club Penguin on when I was 13.

    Side notes:
    In Halo’s defense, it has a pretty decent overall story.
    If you haven’t already, go play Mirror’s Edge.

  50. michael becker says:

    Has no one here played mirrors edge? D: