Everyone likes a nice digestible list! Quite simply, it's a list of some high profile and critically lauded games I've just never played, and some reasons (excuses) why I haven't. Some might be games I've attempted and dropped very shortly after starting, so I wouldn't count them as "played". All of them are games that actually appeal to me on some level. Let's begin!
Metroid and Super Metroid
Hey, get used to groaning, there are some big names on this list. I've played the Prime games when they all released, and they acted as my introduction to the long standing series. I have played the original Metroid at a relative's house back when the NES was relatively new in the early '90s, but it just didn't make any sense to me as a young kid. We never owned it, nor did we own the SNES entry.
On the insistence of my older brother, I almost came close to renting Super Metroid a few times but it never happened. I always picked something else (probably nothing great), and I can't recall what it was that turned me off. This was back in the full swing of box-art browsing where a game's biggest selling point was its pretty pictures on the front and back of the retail box. Super Metroid must have not had the appeal a younger me was looking for, but my brother sure seemed think it would. Shoulda listened to him! Yes, I could be rectifying this problem now through any number of means, but now that I know fully well what this game has in store I feel some of the magic has been lifted that's supposed to keep you plugging away at it. I've seen the AGDQ speedruns, I've seen plenty of other footage... in a way, I feel like I got enough from both of these games despite not playing either.
Final Fantasy VII (and all others before X)
This is beginning to sound like a list someone five or ten years younger than me would be writing, but I promise I'm actually pushing thirty. I've become a fan of this series so late in part because my brother and I were never big RPG fans. He still isn't, but that flower bloomed for me once I was old enough to no longer play the games only he was interested in. While Super Mario RPG would be the first RPG I played through (and the game that introduced me entirely to the concept of turn-based battles), it wouldn't be until much later than I would pick back through games already released on the PS2.
RPGs boomed in the West in '97 with FFVII acting as so many people's jumping-off point into RPGs (or JRPGs, at least), but as a steadfast Nintendo fan until the PS2-era, VII, VIII, and IX all passed me by. I've since tried to go back to each of these games in one way or another, but I just couldn't crack through the old coat of paint. I'm not what I would describe as a graphics snob, but since I have no nostalgia for those games (or the PS1's particular brand of wibbly-wobbly textures), I'm left looking with new eyes at these rather ugly games. With VII specifically, I think I just missed the boat. From everything I've learned about that game and its fandom, it really was something you had to play during a particular time of your life. The love of that game really hinges on the unreproduced intersection of where the gaming medium was in its development and where the majority player-base was in its development into young adulthood/adolescence. They overlapped almost beautifully, so I appreciate at least that much.
Half-Life (all of them)
No, fuck YOU! I didn't get a gaming PC until 2010. Before then I was strictly a home console guy with the occasional dip early on our first family computer's lifespan into games like Rise of the Triad and some games off the 3D Realms shareware pack like Wolfenstein 3D as well as... I dunno, Terminal Velocity? I had no idea how a mouse was supposed to work with a first person game, so I would DRAG the mouse forward on the mousepad to move the character forward. Not sure why that was even an option, but this was before FPS games let you aim up and down.
Anyway, just like my issue with the older Final Fantasy games, I ran in to some old-age problems with this series. Since Valve has more-or-less given the Half-Life games out to more people than exist on earth at this point, I do of course own them all on Steam. I even tried playing the first one! Unfortunately, it didn't want to cooperate with Windows 7 too well and, after playing for a few hours, I encountered some bug that kept something from triggering (it's been a while, so I'm only sorta sure I wasn't just missing something). At that point, I must have gotten distracted and moved on to a new game or something. If this were 2007, maybe I'd use my ample time to give this another crack, but that was then, baby!
I wasn't an Xbox guy, what can I say? I know there are some less-than-flattering thing dissenters can say about these games, especially PC shooter fans, but I'm sure this is a series I would have been big on if circumstances where different. It may not have gotten me into online gaming like it did for so many others, as I definitely wouldn't have had a decent way of getting online back when the original Xbox was around, but I did give some of these games a look when I got a 360.
A few co-workers roped me in to playing Halo 3, and I ran a few rounds online. I definitely saw the game for what it was, and its appeal (it's a progression of old arena shooters, basically) but by that time I had already cut my FPS teeth on the short-lived drug that was Call of Duty: Black Ops. So, I was much more comfortable and practiced with that slower style of shooter and the Halo games just felt like a game out of time to me. I've played Quake and Doom and a few other older shooters, so I know what they're all about, but nah. It just didn't click.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Yep, this is a real biggie. Once again, it was just one of those older games we never owned in our home. And I never even knew anyone who did own it, so I wouldn't really see much of this game until much much later when the internet wouldn't shut up about it. Curiously, my brother and I DID own the first two Zelda games on NES, and I played both a whole bunch. Of course, I never beat either, but I played enough of them to say I got the first hand experience back when it was new(ish). I've even replayed those games a couple times. (thanks Animal Crossing!)
I almost didn't play Ocarina of Time, either, but (yet again) my older brother insisted I ask for this game for Christmas, and I never really liked it a first. Maybe a year later I gave it another go and I must have just hit the right age for me to really start to lean into deeper gaming experiences, because it captivated me from beginning to end. That still didn't do anything to fix the Link to the Past issue. But, like with most of these games, I feel like I've since seen so much of them from just being a modern games enthusiast and being inured in that culture that I could tell you a whole lot about these games I never really played.
Blind spots? Maybe that's not entirely accurate. It's not really a "backlog" thing, either. What ever it should be called, feel free to add your own list below! I'll only shame you a little, I promise. (unless I also haven't played it :p)