Besides all of them
Last week I asked what everybody’s gaming resolution for 2018 was and more than few Destructoid readers responded with some idea pertaining to their backlog. A backlog is something we likely all have and as we grow older and have to adjust our lives to the realities we live in, the chances of us actually going back and playing these games shrinks. It’s just a part of being a gamer in the era of endless entertainment.
My backlog right now is sitting around 100 games if I don’t count the probably 75 titles I’ve bought on Steam with no real intention to play. From the GameCube to the DS to the Vita, PlayStation 4 and now the Switch, my shelves are packed with games waiting for me to take out of the shrink wrap let alone play. And with a few adjustments to my life this year — I’m getting rid of cable so I don’t spend my nights watching Modern Family reruns — I’ll probably get around to beating four or five of them throughout the next 12 months. One game I probably won’t ever find time for is Fantasy Life.
This Level-5 title should be the most played game on my 3DS. I adored London Life in Professor Layton and the Last Specter, so finding the joy of Fantasy Life should have been a no-brainer. But boy howdy did it pick the wrong release date. The game launched on October 24, 2014. You know what else launched that same date? Bayonetta 2. Which one got my attention for the next two weeks? Bayonetta 2. Which one will I rebuy for the Switch next month and spend two weeks playing through without even thinking about the other one? Bayonetta 2.
Such is the first-world problems of a man with too many video game systems and too little time on his hands. Had I not bothered to buy a Wii U the year before, I have no doubt in my mind Fantasy Life would have around 100 hours of playtime on my 3DS. Instead it sits around seven, and with every new game that gets added to my catalog — I just bought Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 — it falls further and further to the bottom of that pile.
Anthony Marzano: Dead State
Come with me, to the year 2009 when a young Anthony Marzano was fascinated with zombies and loved the role-playing genre, imagine his joy when Dead State was announced, the bastard offspring of two things he held dear. Watch as the game languished around in development limbo for five years until it finally came out in 2014. An older Anthony Marzano no longer had the time to play role-playing games, and zombies had become played out in his mind. The magic was lost to the sands of time. To be honest I don’t even remember how it got into my steam account, maybe a humble bundle or random steam sale but it’s sitting there in my “play next” subfolder on Steam. Sitting there, watching me with lifeless eyes as I sit on Discord instead of playing it, or any game for that matter. Will I ever touch it, or even install it? Who knows but even on my short list of “play next” games it’s not that appealing.
I could have said half of the games that I’ve backed on Kickstarter, because of a similar reason as to why I’ll never play Dead State. The time between announcement/backing and actual release with most Kickstarter games is so wide that by the end of development you might be a completely different person than the person who backed it. It happened with me in regards to Hard West and Interstellaria, I’m sure it will happen with Last Life if it ever comes out.
But that’s all ok because long ago I stopped caring about backlogs and finishing games, I made a vow to only play a game as long as I enjoyed it because there are so many other games to enjoy, so why waste time on something you aren’t enjoying?
Dan Roemer: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
I have quite a connection with the term “backlog,” I even named my own YouTube channel (Infinite Backlog) after my backlog of games — because it’s exactly that — infinitely growing. Today, the thing has transformed and split off like an amoeba into multiple backlogs across three different Excel sheets.
I have a backlog just for games on this generation of hardware alone and another one for older games that I use for planned filler content — or god forbid — the day that I actually catch up on my modern backlog of games. Together these backlogs span hundreds of games, which doesn’t even include my Steam library (that may as well be a graveyard of purchases).
However, the one game on my current backlog that I genuinely don’t think I’ll ever get around to playing (let alone finish), is also one that has somewhat of an embarrassing story to tell. The game is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and the story is one of regret, hype, and bad decisions.
For full context: I was completely onboard the hype train prior to the release of the game. Everything from the giant flaming whale in the original announcement trailer, the fake Moby Dick studio, that stupid Joakim Mogren mask, all the drama with David Hayter, the pre-release hype, and marketing for Metal Gear Solid V is something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
Fast forward to the announcement of a release date and the collector’s edition being unveiled, I had just started my call center job and got my first credit card! But, within days of the announcement (and starting my new job), the collector edition sold out and I was having none of that shit.
One quick bad decision later and I had purchased a pre-order off a scalper on eBay for around $350. These bad decisions would continue as I watched every trailer and analysis video I could find on the game, as well as going to various forums discussing theories, and reading or listening to every interview I could find discussing the game.
From there, I also began replaying and reviewing the mainline games for my own channel, starting with Metal Gear Solid. Fast forward to the launch of Phantom Pain, I was completely burned out on all things Metal Gear by the time I finished and wrapped up my review for MGS4. By the time Phantom Pain had launched I completely over-exposed myself with trailers and theories, so much so, that I already knew key plot-points to the game before even playing the damn thing.
Throw all this in with the bad blood between Hideo Kojima and Konami (and what transpired from that mess), later acts of the game feeling unfinished due to it being rushed out the door (or so I’ve heard), when I finally had my $350 scalped collector edition of the game installed on my PS4 — I had zero motivation in me to even play the damn thing.
Truth is, I’ve only ever gotten as far as the start screen. The whole experience was a painful lesson in hype and impulse purchasing, but, it’s one I find myself reflecting on a lot. As for the game itself, I genuinely don’t know if I’ll ever get around to playing it. I’ve put it off now for so long and have bumped it down my list of games to play so far, that I just don’t know if I’ll ever find the time. Ironically, it now seems I have all the time in the world to do so at least, considering the current trajectory of the series.
Peter Glagowski: Command & Conquer 3
I’m not the biggest fan of RTS games, but I have dabbled in a few over the years. I loved Command & Conquer: Generals in high school, so when the third main installment eventually came out, I was excited. It took me years to actually buy the game, but I swore I would sit down and finish the campaign.
Turns out, I suck at strategy games something fierce. A lot of people consider C&C3 to be one of the easier titles in the series, but I just cannot come to grips with how much micromanaging is required to succeed. I’m more of a build a massive army over the course of six hours and then slaughter everyone kind of guy, which doesn’t work for how C&C3 plays out.
So while I haven’t given up on the genre (especially since I’ve finished every single Dawn of War game and even love Civilization), I just cannot see myself going back to Command & Conquer 3. It is a decent enough game, but the difficulty of the campaign is just too much for me to actually conquer.
Every digital game I’ve bought but never downloaded.
It makes me sad when people are ashamed of their backlog. Sure, if you’ve got hundreds of unplayed games that you bought purely on impulse that you never bothered to even try before you forget they existed, then that might be a bad thing. That’s not how it works for most of us though. The average person with a backlog has a handful of games that they took a chance on, had hopes for, but ultimately didn’t click with. The fact that they tried pushing their boundaries with a purchase that existed out of their comfort zone is in itself a good thing. It’s an even better thing that they decided to quit playing the games in question after they discovered that they are not a great use of their time.
That’s what happened with me and Breath of the Wild. I loved Skyward Sword, so my hopes for “the sequel” were high when I heard that many of SS‘s basic mechanics (stamina bar, weapon crafting, heavy emphasis on environmental interactions) would be coming back in BotW. I read all the glowing praise for the game out of E3 2016 stating that it’s filled with brilliant puzzles sprinkled organically into a huge open world and had faith. I believed when people said “I don’t even like open world games, but Breath of the Wild is on a whole other level. Every Zelda fan needs to play it.”
Then I played it. It felt dull from the start and stayed dull much of the time. I didn’t believe the world I was exploring was real, and despite its superficial beauty, I didn’t really want to be there. Everything took too long to do, filling me with the opposite of awe. Most of the puzzles felt forced and out of place. Even when the game was painfully easy, which was a lot of the time, it still managed to feel like a frustrating chore. There were some high points though. The NPCs were very charming, cooking, taking photos and collecting stuff is all a treat, and I loved the part where you follow a shark man to town, as it basically turns into a wet Resident Evil 4-style action survival game. Still, after 30-or-so hours of play, I realized I’d only truly enjoyed maybe 3 of those hours.
When you only enjoy 1/10 of your time doing something, chances are that you’re better doing something else, so I quit BotW forever, deciding instead to just enjoy watching random gifs of other people playing the game. This decision made me feel fantastic.
You don’t have to eat all the macaroni and cheese on your plate if you’re not hungry and it doesn’t taste very good, you don’t have to stay married to someone who you don’t really like or care about, and you don’t have to play video games that don’t give you what you want. Life is much better if approached, without shame, while facing these three truths.
This is one topic that I had to think on for a long time. Long gone are my days of recklessly buying everything in a Steam sale. My backlog has grown out of control over the years and if asked this a few months ago my answer would’ve been the original Suikoden, but I somehow conquered the PlayStation classic on my Vita in 2017 and loved every minute of it.
Nowadays I think I’d settle on another bulky RPG series, Banner Saga 2. Yes, the tactics RPG has been sitting in my Steam library for some time now and I just can’t see myself getting to it. If I’m being perfectly honest I hardly remember the first game at this point. For now, maybe I’ll focus on getting into Suikoden 2, which was the reason I played the original in the first place.
Josh Tolentino: Divinity: Original Sin
Just as Divinity: Original Sin 2 intimidated me into forgetting to play it this year, last year’s Divinity: Original Sin did much the same job, and for the same reason: I was too overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options that I eventually checked out without giving the game the chance I knew it deserved.
It’s not that I dislike these types of choice-heavy, freestyle games: Some of my greatest gaming memories are associated with titles like Deus Ex and even Fallout, which were of a piece with Divinity in the way they emphasized “play your own way” freedom . It’s just that there’s a lot more these days vying for my attention, and I can’t really afford to focus on a single title the way Divinity deserves.
Now, with Original Sin 2 seemingly a straight upgrade in every way from the, er, “original” Original Sin, I just can’t think of a good reason to focus on it the way I’ve promised myself I’d (eventually) focus on Original Sin 2. The narrative and character hooks in Original Sin were never the strongest, from what I played of it, so it’s not hooked in me the way nostalgia-bombs like Baldur’s Gate and Fallout are. For now, at least, I only have room in my life for one Original Sin, so I may as well pick the newer, shinier, by-all-accounts better one.
Wes Tacos: Skyrim
How do you define “beat?” For many games, my definition is dubious, at best, but as a general rule, anything with a primary focus on a story of some sort is a game you can, in turn, beat. Now basically every game in my collection is one I’ll never beat at this point, but the cinematic conclusion of one game in particular shall always, until the end of time, elude my eager gaze. And that game is Skyrim.
Skyrim holds a special place in my heart, partly because it’s fun, and partly because I keep fucking buying it. It’s like I can’t stop. I bought the original PS3 release, sold it, bought it again, bought the Enhanced Edition with all the DLC, bought the PS4 remaster, and will buy the Switch version once it gets to a reasonable price because I suck. And even though I’ve played every one of those discs in my system for God knows how many combined hours, I don’t think I’ve ever even come close to completing the main storyline. Do you rid the world of dragons? Do you bring about peace in the kingdom? Does your companion ever swear revenge for all the times I left her to fend for herself versus giant spiders and shit in a cave? I don’t know. Nobody knows. That’s because no one has ever beaten the story of this game – there’s simply too much other shit to do.
I have played this game a lot. I will never, ever beat this game.
Pixie The Fairy
It’s Devil May Cry 2.
This is because it’s a better drink coaster than it is a game. Y’all think DmC is bad, but at least it has a Spanish dub to salvage its entertainment value. DMC2 doesn’t even have that, as far as I can recall.
The game feels like an apology for the first game being difficult and awesomely corny by being relatively brain-dead and making Dante seem more sullen than Cloud Strife.
The idea it’s been remastered twice is mind-boggling given its only best alternative functions aside from beer coaster is it freed up a lot of DVD cases at Gamestop in the past. I mean, it’s a dual disc case and that’s great for better games and movies with bonus features.
And really, Dante’s foray into Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne was more in-character and sequel-like than this game. Sure, he’s a glorified pokémon in that game, but it’s way better than soaking up condensation from drinks – something Knack and Final Fantasy XIII are probably very familiar with as well.
So yeah, this one’s never getting finished as it is under some Canada Dry right now and I have better games to play.
Marcel Hoang: The Wonderful 101
Hi, Marcel Hoang here, resident character-action game enthusiast and PlatinumGames evangelist. Viewtiful Joe? Check. Bayonetta? Both of them. Metal Gear Rising? Sliced and diced. Legend of Korra? It wasn’t that bad. Wonderful 101?
Look, I know I’d loved the Wonderful One Double-O. I’ve beaten Orochi and everything. I know I’m in the lava level. But damn can I not work up the motivation to get back in after those damn forced, change of perspective segments. I know there are a lot of things I need to still experience as a hardcore lover of action games, like Hero Time, Stingers, Helm Breakers, and Gurren Lagann levels of increasing scale. But Kamiya forgive me I just can’t seem to get myself psyched up for the dual screen, shape morphing mechanics on the touchpad. I don’t want to play the game entirely on one screen, I want both screens as intended, but it’s so hard to think of an excuse to put myself through the configurational ringer.
Chris Moyse: Mass Effect 3
I put so much time into Mass Effect and its spectacular sequel that it’s untrue. I did everything. All side-quests and collectibles, all the DLC for both games. Maxed out every character, tracked down secrets, armour, and weaponry. Hell, I even spent forever probing planets and driving round in the Mako looking for loot. I completed ME2 with a full team, no man left behind, and I couldn’t be more ready for the onslaught of the Reaper invasion.
I’ve never played Mass Effect 3.
It has nothing to do with tiring controversy, or the endless griping, its DLC strategy, or its narrative conclusion. I just “didn’t get around to it”. It probably wasn’t helped by the simultaneously-released closed beta for Diablo III, a game I’ve since put four figure hours into. Whatever the cause, I just never started the finale of the space opera, despite my endless love for the series, and positive reviews received from trusted buddies.
At this stage, I don’t know if I will. My Xbox 360 is tucked away somewhere, and I’m certainly not going to play through the first two games again on Origin, so I can get back to where I left off. Maybe one day, I’ll wire up the red-ringed box and step back into the world of my beloved intergalactic friends. But with so much on the horizon, and the backlog growing by the month, my Mass Effect finale may remain lost in the stars.
All of my Zachtronics games. I absolutely love them… until I regress into feeling as simple-minded as a grade schooler. How cool do you feel when you complete your first puzzle in Infinifactory? Or when you legit learn a new coding language to complete some puzzles in TIS-100? I think if I stayed with something and really buckled down, I could maybe “complete” a Zachtrnoics game. I mean, I’ve had some pretty good success with Factorio, which is cut from a similar cloth in many ways.
Every game usually plays out in the same way: I become amazed at yet another way that Zachtronics has figured out how to construct such elaborate puzzles, and then end up spending over an hour trying to figure out a single puzzle. I do, generally, complete that puzzle, but then immediately become overwhelmed by just looking at the next puzzle. It’s around that time in which I take a break that ends up becoming permanent. That being said, I will likely continue to buy these games as long as they continue to be top-notch.
Wow, these are some amazing games that may sit forever incomplete, collecting dust as the years pass. Oh, and also Devil May Cry 2. Because there are so many possible answers to this question, we opened it up once again to the Destructoid community who dove deep into their Steam libraries to sniff out those Humble Bundle games that will probably always show a big 0 in the playtime counter.
Electric Reaper:Dungeon Defenders. I got that game all the DLC from an old Humble Bundle, and it would take over 300 hours to beat to get everything. Right now, I’m trying to clear up games I’m less interested in from my hard drive to get more space, but that game is less than 7 GB in size.
CaptainDustTree: My white whale has always been Final Fantasy 8. The first time I played it, I decided to go encounter: none from Diablos and just coasted through to the fourth disc, before deciding I had missed too much of the game and restarting. Now, every year, typically around November, I start it over, get to the end of Disc 1 and just… stop. I can’t bring myself to keep playing, not because I don’t enjoy it, but because I don’t care all that much about its resolution any more.
ZombZ: My white whale is Alpha Protocol. I started it twice and played it for about 4 and 6 hours each time. It’s a pretty long game and after having already invested 10 hours I doubt I’ll ever manage to play the intro again and continuing from a savegame is not an option.
On the over hand it will probably never leave my backlog, since I always thought of it as a great game that ticked a lot of the right boxes for me.
Samhain: Infamous: Second Son. It’s one of those games where I wish someone who is really good at it would come over and play it while I watch instead of fighting the controls. I finished Infamous 1 and 2 so I know I could make it through 3 but the combat is such a slog.
GoofierBrute:Besides the obvious answer being a number of JRPGs that I’ve started and haven’t finished, it’s probably the Pikmin games, specifically 3. I liked it, had a great time with it, but every time I play through it, I get to a point where I just say “that’s enough, I’ll go on to something else”, but I never do, and I think of all those Pikmin who died for nothing. Whooooooops.
Kerrik52: My answer is Holy Diver for the NES. It’s an infuriating platformer and I haven’t even given it a full-length try. It seems pretty decently made, it’s just evil. And to make it proper, I want to do it without cheating.
And the only reason I want to touch it is the name. It has to be a tribute to Dio and it must be bested. Some day…
YT:Xenoblade Chronicles 1. The music is sublime and the environments look great, but the voice acting makes my ears bleed and getting to grips with the combat system is like trying to understand quantum mechanics.
Agent9: Hmmmm. This is quite the question. I would like to think I would try to beat my games eventually. I mean it took me like 3 years to beat harmoknight.
However if I had to pick one I would have to say Killzone Shadow Fall (PS4). I tried really hard to get into it as people generally seemed to like it but I just could not bring myself to ever play it again. I finished the first level and that was it. I didn’t feel interested or vested. The environment didn’t catch me or hook me in. The game to me was effectively like oil and water. Nothing clicked and I am kind of sad that it’s like that but it is what it is.
Now with so many different games fighting for my time and each one generally boasting more content (and content over time) than the next it is unlikely that I will ever come back to it.
Gundy the Hyena:Holy shit FUCKING NATURAL DOCTRINE! This game is fucking hard as hell. I’ve tried to beat it twice but it keeps kicking my ass! Dark Souls aint SHIT compared to Natty Doc! The CPU actually plays to win instead of just providing a challenge.
Hlarge4: I don’t know that there has ever been a game I’ve simultaneously wanted to beat and never wanted to play as much as Skyward Sword. The aesthetic is beautiful, the music is sublime, the lore is fascinating, the dungeons that I’ve played are well thought out.
But the waggle nonsense is more than I can handle. I’m not a quick to anger guy, but I become actively aggressive while trying to take down something as benign as a Deku Baba.
I continue to tell myself I’ll one day come to terms with the controls and finish it. But that boast is more exaggerated that Groose’s masculinity.
Heat: Tales of Xillia. While i really liked Berseria, Xillia is everything i hate about the Tales franchise… stock anime characters, predictable plot, talking token animals. At least the combat is kinda interesting, but the rest is super generic.
Jiraya: The current skeletons in my closet are Xbox One exclusive games, from Gears of War 4 and Forza 6 to Quantum Break and Halo 5. I look at the cases everyday but the will to play them never reaches my spirit, they are all still wrapped, I had not mustered the courage to touch them .
I don’t even hate the games or anything like that,I prefer to spend time polishing my skills in old Saturn games (and pinballs) than playing my xbox one library and that actually bothers me.
I only turn my xbox one on to play Contra Hardcorps…..
Shoggoth2588:I have never beaten a Far Cry and likely never will. I’ve never played the first but when I made it to the second region of Far Cry 2 and realized I was about to do the same exact thing I’d just done in area 1, I quit. Far Cry 3 was interesting for a while but finding out about Vaz dying early kept me from wanting to do much of the story in general. I never bothered with 4 and don’t see myself playing 5.
Roager: As a chronic non-completionist, I could list just about any title here. But Beyond Good and Evil is one that always bothers me.
I just don’t get it. It’s a well-loved game, in a genre I like, and it seems like I’d love it too. I have a disc copy on Xbox. I have digital copies on gog and uPlay (shut up, it was a giveaway. Or a humble bundle?). I haven’t made it farther than a couple hours. Not because I find anything in BG+E bad or off-putting, I just forget. Consistently, when I start this game I just don’t pick it back up. And then a month or two later it’s “Oh yeah. Shit. I’ll try again sometime.”
One of these days, maybe. Or not. There’s a thousand other things to play too.
TriCerAroK:I will say the Ubisoft shooter XIII, because of a glitch. I ended a mission zoomed in with a sniper rifle, so the next mission started with my view zoomed in and the inability to zoom back out. It also happened to be one of those bullshit missions where your weapons are taken away, like the beginning of countless Metroidvanias. It was ALSO a prison level that opens with a guard marching you somewhere. If you move too slow, the guard beats you. Since my view was zoomed in, I could not walk fast enough to avoid getting beaten to death over and over. If it had been a better game, I may have just started it over again…but it was XIII from Ubisoft.
Cedi: As much as it pains me to admit this? If there’s one game I want to finish which I likely never will, it’s Final Fantasy XV.
I love modernized fantasy settings. I love action RPGs. I love chilling out with my bros. I can forgive glitches as long as they don’t break the game. I’m fascinated by games giving me loads and loads of things to do. I have all of the reasons to be heavily inclined towards playing FFXV. The problem is the last reason – it has loads and loads of things to do. It’s such an overwhelming open world game that I’m paralyzed just thinking about what to do in it. I don’t even boot up my copy because I’m that intimidated by the potential timesink when I’m already struggling to manage my time more wisely. This is also why I don’t think I’m going to finish Breath of the Wild anytime soon, if ever.
And then I invest dozens of hours into free mobile games over countless tiny play sessions regardless, because I’m Smart™.
TheLimoMaker: Ninja Gaiden Black. Because I’m a bitch who can’t get good.