Unopened and unplayed. I have dozens of titles sitting on my shelf that those two word describe to a tee.
I have this compulsion to buy games. At the same time, I also have a drive to finish them, even those I don't like that much. Combined, these obsessions add up to a large stack of lonely games.
In real life, I have a full-time job as a software engineer. When I'm not injured, I spend at least an hour a day running. I also own a house with its own various projects and upkeep that I am responsible for. As much as I want to, I don't leave myself enough time to sit down and play video games for four-plus hours a night.
I'm not complaining; the way I spend my time outside of work is mostly my decision. If I wanted to come home and play video games a lot more, I probably could. For the most part, I choose not to dedicate every single evening to the pastime.
So why do I keep buying games that I know I won't have time to play?!
Anytime I see a deal on an upcoming big release, I feel compelled to snap it up. Amazon's offering a $20 credit for preordering Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood? Awesome; bought. Put it on the stack!
I find nothing wrong with buying games when they come out, but if you know you aren't going to play it for months, it's in your best interest to wait. Almost every game drops down to at least $40 after being out for a couple of months. I know this, so I ask again, why do I keep buying games?!
I can think of worse things I could spend my money on. I will get around to playing all of these games, and I get immense amounts of enjoyment out of playing them. Sometimes if I'm excited enough about a game, I'll ignore my compulsion to finish whatever I'm currently playing and will instead play the newer one the day it shows up on my front porch.
Here's the thing, I don't really care about spending such money on games. Like I said before, I'll eventually play them. The real issue here is that I never feel like I'm fully enjoying a particular title that I'm playing. Since I choose to devote a limited amount of time the hobby, I feel like every time I play that I'm just trying to finish the game so that I can get to the next one in my stack.
I just recently finished the fantastic, new Batman: Arkham City. I loved every second of the game, but I don't feel like I gave it as much time as it deserved. I didn't spend a lot of effort doing side missions or collecting the Riddler trophies. I've told myself that I'll go back someday and play more of Arkham City but I won't. There are just damn too many games.
When I was a kid, I probably played Final Fantasy 4 a dozen times. I still know that game like the back of my hand. I played it so much because it was one of the few titles I had. I didn't care about finishing the game…I actually didn't want it to end! To this day, it's one of my favorites, and I loved every single playthrough. Same thing with King's Quest 6. But I honestly can't remember the last new game that I've played through more than once.
I feel a little sad because I let the onslaught of new releases that show up on my doorstep steal a little bit of the magic of video games for me. We're in a golden age of video games right now, and instead of being really excited and happy with all of these great titles, I just feel overwhelmed. I want to play them all, now! I haven't allowed myself to become so fully immersed in a game like I did when I was kid since…well, since I was a kid.
I want to be so into a game that I just play it over and over again, but because of my own silly compulsions, I don't let it happen.
The moral of this sad, sad story is that playing video games is a great pastime, and is best experienced when you are fully immersed in whatever title that you're playing. The majority of that responsibility falls on the developer to create something that draws the player in, but in the end, it's up to the player to allow themselves to be drawn in.
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