I have never, ever played a Fable game. I always intended to throw on one of Peter Molyneux’s fantasy epics and take it for a spin, and hey, I still do. Someday. Really.
But the simple fact is this: If you game, you’ve got a pile of shame … that list of titles you haven’t played yet but fully intend to. Someday. Really.
Nobody likes to admit it, but few of us have the money and time to play everything we’re interested in. In fact, the number of missed opportunities just grows and grows as shiny distractions (work, family, newer games that look really cool) come into the picture. So as we come out of the summer doldrums and into a very busy gaming season, we asked some of most influential names in the industry to publicly humiliate themselves by telling us what’s still on their piles of shame.
And they didn’t all answer. But here’s who did.
Cliff Blezinski: former design director, Epic Games (Gears of War)
I’ve yet to go back to Batman: Arkham City because I can’t find the darned disc in my cluttered setup.
Jenova Chen: cofounder, Thatgamecompany (Journey, Flower)
I haven’t played Deus Ex: Human Revolution after the first boss. It’s the game of the year for our lead engineer, John Edwards, so that means a lot. But I haven’t got time to go back to it yet.
Dan “Shoe” Hsu: editor-in-chief, GamesBeat
Mass Effect 2. I don’t understand what all that hub-bub was about the ending to the Mass Effect storyline. We’re still not even halfway through the trilogy, right? Right?
Sigh … yes, this is my big shame game. I’m not even finished with Mass Effect 2 yet. I know it’s something I need to get through — Mass Effect is a major franchise in gaming, after all — but I just can’t seem to find the time. Actually, that’s not true. I somehow scraped together 188 hours for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
I honestly don’t know what it is about this series. I loved the first game, but it took me over a year and a half to beat it because I was constantly leaving it, then coming back, and then leaving it again. For all of 2012, ME2’s been sitting next to my TV, beaming subliminal messages to my brain: “Play me … play me. …” But it hasn’t worked. Now that Borderlands 2 is here, and all the other fall games are arriving soon, I’m afraid part two of this sci-fi trilogy will just have to wait a bit longer.
Morgan Webb: co-host, X-Play
Spec Ops: The Line. Everyone tells me it’s really good. Everyone tells me about the crazy tough choices you have to make. And I even bought it. It is still in the plastic and will likely remain so until about January. It’s not a very large pile. I try really hard to keep up with things. And seriously, Shoe needs to play Mass Effect.
Frank O’Connor: franchise development director, 343 Industries (Halo 4)
Working on Halo is a pretty involved process. There’s the work, of course – story, universe building, endless meetings, travel … most developers know the score there. But you compound that work with home life, raising an angry 3-year-old, taking out the trash, fixing the sewer, making dinner – there just aren’t that many hours in the day. And so when I do play games in my downtime, they tend to be Halo. Take-home tests, matchmaking, just a ton of Halo stuff. So my pile of shame is almost limitless. And to prove that point, my main shameful miss is a couple of years old, and I still haven’t gotten around to it properly. It’s Red Dead Redemption.
Hardly unusual, but when I did finally put it in my drive, I immediately knew this was a place I wanted to inhabit. And I got as far as the first horse race, couldn’t beat Bonnie around her ranch, and that’s where I left it. Right back to Halo stuff. I also have a miserably small completion ratio of Forza, and in fact I have not unlocked the Halo Warthog that’s squirreled away in there. The least dusty, still-shrinkwrapped item on that pile is Borderlands 2.
I still haven’t seen the new Batman, either, and I only saw Cabin in the Woods because it was on my plane. I genuinely feel actual shame because part of my job is to understand why other games are cool and expose myself to new experiences. I feel like I should really just take a couple of months off to reengage and immerse myself in what’s new and what’s awesome.
Gaijin Games (Bit.Trip series)
Gaijin co-founder Alex Neuse was so eager to spill his guts that he got his entire company to confess as well.
Alex Neuse, cofounder
Escape Vektor. It was made by our dear friends over at Nnooo, but since it’s only on WiiWare, and I basically never turn on my Wii these days, I just haven’t gotten around to it. I did buy it, though!
LA Noir. It seems like it’d be right up my alley, but it feels too daunting to even start playing. So instead, it just sits on my shelf.
Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen. It’s a legendary game on a legendary system that a friend of mine gave to me because he knows how much I wanted it. But I have yet to play it.
Mike Roush, cofounder
I have one game that I have not played, and it’s sooooo embarrassing: Braid. I should say I have actually “played” it, and I have purchased it quite a few times. But I have never sat down and done a focused playthrough the way I need to. My reasons are;
1. I work a lot!
2. iOS/tablet gaming makes me play less console/PC games.
3. I’m saving Braid for that special moment.
4. That special moment keeps getting pushed back.
There, I said it!
Danny Johnson: designer
Skyrim. This game is right in my wheelhouse, but I do not want 100-plus hours of my life to disappear. I feel like I need to be in the right mood to appreciate Alan Wake, but often I just want mindless fun. Also, tons of game for the SNES … a system that I have never owned.
Jason Cirillo: artist
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I am afraid of getting lost, suddenly having no time, and then forgetting where I was when I finally pick the game up again later.
Street Fighter X Tekken. The Tekken characters all have such awful hair and clothes. When I remember that they’re in the game, I lose interest in playing it.
Game & Watch Ball. Got it as a Club Nintendo prize, and my supernerdiness won’t allow me to open it.
Andrew Hynek: programmer
Spec Ops: The Line. This game came recommended, but I have to work up the motivation to play a shooter even if there’s a good story in there.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent. A game that requires a certain mood. Also, I only have it on Steam, and I don’t have a good setup for PC games at home, so I almost never play them.
Mike Gonzales: programmer
Portal 2. A few of my friends were lucky enough to be on the Portal team, and I really want to support them and see what they’ve done, because they rock. And it’s Portal 2! Once [Bit.Trip] Runner 2 ships, I should have the time for it at last. …
Tomb Raider: Legend. It’s the first game I ever worked on, but I was holed away in a support-tech role, so I never saw the larger picture. I worked on that project for a year and a half, I know the level names by heart, but I have no idea why Lara Croft goes there or what she’s up to. I tried playing it once, but I got stuck and never came back to it.
Chris Meyer: artist
Mass Effect 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. I only recently beat Mass Effect 2 and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, so I dread the feeling of playing such a long game with hundreds of side-quests that I must complete.
Erin Pearce-Zuazua: animator
Ted Price: founder and CEO, Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank)
Dark Souls. When this game came out, it generated real buzz here at Insomniac. I was a little intimidated by how punishing everyone says it is. I consider myself a core gamer, but I guess I’ve been too timid to take the plunge. I will muster the courage soon. For now it will continue to glare at me balefully from my game stack.
Modern Warfare 3. Man, I don’t know how I missed this one. I played every other Modern Warfare and then recently stumbled across the MW3 launch trailer. It looks like the cure to my Black Ops hangover.
Darksiders. This one has been on my stack of shame for a long time. As a result, I can’t play Darksiders II. Which I really need to do. I love the art style and the story’s premise — who doesn’t want to be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? That’s what I want to be when I grow up.
Okami. OK, this has been on my stack for five years. Now that the HD version is coming out, I think I’ll just go for the upgrade instead. I remember being stunned by how visually different the game looked. Time to experience the magic in 1080p. …
Mass Effect 3. It’s sitting on my desk right now. The real reason to dive in is to see what all of the controversy’s about. People here at Insomniac who played it won’t give away the ending, so now I have to see for myself. But only after we ship Fuse.
World of Warcraft … just kidding. I played until my wife banned it from our house.
Greg Rice: producer, Double Fine (Psychonauts, Iron Brigade)
I still have not played Skyrim. I understand it was one of the best games of last year, and I’m really looking forward to it. In fact, I got every achievement in Oblivion and put over 70 hours into the game. I was afraid I’d get sucked into this one in the same way, and I wanted to make it through all the other major releases that year before allowing myself to dive in. But then 2012 rolled around, and games like Journey, Fez, and Spelunky came out.
I told myself I’d just get through these short little games before diving into the massive meat of Skyrim. Problem is, new ones just keep coming out. Too many games!
Adam Sessler: former cohost, X-Play
Adam plays pretty much anything he wants to, which technically means he wins. But he still carries one secret shame. …
Grand Theft Auto IV. The final mission. Specifically, the motorcycle sequence in the final mission. Most motorcycle sequences in GTA games cause me tremors because I can never control the bike effectively, but that mission was numerous hours, multiple days, and several moments of hate-chewing my controller. I left it in my stack of unfinished games for two years. Eventually, and with quiet ceremony, I returned it to my library.
So, now all that’s out in the open … what’s on your pile of shame? Confess in the comments below!