I’ve been confined to the couch for nearly a week now with an inner ear infection. Basically whenever I straighten up or stand I get dizzy and nauseous. As I’ve recovered I played games from my old pile of shame and managed to complete Half Life 2, Bionic Commando Rearmed and Shadow Complex. However it made me look at what a pile of shame represents. To date it has been a collection of games I have started but not completed. Some people may also have games they have purchased but not played, but I’m not dealing with that today. No, I’m looking at the wording. Why are we ashamed to have these games on a backlog? Surely if they were that good in the first place we would have found ourselves captivated, unable to put them down. Shadow Complex was like that for me, and Trials HD has similarly gripped Tony. Isn’t it a failing on their part? Should not the makers of these games themselves feel ashamed?
The last game on my list to get finished before PAX was InFamous, which I have on rental. I’ll come clean here. I hate InFamous. Sorry Elaine. I hate every polygon. I think it’s sloppily handled, ridiculously plotted with dislikable characters and joyless combat with faceless, witless enemies. But everybody who has played it kept telling me it got better so I stuck with it. I’m halfway through and I just played yet another miserable hour killing more scarecrow mobs and dodging water like I’m in GTA III, getting my marching orders from my turd of a best friend, my sharp-tongued shrew of a love-interest and some pushy fed I’ve never met. I’ve had it with InFamous and it’s off my pile of shame and into a new pile. The pile of absolution.
This is for every game I have assessed and played properly but was neither challenged by nor enjoyed. This is a way of saving myself countless hours of fruitless gaming with something I’ve become obliged to finish just because I started and was obliged to start just because everyone told me I had to. UFC just made this new grade too. Sorry MMA fans. I just don’t get it. As Jagger said; I’m a Street Fighting man. If he adopts my new pile idea, Tony may very well feel relieved to let go of The Chronicles of Riddick, a game he’s tried hard to get through in both it’s original Xbox and 360 incarnations, and even though Heavy Rain makes me tremble in anticipation, Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy) better buck up its ideas and get gripping next time I play or it goes the same way (My wife has just informed me she will carry on with this one even if I bitch out). This may seem heavy handed, but think of it like this; I have finite hours and nearly infinite games. I want to keep up to date with the most significant titles and indie oddities, but not at the expense of enjoyment and that sense of connection you get with a really satisfying game. I’m sure all of us have at least one title in our pile of shame that we keep being told to play but are afraid to admit we don’t get on with. My advice is just set it down.
I’m not going to let my titles hang over my head any more. I need clear skies this holiday season because we’re about to get barraged with games, starting with Arkham Asylum this Friday. The one significant setback to this is that I have Shadow of the Colossus sitting in my PS2 where it’s been for months on end. I’m two Colossi in and pretty certain I know how the game is going to pan out. Is abandoning this game the act of a philistine who is depriving himself of one of the greatest works of gaming history or a realist unable to contend with wired pads, murky SD graphics and plodding Japanese adventures any more? The fact that everyone’s answer to this will be different is what leads us to cling to these games in the first place.