The Wall of Shame


On October 1st, I began a(nother) fast from video games.

I did not do so arbitrarily, nor did I do so “willingly” in the sense that I knew that it was time to live up to a promise that I had made the previous year, but rather, I began my fast after my wife reminded me that I indeed had promised that I would fast from video games on a yearly basis as a method of confirming that I am no longer attached (addicted) to video games as I was in the past. This I have done to save my marriage and myself.

Around the time my fast ended, I began the Backloggery Beatdown series in an effort to not only make up for ninety days of lost time, but also to better prioritize games that I had purchased and were just sitting around. Some games, like Knights of the Old Republic, tend to have an optimum “window” to be played because they do not age gracefully. I use KOTOR as an example because while I find the Jedi concept very cool (they’re space ninjas as far as I’m concerned), I do not necessarily care for Star Wars franchise itself though I do acknowledge its impact in the entertainment and merchandise industries. But from a gaming perspective, KOTOR uses the Neverwinter Nights engine as does Jade Empire.

I appreciate the NWN engine as I sunk hundreds of hours into Modules, but I was playing NWN as an undergrad in college a decade ago. I have upgraded my GPU three times since those days. It’s hard to go back to this when a modern game like Dragon Age achieves the “Baldur’s Gate feel.”

I still need to play The Witcher 2 and Dragon Age 2 before their respective sequels hit next year. Other games, I forget I actually own. A recent example of this was Journey, one of the best games I have played in the past generation, that I had purchased digitally in 2013, but never got around to playing because I was waiting to beat The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection first because it was considered a “spiritual successor” to the former in terms of art direction and minimalist narration style. By a complete fluke, I turned on my PS3 after a recent move, and there Journey was, listed among InFamous and a several demos. It was the last game I have played this year and it was a treat that I look forward to playing again.

My greatest nemesis in conquering my backlog (besides game sales and impulsive purchases) is not long pauses in between playing games, but DotA 2. Besides that is my schedule. I could not stay up late to play games like Zombi U or Catherine after the kids had gone to bed because with a 4:20 AM start time at work; I had to be in bed before them most nights. Now, working 2nd shift, playing Zombi U or Alan Wake during daylight hours would not seem to do those games justice.

Dead SPace 2
Dead Space 2 is a game that shouldn’t be played around kids or while the sun shines.

Somewhere between my indecision and acquisitions, I have built, assembled, constructed, a “Wall of Shame.” This Wall of Shame includes games that I have purchased over the calendar year that I have yet to play, because in my eyes, there is nothing positive about buying games and not playing them. That is money that could have gone elsewhere–such as all those bills I was late in paying–or purchases that could have been made once these games became even cheaper than when I had purchased them.

This might be mistaken for bragging, but on the contrary, it is rather deeply reflective, grotesque process to come to the realization that one has accumulated so much stuff that one does not even use. I am, sadly, a contributor to the kid of consumer culture that buys more than necessary even when I buy at discounts. Ugh.

Ni No Kuni
On one hand, I could have waited to buy this game for ~$20 since I never played it anyway. On the other hand, my $60 version features better artwork. It’s hard out there for a gamer.

I have even taken the time to break these my collection down into tiers based upon the egregiousness of the offense.

Money Apparently Grows on Trees Tier

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, this list includes games that I have purchased that still have the shrink wrap on them.

I was not floored by the Wii VC version of Sin and Punishment, originally on the N64, but I am always willing to give a franchise another go. I picked upSin & Punishment 2 on the cheap, but never got around to playing it because I wanted to 100% beat A Boy and His Blob before moving on. That’s still in progress, three (or four?) years later.

de Blob remains in my eyes one of the Wii’s best games, so for me, de Blob 2 was a no-brainer at $10. I chose the PS3 version because it was cheaper than the Wii version–probably because conflict in audience–and in HD.

de Blob
RIP THQ, the latest big-name company to join an ever-elongating list of companies that have gone under because of rising costs in game development. You owe yourself to play this game if only to rock to the soundtrack.

Twisted Metal Black for the PS2 a masterpiece, and I was looking forward to similar sequel after the game stopped being goofy and returned to its dark roots. After reading reviews, I did not think the reductive, online-focused approach to Twisted Metal was worth a full-price purchase as I valued the single-player stories of the PS1 and PS2 eras. This was a(nother) $10 acquisition.

Ni No Kunai was an impulse purchase that seemed like a good idea when Target did a B2G1 sale (SC2: Heart of the Swarm and Lego City: Undercover were the other purchases). I have read good things about the game and its aesthetics, but never carved out a time slot to play it.

Wonderful 101, Pikmin 3, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Rayman Legends and New Super Luigi U are the spoils of yet another (fall) B2G1 and different (January) Best Buy sale that I don’t even remember, with a pinch of some shadiness on my part. I basically bought some games from Target and held them while waiting for Super Mario 3D World to release on the Wii U. I then took the games to Wal-Mart and made an exchange for said Mario game since the Target sale would be (and was) over by the time SM3DW came out.

I have no shame, either. You couldn’t pay me to feel sorry for big retailers.

My poor tortured kids asking about this game! Even with them, I have maintained the same policy that I did with my buddies in undergrad: if I buy a new game, nobody is allowed to play it until I take off the shrinkwrap. It was a discipline I developed when a new release like Tekken 4 would try to make me fail an exam, and it remains a policy to this day, even with my children.

W101, Pikmin 3, and DKC:TF remain in the shrink wrap. I’ve 100% beaten SM3DW while NSLU remains played by my kids but not by me, so it technically belongs in this tier; I was merciful and gave it to my youngest for his birthday.

Rayman Legends is unopened because I have yet to beat Rayman Origins, a game that I had to purchase twice. Once on Steam, and once again on the Wii, because Ubisuck designed Origins with some sort of flaw that causes slowdown when displayed on multiple monitors. I bought these games to enjoy with my kids, and 16-bit era slowdown is not enjoyable.

Shinobi and Nightshade
From the white gi to the red scarf and four-eyed headgear right down to the logo, Sega’s appeal to franchise fans could not be more obvious than perhaps a console release. I’m still waiting on a Shinobi Legends (Saturn) VC release, Sega!!!

If you’ve read my stuff, you know why Shinobi is pictured above. Bit.Trip.Saga is included because legalistically, it is still in the shrinkwrap. But I’ve played and beaten four of the games on WiiWare.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was an obligatory purchase because it is a Zelda game, but I am not going to play it until I beat…

OCD Hoarder Tier

…beat Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. I do not remember if these were B2G1 games from GameStop (such sales are the only way you’ll ever find me spending money in one of those stores) or from EBay, but they are anthology purchases as I am obligated as a gamer to exhaust the franchise. Castlevania: Portrait or Ruin and Dawn of Sorrow round out the (3)DS compilation purchases and they await my completion of Order of Ecclesia.

Castlevania DS

The Castlevania games obviously fall under the category of “Metroidvanias.” Aliens: Infestation, I have heard, also qualifies, but of course I’m going to beat the actual Castlevania games before playing the offshoots.

Kid Icarus: Uprising is a recent acquisition. I have read that it is an underrated game that is also increasing in price as it is one of the first major 3DS releases, and they are becoming rare. I secured it before its price became obnoxious. It also helps that my youngest child is a big Pit fan because of Smash Bros: Brawl.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is an obligatory GTA purchase. For the lack of moral character the game may present, I have yet to play a fundamentally bad GTA.

The (port of) Okami on the Wii is a masterpiece, so when I finally got a 3DS, Okamiden was a no-brainer purchase.

PS2, Wii, or PS3 HD, this game must be played at least through the first act. It should be law.

Chrono Trigger is a game that I am long-overdue in playing. That’s right. I have never played Chrono Trigger. It is a game that is on some folks’ GOAT lists, so I have respected it thus far by not playing it on an emulator, but legitimately. Looking forward to it…one day.

Marvel vs Capcom 2 is a legend among fighting games. I patiently waited until I did not (hopefully) have to pay a premium on DLC just to get all the characters and purchased Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 for under $15. By the time I play it, there may not be anyone online to play against. Ditto for Tekken Tag Torunament 2 for the Wii U, but I can’t argue with $5 or whatever ridiculous sum I paid for it.

Catherine, El Shaddai: The Ascension of the Metaron and Neir were all sub-$15 purchases made as recommendations from cult fans. Or is that cult recommendations? Either way, I’ve heard perks and criticisms both of these games, and they will probably be a good place to start once I begin chipping away from my backlog after the fast. I even purchased version of Catherine with the least risqué cover art in case the kids be-a-snoopin’ around my collection.

When there is alternate box art in circulation, it is a hint that the game might be more than simply suggestive.

I bought Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge in spite of the reviews for the same reason I keep linking to this. I sold my PS3 copy of Ninja Gaiden 2, but plan on re-purchasing it if only to master the mode where you mindlessly fight enemies forever.

Allow me to conclude this section by saying Goldeneye 007 was a $10 acquisition from Craigslist. I need to play this before it falls under the last category.

Not Getting Any Younger Tier

These are the oldest games in my backlog that I have acquired in order to honestly say that I have played them all.

I am an old fan of Tecmo’s Deception from back in the PS1 era, and I already owned–and most importantly, played and beaten–Kagero: Deception 2. I had purchased Deception 3: Dark Delusion, but by the time I played it, age had caught up to its mechanics and graphics as these are all PS1 games. Trapt, on the other hand, is a PS2 game that will require me to unpack, dust off, and hook up my old PS2 to play.

I once committed to playing through the entire Mega Man console franchise, from Mega Man to Mega Man 8 (9 and 10 as digital releases don’t really count to me as canon) and then from Mega Man X to Mega Man X 8. But as seen in the photo, I managed to conquer Mega Man X6, but have not arrived to MMX7, let alone MMX8. Maybe it is my dread of the third character that deters me.

You mean to tell me that my Mega Man collection is not complete without Command Mission???? Sigh….

I have frequently read that Paper Mario 2: The Thousand-Year Door is a great game, but I seriously doubt I’ll ever get around to playing it. I took the shrinkwrap off of this game for no reason. D’oh!

I WILL however get around to playing Mario Sunshine, and I will knock it out right before I replay Mario Galaxy (2).

The World Ends with You should not be in the photo (bottom left) because I actually did play it for about ten minutes. But after being burned out by multiple playthroughs of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, I did not feel prepared to endure another long portable game. Same goes for The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D and Zombi U; I beat the first dungeon and introduction mission respectively, and put them down.

A Gamer’s Collection is Never Finished

I am not even going to bother with my Steam acquisitions. That would be like evaluating nuances of individual Skittles in a single bag. But as far as retail console games are concerned, I have yet to acquire The Legend of Zelda: Hyrune Warriors, and Bayonetta 2 and Smash Brothers Wii U are around the corner. Like the Chester the Cheetah has said, it ain’t easy being cheesy.

Feel free to follow or make requests for me to play through games on my backloggery for future articles. You can also hit me up on Twitter @AbsoluteZero0K.