Playing Yakuza 3 earlier today, my eye was drawn to the vast tower of unplayed titles gradually taking over the left-hand-side of our TV cabinet. My game collection is constantly increasing in size, and being the kind of person that rarely plays a game more than once (unless it’s something I particularly love), and as space is at a premium in this house, I feel like I should at least be considering getting shot of a fair portion of it. It’s not as if I have any great attachment to a lot of these games – many of them are promos or debug copies, which aren’t exactly something you can look at on a shelf and smile with pride or reminisce about.
But some of these games are regarded as modern classics, and a few remain tantalisingly unfinished – often because I’ve perhaps not enjoyed them as much as others. In truth, they’ll probably stay that way – there’s always something to stop me from playing the final third of Bioshock, for example, so why should I hang onto it?
It’s partly the sense that the critical acclaim for these games suggests I should give them another chance; perhaps when I’m older and wiser and my tastes have changed or matured slightly. But I also definitely feel that, as a journalist, these are games I should play, whether I enjoy them or not. It’s almost as if I feel that I’m not really doing my job by leaving Fallout 3 or Metal Gear Solid 4 unfinished (the latter has barely seen an hour’s play from me). Heck, at times, I even think about adding to my collection – can people take me seriously without me having played Deus Ex, or World of Warcraft? Does it make me a bit of a fraud that my videogame experience isn’t as broad as it could be?
I imagine I’m not the only person to feel this way. But videogames are so time-consuming and games journalists are so poorly paid that sinking between 10 and 30 hours of your own free time (or what little you have left of it after the extended work hours required to get your job done) in a game you’re not necessarily enjoying in a vain attempt to make yourself feel more educated or relevant seems like a grotesque waste of the short time we all have on this rock.
So I’m sorry, Rapture, you’ll have to wait for now. I’ve got some Japanese men in sharp suits to beat up.