True to my New Year’s pledge, I’ve begun playing some of the previously untouched games in my library. I’m now about an hour into Diakatana and so far the game has taught me two things:
One: In this dystopian cyberpunk future alternate reality, blue collar workmen are terrified of techno-frogs.
Two: This cyberpunk future has taken sewer boxing to the next level:
Ultimate Gas Hands?
Every time you put them on you watch the animation of your character pulling a cord to start what sounds like a 2-cycle engine. The sound persists as your hand vibrates, waiting to… punch people to death?
I expected to have a lot to say about this game, and I probably will later on, but this moment has left me kind of speechless.
It’s confession time. There are some games that haunt me. Not in the sense of being reminded of bad experiences, but rather the knowledge that I may have fallen short. Or it’s possible the game didn’t or couldn’t live up to my expectations. Call them regrets, if you will. It’s time for me to address these and get them off my back.
What can I say? Back in the 1990s I was a Command and Conquer kid! It was my go-to favorite franchise for strategy gaming. Having this other game show up and get widely proclaimed as one of the best and most influential titles of all time just hit me the wrong way. I didn’t want to like it because it was popular. Plus I associated the game with Warcraft, a similar title set in a world of magic and orcs – and I was just too cool for that kind of fantasy setting when I was kid.
Younger me did some dumb things, and missed out on some cool stuff. Not adult me! I purchased Starcraft Remastered from Blizzard’s confusing storefront and will be beating the game in 2020.
The one I never finished: Homeworld 2
This one stings.
As I’ve publicly professed before, Homeworld is my absolute favorite video game series of all time. The first game captivated my imagination in December of 1999 and I credit it, along with Star Wars, for cementing my lifelong love of all things space.
But I never beat Homeworld 2. I’ve completed the other games in the series at least a half-dozen times over, but number two eludes me. Back when it released there were some balancing issues that made the single-player campaign punishingly difficult at about the midway point. I still remember giving up on it back in 2003.
The Remastered version was prettier and easier to play, but I just stopped playing about two thirds of the way through. Something about the story didn’t overcome real life and I gave up on it. I remember something about hyperspace cores, Progenitors, Sajuuk, and bears. Oh my!
Yeah, I need to finish this one properly.
The one I never was able to get into: Fallout
War. War never changes. It’s also very brown.
I tried, multiple times, to get into Fallout. Each time, my experience was very much the same: brown. Maybe role playing games and I don’t get along. My apathy for this influential title is shared among many slow paced point and click games for the era. Still, I’d hoped that at some point a light bulb would go on and the barren wasteland of Fallout would start to be more appealing.
Maybe it will this year?
Here are five other games I’ve never played that make my list for 2020:
The one that couldn’t possibly be as bad as everyone said it was: Diakatana
It can’t really be that bad, can it?
The one I watched my brother play but never got into for myself: Thief, The Dark Project
The one where you type to make robot drones do things: Duskers
The one with the five-hour soundtrack I’ve listened to dozens of times: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
The shooty spaceship game I absolutely cannot believe I’ve never played: Descent Freespace
This is not about “clearing the backlog”. For the uninitiated, “backlog” refers to massive game collections that expand faster than anyone can reasonably play through them. No, attacking backlog conjures up feelings of obligation and makes gaming feel like work. It’s just not feasible for me, as a gainfully employed adult, to ever complete every one of the four hundred and thirty games currently sitting in my library.
However, I’d like to experience more of what I’ve missed out on. And that means treating games like a fun hobby instead of work to be done. This means it has to be okay to not complete or even start some of the games I already own. Therefore, I have two guidelines set up for my gaming habits in 2020:
For every old experience, there has to be a new one. When I install a game I’ve played before, I need to also try at least one game I’ve never played.
Games get two hours to to prove to me that they’re worth playing. If I don’t see the value in them after two hours, I can set any title aside and say that, while it might be good, it may not be a game for me.
2020 may not have more gaming going on, but it’ll have some different gaming going on. And that’s exciting to me!