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Posted by BigSocrates (1966 posts) -


Every gamer has games she hasn't finished. It's inevitable that some games will lose your interest before the end, or have a difficulty spike you can't overcome, or just be lost in the shuffle when something new and shiny comes along to occupy your time. You won't 'beat' everything you play.

Most gamers have a backlog. Games they bought on sale, or just because they wanted them, but never got around to playing. For many this backlog can reach hundreds of games, which they'll "get around to playing some day" even though games keep coming out and they keep buying them.

What I'm talking about tonight, however, is something altogether darker. I'm talking about the games I bought but have abandoned all hope of ever playing. They may still be in the shrinkwrap, or be on some online service never downloaded, or even be installed on a hard drive, but I know I will never play them. Over my years as a gamer and collecter I have acquired many such games. More than I care to admit. I am not going to talk about each game I've 'abandoned' but will describe some categories, and the reasons why I know I will never go back to play these games I spent money on.


Joel and Ellie will never even begin their journey in my PS3 copy of this game, which has never seen the inside of a PS3.
Joel and Ellie will never even begin their journey in my PS3 copy of this game, which has never seen the inside of a PS3.

The double dip is the easiest to understand reason why a game might be put aside, never played. Put simply, a better version came out. An example from my collection is the Last of Us. I bought it around the time it came out for the PS3, but things got busy and it was never the right time, then GTA V came out and then the 8th gen consoles, and I never got around to playing it. A year after the first release a remastered version came out for PS4, and people said it fixed frame rate issues and had a better multiplayer population at that point. So I waited for a sale, bought the Remastered version, and played through that. My PS3 copy remains in the shinkwrap and I can’t imagine a circumstance when I’d actually play this. This has happened for other games as well, generally when the upgraded version can be had cheaply and features a large upgrade. I always wanted to play Gravity Rush, but I’m never going to play the copy I got on VITA because I’d rather play a game like that on PS4, which is now an option. I think anyone who has a significant backlog has felt the call of or even fallen victim to the double dip. In the end if I’m going to play a game I want to play the best version available for the systems I have, especially if the upgrade isn’t particularly pricey.


There was a complicated shipping issue with my copy of Madden and by the time I got it, I was too busy to play. Now '17 is out and this is last year's model.
There was a complicated shipping issue with my copy of Madden and by the time I got it, I was too busy to play. Now '17 is out and this is last year's model.

I’m not the kind of gamer who has to play things right when they’re released. I’m happy going back to play older games, but certain games just aren’t worth going back to. The most obvious example is sports games, which get replaced with the newer option every year (or two). If I’m going to get into Madden it’s not going to be with last year’s copy, even if I happen to have picked one up cheap. I got the EA UFC game for $10, never played it, and now with UFC 2 out I never will. The same is true of the dead online game. This might be a game that’s actually dead, with servers no longer online, but more usually it’s just a game with no active population playing it. It’s pretty rare for this to happen to me, since I don’t buy online focused games unless I want to play them immediately, but it's not unknown. I bought R.I.P.D. very cheap on sale, but after trying to find a game on PS3 to play God Mode with, and failing, I never even bothered with R.I.P.D. (it’s apparently a terrible game anyway.) Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West looked interesting to me, and I acquired a copy somehow (maybe through Playstation Plus?) but I imagine the servers are long deceased and I’m never going to boot up my old PS3 to find out. It had its time and place, and I missed it.


According to Trueachievements.com 8 members of that site have started playing this game June of this year. I am not one of them.
According to Trueachievements.com 8 members of that site have started playing this game June of this year. I am not one of them.

I collect games somewhat compulsively, especially when they’re very cheap. I like having a large library of games to pick from, and I try to play a variety of games (when I have time) not just the big hits. This can be a good thing. I had a lot of fun with Conan on the 360, of a type I might not have with a better game. I also enjoyed the heck out of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, even though reviewers didn’t. Was it as good as Arkham Asylum? No, but it was fun in a different way, and to me it was a solid B+ to Arkham’s A. However, while I like playing “B-tier” games and I have a nice collection of them, I am extremely unlikely to go back a generation to play them. While I like retro and older games, I have limited time and I’m not going to spend it playing through a lengthy but poorly regarded adventure like The First Templar or the Cursed Crusade. Not when my backlog is full of better games to play. If I’m going to play a 360 era cover shooter it’s going to be Binary Domain, not Inversion and, despite my love of Insomniac, not Fuse either. I played Uncharted 4 already, and Gears 4 is coming out this year, so it’s not like we’re lacking for modern incarnations of this genre, and there needs to be something special (like a famously bonkers story) to pull me back to older hardware.

The mediocre category is the hardest to define, because there are plenty of games from my backlog I will probably never get to even if I don’t think of them as being “mediocre” in the way that Fuse or Inversion are. My backlog keeps growing and time keeps on ticking forward. Will I ever get to Far Cry 3? I’d like to think so, but it’s likely I won’t at this point. That doesn’t make it a mediocre or ‘abandoned’ game, though, just a game I never got around to playing.


I’m sure if anyone reads this far they’re likely to want to lecture me about how this shows I should buy fewer games and stop wasting my money. That’s a fine sentiment, but I don’t feel that way. The truth is, I enjoy buying and collecting games, physically and digitally. I get a pleasure out of looking for deals, and building a library, that’s somewhat independent of whether I actually play the games in question. Will I ever get around to that $9 copy of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands that I bought in 2011? I don’t know, maybe, but I enjoyed buying it and having the option anyway, and it didn’t cost very much.

The truth is, I don’t want to change. My video game spending isn’t out of control and it doesn’t consume a huge part of my income. While I buy games to play them, I don’t always get around to it, and in some cases I never will. I enjoyed the buying, the feeling of possibility an an adventure not yet embarked on that comes with owning a new game. I like having a collection to choose from and I’m willing to accept that sometimes the spending is frivolous and wasteful. There are lots of frivolous and wasteful ways to spend money, and bad habits that are more harmful than collecting video games. So the dankest confession of all is that even though I’ve bought a fair number of games I know I’ll never play I don’t regret it and I don’t intend to change.

P.S. Oh, and for those about to suggest that I sell the unplayed games, by the time I get around to being confident I won't play something it has generally lost all its value. I could gather up the titles I know I never play and take them to a Gamestop or something and maybe get $50-$100 in credit, but it wouldn't be worth it, at least not for me. For that kind of return I'd rather just leave them in my collection.

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#1 Posted by Humanity (18723 posts) -

At least you played through Last of Us in some capacity - your shrinkwrap version is like a real life trophy. Also something about games still in shrrinkwrap that feels nice, maybe even a bit opulent.

There is nothing to suggest that you don't already know, and in fact by the end of your thread it seems like this doesn't even seem to be a problem for you nor something you actively wish to change. I can identify with wanting to build a collection. Reading ebooks is really comfortable in many ways, but I always miss having a physical book on a physical shelf later on. Many times I've been tempted to re-purchase a game I already own on PC because there is a great deal on it and it's nice to just have it there. It's a weird compulsion.

I make it a rule to beat each game I'm playing before I buy the next one. The hardest struggle I've had to condition myself against is buying those indie games at release. You know the Superhot, Abzu, Inside or Quadrilateral Cowboys of the Steam marketplace. While the games usually turn out to be fun and unique experiences, they're also usually about two hours long and go on steep sales within the same year. It sucks to not be in the zeitgeist but ultimately my wallet is better off for it.

There is also the dangerous flip side of that where I sometimes buy a couple of deeply discounted indie titles and play 15 minutes of each one before a meaty triple A release completely consumes my free time (which similarly to you is limited these days).

Collecting is fun, just ask Jeff, and if you have the money and space for it then keep on doing you're thing - especially since it's something that appears to give you pleasure rather than being some deeply rooted source of shame.

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#2 Posted by Macka1080 (252 posts) -

I'm totally with you @bigsocrates! That sense of excitement from purchasing a game, especially if you consider it a good deal, can be satisfying enough on its own, without ever actually playing the game. I've got a whole heap of games in my backlog that I know I'll never get around to, and yet I continue to keep my eye out for new bargains or intriguing titles to pick up.

Also, brilliant intro! Made me laugh :)

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#3 Posted by csl316 (14959 posts) -

Thanks, now I'm thinking of that Syndicate 360 copy I bought a few months ago.

Some day!

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#4 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2049 posts) -

Why don't you give them away? Either to somebody you know who may like to play them or simply a charity shop? Could make somebody's day.

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#5 Posted by LeStephan (1215 posts) -

I am 100% with you BigSocrates.

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#6 Posted by Bakumatsu (430 posts) -

What are you talking about? I'm definitely going to play Alpha Protocol and Castlevania Lords of Shadow. Someday. You'll see.

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#7 Edited by gundogan (769 posts) -

Now I'm wondering if I ever opened that Descent I & II collection box that's been follwing me around for the past 15-20 years.

Edit: Guess I didn't (I think). Setup doesn't run on win10 though. :'(

Edit2: Source ports to the rescue!

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#8 Posted by Humanity (18723 posts) -

@csl316: pssst its on sale on Origin...

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#9 Posted by gundogan (769 posts) -

@humanity: Wait what? It never was for the past year or so. And it's a deeper discount (75% off, was 50% before). Praise this day!

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#10 Posted by Humanity (18723 posts) -

@gundogan: the only reason I saw was because I had it in my cart like a year ago and Origin remembered somehow so when I was buying Titanfall 1 for PC it popped up in the cart and was so cheap I couldn't say no.

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#11 Posted by fisk0 (6867 posts) -

I'd say there are more games I regret not purchasing before they were taken off Steam, GOG or PSN than I regret purchasing and never playing, and I have quite a few PS2, PS3 and PC games still in shrinkwrap.

I'll probably never play my collector's edition copy of Dark Souls II on PS3, considering I've got Scholar of the First Sin on PC.

Moderator Online
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#12 Posted by BisonHero (11576 posts) -

Man, all this use of the word "dankest", but no mention anywhere of Dankest Dungeon.

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#13 Posted by lead_dispencer (534 posts) -

It was the best of times. It was the dankest of times.

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#14 Posted by Darth_Navster (884 posts) -

Honestly, for me it's not the games I buy that I never play, but the constant deluge of PS+ and GwG games each month. At this point I just claim the games as they become available and proceed to forget about them. Still, I keep paying for these services because I don't want to lose access to those games (online multiplayer is also nice, I suppose).

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#15 Posted by MannyMAR (662 posts) -

I actually bought The Witness with no intention of playing it. I despise solving puzzles for no reason other than it's just a puzzle. Games like Portal, Braid, and Inside are great, but games like Tetris, Lumines, and Bejeweled irk the hell out of me. I felt compelled to support J. Blow, in lieu of the piracy of his game. So, The Witness sits in my Steam library never to be played.

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#16 Edited by Immortal_Guy (203 posts) -

This happens to me exclusively with old games from charity shops. I'm amazed that so many charity shops still stock PS2 games, and whenever something interesting emerges from the sea of old FIFA games people are somehow still giving in I feel compelled to buy it. I normally at least intend to try them, but I've got copies of Ring of Red and the original Disgaea that I think will never see the inside of my PS2. Disgaea is particularly intimidating, but at least it's on the shelf, waiting for when I next have a 100-hour hole in my life.

In a similar vein, I ended up leaving a charity shop with the old PC adventure game Starship Titanic because it had Douglas Adams' name on the box - but after buying it realised it'd take more than Douglas Adams to give me the fortitude to try an old PC adventure game. It sits unloved to this day - I guess I should just donate it back!

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#17 Posted by Veektarius (6409 posts) -

@bisonhero: Is that a joke? In fact, I don't understand anything in this thread. I should just leave.

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#18 Posted by giliad (72 posts) -

It's a conventional opinion but I still think the Last of Us is one of the greatest console games I've ever played