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I guess it's sunk cost. No need to torture myself over what are effectively phantasms.

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I've watched these all the way through but never played them

Tired of being left behind in games conversations, I've just watched the games I've begun watching others play games I've wanted to see. It's not usually the ideal method, obviously, but some of the elements in most games can be enjoyed no matter how you experience them.

List items

  • It's been a while, but I was always fascinated by this game in the preview magazines. It was one of the games that had me debating whether or not I'd get a TG 16 when it was standing alongside the Genesis. I went with the Genesis (good choice) but its allure had my acquaintance's TG-16 always looking exotic and interesting. He never got this game for it, though.

    Maybe I didn't quite complete this, come to think of it. Ah well, close enough as I'm likely to get.

  • I'm adding this relatively late, but I just remembered that this was actually one of the first recent games I ever watched from start to finish. I watched it like a film, and in that respect it had its interesting elements. Because it was a game, though, ultimately I didn't feel enough of a connection. If I want to write anything more than this I'd probably have to watch it again. The end choice is interesting, although from my perspective it was a bit confusing what the consequences were supposed to be. Sometimes these canned choices are exhausting.

  • Well, I have to say that this game surprised me. The combat was a slog (and I assume a slog to play as well as to watch, it hardly ever felt visceral enough to feel like you were actually in combat), and I could see that even on a decent system this game would chug along. But man, this story had ambition. Strip away the game and you have an interesting mindbender of a story that has definite literary aspirations. If only all games were willing to take these kinds of risks!

  • I love the idea of using HR Giger's art in a game. The twisted, sexual, surreality is awesome to see in digital form... but man, is the use mundane. I kept hoping for something more mysterious, more awesome and weird, but it never got close to that. I think it could have stood being a little more adventurous in its use of this alternate world. At the same time, as an adventure its puzzles were pretty obscure at times, and the humor was good in places but never reached a level where I felt like "yeah, OK, it's supposed to be funny, I get it now. Better than nothing." It could have gone either direction, but it didn't go far enough. Disappointing, but still a great experiment.

  • DigitalLameFan's hilarious runthrough on Youtube helps ease the pain of this punishing, one-hit one-kill platformer/shooter from Data East. The backgrounds were very beautifully drawn and thought out, even when you have snow in an endlessly Gaudi Barcelona, and Olmecs and Moai living together (mass hysteria).

  • I loved the style of this, and watching this game with a highly skilled and experienced player at the helm is a movie-like experience (too bad he kept skipping the plot elements). I'd love to see something like this on the big screen, edited down to the essentials of the running and jumping with the plot more clearly laid out. Just one long, continuous take in the first person (however that might be accomplished). Would be epic. This is partly influenced by the fact that the whole thing I watched was a speed run :)

  • Beautiful design, some of the best SOUND design I've ever heard in a video game, interesting and unique theme, dealing with some questions that I don't remember many games addressing before. And you know what? The thing people don't like about this game is often the shooter/weak customizability/scavenger hunt elements. So I sorta skipped those just by watching (well, not so much scavenging, but I just ignored it when it got boring and listened to the audiotapes), even if the tension takes a hit because it's not MY character getting shot at.

  • The black humor of this great game translates well, even if every little snot who had a playthrough tended to rush through the puzzles so fast that I couldn't tell what was going on and missed the writing on the wall (so not to speak), as well as the computer's wonderfully dark monologues getting cut off sometimes. Thankfully I found someone who at least kept the subtitles on, so I got to catch most of it. One of my favorite moments was from a deactivating sentry robot, but the whole game was full of great lines :)

  • My wife pointed out how there were more hours watched here than in entire television series that I've followed in the past, more than four straight days of game time. I have to admit my eyes glazed over in parts, and I don't remember the last thing I watched where I yelled at the TV at people who totally couldn't hear me :) But it was fun, and there was some interesting depth to the characters, with intelligent, nearly flawless localization that, at the same, time wasn't afraid to keep this game in Japan. It speaks to the game's features that I don't think I'd mind playing it despite having seen the videos, which go into exhaustive detail.

  • Wow. I had no idea. It's like I've been looking for a game like this my whole life.

  • In progress...

  • This has to have some of the best dialogue I've ever heard in a game. Smartly written. The game is an adventure game with a few different endings depending on what you do and when you do it. It's very cinematic, but still enough of a game to justify calling it a game.

    The mo-cap characters can get repetitive in movement and sometimes you see the same guy in the background that you saw a moment before, and some of the actual game play boils down to perhaps too few elements, but I honestly can't help but overlook the flaws when I marvel at the way they integrate this game into the existing narrative of the film. They happen in parallel, with your Runner sometimes meeting people who would later, or who had already, met Deckard.

    Some of the continuity is a bit weak, though not broken. I just wish more games were as adventurous in dialogue AND choices for endings. It's not some silly good/evil dynamic that leads you to the conclusion. It was ahead of its time.

  • This has to have one of the funniest level progressions I've ever seen. It's also based on the Moon Patrol design, but has some definite differences, including an end that, despite looping back to the beginning, does provide some closure if you want to turn the thing off afterward. Oh, and those aren't trees growing at the end of the 5th level, kids; welcome to the nightmare of growing up in the 70's and 80's.

  • In [very slow]Progress...

  • This is actually a pretty innovative title with some very interesting gameplay choices that I don't remember seeing elsewhere (although Mario fans are free to point out others that use SML26GC's mechanics). The cool ideas were mainly that when you collect coins, you use them to buy a spin at a slot machine-like thing that potentially gives you power ups, one ups, or a poor coin refund to offset the loss. So you can blow all your coins on potentially a very big reward, or you can spend chunks of smaller coin amounts for power ups. The other thing it keeps track of is the amount of kills. When you get 100 kills, you get an invincibility star, and if you use THAT to get a bunch of kills, you can easily make way more 1UPs that way than you could by collecting 100 coins in other Mario games.

  • Completed. The combat is generally a chore to watch someone else go through, but I enjoyed the way the dialog was handled, with the paths not being overly obvious. What was compelling was the world crafting that went into this game, and they did it right when they just showed the details, rather than blather about them in exposition or those information logs. The design aesthetic was just outstanding, and I'm really, really glad they made their own universe. Wrex was a great character, and I liked many others, minor and major. I see this as a step in the evolution of The Bioware RPG. Hopefully some of the developments I've heard about in Dragon Age will push Mass Effect forward in its sequel, although I'm heartened most by at least the possibility of galaxy exploration being fleshed out more. I guess we'll see before too long.

  • This one's a bit different. Instead of watching someone play, I read the account of someone who played, who had decided they would get as long as they could without reloading on death. The game seemed a bit boring like the other action games I've sampled here, because when you're not behind the controls the tension is lost. It also didn't help that the descriptions of kills tended to blend together, but what was fascinating was the moments of verisimilitude the writer described, including the parts where he actually felt remorse for his future victims. There was something about the grungy photos that made me seek out a video or two of the game, and now, strangely, I want it, even though I know a lot of what's going on was pretty much laid out for me in the story I read. I have a feeling if I ever do play it, I will try it at least once with a mind for a permadeath restriction. I think games can sometimes be much more interesting that way, especially ones like this.

  • This is actually the first Mega Man I've ever seen played. I don't even think I watched the revival game in action. NOW I understand what those different power ups do. For the longest time as a kid, looking at issues of my friend's Nintendo Power, I used to imagine what each of the things did. Anyway, I see why people like it, there are little surprises, minor alternate routes, weaknesses to figure out, resources to manage, bosses upon bosses. But for some reason, the guy just can't shoot up...

  • Fresh off the first one, I watched this. As it wrapped up I wound up feeling a bit disappointed the way loyalty was telegraphed, bumping up teammates was more about bugging them about their problems, and there were a few choices that seemed arbitrary that wound up murdering people. It's the completist thing that I have a bit of a problem with, because imagine replaying due to missing some random doodad on one of many worlds. Ecch. OK, and I'm glad they expanded the romance options a bit, but they need to go a bit wild with it and actually have some people REJECT Shepard. :) All that aside, it was EXCITING to watch the battle scenes. They always felt desperate and it was fun to watch the player forced to switch weapons. The teammates were much smarter than last time, which was a relief, the worlds were interesting in their variety (although many of the sub-missions felt claustrophobic to me). I liked the anomaly detection even though I basically skipped straight over the mining. The characters were varied and always interesting, and I like that [xxxx] was both adorable and understandably but disturbingly full of hate for the Geth threat. What I think the sequel could use is more elegant conversation transitions, where you actually have to have something to say before Shepard will say there's another question, and end the conversation naturally otherwise. That's a minor point that can wait for people who have time for polish, though. I'll be interested in seeing how the Hammerhead DLC figures into all of this. This is a huge chunk of text. I probably should make this a blog entry, but I'm not in the mood to deal with comments on a game I haven't really experienced firsthand. Really excellent game to watch, though. Very cinematic and exciting, and the characters were full of expression, the dialog was strong, surprising, and dynamic. Here's hoping Mass 3 will be even better. To its credit, even though I know how to beat it, I still want to play it!

  • Specifically for the Sega Master System. Yeah, I had no idea either. The graphics are actually pretty good. Must have been a late title in the system's life. Strangely, it seems like a dry run for Revenge of Shinobi that came out for the next generation Sega console. One of the last bosses was a Kabuki fighter, for crying out loud.

  • The music is perfectly matched, and the first time you battle something is usually rewarding to watch. You can feel the bass thumps when a huge weapon smashes into the ground, and it can be satisfying to see an enemy get dispatched. This game is not meant to be watched, at least not when the combat starts to repeat (very unsatisfying to watch Kratos go nuts on a guy, too, just to see his blades ping off their metal armor), and the special movement sections, hanging on a rope or crawling on a wall, were painful to watch, with a minimum of moves the player could do. I loved the environment design, but didn't get to see much of it, and some of the places were really cool to see, especially the underwater sections. This is an epic game, I can see why it's popular, although at times Kratos' motivations are murky to me. This guy holds sentiment for his family, yet seems to lack any sentiment for anyone else. It goes both ways, trying to humanize him while making him mindless in his quest for revenge. Will probably watch its sequel before too long.

  • The NES adventure game, I mean. Interesting level design. What I like is that it takes some of the inherent tedium out of the Metroidvania-style adventure by letting the character teleport away at any time. Got the item you need for that other place? Beam out, go somewhere else. Very cool idea. I like how the arcade/Genesis version's enemies still pop up on occasion. Cool design of enemies. The boots/translation/usual NES clipping and flashing/cruel level design elements can be a bit annoying, but I'd say this pretty much lives up to my expectations that I had as a kid reading about it in my friend's Nintendo Power.

  • This game is HUGE. There are also tons of hidden things, and some pretty evil puzzles. I can see why it's a fan favorite, though. There's nothing wrong with 2D, people! Don't be afraid!

  • I remember getting pretty far in this, but it wasn't until recently that I saw the rest. It seems a lot of games want to hold our hand more than this game does. There was a nice middle ground coming after the needlessly obscure games that let players experiment and discover on their own. As long as their discovery is rewarded by something, I think the designers are doing it right. A Link to the Past doesn't have something around every corner, and the prizes (rupees and pieces of heart) don't always make it feel worthwhile, but seeing those hidden things makes those dungeons feel anything but lonely. Also, is it just me or does this game's animation, music, and graphics hit some sort of sweet spot? Eh, I don't care if it's just me. This game's cool.

  • A cool take on Star Raiders (that was never released).

  • One of the most relentlessly inventive platformers I've ever seen.

  • I actually think I played a few seconds of this on someone's Game Boy. I remember more pyramids. I tried to get this when I could finally play these sorts of games with my Gamecuube GBA hookup, but it was on the list of games that weren't compatible, so d'oh!

  • Typical Sunsoft beauty combined with typical Sunsoft wonkiness. Very much an explorer's game, but way too lethal to justify that too much.