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Hi, you don’t know me yet, but I’m hoping you discover me as I do.
My name is Paolo. I live in a small new town with my family. I have an 11-year-old son and am currently single. I have a full time job, and a brimming social life. I work out and run around 3 to 5 times a week. I cook, I clean, I drive and run errands as most of us do. And, I’ve recently turned 40. Which in and of itself is not my issue.
For said 40th I took two weeks off work to celebrate, see friends and family, travel a bit, work out the kinks so to speak, do what I wanted to do, you know? For me. It was on this down time that I scrolled through my back catalogue of games on various systems: Xbox One X, PS’s 2 through 4, DreamCast, Xbox 360 amongst others... I have hundreds of games. No kidding. Hundreds. I was a bit surprised. Well, still am at how many games have just been bought and not even installed, or booted up, let alone played. A lot of those games are considered shining examples by the majority of the gaming community. Games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Evil Within, Resident Evil 7, Uncharted 1-4, Metal Gear Solid 5, Odin Sphere, and little curios Race the Sun, Ori, Rogue Legacy. Or old games like Skies of Arcadia on the Dreamcast (ok, I played this to mid point, but never finished it!).
In my youth, I remember spending what little ready cash I had on a game, then making that game last 6 months or more until Christmas or birthdays swung around. The anticipation of a new game made the whole thing seem grander than it was. FlashBack for all its gorgeousness isn’t the perfectly caste experience I used to believe it was when I rocked up to the Soft Center with my £45, snatched the cart from the shop assistant's hands to run home and play it tirelessly. It was my first own purchase with my own money. It’s still a belter of a game. My adoration for it is as much to do with rose tints as it is how good the game is.
These days, though, as a single, 40-year-old father of one with a good job and a disposable income, buying games is a lot less ritual and more habitual. Steam sales or Summer Spotlight or just browsing the shelves of game stores will usually see me pick something out that will either never get played past the first hour, go missing in an endless list of titles in my digital libraries, or I’ll forget I’ve got it and it’ll just go untouched.
My problem is, what do I do with my digital back catalogue? It must be 300 or so games, and of those, I bet only a handful have ever been completed. How does one work through a list as long as Sephiroth’s Sword of unplayed or worse still unfinished games make time to even prioritise a playing schedule? Should I even care that the last game I finished was Halo 2 in the Master Chief Collection (on legendary I’ll add💪🏻)? Should I stop buying new games all together? Do I need to make a list and check them off? Or should I just accept the fact that I’m probably more of a collector than a gamer?
I think, at this point in my life, with so few free hours to game, to really settle down with an adventure, maybe spending that time with an adventure I adore and enjoy is perhaps a better way to play. For example, I can finish Dark Souls in a few hours. And I can always find new ways to play it. Or I can bash out a few missions or crucible matches in Destiny 2 with my brothers and have a brilliant time. Or just play something like Wizard of Legend for a swift half hour of adventuring in its neat, tidy, easy-to-play-hard-to-master package and not feel like I’ve wasted my time.
It seems like the days of enjoying behemoth gaming sessions where hours fly by and evening turns to early morning are long gone—as much because my alarm wants to kill me at 6 AM as, despite being fairly fit, I just can’t (Xbox)party like I used to. I kind of like to be asleep by 11.
Age certainly doesn’t come by itself...
In any case, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you battle the extensive back catalogue of games that may just never get played to completion. Or should I just power through something if I’m not enjoying it?
That sounds self defeatist and depressing...
Anyway, thanks for reading. I don’t know what I plan to do, but I do hope to see you back here when I figure this out.