Pile of Shame: Lots of Games, Little Time to Play Them

Ah, the Pile of Shame… every person who likes games has one of those. To all those who are not familiar with this term it basically refers to all those unopened, unplayed or unfinished games that you keep telling yourself that one day you’re going back to, but for multiple reasons you never have time to do so. Usually, most of the titles in this category are those that you bought on sale, those packages that include free DLC, additional expansions or all those games that have myriad sidequests that you think are worth your time and want to complete someday.

The problem with the Pile of Shame is that as we grow older, we have less time to play games. We have more responsibilities or other priorities in our busy lives, there’s always family, a significant other, friends or maybe even a pet that demands more attention and we simply can’t ignore them. There’s also work, school or our social lives so it’s frustrating to have a little more money to buy games and less time to play them. And the pile keeps getting bigger and bigger…

“Hello, my name is Eric and I still haven’t finished Final Fantasy VII.”

At the same time, a lot of people who enjoy playing games have this obsessive-compulsive tendency to do all the side stuff. Sometimes finding secret packages, orbs, coins or dog tags might be a nice diversion, but when you’re just trying to complete a game, you don’t necessarily have to do everything. I guess that’s easier say than done. Additionally, sometimes it is just difficult to pick something in particular. The time and energy that we have to play a title of a particular genre may vary, so sometimes choosing an overly complex role-playing game is simply intimidating and instead we choose a simpler and much lighter experience such as a mindless first-person shooter or an arcade driving game. The real problem becomes more apparent when you realize that you have way too many games of a specific genre and because you consider them very intimidating you end up playing nothing at all.

I have dozens of games that I want to play at least one time and many others that I want to go back to (Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection I’m looking at you.) My personal pile of shame is not really that big, but there are a lot of demanding games and that is without taking into account all the digital releases, free downloads or old graphic-adventure titles. The problem is that nowadays, some games are really cheap and developers keep making huge titles such as Grand Theft Auto IV, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or Final Fantasy XII. Furthermore, there are lots of mobile and PC games that you can get for free and some of them are simply superb. I have most of the Humble Indie Bundles and I’ve only had time to play a few of those games for review purposes.

The task of trying to play some of the games in your pile of shame quickly becomes an anxiety issue, picking a title is overwhelming, sometimes playing multiple games in the same period of time to alleviate this is even more detrimental to the experience and you may end up not enjoying your time with them. Finding the perfect balance in our modern lives can be an extremely daunting task and there are so many choices that it’s simply frustrating not being able to find an hour to play an old game. And on top of that, the pile keeps getting bigger and bigger…

Just to prove that I’m brave enough I’ll post some of the top titles that I really want to play, though it should be noted that I won’t consider all the games that I want to play for reviewing purposes. Think of this list as a new year’s resolution:

  • Final Fantasy I-VII
  • Okami
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  • Neverwinter Nights
  • Fallout I-II
  • Planescape Torment
  • Beneath a Steel Sky
  • Braid
  • The Elder Scrolls I-II
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Grim Fandango
  • The Secret of Monkey Island

Finally, feel free to share your own pile of shame on the site’s comments section.