The Ever Expanding Void of Unfinished Games
Some games need real commitment, be it because of the sheer size of the game or the amount of time you have to spend playing to hone your skills and further your progress. For example I have clocked up just under 100 hours on Skyrim and have yet to delve into the main quest, I have nearly 500 hours combined on Left 4 Dead 1&2 and Valve still persist in releasing more material to suck up my precious life. I remember Square boasting about how many game hours were in Final fantasy VII when it was released 15 years ago, these days that number seems small compared to how much time some games can take up.
“To begin with, FF7 is longer than every console RPG to date. The game takes place across 3 CDs. It took Next Generation Online, no stranger to RPGs, a total of 49 hours to complete the game…” Source: IGN
In some respects the sheer scale of games, particularly modern games, is good. But unless you are a jobless gamer with no commitments it is inevitable that you will start building up a backlog of games that you want to play but may not ever get the chance to, even more so if you are fond of classic games and still want to allocate time to them, and here in lies the purpose of this article.
I have put together a list of games that I want to complete but are rapidly disappearing from view as more and more titles leap relentlessly into our RSI afflicted arms. I have had to prioritise here as I would happily play all my games to completion but this would require an infinite amount of energy and time, similar to achieving light-speed only a lot less likely. I have stuck to games that I actually own and will comment on my progress so far (if any) and the probablity of completion ever being achieved.
One of my first recollections of playing a true adventure game. At the time it seemed amazing to me that you could travel around and explore a realistic environment and were only restricted by the items you could find to help you access other areas, I would see glimpses of places I would be able to get to but had no idea how to do so and that thrilled me no end.
Status: It took me long enough to work out exactly how to use fire to coordinate the monkey men so I could pass the spider room so not too far in.
Probability of completion: High, I can’t ever let this one drop, too much dewy-eyed nostalgia is involved.
Beneath a Steel Sky
I didn’t discover this DOS/Amiga treat until quite late via ScummVM, which is a shame because it is a fantastic game and you cannot call yourself a point and click adventure fan if you haven’t played this. I do not call myself a point and click adventure fan but i would love to reintroduce myself to its dystopian robo-guff.
Status: Played for quite a few hours but I couldn’t jump back in now as it’s been too long, I would have to restart to avoid perplexion.
Probability of completion: Fairly high, it could end up being my favourite point and click adventure.
I first saw the Master System version of this for sale in WHSmiths in Poulton-le-Fylde while visiting my Nan many aeons ago. I remember begging my dad for the £39.99 it cost after I was seduced by it’s ‘Battery Back-up Memory’ which indicated that it was a proper RPG unlike that pretender ‘Wonder Boy III‘ that I had been playing. Despite pleas and assurances that I would sell my worldly toys to pay him back he refused and I had to wait several years before I was financially reckless enough to buy it with my own money.
I had a demo of this on the ST and loved it so much that I just played that over and over again as I couldn’t afford the full game. I now have it for the Amiga but my PSU is buggered so still can’t indulge in it and to top things off it seems I copied over the ST demo when I was running low on floppy disks. Christ knows what I would have been saving on them, possibly some of my optical illusion art I thought was so wondrous at the time. I don’t think the game is that highly thought of but I would still like to give it a chance.
Status: One level, many many times, via demo.
Probability of completion: It’s possible, once I fix my Amiga problems, but not likely.
Another game that I discovered on the ST but now have on the Amiga though I never actually got to play this the first time around, it is just something I had seen through some ST magazine and was intrigued by the isometric view and apparent genetically engineered death-balls.
Status: I looked at the first couple of screens once via emulator but would prefer to play it using the original system.
Probability of completion: For some reason I am almost content in just having found the game but it may well become my new best thing if I ever get to try it properly.
Ys: The Vanished Omens
This may well have been my first ‘proper’ RPG and would have contributed to my need to procure Ultima IV. I liked the game and even enjoyed the bit of farming I had to do to increase my level, right up until I got stuck. I can’t remember the details but I think it was something to do with a mirror.
I did Phantasy Star all wrong, I played IV first, then moved in reverse order until reaching the Master System debut. Not that it matters, the first four Phantasy Star games remain one of my favorite RPG series and frankly I would love to see a new single player game. I have only completed IV and possibly II or III, I’m not really sure, but I would certainly like to give all of them a go again, in order this time.
This isometric number is the best Batman game ever and considers Arkham City to be a sniveling little bitch. It doesn’t care for canon and brazenly fills the labyrinthine Batcave with patrolling wearbeasts, death-floors and roaming shark heads. My dad had it on some kind of IBM PC and I spent many hours sobbing in frustration at its intense difficulty. I have a speccy and CPC464 copy of it so I could give that a go or maybe the remake as it is done by the same guy who did the fantastically faithful Head over Heels one.
Status: Not very far at all.
Probability of completion: Extremely likely because fuck you, Rocksteady.
Magical Flying Hat Turbo Adventure
I saw a review for this game in a CG&G Complete Guide to Sega and wanted it real bad, unfortunately you could only get it through import and besides at the time I only had an Atari 2600 and they don’t take kindly to having Megadrive carts shoved in them. My need increased a few years later when I fell in love with the Master System predecessor Psycho Fox. Magical hat was given a facelift and a Western release as Decap Attack but it just didn’t feel right to me so I kept hunting until I got hold of a copy of the Japanese incarnation.
Status: Have just played a level.
Probability of completion: Moderate-High, I will most likely give it a good going over but whether it can stand up to that cute little fox and his unnaturally protruding arm remains to be seen.
Final Fantasy III
After playing Final Fantasy VII and VIII I knew I had to hunt for the previous games, this was made easier once I had a PC and was online and at some point I gave Final fantasy III (actually the US port of Final fantasy VI) a short go through an emulator. When the intro reached the point of Vicks, Wedge and an unknown bint walking over the land in their Magitek Armour accompanied by tingle-inducing music I knew I had to stop and wait until I got a proper copy before playing it.
This was an excellent graphic adventure that I owned on the NES, the prequel to the famous ‘Day of the Tenticle’ and one of the few point and click games that didn’t end up frustrating me into a coma.
Status: Absolutely no idea.
Probability of completion: I might but I think Beneath a Steel Sky will get priority if I have to choose a game of that ilk, if for nothing else than the ability to use a mouse.
Secret of Mana
I can’t recall if I actually completed this or not, I may have but it’s more likely that I played most of it then restarted so I could take advantage of the cooperative mutiplayer aspect. After a few false starts in this respect due to lack of commitment or interest from my fellow game players it sadly drifted into the past.
Super Mario RPG
I first heard of Super Mario RPG in Game Zone Magazine and laughed my sceptical arse off, oh those crazy Japanese I thought whilst considering that it may even be demeted Game Zone trickery. A few years later I ate my words and thoughts after buying a copy and realising that it was actually pretty good. Granted people will be put off by the cutesy of it but it cannot be denied that the game contains all you need for a decent RPG.
The Adventures of Alundra
A top down adventure, similar to the Legend of Zelda on the SNES, and a very good one at that. I’m not even sure how I came across the game, I didn’t involve myself in Playstation publications as they were all shit and I didn’t have or know of the internet at the time, no doubt it was a drunken second hand purchase.
The Paper Mario games are supposed to be excellent, this one was a fucker to get hold of unless I wanted to pay £60+ on Ebay (I got it for less than half that, most likely due to lack of photo). I refuse to play it until i complete Super Mario RPG.
Metroid Prime, MP: Echos, MP: Corruption & MP Hunters
Super Metroid on the SNES is a rare perfect game, I literally can’t think of any faults other than the fact that the box is ridiculously big. I was dubious about it changing to a FPS style game but Metroid Prime is indeed a great game. Shame I never bothered to kill the final boss as I am now so out of practice with using a controller for a FPS that I will probably fail miserably. Because I haven’t officially completed it I haven’t touched Echos or Corruption and have only had a brief go on Hunters, enough to get my ball.
Status: Metroid Prime = Fully completed up to the final boss-beast, Echoes & Corruption = Not yet touched, Metroid Prime: Hunters = Played about an hour and a bit of multiplayer.
Probability of completion: I’m sure I’ll slaughter the end boss of Metroid Prime at some point, I kind of want to skip Echos so I can go straight to Corruption but I can’t bring myself to do that just yet. I doubt Hunters will ever get a proper look in.
Something to do with a dog who could paint or was made of paint or something. I had a quick go at it but I think this was at a time when I was picking up lots of cheap games while the PS2 was on its way out but not ever actually getting a chance to play the bastards. Maybe I’ll just get the Wii version to spur me on, just like all my other Wii games that haven’t.
Oddworld: Strangers Wrath
I remember when Abes Oddysey first came out and there was talk of this being part of a pentology of games set in the same world. Abes oddysey was great and Exodus was even better, it took me a while to hunt down Munches Oddysey and Strangers Wrath, the former seemed good but didn’t really interest me due to my anti-3D plateformer views but I really enjoyed Strangers Wrath. Alas the X-Box I bought it for was actually my sons so rarely got to play it and then the dog ate the controllers hampering this even further. It has now been released on Steam, I just hope the graphics don’t look too dire on my crisp, sexy monitor.
Elf was a fun little piece of platforming pie that I had on the ST, at first it seemed a bit of something and nothing and I certainly wasn’t keen on the constant barrage of spawning enemies, but once I had got the hang of it and progressed through a couple of levels it started to all make sense and was actually a deeply smashing game.
Status: Level 3 (that’s a complete guess but it feels… right).
Probability of completion: Fairly high, I often consider it I just think I may be shit as my skill tree has been reset to work on PC FPS games instead.
Another ST one, I picked up a copy when my mar was a brief member of one of those monthly game clubs (where you would be sent a game by force if you didn’t order one) but the disk stopped working. I never got a replacement and to this day I still own the redundant copy in the hope that it will be fixed by solar flares or something.
Already a classic game apparently but I some how missed playing it. I played the demo, presumably from some PC rag, and I always intended to purchase it but didn’t do so until it was on Steam and displayed the magic words ‘75% off’.
Jet Force Gemini
Ahhh this game started off brilliant and just got better the more I played it, it had the advantage that you could rescue or head-shot teddybears which looked a lot like ewoks. I must have got quite far but something distracted me, maybe Perfect Dark. I would love to play it again but it will take some time and I’m not sure how much I will tolerate joypad controls for fine sniper aiming.
So that’s that, the main games in my collection that I just can’t let go of and will possibly haunt me until I am released by the glorious freedom of death. This is just the start of a continually expanding list, there are already plenty of current and recent games that are rapidly heading in the same direction such as: Red Steel 2, Mafia 2, Chronicals of Riddick, Metro 2033, No More Heroes, S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat, Dragon Age: Origins…
My recent spate of un-working has demonstrated that it is a lot less likely than I ever realised that I will be able to give the many games I own the attention they deserve. The constantly increasing amount available and the dedication often required means there will always be a personal chasm of unplayed and unfinished games and it is something that we, as gamers, have to come to terms with.