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While listening to episode 319 of the Gamers with Jobs podcast, the guys mentioned a thread on their forums that had really blown up with popularity: Gaming Confessions & Blasphemy. Essentially, it's a place where gamers can admit their deepest gaming secrets such as having never played a Zelda game. The confessions and reactions are equal parts interesting, humorous, and horrifying as various commenters either come out to agree or post various meme pictures as a stunned reaction. As of the writing of this blog post, the thread has reached 28 pages, though much of it has gone off on various tangents on games that gamers typically argue about.
The spirit behind the thread is fascinating to me, however. Much like a list of Must Watch Films by a cinephile, all gamers have a nebulous agreed upon list of greatest games: innovative game mechanics, the best stories, characters, music. Basically the games that you would be proudest to show to non-gamers as the pinnacle of their era of gaming.
The problem is, few people have actually played all of these games. Games come in such a huge variety of genres, game play, ratings, and systems that it can be difficult to go back and experience them if you missed them the first time around.
Obviously I consider myself a pretty big gamer. Playing video games has been my number one hobby since I received my first console (NES) for Christmas in the early 90s. I've played a ton of games, and many of them among the greats. I have an impressive list of favorite games and experiences. But, I also have my secret gaming shames. Those games I never played, never finished, or just never cared about it. Like a classic film that's incredibly slow and boring with that awful stage-like acting, they can be recognized for their greatness but still not all that enjoyable.
Here then, dear readers, are my gaming confessions.
1. I don't like Horror Games. Or movies for that matter. Survival horror is a genre I have zero interest in, though I can appreciate that people enjoy them. Scary movies still easily freak me out, so being in control in that situation pretty much goes beyond what I can handle. I've never played a Resident Evil or Silent Hill game. Now if the game has other elements to it, like a heavy emphasis on cooperative play as in the Left 4 Dead series, I enjoy that immensely. I'm also enjoying Tell Tale's The Walking Dead adventure games. Maybe zombie games are just an exception with me...
2. I have never played a Half-Life game. This one makes sense for me as previously stated about horror games. Although I do play most of the Aliens games and enjoy those, and think these are more action or shooter than really horrific? I suppose I should really go back and play HL2 at least, as it was gifted to me by a friend and just sits on my Steam Library.
UPDATE: As of May 2013 I have played and completed Half-Life 2, thanks to my Rogue's Adventures playthrough group!
3. I never finished Final Fantasy 7, and haven't played a Final Fantasy game since. FF6 is one of my favorite games of all time, but 7 is a much different breed, and not just because it shoved the FF series into the 3D world in the ugliest, polygonaliest way possible. I got a Playstation mere months before I would get a PS2, and many of the PSOne games I played on an emulator on my PC. I made a concious decision to try and pick the game back up and finish it, and made it maybe another 10hrs before I dropped off. That was years ago. Some day maybe, but that PSOne era of early 3D graphics is so dang ugly and difficult to return to.
4. I never played The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Considered the greatest Zelda game, and one of the greatest games of all time. I was a bit late to the party on the SNES, having owned a Genesis for years prior and missed out on quite a few of the big games for that system. I've played most of them years later when the Emulator craze hit big in the late 90s, but for some reason never played Link to the Past. If you're curious, my favorite Zelda game is still Ocarina of Time.
5. I don't like First Person Shooters on the console. Yep that includes Halo and Call of Duty. They're not bad games by any means, but I was way more into the FPS hayday of PC gaming, your Quakes and Duke Nukems and what not. I've played over 200 hrs of Team Fortress 2, and countless hours of Battlefield and Left 4 Dead, all on PC (and all with friends). But when it comes to console gaming, only the Borderlands series gets a pass as the splitscreen play makes it all worthwhile.
6. I never finished Baldur's Gate, and never played the sequel. If your jaw hasn't dropped by now, this will surely finish the job. A confessed PC gamer and RPG lover, and I never finished one of the seminal computer role playing games ever made? Yep, but I have a few reasons. First, I was never a fan of D&D computer games until 3rd edition was implemented in Neverwinter Nights. I hated that your characters started so painfully weak and progressed so slow, and things like THAC0 and Armor Class were needlessly confusing to someone whom math is not their strong suit. The other big reason is that I got BG1 on the same Birthday that I got Everquest, and EQ would proceed to pretty much rule my life for the next 10 or so months that followed. The ship has definitely not sailed, however, as I recently purchased the D&D Anthology pack earlier this year that includes all the old Inifinity Engine games, and plan on tackling them at some point next year.
7. I never played Super Mario 64. How is that possible? I'm honestly not sure. I got a Nintendo 64 pretty much the year it was released and played damn near half the games ever made for it. Truthfully I think I did play it once, maybe I rented it or something but it never caught on like the 2D Marios had. Neither did Sunshine on the Gamecube for that matter, and I've yet to play Galaxy for the Wii. 3D platformers in general just don't excite me very much.
That's about all I have. Sure there's a lot of games that I like a lot more or a lot less than the perceived opinions of most gamers, but the confessions listed above are what I consider the big shockers, and some of them my great shames. So what are your great gaming confessions? Don't be afraid, we're all friends here.