Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Do I Have Any Idea What I’m Talking About?

In addition to the many I already have, I've recently developed a new insecurity.

You see, my first gaming console was the Sega Genesis. I didn't own another console until the Xbox 360. No Nintendo (of any flavor), no Playstation, no original Xbox. That's a massive gap in my gaming experience.

For a while I played exclusively on the PC. X-Wing, MechWarrior, Jedi Knight, Monkey Island, Half-Life, and Elder Scrolls were my entertainment of choice. At the same time I never played Starcraft. For Half-Life and Elder Scrolls, I didn't play these until the hype for the latest installments in the series was at full blast and I wanted to know what the big deal was.

This is mostly my fault of course. When my family had a Sega Genesis, I mostly played the Sonic the Hedgehog games. My parents didn't have the money or desire to buy me the latest releases, and eventually I grew bored with it. I read lots of books, and moved to computer gaming when we got our first IBM Aptiva desktop with Windows 95. I was still too young to be able to buy my own games, and even when my parents gave me an allowance I had to hoard it for weeks in order to buy something I wanted (which quite often was Star Trek action figures). Since I showed little interest in having another game console, my parents never bought me one.

Lately I've been trying to get caught up on older franchises on the console side of gaming, but it's a nearly impossible task. It's made slightly easier by services like the Wii's Virtual Console, so I don't have to track down and ancient game system and cartridges, but there's still the issue of time. New games are coming out all the time. There are thousands of older games I've missed out on. True, probably only a few dozen are worth playing, but that's still a lot of games.

Here's a handy list of some of the games and game franchises I've never played:

  • The Legend of Zelda (any except Wind Waker and the first hour of Ocarina of Time)
  • Just about every Super Mario game except Super Mario Bros.
  • Most Final Fantasy games
  • Every other famous JRPG out there
  • Most of the famous western RPGs (Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, most of Fallout)
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Anything from Blizzard except for the beginning of Diablo
  • Deus Ex

And many others I'm sure I'm forgetting.

So, many times I feel unqualified to comment on something game related. I've read a LOT about these games, so I can point to what other people have said. There's a great series of posts at The Brainy Gamer about how Zelda might be improved for the future, and I did leave a comment on one of the posts, but I really couldn't contribute much because I hadn't played most of them. Kind of frustrating.

So to the one person a week who reads this: do I have any hope? Will I ever be able to hold court with the gaming cognoscenti?

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