Games That Have Passed Me By
Over the years there have been a number of games that have passed me by, which I wish I had played. Most of these oversights were due to a mix of ignorance, financial restraint, and a lack of interest or required console at the time. HD collections and re-releases are making it increasingly easier to access older gems, though wanting to play and hunting down a copy is often only half the struggle. Finding the time and motivation to play them, in favour of newer games, often stands in the way of playing catch-up.
Despite being an avid gamer for the last twenty years, I have never played a Zelda game. Not on one of my consoles, not on a friend’s system and not even drunk at one of the retro game bars I used to frequent - not even for a second. I would very much like to rectify this, and it is the N64 entries – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask (1998 & 2000) – to which I am drawn. Majora’s Mask first piqued my interest last September when I stumbled upon a well written and unsettling tale of a haunted copy of the game. I can only imagine how much more spooky it would be if I were more familiar with the places and characters featured within. You can find the full Eerie Indiana-esque story, along with some video clips, here .
Majora’s Mask appears a lot stranger than I would have expected from Zelda, opening my eyes to the darker undertones of the series and this particular entry’s striking design. Its predecessor, Ocarina of Time is virtually impossible to ignore on account of its inclusion in the top 10 of virtually every greatest video game list I have stumbled upon. It comes across as a sophisticated, grandiose and fun adventure, and unlike Majora’s Mask there is a pretty good chance that I will get the opportunity to play it, without having to buy an N64. Ocarina of Time is scheduled to get a 3DS remake, which alongside the Metal Gear Solid 3 rehash will be the excuse I need to invest in Nintendo’s latest portable towards the end of the year.
Speaking of forthcoming re-releases, I am one of the crowd waiting patiently for the HD Team Ico collection, featuring Ico (2001) and Shadow of The Colossus (2005). I own Japanese versions of both games - language isn’t much of a barrier as coherent dialogue is non-existent in both - but I have only played an hour or two of both. I was impressed with what I saw, but do not intend on progressing any further until I can do so in glorious HD, with the extra impetus of trophies. I’m sure that the lack of a definitive release date and news concerning The Last Guardian will be even more excruciating once I have seen both Ico and Shadow of The Colossus through to the end. Maybe I’m just being pessimistic, but I don’t think we will be playing Last Guardian until at least Spring 2012.
Staying with the PlayStation 2, I have absolutely no idea why I have never played Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004). I have been a fan of the series since the original hit the PlayStation and can still fondly recall navigating my way through the city using the unwieldy fold-out map. On top of this, I have always enjoyed tales of west coast gang culture, be it in movies like Boyz ‘N the Hood and Menace to Society or through the music of 2pac, Dr Dre and NWA, so I’m rather perplexed as to how this particular GTA slipped through my fingers. Although I’m a little too late for the Hot Coffee sex mini-game, I’m sure the huge sand-box of San Andreas, engaging storyline and stand-out voice acting would keep me amused. However, having been spoilt rotten by GTA IV as well as other more recent sand-box games like Just Cause 2 and the brilliant Red Dead Redemption, I’m not sure I will ever find the time to visit San Andreas. I have already convinced myself that it will appear bare and primitive in comparison, a disservice I’m sure to what many people consider to be the best in the series.
Grasshopper Manufacture’s Killer7 (2005) is another missed game that isn’t shy of the old ultra violence. It comes from the warped mind of Suda51, being his first game released outside of Japan, and paved the way for the glorious insanity of his next effort, No More Heroes. As weird as it was polarizing, Killer7 didn’t pull its punches and I have a feeling that its unique style will hold-up if played today, retaining its appeal as there has been nothing like it since.
Due to some similarities alongside its cult-status, Killer7 has at times been compared to Snatcher (1994), another title outside of my reach. A cyber-punk graphic adventure which wears its Blade Runner influence on its sleeve, Snatcher remains elusive and is likely to stay that way unless Hideo Kojima deems a re-imagining worthy of his time. I have a Japanese copy for the Sega Saturn, but being a text-heavy adventure it was never going to be more than padding for my collection, much like its spiritual successor Policenauts, and an English copy is a well outside my means. Its western release was a very limited one, only appearing on the Mega/Sega CD and underperforming at retail. The result of this muted release; copies rarely changing hands for less than £100 ($160), no matter their condition. I think I’ll stick with my useless ¥400 copy, thank you very much.
But not every game on my miss-list is hard to find or afford. Mass Effect 2 was my favourite game of 2010, even though many parts of the plot were hard to follow as I had not played Mass Effect (2007), something which I am yet to remedy. Being the kind of game that demands long hours, I’m not convinced that I will ever make time for it. Now that Mass Effect 2 and subsequent sequels are also on the PS3, I just cant see myself turning on my 360 to experience an adventure that I already know the outcome of. Also, I know that no matter how hard I try I will spend most of the game trying desperately to steer the story towards my experiences in Mass Effect 2. If I spend any more time with Shepard before his third adventure it will most likely be on the PS3, chasing trophies and exhausting every story and side mission left unexplored during my first playthrough. I think my copy of Mass Effect is doomed to forever sit perched atop my Xbox, tantalizingly close to the disc tray yet destined to never make that final journey inside.
So which games do you want to catch-up on?
Toomanywires-uk is now on Twitter
Despite past diatribes, I have finally opened a Twitter account: @toomanywiresUK. I’m treating it as an extension of this blog, with my tweets being streamed at the top left of this page. I intend on keeping it focussed on video games, featuring the kind of nonsense that doesn’t quite warrant a blog post. I know, it sounds too good to be true! Hopefully you can gleam something of interest from my tweets, and fingers crossed it will encourage more traffic here.