Onto the next one…

A little while back, I completed New Super Mario Bros. U in a series of live streams. Beating the game was never part of the plan. However, after that first stream, we were almost half way through and I was having a lot of fun. It was a rare moment for me, as I don’t really take the time to go back and revisit old games.

When I first started gaming as a young child, I was more inclined to play games through more than once. The games in front of me were all I had most of the time, so you make due with what you have. Furthermore, I didn’t know what was out there beyond whatever my friends had or whatever my local rental store had available.

Before I became a teenager, I discovered gaming magazines. That was my source for everything that was new and everything that was next. All of a sudden, playing through Contra for the 80 billionth time didn’t sound so appealing. Within those pages were all sorts of games I wanted to try. Still with little income outside of birthday money, I was instead able to experience new games by renting, buying used or trading in my old ones with my parents covering the difference if the price was small enough. There was no way I could afford Super Street Fighter II for $100, but I scooped up a used copy months later for $30 at my local video store.

As soon as I became aware of the greater gaming zeitgeist, I wanted to be a part of that mix. I wanted to either be a part of or lead the conversation about games with my friends. In order to do that, I had to keep playing new stuff. I’ve played through the 8-and-16-bit Super Mario games many times over, but I’ve only beaten Super Mario 64 once. Same for Ocarina of Time. Single-player games in particular got left by the wayside after I was done with them in order to chase the next new thing.

It only got worse when I got a job in high school. With money to burn, I was buying games I’d never end up playing. I played the original Wind Waker for a total of an hour before abandoning it. Then I bought Wind Waker HD and have never played it. I own Metroid Prime 2: Echoes on Gamecube and Wii U Virtual Console as part of the trilogy and have never played it.

The pressure to stay fresh has been amplified even further by In Third Person. In order to have new things to write about, I keep needing to play new games. God of War in 2018 was fantastic, but I didn’t even bother trying to get the side stuff after the credits rolled because I felt the need to move onto the next game. There are hundreds of fantastic games in my collection that may never get played again because seeking out the next thing fuels this content creation hobby of mine.

Certain games I can always come back to. Titles like Contra and Mega Man 2 are comfort food to me. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re short, making the process of getting in-and-out to be fairly painless. Multiplayer games are also easy to dive into after an extended hiatus. But lengthy single-player games? That’s a tough proposition. Mass Effect 2 is one of my all-time faves, and I don’t know if I can sacrifice the 40+ hours needed to beat it again when I could play so many other new games with that time.

How often do you indulge in your back catalogue? What keeps you coming back? Or what keeps you moving forward?

8 thoughts on “Onto the next one…

  1. iplayedthegame November 5, 2018 / 7:59 AM

    I get this a lot. I’m regularly trying to play recently released games so I have something to write about, but it means I skip a lot of extra content (Spider-Man is an exception). I’ve taken to writing lists and other bits and pieces for when I’m playing what I want rather than whatever the new hotness is. My backlog always has plenty to offer and I’ll dip into it when I feel like. I started Danganronpa 2 last night which I’ve had lined up for a year, and it feels good to finally start it.

    • Jett November 6, 2018 / 9:42 AM

      Lists and “not review/impressions” pieces are definitely a workaround for that. I’m still not done Spider-Man, but I regret not doing some sort of impressions/check-in piece to at least have something written down. At this point, I won’t have the review ready until I finish it, and maaaaybe that happens this month? I don’t know. But I do know the window for Spider-Man reviews has come and gone. I’ll still do it to have that opinion recorded.

      Getting games off the backlog is a good feeling. I’ve gone to extremes to shorten it, having sold dozens of games that I knew I’d never play, but I still hold out hope that I’ll take Witcher 3 out of the plastic and play it someday.

      • iplayedthegame November 6, 2018 / 9:57 AM

        I don’t think you should think too hard about getting reviews out within a certain window. As bloggers, we’re competing with sites that get games pre release if we try to do that. Write about what you want to write about, otherwise you’ll go crazy trying to keep up!

      • Jett November 6, 2018 / 10:00 AM

        Oh I know. There’s no way as a blogger that I can compete do to other sites getting review codes. But I do want to share my thoughts on Spider-Man in particular in a “comprehensive” review piece when I finish it. Operative word is “when”.

      • iplayedthegame November 6, 2018 / 10:08 AM

        It’s done when it’s done. People will read. Don’t put pressure on yourself, and remember that you can provide depth that faster reviews can’t.

  2. Kariyanine November 5, 2018 / 12:28 PM

    Yep, it is certainly an unfortunate byproduct of writing/talking about games. There is always this push to stay current and touch the new hotness to drive clicks and views and it comes at the expense of revisiting or even newly exploring older titles. I’ve been doing this for over a decade now, from personal blogs, to small independent sites, to big independent sites, and back to small brands and personal blogs and I’ve struggled with it over that period. I eventually just came to a realization that I was spoiling the hobby for myself. I was chasing the recognition for my site instead of making sure that I was having fun doing it. Now my podcasts talk about what we want, a lot of times it is still a newer game or movie but with no pressure to play/watch the next hot thing unless we really want to and to let our experience be full with it so we can give our best take on the item. My blog is even more scattershot as I just write/discuss whatever I want and I’ve found that it doesn’t matter if I am discussing a new thing or an old thing as long as I am consistenly providing content. I can still lead/take part in the discussion, just on my own terms now.

    • Jett November 6, 2018 / 9:51 AM

      It is a lot more liberating to write about what you want. Having worked for a small independent site before, I enjoyed the allure of getting pre-release games and being at the forefront of the conversation, but it was a slog when I got stuck having to play a long game for review that I really didn’t like. For this site, it’s a bit more lax in that I control it all and I know that the new hotness isn’t what drives people here.

      What’s your podcast? I’ll check it out!

      However, I do always feel pressure to at least play something that’s new to me. Right now, I’m binging really hard on Into the Breach, which I’ve already played through multiple times. But from a content perspective, the game doesn’t give me much to work with. Finding the balance between what I want to play and what I want to write about is part of the eternal struggle.

      • Kariyanine November 6, 2018 / 10:13 PM

        My gaming podcast is The Perfectly Sane Show and my movie podcast is Movie Dudes. Both are available on iTunes and other places but I know iTunes is reliable for it. Direct links are in my Monday posts. https://kariyanine.wordpress.com/2018/10/29/media-monday-29-october-2018/

        If you do check it out, let us know what you think.

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