Despite finding myself at home and with an influx of free time this year, for a multitude of reasons I ended up missing out on a lot of big and well regarded games. All of these entries go beyond the obvious, “lack of money and time” argument that might usually pollute a list like this, so I figured I’d shed some light on why there were such glaring gaps in what big titles I played. There are certainly more than 5 games I considered playing this year but didn’t, but I feel as if these were the biggest ones in the bunch. But hey, even if I did want to play every big release, there’s no way I could possibly make time for all of them, let alone afford that many games, so I guess money and time is a factor after all.
FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE
There are certain gaps in my gaming history that for one reason or another, I know will never be filled. Even now, with nearly infinite access to a near infinite amount of games, both past and present, I know I will not ever go and revisit some of these titles. I don’t think there is a series that exemplifies that for me quite like the Final Fantasy series. I recall playing one of them on my NES, but that’s pretty much where that series started and ended for me. Oh, I suppose I did play the demo for Final Fantasy XV, which is surprisingly important for this particular blurb.
That’s my history with the Final Fantasy series of games in a nutshell. When Final Fantasy VII Remake released earlier this year, I figured maybe this was my chance to see what all the fuss was about. Finally, I too could hang out with beloved characters like Big Sword Boy, Gun Arms, and Punch Lady. But seeing how this remake used the same combat as Final Fantasy XV, I hesitated. I didn’t enjoy what I played of the FFXV demo, and the idea of paying for a game with mechanics I don’t like and for a piece of a story I already knew the major beats of, just didn’t seem like a great use of my time and resources.
I’ve heard some pretty conflicting reports about the remake anyway, with most people usually conceding that they enjoyed it but not without first complaining about bad side quests or something. I think I just have to accept that Final Fantasy as a concept is just something that will never jive with me, and that’s okay.
You can’t see it right now, but on my computer’s desktop exists a little icon of a golden bug with a gem on its back. I have no idea what it is specifically referencing, but thanks to the words below it I know that this is how I can start playing the video game Spelunky 2. Yes, I indeed purchased Spelunky 2 when it was released earlier this year, a fact that might make some of you wonder why it’s on this list. Well since its release at the end of September, that icon has sat there completely unused and gathering virtual dust. It’s a testament and constant reminder that I am terrible with my video game purchasing decisions and need to be stopped.
I thought that Spelunky 2 would be one of the games capable of making me “get” the whole rogue-like genre, something that it might still be able to do, although to find that out would require me starting it. This game has just kind of sat here for months, waiting for me to dedicate some time to playing it, but the truth of the matter is I probably won’t ever launch this game. That isn’t because I think it’s a bad game or anything, because I literally have no way of knowing that. No, I just won’t launch it because whenever I do have some time to boot up a game, I usually end up weighing my options for long enough to the point where I no longer have time to play games, and that’s something both Spelunky 2 and I have to come to terms with.
ROGUE LEGACY 2
Honestly you could just kind of look back at the Spelunky 2 post and it would be the same story. Rogue Legacy 2 is the sequel to Rogue Legacy, a game that I actually enjoyed when it came out a few years back. Without retreading what I literally just said a paragraph earlier, I think the main reason I never booted this game up had to do with it being an early access release. I knew what I had paid for, but the general consensus around the game was that you should wait until it was fully released. I also thought that would be a good idea considering I’m not a fan of the genre as is, and I have a tendency to burn out on games I enjoy by playing them incessantly. Now, unlike Spelunky 2, I do actually intend on playing this game once it sees its full release. Now that I think about it, I have no idea when that might be. It might be out right now for all I know.
THE LAST OF US PART II
Back when The Last of Us Part II released, I wrote a blog post about how I really didn’t have any desire to play it whatsoever. Something about a deadly virus that swept the globe and turned people into hideous monsters, leaving the few survivors to fend for themselves and be exceedingly shitty to one another, just didn’t sit well with me at the time. It turns out, I still don’t want to play The Last of Us Part II for the same reasons.
It’s a real shame too considering I really enjoyed The Last of Us and thought it was a wonderfully crafted game. Hell, I even called it one of my favorite games of the 2010’s. I still think the weakest part of that game was anything that involved zombies, but even with that caveat it was still a veritable masterpiece. It was gritty and raw, providing many emotional gut-punches along the way that still occupy a place in my memory to this day. While I wasn’t immediately dismissive of a sequel, I wasn’t necessarily excited for one either. Like I said, I thought the story stood up on its own just fine and didn’t need another chapter.
Once The Last of Us Part II did release though, I found myself in a pretty dark place myself as my world had essentially crumbled around me thanks to a certain pandemic. I didn’t need to play a game that was going to double down on the misery angle, because I was already pretty miserable myself. Even now I have no desire to play The Last of Us Part II, not because I think it’s a bad game or anything, but because I just don’t need that kind of negativity in my life right now. I don’t know if I’ll ever play it honestly, and I’m okay with that.
CRUSADER KINGS III
Okay, so full disclosure, I did in fact play about 15 minutes of Crusader Kings III, but it still has a home on this list. After it was released I found myself captivated by the sheer absurdity of the images and stories people were sharing on social media about this game, so much so in fact that I had to jump in on the fun. Sure it’s a genre of game I actively dislike, but I play D&D, surely I could handle a complex video game that might make me discover a newfound passion for a different kind of game. Also it was on Xbox Game Pass for the PC, so I had no real reason not to try it.
Within minutes I felt like I was drowning in a sea of menus, tutorial messages and windows displaying words I had never seen before. I was so out of my element and Crusader Kings III knew it. A message popped up, “Oh hey Ari, I see you want to get to the funny stuff that you saw on the internet, but before that you need to read this textbook on feudal class systems in Europe first.” I was out of my depth with Crusader Kings III, and eventually had to ALT+F4 my way out of the game before my brain melted. I was never a great history student in retrospect, and this game seemed like it was made by all of my past history teachers in attempt to get me to turn in some long lost homework or something.
For the people who managed to spend the time with it and really give it a fair shot, it seems like they came away with great experiences and stories that were capable of luring in a rube like myself. But maybe that’s where it started and stopped for me. Maybe the stories were all I really wanted from the game itself, and the mechanics just got in the way of that. Or maybe I just don’t have the patience for a game like Crusader Kings III.
This has been day 1 of The Bonus World’s Game of the Year 2020 coverage. Check back tomorrow for another list about video games from this year.