So Many Games, So Little Time

Max Payne 3

It’s terribly hard to finish a game sometimes. Not because of the simple suspects like difficulty, but because there are simply too many (good) games, and not quite enough time (and money) to experience them all.

Each individual gamer will have to make choices in the coming months. Choices that bring closure to the question, “What game do I play next?”

For myself, this month is a little uncomfortable. Diablo III arrives on the 15th, the same day as Max Payne 3. I’m equally invested and equally excited for both games.

Diablo IIIFor Diablo III, I pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition, which was an alarming personal decision considering I’ve never ever bought a Collector’s Edition for anything, let alone a video game. I’m not as frugal as I thought I was.

I didn’t do the same thing for Max Payne 3 but that doesn’t mean I’m not as excited. I’ve replayed Max Payne 2 more times than I can remember. We always knew Diablo III would be coming out but I never expected another Max Payne game.

Later on in the month, there’s Sorcery for the PS3 and Dragon’s Dogma, two games I’ve had my eye on a fair bit.

As it stands, my dance card is a little full.

Even though I’m only making an entertainment decision, it’s still a hard one. As a gamer, I want to play everything under the sun. I aim not to grow a mountainous game library, chock-full of half-finished experiences. I want to grow my collection of complete playthroughs.

“See all these games here? I beat them all completely, not wasting a single penny, not getting bored, and not getting sidetracked by fancy new releases.”

I wish I could truthfully say that to myself.

Chances are that Diablo III will be awesome. Exactly the game that lives up to the decade wait. But damn, while I’m hacking and slashing at the river of skeletons that pours from those dungeons, I’ll have Max Payne 3 at the back of my mind, nagging me to play some more multiplayer matches.

The video game industry has grown leaps and bounds. Game budgets have skyrocketed, matching and sometimes exceeding the amount that Hollywood spends on its movies. A typical high-quality game takes quite a while to develop. And I say typical because there are a lot of them out there at this point.

Then, we have the situation where every huge game that develops has a crowd of smaller titles at its feet, vying for our time and money in equal amounts. It’s hard to keep up with all the new releases, especially the ones that actually seem decent!

Using deductive reasoning carefully honed from years of puzzles, shooters and strategy games, gamers mentally categorize upcoming releases into messy piles. My piles are as follows:

  • Forget it – Games that aren’t fun or aren’t worth the time.
  • Want it – Games that I allow myself to be excited about.
  • Need it – Games that I can’t stop Googling and won’t stop haunting my daydreams.

Dishonored

Every year, I’ve run into the problem where the ‘Need it’ pile grows excessively. Sometimes it wantonly cannibalizes the ‘Want it’ pile. I watch a new promo/trailer and bam! All of a sudden Dishonored is sitting right next to Diablo III and Max Payne 3. It doesn’t stop there.

Every other day I find Guild Wars 2 trying to sneak into the pile. A quick slap puts it back into the ‘Want it’ pile where it won’t do as much damage to my wallet.

Bowing down to that inevitability, time management becomes more important. Once I pop in the disc for a game, I should play it all the way through, right? Sitting on a half-finished game for years isn’t fun. Bayonetta and Singularity still pop into my consciousness from time to time, reminding me that there are demons that need to be hair-whipped and soldiers needing their skulls cracked.

Yes, yes, I’ll get to you guys, I just have to get through this new list of games that needs to be completed. You know, this list that I just made up on the fly while flipping through YouTube and gawking at every teaser trailer posted in the last seven days.

Curse all game developers for putting so much time into their games! And curse their marketing departments for reminding us every two weeks. It’s working a bit too well.

Self-control is a banana and all I have left is a peel.