The ‘pile of shame’ – the bane of every gamer’s existence and best-kept secret. When you have too many games and not enough time to play, it is easy to eventually build up a collection that sits there unloved and unplayed, just waiting for their time to be selected and lovingly embraced. Enter isolation and the perfect reason to dwindle this pile down.
Our crew is no exception to the pile of shame, and seeing as a lot of us are stuck at home with a little more free time, we wanted to let the shame run free and discuss the games we have neglected for too long and plan to start or finish during this time when staying at home is more paramount than ever.
I have collected games my entire life, so my shame pile is incredibly huge. I went through a stage where I purchased every new game that released regardless of the time I had to play them. Couple that with recently getting a new gaming PC rig and it all now means that I have a lot of choices to spend my time on. Although I do have a 13-week old baby to keep me busy during isolation, so who knows if my pile of shame will grow or shrink.
The game I want to finish in isolation is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. I loved Human Revolution and completed it 2 times over, it was not without its flaws, but it was an engrossing experience that kept me glued to my screen for hours. These titles excel at giving players the freedom to tackle missions as they see fit. Do you go in stealthy and take out enemies without raising any alarms or do you opt to augment yourself into the perfect killing machine and take out foes with ease?
I have had Mankind Divided sitting there staring at me for countless nights, asking me “why don’t you love me?”, “you know I am a good game and can give you everything you want, right?”. I plan to dive right into this title as I know it is one that will take me a fair chunk of time to finish, and as a fan of the series, I can’t wait to further Adam Jensen’s story and see how it unfolds. Being in isolation might just be my perfect excuse to get some quality gaming time in.
Between maintaining my Animal Crossing: New Horizon’s island and picking up newer games here and there, I’ve been consistent with coming back to my older games. The Witcher 3’s DLC, Spyro: Reignited, Uncharted; my track record has been pretty strong.
However, one game has been staring at me… taunting me… for the longest time. And it’s not because I don’t want to play it or don’t have the time. I guess I just haven’t found the motivation to really finish it. This is one of my favourite games of all time. I love every single second I play it. I go through waves of being absolutely obsessed with it and then get distracted by the new shiny release of the month. This menace is Persona 5.
Maybe I don’t want to finish Persona 5. Maybe a small part of me will not know how to react when I’ve finally come to the end of my adventure. It’s such a perfect, relaxing game to kick back and spend a few hours playing when I need a breather from real life. But at some point, I guess all good things come to an end.
With in-person socialisation out of the question, I too have turned to my video game pile of shame to keep me busy during isolation. While there are many games sitting in my collection that I have never gotten around to finishing, one game taunts me above all others: Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I initially got about halfway through a Black Eagles path before accidentally deleting my save file and becoming too angry to return for a while. With multiple diverging story paths, and myriad endings based on which characters you pair up, there is a monstrous amount of content waiting to be unlocked, which I can finally get around to attempting to complete.
Aside from serving as a nostalgic reminder of days when in-person schooling was permitted, the sheer amount of variety in Three Houses’ narrative paths makes it compelling for quarantine gaming. If you have already beaten the main story with the Black Eagles, it might be a good time to try a Blue Lions or Golden Deer run instead, with totally different party members and story experience. It’s the sort of game that definitely merits a replay once you have finished it, and is easy to get immersed in its visual novel-meets-turn-based strategy gameplay loop. I have almost finished the story path I have been playing through, and no doubt once I have reached the end credits, I will be returning soon to play it again before long.
As a total RPG addict, it always surprises fellow gamer when I tell them I haven’t played Skyrim. “Whaaaat?!” They scream in absolute disgust. “Do you even RPG bro?!” So why has Skyrim laid all pretty like in my shame pile since buying it over a year ago?
For one, I know how hella long it is. As a gaymer who has a touch of OCD (maybe more than a touch…), I find myself striving to 100% complete games. According to howlongtobeat.com, it could take just under 250 hours to get all the things and win all the trophies. It is then, by far, the lengthiest game I have in my stack o’ shame. My two favourite games of all time, The Witcher 3 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, are about that size and I remember how obsessed with both I became. I became one with Geralt and Kassandra, they even broke into my dreams and daily thoughts. (Kassandra in a very different way than Geralt did, if you catch my drift!). I know, from what Skyrim fans have told me, that I will become just as taken with the character I create and the world of The Old Kingdom.
It is because of its length and the way I know I will totally lose myself to the experience that make me in equal parts want to give in and also refrain from playing Skyrim. I want to commit to it, but I have so many other lovely, attractive, yet not so needy games that are sitting there wanting my love and attention. It would be the perfect isolation romance, especially exploring a massive world when it’s now illegal for me to venture more than 5km from my front door. But right now, I’m still not ready to let myself fall in love with just one game. I want to leave my options open. But when I am ready to lose myself in a massive open-world adventure, I’ll be coming for you, Skyrim baby!
I confess: I am part human, part slug.
The colder months shrivel my slimy outer membranes and cause me to hibernate in warm crevices, chomping slug-potato gems and drinking slug-wine and watching slug-Downton Abbey. It was when my dog decided to take me for an exhausting 30 second run across the local oval that I realised my slug half was consuming my humanity, and I was beginning to atrophy. Thank goodness, then, that Nintendo’s weird peripheral-based quest Ring Fit Adventure is finally back in stock at retailers after an initial pandemic-panic sellout.
Each day I strap the left JoyCon to my damp, porous legs and squeeze the giant hoop, chipping away at the health bar of Ring Fit Adventure’s incredibly buff draconic villain Dragaux (a true sexual awakening for any latent “scalies”). On days when I feel the sluggishness creeping in, I set my Fit Skills to the green yoga poses until I can squat again. When uni, reviews, or work means there’s no time for the full experience, I cram the Ring in between my legs so I can still do thigh presses while working at my desk. Little by little I add salt to my inner were-slug and regain control over my limbs, my brain, and my mental health. One day I might even finish the game.
What are you playing in isolation? Do you plan to work through some of your pile of shame games? Or will you leave the pile alone so it can grow and level itself up even more?