Hello again weekly readers, I bet after about six days of no Mel articles the wait becomes almost unbearable. I can sympathize, I often find lots of things about me to be unbearable, but let us push on anyway. Today I was mulling over one of the more annoying and unsatisfying compulsions of my gaming hobby: that feeling of excitement and determination to play a game that melts away into unacted upon disinterest. I have found this occurs for a few reasons, both the initial interest and the resulting disinterest, and in my conversations over my time at the site and elsewhere I do not think I am the only one this happens to.
It usually starts while away from home, busy at work or in some other prior engagement, where my mind wanders and I think about (what else) videogames. Curiously my thoughts about a game are often spurred on by some auditory memory, something around me sounded like a sound from a game I enjoy, and that memory suddenly wakes in me the desire to replay that game. For that reason this often occurs with older titles I want to replay and the longer it has been since I have revisited that title, the stronger the fondness for replay is. From there I just stew over the idea of playing an old favorite right up until the point I return home to my array of old and new consoles. But when I finally unpack and unwind from the day, something strange happens.
Instead of going right ahead and popping in that game I was running my mind through for the last few hours, I just continue to relax at my computer chair. I think “I would have to plug in the PS2, switch the input cables, find the game” which is usually not enough to really deter me from playing. When things really go south for my intended replay is when I begin to think of all the unfun or annoying parts of the game I would not want to relive. For some reason, and I have recently started to overcome this, whenever I replay a game and never finish it, it feels very disappointing. It is as if the idea of that replay failed and perhaps the time spent replaying was not worth it. Of course, if I was having fun in my free time with my games, it was well worth it, but there is something indescribably unsatisfying when I stop playing a game (any game, really) without finishing it. So when considering a replay, I have long tried to avoid that scenario. Instead of starting a game I may not finish, I simply do not start that game.
And it is not just a long time from replaying an old title that makes me long for it, sometimes it is the simple fact that I cannot replay the game that makes me want it. A desire for the things one cannot have is a little weakness in me that commonly crops up around videogames. The moment I lend out that old RPG to a friend is also the moment I most want to play that game for myself. Unlike being stuck at work, I will not have this game probably for a very long time. In fact, most of my game “lending” is usually more like game “giving” since I always forget to ask for the game back and they always forget they have it. Regardless of how I become enamored with my games, the defeatist result is that I usually do not attempt to replay them.
But before I seem entirely too pathetic for being unable to replay my own games it should be noted that I do make concerted efforts to finish old games occasionally. The difference is that these replays are not begun by some fit of pique I had while out and about, but from some more sober decision about the game or the series it belongs to as I tend to replay my old titles in sequential fashion when applicable. For this reason alone my GameCube has yet to be unplugged from the wall thanks to series like Resident Evil among some older singular favorites. I do try my best to see all of my games through to the end, but often these days there is just not enough time to devote to a single title while keeping my interest. After a week or two of not picking up that RPG epic I was in the middle of, do I really want to spend the time to reorient and move on? Or do I want to play this shiny new game? Sorry wallet.
I am going to leave it short for this week as I have MUCH and more to attend to with the holidays and some other laborious financial matters coming to a head. But hopefully this article’s length will leave it more digestible for today’s attention strapped internet users, maybe I will see some more comments therefore. Let me know if you have had similar struggles with replaying old titles or have ever been whisked away from an older game by something newer. Backlogs are a tired subject, but in case you did not hear everything old is new again at Lcom!