By: Steve Zachmann, contributor
I heavily contribute to a blog all about gaming. We cover as much as we can and speak with as much authority as we can muster. The problem for me is that there are moments when I feel like I’m a bit of a liar. You see, there was a pretty significant period during which I played very little. There were two main reasons why, and I’ll get to those, but suffice it to say that for a while I was pretty unfaithful to my first love.
The first reason that I could site for getting away from gaming is definitely the lesser of the two…I started socializing a lot. From about 18 – 22 I was actively involved in a community filled with people my age, and I spent a TON of time socializing with that group. I don’t regret that time, the friendships I made, or what I did with them, but all that time socializing meant that I had less and less time for gaming. I remember playing Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and Madden 2001 a lot during that period, but not a whole lot else. I played a bit of Halo, and a smattering of other stuff here and there, but for the most part I didn’t game.
The second, and far more egregious reason, is that I gave up gaming for a game. When World of Warcraft came out, I got pretty hooked on it. Okay fine, I was completely addicted. I’ve played so much WoW over the last several years that if you took the combined play-time of every other game I’ve ever played in my life, it would probably be dwarfed by my WoW time. In the same way that I’m not ashamed of my socializing, I’m not entirely ashamed of my WoW time either. Once again, I made lasting friendships, met a ton of new people, and had an absolute blast. I even met my fiancé’ playing WoW (yep, I’m one of those people). I’m far more ashamed of the games I missed due to WoW than I am due to real-life socializing though, largely because playing WoW is still gaming. If I had just outgrown gaming altogether, then fine. Instead though, I simply gave up gaming in general for this one very specific experience. It’s not WoW’s fault either. I was in front of my computer, I could have played any number of great games on Steam, I just chose to only play WoW.
The period in question consists (very loosely) of the last half of the PS2 / Xbox generation, and the entirety of the PS3 / Xbox 360 generation. I owned a 360, but I probably logged less than 100 total hours of game time on it during the entire period I owned it. I missed out on Ratchet & Clank, several great Metal Gear Solid games, the entire Uncharted franchise up to this point, several Halo games, the Call of Duty craze; I could go on here forever. Thanks to the combined power of Steam and old console sales, I’m beginning to weed through this monstrous backlog of high-quality games. On some level though, I feel like I’ve just missed the boat on some of them. I started playing Uncharted 1 a few months back and it just feels so dated. Part of that could be because I finished The Last of Us, got up, put in Uncharted, and started it. To some degree, the quality comparison between those games is hard to make.
I feel like as a game, and especially as a game blogger I have some penance to pay here, some amends to make to the great gaming god in the sky. I’m not sure yet exactly how I’m going to do that. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a new series where I go back and play games that I’ve missed. While that’s something that I’d really love to do, I want to make sure that I have the fortitude to go back through the past 8-10 years of gaming before I commit to playing like 100+ old games and write about all of them. I know I have to do something though, this transgression certainly warrants some measure of recompense.