There’s always this weird miasma of assumption that floats about in pop culture — that everyone’s seen Star Wars, everyone’s read Harry Potter, everyone’s played Super Mario Bros., and so on. But it’s not true, is it? Each one of us harbors the deep, dark secret of shame over the fact that we haven’t consumed some form of wildly popular media that many others have. And we get very weird looks and gasps of disbelief when we admit it.
So here are my admissions: Six classic video games that I never played.
1. Halo (any of them)
My interest in first-person shooters lived for a period of time that started with Wolfenstein 3D and ended somewhere late in the 90s. After that, I couldn’t be bothered with most of them (although I picked up the occasional title from time to time). I never really played console FPS titles either past the N64. So for me, at least, it isn’t a shocker that I missed out on the whole Halo phenom.
That’s fine. It’s not a series that held any interest to me, for its story or gameplay. I guess I can relate to those who hold it up for its multiplayer fun in the way that I used to for GoldenEye and Doom, but I don’t see why it’s had this cultural hold over fratboys and the mainstream. It’s a generic space armor marine fighting endless waves of bad guys.
2. Pokémon (any of them)
Age had a lot to do with this entry. By the time that Pokémon entered the scene in the mid/late 90s, I was already too old for the game’s tone and mechanics. It’s weird to look back and see that we’ve seen two decades of endless sequels and entire generations that have grown up firmly entrenched in the thought that these are masterpieces and pop culture staples. The future of nostalgia is going to be weird.
3. Asheron’s Call
Wanted to get at least one MMO on this list. It was actually hard to point to one big-name title that I haven’t at least loaded up and logged into once in my career (such as my very, very few sessions with EverQuest and Ultima Online). But no, I have never seen what Asheron’s Call is like from the inside. I should probably get on that before it’s too late.
4. Final Fantasy VI
Gasp! Yes! The horror! One of the best Final Fantasy titles (or THE best depending on how you sit on that argument) totally escaped me. Blame Chrono Trigger in part for consuming my SNES RPG years, but also my ignorance that this existed. I thought about getting the mobile version (and still might) but saw that they did weird things to the graphics and decided against it.
Now I’ve watched people play this and I’m pretty familiar with it, but something about the whole Minecraft saga eluded me. I think if I was a kid I would have been captivated by this, but now that I have MMOs? I don’t want to fart around with blocky sheep and creepers.
6. Super Mario 64
I did have a Nintendo 64 for a while, but it was mostly for Perfect Dark and GoldenEye. I wasn’t really sold on the whole 3D element of the system, which I felt took the beautiful, sharp sprites of the SNES and turned into ugly polygon city. So I never jumped into Mario 64, which seems like a title just about everyone I’ve talked to has played and raves about. I like my Mario jumping in 2D, thank you very much.