6 classic video games… that I never played

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.

5. Minecraft

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.

14 thoughts on “6 classic video games… that I never played

  1. allionline December 9, 2015 / 9:30 am

    I feel the same way about Minecraft, although I’m not sure I even see the appeal for kids. Maybe back when I was a kid and game graphics weren’t as good as they are now, but kids now? I don’t understand.

  2. Wilhelm Arcturus December 9, 2015 / 9:47 am

    I thought the same thing about Minecraft until my daughter asked that we spend Father’s Day playing it together. And then, of course, I was hooked. It is surprisingly deep and sophisticated, its blocky veneer hiding that pretty well. At $27 probably the best gaming bang for the buck I have spent in a long, long time.

    Meanwhile, Pokemon players shall own the future. Kneel before Pikachu.

  3. Wilhelm Arcturus December 9, 2015 / 11:18 am

    Also, to nitpick, I am not sure Minecraft is old enough to be considered a “classic” yet. It is still pretty much in its prime and it getting launched on a new platform. On that front it does not fit with your other five choices, a mere four years having passed since its official release date.

  4. C. T. Murphy December 9, 2015 / 11:23 am

    You have missed out. What will it take to get you to try some of these?

  5. Jasyla December 9, 2015 / 11:33 am

    Ooh, this is a good idea for a post, I think I may borrow it. I haven’t played most of these either. I’ve played about 2 hours of Halo 1, and I did play Mario 64. There are a lot of classic games I haven’t played though. There’s only so much time.

  6. Gamera977 December 9, 2015 / 2:00 pm

    Lol, haven’t played any of them either! I went straight from my ColecoVision to a Commodore 64 and then my first PC and never played any console games since. Don’t like FPSs and was stuck on EQ and ignored AC. I’ve seen Minecraft but have no real desire to try it.

  7. Tesh December 9, 2015 / 2:22 pm

    Minecraft’s appeal isn’t about the graphics, it’s about actually playing the game. It’s a nice antidote to the “all flash, little substance” of most AAA titles. *coughHalocough*

    I do still place Chrono Trigger above FFVI, but they are both solid. When I get the FFVI itch, I play it on my PS3, which is just a rerelease of the PS1 disc version, which is little more than a ported version of the SNES game. The more modern Steam release is a rerelease of the mobile version, and yeah… the weird graphic redesign does the game no favors.

    Between those two paragraphs, though, I believe there’s an important point about graphics. Gameplay is king in my book, but graphics can be important. I just think that they need to serve the gameplay, and that they should be internally consistent.

    Minecraft’s blockiness is deeply tied to how the gameplay functions, for better or worse. The world exists largely as 1-meter cubes of stuff that you can manipulate. Higher resolution textures on those big blocks are possible, and there are mods to the game that serve that purpose, but the “world resolution” can provide a visual mismatch if the texture resolution gets too detailed. That sort of dissonance can subtly wreck the feel of the game, even though it plays exactly the same (assuming the detailed textures don’t kill your framerate).

    The FFVI mobile-Steam release is a mess because it takes Amano’s beautiful watercolors, some SNES-era pixel art, mobile game UI and middling chibi-ish character sprites and mashes them up into an ugly fruitcake of a presentation. It looks amateurish because the pieces don’t work together. There’s no good style guide unifying the presentation. The gameplay is largely unchanged, as I understand it (though the touch/mouse interface instead of a controller mangles the play experience a little, too), so the *game* is mostly intact, but the visual changes put people off. It’s a great case study in what not to do for a remake. I’d hate to see them do that to Chrono Trigger.

  8. Rowan December 9, 2015 / 2:58 pm

    I think a lot of this has to do with when you got into gaming. Of this list, I’ve only played a bit of Halo and then only in multiplayer with a bunch of frat-like fellow soldiers. The only other one I could have played in it’s prime is Minecraft. And meh, it doesn’t appeal.

  9. DDOCentral December 10, 2015 / 1:45 am

    Run an Asheron’s Call series for Retro Gaming and I will reblog it on DDOCentral.

  10. baldwinp December 10, 2015 / 8:21 am

    I agree that most of these seem like a timing/generational issue for you. As for Asheron’s call and FF VI, its not like those were genre-defining games.

  11. Mark December 11, 2015 / 9:56 am

    The original Halo is still one of the best games I’ve ever played and the only game I beat on every difficulty level. Yes the multiplayer is a big part of it but the single player game is fantastic in the original.

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