The shame in gaming – Khin’s List of Shame
One of the major pitfalls of gaming, of being a gamer, and being a human, is that we only have a limited amount of time to do everything we want and need to do. Whether that’s a deadline for an essay, a limited number of beers after work, or more philosophically, a limited amount of time on this ball of rock we call Earth. As a gamer, I have an additional drain on my time. There are so many games out there I want to try out, play through or 100% complete and with more releases each year, there’s only so many I can work through.
I also get game fatigue. Much like genre fatigue in other media, I get bored and tired of playing the same kinds of games after a while. Or I get sick of one particular game after bingeing on it for a while. So I stop, however reluctantly. And chuck that game onto a pile of games that one day I want to finish: the Pile of Shame. Since the Pile of Shame isn’t a physical one (or is less of a physical one than my book pile, say), it has become a List of Shame. A list of games that need returning to and finishing in some way, to a point where I can say happily, “I have finished”, and move on.
Near a quarter century of gaming has left me with a largeish list of shame. Some games I accept may never truly be finished – the Persona series comes to mind. Some I trust I can come back to when the mood takes me – the more open ended games such as Skyrim and Fallout. And some I need a good old kick up the backside to get finished – Red Dead Redemption slots in here (I don’t really enjoy it but want to see it through). My rules for my list may differ from someone else’s. Generally List of Shames consist of games you have started but not finished. Some will include games they want to play but haven’t yet started. Others will break it down into PC games, PS4 games and so on. Still others will lump everything they want to play and everything they’ve started together into one huge mountain of a pile. Mine currently sits at games I have started but haven’t (and want to) finish. Games I have given up on for whatever reason don’t feature.
How do I manage such a wide ranging and lengthy list? And what’s on that list? Let’s start with list management. Steam is particularly helpful in this regard. For good or bad, I use Steam not only as a digital store, but also as a sort of library for my PC games. Since all my games on PC are currently digital copies from Steam or GOG, I can collate them all in Steam’s ‘library’ and access them from there. That makes it easier to see all my currently installed games, and all the others I have access to. Steam also gives you the option to categorize your library, assigning games to certain folders if you so choose. Currently I have three folders I use: “Finished”,”Open End done with”, because you never truly finish an open ended game, and “Can’t Play”, for games I bought but don’t run well and I can’t refund. If I need more categories, I can add them easily. This process doesn’t stop me playing new games before I complete others, but it gives me a small bit of order in the chaos of my Steam collection.
But Khin, we all know you play on handhelds and consoles too! Yes, I never denied that. With both of these systems, I have a mix of physical and digital media, all of which have their relative places in the Ultimate List of Shame. Physical copies are easy enough. I can visually sort games however I like (currently series/sequels are together and then a general mishmash). I can take X amount of games out of that physical library and play those. Or I can give myself limits. I was given Dishonored 2 for my recent birthday, but hadn’t played through the story DLC for Dishonored (I know, late to the party much). So I left Dishonored 2 sealed until I finished the original. A bit of self discipline is needed in all List of Shame cases. If you’re a journalling, planning type like me, you can make yourself a physical, handwritten/typed list of shame and order it however you like. Give yourself an order to play games in, or pick and choose.
The important thing when it comes to the List of Shame is to ensure you aren’t playing games just to get them off your list. This was a mistake I made in a Goodreads Reading Challenge I set myself last year. Trying to read 50 books in a year meant I stopped reading because I wanted to and ended up reading to meet the target. This year my target is smaller and allows me some space to read bigger books and ones I want to read instead of lots of small ones I didn’t enjoy. Games too need the space and time to be appreciated. If you aren’t enjoying it, why is that? Is it the game or is it the pressure you’re giving yourself to get it finished? Noone is forcing you to clear your list today. Acknowledge that it will take time and it may never be clear. And if you aren’t enjoying that game, then maybe move on?
Perhaps you want to see a game but aren’t into playing that style? I enjoy horror games, but only when I’m watching them. I have Youtube for that. Those games don’t join the List of Shame, so I don’t worry about them. I want to enjoy Resident Evil 7, but you won’t catch me playing it. It’s not on my List, and it never will be, but I’ve enjoyed it so far.
It takes time, patience and discipline to make any progress on a List or Pile of Shame. I have accepted I cannot do all the things all the time, and I have Lists of Shame for most major media – games, books, TV and films all have sections in my organiser for me to track what I want to do and see and read, and what progress I have made. My games libraries are constantly added to as I find bargains for games I missed out on, or loans from friends as they find good stuff to play. And that’s OK. Friend’s stuff goes higher up the lists so they can have it back, and the lists constantly fluctuate depending on what’s occurring in real life. Embrace the List of Shame, accept its omnipotent presence and enjoy it as a resource.
Wait Khin, you don’t get away that easily! Where’s your List of Shame? Show me, show me!
It’s long. Very long. If I have to share it, I will share only a small amount otherwise we will all be here for days. Here you go, you nosy people, in no particular order:
Crazy Plant Shop (I have 2 Steam achievements left to get before I’m 100% done)
Sorcery! Part 2 (And 3 and 4 but I haven’t finished 2 yet)
Undertale (I feel like I should really love this game but I kind of don’t)
The Walking Dead Season Two – Telltale Games (This is on hold for a Gaming Club series with Ellie, you should see it pop up here at somepoint this year)
Fallout 4 (open-ended but there comes a time where I feel ‘done’)
Grim Fandango Remastered (This one is limited to when I can afford to have PS Plus)
FFX/X-2 HD editions (Major time sinks but some of my favourite games)
Ratchet and Clank 2 (Mutant Protopet is the death of me)
Red Dead Redemption (see above)
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
FF 13 (whether this will ever make it off the list I’m not entirely sure)
The list is much much longer than this, but I’ll be here for hours listing the Ultimate List of Shame.
On doing a bit of ‘research’ for this post (research in the loosest sense), I found a few different posts talking about Lists of Shame and how to tackle them. Of course, this post is just my take on the topic, and purely because I’ve been pondering my own List of Shame for a while. I did, however, find a couple of sites that may help you if you like numbers and stuff like that. I have no links to, or affiliations with, or sponsorships from, the sites mentioned. Just to make that clear.
If you’re curious about how long it would take you to finish certain games, head to https://howlongtobeat.com/ to have a look, and if you want to know how long it would take for you to work through your Steam library, try out http://steamleft.com/ to see how much of your limited time on Earth you might not want to spend in a virtual world.
Khinjarsi does not claim to own any of the images, properties or websites in this post, other than her writings and her opinions. Her Ultimate List of Shame is very long, and she accepts that it may never be cleared. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments about Lists of Shame, or anything else below. And no, she’s not a massive fan of Red Dead Redemption, or Undertale.