I am a gamer. I play games of various sorts, including board games and pencil-and-paper RPGs, but mainly I play single-player computer games and videogames. There’s a largish CD rack in my apartment, a kind of trophy case filled with games that I have played to completion and put away. And then there’s the stack.
The stack is the set of games I have not yet completed. Although I call it a stack, it has been some years since it was physically possible to stack them all. In my youth, when my game-buying habits were formed, I had more time than money. Today, I have more money than time. As a result, for the last decade or so, I have bought games faster than I can complete them. Some of the games in the stack haven’t even been opened.
Now, it’s not unusual to start games and not finish them. Most people do that. But I’m a completist. I like finishing things. To me, a game is a commitment, one which may be delayed, but which I genuinely intend to see through to the end. Call it pointless, call it OCD, but it can’t be uncommon among gamers. Much of the pleasure of gaming comes from the illusion of accomplishment, and this pleasure is at its greatest when you stick through to the end, even after a game stops being fun.
Some of the games in my stack are very old: the oldest when I started this site was Sierra’s Mission Asteroid, written in 1980 (although my copy is part of an anthology published long afterward). Not all of them are “A-list” games — for obvious reasons, the worse games tend to stay in the stack longer. Some of them I only bought because they were bundled with another game that I wanted. But I intend to complete every single one, and, furthermore, blog about it.
As I start this blog, there are just over 300 games in the stack. If I manage to complete an average of one per week (which I won’t), and don’t buy any more games (which I will), it will take about six years to clear the stack. This is, of course, absurd. So really, this whole exercise is an excuse to play a bunch of old games and examine them in detail from today’s perspective.