It’s a Classic…

Mark Twain once wrote “A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”  I know because I once saw it quoted on a Waterstones carrier bag.  This can also be true in part, of games – or at least for me.  Those who devour each and every popular release will undoubtedly cover most of each generation’s ‘classics’ without trying, but for others, covering those bases comes a little harder.

Jerry Hardin as Samuel Clemens ftw!

Jerry Hardin as Samuel Clemens ftw!

Many games which are considered a ‘must play’ or a ‘game of the year’ or which have been branded an instant classic, I have never played.  The reasons are many-fold, and laziness does admittedly play a large part, but the main one is that I don’t wanna.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually own a lot of them.  I look at the row of games on my shelf featuring things such as Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Bioshock, The Orange Box, GTA4 and I wrinkle my nose up, before always selecting something else.  I want to have played them, to have gathered the achievements, and to be able to talk nineteen to the dozen about them like everybody else… but not tonight, I tell myself.  Maybe another time.

So why did I buy them if I go through this every time?  Various games are raved about for one reason or another – for the depth of story or the innovation or their graphical beauty.  They make the favourite games lists at the end of each year, they squat resolutely in the top ten lists in the back of gaming magazines month after month, and no doubt in years to come, they will be featuring in Retro Gamer’s pages to be viewed with misty-eyed nostalgia.


It’s not just the games that I do actually own and spurn, but others too.  Halo 3?  Not remotely interested, don’t own it, Call of Duty 4, don’t own it, Gears of War 2, don’t own it.  Heresy.  Burn me at the stake and to steal from the great Stephen Fry, watch my witch’s heart bubble.  That I don’t and never will own, Halo 3 say, is beyond the comprehension of many but that topic and the nagging game invites is perhaps best reserved for a post all to itself in the coming month, so I will set that aside for now.  However, it’s the thought that some games should be staples of anyone’s collection because they are deemed ‘classics’, regardless of their specific tastes or genre leanings, which both interests and frustrates me in equal measure.  I suppose it’s like being shocked at a Game Boy owner never having played Tetris… it’s a core staple and yes, a classic.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I have zero interest in certain games, (though I do pretty much have zero interest in FPSs)… I find COD4 to be interesting, with a modicum of appeal and I tell myself that one day I will play it.  Bioshock… I’ve heard interesting things about the story and purported choices and it looks not half bad, so it will be played.


One day… one day I will see them on my gamercard and think, ‘yeah, I’ve played that’ and I’ll be able to talk about it and broaden my yardstick when it comes to drawing comparisons, and one day, I’ll be able to say that way back when games were proper games, I played X, Y, and Z… they were classics you innocent, moon-faced little grandchildren – you with all your ‘3D full-sensory games malarkey’.  So I want to have played them, these classics, I just don’t want to have to actually play them.  It is such an effort.  One day, I will though… one fine day they shall be played.  Just not today.

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