Posted on April 13, 2018
Out With One Thing, In With Another
A few years ago, I got the idea to turn some of my past CPB blog posts into videos that I’d upload to my YouTube channel. Certain users I watch on a regular basis were quite inspiring to me creativity-wise, so I turned a handful of older posts into video-friendly scripts and even recorded some of the video footage I was going to use. I also started recording my gameplay every single time I played something, and now, very rarely will I ever play without recording it – even if I have no immediate plans to use the footage.
You just never know what you might get on tape-which-I-call-it-even-though-there’s-no-actual-tape!
Not long after I started getting things together and buying the materials I needed to make these videos possible, I became a father. What little time I thought I’d have to do this pretty much went out the window. I had to become a real adult pretty quickly, and this YouTube scheme of mine seemed like pipe dream.
“Not the end of the world”, I thought. “I’ll just put it on the back-burner until Nathaniel’s old enough. Maybe it’ll even be something we can do together! Wouldn’t that be fun…”
As time has gone on, Nathaniel has himself developed an obsession with video games – well, video game characters, at least. He can easily name Mario (“Nindo”), Luigi (“Wihhi”), Goomba, Bob-Omb, 1-Up (“Umupp”), Toad, Koopa, Bullet Bill, Mega Man and a handful of others if you show him an image and ask who they are.
He loves them and talks about them so much that even I am like “dude, let’s play with something else… look, here’s Peppa Pig. Dora’s over here all alone in her pickup truck. Vroom-vroom?”
One of the things he LOVES to do is go into the room where all my games are. He’s not really allowed to go in there, but if he’s tired and cranky (which happens, but not that often) or if he’s just been a well-behaved kid (which he is), I’ll go in there with him on my lap and just sit amongst my games and other nerdy stuff. We chill out in there, breathe it all in… and he’s content. He hates leaving the room, but it’s nice and quiet while we’re in there.
He particularly enjoys holding the Amiibos which, very much to his credit, he knows are *not* normal toys to be played with.
As I was sitting in that room with him one day, I realized that this collection held pretty much every single game I had ever wanted and more. It also dawned on me that there’s a large amount of them that I haven’t had a chance to play yet, and that needed to change.
How could I possibly shift my gaming-related duties to a series of YouTube videos, re-playing games I’ve already played countless times to make these videos, when I can’t even tell you anything about 30-ish percent of my collection?
“Is Castlevania 3 any good?”
“I have that on Wii U Virtual Console!”
“Yes, but is it any good?”
“…I also have Halo: Reach, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Ufouria: The Saga, Ico/Shadow of the Colossus on PS3, Star Fox Assault, Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid 4, Syphon Filter 2, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Uncharted 4…”
“And are any of those any good?”
“…I’ve… never played any of them…”
I have to admit this particularly embarrassing fact about myself; every single time I think “OK, I’m going to play a game tonight” and go into my game room, I almost panic when I’m trying to pick out a game. I have so damn many of them, and I worry that if I pick one, I’ll somehow make the wrong choice.
“Decidophobia”, the fear of making decisions, is apparently a very real thing. That’s me every time I decide I want to play a game.
But what if I didn’t have to make that choice? What if I took all the games in my collection and spread them out evenly by console – as evenly as I possibly could, taking into consideration that I could potentially buy more games relatively soon – and let a randomly-assembled list determine what I played next?
First, I needed a “true up” of my collection. I track what games I own over at RFGeneration.com, and I needed to make sure that truly contained everything. Once that was done, I then exported that list to a CSV file… and then I started pruning.
– I took out the entries that were hardware, because… well, those aren’t games.
– I took out the portable games that weren’t playable on a television, and thus not recordable (sorry, DS and 3DS games – I have no way to play you on the big screen yet). Thankfully, I have DS games on my Wii U’s Virtual Console, and my Retron 5 plays all iterations of the Game Boy, so those made the list.
– Compilations with relatively quick arcade-style games (i.e. Atari Anthology, Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, Taito Legends, etc.) would count as a single game on my list due to the games on them mostly being “distractions” that I wouldn’t be spending much time on. “Full” games (such as the Genesis games on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection) would be counted individually. Essentially, I wouldn’t consider 3D Tic-Tac-Toe on Atari Anthology to be a game I’d play for much more than a few moments, whereas Vectorman as part of Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection would count as an actual, real game… know what I’m saying?
– I took out duplicates, usually leaving the higher-def versions (i.e. taking away Wind Waker on GameCube, but leaving Wind Waker HD on Wii U)… however, if a game was drastically different on a different console, it stayed on the list. I have a decent amount of early Mortal Kombat games to play as a result.
– I weeded out the RPG’s I didn’t want to play… for now. I have Final Fantasy on the NES Classic and Final Fantasy III on the Super NES Classic that I really feel the need to at least try, but the Phantasy Star and Shining Force series (that are part of the Sonic compilation mentioned above) will have to wait. Maybe if I *really* like the FF games, I’ll give them a go.
– Since buying my elgato Game Capture device three years ago, I’ve played and recorded 32 games of varying lengths – from Super Mario Land to Conker’s Bad Fur Day to Metal Gear Solid 2 to the Xbox One version of Halo, and everything in between. I’m done with those for now, so I took them off the list.
– I had recorded some games in those three years where, for one reason or another (usually laptop performance issues) the recording had messed up. There weren’t many, so I put them at the top of the list to play through first and get out of the way.
– For series that I hadn’t played all the games yet, I made sure to put them in order of release. For example, I don’t particularly care what order I go through all the Mario or Star Wars games I have left to play, but I made sure my God of Wars, Gears of Wars, Medal of Honors of Wars and Metal Gear Solids of Wars were all played in the order in which they were released.
– There are three genres I spread out evenly throughout my list (instead of including them among the games I spread by console) – sports games, music games and racing games. I wanted to parse them out in a way that it would break up whatever monotony I might be experiencing from playing everything else.
In the end, I had a number – 857. That was the number of games that I absolutely had to get through. No excuses.
Then I had to compile the list – how would I get that “randomness” I wanted so that I wouldn’t have to decide what I was going to play next?
Well, like this – take the Xbox 360, for example. I have 72 Xbox 360 games, the most on any individual console I own. If I have 857 games, that means one Xbox 360 game every 12 games. It’s not a perfect method, but after adding each console’s games to the list in that fashion, it actually mixed them up pretty well!
*Note – if we’re counting the games on my compilation discs that were all lumped into a single title, then the actual number of games I have to play is 1222.*
So yeah, that’s pretty much it. My intent is to play through all of them and update the blog every few games or so with quick thoughts about what I’ve played.
I’m extremely excited about this, and very interested to see how long it’ll take me to go through the entire thing. My guess would have to be… 15 years, give or take. Maybe more if life gets hectic, maybe less if Nat ends up helping me (my hope is that he will).
Good times lie ahead.