Too Many Games, Too Little Time & Too Little Money

Sitting here looking at my shelf, I count no less than 15 games I currently want to play. My collection edges over 100 games, but those 15 I’ve identified as to-play (and, in some cases, to-play-again). This isn’t even counting games coming out in the next couple of weeks. Is there an overabundance of video games? You bet there is.

I can’t count on one hand the games I’ve started but just haven’t had the time to finish; there’s just too many of them. The game industry continues to produce at a breakneck pace, and games are just getting better and better. Recently finishing stellar titles like Mass Effect 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, Dragon Age: Origins and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 showed me that.

Let’s look at some of the games I’m having a hard time finding time to play:

Matt’s current play list:

Matt’s games to play:

I remember a time when a deluge of great games happened only around Christmas, but it seems that scenario now happens all the time. Over the coming weeks we’re looking at the release of Heavy Rain, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Final Fantasy 13, God of War 3, Dragon Age: Awakening and Just Cause 2. That’s just to the end of March! We all saw the plethora of releases in January.

At $60 a piece for five of them plus $40 for the Dragon Age expansion, that’s well over $340 for anyone who wants to play and own each one. So, is this impossible to manage? I think so. While it’s only for an expansion, Dragon Age: Awakening’s price point is exceeding the point of reasonable. I wouldn’t mind retail game prices at $40.

Maybe it’s time game publishers start dropping prices on PS3 and Xbox 360 games, such as what happened toward the end of the Nintendo 64, Xbox and the Playstation 2’s runs. I’m not suggesting we’re nearing the end of this console cycle by any means — I actually think there’s still a long life left in them — but high prices and too many games will hurt new IPs, budding developers and my wallet. As dozens of games come out at their current prices, I feel like all but a handful of brave gamers will turn to their old favorite franchises. Sure this hasn’t happened with new brands like Bayonetta and Darksiders, but let’s remember established developers are behind them. While five of the six games in the list above are sequels in established franchises, plucky new games like Heavy Rain could be passed over. Heavy Rain is receiving critical praise, but that doesn’t always translate into sales. In 2008, many people glossed over Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, which I thought was amazingly well put together.

Having too many games to play seems like a pretty easy problem to have and really it is. A simple solution would be cutting out all the games I want to replay. That would eliminate Mass Effect 1 and 2, Final Fantasy 7 and 12, Fable 2, inFamous, Killzone 2, Operation Flashpoint and Uncharted 2 from my list, bringing it to a more manageable six games.

But as developers build multiple endings into their games, it’s obvious they’re meant to be played and played and played again. As well, that’s why I buy them. It’s like returning to a good book or re-watching a favorite film; I want to play through Uncharted 2 again not just for its tight gameplay, but also its engrossing story. The same goes for many of the replays on my list.

I won’t even touch DLC and mobile iPhone/iPod Touch/Android gaming (because I feel that, mostly, DLC is a cash-grab and mobile gaming is so piecemeal that very few titles are worthy and those that are don’t demand a great deal of attention).

Maybe, in the end, developers need to give their games more time in the oven. Wet is a great example of this. It could have been fantastic, and critics predict its sequel could be if it is refined, but the first iteration was hindered by a sloppiness that could have been erased with more development time. Conversely, Batman: Arkham Asylum was graciously given the time it needed for developer Rocksteady Studios to complete and polish the game properly.Don’t get me wrong — it’s a great time to be a gamer. We’ve been given the opportunity of choice; I just have the problem of choosing to be interested in almost every single game ever.

Are you having a tough time purchasing and playing all of the releases that gamers are facing?

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