When Josh Olson acknowledged that his Batman tale of Have I Got A Story For You was in fact just copying previous stories, he famously stated that “the first time it’s stealing, the second time it’s borrowing, the third time you’re creating a genre”. With this in mind, I’ve decided to carry on the Wall of Shame series, started by Chris Kemp and followed up by Rick de Klerk, and add my own little twist to it. I’ll be discussing games that, for some reason or the other, I’ve failed to see through to their conclusions.

Bear in mind that this is no easy task. There are countless games out there that are, by design, unwinnable. There are countless more that don’t deserve a cursory look, much less a complete playthrough. Today I’ll be discussing five “must-plays” which may earn me your condemnation and ire.

 

Mario 64

mario64-shame

Mario 64 is a brilliant, brilliant game. It’s one of history’s defining 3D platformers and it was a reason in itself to snag a Nintendo 64 back in the day. Unfortunately, while I got to play a good chunk of it upon initial release, I never reached its conclusion. Years later when I had a second stab at it, I managed to get much further but still that elusive ending was beyond my reach. One of these days I might have a look at the DS remake, but until then…

Why I’m exempt from public execution:

Anybody who has ever played Mario 64 will (not so) fondly remember its long length, endless backtracking and the insane jumping-over-bottomless-pits sections. In which you died over and over and over. It’s pure RAGEQUIT material, and before you judge me, load it up and see for yourself.

 

Psychonauts

psycho-shame

Now I’m heading into blasphemous territory. Schafer’s underdog hit has become a poster child for underappreciated games, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s zany, challenging and the story is oddly engrossing. However, one of the very few criticisms that can be leveled against it is the fluctuating difficulty, which takes a very sharp turn for the worst towards the very end of the game. The final couple of stages relentlessly drill you and expect you to have mastered every nuance of your character’s abilities and controls. After reaching a 98% completion ratio and trying to beat it in excess of 50 times, I finally called it quits and haven’t returned since.

Why I’m exempt from public execution:

Luckily, my story isn’t an isolated incident. Still, since I own the game on Steam, I do certainly want to give it another go someday. It’s definitely worth a second playthrough.

 

Super Meat Boy

meatboy-shame

I love virtually everything about Super Meat Boy. The art style, the level design, the secrets and the humour all engross me and keep me coming back for more. But, as is well-known, it is brutally hard. Diabolically so, and this has stopped me from mastering it to a point where I can see it through to its end. While I can appreciate a good challenge, I don’t exactly want to come home and die 1,000 cheap deaths after a long, hard day at work. So Super Meat Boy remains on my hard drive, but it’s only something I play when I’m feeling masochistic or I’m just in a weird mood. Kinda like going out with an ex.

Why I’m exempt from public execution:

I intend to finish it. Someday. I’m slowly working towards that goal by playing it piecemeal.

 

Halo

halo-shame

I run the risk of being strung up by my toes here, but I’ll just come out and say it: I find the Halo games boring. Yes, that includes multiplayer and single player. I slogged through several of the first game’s chapters in a vain attempt to try and comprehend why it was so popular, before eventually quitting for good. The multiplayer side of things is definitely more fun, but again, I never quite “got” why this game stood out in a sea of arguably superior FPSes, both prior and contemporary. At any rate, it remains a black mark in my otherwise impeccable gamer credentials (HA!).

Why I’m exempt from public execution:

Bite me.

 

StarCraft

starcraft-shame

Without a doubt, this is the most scandalous entry on my list. I mean, it’s freakin’ StarCraft. Of course, I spent quite a bit of time in the multiplayer, which sorta redeems me a bit, but as a double-whammy I failed to complete both the original campaign and the Brood War expansion. I got quite far in both, but that doesn’t quite cut it, now does it? Ironically, the game has remained on my system for years because I do intend to revisit it someday and finish the campaigns once and for all. Whether this is eternal procrastination or eventual determination remains to be seen.

Why I’m exempt from public execution:

I…  er… uhm. Oh, the hell with it. Just hand me a blindfold and cigarette already. But before you do, tell us all about your shameful list of incomplete games, you wicked, wicked person.