Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Classic video games you’ve never played

GameCentral readers name the most famous games they’ve never played, from Super Mario Bros. to Fortnite.

The question for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Podge, who asked what’s the most famous video game that you’ve somehow avoided? Was it because you didn’t have the right console or PC, because it didn’t appeal at the time, or simply because you didn’t have the money?

Almost every famous franchise of recent times got a mention, but as you’d expect it was format exclusives such as Mario, Halo, and Uncharted that were the most common.

PC attitude
I think I’m going to be fairly alone in saying this but I’ve never played a Grand Theft Auto game. And now that I write this I’m not even sure why. I’ve never really liked films and show that glorify gangsters, so I guess that’s part of it, although I’m not some prude and I don’t purposefully not watch them if they’re on, I just wouldn’t look them out.

I think the main problem is that I saw Grand Theft Auto III at a friends and was deeply unimpressed by the graphics. I was a bit of a PC snob at the time and the ultra slow frame rate and foggy graphics really put me off. I rubbished them so much it annoyed my friend and we fell out for a bit, so there’s probably that subconscious negative association.

More recently though, I don’t know. I think I’m a bit of a contrarian at heart and all this talk about how popular it is and how everyone has played it makes me not want to follow the crowd. My loss, I’m sure, but at the moment it doesn’t bother me. I would’ve got the free copy of GTA 5 recently, but ironically I don’t have a gaming PC at the moment.

In the presence of Mario
I’ve seen Mario games being played, at a friend’s house and so on, but I have never actually played one, despite owning a N64 for a number of months and contemplating buying a Switch. I’m not sure how rare this actually is in the UK though as I didn’t know a soul that owned a NES back in the day or a SNES. Well, I knew of one person that apparently did but he wasn’t a friend of mine so I never got to play one.

By the time of the N64 I was at university and in work, so not really into games and then the GameCube was a flop and the Wii never appealed to me. Having played similar games I have a pretty good idea of how Mario games must play, both the 2D and 3D versions, but I admit I’ve never actually tried them.

I don’t think Super Mario Odyssey would be one of the first things I’d try either. I just feel I wouldn’t get all the little in-jokes and references that have build up over the years and it might fall flat. We’ll see how it goes though, I’m not entirely against the idea.

99 out of 100
Even though most of them are free I’ve never played a single battle royale game. I have a fairly solid reason though: I know I’d be terrible at it. I’m not one for multiplayer games at the best of times and am certainly not very good at it, so the though of coming last out of 100 people does not appeal.

The whole playing it every day to unlock skins and battle passes, or whatever, also seems very off to me. I want games to be entertainment, not a part-time job, and again it all sounds trying to keep up with other people and be part of the crowd.

It’s totally against my real love in games, which is single-player story-based games. Absolutely nothing against battle royale though and if I had a switch I would at least play Tetris 99.

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Catching up
I’ve owned many different home computers and consoles over the years, from the humble 48K Speccy through to the PS4 Pro. Never though, have I owned a Microsoft console. So Microsoft’s holy trinity of Halo, Gears Of War, and Forza have completely passed me by.

For someone whose main hobby for 30+ years has been gaming it seems bizarre that I haven’t played a single minute of Halo, one of the biggest game franchises out there.

As a way of turning this Hot Topic into another next gen console piece I’m seriously thinking of rectifying this when the new consoles are released. Game Pass would instantly give me access to pretty much all of Microsoft’s exclusives that I’ve missed over the years and I’m hoping they’ll release the rumoured cheaper entry level machine so that I can try all these out without too big of an outlay.

Abandonment regret
I have tried at least one entry from most long-running franchises but I have not played either Minecraft or Fortnite, which are two of today’s heavyweights because neither interest me.

I did briefly try Terraria and realised that I am just not creative or patient enough to play it or Minecraft, although I know I would have adored them as a child. A quick blast of Apex Legends also reinforced my preconception that battle royale games are just not for me.

There are some older games that I would like to play: Super Metroid, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Final Fantasy 7 being the big three that I feel I should have played. Especially as I have played the majority of their franchise’s later games.

Last week I tried Flashback, as it was dirt cheap on the Switch eShop in a recent sale. I could not get along with the controls and unpredictability of whether it was possible to jump to and grab a distant high ledge or not. It was nice to try it, but it was not for me.

The regret of not finishing games is probably more of a factor for me than not playing them at all. For example, I regret not finishing Xenoblade Chronicles. I was 100 hours in on the Wii and I now find myself tempted by the Switch remake even though I know it will just get parked for Last Of Us Part 2.

Won’t collect ‘em all
Franchise I’ve never played? Pokémon. I was never into the cartoon so maybe that coloured my opinion. I also never owned a Game Boy or one of its successors.

Even though millions love it, not once in all my gaming years did I ever feel the need to pick it up which is odd really as I will attempt to do all the collectables in most games, just not Pokémon games. Is that irony?

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Remaster to the rescue
I’ve got two franchises that leap out for this Hot Topic: Metal Gear Solid and Mass Effect.

I remember repeatedly playing the PlayStation 1 demo of Metal Gear Solid 1, which had a VR training room section, if I’m remembering correctly, but never got around to playing the full game. This must’ve been because I was young and didn’t have the money to buy it, and something flashier must’ve come up around Christmas time. And when the sequel came out, I wouldn’t have played it because I missed the first game, and repeating this process is how I ended up missing all five entries.

With Mass Effect, I played the first game briefly and remember struggling with the controls and not knowing what I should be doing, which caused me to give up on it immediately. Knowing how well respected the second game is, in particular, but also the original trilogy, I should’ve stuck with it but hindsight is 20:20.

I’m really hoping that the rumoured remaster or remake of the original Mass Effect trilogy is released, and I’ll make amends by playing them all on the current gen. Or next gen, if it’s exclusive to the new consoles.

With the Metal Gear Solid series, I’d like to play them all because they’re so revered but don’t think I’d get the same enjoyment from the earlier titles (assuming the controls and graphics haven’t aged well). If the rumoured Bluepoint remake is Metal Gear Solid 1, that’d be a brilliant entry point into the series for me but I’d then be concerned that I couldn’t play Metal Gear Solid 2 or 3 – first world problems, eh!

I’d also take a PlayStation 4 release of the Metal Gear Solid 1 to 3 collection that was released on the Xbox 360 (I think), and I could then hopefully find 4 through the PS store and just buy 5.

These series are quite the blind spot in my gaming experience but I’m hopeful that at least one of them can be remedied by the rumoured remasters or remakes.

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The small print
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