The Best Video Games I’ve Never Played

A reader admits to the classic franchises he’s never played a single game from, including The Legend Of Zelda and Mass Effect.

As a gamer, quite often I miss out on the latest hot TV series. As I juggle gaming with other social obligations I make the choice to sacrifice watching TV. So, for example, I haven’t seen a single episode of Breaking Bad, not one. I’ve not finished the first season of Game of Thrones (I hope Sean Bean’s Eddard Stark makes it the whole way through, he’s my favourite character) but apparently a load has happened in that too. When I tell friends this I get a look like I just farted loudly in a lift, but even more egregiously I have not played some games that other people would regard as all-time classics.

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This annoys me more, because when you miss a game series you really miss the bus and the commitment to catch up can be even more onerous. Once fandom has been established for a game it can be hard to understand the fuss from the outside. Here are some of the series I’ve missed.

Mass Effect

I’ve not played one game of this classic series, so I wasn’t furious when apparently Mass Effect 3 messed the whole trilogy up. Seeing the build up to Mass Effect: Andromeda I couldn’t join in on the fevered speculation about whether Commander Shepherd will have a dog or if his moustache will be curlier (see my total lack of any appreciable knowledge!). But if it’s any consolation I‘ve played every mainline Assassin’s Creed game, gaming philistine that I am.

The Legend Of Zelda

Nope not a one. Why? Because to my eternal regret I was a massive Sega fanboy back in the day and looked down with barely concealed derision at anything Nintendo and those plumber-loving big kids. By the time I was old enough to appreciate Nintendo (about the N64 era) without my stupid blinkers on I could see what everyone else did but still couldn’t play their games.

Why? Because at this stage I had been turfed out of the nest and had to buy my own consoles at that point in my life. And I couldn’t look past the PlayStation’s early ice cool style and diverse game catalogue, and that’s the pattern that has followed me on. Appreciating Nintendo much the same way Cameron appreciated that Georges Seurat painting in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

So I missed out and the people loving Breath Of The Wild who can see the deeper meanings and history of the series have my envy. I don’t have a Switch and will probably end up with a PlayStation 4, so this trend will continue. #sadface #firstworldproblem

Castlevaina and Metroid

Both games seem so important that they get scrunched together to make the weird compound word of Metroidvania. I haven’t played either iconic series, but of all of the many games in both series the one I regret the most not having played would be Metroid Prime. It’s constantly held up as a masterwork. I’d have to nod, mumble and bluff my way through any conversation around Metroid. Being careful to drop in that it was great to see a woman in a leading role in a video game… See! I know things. Also, isn’t it great when you find a new power that allows you to access another part of the world… Facts! What bit did I like best? … explodes smoke bomb and runs.

Dead Space

I played all the Resident Evils – even the rubbish ones – why do I need to play Resi in space? Like, how cool could it actually be? Turns out it sounds like it was very, very cool. For this one it’s a real case of it just passing me by. I know that the later iterations seemed to be received badly, but the reason I wasn’t grabbed was the terror factor. I had played two parts of the very first game at a friend’s house, and the swarming antagonists freaked me out to the point I didn’t play it for my mental health.
The second part involved blowing up a bunch of asteroids to prevent the station from exploding, I just couldn’t do it. I’d get a good bit through but couldn’t bring it home, the two negative snippets probably ruined the game for me.

Pokémon

Finally, the last entry I’ll admit to with a shame face would be Pokémon. Pokémon are a mystery to me. They seem to have been going since the times when consoles were made from string and magic, and yet once again I’ve missed an entire gaming media juggernaut. They look like good light role-players, certainly more accessible than Final Fantasy – a series I’ve definitely enjoyed.

Don’t get me wrong, it looked lots of fun and playful in ways that only Nintendo can master but I never evolved a single charmander or squirtle. I’ve seen a few of the early cartoons but not enough to get engaged with the world, and 10 years in I accepted I probably won’t be a Pokémon guy.

I often toy with the idea of picking these games up cheap. I wonder which series the denizens of the Underbox would recommend if I could choose just one? And I also wonder at the series that they would admit to missing out on? Perhaps someone has never played a Call Of Duty? Or maybe some lone wanderer has somehow avoided all of the GTAs. This is the opportunity to confess and get the shame off your chest.

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