Xmas Embargo

It’s that time of year again.  The tree is up, the lights are on, the halls are decked and the usual Christmas films have been dragged down from the shelves, ready for their yearly airing.  This Christmas, however, promises to be different than the others, in at least one way.  Ever since I can remember, every year, among the books, DVDs, porn, gadgets, nudey calendars and chocolate, I’ve been given at least a few games.  There has always been something nagging at my sleeve, demanding attention, having caught my eye in the Autumn and Winter schedules. This year though, the nagging child of gaming seems to have been distracted – remarkable only by its absence.  This year, I’m getting no games.  It isn’t a case of folk getting me other things, it’s just that I haven’t asked for any, nor have I planned to spend crimbo cash on any.  Not a one.

There are plenty of games out there, yes, but none I want enough to ask someone to spend at least thirty quid on.  That isn’t to say that there aren’t titles that have interested me.  Assassin’s Creed: Revelations has, of course, been on my radar for a long time.  But what’s the point when I haven’t even played either the second game or Brotherhood through to their respective conclusions?  Batman: Arkham City?  The same.  I’ve not played the first one yet and feel that I should, whether those who have already played it to completion think that is necessary or not.  So that’s out.  Anno 2070?  I’ll admit that I’ve got Anno 1701 and Anno 1404 installed on my laptop, ready to play, but haven’t yet tackled either.  How can I form a view on the potentially controversial shift in setting for the new Anno title if I haven’t yet experienced it as it arguably should be?  Professor Layton?  I haven’t played any of the others yet.

Some may think that I am leaving plenty off my list but, to be honest, there is probably a reason for that – mainly that I don’t give a damn about them. I have zero interest in Gears of War, CoD, Battlefield, Saints Row, etc. and these are the games that have hogged the top spots in the charts over the last few months, so that has added to my avoidance of games this year.  What about Skyrim?  In truth, I really can’t be arsed.  The more I glance at it or hear about it, the less I tend to be interested, but over-hype or too much chewed meat can do that to me.  Maybe some day, just not today, and not this Christmas.

Many of the titles I would otherwise have scratched onto a Christmas list are absent because of my long held and well documented gaming apathy.  This, combined with bouts of laziness and severe procrastination when it comes to gaming means that my stack of ‘to play’ titles is at stupid levels, is actively precluding me from picking up any sequels (of which there are many), and means that I have had to take steps.  Not, the ABBA-esque jaunty pop quintet, but decisive action.  The pile needs whittled down; some sort of order has to be restored.  I can’t possibly keep buying or being given new games every year with so many un-played, or my bizarre position will continue as new games overlap their untouched predecessors on my shelves, automatically rendering the newcomers unplayable for fear of spoilers.  Not only that, but the pile will keep swelling in a disgustingly offensive manner, like John Leslie at a weathergirl convention.

So, thanks to a combo of sequel overlaps and an insane amount of unplayed games, I’ve embargoed myself.  No new games this year until I shift some of the old ones.  The thing is, I don’t feel sad or that Christmas – traditionally a time for tearing the wrapping off new games – is in any way diminished.  I don’t care that I’m not tearing paper off a stack of shinys this year.  Instead of listing the latest releases to be purchased, or flitting between online sites, searching for the best deals, I’m calmly planning an even greater list of games to play from my stacks.  Could this be the year I finally play a Metal Gear Solid game?  Probably.  Max Payne?  Yep.  Professor Layton, Deadly Premonition, Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Syberia, Fable 3, The Witcher – check.  I’ve never been too fussed too about hype for new releases, so this adds to the fact that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by submitting to this self-imposed embargo.

I’m looking forward to it.  I’m looking forward to enjoying all the presents from previous years that I never got around to, or that I left half finished.  It will still be a gaming Christmas, but more of a recycled one.  Environmentally friendly gaming, if you will.  A green Christmas.  Does that mean Jeremy Clarkson will invade my house and stuff a dead fox into my Xbox disc tray as a warning?  Probably, but I find the idea oddly appealing (not the fox, you sick bastards)… I get to finally enjoy the games that should have been played a long time ago, that I was so flushed with happiness to get at the time.

In a way I get to re-live those moments from years past and release the pause button on the gaming festivities.  The Christmas spirit will still be there, recycled or not, the sentiment that surrounded their initial giving will be relatively in tact, and the enjoyment almost certain (unless I get mauled to death by my nemesis ‘ASBO Ant’ the second I fire Fallout 3 back up).  This embargo makes me think that I should have done this years ago. So when others are happily sitting down to Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed, and Call Of Battlefield City 3000, I’ll be settling down in the gaudy glare of Christmas lights, ready to stuff my face with shortbread and greet some some familiar faces, as yet untouched – or worse, unfinished – and, oddly enough,  I couldn’t be happier.  Maybe I’ll avoid Fallout 3 for now though… that ant is a prick.

Shortly after writing this, the universe decided to prod me with a sharp stick by launching the Steam Winter Sale.  Everything on my wishlist is half price.  Along with pretty much everything else.  Oh, and GOG’s sale is equally alluring.  Digital games don’t count as far as embargos go, right?…

Last five articles by Lorna



  1. Richie richie says:

    I’m in embargo hell right now myself ReadyLornot. I’ve forsaken everything to rinse the achvs out of some Football Management dogshit because it TAs like a bastard.

    You need to manage your ‘to play’ pile or else it becomes imposing. Get your gaming on the Xmas for sure.

  2. Edward Edward says:

    I’m not getting many games this Christmas thanks to the need for a new PC instead. I wish I could blame it on my ridiculous pile of games to be played, but I think I keep doing it to myself. I’d got the list down to something like 40, then the Humble Indie Bundle added another six, then another five last night. And with the Steam and GoG sales, it looks like I’m going to be using that new PC to play a bunch of games that aren’t going to test its abilities for a while.
    (But to be fair, I can’t play half of them on my laptop. The thing bloody overheated and crashed trying to play Super Meat Boy, of all things!)

  3. Rook says:

    I reckon the only reason youj haven’t played much of the last couple of Assassin Creed games is down to the lack of flags to collect in the sequels, that must be it. Pity you don’t have interest in Saints Row 3; you did at least try GTA IV and SR3 is seriously more fun and you could run around with a enormours purple floppy dildo as your main weapon of choice – how many other games have given you that option. :D

    Whatever games you decide to play have fun.

  4. Chris Chris says:

    An embargo is a great idea in theory. I’m not to sure how I’ve managed it but I do have a HUGE list of games I want to rent / play. Another list I want to own. It’s insane. The packed final part of the year has NOT helped at all. It all becomes irrelevant shortly because I get the new Zelda game and I’ll be happy XD

  5. Tania Tania says:

    Spending xmas with family means stepping away from my xbox for a week. So to combat my Skyrim withdrawal I’ve packed my old laptop and a few point and click games I haven’t gotten around to playing yet. Plus a stack of yet-to-be-watched DVDs. :)
    Great read ;)

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