When it comes to looking back on my life in sixty years or so, chances are various video game-related occurrences won’t be on my list of regrets. Or maybe, if I’m lucky, they’ll be the ONLY things on the list, as I’ve lived a proper life otherwise.
In any case, if I were making that list today, there are five things that come to mind that I regret when it comes to my gaming career. This isn’t like my “Bad guys I felt bad about killing” post from the other week, it’s something a bit different.
You’ll see what I mean, and you can start reading below. I’d love to hear your own in the comments.
I Never Explored the Wasteland with Dogmeat
Dogmeat is a pretty central character in Fallout 3, so much so that he’s used in a huge amount of the promotional screenshots for the game. Your character is usually shooting some sort of deformed mutant, and there’s Dogmeat right alongside you.
“That’s cool,” I thought as I popped in the game. “I wonder when you meet him.”
Hours passed. Then days. Dogmeat was nowhere to be found. I kept waiting for the next quest to introduce me to him, but that day never came. I beat the entire game, eventually taking on Fawkes as my companion, without ever encountering the little mutt.
It wasn’t until I looked it up on the internet that I realized I just had extraordinarily bad luck. Dogmeat was being kept at a location insanely close to where you start the game. But it all my exploring, it’s just a place that I never ended up going to, despite its proximity. I imagine his presence would have changed the dynamic of the game somewhat, but picking him up after it was all over didn’t quite have the same impact.
I Never Got to Hear Jose Gonzales’s ‘Far Away’ When I Rode to Mexico in Red Dead Redemption
I loved Red Dead Redemption, and even more than the story and gameplay, I relished the music. One of my favorite parts of the game is when you ride home after “beating” the game (so you think) to meet your family. In the background, the game plays “Compass” by Jamie Lidell and it’s absolutely fantastic.
Well, after I beat the game, I starting reading reviews and hearing that other people’s favorite musical moment that made the most impact for them was one I didn’t experience at all. Apparently, when you first cross the Rio Grande into Mexico, there’s an even more memorable song that plays, “Far Away” by Jose Gonzales.
It took me a very, very long time to figure out this one, but I finally learned that if you don’t mount the horse the game specifically gives you to make the journey, the song won’t play. I must have called my own steed to pick me up, and so the moment was lost, forever.
I Never Fought Alongside Zaeed in Mass Effect
Mass Effect has been one of my favorite series for years now, and it’s one of the only games that I always bought ALL the DLC for no matter what. Not only that, but in-game, if there was time between missions, I would go to every deck and talk to every crew member just to see if there was any scrap of conversation I missed.
It was therefore very strange to learn months after the fact that I’d missed the addition of an entire character into the game. “Who the hell is that guy?” I said as I stared at the scar-faced soldier in a promotional shot of the game online.
It took some time to uncover that somehow, I’d missed out on adding Zaeed to my crew. How? Well, it turns out I paid the price for ignoring those little codes that appear inside of your game box. Zaeed was supposed to be a reward for players who bought the game new, which I did, but I didn’t realize he existed, and so never bothered to punch in the code.
Now, I don’t want to know anything about him. I’ve stayed away from Wikis and what not. Zaeed is simply not a part of my cannon. But I wish he could have been… YOU WERE REALLY BORING KASUMI.
I Never Beat Shao Kahn
I’m secure enough if my nerdity to admit that I’m not a fan of ridiculously challenging games. I don’t beat things on insane, apocalypse or god level difficulty. I quit Demon’s Souls about two hours in. But Shao freaking Kahn still haunts me to this day.
He was the final boss in the new Mortal Kombat, simply called ‘Mortal Kombat,’ but in reality, it was Mortal Kombat 9. I actually quite enjoyed the story campaign, and had fun working my way through various opponents until I finally reached him.
The man was a wall. I’ve never seen a steeper difficulty curve in a game. MK went from challenging yet fun to impossible in an instant. Some of this was surely meant to echo how hard the character was in past games, but it was just so. damn. frustrating.
How many times did I try? I don’t, close to a hundred by the end of it probably. You’re only allowed to use Raiden, and you can literally do only one move to dodge his attacks, and one move to hit him. If you fail one dodge, you’ll probably lose 2/3rds of your life due to an unstoppable combo. if you manage to hit him, you have to do it about 20 more times before he even gets close to death. And you have to do it enough to beat him in two out of three rounds.
Out of the hundred times I tried, I maybe beat him in one round 5-8 times .Two rounds was asking the impossible, and I simply threw in the towel after beating my head against a brick wall for days. I regret that bastard got the best of me. He’ll pay, someday.
I Never Got My Mind Blown by KOTOR
Across all media, there’s one feeling I love to experience more than any other: Surprise. Whether it’s a big twist in a film or a dramatic development in a TV show, there’s nothing quite like not knowing what’s coming.
Story wasn’t all that big in video games until about a decade ago when it starting being more integrated. Leading the charge was Bioware, who made the most interesting Star Wars story in years for Knights of the Old Republic.
But alas, it was a game I simply did not play. For some reason, its legendary status was never fully explained to me in my youth. In 2004, I was busy graduating high school and managing to date the first girl I actually liked (yay for late bloomers). There was less time for video games.
And so it slipped away, and over the years the moratorium on spoilers ran out. I knew that in fact YOU were secretly a Sith Lord in the game, which is supposed to be one of the biggest shocks in video game history. And I’ll never get to experience it.
I’ve tried to play through KOTOR nearly a decade after the fact, but battling the clunky controls and bad graphics is hard when you don’t have nostalgia going for you. And as I know what happens, I couldn’t even get into the story. I feel like a bad gamer every time I think about not playing through either that game or its sequel, but oh well, can’t win them all.