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The Black Friday Backlog Of Shame

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I bought XCOM: Enemy Unknown five years ago and still haven’t touched it.

It was Black Friday 2012 and there were deals. Lots of them. The one that hooked me was from Amazon though. The online retailer was offering a number of games that had come out that year at $25 a piece with free delivery. It’s a wonder I only bought two.

Starbreeze Studios Syndicate and Firaxis Games XCOM arrived early the following week. Both games marked their respective series’ new pivot toward console gaming. I’d never owned a gaming PC, so the refurbished, occasionally red-ringing Xbox 360 hooked up to a CRT in my parent’s attic was the first opportunity I’d had to try out either one (I was 24 and it was a weird time in my life). I’d recently become a fan of shooters and always had a soft spot for turn-based strategy, and what better way to scratch both itches and also tinker around with some skill trees?


Plus it was the end of the year and I was eager to try and get a handle on some of the games I’d missed. A hundred hours with Borderlands 2 had significantly hampered my efforts on that front. This is something that happens every year. On the eve of the winter solstice I start waxing nostalgic, and Black Friday game sales have always worked on that part of me that wants to try and slow things down and revisit the weeks earlier in the year that passed by while I was too busy too notice. The three and four day vacations that bookend the year don’t help either. Sitting in front of my computer next to a plate of full of Thanksgiving leftovers, the promise of buying a bunch of games I couldn’t afford or didn’t have time for months ago inevitably compels me to spend money on shit I don’t need, all in the hopes of pressing the non-existent pause button on my life.


Hence the copy of XCOM that’s still sitting in card board box without a scratch in the shrink wrap. I don’t even known what happened to that copy of Syndicate that came with it. I’ve moved four times since those games first showed up in the mail. RIP that cyberpunk FPS no one much remembers from 2012. Meanwhile the four ounce, translucent green plastic box for one of the best strategy games of the last decade (or so I’m told) haunts me still. Every year I’m forced to shuffle it around into a different media cabinet or storage container, and every year I tell myself I’ll finally take the time to explore it. And every year I don’t.

This year I almost made the same mistake. 2017 feels like it’s been an especially vulnerable year for game makers, and as a result, it feels like the prices for Black Friday were slashed more than usual. Instead of loading up on more new games I’ll never touch, however, I decided to buy some old ones. If the odds are more likely than not that the game will never leave its box, I might as well buy like a collector. I promised myself I wouldn’t spend more than the $50 I shelled out five years ago and I didn’t. A handful of Game Boy games, including Final Fantasy Legends, should be arriving in the next few days.

I’m sure I’m not alone though. After another Black Friday’s come and gone, I’m curious to hear your stories about that backlog of games you bought at ridiculously low prices with the best of intentions but never got around to. I can’t be the only one with a small but growing pile of amazing games I bought just because I could.