What We're NOT Playing - Volume 1

newagatha.jpgDid you ever avoid buying a game? Ever avoid playing one?

Sure you did! No one, not even our Achievements-loving Jason Cipriano plays every game out there. But why do we -- why do you -- avoid the ones you avoid? Is it because of a bad review? A bad TV commercial? A disappointing developer interview? Maybe you were holding your money for something else? Maybe you don't play games that don't support a quick-save feature?

Whatever the case, we think that the reasons people don't play certain games need to be discussed. We bet some of the reasons are the fault of game developers, publishers and marketers, and some of them are simply quirks of players' personalities. But what are these reasons, big, small, serious and ridiculous?

So here we go, the kick-off of "What We're NOT Playing," a Multiplayer regular feature that will explore which games any of us here are avoiding -- even some very good ones you should check out -- and why.

Hey video games, it's not always you. Sometimes it's us. Here's an excerpt:

JasonCipriano: there's an "Agatha Christie" game out this week as well ... does that really need to exist?

StephenTotilo: ??

StephenTotilo: What's wrong with Agatha Christie?

StephenTotilo: now you're just hating

Photo credit: Walter Bird/ Getty Images

StephenTotilo: So fellow Multiplayer people, do you know how every other gaming blog and podcast does a "What We're Playing" thing? I was thinking we should do a "What We're NOT Playing" thing.

StephenTotilo: And while it may make our ad people nervous, I say, it needs to be done. After all, aren't most gamers NOT playing most games?

StephenTotilo: So I'm looking at the list of recent games that came out. Last week I got "Skate" and "Medal of Honor: Airborne" and a bunch of others...

StephenTotilo: and, confession, I tried "MoH" and then put it down. I'm not playing it. Why? I wonder if you've had this problem. It's come up in "Gears" and "Lair" and now "MoH." They make these dark, detailed games, and I can't tell the bad guys from the good guys

StephenTotilo: Is that petty? Or do you guys have that issue too?

JasonCipriano: sounds like you need an HDTV

TraceyJohn: My solution is to shoot everything. And I have an HDTV.

StephenTotilo: Does an HDTV solve this?

JasonCipriano: it helps ... a nice 40-inch screen and you can really see who's who

TraceyJohn: For me, it didn't. In "Gears," I still had the same issue. But I might need glasses.

StephenTotilo: Am I wrong in thinking this is a new thing? I don't remember having trouble telling good guys from bad guys in last-gen games

JasonMitchell: I never had that problem when playing "Super Mario Bros."

JasonCipriano: well it’s typically easy in nintendo games ... everything’s all bright and shiny ...

JasonCipriano: yes … like SMB

TraceyJohn: I think these shooty war games, with their drab military colors, tend to make their good and bad guys look similar

StephenTotilo: OK. Well that's my idiosyncratic reason for not continuing with that game. Take note, EA Color Palette Division.

JasonCipriano: there’s always this ... http://www.joystiq.com/2006/10/23/the-color-of-next-gen-gaming-is-brown/

StephenTotilo: what are you guys not playing?

TraceyJohn: I'm not playing "Skate." Did you try that one?

TraceyJohn: I'm not very good at the "Tony Hawk" games, so I'm hesitant to pick up "Skate." Is the control scheme that different to where I might be able to play it?

StephenTotilo: I did. I like the mechanics and, of all things, how the music is actually played in the world (I forget the fancy term for that)

JasonCipriano: audiolography

JasonCipriano: yeah that’s it

StephenTotilo: It's different than "Tony Hawk" games. I don't even think the "TH" skills would transfer over.

TraceyJohn: Good, because I have no "TH" skills whatsoever.

StephenTotilo: so "Skate" is like your personal Wii then. a clean slate

StephenTotilo: I think you should try it.

JasonCipriano: I wouldn’t go so far as calling the Wii a clean slate ... but that’s a whole different can of worms

TraceyJohn: My tabula rasa perhaps.

StephenTotilo: That was the marketing speak, Nintendo used

StephenTotilo: Nice one, Tracey. I believe the film term for that is "foreshadowing"

TraceyJohn: Indeed. What ever could it mean?

JasonCipriano: digressing ...

TraceyJohn: Yeah, anyway. More games or shall we argue about the Wii now?

StephenTotilo: I'm just wondering what Mitchell is avoiding

StephenTotilo: besides this exchange

TraceyJohn: This conversation!

TraceyJohn: ooo snap!

StephenTotilo: exactly!

JasonCipriano: just looking at this week's release list ... there's a whole host of titles I won’t be touching -- "Juiced 2," "World In Conflict," 2 "Singstars," 3 "Digimons"

JasonCipriano: ooohhh... and a "Nancy Drew" DS game

TraceyJohn: No one asked you. We're talking about Mitch here.

StephenTotilo: Jason, we just lost all our advertising!

JasonMitchell: I may have to avoid the second half of "Stranglehold"

TraceyJohn: haha

TraceyJohn: Why?

JasonMitchell: i hate how many dudes i have to kill in the same room

StephenTotilo: Was that a problem from the start? Or is it something that gets bad later on?

JasonMitchell: wave after wave after wave of dudes without ever moving environments

StephenTotilo: Sounds like "Space Invaders"

JasonCipriano: "Space Invaders" was awesome

TraceyJohn: Now who's digressing?

StephenTotilo: it's an old game, of course you'd say that

StephenTotilo: Mitchell, break this down for us. was this a problem from the get-go?

JasonCipriano: "Namco Museum DS" did come out this week

JasonMitchell: Pretty much. Some levels you are at least moving through the level and even though the environment is the same, at least you’re moving but now i'm stuck in one room with multiple waves of dudes and i'm bored

TraceyJohn: Mitch, I think you brought up a good point the other day about "Stranglehold" and "Max Payne" ...

JasonMitchell: "Stranglehold" inspired me to play "Max Payne" again

JasonMitchell: because that game was awesome

StephenTotilo: did it hold up?

JasonMitchell: not yet

JasonMitchell: the gameplay reminded me of "Max Payne" but the story and visuals were far better

JasonMitchell: but i do have to say destroying a entire room and getting an achievement for shooting 10,000 bullets after only playing for an hour is pretty spectacular

TraceyJohn: haha

JasonCipriano: 10,000 bullets?

JasonMitchell: yeah, you heard me 10,000

JasonMitchell: bullets

JasonMitchell: shot

JasonMitchell: boom

JasonMitchell: achievement

JasonCipriano: such a way with words

JasonCipriano: there's an "Agatha Christie" game out this week as well ... does that really need to exist?

StephenTotilo: ??

StephenTotilo: What's wrong with Agatha Christie?

StephenTotilo: now you're just hating

TraceyJohn: He doesn't like books.

JasonCipriano: no ... hating would be going off on why PSP games are ported to the PS2 -- not needing an Agatha Christie video game is just common sense

JasonMitchell: i'm not playing books because you have to read and that is too much work

TraceyJohn: ...............

JasonMitchell: grunt!

StephenTotilo: Cip, do you dislike the "Metroid Prime" series? That has a lot of reading in it

StephenTotilo: or do you just not scan?

TraceyJohn: I think he's been traumatized since "Super Paper Mario"

JasonCipriano: no ... but i did fall asleep a couple times playing "Super Paper Mario"

TraceyJohn: Ding!

StephenTotilo: Because of the reading? wow. I think we should call this exchange World's Grumpiest Focus Group

TraceyJohn: Hey, I like reading; I play RPGs.

TraceyJohn: And I'm not that grumpy yet

JasonCipriano: the game was good -- I only got 5 levels in it ... was just a little slow at times

JasonMitchell: Well i had an issue with the fact that they would say the same thing over and over in "Super Paper Mario"

TraceyJohn: It was the dept. of redundancy dept.

JasonMitchell: he would tell you the same thing like 5 times 5 different ways

JasonCipriano: he?

JasonCipriano: you’re giving gender assignments to the pxls?

JasonCipriano: that’s a bit of a jump

JasonMitchell: wasn't there like a wizard with a beard talking to you

JasonMitchell: i guess it could've been a bearded lady

JasonCipriano: don’t most wizards have beards?

StephenTotilo: Hey guys, I think we've provided our advertisers a great service. Let's wrap this up with some positivity: I'll be playing "Heavenly Sword," "Warhawk," and catch up on "Shadowrun" this week

StephenTotilo: anyone else?

TraceyJohn: I will play "Blue Dragon," "Two Worlds" and "Eternal Sonata." I'm not overly ambitious or insane or anything.

JasonCipriano: really? "Shadowrun"?

JasonMitchell: I just started "Ecco the Dolphin" and i'm now committed to saving my pod

StephenTotilo: it was in my backlog. it was that I was NOT playing for the last several months!

TraceyJohn: Yeah, I think we all have that problem.

JasonCipriano: finishing up "BioShock," then moving on to "Dead Rising" maybe. I haven’t really thought about it

StephenTotilo: Cip, you get the last word. See ya, grumps