I’ve been working on my backlog for about a year now, and while I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked, I have enjoyed going through my list and experiencing new titles. And, for the most part, I’ve had few regrets in this process. I haven’t purchased a game in the last 12 months, but there were certainly quite a few that I’ve wanted to purchase. On the indie side, The Return of the Obra Dinn and Outer Wilds certainly come to mind. The mainstream releases over the past year, less so, but there are still a few: Spider-Man and Super Mario Maker 2 are certainly high on that list. Overall, though, I’ve managed to just live within my world, playing only the unfinished games I’ve bought over the years.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, Fire Emblem: Three Houses was released, and for the first time, I felt some real regret that I couldn’t buy it.
The most buckwild part of all of this is that Fire Emblem isn’t a series that I love. I’ve played the games. I’ve even enjoyed one or two immensely. But, as a series, I wouldn’t rank it even in my top twenty. For some reason, though, the conversation around Three Houses has gripped me, and I really, really want to buy and play it. Had you told me a year ago that this is where I would be, I would have called you a crazy-pants and wrote your rantings off as, well, the ramblings of a mad man. But, here we are: you ranting and raving, and me really wanting to play the silly anime game about school.
I think, to a degree, there’s a fear of missing out going on. For some reason, my entire Twitter circle is obsessed with this game, so I’m constantly inundated with screenshots, and they look cool. Also, most of the video game podcasts I listen to have been talking about the game quite a bit over recent weeks, so there’s that. It seems like everyone I interact with is experiencing this game, and dammit, I want to experience it as well. They just seem to be having so much fun. And while I’m having fun doing what I’m doing, what if they’re having even more fun?
This is, of course, stupid. As I said earlier, I’m not entirely sure I would even enjoy Three Houses all that much. I mean, if I want to play a story-heavy tactics game, I still need to play Banner Saga 2. And if I want to play a game with anime cutscenes, I have about 250 unplayed games. I’m positive that I can find a game to fit that bill. Actually, in my entire backlog, I can probably find a single game that fits both requirements. Even I don’t really know everything I have.
I think the root of my fear is feeling irrelevant. I will probably play Fire Emblem: Three Houses at some point, but will there be any sort of real discourse at that time, or will it all be complete? Will I be able to add anything to the conversation at that point? It’s really, really silly. I write posts about old games all of the time, and all of my Tweets are currently about either gun control or Celeste, a game that fell out of relevance — unfortunately — a year ago. There’s no reason to think anything I have to say about Three Houses won’t matter. Hell, there’s no reason to think anything I would have to say about the game, if I had it now, would matter.
So, when it comes down to it, am I missing anything by not buying the game right now? For that matter, is there anything truly wrong with what I have to say being irrelevant? There’s certainly freedom in the idea that you do not have to have the hottest takes first, the ones that everyone will retweet and quote.
I know with movies, and whatnot, there’s a desire to see something early to avoid the chance of spoilers. I’m doing a decent job of avoiding spoilers for Three Houses, and this is made even easier by the length of the game. Even if I have something spoiled, there are still at least 100 hours of gameplay outside of that that haven’t been spoiled. Please note, this is not an invitation to send me spoilers. And now that I’ve said that, I’m sure someone will send me a big spoiler. Prove me wrong, Internet. Don’t be that guy.
That said, not playing the game for months or even years takes care of this as well. I can barely remember what I ate for lunch last week. Do you really think I’m going to remember something some rando tells me about a game when I finally get around to playing it? I’m going to guess I’ll probably be okay. Maybe it’s a good thing, then. Maybe by the time I actually get to play the game, not only will it not matter what I have to say, but I’ll also be able to go in as fresh as I possibly can outside of the game’s initial release.
Maybe. Maybe, I’m just trying to justify my decisions. Whatever works, right?
Be sure to comment below with all of your Fire Emblem: Three Houses spoilers. In fact, fill the comments section with fake spoilers as well. That way, I won’t know what you guys are doing.