Keeping It in the Cellophane


The Steam Summer Sale is fastly approaching and I’m no stranger to impulse buying a game or 10 during the insane price drops. The fact is that most of these games I buy I never end up playing, I know other people fall victim to this phenomenon during Steam Sales. This got me thinking, does this only happen with digital games, or do we succumb to the same practice with physical copies? I enlisted the aid of some of the SpawnStaff to help me investigate by asking them all a series of questions on the topic:

1: Have you ever bought a physical game that you have never played? Has it happened on more than one occasion? Which games or game were they that you bought?

2: Is there something about a sale that inherently makes you want to buy a cheap game, even if you have no intention of playing it anytime in the near future?

3: If yes to the above question, does that feeling grow any stronger with digital sales, or does it purely come down to price?

alana Alana Fearnall – Indie Features Lead

1: I bought Fable 3  and never opened it. I forgot about it until the other night when I found it under a stack of board games. I think I have multiple LEGO games somewhere, as well as a Resident Evil.

2: Yes. I enjoy saving money and if it’s a game I am interested in, I will buy it. This logic makes no sense and I’m willing to accept that.

3: It absolutely does. Think about it, you can’t lose these games, they are usually 75 percent off and the money is just sitting in your bank account. You don’t even have to go to the store! Day. Made. (This has led to a Steam library of roughly 70 unplayed games)

mattyk Matthew Kline – Public Relations Director

1: This happened on a few occasions with me. The most recent one I can remember is Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate  on the Wii U. I picked it up at a good price (roughly half off I think) and remember thinking, “Hell yeah, I’m gonna kill me some monsters!”

I never killed any monsters. It was never even taken out of the case. There was another time or two it happened, but I can’t remember for which games. From my days of working at GameStop I know there are plenty of people I talked to who bought brand new games and never even opened them.

monster hunter

2: Yes, 110 percent yes. I’m a sucker for good deals; it’s in my nature.

3: For me, it is sometimes price and sometimes convenience. If I happen to see a physical game on sale while I’m out, I put a lot more thought into it and sometimes never buy it. If it’s digital though, it’s a whole different story.

The infamous Steam sales are always a great example of the digital impulse-buy. My credit card information is already stored on Steam, so I’m always three clicks away from a new game. It’s worse too because there is a whole section of unique, original indie titles waiting to be played. Do I really need “Bear Wearing Pants and Friends Shoot Zombies in Classic Over-the-Head Pixel Art Graphics 3”? No, but two bucks and an empty 500 MB on my hard drive say otherwise. It will go unplayed, much like the 50 odd other games that remain unplayed in my library.

Overall I think more digital games go unplayed than physical games, mostly thanks to the culture that has grown around sales like the Steam sales.

76ee64fd6024f3649a848c5f77883030 Logan Moore – Reviews Lead/Editor

1: I buy physical copies of games all of the time and don’t end up playing a decent amount of them. Most of the time, the games that I buy immediately go into my giant stack of games that I intend to play. I buy the games because I have the money to do so, but I don’t always have the time. When it comes down to it, I wish that I could play all of the games I purchase, but life gets busy and I just can’t seem to find the time to play them all.


Within the past couple of years alone, I’ve bought close to a dozen physical games that I never end up playing. They include:

  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown 
  • Demon’s Souls
  • The Witcher 2 
  • Saints Row 4
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD 
  • God of War Collection
  • Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix 
  • Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection
  • Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes 
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

All of these are games that I desire to play but haven’t found the time to complete. These and more are a part of my ever growing backlog.


Snake is running away from all the games he’s never played.

2: Definitely. Every year, I wait for Black Friday to come around so I can buy the games I’m interested in but wouldn’t be willing to pay full price for. I’d estimate that I almost buy about five games every year on Black Friday and a majority of them are never even played. I just can’t pass up the deals.

3: For years I have purchased countless titles when they have been on sale. There’s something about seeing a sale that makes me feel like I can’t pass up the opportunity. Luckily, I’m not much of a PC gamer, so I have never had to worry about impulse buying through Steam. That being said, my Xbox 360 still probably has around 20 or so games that I never ended up playing.

I feel ashamed and downright stupid for spending so much money, but I still have this spending problem today and I doubt it will cease anytime soon. The saddest part of all is that part of me still believes I will one day be able to complete all of these games. *sigh*

391033_2756794633867_1972607392_n Evan Hallman – Staff Writer

1: Typically, when I buy a new game, I play it for five minutes and then it collects dust on a shelf for the next few months. I can only think of one game I never opened: Dead Rising 2. I originally ordered it, but due to the perfect storm of delivery mess-ups I didn’t get it for over a month. By the time I actually got it I had 1) moved on to other things and 2) completely forgot that I had ordered it in the first place. I do, however, have a problem with buying digital games and never playing them. This is especially true if the game has any sort of nostalgia value for me. I think I just want to own it to be reminded of all the good times, and am afraid that if I actually play it I won’t have as much fun as when I originally played it making me question everything I know. Right now there are five games sitting on my PlayStation dashboard that have yet to be touched.

2: Recently, I always take advantage of sales. I used to be very impulsive and just buy any game I saw that looked good. But a few months ago it started happening: every time I bought a game it went on sale a week or two later. The first few times it was funny, then it became annoying, and it has now reached such ridiculous levels of coincidence that I’ve become convinced there is a cabal of price gouging monsters out there who are out to destroy me. So I’ve taken to only buying games when they are on sale, and often buying games I don’t necessarily want.

3: It doesn’t really matter between hard copy or digital, but I’ve noticed that the digital don’t get played as much.

It appears to me that whether or not it’s a digital or physical copy of a game, the fact of the matter is gamers love a deal and are willing to part with their hard-earned cash even if they have no intention of playing the game they just bought in the immediate future. So before you click buy on your next Steam purchase just be mindful of your backlog, and think, “Do I really need this game?”, then buy it anyway.