The Not-At-All-Secret Diary of Jake (Aged 32½)

Originally Published: 15 December 2009

October 1st

I recently took the time to look at how many unfinished games, across all the platforms, I possess. Like the Count from Sesame Street, I dutifully counted. By the 731st “mwah-ha-ha” I realised I had quite a few, so I set myself a challenge to finish as many as I could within a month, and when’s better to start than now?

I’ll probably look back and regret this but the first game I’m playing is Forza 2. Starting at a level somewhere in the early 20s, I figure I’ll be be finished if I make it to Level 50 and race the last races.

October 2nd

Still playing Forza 2. I snuck in a race or two before work. I’m having a crisis. Does getting to level 50 count as finishing? If I get Gold in all the races then I’ve finished, haven’t I? But what about the cars – should I unlock them all? That way I’ve really finished. I’ll look into the cars thing.

Ok, I’m not unlocking the cars. I’ll need to get to Level 50 in the other regions to be able to unlock them all. I’m supposed to be finishing as many games as I can this month, not just playing Forza 2. Time for a rethink.

Coffeetime Crosswords – finish all 180 crosswords and that’s the game done. Easy peasy.

Ohmigod. This game is so dull and annoying. “Vee” is not a word. Nor is “cee”. Crosswords should not use phoenetics as answers. The fact that it’s taken me nearly two years to complete 20-odd puzzles should have given me a clue as to how uninspiring I find this game. And the music is destroying my soul. I can barely stomach it long enough to turn it off in the options.

October 3rd

New day. New outlook. New game!?!

Having foolishly offered to review Risen, I’ve increased my unfinished total to 732 before actually finishing anything. This is not how I saw this panning out. Well, I’ll just have a quick go on Risen to get the feel for it before I play something else.

October 5th

Wait… the 5th? What the hell happened to yesterday? And what’s this I’m playing and why aren’t I at work?

So, I’m off sick with a cough that prevents me from speaking, but not from playing. This has gained me seven glorious gaming hours that I would not ordinarily have had. Unfortunately I still seem to be playing Risen. I suppose as I’m still playing it I may as well get the review done as well while I’m at it.

Ok, now that’s done I can get back to the challenge. Well, I can once I get this review of Military Madness: Nectaris out of the way. While I’m off work, and effectively ahead of myself in terms of gaming hours I should get this done as well. Plus, I bought it before the challenge so it’s already included in my figures.

Staring at the grey expanses of the moon is really quite boring. Even with the moon tanks and little men blasting each other to smithereens I’m not massively gripped. And one level looks a lot like another. Quite depressed now. I don’t think I have the stamina to play through to the end. I’m not sure anyone has.

October 6th

I’m still off sick. Coughing’s rubbish. It’s not pig flu, despite what Debbie from Blitz Games may think. You know what would make me feel better? Finishing a bloody game.

Yes! Finished a game. I’d dance but this would result in me coughing, so imagine these words are representative of me busting a move and throwing some shapes. CSI: Dark Motives has fallen beneath my mighty gamer might leaving 731 games left unfinished. Which is exactly where I was at the start. And no matter how easy the game may or may not be (it is, let’s face it) it’s still finished

October 7th

Still off sick. Going to the doctor’s this afternoon. In the mean time I’m writing this while I download a couple of Arcade titles. Yes, South Park and Lucidity have managed to bump up my total. I’m now two games further away from my goal than when I started the challenge last week. This does not bode well.

As I spent most of the day playing South Park, nothing’s finished, and the doctor doesn’t know what I have.

October 10th

I decided to go back to work for the last couple of days. But now it’s Saturday and it’s late and I’ve played Risen all day. That’s not quite the plan I set out with, so I’m giving myself a mental telling-off. I have found five new comfy positions on the beanbag though, so the day hasn’t been a complete waste.

October 11th

Today I mean business. I get a message from Tony which reads “Waaaaaaaaaaaaalleeeeeeee” as I am, indeed, playing Wall-E. And finishing it too. Get in! 732 games stand in my way. I’m unstoppable.

God, Jumper is shite isn’t it? Even the fact that it’s given me 600 Gamerscore for just pressing a few buttons cannot make me like this title. It’s truly awful. And I’ve just died. Which means my “make it through the game without dying achievement” is lost and I’ll have to play the bloody thing again. I’m not too happy about that. I don’t really want to carry on playing this now, either. Give me something else. Just not Risen.


October 12th

I’m taking this as a little bit of karma at work. It turns out I’ve saved Penny Arcade Episode 2 right before the last boss. All I have to do is beat it and I’ve finished the game.

Ok, that’s the third game finished. And that brings my total to 731. Exactly where I was when I started. I feel like I’m not really getting anywhere.

October 14th

Having squandered last night on Tiqal and Risen, I find myself face-to face with a Wednesday again. And a Wednesday offering me point-and-click goodness as well. Add another two games to the list, because Jakey’s buying these puppies. Axel and Pixel is a good, quirky game – I’m really enjoying it. The mini-games annoy me, but other than that it’s all good. Haven’t touched Sam and Max yet, though.

October 15th

I’ve made a vow not to let pointless mini-games get in my way. Axel and Pixel will fall this night, mark my words.

And fall it has. Another one bites the dust. I felt a little sad that I hadn’t finished the painting at the end of the game, but there are other months for these sorts of things. October is all about the finishing and I’m more focused than ever.

October 16th

Seriously, why did they put Bejeweled on Facebook?


October 18th

As Sam and Max Season 2 launched on Arcade this week, I should finish the first one. I have four episodes left to complete.

Sam and Max are funny guys. Time management-wise, I’m not doing so well as I’m examining everything I can to hear as much of the dialogue as possible. I’m sure I should be focused on the finishing. Ah well, last episode now.

Hugo Bliss is annoying me. He’s been hopping around these torture devices and not dying. This is not good.

Ah, cracked it. That’s another one done. And we’re back at 732.

There’s still time to play something else. As it’s Sunday evening I’m in the mood for something less challenging. Plumping for Sea Life Safari may not be the most exciting thing ever, but photographing everything to the highest standard, and collecting all the hidden shells will keep me occupied for a little while.

That’s everything collected, snapped and achieved. I’m counting that as a finish. I’m a desperate man. 731 games to go.

October 19th

A two-pronged approach today. At work I chose the first Professor Layton as my weapon of choice, while at home I found myself in the Kingdom of the Keflings.

It was quite hard to concentrate on the puzzles at work, and I burnt quite a few hint coins in my quest for completion but I reckon I must be fairly near the end now. I mean, it’s only been out for a couple of years…

As for the Keflings, I’ve decided that I’ve finished the game when I’ve built the castle and all it’s component parts. I’ve still got quite a lot to do, so decide my best approach is to get all the Keflings harvesting like crazy people and going off to do other things while they build up my resources.

October 20th

I finished Professor Layton on the way to work this morning. The final cutscene and credits took so long that I didn’t actually finish the game until half way through my lunch. But it’s still finished. So far this month I’ve finished 7 games, but actually only moved my grand total by one, as it now stands at 730.

The Keflings, meanwhile, have harvested a ton of resources and building is going ahead with some speed. This castle needs a lot of stuff, though. Carole is hindering my challenge by encouraging me to kick the Keflings around which is, let’s face it, quite amusing. This is not getting the game finished, however.

October 21st

Ah crap, it’s Wednesday again. Two titles for the Arcade, one of which I’m reviewing. If I only get that one then it’s not quite as bad.

I’m not reviewing Tower Bloxx am I? Then why the hell am I playing it? And why am I finding it strangely addictive? I should be buying Panzer Generals, I’m reviewing that one. It’s not the end of the world, I can work with this. And, actually, I seem to be quite good at Panzer Generals. I’ll have this licked in no time.

I’m not that good at Panzer Generals.

October 23rd

Ready for work quite early today, thus gaining a twenty minute gaming window before the drudgery begins. By my reckoning, with the work I put in on Rocketmen last night, I should be able to get this finished before I leave for work. Start the day on a high.

That was the longest level ever. Seemed to go on for ages. It’s over though, so that’s another game finished and I’m not late for work. Win-win. And back to 731 unfinished titles.

During lunch the strangest thing happened. I walked past GAME and a copy of Borderlands threw itself at me.

Borderlands is not helping my challenge, but it’s really good fun.

October 24th

My review copy of Up arrived today. I played that this morning. I finished it this morning. My unfinished total went up and back down again in the space of four hours. I’m glad it didn’t take long, as I have a challenge to get on with.

I am not playing Borderlands.

I’m not.


October 27th

It’s Tuesday. Last time I wrote anything it was Saturday. I have not been playing Borderlands for the last few days. Ok, I have. It’s strangely addictive. It’s not all I’ve been playing, though, I’ve been rummaging through Professor Layton’s Curious Box like there’s no tomorrow. It’s still not finished, though, and I’m running out of month.

The good news is that today and tomorrow are days off. I’m at the Eurogamer Expo in Leeds. The bad news? No games are going to get finished for the next couple of days – on a plus point, though, no games will be added to my tally either.


October 28th

Second day of the Expo. Nothing will be completed. Nothing will be added.

Somehow, between leaving the Expo and getting home, I now seem to own a PS3 and two games. I totally blame Relentless for this.

Doing the maths, I’m up to 734 unfinished games. It was all going so well.

Wait, I borrowed Brutal Legend from a friend as well. Do I count that? I’ve borrowed it so I don’t own it. I didn’t figure on borrowing a game when I started this. Sod it, I’ll count it as I’ve played it. 735 games to go.

October 31st

New shiny games are a distraction. I have spent far too long with my Eyepet – I’m an adult for godsakes, I shouldn’t be sitting in the front room stroking thin air. Uncharted 2 keeps sucking me in. And I’ve restarted Brutal Legend because I figured I may as well play it through on hard. None of this has helped me, and now it’s the last day. Panic stations.

Castle Crashers. That’ll be ok to play and finish.

The spaceship level is annoying me. Die, retry, die, retry. I can feel my patience for this game fading fast.

Ok, those big, tough knights are the final straw. I’m not playing that anymore.

Batman: Arkham Asylum. If I don’t piss about getting Riddler trophies and the like, I should be able to see the end of this game today. I’m sure I don’t have that much to do.

Poison Ivy, some annoying brutes and Joker stood between me and the (disappointing) end. I’ll go back and finish off the achievements later, but at least I’ve finished that one. Ten games finished, and 734 games left to go. To be honest, it’s not looking good but I’ll do what I can today.

The trick-or-treaters have been and gone, but there’s something else that needs attending to. This challenge has played havoc with the Sky+. We currently have approximately 4% available space. This is not a good state of affairs and so the final evening of my challenge is spent watching a few things from the planner in order to make enough space to tape things tomorrow.

I have a bit of time before midnight, so I fire up Feeding Frenzy 2. 14 levels between me and completion. Let’s go.

Apparently, if you accidentally start a new game it just erases whatever progress you may have made. I now have 60 levels between me and completion. I am absolutely gutted. Seriously. It’s awful.

So, that’s it, done. I’ve finished ten games, and acquired more than that. I’ve learnt that if I force myself to play things to the end I don’t get as much fun from them as if I just pick and choose. If I’d had a bit more willpower and resisted the lure of new shiny things I’d have fared better. I’m disappointed I didn’t do more, but somehow life seems to just get in the way. I’m definitely a pick-and-play gamer, I know that now, but this challenge may well return…