The Vault of Regret is a very large place, which houses dusty old game CDs and boxes, untouched digital libraries, and the metaphysical concepts of remorse and embarrassment. Here we write about all the games we should have played but havenโ€™t, or that we have played but didnโ€™t enjoy, among other things.

“Have you played Mass Effect 2 yet?”

These are the words of my friend PG. I hear them every time I play anything that is a) not Mass Effect 2 and b) something that is quite old and bad. Something like this, for example. As I studiously plod around repetitive levels making notes about how things are not that good, really, I think to myself: maybe you should be playing Mass Effect 2 instead.

Mass Effect 2 is a game that came out in early 2010. A couple of years after that, another friend of mine bought it for me as a gift on Steam. “It uses something called anti-aliasing: you might not know what that is,” he said, in mocking reference to my being very behind the times with these things. We both had a bit of a laugh: I’m not sure even I realised it would be quite so long before I actually got around to playing it. Since that conversation, he has changed careers, got married, and had a baby. We’re in touch, sometimes.

At that point, I still hadn’t played the first one. I got to it eventually, and a good time was had both in the playing and the resultant spoiler-tastic discussion.

This is from ME1. (Funnily enough, I don’t have any screenshots from the second game).

The desire to push onto the second game was certainly there at that stage, but for some reason it fizzled out. And the realisation that the discussion was more than seven years ago now prompts tedious internal debates (with myself) about whether the original needs to be revisited first, leading further and further away from Mass Effect 2 until a cul-de-sac marked Knights of the Old Republic is reached. (Because blundering into the middle of a series is of course completely unprecedented in these parts).

When we lived together, PG wasn’t really into games, unless it was a bit of computer football. But suddenly there he was, a veteran of the ME series, recommending it to me. Except it wasn’t sudden, of course, because several years had passed, and our occasional back and forth on the topic has spanned the best part of a decade.

Time spent playing oldies, no matter how crap they might ultimately turn out to be, is something I enjoy, and of itself the source of little regret. And if the desire to catch up with more recent classics is really that strong, the solution is within easy grasp.

Still, it’s hard not to feel vague pangs of shame and disappointment when you realise you’ve found time to play Iron Assault, but not Mass Effect 2. (Or 3).

However, thanks to some twisted internal logic, I do consider Mass Effect to be a Christmas game. Perhaps there’s no time like the present.