Two things you need to know about me: 1) I love computer games, and B) I don’t have any time to play computer games.

The result of these two incompatible facts is I have tons of games. That I’ve essentially never played. I rarely reach the end of a game, because I don’t invest enough time to play all the way through. So I never get rid of games, because I haven’t finished them. And I keep buying games, because I love them. It’s a form of madness.

And it gets worse. As computers and operating systems evolve, backward compatibility lasts only so long. Eventually you have a game you haven’t finished that you can’t run anymore. Unless you maintain an older computer. So now I have an iBook that I need to keep going because it’s old enough that it can boot in OS 9. And I recently picked up an old G5 pre-Intel tower that runs OS X 10.4, so that has access to a bunch of software my new Intel iMac with 10.6 can’t run. I’m reluctant to upgrade beyond 10.6, because I know I’ll lose a ton of games. 

But, of course, it’s not like I’m really playing those games anyway. Did I mention it’s a form of madness?

And it gets worse. The interesting thing about Intel Macs is that because they’re running on the same chip as Windows, it becomes possible to run Windows software on your Mac. Do you see where this is going? Yes, I’m now buying Windows games that I don’t have any more time to play than the tons of Mac games I already own. Weird thing is that the Mac versions wouldn’t run on the Intel Mac,  but I can run the Windows game. I’m running the Windows version of Command & Conquer from 1995–seventeen years old!–on my iMac.

I’ve just ordered Star Trek Online, which was never released for the Mac, and look forward to giving it a try, since play is free now. Of course, I’ll barely play it. I’ve also recently ordered an old game, Deep Space Nine: The Fallen for Windows. It was released for the Mac, but it’s very rare and, if you do find it, it’s usually priced far higher than what I would want to pay for a game over ten years old that, realistically, I’ll rarely play. But I was able to pick up the Windows version for $8. Fun side note: Star Trek writer Dave Mack contributed dialogue to The Fallen.

I do, every once in a blue moon, show some restraint. Sort of. To a point. About a month ago I noticed the Mac version of Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn along with the expansion pack Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhal on the shelf at my neighborhood Half Price Books, at $10 a piece. Oooo, I wanted those games. But I forced myself to not buy them. I knew I wouldn’t get around to playing them, and why not save the $20? The following week they were still there. No, I stood strong. The week after that they still taunted me. I walked past, but my resolve was weakening. I decided to look up some reviews, hoping they’d say the game was a major disappointment so that I’d not buy them. Instead, the reviews were jubilant. The game has sold over 2 million copies. I was back to coveting them.

Last week I could stand it no more. I grabbed them off the shelf and took them to the counter. The guy rang them up, then got the discs from behind the desk and dropped them into the case. I saw disks one, two, and four go by. No three.

“You’re missing a disk,” I said. “I guess I’ll be returning those.”

“Sorry about that,” he said. “I don’t know why we took this with a missing disk. You still want the other one?”

“No, it’s an expansion, you need the original game to be able to play it.” The guy started crediting them both back to my card. “Quickest. Return. Ever,” I said. 

I guess that’s what I get for giving in!