Bayonetta: The One That Got Away

To me, Bayonetta will always be the franchise that got away.

When I started using GameFly over a decade ago, I loaded up my queue with tons of games I was curious about. One of the games that made its way into my list early on was the original Bayonetta. It wasn’t my usual type of game - I’d never played Devil May Cry or Viewtiful Joe. But the game was very well received - it got “universal acclaim” according to Metacritic, and people were talking about the game a lot. About its “very easy automatic” mode (which I talked about too) and whether its portrayal of its title character was sexist or empowering.

In short - Bayonetta was clearly an Important game, and I wanted to be part of the cultural moment and contribute to the conversation. But I wasn’t impressed by the demo, and whenever I did try a “spectacle fighter” or “character action game” or whatever we’re calling them these days, I didn’t like it. So as much as I wanted to experience Bayonetta, I didn’t really want to play it. I put it in my queue, but it stayed there for years as I kept sliding it further down and the cultural moment passed.

Eventually, I had to admit to myself that even with GameFly, games were coming out much faster than I could play them. I had to prioritize. I had to admit to myself what games were in my queue just because I felt like they should be and take them out to make room for the games I actually wanted to play.

I have a tiny twinge of sadness any time I take a game off of my GameFly queue unplayed. It’s a small admission of defeat to the inevitable march of time and entropy. It’s an acknowledgment that we can never do all that we wish we could. And whenever I add a game to my queue, in the back of my head I wonder if I’ll just be removing it in a year or two.

But Bayonetta is always the game I think of. It’s the highest profile game that had been in my queue for the longest amount of time, before I admitted I was never going to play it or its sequels. It’s the one that got away.