It has been just about a week since the Steam Summer Sale ended. With some saved credit burning a hole in my Steam Wallet, I picked up a few things, including the Blackguards Franchise Bundle and The Infinity Collection, a particularly nice bundle of the enhanced Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale games from Beamdog. I was especially excited to see the bundled soundtracks were available as FLAC files. Should make for appropriately rousing background music during the next Warhammer 40K battle adventure.
Since Steam did away with flash sales a couple years ago, the Steam seasonal sales haven’t offered the same kind of crazy penny-on-the-dollar deals they once did. Thank goodness for that. I have not bought anything during the last few seasonal sales because my pile of shame, my backlog of unplayed games, has grown to truly staggering proportions. A couple of years ago, one of my first blog posts on the original iteration of millgeek.com was about my personal vow to conquer my pile of shame. Needless to say, my list of played games remains minuscule while my pile of shame continues to spiral out of control.
I know this issue is not unique to me. The idea of the pile of shame and the deleterious effect of Steam’s seasonal sales has been a joke among gamers for years, but it has now crossed over into the mainstream. During this year’s Steam Summer Sale, my daughter and I noted several interstitials on Adult Swim making light of how Steam’s ongoing sale was just an excuse for people to buy games they would never play. I don’t even spend a lot of money on games. I once tried to do some back of the napkin calculations and decided that between Humble Bundle deals and my personal thresholds for buying games on sale on Steam and GOG, the average cost of a PC game for me can’t be more than $3-4. Of course, this is also part of the problem, but still, my pile of shame has grown to the point that I probably couldn’t physically complete every game. I will almost certainly die at a ripe old age first, even if I stop buying games tomorrow.
So what to do?
Being the dork I am, and having just added hundred of hours worth of RPGs to my pile, I decided to lay down some personal ground rules for how I might actually take a stab at conquering my pile of shame:
- Play for the story.
I can be a bit of a completionist. There is nothing wrong with completing a side quest or picking up a collectible, but I need to let go of the compulsion to 100% every game.
- Dial down the difficulty.
I am not a gaming masochist. I don’t dial games up to Nighmare! typically, but in my advancing years my reflexes are not what they once were, nor is my patience. If I am just playing for the story or the experience, then Easy or Normal is good enough.
- A campaign is good enough.
I love strategy games. I could probably spend the rest of my life playing nothing but Civilization, my ultimate desert island game. Many of the games in my pile of shame don’t really have a narrative arc, and it would be silly to set some arbitrary time limit. Some game campaigns can be played in an hour, some take dozens of hours, and some never really end. I will play my fill and move on and not worry about how many hours I put into it, especially for the earlier iterations in a series where my interest is likely to be more academic, looking to see how a series has progressed over time.
- Write a review.
I am going to hold my feet to the fire a bit. I have been playing around with Twitch streaming, but more importantly I am going to make retro game reviews a regular part of the site. I am currently playing Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Rome: Total War, so the first couple of reviews should be coming soon. I’m excited.