Diary of a year of not buying video games (or books): August 2016

It was a month with one or two strange revelations, but it started pretty mundanely.

Life is Strange’s first episode became available for free. I downloaded it but I don’t dare to play until next March, because if I like the first episode, I might want to buy the rest.

Other than that, my mind was reasonably calm, the game-buying urges seemed manageable as long as I didn’t look at online stores for games. I started to enjoy my home-built virtual pinball  machine without feeling anxious about getting good at each table in order to have “finished” it. I simply played and had fun.

All was serene. All was calm.

Until my phone beeped and told me there was a new Humble Indie Bundle. A new Humble Indie Bundle! I am a cunt for forgetting to turn off those notifications.

Just look at the Indie Bundle main page that day:

Screenshot_2016-08-17_10-53-21

They are such assholes! This stuff pushes all my buttons: Weird retro-inspired super-hard games like Galak-Z, old-school inspired run and gun shooters with inventive characterization and an interesting game mechanic twist like in Super Time Force Ultra, odd characters in Octodad, a new kind of co-op experience in Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime… Hell, most of these games had been on my wishlist anyway. And they have Linux versions now!

This really bummed me out for two days. I felt very anxious to press the buy button. But luckily, I’ve already figured out that not knowing about special deals is the best (and for me only) way to avoid purchase anxiety. Disabling these notifications should fix it.

I still put Super Time Force Ultra on my wishlist to buy at full price next year. If the devs remove the screen shake effect (they made no promises but reacted kindly to a comment on Steam), it’s almost a guaranteed buy for me.

Rediscovering hidden gems

I’m sort of burned out on PC games right now, but the good thing is that I’m rediscovering my old consoles and their games. I always thought I don’t have time to play that stuff anymore. But I do, I just have to stop buying new PC games.

Metal Jesus’ videos about hidden gems were very  seful to me. He did one on most of the consoles I have, and even some that I still plan to buy sometime in the future (like the PS3 perhaps).

The biggest joy right now is playing Super Mario Galaxy 2. I played too many serious games. SMG2 is not serious at all, but the level design is excellent and it’s real tough to play if you want to find all the secrets and hidden stars.  Just like the games of my childhood. I thought they don’t make them like this anymore, but look there, Nintendo does exactly that. Also, the colors, the music, the atmosphere. Finally I feel real joy again playing video games.

You might not understand the significance of that sentence. I had been severely disillusioned with gaming in general for a bunch of years now. I thought that never achieving the same gaming high you had as a kid is normal, that this kind of feeling is gone now. But I’m happy to say it’s not! If I find the games that put me in the zone, the feeling comes back. I guess I foolishly branched out into too many genres that I don’t even like.

The problem is that many of the genres I enjoy (platformers, twitchy action games, kart racers, future racers) are in the dominion of consoles. In September’s report I’ll tell you how that was solved.

What’s left

  1. The Banner Saga
  2. Chaos Reborn
  3. The Curious Expedition
  4. Darksiders
  5. Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut
  6. Dirt 3 Complete Edition
  7. Brutal Doom
  8. Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition
  9. Dropsy
  10. Hand of Fate
  11. The Long Dark
  12. Quake Shelving for now, completed the first two episodes
  13. Shadow Warrior Classic Redux
  14. Star Wars: KOTOR II
  15. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed
  16. Tales of Maj’Eyal
  17. Transistor
  18. Victor Vran Wonderfully done. Will play again. Bit grindy though.
  19. Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
  20. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  21. Massive Chalice
  22. The Novelist

Retro corner

  1. Shadow Dancer (Mega Drive)
  2. Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
  3. Muramasa (Wii)
  4. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Enjoyed this? Read the other posts in this series.

0 thoughts on “Diary of a year of not buying video games (or books): August 2016”

  1. The joy of old games is elusive. I think back then it also had to do with discovery. Everything is revealed now with a quick Google search.

    I’m back in WoW and it’s been fun. Not the deep, connective experience of MMOs of old but a solid and fun time spender. I haven’t been to critical of it only because it’s hitting one important note for me: I’m entertained, pure and simple.

    1. That’s pretty much my feeling as well. For years I was bored of so many games, but I’d probably just been playing the wrong ones. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is pretty much exactly as entertaining as I remember gaming to be, and that’s fantastic. I have to start ignoring games that don’t make me feel like this. It’s as if I could go back to EverQuest and feel the heroin-like feeling of old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *