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I think I spend more time writing, reading, and thinking about video games than I actually spend playing them. When the hell did that happen?
It seems like just the other day, my life was divided between working, getting wasted with my friends, and playing the latest Square or Bioware RPG, or maybe the latest shooter. Then, one day, I woke up with a wife, a kid, a mortgage, and a pile of shame that nearly required its own mortgage. I’ve cut way back on my gaming purchases, and I still can’t seem to make any headway. It’s like as I reduced my new GameStop console buys, my Steam sale buys doubled them (I have a second Christmas every time I get a stack of cash that is then immediately funneled into the insane fucking Steam Christmas sales. Damn you, Gabe!) Don’t even get me started on gog.com.
I do like my life better now, so I’m not complaining, but I would like a little more time with each release. Dishonored and XCOM both came out last week, to much deserved fanfare, I spent a few hours with each right off the bat, then … well, life and SWTOR reasserted themselves. My concern, though, is that they’ve now joined Borderlands 2 in the Pile. Oh, and I snagged Doom 3: BFG Edition today on Steam, as well.
Quick side note about Doom 3. I’m torn on that one. Doom 3 was the first game in which I taught myself how to make changes to the .ini file to up-res the game and make a few other changes to modernize it, and it’s a little sad to set that custom job aside, but I am looking forward to having the crap scared out of me with the updated lighting and textures.
As a younger man, I remember being very in tune with everyone else about what was out and new. I remember when Oblivion launched, I was sad every time I’d log onto Live and see that everyone else was playing it, leaving me to suffer through the single player of Perfect Dark Zero instead of another killer Infected match (god, PDZ’s single player was wretched). However, when Final Fantasy VII came out, I was there in line with everyone else, and it was all we could talk about for months.
Remember that time new releases had a shelf life longer than a week? Remember when we’d talk about the same game for a year? Alas, the world has moved on since then.
ANYWAY, getting back to the point, I’m a very devoted gamer, I suppose. I tend to latch onto one release, and then play the living shit out of it for months or years. Since 1997, I’ve been playing Final Fantasy VII, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age: Origins, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. That’s pretty much it. Sure, there’s other games I’ve finished since then, like every Final Fantasy (except VIII, which had serious problems), KotOR2, Deus Ex (all), both Dead Space games, every Bioware release, the Guild Wars series, and many failed attempts at enjoying Bethesda RPGs. Most games, though, I’d pick up, enjoy, and then find myself booting up one of my favorites.
Take Dragon’s Dogma, for example. I played the hell out of it one night, really liked it, and then never touched it again. Borderlands. Both of them. I like them a lot, but … I dunno.
One thing I’ve discovered is that if there’s any pressure on me to play, I will not. Usually, it’s self-induced pressure, or Joel pawing at my buts for a Borderlands session. I dunno, though. I really pushed myself to finish the first Dead Space, and managed to do it.
XCOM, though, I’m pretty sure I’m going to dive back into that one very soon. That can be played in very small bits, which works well with my schedule. I do a lot of international work and I do a lot of development releases, so I’ll have long stretches of work that include random bits of downtime, so XCOM was kinda made for me. RPGs, my favorite genre … not so much, especially SWTOR.
I got curious, by the way. I checked my raptr.com time for SWTOR, and I broke 300 hours Sunday. Holy shit. I’ve finished ONE character in that game. That does include a fair chunk of time from the beta, though.
So, yeah, I tend to just latch onto a game, and then play it until I’ve seen everything in it. I still have an active playthrough of Dragon Age (though I keep stopping midway through Awakening.)
The Mass Effect trilogy almost makes my above list, but I don’t LOVE those games. I like them a lot, but I always get frustrated by the dumbing-down of the series. I wish they all played like ME3, but had the depth of ME1.
What’s nice, though, is that I’m more or less in winter hibernation already. I’m gonna snag Forza Horizon as my ‘bullshit around’ game for the winter, and then I’m done buying until spring. I have a nice stretch of months in which to start knocking out my Pile of Shame (though I’d kill for a proper SWTOR expansion.)
I’m going to try and finish Dragon’s Dogma, Borderlands, Dishonored, and XCOM before my first spring release. Oh, and the Dead Space 2 DLC. Oh, and the Game of Thrones RPG. I’d also like to make some headway with my Guild Wars 2 guild (RTFM) in that time, as well. I’m sure I’m forgetting some games, but I’ll knock those out. Some day.
Last thing about my Pile. I am a junkie for old CRPGs, especially if they’re European. There’s something about them I can’t resist, and I keep buying them. All of them. I’d like to knock out an old CRPG this winter, as well. I’m eyeballing Divine Divinity and Gothic, but we’ll see.
What about you? Wanna join me on this quest? Pick one game from your Pile, post it below, and let’s go on this journey together (but not in any weird way.) Let’s check back every Wednesday and see how we’re all doing. I’ll post your name and game in the next column on Wednesday, and call you out to see how you’re doing, then keep posting your progress each week.
Again, my list is Dragon’s Dogma, Dead Space 2: Severed, Borderlands (1), Game of Thrones, Dishonored, and XCOM, all done before my first spring purchase. ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH TO TAKE THE PILE OF SHAME CHALLENGE?!
I’m thrilled that Obsidian’s Project Eternity has funded. I’d never backed a Kickstarter project before that, and neither had Mike until I reminded what a terrible person he’d be if he didn’t throw some money down on it [Mike: It’s so very true, I had to do it!] . Go play some Black Isle games or the completed PC version of KotOR2 if you wanna see what I’m saying.
I’m also excited to see the progress that Shaker is making on Kickstarter. I’d love to see that one fund, as well. Take a gander and see if it’s something you’re interested in. Tom Hall and Brenda Brathwaite are some old-school heavies in the history of RPGs, and this looks great.
So, yeah, I’m hoping to see some takers on my above challenge. Pop your game in the comments, and I’ll add you to a section of next week’s column to check in with everyone. If you have a blog you wanna pimp, too, throw it in there and I’ll include in your call-out next week to see how you’re doing on the Pile Challenge.
Thanks for reading!
The Filthy Writer: Self-Indulgence Manifested (personal blog)
Untitled Gaming (gaming blog)