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Running out of Steam

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It's that time of the year again! The Steam Summer sale is on offering bargains and incentives galore to part with your hard earned cash to increase your virtual bookshelf of PC games. Whilst I wouldnt say I've over-indulged, I have purchased 17 games and 14 DLC for a total of $96.71. That's not bad value for money..as long as I actually play the games. I'm hoping that one or two more titles will go on flash or daily sale so I can spend the remaining $21 in my Steam wallet wisely.

I will confess I bought into the Steam Trading Card gimmick as well, and was enjoying playing my games (or leaving them on the title screen whilst doing something else) to collect card drops, and then going to the Steam Market to pick up the remaining cards for the badge, background and additional Summer Sale card. It was kids play that cost a few extra dollars, but it also helped add some extra bling to both my son's and my account. But then I ran into a little hitch with Steam. It was my first such hitch in eight years of membership. I'm not going to say what that was (because I hold Steam in high regard and as you will see it's not the point of this post) but I went to Steam Support seeking resolution and what was a fundamental issue that could easily be resolved, and I was basically told too bad. And that got me thinking: how much money am I putting into my gaming? And I went through my Steam account and did some unsettling self-analysis.

My Steam profile indicates I have 796 games. My count, once you discard unwanted betas and free mods Ive tried but then can't remove from my account is 782. Not all have been purchased on Steam, but I have been a very loyal customer over the years. Steam's excellent discounts through daily, weekly and Summer & Winter sales offer reasonably new games (less than six months old) for up to 75% off. My Origin account has fewer games than I have fingers and toes, and despite how good GOG appears to be, I have not bought into their model. However, of late there are sites such as Humble Bundle (how good was their Telltale Weekly Deal?), Indie Royale and Indie Gala amoung others that, for $5 or so you also get that many games, with most redeemable on Steam. Gamersgate and Green Man Gaming also sell games redeemable on Steam and I have purchased through those sites. But whatever way you look at it, I have purchased a monumental amount of digital games.

'Righto! Time to play these!', I exclaimed and set up a Steam category called '50 Games'. The plan was to enter 50 quality games that I have not yet played but jolly well should. There are actually 141 games in that category. I also prepared another category for Adventure Games (my favourite genre as a kid) that I haven't played and it totals to 72 games. I then made another category for the remaining games with Steam Achievements (which is at times the reason I may buy a game) and that totals 254 games. There are also 14 games in a co-op / multiplayer folder. That leaves another 207 games in the standard folder and in all honestly are probably never going to be played. The good news is I have actually completed 94 games on Steam.

Going back to the 50 (well 141) games here are some of the titles in that category: Alan Wake, Assassins Creed 3 (the whole franchise, actually), Batman Arkham City, Bioshock 1 & 2, Borderlands 2, Deus Ex : Human Revolution, Dishonored, Fallout New Vegas, Far Cry 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Hitman Absolution, Just Cause 2, Mark of the Ninja, Max Payne 3, Metro 2033, Portal 2, Rage, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R trilogy, Saints Row The Third, Serious Sam 3, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider, Torchlight 2, Dawn of War II Trilogy, The Witcher 1 & 2 and X-Com: Enemy Unknown.

Why on Earth am I buying more games?

I wasn't an immediate fan of Steam Achievements when they were first released but over the years it has become a well-executed feature and at times is a reason I have purchased a game. 'It's only $2.50 and it has Steam achievements!' I would declare and then I would buy it. And it's probably one of the 254 games in the Steam Achievement folder detailed above. I have chased achievements as well. My profile indicates I have 2555 achievements at 30% completion rate. A manual count suggests 2534 out of 17938 at a 14.1% completion rate. I've been an achievement tracker on a site called Steam Score (http://steamscore.net/76561197974960409) and while I may be in the top 2.5% of achievement gatherers, my percentage rate is a lot lower than most. Why? Because I buy a tonne of games and then don't play them.

Whilst a big sale is meant to make you throw caution to the wind and buy first, ask later, this sale may have finally reined it in for me. As you can see from my last post, attempts to tackle my backlog have failed miserably. I would love to buy Bioshock Infinite, but how about I play the other two first? Grid 2 looks good, but so do four or five other unplayed car games I have. Metro Last Light looks very atmospheric, but so does Metro 2033 which sits in my account. I think I've run out of steam.....

Play and enjoy the games I have, boost my completion rate up a bit and perhaps re-tune the mindset to realise that a $2.50 game (even if discounted by 75-80%) isn't a bargain as it may never get played. I've downloaded Call of Juarez: Gunslinger whilst writing this up. At $12 it is my most expensive purchase of the current sale. Let's see if I play it..and finish it..and get a stack of achievements.

One step at a time.

Game on, comrades.

Eleven from 2011, New Years Resolution and Twelve for 2012

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It's been nearly a year since I hit the setting sun, but I have been checking in to install patches (I still have the odd 'boxed' game), rate games, and see what everyone else is playing. It's been good to pop in every now and then.

I completed 35 games in 2011, which is probably a record of some sort for me. There is a real mix of games, with only RTS missing out (I just can't get into them). Of those 35 games, the games I enjoyed most (in order) in 2011 are:

(My Game of the Year) Bastion – Superb narration, environment and gameplay substance. Had me hook, line and sinker. The kid rocks…

Batman Arkham Asylum – Finally installed just to see what it was like and absolutely loved the action, the combat and the world of the asylum. Being Batman is cool.

Fallout 3 – Once I got into the pacing and the levelling, this was a world waiting to be explored with unique characters, quirky quests and brutal combat

Limbo – The actual game is marginally above average, the austere presentation was sublime

Dead Island – A gory, bloody romp with a level 20 Hanbo Stick on a tropical island. You can play 'spot the influence' if you want, but I recommend you play 'smash the zombies'.

Bulletstorm – Outrageous combat and visually appealing. Leave your brain at the door.

Dirt 2 – The game that finally got me back into racers and the X-Box controller. Deep, decent career mode and quality graphics and performance

Medal of Honor – I never understood the rage for the franchise – I like it more than Call of Duty. This was a gritty, white-knuckled campaign which did things (even if only a little bit) differently

Hamilton's Great Adventure – A deceptive complex arcade puzzler presented in bright, colourful environments are cheeky solutions to puzzles. Good luck getting gold on all of them

F.E.A.R 2 – Project Origin – I've played the F.E.A.R series and whilst this may have been the weakest of them, the visceral combat is hard to beat. There's a few new things (some work, some don't) and the ending is just plain weird.

Shank – A cartoon-like side scrolling carve 'em up which is both visceral and comic at the same time. Kudos for the programming, the frame rate never drops and there are some truly hilarious moments and bosses

So 35 with games completed, you'd think I would have made a dent into my gaming backlog eh?

No.

Steam and digital distribution owned me this year and I am too afraid to count how many games I purchased, but thrice that would not be unreasonable. Gamersgate and Green Man Gaming really competed with Steam in the Christmas sales, and we were the winners. Total War Shogun 2 for $8.70? OK then….. Civilization V for $7.50? Twist my Arm….. Fable 3, Gothic 4, F.E.A.R 3, and DIRT 3 for the price of a take away lunch? Oh go on then…. And then Humble Bundle and Indie Royale roll in with their 'pay what you want' deals for 5-6 decent indie games and other indie games on sale for less than the price of a coffee…. It's been a bulging year for the collection.

So here is the gaming New Year's Resolution…… After I spend the last $20 in my Steam wallet (and I'll do that by 3 January 2012) there will be no more purchases until the 2012 Christmas sales. I have plenty to keep me going and I'm going to stick to it. I'm sure my friends on Steam will monitor this resolution closely……

Anyway, here is the Twelve Games I MUST play in 2012 (in no order).

S.T.A.L.K.E.R - A must-play (with the complete Mod). The developers appear to have folded, so it's time to give this game it's due

Metro 2033 – I want to explore those tunnels and I want to see what's above…. I completed the first mission and it's a suitably intense and visceral……

Psychonauts – A peerless that I have ignored. Played an hour for the Winter Gift Grab on Steam and loved it. Needs to be played.

L.A Noire – Just forked out $20 in the Steam sale. It will be played in 2012

Batman – Arkham City - $20 from Gamersgate in the Christmas Sale. Played about an hour, and enjoyed it just as much as my 'Game of the Year' Runner-Up

Warhammer 40 000: Dawn of War 2 - $6 last year on Gamersgate. Again played a couple of missions and enjoyed it. Time to play it properly.

Global Ops – Commando Libya – Why, Why you ask? Because Azghouls says so…. But I am resisting purchasing Shadow Harvest : Phantom Ops

DOOM 3 (Installed – 2GB) – Purchased in 2005 and once started. I almost bought RAGE but decided this and Quake 4 needs to be completed before buying RAGE. Also have the ROE expansion.

Deus Ex – Human Revolution (Installed – 8GB) – Have not played any Deus Ex game, but this is where I will start. Got it cheap at Green Man Gaming on release, but it's been cheaper since

The Saboteur (not installed) – Based on Perth's 2008 review of a perfect 10, it's the year to roll this one out.

The Witcher (Enhanced Edition) – A game I've always passed by until I won it in the Summer Sale gift grab. A ground-breaking RPG that deserves to be played, and so I considering whether to move onto The Witcher 2

Dead Space – I game I have had since 2009, and then got another copy with a Dead Space deal in the July sales. Everyone raves about it and it's my type of game, so it's time to commit some time to it and lead into Dead Space 2.

After that, the plan is to eat away at the remainder of the backlog. There's Bioshock (1 and 2), Dirt 3, Crysis (and Warhead), Fable III, Fallout 3 DLC's, Just Cause (1 and 2), Saints Row 3, Warhammer 40000 – Space Marine, F.E.A.R 3, Hard Reset, Lord of the Rings – War in the North, Quake 4, Mass Effect (1 and 2) and a whole bunch of others.

I don't really need to buy any games this year, do I?

Online I will play Left 4 Dead (1 and 2) and Payday – The Heist. I enjoy L4D and want to try more of the pure thuggery of Payday – an offline game proved very enjoyable. I'm into co-op more than deathmatch, so those should keep me going.

With my kid - We played Pop Cap games and Toki Tori in 2011. But it's now time to roll out Viva Pinata!

On a life front, we moved to the other side of Australia this year (from Western Australia to the Torres Strait) and it's been an interesting and unique life experience. It's cool to live in a town of a couple of thousand again, as well.

Anyway, if you have read this far you deserve a medal. This post is about keeping me honest… All the best in 2012. I'll be back and forth a bit and keeping an eye on what my mates are playing.

Game on, comrades!

So Long Gamespot

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Loved my time here, but time is something I have little of. Apparently I have to make a special request to delete my account. Frankly, I couldn't be bothered. I'll log off now and head for the settin' sun.

Game on comrades.

8)

Game Space

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Game Space

Rig

Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q9550 @ 2.83 GHZ

4GB Corsair DDR2 Ram (866)

Gigabyte P45 Motherboard

Samsung Spinpoint 1TB Hard-drive (plus a couple of detachables)

Gigabyte GTX260 GPU with factory OC

Creative X-Fi Titanium Sound Card

AOC 23.6" HDMI Monitor

Logitech G15 Keyboard

Logitech G5 Mouse

Logitech X-540 Speakers

Thermaltake Soprano Case

Razer Goliathus Mousemat

Sennheiser PC151 Cans

X-Box 360 Controller

Game on, comrades.

Game On