Sunday, 1 January 2012

The (almost) year of living retrospectively

With the final day of the Steam Christmas upon us I’m edging ever closer to a personal challenge I’ve been pondering for quite some time, namely eschewing buying any new games until the Steam 2012 Christmas sale. I’m horrified in many ways to commit to this act of self-denial (being a card carry gaming aficionado) but at the same time I’m excited to see whether I have the willpower to stay the course. I've quietly made my peace with holding off on ‘must have’ known quantities like Mass Effect 3 and Hitman: Absolution to the years end on the basis that any DLC would likely turn up post launch but somewhat annoyingly after I’d have finished them (I still have yet to play through most of the Mass Effect 2 DLC I bought after the fact). However it’s the uncertainty of new game announcements that concerns me. Valve declaring at E3 that Half-life 2: episode 3 (or Half-life 3 as most people expect) will release in September might well test my resolve to breaking point (if they do, for once I hope Valve time intervenes).

So why exactly am I putting myself through this? Well on a general level I’d say it’s about getting around to tackling my ever burgeoning back catalogue of games bought, but either unfinished or (and more often the case) wholly un-played. Since the implementation of Steam and digital distribution, purchasing (especially during hard to resist sales) has become in many ways too easy, and like most other gamer's my eyes are often bigger than my stomach in terms of what I’m actually able to really put the hours into when push comes to shove. All too often games have been dropped unfinished as I’ve chased the zeitgeist of new releases, and as time has marched on the inclination to pick up where I left off becomes harder and harder. A large portion of one of my hard drives is a graveyard of old saved game files that haunt and taunt me whenever I stumble across them.

Now it would be all too easy to draw up a list of titles I intend to play-through and set out some rigorous program for ticking them off over the coming months in some grueling marathon of completionism, but that in of itself would defeat the objective by turning pleasure into work. Realistically even with the best will in the world I doubt a year would be enough time to do justice to even 50% of my back catalogue truth be told (short of taking a complete break from a social life). So this isn’t a case of eating all my greens before I can have dessert, but more about taking stock of what I already possess and giving some attention to titles that through no fault of their own have unfortunately fallen by the way side. How it will go I can’t honestly say. Perhaps instead of being a temporary hiatus this will in fact be the first step in withdrawal from the gaming scene overall (much cheering from my RPS peers no doubt), however it is going to be an interesting ride.

Happy new year to you all.


  1. Good luck and by that I mean, a pre-emptive "Nevermind, it was too hard".

  2. Good luck, I'm half tempted to try and join you, but fear Mass Effect 3 my test my resolve too much. Still, I really do need to cut through my backlog a bit.

  3. Well you could just make that your one exception James. Set the rules for yourself.

  4. Guild Wars 2 is the only game I'm keen on getting near-release, so I *may* be able to do this too.
    Be strong and resist!