For many years I’ve been an “over-purchaser” of games. By that I mean I bought more games than I had time to play, and often pre-ordered them to boot. I’d pre-order a game months before launch and then when it finally launched I’d play it for a night and set it aside. Silly. I guess it was some kind of retail therapy for myself. Buying games was fun and I told myself I was supporting the developers (which was true but I’m not sure they all needed that money ahead of time).
Last fall we got the news that our health insurance was getting significantly more expensive, and that meant that our already stretched budget was going to get very tight indeed. I realized I was going to have to become MUCH more selective about buying games. I was really bummed.
I snagged quite a few games in Black Friday sales but haven’t bought anything since, as far as I can recall. And in the roughly two months since this budget crunch hit, I’ve kind of switched from seeing it as a burden to seeing it as a blessing.
I feel like I’m getting a lot more enjoyment out of games now that I see them as a kind of finite resource. When I was buying sometimes a few games a week, games were like a river. I scoop up some and have a taste but I was never going to consume them all so they seemed disposable and kind of devoid of value. There was always another coming so the game I was playing was only going to be on my radar for a few days.
Now I think of my games as a cornfield to be harvested. Still a big job, but if I stick with it eventually I might harvest all the goodness out of this field. (I guess today is metaphor day.) At the same time, each game has value because there’s not a constant flow of new titles coming in every week.
Because I don’t flit from game to game as frequently I feel like I get more from each one. What I get isn’t always good (see my bitching about Diablo 3’s story mode) but my understanding seems to always go deeper. I can articulate what I like and don’t like about each one and I feel like I have a more balanced view of every game I play. Even games I love have rough spots, and games I don’t like almost always have some nice bits tucked in there somewhere.
My backlog is enormous. I haven’t scratched the surface of my PS4 backlog yet, and then I have the Xbox One backlog which is nearly as big. And if somehow I get through that, there’s the PS2, PS3, PS Vita, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo 3DS backlogs. And then… Steam. Yes back in the day I was like so many others; when the big Steam sale hit I’d buy and buy and buy. I have 310 games in my Steam library. I’ve finished approximately 0 of them. Many of them I haven’t played at all.
This past weekend Sony was running a $5 Flash Sale. They had a bunch of games on sale for $5 (or less). I dutifully started looking over the list, figuring this is a great opportunity to score some deals. And there were a few games on the list I wanted to play someday. I even d/led a couple of demos. But then I thought about that backlog and the fact that if these games are on sale now, they’ll probably be on sale again in the future. No need to enlarge the backlog today. I didn’t buy anything.
I’m pretty proud of that. Instead of downloading 3 or 4 new games I’ve kept enjoying my current rotation of Shadow of Mordor, No Man’s Sky and Fairy Fencer F. I still want to go back to do some more Tomb Raider Trophies, then I have Watch Dogs 2, TitanFall 2, Final Fantasy XV, Battlefront 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare all vying for my attention.