Last month was pretty crummy for me, gamewise, but after writing my recap I decided to try to make an effort to find time for gaming. I picked a handful of games and put ’em in my ‘rotation’. I’m doing that possibly neurotic thing where, when I can’t decide what to play, I use a random number generator to pick one of these games.
And it has been working pretty well. Many nights I can only squeeze in an hour or so but still I have one spot in my day that is just for me and just for fun, and jumping between games means stuff keeps feeling fresh, but there’s generally not enough days between sessions with a particular game that I forget how to play or what I was doing. With the random pick thing I don’t spend my limited time fretting about what to play, which is sometimes an issue for me. My plan was working well!
Then a couple of things happened. First was that Final Fantasy XIV had a free login period for people with lapsed accounts. I patched it up, jumped in and started re-learning how to play. I was having fun and started kicking around the idea of re-subscribing. Then I thought of the games I’ve been playing and wondered how I’d fit FFXIV in with them. I could throw it into the rotation as well but did I want to pay $15/month to play maybe once a week for an hour or two? Probably not, so I back-burnered FFXIV.
Then shortly after that, Genshin Impact (a game I’ve pumped over 300 hours into) rolled out the big update 4.0 and I was really tempted to go back to that, too. I wouldn’t have to pay anything so I could stick it into the rotation and not feel bad about the days I wasn’t playing it.
The more I thought about it, though, the less excited I was about it. I already have 5 games I’m jumping between, which is probably 1 or 2 too many. But the idea is I’ll finish a couple and not add more in and so start to increase my pacing through the remainder. But Genshin would never end. Well no time in the foreseeable future anyway. I suppose eventually it will shut down.
I have SO MANY games in my backlog. And I mean so many installed games waiting to be played. My Xbox has 4 TB of storage and it’s full, and the PS5 has 3 TB and it is getting on towards full. That’s not to mention all the games in my libraries that aren’t installed, all the games on Game Pass and Playstation Pass, and then stuff on Steam. SO MANY GAMES and most of them are games I want to play (Update: This is definitely not a case of feeling obligated to clear out the old backlog…based on a few of the comments below I don’t think I initially made that clear enough). I don’t buy a lot of bundles where you end up with games that just came along with the game you bought the bundle for. Y’know those games that you’re not really interested in but they’re in your library just the same. So (setting aside the Game Pass and PS+ titles) the games I have are mostly games I really want to play.
Realistically I’ll never get to them all. I’m old enough where if I dropped dead tomorrow folks would say “Oh, that’s too bad.” and not “OMG what a tragedy, he was so young!” I dunno how much gaming time I have left.
But I’d like to start putting some effort into playing these games I want to play, and the only plausible way to do that is to stop playing these ‘live service’ games that by design don’t end. Or if I do play them, play them with a finishable goal in mind (eg “Get a character to level cap” or “Finish the main story.”). For example one of the games in my rotation is Redfall which is intended to be some kind of live service/endless game, I think. But my plan is to take 1 character through the main story and then consider it Game Over.
I realize I’m swimming against the current here and publishers think “live service” endless games are the way to go, but again my backlog is huge enough I don’t need any new games. I’ll cherry pick the best of the best, like everyone is loving Baldur’s Gate 3 right now. Maybe Starfield will be worth adding into the mix. But I’m not buying many new games these days.
I am just really anticipating the day I start seeing end credits roll and feeling that sense of accomplishment for getting through to the end.