So Many Games, So Little Time
I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the gaming industry as much as I used to since real life has seen fit to get in the way of that (not a bad thing). I pride myself on being a connoisseur of gaming (at least of my own tastes). I try to avoid being hipster or elitist about it, but I know what I like having carefully refined my tastes by playing thousands of games over the past 2.5 decades. In order to maximize my enjoyment of games I have to go out and discover new titles because they aren’t just going to be handed to me since most of my gaming interests aren’t mainstream.
Time as limited as it is, I only have a few minutes per day to spend on new game discovery, besides the fact that I’ve been burned by hype too many times that I really don’t want to waste my effort. Here is my current rough process for new game discovery:
- I have a few gaming publications in my news feeds and I flip through them daily, something has to catch my eye with an interesting title or screenshot, if it does, I’ll open the link to the article and quickly do the following within 10-20 seconds to determine if the game interests me:
- Skim the article for interesting words, ideas, concepts, perhaps read two three sentences.
- Look at a couple-three screenshots
- Watch 5-10 seconds of the trailer skipping around for some gameplay (often with the sound off since I’m either at work on break or on my phone in public)
- Next I’ll find the link to the Steam page so I can follow it (or if it looks really good, wish-list it). At that point, I’ll likely forget about the game unless it gains widespread recognition (popping back up in my feeds) or it goes on sale since my Steam wishlist is linked to my IsThereAnyDeal account.
- Now, if the game doesn’t have a Steam page, woe to it, since at that point I’ll have to decide if it looks interesting enough for me to take the manual steps of adding it to my monstrous list in Google Keep, where it will probably stay since I almost never look at this list. So, simply put, if it doesn’t have a Steam page yet (or ever gets one), I’ll probably never buy it and play it. Sorry, Steam is just too damn convenient (plus it integrates with just about everything PC gaming related these days) as a platform for purchasing and managing my game library and keeping track of the games I want, and it is the root from where all my notifications bud forth. Admittedly, I prefer to buy DRM-free whenever possible (like on GOG, Humble or itch.io or direct from the publisher) and will even willingly pay a little more, but I still keep track of my games with Steam.
Now, this may all seem quite shallow, and it is. As the old adage goes, “you can’t judge a book by looking at its cover.” I realize that many great games may pass me by in this life because they just didn’t receive recognition, or the visuals weren’t striking enough or the brief sentences I read tantalizing enough. A game has to be big and bold and get across its ideas quickly, like a commercial in order to catch my eye. But this is for good reason, because much as I enjoy hunting for games, I’m not going to dedicate my life to it, and I much prefer playing them to be sure!
So, time, is my most limited resource by far. At this point, I have almost 300 items in my wishlist. And 585 games in my Steam library that are unplayed, not even counting my GOG library, and library of physical copies of games to be played, and a long list of abandonware titles that I’ve been wanting to get to. So many games, and so little time. Still, I love seeing what new games are coming out and the new concepts and ideas they bring to the table.
All that said, let’s look at a few titles that have caught my eye this past week, here’s what has made it to my watch list.
Amid Evil – described as a Heretic/Quake/Unreal (all good things in my opinion) clone by RPS, I’m really looking forward to this one when it goes on sale. I have quite fond memories of Heretic especially.
Also, New Blood Interactive’s previous game, DUSK is also on my wishlist and has since received Overwhelmingly Positive reviews on Steam. So, hoping to pick that up at some point as well.
Under a Porcelain Sun
Under a Porcelain Sun – a surreal looking first person adventure that immediately caught my eye. Apparently the publisher, Oleomingus has several free, but shorter, surreal adventure games available, I can see I’m starting to descend a rabbit hole, but I plan to play them in preparation:
HellScreen – a duochromatic FPS, looks amazing. I’m hoping it reaches it’s Kickstarter goals. I may end up pledging on this one even. I am fascinated that these days Quake+ era games are now becoming the retro standard where a few years ago it was sprite based FPS’ like DOOM that were the standard for retro FPS’. What an interesting world we live in. I can only imagine when the graphics styles of say Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare become the retro standard. Hell, I’m still amazed that 80’s qualify as oldies now. I better leave now since my old age is starting to show.