Recently I was unemployed for a short time. When you stop earning money it becomes hard to justify spending money on new games. My first thought was "aww man I really wanted to play Gone Home and the PC version of Spelunky!" My second thought was "aren't there a bunch of games in my Steam library that I haven't even really played? Maybe I should check those out first."
My Steam library has 195 games. In fairness, the majority of this bulk comes from various bundles purchased over the nine and a half years I've had a Steam account. For example, the Humble Telltale Games Bundle added about 22 games to my account, and I probably paid about $10 for it. Regardless, when you buy bundles with 10 games and the intent of playing just one game in the collection and weather multiple Steam summer/winter sales that appeal to your most vulnerable purchasing biases you end up with a lot of games.
In the context of something like music, if you had a huge stack of albums you had never listened to wouldn't you go through and listen to them at least once? If my 13-year-old-self could see me sitting here with my Steam account full of 195 games I'm pretty sure he'd have a heart attack. When I was a kid my parents wouldn't buy video games for me, and I was too young to have a real job. Purchasing decisions were excruciating because I could only buy one or two games a year until I was old enough to get a job. Today everyone is overwhelmed with entertainment options. It makes it hard to sit down and actually enjoy something. "There's so much out there that I don't know if I should keep playing this" is the thought that most dominates my mindset whenever I start playing a new game or consuming any entertainment.
So my initial idea was to play every game that I had completed less than half of. I cracked open a steam playtime calculator and start a spreadsheet to figure out roughly what play percentage I have with all my games.
I got this far before realizing that my scroll bar was barely even moving and that calculating my completion percentage for my steam library was one of the worst ideas I've ever had. Well, how many games have I played for less than half an hour? I tabbed back to my Steam library and start counting. Let's see, there's...
1... 2... 3... KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby), AaAaAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity, AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome, And Yet It Moves, Aquaria, Back to the Future: Episode 1, Back to the Future: Episode 2, Back to the Future: Episode 3, Back to the Future: Episode 4, Back to the Future: Episode 5, Beyond Good and Evil, BIT.TRIP CORE, Braid, Cave Story+, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Deleted Scenes, Cthulhu Saves the World, Darwinia, Day of Defeat, Deathmatch Classic, Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition, Deux Ex: Invisible War, Gish, Gratuitous Space Battles, Gravitron 2, Half-Life, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, Half-Life Deathmatch: Source, Half-Life: Blue Shift, Half-Life: Opposing Force, Half-Life: Source, Hammerfight, Hector: Episodes 1, Hector: Episodes 2, Hector: Episodes 3, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman: Codename 47, I-Fluid, IL-2 Sturmovik: 1946, Jamestown, Killing Floor, Left 4 Dead 2, The Longest Journey, Lugaru HD, Miasmata, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, Mr. Robot, Multiwinia, Natural Selection 2, NightSky, Noitu Love 2 Devolution, The Path, Penumbra: Overture, PlanetSide 2, Poker Night at the Inventory, The Polynomial, Psychonauts, Puzzle Agent, Puzzle Agent 2, Q.U.B.E., Ricochet, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, Sam & Max 301, Sam & Max 302, Sam & Max 303, Sam & Max 304, Sam & Max 305, Samorost 2, The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, Sequence, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, Shank, Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword, Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization, Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords, SiN, SiN Episodes: Emergence, SiN Multiplayer, Stacking, Starseed Pilgrim, Steel Storm: Burning Retribution, Surgeon Simulator 2013, Team Fortress Classic, Thirty Flights of Loving, To the Moon, The Walking Dead, Wallace & Gromit Ep 1, Wallace & Gromit Ep 2, Wallace & Gromit Ep 3, Wallace & Gromit Ep 4, The Wonderful End of the World, Zen Bound 2
Okay, well, that's 96 games that I have played 30 minutes or less of that I have in my Steam library. Hilariously, Q.U.B.E. and Zen Bound 2 both have exactly 29 minutes played. Even more hilarious is that I have played a full 49 minutes of Guardians of Graxia, a weird card-based game that I played for some stupid Steam winter sale b.s. involving presents and lumps of coal.
Okay, so 96 games show up as having less than half an hour played, but I'm going to disqualify several of these. I played Braid to completion on Xbox and I have played the first two episodes of The Walking Dead on PS3. AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome seems to be a re-release of AaAaAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity with extra levels, so I will only play the latter. I definitely played Day of Defeat, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero (in beta at least), Half-Life, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, Ricochet, Team Fortress Classic, and The Longest Journey either before Steam existed or the playtime wasn't recorded for some reason. The three Civilization IV expansions I listed are disqualified because I have played more than half an hour of Civ IV. And lastly, Thirty Flights of Loving takes less than half an hour to complete, so that is also removed from the list. In addition to the games that are disqualified, there are several episodic games listed – Back to the Future, Hector, Sam & Max, and Wallace & Gromit. Of these I'm only going to count the first episode as unplayed.
After these eliminations I have 69 games left to play. In terms of playtime that's at least 34.5 hours after spending at least half an hour with each. Not too bad considering that's the length of some games.
So why am I posting about this here? In addition to playing I'm planning to write at least 500 words about (at least tangentially) the game I played. This will take a while, but I hope you'll join me on this journey through all my digital game detritus. Will I hate myself to undertaking this? Will I discover some gems? Will I finally feel less horrible about how many games I own? Only time will tell!
I'd love this experience to be a little interactive, so definitely play along with me if you have these games sitting in your Steam library too! In my first entry I'll be talking about 1... 2... 3... KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby).