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New Years resolution: no more game purchases in 2016


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#1 Matt Diamond

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 02:55 PM

I was feeling guilty today about all the games I may never get around to playing, including the Firaxis Humble Bundle I just bought, plus all the good stuff that's coming out soon. And suddenly, I made a New Years resolution:

No more computer game purchases until 2017.

I feel good about it, and here's why:
  • I've just given myself permission to dig deep into my backlog. Some great stuff there.
  • Less reason to rush through old games to clear the deck for something new.
  • 12 months free of worry about whether my old Mac will run the latest games.
  • Huge time savings because I can ignore every Humble, GOG, MacGameStore, and Steam sale. (I usually browse sales compulsively.)
The fine print:
  • I *might* make an exception for a Kickstarter, if something unique like Descent Underground comes up that truly needs my support.
  • Console games included (right now we just have a Wii U)
  • iOS games included! This may actually be the toughest part, especially with so many $1 and free-to-play games. But I've got a small backlog there too.
  • Encouraging my children to buy a game so I can play it IS allowed. :-) But they are 13 and 20. It would be infinitely easier to get them to play something I already own, and that hardly ever happens.
I'm sure I'll regret this resolution in just a few months, but at the moment I'm energized and excited about what's in my backlog, instead of depressed. I figured I'd better post the resolution publicly before I talk myself out of it.
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#2 Frigidman™

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 03:10 PM

Sounds good, I'll support that!

As it looks though so far... the pickings have been abysmal for sales, so I have not picked up anything new. So I'm working on things I have, and your approach sounds like a good one for this year. I like it.

I know I've put off things like Skyrim, and Assassins creeds I have in backlog, because I know each take many dozens if not hundreds of hours to play. And I put them off because I'm like, well, what if something cool comes along I want to get into? I wont want to drop those long-play games because picking them up again is painful (the re-learning curve of RPGs, you know the drill).

Good post.

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#3 macdude22

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 03:17 PM

I think I bought the entirety of Games available for Mac, Windows, Wii U, and Xbox. There's nothing left for me to buy but Crackdown 3. I've reached the end of gaming. Purchasing wise. The backlog is hundreds deep. :crying:
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#4 Matt Diamond

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 03:33 PM

View PostFrigidman™, on 22 January 2016 - 03:10 PM, said:

I know I've put off things like Skyrim, and Assassins creeds I have in backlog, because I know each take many dozens if not hundreds of hours to play. And I put them off because I'm like, well, what if something cool comes along I want to get into? I wont want to drop those long-play games because picking them up again is painful (the re-learning curve of RPGs, you know the drill).
Don't I know it. Sometimes I'll refuse to buy an RPG (or even accept a free one) just because I know what they do to me. Then a game like Borderlands comes along pretending to be a shooter, and next thing I know I've spent 300 hours playing it.
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#5 Cougar

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 03:56 PM

I can get around this, but my fine print is not quite as strict:

• The Witness is exempted, because I've been waiting seven years for that game. And I don't want to be spoiled.
• iOS is exempted, because I actually don't have a lot of really good games on it...because there aren't many to begin with. And they are dirt cheap anyway.
• Humble is exempted, especially those $1 tiers, because they are pretty much the lowest games will ever get unless they are free
• DLC for games I already own is exempted, because I don't like returning to games years later having forgotten the plot and how to play them. (On a related note, the Pillars of Eternity expansion pass is $10 at Humble today, the lowest it has been. Snagged it in anticipation of The White March Part Two next month.)
• Kickstarter is exempted, because I like supporting the kinds of games that wouldn't get made otherwise. I'm more strict about what I back these days, though. The game has to be really up my alley.

And I might cave on Deus Ex, because it's my second favorite game series of all time. Square Enix prices drop like a rock, though.

I was pretty pleased with myself that I managed to avoid the Steam Winter Sale completely. It would be nice if that could continue.

#6 mattw

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 05:36 PM

I know the feeling and I'll wish you good luck sticking to this :)

I'm guilty of amassing a large backlog and with other hobbies I keep promising to spend more time at as well I really don't find that much time to game.

For that reason I'm always glad when I do get hooked on one game and play right through to the end.

I do like to support the guys at Feral and Aspyr so will no doubt add to the list this year and If the rumours of F1 2015 are correct I'll end up getting that and playing through a few seasons with 100% races which will take a fair while.....
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#7 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 06:06 PM

Good post and good plan.

I just spent some time getting real about prioritizing what I want to play now and tagging a large number of games for maybe/someday in my game's database. Yes, I keep a Tapforms database of them all with various saved searches to help me bring some order to the chaos I've created going nuts collecting over the years mostly during the big sales events.

Presently, I've narrowed the list to a core group of mostly recent Windows games I'd like to play with only one long RPG in the mix which is Kingdoms of Amalur. I can really relate to that feeling one gets about embarking on a long journey in a RPG even as great as they are when you know you've got so much other stuff too.

My plan after that is to work on the large number of Mac games but I'll do the same thing again and prioritize the best ones and toss the rest into the maybe/someday bin. Mac games age too fast to stock up on them and think you will get around to them whenever. Wait too long and OS upgrades break them permanently. So I want to play the best ones and then whatever gets broken oh, well. It won't be a big deal. It bugs me that I wasted money on games like Duke Nukem, Company of Heroes Campaign Edition, Command and Conquer Generals and Call of Duty Black OPS only to have all of them broken now in OS X. Lesson learned. All of those are Aspyr titles. None of the Feral titles still being sold has problems I am aware of. I am not especially pleased with Aspyr on this account all various reasons for it aside. As for Virtual Programming titles, I will consider myself fortunate if any of them work. Again, my own fault. Live and learn. I will not buy a VP port again.

I see my computer games purchases winding way down now as I own everything old that I wanted and there isn't much new I care about. For new games, I am looking forward to the XBox One.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell

#8 Matt Diamond

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 09:26 PM

Just to be clear, I don't judge anyone following their own bliss. Cougar's fine print for example looks pretty much like the rules I follow most years. This is a purely personal resolution and I thank everyone for their kind support.

Quote

The Witness is exempted, because I've been waiting seven years for that game. And I don't want to be spoiled.

Dang, I'd forgotten about The Witness. Why didn't I come up with this resolution just a week later?!? Must.. stay.. strong..
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#9 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 03:11 AM

Hmm, let's see: my Steam library is 1191 games strong. 35 of those are children games for my boy (Humongous complete collection and a couple other). 7 are duplicates (like when a game gets released again as an enhanced edition). 129 are in my "completed" category. So I have 1020 Steam games left to play. And I can add 11 on Uplay, 24 on Origin and 30 on GOG. Total: 1085. :w00t:

Keep in mind many of those (except on Uplay) are games I had for free (mostly average to low quality indie games I'll never touch) or old classic games (SimCity 2000, Duke Nukem 3D, that sort of thing, which I won't (re)play either), and finally a huge amount of indie titles I got through bundles I bought mainly for a couple games and the others in the package aren't of real interest to me.

Still, even counting only the games I'd like to play someday, I'll probably need a couple extra lifetimes... But I'll keep buying, because 99% of these were bought in bundles and sales, so it's not so expensive as it looks. My averaged monthly games bill is less than most people's mobile phone bill I think.

#10 Janichsan

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 04:26 AM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 22 January 2016 - 02:55 PM, said:

I was feeling guilty today about all the games I may never get around to playing, including the Firaxis Humble Bundle I just bought, plus all the good stuff that's coming out soon. And suddenly, I made a New Years resolution:

No more computer game purchases until 2017.
An excellent resolution. I had a similar one last year. It took me a bit more than a month to ignore it...

I managed however to drastically reduce my game purchases. My backlog grew far less last year than the years before. (It helped that Elite Dangerous took up most of my gaming time, so I had less incentives to buy new games.)

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#11 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 06:24 AM

I would really like to reach the point where I am caught up with the ones I regard as must plays and just buy games one at a time as I want to sit down and play them, not for later. When I think about it, doing this, buying a game at whatever price it is when I want it and then just playing that until I am done with it would ultimately result in me spending less money not more. Getting dozens of games for dirt cheap is not really dirt cheap when I am basically flushing the money for them down the toilet when there is almost zero chance I will ever have time to play them.

That looks good "on paper" doesn't it? Why do I find it so hard to be sensible sometimes?
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell

#12 Matt Diamond

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 09:46 AM

For me it's not the money, though it's probably a little more money than I remember. There are two emotional behaviors I'm trying to get a handle on.

First, I used to have more time for games, so buying games is like buying a memory of leisure time. A bit like booking a vacation that I enjoyed in the past, even though I probably won't have time to go this year. It's a bit silly, but I think that's the subconscious association I've made.

Second, the unplayed games aren't actually doing any harm yet I feel negative emotions when I look at them. Guilt for wasting money on them, or for wasting time on other things when I could have been playing that game. What can I say, I am a guilt-ridden individual.

I've also been helping my parents try to downsize, so maybe that has something to do with it too.

Anyway, this resolution will be an interesting experiment. Even if I break it, I hopefully will have learned something about what games really are important to me, and maybe save some money and manage my time better in future.

Or maybe Jan 1 2017 I'll go on a game buying binge and shout "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!".
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#13 Matt Diamond

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 09:55 AM

Well it's been almost 24 hours and I have to say, I'm totally impressing myself with how well this resolution is going.
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#14 the Battle Cat

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 10:03 AM

I don't know if I should say anything, it would be like going into a AA meeting and saying, "Hi, my name is Gary and I don't have your problem".  Now, I have several games I haven't finished, but I'm not going to finish them.  Also I have a couple games I'm playing concurrently.  But really, I have no backlog.  I'll leave now, time to polish my halo.
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#15 Tacohead

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 01:42 PM

I started thinking about this kind of thing at least a year ago. My backlog isn't going to set any records but it's still enough to last me at least a couple of years, if not more, at the rate I typically play.

So this past year I only purchased five games on Steam. All for about $32. They were all on sale. More importantly I actually finished two of them and I'm well on my way to finishing two of the other three. Only Torchlight 2 I might not go back to and finish and I got pretty far into that one. So I think I did pretty good.

A couple simple rules have been helpful.

(1) Only purchase games I am going to try to play right away and have a decent shot of actually finishing.

Adventure games, certain types of casual games, and so forth. The Walking Dead 2 and HuniePop.  I feel much more inclined to play something right away when I feel like I can finish it. So Telltale games all of a sudden have some great appeal for me. Tales from the Borderlands is one of the ones I'm well on my way to finishing.

(2)  Completely cut out certain genres that you either already have enough of, or simply don't need.

The main one here for me is RPGs, which has always been an all-time favorite. But they take an enormous amount of time and rarely get finished. I'm also well-stocked in this category thanks to Kickstarters from a few years ago. I have both the enhanced versions of Wasteland 2 and Divinity Original Sin just sitting there with Tides of Numeria on the way as well. I made an exception with Knights of the Old Republic 2 back in July because it was cheap and it's the sequel to my favorite RPG of all time. I've been playing that one off and on and I'm know almost finished with it. It could be the last RPG I ever purchase. Real-time strategy is another genre I have cut out.

(3) Only purchase games on sale, if you purchase anything at all.

There's just really no good reason to not purchase a game at a steep discount these days.

(4)  When you feel the urge dive into your library and play something you haven't played yet, or haven't played much.

I have found that this can actually satisfy that urge for "something new" just about as well as buying something new. I completed both Portal 1 & 2 this year after they had been sitting in my library virtually untouched for a long time.  They were actually both brilliant and a lot of fun and more than satisfied that urge.  And it really wasn't much different than if I had went and purchased them right then.

(5)  Like most people I exempt Humble Bundles from all of this.

I don't purchase all of them. I think I did two all of last year. For me it's all a charity thing. I like giving to charities occasionally so why not do it this way? I feel no pressure at all to play these games.

I did get a few more games from other sources over the past year but they were deeply discounted or even free (got Civilization 5 Campaign Edition for free during an Aspyr promotion).  And I got a few deeply discounted games from the MGS mainly just to "demo" them and satisfy my curiosity about them and throw a little money to the MGS.

So that is sort of a vague set of rules that I have been trying to follow.  The most important thing is I don't really feel swayed by anything anymore. I like to read about and keep track of what pops up on Steam and so forth, because it's interesting to see what these Indie developers keep coming up with, but that's as far as it goes these days.  And I no longer feel like I need to get something because it's so cheap during these crazy sales because I know it's going to be discounted again, probably several times, throughout the year. Plus, once again I turn to the library of games I already have for inspiration.

It's certain funny how things have changed. I remember, back in the day, desperately waiting for anything to show up on the Mac and then snatching it up immediately, often for $40 – $50.

Good luck with your plan.
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#16 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 01:43 PM

I've just taken a vow only to buy games when they hit 5$ or below, and that seems to work quite well for me. Everything but Blizzard games gets there at some point.

What is really scary though, is that I fear that I will soon hit that point where games on my backlog gets too old for the OS to run it.. :S

View Postthe Battle Cat, on 23 January 2016 - 10:03 AM, said:

I don't know if I should say anything, it would be like going into a AA meeting and saying, "Hi, my name is Gary and I don't have your problem".  Now, I have several games I haven't finished, but I'm not going to finish them.  Also I have a couple games I'm playing concurrently.  But really, I have no backlog.  I'll leave now, time to polish my halo.
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#17 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 01:26 AM

View PostTacohead, on 23 January 2016 - 01:42 PM, said:

(2)  Completely cut out certain genres that you either already have enough of, or simply don't need.

The main one here for me is RPGs, which has always been an all-time favorite. But they take an enormous amount of time and rarely get finished.
Good luck with that one. If you love RPGs, quitting long-term is harder than stopping heroine. I tried for the same reason (too much of a time sink), but failed. Right now I'm playing Sacred (an old best of 2004 RPG) and Steam indicates 79 hours played (some of this is lunch or dinner breaks, but still).
The only category I successfully stopped playing is online games (mainly FPS, I used to very good at Unreal, hence the pseudo), which is even worse than offline RPGs. And I suspect one of the main reasons this resolution holds is because I can no longer be competitive with very good players due to an accident which crippled my right hand. Even there I made an exception to this vow and played some Assassin's Creed online, but not too much.

#18 MichalM.Mac

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 04:41 AM

  • Buy more games from MGS
  • Do not buy game from MAS (only one - C&C Generals - in 2015)
  • Don't play MMOs (so far so good)


#19 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 08:39 AM

This does feel a bit like an AA meeting, doesn't it?

"Hi. I'm Dirty and so is my habit."
"Hi Dirty!"
"It's been less than 24 hours since I was playing Dungeon Siege until the early hours of another morning..."

The issue I'll confess to wrestling with here is obsessing about this stuff to the point where I turned fun into a chore, a to-do list. I felt like I needed to get this done, to get caught up. Then I would think to myself, then what? What is the point there? Will I feel good when I am caught up and have nothing to play? Is that the goal? Oh, no. Then I can play repayable stuff, online stuff, an MMO, etc. until the next game where I do the perceived normal thing of buying one game and playing it until I am done.

I speak of that in past tense but I'm not sure I am really there yet. I know this much. I am not at all alone in being crazy about this stuff. Threads like this come up over and over and over again as people resolve to get a handle on the game buying and game playing and backlogs, each for their own reasons.

Anyway, that's what my post above was about really. I needed to bring some order to the chaos so I can just chill and have fun. It is absolutely impossible in my remaining lifetime to play what I already own completely, never mind the endless parade of new titles I want to experience. It just is not doable so something needs to change around here in the way I think about this. That's why I figured I need to prioritize what I feel are the really stellar titles I own and further stick mostly to the recent stuff simply because while there are both old classics and new games destined to be classics, I might as well enjoy the bells and whistles of the new ones. There are really only a handful of games that for me truly merit going back in time compared to sticking to the present now that I think of it. Most notably for me this would feature the Infinity Engine D&D classic games. To me, they are timeless classics that can stand tall against any modern game. So I am very happy 3 out of 5 got HD remakes and the other two play well in Wine and can be modded for modern resolutions.

I agree too with the comment above about limiting genres. With sales I went kind of nuts into genres that really while cool are not the ones I truly love. For me that really comes down to role playing games and some shooters. Everything else runs a distant second. It isn't that they aren't good games too but I just do not have time for every single game that catches my eye and looks nifty to me. There is far, far more content available today than is doable by anyone. This is where I've gone wrong in a big way collecting games in various sales. In retrospect, there was never any point in buying them simply because of the lack of time to ever get around to them.

It's all about focus I think, focusing on what is purely the cream of the crop within one's own preferences and the hell with everything else that you will never actually have time for anyway.

Remember the good days of going to the store when selection was very limited compared to now? You'd buy one, maybe even two games and go home and play them for months. It was ok that something like an old Ultima game was so time consuming. It was okay to have do stuff like draw maps and read manuals and stuff because you got absorbed in one experience that kept you busy for a long time. Today, the constant flood of new games, many of them crap really and frequent on sale for dirt has lead to many gamers acquiring vast libraries of stuff they will not ever play. So anyone here that has a backlog, especially a big one is hardly alone. There is standing room only at the meeting.

In a sense, it was a good thing even for all the time I spent at it when I played EverQuest and EverQuest alone. That's all I did. I gamed plenty but just that one game. No backlog. No fussing over what to play. No tracking sales. No blowing money. No troubled feelings about am I out of mind or what? All I did was log in and have fun for many hours with a lot of cool people I met along the way and that was it.

I'm starting to just ramble now (what else is new?) but I do mean to separate the wheat from the chaff in all the stuff I own and and just play that as I try to move closer to what I think of as being normal behavior, something I've not been engaged in for too long when it comes to all of this. I am just being honest with myself there and I am only talking about myself there.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell

#20 Frigidman™

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 09:10 AM

Or like I spent 4 years in just Marathon ...

Ahhhh the good ole days!

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