My name is The Ego…

And yes, I have a problem. And yes, I know I’ve said it before. But this time, I’m doing something about it!

This has come up in my blog time and time again – backlog issues. What’s the issue? Well, I buy too many games apparently. At least this is one of those problems I can kind of track back to it’s source. When I used to work retail, I was really good at my job. And being good at my job led to me getting a lot of gift cards/free things. So I bought pretty much anything I had any inclination towards playing for about a year, and on top of that, I also picked up anything that looked even remotely interesting when it was on clearance, so I got it dirt cheap.

Oh, and fixating on one game for long periods of time. Like Overwatch and my incessant need to get those holiday event legendary skins. Takes up a lot.

Now, factor that in to a healthy attitude towards buying the good/must have releases of any given year, and you end up with nearly 30 games that have barely/have not seen the light of day yet.

So with that in mind, I’m (for the first time) making a reasonable plan to combat the issue. One of the first “adult” decisions regarding my gaming: I’m just not buying anything new until I can clear out my backlog. Or…you know, find something that is a must play day one game.

I even took it one further. Any of the games that I had coming out with an actual release date that I had pre-ordered at a discount – cancelled. Yes, I have given up on new games and good deals (though, cancelling the new Ghost Recon game came as a sigh of relief after I played the open beta…)And for anyone who knows me, this is huge. I’ve even written about the desire to buy games that might be interesting just because it’s a good deal. But I’ve given it some serious thought. Even if I manage to snag some new release at a “steal of a price” which often means at least half off, if I don’t get around to playing it till a year later, or longer in some cases, then – was it really a deal? I mean, good chance is it went cheaper at some point, so I didn’t win there, and I didn’t play it right away, so I lose there too.

So step 1 accomplished. Nothing new coming in.

(As an aside, I picked a devastating time to do that too, as Horizon: Zero Dawn, my most anticipated game of some time, is due out tomorrow)

On to step 2: Clear it out!

I will say that I am working diligently to hack my way through the library like so many vines in the jungle. So far, so good. Over the last week and a half I managed to finish Farcry 4 and Littlebigplanet 3. And I got a number of the trophies as well. So there’s that. But what I don’t is just brazenly dispense with the games in some consumerist driven frenzy. I still want to play and enjoy them, so I am.

How fast will I finish the other 28+ games? Who knows. Hopefully in time for some of the bigger releases of this year to still make their way to me within a reasonable time frame.

All that being said: I feel good about my decision. Liberated even. Frankly, aside from just picking out games I don’t foresee myself playing in a relative time frame, and just unloading them online, etc – this is really the only option. And, as a gamer, it’s nice to finally get to all of the things that had my interest – fleeting or not.

I don’t know how other people manage this. Life and gaming. Especially to the level with which I’ve become accustomed. But, I’m striving for balance. Let me know if you have any tips.

– The Ego

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Double/Triple/Quadruple Dipping

As a rule, I’ve always played my games one at a time. Maybe I’ve been corrupted by folksy wisdom/cliches about finishing what’s on my plate before moving on.

Lately, I’ve been doing the exact opposite. It definitely has the drawbacks that I thought it would. The more I steep myself in the games that don’t require me to remember story elements, the more I forget the important story elements of the games I’m playing when I’m “taking a break”. So, it is problematic. However, it’s nice to have a bit of variety.

I’d been playing Witcher 3 pretty heavily. It’s a great game, don’t get me wrong. The combat style took a bit of getting used to, but once I got the hang of it, I liked it. The story is good, but having not played the originals, I’m finding it’s taking a fairly big investment of time to get going. Probably not helped by my deciding to play the game on Death March. Dying a lot tends to slow things down a bit.

That being said, the investment of time needed is not something I always have…

So it’s nice to have games where I can turn it on, play for a half an hour or less and then turn it off. Because staying up till the middle of the night because I’m “trying to finish this part” isn’t the best option.

Evolve is proving to be a good diversion. That kind of sounds like I’m writing it off and I’m not. It’s incredibly fun. Like I said in the other post I wrote, unlocking characters is proving to be a bit tedious. And having to pay to unlock the rest, doubly so. That being said, I’m having a blast. The differentiation between characters in the same class adds a lot of depth.

So, currently, I’m bouncing between Evolve, Far Cry 4, Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel. Even within those games, I’m not sticking to a single character. I’ve already beaten Borderlands 2, so I’m running through it the second time with a different class. I picked it up late into the release, because I wanted the GOTY edition (and I wanted it at a good price…30$ on sale), so my first playthrough was with Krieg, The Psycho. I have to say – it was a pretty awesome choice. I imported my save file over from the PS3, but I left him be for now and I’m trying the other DLC class – the Mechromancer.

I specifically waited for the Pre-Sequel on the PS4. I started as By the way, kudos to 2K Australia and Gearbox for making sure, several times, that I actually intended to play as Claptrap. I digress.

I was talking to a co-worker about the other classes, and the Lawbringer sounded pretty cool. So I started a new save file today with the new character.

I’m working on multiple tiers of attention deficit now.

So, all of that to say that I’m breaking my rules and I’m loving it. It’s kind of freeing. At least in the sense that I can just do what I want. Playing a mission here or there in Far Cry is all I really need to keep pushing through what I have divined about the story so far. Borderlands – not all that complex. Just keep note of the best butt and fart jokes so I have anecdotes to relate later on.

Just being able to game when I have free time, instead of considering the amount of time I need to make any real progress, is amazing. Like I said – freeing. I don’t have to feel like I’m not being productive. I don’t need to say “Oh, I want to play, but I have to finish up quickly because I have to do the dishes/walk the dog/run those errands or meet so and so at said time. Bailing mid-match in Evolve is bad, but not the end of the world. The game will finish itself.

Now, to start Batman. Mmmhmmmmm.

– The Ego

So I bought it

Ok, for a change I’ve been spending my time off playing videogames. Like I said in one of my past posts, I’ve bought quite a few games lately. I’m not going to go in to any kind of depth as most of these games have been out for quite some time. That being said: I’ll give some quick general impressions.

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – Great, but been there. Borderlands 2 was amazing. No doubt about it. Now they’ve packaged together Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (just like I assumed they would and the main reason I returned my PS3 copy) together and amped up the graphics, included all of the DLC – it’s a lot of game in the package for a decent price. Of all of the current remastered games on the PS4, I think this is the best so far. The colours and art style lend themselves to the native 1080p really well – and the fact that it’s been up-scaled to the 4K resolution – it really is a thing of beauty. And of course – Buttstallion. There hasn’t been a character like Handsome Jack in a long time. I look forward to the “hero’s” origin story as I progress through the Pre-Sequel.

Farcry 4 – I didn’t know what to expect going into this. Ubisoft is a great company who moves a bit faster than they should. I’d never played anything from the series previous to its current incarnation, but I wanted to give it a shot. It was up for a lot of awards and the antagonist is voiced by the illustrious Troy Baker. Not something I’d pass up honestly. So far – pretty great. I enjoy the mechanics of the game, probably one of the more solid FPS games I’ve played in a while. Beyond that – beautiful setting. Not somewhere I’d ever considered going in real life, but after seeing the majestic vistas in an animated 4K (yes, I own a 4K and I am really loving it) – I might just have to plan the trip.

Evolve – Yes, I bought it.

Despite the urging from various friends and colleagues, I took the plunge. I had a plethora of gift cards burning a hole in my pocket. In the end, it came down to Evolve and Pay Day 2: Crimewave edition. Did I make the right choice? Let me know in the comments. As for the game I chose: Pretty incredible. I had taken part in the beta and what I actually got to play was amazing. My concern as I tore through the cellophane packaging was – what if the player base had abandoned it? But I was relieved as soon as I got in – on a Wednesday during the day no less. The mechanics are amazing. The diversity in classes is apparent and each character’s role is crucial. So far I’ve played every class – not every character – and they all offer a unique intro to the game. My biggest disappointment (aside from the overwhelming amount of paid DLC) is the unlock/level system. Having to use specific weapons or tactics to further progress through the character/ability unlock tree is pedantic at the best of it. And that’s only from one day of play. I don’t mind a leveling structure – but I’d prefer it be a win/loss basis or some combination of excellent play, not whether or not I’m using weapons or skills that seem pointless or difficult to make work (I’m looking at you Markov and your lame mines…).

Generally, I hate playing multiple games at the same time. I’ve always been really principled when it comes to that. Starting a story and then having to take a long break so that I can start something new annoyed me because I’d generally forget where I was at and either A) retrace my steps via reading missions logs, wikis and the like or B) Force me to restart the game because I felt as though I was always missing something crucial. At least with these, no real risk there.

– The Ego

A good deal is a good deal…

I feel like this is part of the blog where I have to admit that I have a problem. Yes, I’m a game addict. The fact that I write this blog, keep myself up to date on basically all of the comings and goings of the industry – regardless of the fact that I only really play on one console – more than proves that.

However, when a good deal comes up, I’d be crazy not to grab it, wouldn’t I? Wouldn’t I?!

Well, either way, I buy when something catches my eye.

To be frank, I think the times cry out for us to be savvy shoppers. Between the incessant amount of marketing we’re subject to as gamers (read: consumers) and the hype machine surrounding some games and the proliferation of games in general, watching for a good price on a good game is paramount. Would I like to be able to purchase every game new on release day? Absolutely. Unfortunately, I’m finding more and more that that is not a realistic goal.

I know, I know. I keep rounding this bend incessantly. No time and no money make me go something something.

In the last five days I’ve picked up three games: Farcry 4, Kingdom Hearts 2.5 and the Handsome collection. None of those games are going to be quick plays. But at the prices I got them? Steals. The whole lot of them. I felt a bit like that Ikea commercial the lady runs to her car.

This might actually be Hell. I feel a bit like Tantalus. Except that the controller is always just out of reach, but the deals on games just keep piling up in front of me. It’s a race against my credit card.

There is a silver lining here though. For a change, I’m not just airing a grievance with some aspect of the industry, or combating real life. The silver lining, as it were, is that I’m getting myself primed and pumped for some up-coming, and likely-to-be awesome titles. Like Kingdom Hearts 3!

I remember when I was still at university, and I was on my PS2 (dating myself again), I had gotten a game as a gift from my girlfriend at the time. Just to show you how long ago this was, EB Games was still a good company that was easy to deal with and really cared about making gamers happy. So, I’d gotten Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain 2. I was very excited, and I dove into it. Unfortunately, the copy I ended up with was a dud. After a week of playing it, I couldn’t progress past a certain part. So, we went back to EB to see what they’d be willing to do, and at the time (decent, but in the distant past) they had a promotion where you could buy a game, play it for two weeks, and trade it in for a new game of equal value. Take a second, I don’t want anyone falling off of their chairs on my account.

The whole point of the last paragraph: I took a chance on what could have been a potentially awful game. I mean, Disney + Final Fantasy = fun? I had a hard time buying into the concept. But the guy working there urged me to it. Plus, I had two weeks to change my mind. Anyway, I did it. And now it’s one of the most anticipated games of this generation for me.

Long story short: I bought a bunch of games, but now I get to do a whole KH marathon before the new one comes out. Nostalgia a plenty for this gamer.

I guess the long and the short of my single-malt diatribe is: Sometimes it’s worth taking a chance on a game, even if that means burying yourself under a whole mountain of un-played games. And frankly, if I can juggle keeping this blog up, real life and a job with my gaming, then you surely can do me one better.

– The Ego