October Humble Choice

October’s Humble Choice is out the day I’m writing this (October 4th). What’s in the box?

Deathloop is an assassin-y kind of FPS like Dishonored (it’s from the Dishonored guys) where you have to kill eight targets before the timeloop you’re stuck in reinitiates. There’s also a rival assassin who’s trying to kill you, who can be played by another player or by an AI. Could be a flop, but could be cool. I’ll try it.

Monster Train is a roguelike deckbuilder game and I have had enough of those. I’m glad I got lucky with Banners of Ruin and stumbled into a winning build fairly early, because otherwise it probably would’ve wound up in Regrets. Monster Train has a weird and kinda cool premise where you’re demons on a train repelling an angelic invasion into Hell (and presumably counterinvading into Heaven at some point), but I’m just done with the gameplay on this one. Turns out, Slay the Spire is probably the only deckbuilding roguelike game I need.

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope is a collection of branching-narrative games in the “games that wish they were movies” genre. This is a bad genre. Just make movies.

Disciples: Liberation is a dark fantasy RPG with inquisitors and undead and stuff, and I’m on board for that. We’ll see if it sticks the landing or not, but I like the premise.

Maid of Sker can’t wait to gush about how cool Welsh ghost stories are. It’s a horror game where the gimmick is some kind of sound-based thing? This seems less like a movie with some QTEs slapped onto it to provide the ghost of gameplay and more like one of those horror walking simulator games born from gamer culture’s collective grief for the cancellation of Silent Hills. I like that genre well enough to try its best examples, but not enough to go digging for more after that, and Maid of Sker definitely looks like it’s in the strata where I’d be digging for more.

Epic Chef is about being a chef, presumably in an epic way. There’s some kind of gameplay for cooking stuff, some kind of gameplay for farming stuff, some kind of gameplay for chef duels. Kinda looks like Stardew Valley crossed with Cook Serve Delicious, but I think I’d rather play those games. It doesn’t help that I’m not much of a fan of the low-poly art style.

Railroad Corporation is a railroad tycoon game. How many of these do we have now? Too many. I don’t know if Railroad Corporation is the best of the genre, and I don’t care enough about this genre to find out.

Golf Gang is a golfing game. I do not want to play a golfing game.

That’s two pick-ups, but also I got some wishlist items from assorted Steam sales (and, in one case, from realizing that the listed price is $5): Hades, Drug Dealer Simulator, Hacker Simulator, and Ori and the Blind Forest. The math on How Long To Beat doesn’t seem to be adding up, though. Prior to adding these games, I had (according to the website) 167 games on the list. After adding these six games, I have…170? All of the new games are on the list, as CTRL+F confirms. Some of the stats screens (which do helpful things like tell me that 100% of my games are either unlisted platform or PC) are adding up to 173 like they should be, but the number indicating the total number of games on the list is 170.

Still, I know I added six games this month, which is the same number of games that went on the Complete list (Out of Space, Thief Simulator, Far Cry 2, Okami, Iron Harvest, and Crypt of the Necrodancer), plus some went into Regrets (Little Big Workshop, Industria, Magicka, the Lord of the Rings Adventure Card Game – no big story behind the last one, I just consistently passed it over when looking for a new game even though it’s got one of the shorter playtimes on my remaining list, and realized this means I don’t really want to play it). I’ve got two games that I should be able to unload from the backlog fairly quickly, too – Ori is only about 10-15 hours long, and I’m nearly done with Project Highrise, a game I’ve been picking at here and there since June. So there’s some reason to be optimistic about the backlog shrinking despite continued acquisitions.

On the other hand, when I’m looking for a new game to play, I usually look at the How Long To Beat backlog sorted by shortest average completion time. That means the games I play are skewed towards the very shortest. Sure, sometimes I play a game like Far Cry 2, chosen because I’ve played it and liked it, just never finished it, and I’d had a bunch of Regrets lately and wanted something I knew I’d like and wasn’t broken, but mostly I’m going through games more or less in ascending order of average time to beat, and I’ve pretty much run out of games with a single-digit hour completion time. Will my backlog keep shrinking over time, or will it eventually start to expand again once I finish chewing through all the short games?

Of course, this isn’t really a problem. It’s not like finishing the backlog would represent some kind of accomplishment. It’s just a means of getting myself to try out new games that I’m very likely to enjoy. And since it isn’t a real problem, I don’t plan on putting much effort into a solution, particularly since the only three obvious solutions defeat the point of the project in favor of number-goes-up: I could cut off incoming games as much as I like, but then I’d be missing out on games I want to play. I could increase the amount of time I spend playing games, but then I’d be interfering with other parts of my life for the sake of a goal that doesn’t really mean anything. I could try to finish games more quickly, but I’m naturally a thorough and methodical player, so I’d be having less fun if I switched to playing just the main story in the name of finishing games as fast as possible.

So instead my solution is to shrug my shoulders and not worry about it. My backlog is steadily shrinking right now anyway.

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