The Pile: A Tradition

Steam winter sale

I'm by no means a scholar of pre-Christian European religious practices, but here's my rough mental sketch of what Yule was before the English language appropriated it as a synonym for Christmas:

Scene: A dark winter in Scandinavia
Bearded man with horned helmet: It sure is dark and cold and lonely out!
Woman with braided hair: Yeah. I know, let's throw a party!
Beardy Hornson: Yeah! We'll bring all the food and drink we can to one big pile!
Braidy Hairsdottir: And we'll just party until we run out of food and booze!
Hornson: C'mon and help haul stuff to the pile, everyone!
Lydia: I am sworn to carry your burdens.
exeunt

According to this loose history that I probably made up in some dream after a long night of ale and Skyrim, humans have been celebrating the darkest time of the year for perhaps millennia now by building and consuming piles. In the beginning there were three piles: one for firewood, one for food, and one for booze. These are traditions that we still often observe today, scattered across the end of the year.

Earlier in human history, piles were built to mark important places, events, or people. These piles were not generally for consumption, though some piles became alters upon which consumables were offered as sacrifice. But there were also feasts.

These early piles demonstrate the importance of amassing the pile, of bringing our resources together. Whether the pile was for consuming or remembering, there is a social importance in bringing ourselves and our resources together. This community is part of the ritual, and the tradition, of piles.

Over the course of human history, we have increased our piles, both in mass and number.

We now build piles of presents during what was once Yule. We observe the old ways here, too, by siting around these piles until they are gone. This consumption is a little more complicated than ingestion or ignition. Gifts must be unwrapped and then responded to in some way that hopefully conveys some form of appreciation and avoids offending the giver. Some groups add further steps to the ritual of acceptance and appreciation.

But lo, we have devised new sorts of piles. Certainly we hoard newspapers, old notes, downloaded data, leftovers forgotten in the back of the fridge, stacks of records, tapes and CDs. Movies stored on a variety of media, sometimes duplicated.

And games.

We all know about the ritual of building our games piles, and the annual festival of pile building is fast approaching. The Steam winter sale is reported to be scheduled for the 20th, and holiday sales elsewhere will soon be followed by post-holiday sales. We then will, hopefully, begin the slow process of consuming our vast piles, alone and in groups.

This is a time-honored ritual we are about to enjoy together. Let us enjoy this festive season as comrades and mutual celebrants, appreciating the pile-building with the dubious solemnity it deserves.

Comments

My name is Prozac, and I have piles.

Spoiler:

of unplayed games, you degenerates! :)

So....having a ginormous pile of games one has no hope of ever getting through and continues to add to...is a good thing?

It's the spirit of The Season!

wordsmythe wrote:

According to this lose history that I probably made up in some dream after a long night of ale and Skyrim

Future generations will recognise this moment as the Irony Singularity.

Maq wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

According to this lose history that I probably made up in some dream after a long night of ale and Skyrim

Future generations will recognise this moment as the Irony Singularity.

Nice catch, He does have the power to edit our posts though... You do realise that is why his grammar 'appears' so impeccable. He just destroys any evidence to the contrary.

Prozac wrote:
Maq wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

According to this lose history that I probably made up in some dream after a long night of ale and Skyrim

Future generations will recognise this moment as the Irony Singularity.

Nice catch, He does have the power to edit our posts though... You do realise that is why his grammar 'appears' so impeccable. He just destroys any evidence to the contrary.

I actually had a bit of a short circuit, where I "corrected" this from the correct word.

I must be getting old.

Prozac wrote:
Maq wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

According to this lose history that I probably made up in some dream after a long night of ale and Skyrim

Future generations will recognise this moment as the Irony Singularity.

Nice catch, He does have the power to edit our posts though... You do realise that is why his grammar 'appears' so impeccable. He just destroys any evidence to the contrary.

Oh I have a screenshot squirrelled away should he prove so craven.

Besides which, I'll know.

I also have a pile of my editing failures.

It's the lose/loose transposition in reverse that's so delicious.

Maq wrote:

It's the lose/loose transposition in reverse that's so delicious.

No, what's delicious was the egg nog.

wordsmythe wrote:
Maq wrote:

It's the lose/loose transposition in reverse that's so delicious.

No, what's delicious was the egg nog.

It is among the best of the available nogs.

I am Vrikk, and I'm a pileaholic. I am however in rehab... and am doing ok. I've added a few more titles to my list than I would like to, BUT I have eliminated 80% of my physical game collection over the past two months.

Vrikk wrote:

I am Vrikk, and I'm a pileaholic. I am however in rehab... and am doing ok. I've added a few more titles to my list than I would like to, BUT I have eliminated 80% of my physical game collection over the past two months.

Replacing physical copies with digital ones isn't the path to recovery!

mateo wrote:
Vrikk wrote:

I am Vrikk, and I'm a pileaholic. I am however in rehab... and am doing ok. I've added a few more titles to my list than I would like to, BUT I have eliminated 80% of my physical game collection over the past two months.

Replacing physical copies with digital ones isn't the path to recovery!

:)

Piles of piles is totally traditional.

May our piles grow large and full of bountiful bounty.

May our shame also grow large and full of regret, pain, acerbity, acrimony, animosity, animus, annoyance, antagonism, bad feeling , bitterness, choler, cynicism, displeasure, dudgeon, exacerbation, exasperation, fog, fury, grudge, huff, hurt, ill feeling, ill will, indignation, ire, irritation, malice, malignity, miff, offense, outrage, passion, perturbation, pique, rage, rancor, rise, spite, umbrage, vehemence, vexation annnnnnd wrath. Especially wrath.

I haven't gotten rid of my piles of games, but I did manage to shrink it by 42 units this year. Gross, not net. I also compressed it by taking all of my Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube games and putting them in a small binder, discarding the DVD cases. I did that for my PS1 games years ago. So, that's one way of shrinking the volume of a pile while doing nothing about the amount of time it would take to finish all of the games therein.

I bet collectors out there would be aghast at the thought, but once the system is obsolete, I just can't tolerate the games themselves taking up a massive amount of space.

I slowly replace with digital as well, but that's not always an option.

Backloggery helped this year. But I didn't stick to only buying things on the wishlist there. Oops.

wordsmythe wrote:
Maq wrote:

It's the lose/loose transposition in reverse that's so delicious.

No, what's delicious was the egg nog.

Wait, wait -- do we have verb tense disagreement here? Wordy is in his cups, I say!

Tanglebones wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Maq wrote:

It's the lose/loose transposition in reverse that's so delicious.

No, what's delicious was the egg nog.

It is among the best of the available nogs.

I prefer the S variety.

TheHipGamer wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Maq wrote:

It's the lose/loose transposition in reverse that's so delicious.

No, what's delicious was the egg nog.

Wait, wait -- do we have verb tense disagreement here? Wordy is in his cups, I say!

Sometimes I'm playful.

I'm thankful that digital distribution has helped me hide my sinful pile from my beloved wife. So much easier to maintain her respect for me than hiding everything under a loose floorboard.

Prozac wrote:

Nice catch, He does have the power to edit our posts though... You do realise that is why his grammar 'appears' so impeccable. He just destroys any evidence to the contrary.

We have always been at war with Eurasia.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Prozac wrote:

Nice catch, He does have the power to edit our posts though... You do realise that is why his grammar 'appears' so impeccable. He just destroys any evidence to the contrary.

We have always been at war with Eurasia.

Doubleplus good!