Alright, crew. I've seen lots of talk lately about how you're all in "slumps" — talk about how E3 and the new generation of consoles aren't really grabbing you. I imagine a few folks stayed out of the Steam Summer Sale thread, because of slumps, or fear of too large a pile, or some sick desire to avoid gifts of games both great and grotesque.
Well I'm here to tell you to stow that gab. Sure, you might be in a rut. You might not like the games you've grown accustomed to enjoying. Perhaps you have found that something besides gaming has your attention these days — but I'm going to make a quick guess: You aren't posting about a lull in your gaming because you're feeling pulled toward some other, non-gaming activity. No, if you were otherwise occupied, it probably isn't because of your newfound love of posting on gaming websites about how you're not really feeling that interested in gaming these days.
So here, let me help you.
Before I dig too far here, I don't want to insist that you must play games. If you really have been enjoying something else, or had used games as a relief valve and no longer feel the need to lean on that particular crutch, then more power to you; go in peace. If you had come to define yourself as a gamer, or even as a gamer of a certain genre of games, but now find your self-definition isn't matching up with your actual lifestyle, then maybe it's just time to adjust the way you see yourself. That can be alarming, but it's totally OK. Humans change over time. We're even sort of good at changing, growing and adapting — it's the sort of thing we get bonuses in for role playing games and space strategy titles.
But a lot of goodjers write articles, posts and emails asking for help. They want to be playing games but can't seem to find a game that revs their engine anymore.
If you're tired of the same old song, the answer isn't always to stop playing entirely. It's time to change your tune.
Chris Cesarano wrote last week that he'd rediscovered joy in gaming when he picked up the latest Mario Kart. Chris takes games seriously, and is used to devoting a lot of time to long games, caring deeply about the mechanics, the characters and the presentation and feedback of games. I really like that about Chris. I like a lot of the same things — sometimes.
Chris "El Serio" Cesarano found himself back into that tight focus of competition, situated in a game of talking toadstools and cartoon plumbers with evil glares. He really dug it. Let's face it, there's something different about that style of play.
And that's honestly why I'm not afraid to have a pile dozens of titles long, or to walk into a Steam sale with a wish list of over 100 games. Because I know that the dinner I enjoy tonight isn't the same thing I'm going to want to eat every night, let alone for breakfast tomorrow.
So maybe it's time to look at other parts of the menu.
Now you may think that you've seen some pretty big menus in your time. There's a particular place over in Chinatown here with menus thick enough that I'm convinced they could provide the basis for a solid PhD dissertation. Next to the Steam catalog, though, that ain't nothing.
Let me highlight something Rabbit wrote last week:
The back catalog/indie/Steam world just provides ACRES of fantastic content for fractions of the price of the content on consoles.
I guarantee you that there are hundreds of titles available that you've never even heard of. A lot of them won't cost you more than a couple bucks and fifteen minutes to try out. Seriously, where else this side of Spotify can you try that many things that easily?
I actually spent a significant part of my Steam sale budget on buying titles I hadn't heard of, just so I can throw them at writers and other goodjers who complain to me about games not interesting them.
Of course, not everyone has a budget for Steam sales. That's what the wish list is for. You don't need all those games right now; you can wait until fall, or maybe even next summer. Go ahead, throw that oddball game on your list. It won't hurt anyone just sitting there. If you decide later on that there's no way you'd ever be interested in trying that game for $0.99, then go ahead and delete it. But really, there's not too much reason to be terribly picky about what you might be kinda sorta interested in trying out at some future date.
And as an added bonus, if anyone on my friends list actually has any of these weird games on their wishlist, then I'll send them on over.
So go ahead. Try the special. Close your eyes, open the menu, and point. At the very worst, you'll appreciate your regular order a lot more afterwards.