2018 - 12 Month Pile Program

Eleima wrote:

It made me sad to do so, because it had been gifted to me by JillSammich who passed away a while back. :(

This is the first I'm hearing about this

I'm so sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Shoptroll. We only got the news here at GWJ back in May, but he passed away after a motorcycle accident back in July 2015. We hadn't seen him in a while because he was so busy with Telltale. It's just so sad. During the Steam sale, I was looking at which goodjers were wishing for a specific game (Memoria IIRC), and he was one of them. Really got to me.

Yikes I still see LobsterMobster on my friends list on Steam and that always makes me sad too...

It's obviously not a pace I'll keep up, but I have to admit that finishing four games in the last week feels good.

I guess I have finished, uh, half of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in the last week. One of those games I could drown in with all that potential for min-maxing.
Or maybe it is because you cant walk 3 steps without another 5 minute cutscene...

I want to be a part of this program this year. It's going to be a challenge as I'm going to have to really abstain from new game purchases and be extremely selective about picking up the gems I missed in 2017. Another facet to this endeavor is pacing myself on the perpetual games and games that are simply very epic in scope (i.e. The Witcher 3).

Finally, I need to be more honest on tracking sites like Backloggery. I tend to curate my "Now Playing" list quite heavily but in reality if I were to place everything that I'm playing day-to-day as well as those more pressing games that I want to finish but haven't touched in 2-4 weeks, the site will shade all the stuff that's fallen to the wayside. It's actually a very good visual indicator of what's still hot and what's not so much.

Will see if I have time tonight to list out all the stuff I have installed across Steam, GOG and PSN and actually compile everything into a practical "Goals" list.

Personally I'm usually good at tackling those small indie games in my backlog. But I have real trouble finishing ones that take 50 hours +. I want to start small and track the game that I most want to finish in year 2018:

Divinity Original Sin 2 (est: 90 hours + )
Purchased it on January 1st, 2018. I love everything about it. I'm devoting all of my time into it right now.

What I fear though, is the fact that I already have 4 instances running (3 multiplayer, 1 single player). I've spent a combined of 20 hours in the starting area. I've abandoned one of the multiplayer instances as it was more of a sandbox for me to get used to the mechanics.

Borderlands TPS (est: 20 hours)
I need to finish this game. It really fell short on my expectation, but I really need to finish it

Rise of Tomb Raider (est: 20 hours)
Bought it through one of the humble bundle. Loved the first game, hoping to get to it this year.

I think this is a pretty achievable plan? I hope? let's hope I don't cave for a Switch this year......

Another sort of non-gaming related goal is to set up my tracking sheet. I tried using both Grouvee and Backloggery before and it didn't quite click. Currently using Steam category to track my progress, but I also have ~10 games that come free from the Twitch/Prime launcher. So those are a bit hard to track. I figure I can spend some time setting up a spreadsheet.

Purchased my new tiny small gaming diary at the weekend and the pen of pile tracking has been chosen*

Will be trying to keep tabs on targets, games played, time playing them, purchases made, cash spent. Positives and negs noted. It's a slim diary about the size of a playing card, so not going to be any essays or anything.

*Not really. Any old pen have to hand, or pencil, crayon even.

Installed Games that I Want to Finish in 2018
Endless Space 2
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Killer is Dead
Grim Dawn
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II
The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine
StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty
Attack on Titan

Perpetual Games that Need a Set Goal Defined to Avoid "Over-playing"
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls (PC)
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls (PS4)
Heroes of the Storm
Guild Wars 2
Furious Angels
Tekken 7
various shmups

Possible Pile Additions
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

Installed Games - No Urgency to Finish
Nioh DLC Season Pass
The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
Hotline Miami
Master of Orion 2
Her Story
Age of Wonders 3
Galactic Civilizations 3
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
DMC: Devil May Cry
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Satellite Reign
Neon Chrome
Doki Doki LIterature Club
Infested Planet
Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance

Really Old/Fringe Games I Should Probably Leave Well Enough Alone
Ninja Gaiden (Xbox/Xbox 360)
Eador: Genesis
Disciples 2 - Rise of the Elves
Disciples 2 - Gallean's Return

Oof. Categorized like I have here, I can definitely see a case for simply deleting a bunch of games as a form of HDD feng shui. But you know, being a pack rat and freak, there are games on this list - like Satellite Reign and Stellaris that I like to boot up once in while and just behold them.

Reworked my list again because I legitimately began playing the vanilla version of Ninja Gaiden for the original Xbox last year but dropped it when I realized the difficulty would keep my occupied for way too long. Now that IGN's done their Let's Play series, I am tempted all over again to give this one another spin.

Well, the first big announcements of the year have happened, so I'm rejiggering my plans a bit.

Mostly, I'm shuffling Dark Souls off of my PC pile in favor of getting the Switch version when it releases in May. It runs great on my PC, but I'd rather have the portability of the Switch version.

I've also decided to scrap my ten purchase limit for the year, because it was causing me a lot of undue stress. The idea was to force myself to play backlog games instead of buying new ones, but in practice it was just setting myself up to feel guilty about anything I did buy.

Instead, the only rule I'll have about buying something is that it needs to be "next". No buying things for the collection or to put them straight in to the backlog. We'll see how that goes.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I've also decided to scrap my ten purchase limit for the year, because it was causing me a lot of undue stress. The idea was to force myself to play backlog games instead of buying new ones, but in practice it was just setting myself up to feel guilty about anything I did buy.

Have thought about making it so that you have to "buy" a game from your backlog?

Set the backlog game at 50% of what you bought it for, then decide if you have better value in your back log before you spend a greater amount on the new game...

Oh dear Monkey you've invented a new gamification of the pile

You could then put the money you've imagined spending on the pile game into a gaming kitty when you're done with that game. You're then only allowed to buy new games from the money kept within that kitty. A new game coming up want to buy? better play a couple pile games to get the funds needed and save them for that new release, rather than fritter away your kitty funds on a couple sale games you're not that interested in really.

Mmm... My extended thoughts sound super stressful and overly complicated, excellent!

I actually popped back in to say kergguz might have been right, I've not managed to get back to Fallout 4 this month so far. I think I've been a bit ambitious with the number of games to skip between over the month and something will have to give. Right now feels like that's going to be Fallout 4. Edit. Also the Switch may not have helped at this time.

Nice twist on the cleared backlog kitty being the source of funding for new release purchases Bubblefuzz...

That's a neat idea, but honestly things like that just get in the way for me. I end up dorking around with those meta games, and they just add an extra layer of stress and obligation. I want to get Dessert but first I have to beat Vegetables! Since stress and obligation are what I'm trying to avoid, I don't think it would be beneficial.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

That's a neat idea, but honestly things like that just get in the way for me. I end up dorking around with those meta games, and they just add an extra layer of stress and obligation. I want to get Dessert but first I have to beat Vegetables! Since stress and obligation are what I'm trying to avoid, I don't think it would be beneficial.

This is exactly why I've tried to avoid things the meta-things like buying only X games a year, no games a year, making target lists, beat X games to allow myself to buy Y new games. I've never found them to work and I usually felt like I was just setting myself up for failure whenever I tried them.

Keeping things simple is best.

I know I like to make a game out of it, but I was pulling your legs on that one

beeporama wrote:

January 2018: Cosmic Star Heroine; Dear Esther; Icey; Inside; Jotun

I tend to be a "focused" gamer, and it's unusual to play more than one game at a time... so, I'm glad that I set aside a month to focus on small and/or indie titles. I made it through my January goals yesterday, and even fit What Remains Of Edith Finch in earlier this month.

Granted, I only made it because I bounced off of Jotun almost immediately and dropped Cosmic Star Heroine about ten hours in... but at least I've tried them.

I also learned, thanks to most of the others, that just because a game is weird or arty doesn't mean I'm going to like it... even if it's widely liked or well reviewed. Another disconnect between "the gamer I think I am (or want to be)" and "the gamer I actually am." (Glad I got in Edith Finch, because it was definitely my favorite of the month.)

Nice work beeporama! That's some good progress.

Most of the month for me has been spent playing Assassin's Creed Origins, so no backlog progress has been made. Next month the Civ 6 expansion is out, so I'll likely be playing that for a while as well. I might be able to fit a smaller backlog game in before then though, we'll see.

I began to write out a post in the Switch thread wherein I express why I'm a bit antsy for a new Nintendo Direct. The idea is when I look around at what I have for the Switch, nothing seems to fit what I want to play right now. So instead I want to look to the future. Hollow Knight? I've been dying to start from scratch on Switch, and there's no release date. Battle Chasers? Maybe, and I most certainly am eager to get that Kickstarter code any day now. Hell, even having a date for Bloodstained would be nice.

What piles onto this stress is the fact that the games current and upcoming that I do want are all on PS4 or I cannot play them until after work. Which, looking back at my progress this month, has me wondering where the sudden drop off has come from.

Regardless, I'm now in a bad mental space of obligation, desire, and time available. Attending Church, beginning a Bible Study, continuing my time at the gym, podcast recording every other week and football are all becoming demands on my time. Fortunately there's only one more Football game left before I have more time to myself on Sundays. However, this then clashes with something else: my desire to work on my YouTube videos and facing the conclusion that my "record footage for multiple at once" has failed spectacularly. In fact, it is this realization in particular I have to firmly accept and move on from, as part of my frazzled "what do I do with my game time" has me pummeled with all the video ideas I want to do. I need to slow down, capture the last footage needed for my Metroid video, and then decide specifically what it is I'll do next.

While I love working on videos, the approach I was trying to take would have prevented me from playing anything new or anything unrelated to videos: and that's a problem because then I stop playing for fun. I should always allocate time to record gameplay and take notes for future videos, but rather than trying to scramble three, four, or five ideas at once, I need to settle down and decide on just one.

And if I do this, some of my issues go away. Right now, I'm not really feeling Mario + Rabbids. I don't dislike it, but it's not scratching my current itch. You know what might? L.A. Noire or Resident Evil Revelations 2 or, just maybe, Xenoblade Chronicles 2. You know what else I want to make a video on? Breath of the Wild.

Or – here's a crazy notion – I really enjoyed Fire Emblem Warriors and wanted to try some of the missions on a higher difficulty... so maybe I can just do that, and also record footage since I liked it enough to have things to say about it.

So perhaps demanding a Nintendo Direct isn't what I want, and is actually hypocritical of me. Aren't I always wanting to get more out of my games rather than treating them as something disposable? And maybe the recording footage from multiple games concept isn't a failure after all, I've just been approaching it entirely wrong. Sure, it does have its flaws. I need to find time to record footage from AM2R if I really want my video to be as complete as can be, and as I'm not feeling the itch this means playing the game is going to become more like work. However, there's nothing saying I can't also then plug my Switch in and record some Fire Emblem Warriors footage while seeing what the harder difficulties have going for them, is there? Perhaps the recording-multiple-games mentality should be "Play what you want, and if you have something to say about it, record it".

January may almost be finished, but I think I can find myself in a good mental headspace with Iconoclasts and Fire Emblem Warriors as my main "For Fun" games, AM2R as my "work" game, and then move on to Secret of Mana (and maybe take some time to grab footage of the first dungeon of Breath of Fire since I want to write about that and God dammit I'm sinking right back into my problems! But that only requires the first dungeon so just an afternoon of analytical work and note-taking I enjoy).

Anywho, sorry to dump this bog of thoughts on everyone. Just me trying to work out how to get the negative feelings that can come up from sorting my games by focusing on enjoyment.

This might be my ignorance showing here, but why do you play a game and then replay it to capture video? That seems to be causing a logjam for you. Why not record footage as you play a game for the first time, and if you find you want to say something about it, you have the footage; if not, dump the video and move on.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

This might be my ignorance showing here, but why do you play a game and then replay it to capture video? That seems to be causing a logjam for you. Why not record footage as you play a game for the first time, and if you find you want to say something about it, you have the footage; if not, dump the video and move on.

I used to do that, and in some cases a single playthrough was fine, but the more I do this the more I realize how useful being more familiar with a game is to creating a video essay on it. Not always, as Aliens: Colonial Marines I said about all I needed to say after a single playthrough, but its problems were also pretty damn obvious and easy to count. DmC: Devil May Cry had a lot of positives I missed as well as issues and problems I hadn't noticed, and so I came to regret making a video after only a second playthrough.

There's also the added element of having a tiny bedroom and a work station that can only connect a limited number of systems. Ideally this can be solved within the year, but it's sort of out of my control for now. I did mitigate this somewhat by getting a second Switch dock, and it turns out a lot of what I want to discuss at the moment is on the Switch (Fire Emblem Warriors, I want to make a Breath of the Wild video (and just want more time in that world, to be honest), and Bayo 1+2 next month is actually the perfect excuse not just to revisit the games, but to revisit and expand this essay into a video with more research behind it, some of which would be sparked by imbiginjapan's own comment).

And even writing that parenthetical, I think, solves some of the issue. I've got a number of video ideas in my head but I'm not prioritizing based on desire to play. It started that way, though! Metroid is my next video because Samus Returns made me hunger for more Metroid, but now I've gotta make a cut-off point. I feel like, with my renewed thesis and goals for the video, I need yet another playthrough recorded for Prime 1 and 2 so that I can capture not just gameplay, but observations of the map, its design, the world's design, and how a first-timer might go through the game.

Which is the biggest reason I'd rather not use footage of an initial playthrough. With a second playthrough I can linger on certain moments or aim for certain outcomes since I already have a familiarity with the game. It's also possible that earlier segments seem more difficult simply because I don't know what I'm doing.

However, if I keep trying to capture perfect playthroughs I'll never finish the video, so once I'm done with AM2R it's getting cut together. I'll be working on the script this weekend which is a whole other beast, but despite the occasional doubts in my mind and expectations that people will think it trash, I'm feeling really confident in what I have to say.

Which is also why I'm giving myself one more year to do this. Making videos has been so satisfying for me on the whole, and it's gotten much more reach for me than any other critical endeavor I've had. Or, it did, not sure about still but YouTube's algorithms are no help there. Regardless, this year I want to shoot for at least four substantial videos. If I cannot make that, or if doing so is more stress than it is satisfaction, then 2019 I stop making videos and focus on something else.

I can see how it seems way stressful as well given my constant rants about it in this thread, but I still feel immense pride in some of the work I've put together. It's just a matter of finding a method that works for me.

EDIT: I realized on the way to the gym I actually kind of dodged the question. I mentioned advantages to recording a playthrough after having already played, but you're right that there are advantages to a first-run recording as well. My video on Aliens: Colonial Marines was one such, and I don't think another playthrough was necessary to determine how flawed that was. On the other hand, DmC was a game where I could have done with a second playthrough, as playing it again when the HD Remaster released allowed me to get better at the game, which allowed me to discover a bit more about the gameplay, and give me more of the narrative to both appreciate and dislike.

But this means it makes sense to do as you suggest: record the first time, dump footage I won't use and replay a game if I feel it needs it. However, this means I can only play the game when hooked up to record, and as I'm doing Switch games that means I have to play while docked. However, one of the reasons I was able to burn through Telltale's Batman (which would have been great to record on a first playthrough) and Fire Emblem Warriors was because I could just sit down in the living room with headphones on and play in the same room as my family – a group that seems to struggle with the concept of someone wanting to be alone at their work station. So it's a way for me to fulfill social obligations while shutting myself off from the world. If I made the decision to record all first-time Switch games, I'd have to wait to play them when I'm done work (just like the PS4), and I'd have to play them at my work station. This removes two factors that made me progress through and enjoy two Switch games this month so swiftly.

So while some games actually do make sense – I'm recording my Secret of Mana playthrough on SNES Classic in case I want to do a video comparing and reflecting on the remake – it's only when they're locked to the work station that they do. Otherwise, it'll cause more stress as to what do I play and when and making time for it and etc.

Why not do a "raw run" or "first take" sub set of videos where you capture all the fun/issues/frustration/wonder of a fresh take on the game.


Based on subscriber feedback, or your own personal desires, do a "closer look" or "delving deeper" run, where you do a more prepared, streamlined, focused, rare item collection run?

You guarantee files being uploaded "regularly", then take the pressure of every game run being the perfect game run footage.

Just a thought.

There's a couple issues with that. First is that, if the goal is to do something more simple and less time-consuming in-between the projects, I already tried something like that. In the end, my output was no different in terms of frequency, but I do feel like the quality was not there.

Which leads to the second issue. Anyone can do first-pass runs of a game and review it. In fact, that's precisely what Let's Players and Big Publications do. If I were to try that, my reviews and analyses wouldn't really be much better than everyone else's, so why would anyone watch my stuff? It's also its own level of pressure, something I'm learning not to worry over with my blog. Sometimes you play a game that you just really have nothing significant to say. Forcing yourself to say something about it is just more pressure and opening the gates for the brain weasels to invade. If I do have something to say about it, then I, personally, would rather start digging in and doing research so I can make the best video I can. Writing something on my blog is one thing: that's much "cheaper" production and I can always go back and correct. A video is a lot of hours of dedication, and while there is no making a perfect video, I want to do as good a job as I can.

Which is what will ultimately set me apart from others. Anyone can make a video that calls Metroid: Other M "bad", but I'd like to think mine has more substance because 1) it establishes the goals of Sakamoto and Team Ninja in its design, 2) determines how effective it is based on that design, 3) establishes the canonical narrative history of Metroid in order to more effectively tackle the writing of Other M, and 4) looks back at prior games to figure out why certain level-design elements were more effective in prior titles and why they were received so poorly in Other M.

Similarly, my replay of Toren allowed me to pick and notice a lot more different aspects of the game that all fed into this theme of a girl growing into womanhood (and even then, I had to write a whole blog about stuff I only picked up on in editing, such as one of the final shots looking like a woman walking down the aisle upon her wedding day).

Hell, even something as simple as Transformers: Fall of Cybertron was worth a revisit to do a deeper dive, even though it's not "special" in a traditional sense.

If I were to just do those first-pass videos, it would not only be no different than anyone else, it would turn it into a ritual without purpose rather than be the satisfying project it ends up being. Yes, the current one is stressing me out a lot, but only because I screwed up the approach. Alright, lesson learned, let's do better next time... kind of like my approach to weight loss, exercising, and eating healthy.

Now, if this became a full-time endeavor I'd probably do something like you suggested, but, well... if this was a full-time endeavor I'd have fewer of these problems.

I don't think I'll finish anything before Wednesday, so here's how January went:


  • Rime
  • SteamWorld Dig 2
  • Nier Automata
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Titanfall 2


  • SteamWorld Dig 2
  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
  • Splatoon 2
  • Lost Sphear
  • Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap
  • Final Fantasy XIII

Also Played

  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  • SteamWorld Heist
  • Opus Magnum
  • Vikings: Wolves of Midgard
  • Shadowrun Dragonfall

How did things go?
Overall, I'm feeling pretty decently about the month. I ended up buying one more game than I finished, but I made significant progress in ten games even if I only rolled credits on half of those.

I've done a decent job of rotating between games as my interests shift and (this is important) rotating back to things I wasn't done with yet.

What could have gone differently?
The one thing I wish I had done better was that of the six games I added this month, I only put meaningful time into four of them. Wonder Boy and Final Fantasy XIII haven't really been touched. However, only one of those was a classic impulse purchase, so that's an improvement.

Learn anything?
I learned that I don't really have strong system preferences like I had thought. I pretty much play whatever is available on whatever is hooked up. I default to the Switch a bit for the convenience, but for the most part, the PS4, Xbox, and PC are indistinguishable.

What's next?
I had made plans to repurchase some things on Switch that I have on PC already, but that seems a bit silly and wasteful. The only game I'm still not sure about in that regard is Dark Souls. I own it on PC, but not the remaster.

I plan to buy Dragon Quest Builders but I think that's it for February.

Since I went back to my old second playthrough of Divinity Original Sin 2, I know I wont finish anything else for a while.
Decent month I guess. Was not expecting Xenoblade 2 to take up something like 150+ hours :O
And pretty much no new games, other than getting ready for the Civ expansion.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Doki Doki Literature Club
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

Civilization 6: Rise & Fall + all the old DLC

Pretty decent? I say that's more than decent, Clocky!
I'm looking forward to making my report on Wednesday. Maybe I can squeeze an extra visual novel in January.

I doubt I get anything else finished up, so here we go.

Wolfenstein 2
Mad Max
Lost Sea
Dear Esther

Warriors All-Stars
Titanfall 2
Song of the Deep
Birthdays the Beggining

In Progress:
Song of the Sea
Warriors All-Stars
Dirt 4
Dragon Age 2
Mass Effect Andromeda

Pretty decent month for me, I finished Wolfenstein 2 in the first couple days of the year, then got hooked on Mad Max, which has been sitting half played on the pile for a while, very happy to get that done. I've been meaning to play more indie/smaller games this year for more variety. Tried out Lost Sea, its a basic isometic rogue hack and slash, not much depth into it, and after 1 playthrough I feel like I have seen everything it has to offer. Dear Esther was a walking simulator I been meaning to try out, it was alright, unfortunatelly the story didn't really grab me that much.

I did end up buying a bit more than I planned, between Amazon and PSN sales I ended up picking up couple things I been waiting for a good sale price to hit, the only true impulse was Titanfall. Good news is I ended up playing the things I bought almost right away.

Progress on other games has be meh. After finishing Mad Max I ended up bouncing around a bit without much focus. Currently really enjoying Song of the Deep which I can see myself finishing it by the weekend, Warriors All-Stars currently is alot of fun, but not sure if I can finish up the story on it before it becomes a drag. All the other games I'm pretty much playing here and there as a mood strikes.

Only planned purchase for next month is Shadow of Collossus.

Ooooh, progress on Hob? How are you liking it? I saw it’s from the same folks who brought us Torchlight so I’m intrigued.

shlist after seeing it raved about on GWJ, and probably picked it up on a sale. It looks like its short so ...
- I just bought this while making this list, since I had Jagged Alliance 2 stuff but not either of the original Jagged Alliance games on Steam, and it was 75% off. Technically the JA2 stuff ends up coming first alphabetically, but I'll bend the rules here. I would love to finally complete this game, as I believe I first bought Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games for a Tandy 1000 XL, and never completed it (It was hard!).


  • East India Company
  • Factorio (I did play a bunch, but changed my rules so that I didn't have to really finish this one)
  • Galactic Civilizations III (Februrary goal, but removed for rule change)
  • Half-Life (February Goal)

How did things go?
The rule change put me further ahead than I might otherwise be. I still feel like I made more progress on my pile this month then ever before, so thats cool.

What could have gone differently?
I still played a fair amount of stuff outside of the pile. But maybe thats ok.

Learn anything?
That trying to figure out a 'finished' point for infinitely re-playable games is a lost cause. I wish I had given up on that long ago.

What's next?
I expect Jagged Alliance to take me quite awhile, especially since there are actually two games there. I can see it taking me the entire month or longer.