Coming Clean (Part 1)

So – four weeks after my previous post, I’ve finally built up the courage to put another post out into the wild. And this one… well, it’s a bit tough to write. Tough to own up to.

See, over the many years that I’ve (occasionally) written on this blog, I must have posted a link to The List – my entire gaming life – hundreds of times. I’ve made constant references to the burning desire I have to whittle The List down; I’ve set myself Resolution goals (mostly unmet) targeting List reduction. But, deep down inside, I knew it was a little bit of a lie.

See, I’ve been playing these video game thingies at home since 1983, when I first got my C64. I’ve got a squillion (well… at least a hundred) original games for the C64 that don’t exist on any List. In fact, it’s somewhat curious that those games never triggered off an OCD tick with me… I definitely can’t explain that.

And, once I started going to Uni and bought myself a fancy Mac (a Macintosh IIvx, the shortest-lived model of the Macintosh ever, rocking System 7.1), there were a few pretty games on that, too. Again, none of those games exist on any List, and – in another inexplicable OCD-defying move – I sold most of them some years later (I’ve still got the IIvx, though. It’s a beast).

But finally – and most significantly – is my Windows-based collection of games.

It all started out innocently enough: the Quake series was the thing I really followed (though I never really cared for the multiplayer-focus of Quake III), but – as I quickly churned through generations of hardware subsidised by “work” – I started acquiring a stack of pack-in games, usually through new video cards. And, quite frankly, there’s some absolute belters in that lot: Thief II. Soldier of Fortune. I even got Deus Ex as a freebie…

Deus Ex! One of the greatest games ever created! Free! (Guilt has caused me to purchase it multiple times since, however ;)

And then came Steam. I was committed to consoles by the time Steam hatched, but I inadvertently created an account to hook up to Wolfire Games‘ first Humble Bundle – which I only invested in to support the idea of getting those games a wider audience through bundling. (Don’t get me started on the AAA Bundles nowadays… can anyone say “devaluation”?)

So I had a Steam account. An Amnesia Fortnight here, another indie Humble Bundle there, the IndieVision Bundle that contained a bunch of game-related movies I wanted…

Suddenly, I had a bit of a Steam backlog. That wasn’t mentioned on The List.

For a while I pretended that it wasn’t really there… that none of those games really mattered. Sometimes I would fire one up out of curiosity and just tinker, not really compelled to engage. And that always made me feel a little disingenuous: I wasn’t giving the game the best opportunity.

In my other life, where I’ll willingly throw money at artists to sit in their shows, I do a bit of pop-psychology on myself before the show starts: I’ll take a moment to repeat to myself, over and over, that this could be the best show I’ve ever seen. Sure, that’s rarely realistic, but I think it’s important to get in the best frame of mind possible before engaging with a piece of art.

And yet, in the world of gaming – which I strongly do believe is art – I was giving short shrift to potentially great games because of their platform. And because I didn’t want the number associated with that platform to dilute The List.

You know what? No more.

It’s time to come clean. Here’s a dump of the PC games I know I’ve got, though I’m sure my archives will deliver more in time:

  • Quake
  • Quake II
  • Quake 3
  • Soldier of Fortune
  • Deus Ex
  • Thief II
  • MDK 2
  • Starship Titanic
  • Grim Fandango
  • Full Throttle
  • Astro Tripper
  • Gridrunner Revolution
  • Space Giraffe
  • Aquaria
  • Gish
  • Lugaru
  • Penumbra: Overture
  • Samorost 2
  • World of Goo
  • Portal
  • Psychonauts
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  • Bastion
  • Braid
  • Lone Survivor
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Dear Esther
  • The Longest Journey
  • Dreamfall
  • Thirty Flights of Loving
  • Air Forte
  • Atom Zombie Smasher
  • Flotilla
  • Gone Home
  • Fez
  • Broken Age
  • A Virus Named TOM
  • Serious Sam 2
  • Serious Sam 3: BFE
  • Serious Sam Classic: The First Encounter
  • Serious Sam Classic: The Second Encounter
  • Serious Sam Classics: Revolution
  • Serious Sam Double D XXL
  • Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter
  • Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter
  • Serious Sam: The Random Encounter
  • Cryptic Sea
  • SoundSelf

The List now stands at 110 remaining games. And as for the C64 and (scarce) Mac games… well, they may require some serious research. And meditation.

Finally: see the title of this post? See the bit that says “Part 1”? That’s foreboding, that is. More to come!