Update on the Backlog

It’s Friday and I’ve been trying to maintain a semblance of a regular posting schedule here on the blog, but that has been becoming increasingly difficult due to my finicky nature. There are plenty of games I want to play that would provide blogging fodder, but there are some other things going on in my personal life that are keeping me from playing much. Stress levels are reaching critical mass and I’m finding myself wanting to drink a beer and just chill rather than do anything else.

I have some minor updates on things I’ve been doing lately, but this is one of those stream of consciousness posts that will be more of a ramble than a rant. Let’s shoot off some bullet points, shall we?

I’ve quit playing ESO –  it’s just not keeping me hooked. This is the same thing that happens every single time I try to get into an MMO. I guess I’m just more partial to single player or smaller multiplayer games these days, but that part of me that enjoys MMO gameplay just can’t give up on them completely. I’ve said that I’m done with the genre more times than I can count, and these little failed experiments keep proving that point despite my inner MMO-loving self forcing me to play something in that realm periodically. I think I should just wait for Crowfall and be done with it, but sometimes the hype train comes along and pulls at my heart strings. I guess I’m still playing one psuedo MMO in Destiny 2, so there’s that.

I’ve been talking about Torchlight Frontiers since it was announced, and it appeals to me. I’ve been wanting to play ARPGs of late, but I’m sick of Diablo III. It’s a great game but I’ve done what I want to do there, and unless they add a new expansion (doubtful) I don’t see myself wanting to play it anymore. I have others at my disposal, but that didn’t go so well either.

  • Tried Path of Exile again as I never got too far – meh, actually kind of ugly compared to D3 and others. It seemed like a great game years ago but just doesn’t do it for me now.
  • Grim Dawn – more appealing, but kind of stuck as to where I left off. It’s a big world and I own the expansion and there’s a huge gap in my knowledge of the game so it was daunting to try and pick up again. Perhaps I’ll need to start a new character.

I made the statement that I’d beat all of the Fallout 4 DLCs before Fallout 76 released, but that’s next month and I’m kind of bored with Fallout 4. I am hyped for Fallout 76 and I think I’ve made my peace with not doing every single thing there is to do in the prior version. I’m looking forward to having some multiplayer shenanigans.

Of course, there’s still plenty of stuff I’m in the midst of on PS4:

  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Titanfall 2
  • Destiny 2 – picked up expansion 1 & 2 for $10
  • Want to play more Warframe

I haven’t played Horizon Zero Dawn or Titanfall 2 in a couple of weeks, but want to get back to them. Destiny 2 has been slow going because I mainly play with my best friend, and that depends on us having time off at the same time. We had a pretty good once a week schedule going but the past couple weeks haven’t worked out. I did manage to grab the expansion 1 & 2 pass on sale this past week so I have more content to get through once we get there. The trouble will be convincing him to pay for the DLCs. Perhaps it’s time to start playing through by myself on a different class just to be able to play it more often, because honestly I’ve really enjoyed it. I also have Warframe sitting around collecting dust. I know around this time last year I was playing it pretty regularly, but as I tend to do I have neglected it since.

There are so many things I want to do and so little time. I’m at a point where I have started writing off games that just aren’t holding my interest, I’m down to something like 40 titles installed on Steam out of over 300 games. I try things out and if they don’t stick I just delete them. It’s a shame as there is quite a bit of money invested in my collection, but there’s just no time to waste on shit that isn’t doing it for me, and I’ve made my peace with that. This is why I’ve avoided MMOs and other time sink games that don’t have any real endings so that I could focus on the backlog of titles I own. It’s been a long process but in the past year I’ve finished a ton of games and tried a bunch more. Those that didn’t make the cut are gone and I feel better about it. Going forward I’m going to try and continue this focus. Wish me luck.

Bioshock: Infinite

Well folks, we’ve made it. I’m beginning my trek into the sky-city of Columbia, and finally completing the last Bioshock game. The first two games were pretty good in their own right, but I’ve heard this can arguably be considered the best entry. I will save my judgement until I’ve completed the trilogy, but I can already tell you that this entry is right up my alley. The graphics are excellent on Ultra, the animations smooth, and the gore is on point. The themes I’m seeing at this point are painting the city and its inhabitants in a negative light, but I concur with some of the underlying social commentary. I do remember playing this game briefly when it was offered as a Playstation Plus title, so I knew a little of what to expect, yet it feels like that was long ago. The imagery brings some of those memories back and I do recall commenting on it a bit way back when, but having it fresh in my mind means I can properly analyze it. Two things stick out as subtext – Racism and Fanatical Religion suck —  yet they seem to go hand in hand.

In our alternate reality, Abraham Lincoln was viewed as a devil and John Wilkes Booth a hero. The founder of the city is revered as a God, and the people devote followers, despite the clear message that other races are inferior. The city of Columbia ascended into the clouds so they could take their religious bigotry with them. Or so it seems. Bioshock has a way of painting you the bad guy, despite the evil that other men do. Perhaps there will be some incident that will come to light and make our hero seem like a tool. Time will tell, but for now I’m intrigued to learn more about Columbia and its inhabitants.

It is curious, that the game starts out much like its predecessors. Coming to a lighthouse (or the game ending there) has become something of a signature plot device for the series, and though this one starts out similarly, instead of sinking down into the ocean this time you are propelled into the sky. Very creative world-building to say the least. It’s a shame it’s been 5 years since we’ve seen another entry, or another series that comes even close to it. But I digress. I wanted to share some screenshots with you for now, and I will return once I’ve completed the game.

Here’s my journey so far, in picture form:

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Bioshock 2: Remastered Complete

Like the first game before it, Bioshock 2 Remastered took me around a month to complete. In real-time, it was actually just over 7 hours to complete the story-line, but I did do other things in the interim and to be fair I was sick for a few days and didn’t play much of anything (still trying to get over the last of this lingering cold). That said, I have some commentary about this title along with some screens of the end of my playthrough. This isn’t exactly a new game so most of you can probably skip this post, but I like getting these things written down for posterity.

Bioshock 2 didn’t fare as well as its predecessor when it came to review scores or community opinion. There are some neat and novel ideas present, sure. It was clear that your character from the first game died at the end, and they did a good job of tying up loose ends (Fontaine taking over for Ryan at the end of the first game and then being over taken by Lamb by the beginning of the second), and explaining what happened with the little sisters, who you are, etc. The concept of playing a Big Daddy was cool, but in some cases I felt over powered compared to the main character in the first game. Despite Rapture being a similar place in this title, it still seemed to lack a bit of charm, felt much more linear and honestly it was a little too short. I blew threw it a full 3 hours faster than the original, and there wasn’t even a final boss fight. Overall it just wasn’t as good.

This of course is a byproduct of the fact that we had the original, it was very good and we’re making comparisons. If this game stood alone, you would have less of an understanding of Rapture, but it probably would have felt like a better game. This time around I chose to be the bad guy and harvest all of the little sisters for ADAM. I had several maxed out plasmids and upgraded weapons by the end of the game and felt nigh invincible. I likely got a different ending because of this, teaching my “daughter” Eleanor to be a ruthless killer as a result, and she not only killed her mother Lamb, but killed me at the very end as well. It’s a shame because it feels like they could have gone further with the story of Rapture, but I know that the sky city in Bioshock Infinite sounds intriguing as well. Not sure how the story will tie in (if at all) but I do look forward to getting into it.

Here are screens of the final bit of my playthrough. I’ll be back with more on Infinite as soon as I get into it!

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The Steam Calculator: One Year Later

This post was inspired by Aywren’s look at her progress through the Steam Personal Challenge, which was going around the blogosphere around this time last year. I jumped on board with a post about the Steam Calculator, in which I took a look at various stats based on my Steam account. From that post, some stats for comparison:

This account is worth $607.64. If all games were bought on sale, it would be $276.54.

* *Games owned:* 55

* *Games not played:* 5 **(9%)**

* *Hours spent:* 304.5h

Keep in mind, at the time I had just gotten my hands on a computer that was capable of playing most games on the market, and at this point I actually have a far superior gaming PC, so those numbers were all fairly low, but I’m just using the facts for a comparison with this year’s results. It seems that some upgrades have been made to the Steam database page itself, as this year there is more information, or maybe I just left bits out last year. Either way, we’ll start with the side by side comparison. Extra facts to follow.

This account is worth $2054. If all games were bought on sale, it would be $562.

* **Games owned:** 168
* **Games not played:** 34 *(20%)*
* **Hours on record:** 660.0h

As you can see, there’s been a considerable jump between both stat sheets. I’ve tripled the amount of games owned, have a higher percentage of games not played, and have added 360 hours of gameplay. However, some of this information is still skewed, and the calculator developers have said that the Steam API is funky and they can’t explain it away. For instance, all of the Total War games were free to try this past weekend, and they are showing up in my library and are counted towards in that 20% not played. Take those away and the percentage should be something more like 15%, because I very rarely get a game and don’t immediately try it out. However, there are exceptions. Sequels to games I haven’t beaten (Like F.E.A.R.’s sequels that I got in a bundle) will sit unplayed. I picked up Borderlands: The PreSequel a couple of months ago but was already mid-playthrough of another game so it’s been sitting. I do know my backlog needs work but I do slowly but surely get through them as time allows. It doesn’t help that I spend a bunch of hours on MOBAs, MMOs, and console games. Netflix and the DVR eats a bunch of time too.

Anyway, there are some other stats that I found interesting as well, that are now included (or I missed in the past) on the profile.

* **Average price of games owned:** $12.22
* **Average price per hour:** $9.86
* **Average playtime:** 4.9h

I’m not sure how they calculate this average price, because there is a huge discrepancy between the $2k price tag and the $500 sale price. Because I’m relatively cheap there are few games that I picked up for full price, meaning my total cost overall is probably somewhere between the two figures, and I’d wager it’s probably around $6-700. The average price per hour is a breakdown of what the game actually costs based on how many hours you put into it. Looking at that price per hour, it feels like I’m getting ripped off, but there’s a number of titles I have that were gifts, I picked up for free, or were parts of bundles so I got them for pennies on the dollar. The game I have with the most hours put into it was Awesomenauts at 160, and that breaks down to $.06 per hour, which is definitely cost effective. I think more games end up being more cost effective like this, because as we’ve discussed, the stats are entirely accurate or specific. The worst example is RPG Maker VX Ace, in which it shows I have about an hour put into the software, and the price is $70. However, I picked it up in a Humble Bundle for $1. So yeah, you can see where this isn’t entirely reliable but it’s still interesting to look at.

In conclusion, it seems that I’ve kept up pretty well with getting new games and actually playing them. I do know that most of those are still in need of completion though, despite being “played.” I have a good grasp on what my backlog entails and have a plan to keep playing MMOs, MOBAs, and other games that don’t necessarily have a win condition, along with playing through a single player game til completion before moving on to another. It’s been working, my last completed game being Shadow Warrior, and I’m currently working through Fallout: New Vegas.

How’s your account looking?

#steamcalculator #steampersonalchallenge #gaming #backlog

The Playstation Calculator

I’m sure you can recall my Steam Calculator post. Having an app to use to figure this stuff out is definitely more convenient, and less time consuming.

Using Excel, I started up a list of games owned by going through my download list at the Playstation Store. I broke the games up into categories, one each for Playstation 3, PSVita, and Playstation 4. I don’t own the latter two systems (yet), but I do have games that I *could* play if I did, that came over time from the Playstation Plus program. That portion of the list ended up being shorter than I expected, but it was cataloged nonetheless. I didn’t count individual DLC, because I figure that was best lumped in with the original game. I also didn’t count cross-play titles, to avoid double counting (for example, I own Terraria on PS3, but also have a copy that can be played on the Vita). Disc-based games were included. I didn’t go through my trophy list and add any games I’ve played but don’t “own,” to avoid padding. So my download list and my trophy list don’t exactly match up, but for the purposes of this documentation, it didn’t matter. Trophy level is irrelevant here.

So what were my results?

As predicted, my stats are much different on this platform as opposed to Steam. On PC, I have a small amount of games and a larger amount of them played. My 7% not played over there sounded great. Here’s the official stat line, in a similar fashion:

Account worth (actual, not figuring out pricing on free games): $1201.50 

Games owned: 222

Not Played: 65 or 28%

Granted, there’s about 50 games there that I can’t play, so really my percentage was a bit better than this, but I’m going with what’s there.  I also went a step further, and calculated exactly how many of those 222 games I have not completed. This is not counting games not played, only those I had played and not completed (I don’t mean 100% trophy completion either, simply beating the game once will suffice for completing a game). Following these guidelines:

Of games played, those not completed: 95 or 60%

That last bit doesn’t tell a very good story, but I can explain a bit. The greatest part of Playstation Plus is free games, no one is denying that. However, some of the selections are just not good. Some of the games I’ve purchased weren’t good either. That would account for a portion of those games not being completed. The ones I haven’t even bothered to try were titles that I had no interest in or just haven’t gotten around to.

This means I have more work to do on my console than my computer. This is why I have been focusing on cataloging all of this so I can focus on completing more games in the backlog. If you’re interested in seeing my spreadsheet, you can download it here.

Unfortunately there’s no actual app for this, but if you follow my formula, you can figure these bits out for yourself as well. For you Playstation owners out there, how did you rate?

#playstation #backlog #theplaystationcalculator