When I was growing up, I never had enough video games to play. Most of my free time was spent pouring over gaming magazines looking for new games and creating the Christmas lists designed to get them. Even though my parents never caved to my yearnings, I was the type of kid who prepared poster presentations explaining why I deserve my Christmas present on 9/9/99 (the release date of the Dreamcast, if you’ve forgotten) instead of 12/25/99. Now, after being a day one Steam user who has followed every single day of every single Steam sale as if they were Christmas Day, I have way too many games to play.
As of right now, my current count is 269 games. And I am not entirely certain if that includes games which I bought through other sales expressly because they could be added to Steam. Seriously, my most wanted game ever could go on a 90% off sale tomorrow, and if I couldn’t add it to my Steam collection, I would seriously consider skipping over it.
The kid I used to be probably would’ve argued that my vast collection, my inability to really exhaust my library in any reasonable amount of time, is a good thing. But I firmly believe that too much of something can be worse than too little.
Before Steam, I had to carefully pick and choose my games. Now I just wait for the sale. I used to play games through thoroughly to get my money’s worth. Now I have too many choices to pick just one to focus on, and god help that game if it has any slower parts because I will start something else. Once, I would buy games when I wanted to play them. Now, I buy them in case I will want to play them.
The end result is clear. I’ve spent a lot of money I shouldn’t have to amass a collection I either don’t need or don’t yet need and have hardly gotten my money back. But that ends today and that ends now.
I am instituting a new personal rule. Anything I am willing to purchase, no matter the discount, should be worth at a minimum five hours of my time. When compared to going to, buying, or renting a movie, that may be a lot to ask. But games are games and the good ones soak up your time like sponges. Case in point, I spent over two full days playing Terraria in its first week – it was that good a game.
I am tired of being stunted by choice and wasting money. Steam sales will continue to own my wallet, but it is time I start owning what I buy. It is time to start playing games again.