Earlier today when I was thinking about this post, it flowed really well and was quite smart to boot. I’ve been staring at the blank page for a few minutes now trying to capture even the barest hint of what I was thinking earlier. So let’s just all pretend together that I’m writing, and that you’re reading, a much better version of this post.

OK?

Great.

Now. I’ve talked about impulse purchases before. I’ve acknowledged the gargantuan backlog. But I hadn’t really attached these things to a sense of chasing value. Or really chasing much of anything. There was just same vague sense of it not quite being right. Something one simply ‘should’ do better on.

Couldn’t really have told you why one should do better though. It wasn’t dipping into funds set for other purposes. And more, there is a certain joy in the act of collecting separate from whether or not the acquisition is ever played.

I don’t idle for cards, so the time will be about as accurate as Steam can be.

Today two different posts emerged that spoke to the idea of extracting value from the games we own. Both taking different tacks to the topic.

The ‘Challenge’ Approach

XCOM 2: Not a game I need help getting more value from.

Paeroka wrote about her November Gaming Goals and had this to say:

“I usually don’t like to make something like this as it seems weird to add “goals” to something that should be there for relaxation. However, I tend to spend money on games and then end up not playing them and that seems like a waste of money. So, by adding a few gaming goals, I’ll keep myself busy with fun games and feel that I’m getting my money’s worth in return.”

Paeroka (2019), Gaming goals for November (Nerdy Bookahs)

Fun collecting or no, I understand the sentiment. Many of the unplayed games in my library are from bundles — but there is no shortage of games I bought with full intention to play and then simply… didn’t. And perhaps that’s why the deep yet inarticulate feelings of ‘should’ exist around our backlogs. Around extracting value from our acquisitions. It’s a broken promise — even if just an implicit one, and only to oneself.

I’ve avoided setting gaming goals too often for much the same reason as Paeroka. But clearly I enjoy the odd challenge, with Blaugust earlier and then despite how tired I was by the end taking on a two-fer in the form of restricting myself to five games for the month and then also posting every day again.

Perhaps some more regular goals of this nature might let me strike that feeling of extracting value from my games and hit the desire for challenges without having to go as nutty as this thing!

The ‘Low-Spend’ Approach

Skyrim (Special Edition): Another one I probably wouldn’t have picked if the point of the challenge had been value for money.

Krikket has taken another path. A much more difficult one, in my opinion despite some generosity being built into the self-set limitations.

Krikket has allowed herself to continue with Humble Monthly / Humble Choice for the year. One MMO subscription at a time and a single other game subscription service such as the Xbox game pass.

There is also an allowance for gifts during Summer and Winter sales, which I thought a nice touch.

And so far — I could be on board with this!

Where I jump off and make various ‘Whoa Nelly!’ noises is at the limit of buying only a single other game all year.

Cyberpunk 2077. Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Dying Light 2. The Last of Us 2. Nioh 2. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne. These are just some of the titles that came to mind this morning when I read her post, that are releasing in 2020 that I would want to pick up at release.

I could possibly get by — with the subscription services in the background — with one purchase a month as a limit. It would still mean some delayed purchases and having to make some priority calls each month. And perhaps it’d help me realise the benefit Krikket was after, too:

“I am hoping it’ll encourage me to play through some more of my library, as well as better evaluate the worth of the various gaming subscription services that are out there.”

Krikket (2019), Low Spend 2020: Putting a Halt to Impulsive Game Purchasing (Nerd Girl Thoughts)

Play to Satisfaction

The Outer Worlds: Well, I certainly haven’t played this one to satisfaction yet. But it’s on hold until the end of my current challenge.

Despite the title of the post — I think this concept is what resonates the most with me. It isn’t about the ‘value’ per se. I think the value perception is sort of a lagging indicator to the more important one: Satisfaction.

And full credit to Krikket for this one too.

She raised it in her November Goals post — and before I get to the quote, may I just say, if you’re not already following Krikket that you should be? :)

“For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.”

Krikket (2019), Nerd Girl Goals – November 2019 (Nerd Girl Thoughts)

I certainly don’t tend to struggle with the ‘no more’ part of that. I struggle a lot more with the ‘no less’.

With all the games I have coming my way, through bundles, subscriptions and general purchases there is nearly always something new on the immediate horizon. Something new (or new to me) that is of great, immediate, interest.

And if there was one problem that I felt needed ‘solving’ in how I approach games — it is this one. Playing a game through to the point of true satisfaction and not switching out before that point just because I can.

Between Paeroka’s discussion of goals in the context of the value of games, and Krikket’s approach of limiting spend I wonder if there might be something in there for me.

I’ll have to give it some more thought.