Unfinished business: dent that library of games you never play


With the barrage of Steam sales that hit at the end of last year and the beginning of this one (the Lunar New Year Sale feels like it was just yesterday), I’ll bet the urge to add more games to your already-underplayed library was just too strong, and you went ahead and added a bunch of new entries to the list of things you promise yourself you’ll get around to someday, but in reality will probably never play for more than a few minutes before moving on. And just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that! Spending money on games keeps this industry rolling onward and helps keep great development studios (be they indie or AAA) afloat.

Still, the reality you’ll probably face after spending, say, R295 on that awesome Company of Heroes bundle (it does include nine items after all) is that you’ll probably never play any of it. They’ll quietly sit in your Steam library, not even mocking you because you won’t see them in amongst that ridiculous list of 100+ games with which you’ve somehow ended up. Remember that this is all okay. We all do it so pointing fingers isn’t really something we can do without bringing down the whole glass house. Here’s an idea though. Let’s stop talking about facing harsh realities in the aftermath of Steam sales, and instead come up with a solution of sorts.


So, the sale is on, you’ve treated yourself to a few games, but before you play them you decide to make the time to first work through some of your backlog. Yes, making free time is easier said than done, so the process needs to be as painless and straightforward as possible, eliminating as much of the pressure to decide where in your library to start as possible. You’ve also got to start small and hopefully grow your willingness to engage in backlog diving as you go. Here’s what you do. Take your name and break it down into its individual letters. For example, I’m Michael and that’s seven letters with no duplicates. Now, on every third day of the week for the next few weeks, go to your Steam library and pick a game whose title matches with a letter of your name. You can skip games you’ve played and also those games that you got for free and didn’t really want.

The first game I’ve chosen is Multiwinia. I don’t even remember how I ended up with it in my library, but it was probably because Miktar told me years ago that it’s excellent. I think I might have also played a little of Darwinia or seen someone else play it and it looked cool. I enjoy minimalistic-looking games because it reminds me of my Commodore 64 and Amiga days.

Next on my list is Impire. I liked the look of this because it reminded me of Dungeon Keeper, so I’m not sure why I never installed and played it – perhaps I was too busy playing Call of Duty. Impire seems pretty decent on the surface but a quick look around the Internet tells me I might be in for some disappointment. Yes, you’re not going to win with all the games, but the point is you’ll get to spend time trying something new and unless your name is Bob you should have enough letters at your disposal to find something fun. And in case you do have a short name like Bob or Sam, just use a middle name or your surname to supplement it.

Next up for me is Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, a first-person horror affair that scored pretty well when it came out in 2006. Nothing like a bit of scariness to keep you interested. Under the letter H I’ll skip the Half-Lifes and of course the Heretic and Hexen games and end up with Hoard. It’s an arcade-y strategy game wherein you play a dragon. Looks cool enough. Also, dragons. Next up is Amnesia: The Dark Descent. I remember Dane playing this and being hopelessly terrified all the time. I’m not sure why I’ve had the poor fortune to end up with two horror games to play in this quest, but hey, skipping the rules is not allowed.


The letter E comes next for me and with it a game that sounds by name alone like it was born to be the best video game ever – Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. Defending against insects might sound like something you do every night with a can of Doom in the shower, but remember Starship Troopers? So yes, I’d say any armageddon involving insects is a legitimate concern. Lastly is Loom, because I’m skipping over Left 4 Dead and Legend of Grimrock, both of which I’ve already played. Loom came out in 1990, so I’m looking forward to playing a 25 year-old game as part of this adventure.

Let us know what your list looks like, and remember to play different things as often as possible because something amazing might be waiting just around the corner.