Cult of the Turtle

Joe Tortuga's musing on life,tech and gaming

Alphabetical RPG Playthrough

May 30, 2011

I blame Steam.  Or maybe

Either way, it’s useful to have someone to blame.

I went a long time with a substandard PC, and played a lot of PS2 and Xbox games.  I joined GameFly and got games that way and other ways. I had been a sort-of PC gamer, and I became a console gamer.  The origins of this blog (on my poor dead computer SarahBellum) were in writing about console games — with the knowledge that the games I most loved were PC ones.   Despite this, when Oblivion came out, I didn’t have a PC that could run it. Nor Neverwinter Nights 2, or the Witcher. (One must note that this PC ran World of Warcraft just fine, thankyouverymuch).

I started doing some game reviews for other sites, and Tam and I decided I needed a slightly better computer (it was time for both of us).  I got a nice video card, enough memory, and (eventually) a copy of Windows 7.  The stagnation in monitor resolution has meant that video cards didn’t change enough to matter, and while I’ve had this computer for some time, it runs pretty much every PC game just fine.

And that’s when Steam came around.  My first game? Audiosurf — thanks to Ben Abraham and several other friends.  It was free, or nearly so one day, so I downloaded it — and the steam client it required.  Things were stable for a while, and Steam started having sales. GoG started adding older games I’d never properly played.  But it was mainly Steam that did it.  Their Christmas sale in 2009 ballooned my game list.  Again in the summer of 2010 and in the winter (although, since a lot of what was on sale was their back catalog, and I’ve bought most of that…it didn’t balloon so much last Christmas).  I’m sure there will be another sale this summer.

But, here’s the thing, many of these games are big and complicated, they take time to play and effort to stay focused with, and there are a lot of them, all sort of vying for attention.  Half the time I just play SpaceChem, or Cogs, or go to Kongregate for a small amuse-bouche game.  Kat bugs me about it when I tell her “so and so game is on sale today for just FOUR DOLLARS.”  She says, “How many of those games have you even downloaded [ed: most of them]?  How many of them have you played? [ed: almost most of them]  For any length of time?”  She adds the last because she knows what a pedant I am.  And the answer? Not even close to almost most of them.

There are several indie games on there, bought as packs or through the Humble Indie Bundle, but there are a ton of my favorite kind of game: the RPG.  A ton of them that I never played, or never got very far in or just couldn’t tackle.  They are the very model of the sort of big, complicated game I don’t try to play on a whim some night.  I need some sort of motivation, a plan or a procedure to decide what I’m going to do.  Something to keep me on one game, to keep that cacophony of games crying out to be played a bit quieter (or less distracting).

The answer that I’ve chosen is to play them alphabetically.

In fact, I’ve already started.  I finished up the very first Steam RPG on my list yesterday: Avencast. I’ll write a bit about it tomorrow.  Some games I’m not sure if they are RPGs or not, some games have sequels.  For the former problem, I’m going to try to be inclusive. For the latter, I’m giving myself an alphabetical exemption to the sequels.  I’ll intersperse them among other games as I get to them.  [Gothic is the worse offendoer — and for those who say I should have started with Arcania — Gothic 4, I can only say it makes more sense to play that after Gothic 3. I don’t intend to be foolishly consistent.]

The other other thing that I considered is that I have a lot of games (and thus, RPGs) which are not Steam games.  I have the whole Might and Magic series through, as well as Arcanum [Which really, really should have been first.]  I’ll post the list soon, as I compile it, and I’ll fill back in as I add more games. It’ll help break up the Ds, Gs, and Ms with their Dragons and Dungeons and Gothics and Mights.

I won’t be replaying anything I finished completely (with the possible exception of M&M: Swords of Xeen), and there are a few games I don’t want to play (like the M&M’s 1-3).  There are a few games I don’t have yet, but probably want: Witcher 2, Skyrim [no probably about it], Avadon and Frayed Knights.  Din’s Curse sounds interesting, as do some other games — but I’m going to try to limit these as the goal is to play what I have.  You haven’t seen the list,yet, but there’s a good chance I won’t be done before Diablo III is out.

I’ll post the list soon, and we can discuss what’s missing — and why.  I’d be interested to hear what folks have to say.  I’m playing Arcanum now, and will have a post about Avencast up in a few days.