Dear Emperor Palpatine,

You are an inspiration. Many have attempted to break our spirits as gamers. Our parents. Our politicians. Our media hacks. Our partners of varied gender. No one could have predicted, not even those with a complete translation of the Mayan prophecies cross-referenced with Nostradamus’ work, that the sniper bullet would come from behind us. Amongst our own.

There have been a few games I’ve been trying to finish for some time now. Cryostasis, Company of Heroes, Serious Sam 2, Tidalis and Saints Row 2. Plus I like to indulge in FUEL now and again – even though I have more hope of convincing my non-gamer work colleagues that playing Ultima IV is a meaningful endeavour than getting to the end of this racing epic.

But due to sale after sale after sale, I have an elephantine list of unplayed, downloaded games. They sit on my hard drive, mewling kittens that demand attention and ought to be chucked in a bag and drowned in the nearest lake (although I actually love kittens, okay). Steam tempts with X-COM: UFO Defense, The Chronicles of Riddick, Morrowind, Oblivion, Indigo Prophecy, Red Faction: Guerilla, RoboBlitz, The Void, Zeno Clash, and AI War. And outside of Steam’s grip of game influence, I also have Amnesia, Batman Arkham Asylum, GTA IV, Hitman: Blood Money, Just Cause 2, Kings Bounty: The Legend, Mafia, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Men of War, Psychonauts, Rogue Trooper, The Path, the point-n-click adventures from Zombie Cow, Machinarium.

Sorry, did I forget to touch on all that free indie shit that I was planning to have fun with? How many months I have promised myself to run through Cactus Arcade? I still have that free copy of Kudos that Cliffski gave out a year ago. And that copy of Command & Conquer 4 I won from Rock Paper Shotgun for being insane e-mailer of the month. (Bloody hell, what’s this? A copy of C & C 3 I haven’t played too?)

Hell while I’m at it, might as well get all completionist about this. There’s an achievement in this somewhere, I’m sure. And if I achieve it, I expect you’ll send me a free game for my troubles to add to my troubles. I should also include those hallowed games I dabbled with and would like to have another crack at. World In Conflict. Homeworld. Outcast. Sins of a Solar Empire. Uplink.

So thank you bloody much for convincing the digital gaming whoreshops into churning out so many sales as to create a cyber-singularity in DNS space. You’ve made us feel worthless not just as people, but as gamers. We can’t possibly complete all of these games before the day we’re mulched into Soylent Green. And those we do manage to complete, we won’t have spent enough time on and won’t respect – they’ll be one night stands with no holding hands on a weekend trip to the funfair.

So I have made a promise to myself, O Sith Lord, a New Year’s Resolution. Read my lips. No. More. Sales. I’m shutting down the RSS feed for Savygamer. I’m deleting the weekly link to the Rock Paper Shotgun Bargain Bucket. I am not entering a perverse, diabolical sado-masochistic competition over at Tap-Repeatedly.

Next year, I do solemnly swear to play the games I bought this year.

Yours sincerely,
Harbour Master (Dr.)

P.S. Thanks for the discount on Space Giraffe on Steam last week.

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16 thoughts on “Resistance Is Futile

  1. Is there a game called Zombie Cow? Or is that a game by Zombie Cow?

    This is admirable. I’ve considered doing the same, and even considered promising not to buy any games at all next year, on sale or full priced. I imagine I have enough games to last an entire year, whether unfinished or entirely untouched.

    Yep, just counted. If, on average, I spend a week for each game. I’ll easily last the year.

  2. I haven’t bought a new game in a loooong time. The selection of free indie titles is simply too gargantuan and constantly growing. Growgantuan, even. Once I’m financially settled, I will buy enough games to become financially unsettled.


  3. @Sam: I’ll amend the text to be clearer – the point’n’click adventures by Zombie Cow. I haven’t played anything for 2 weeks. It’s Christmas and I haven’t played anything. This is utterly obscene considering the backlog I’ve got. I’ll probably come back to this topic some time later…

    @Sid: You deserve a special Christmas carrot for inventing the word “growgantuan”. Well done, that man.

  4. HM, you wound me by describing our contest at Tap-Repeatedly as perverse, diabolical, and sado-masochistic. I am wounded. You have wounded me. Words hurt.

    The contest is perverse, diabolical, and sado-masochistic, which I think we can all agree is completely different. Think of it as character-building!

    That said, I feel your pain. Not only did Santa Claus bring me a mountain of new games in his Christmas sack, but we still have five days of Steam Sales to contend with. Be strong, my friend.

  5. @Steerpike: Thanks for clearing that one up. Now, if only we knew who had anonymously organised that Tap competition, everything would be alright with the world.

    @Lewie: And so you should be… but it’s not the messenger I’m aiming at here. Thanks to Savygamer I found out about a few lesser-known titles I’d never have played othewise – Leave Home and Shatter come to mind.

    Can’t believe no one picked up on my major mistake. If you’re addressing someone by name, you don’t sign off “yours faithfully”. As I know I’m writing to Emperor Palpatine, it should be “yours sincerely”. Schoolboy error, I know. Consider it fixed. Where are the grammar nazis when you need them?

  6. Wow HM, your post read like a shopping list of games I should buy on the holidays! I know that’s not the effect you were going for, but… I want to recommend a bunch of games on your Steam temptation list, but you probably don’t need to hear any more of it.

    Glad to see Cliff (maker of Kudos) mentioned. He makes some great games, and I would highly recommend Gratuitous Space Battles to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet. Kudos is also good fun!

    Finally, if you only play one Cactus Arcade game, check out Norrland. You can play through the whole thing in 5-10 minutes, and it’s a wonderful game. My favorite of the bunch. Someone needs to give that guy a real game industry job already just coming up with crazy new stuff.

    I’m gleefully taking part in the Steam sale and the Tap contest… not that I needed any motivation. My thoughts are that aside from the new Witcher, I won’t be buying any games for the first half of 2011… we’ll see how that plays out though.

    A fool and his bank account are soon parted when Steam sales come into the picture.

  7. @BeamSplashX: Likely just British English letter writing style. I’m not sure what USians do at the end of a formal letter in the US. “Have a nice day.” “Love, your dark servant Vader.” “Do you want fries with that?” What works for you?

    @Armand: You have no idea the caffeine like shakes I had to endure when Metro 2033 came up in the sales. I reneged on Space Giraffe on Special Grounds but that’s the only one I gave in to during this year’s Christmas Exploitation Season. I’ve still never played anything of Cliffski’s – they’ve never struck me as something I have wanted to play – but always want to give indies a chance. And Kudos still sits on my drive…

  8. Please tell me you found time to finish Psychonauts since you posted this. And jesus, you haven’t played the Void? Exclamation mark Question mark Exclamation mark, sir. Quite honestly, I’m amazed you have the audacity to stand there and call yourself a doctor.

  9. Jack. Since posting this, I have dabbled in AI War and got through about 60% of Everyday Shooter which wasn’t even on the list.

    Having to move house kind of shot everything in the head. All these unread tabs in my Firefox I have to catch up with… THE TABS OF THE UNREAD. *aiieeeeeeeeeee*

  10. So how have you been fairing, what with the whole Summer Steam Sale? Or have you worked off enough of your backlog to merit a few exceptions to your oath? Oh, just one, teency, little, 75% off indie game couldn’t hurt, could it…?

  11. Hi Sam!

    Very very little of the backlog, much like the inches on my waistline, has been worked off. There was one indiscretion with a certain important release as covered by Resistance Is Futile II, but I’ve been largely immersed in retro stuff for the last month or two and kept my mind off anything released in the last, say, twenty years.

    And as it turns out, I’ve bought nothing in this new summer sale. I’ve had no interest whatsoever. And that made me think some more about all these sales. Made me think enough that once Where We Came From finishes up in August, I have something to write called Resistance Is Futile III.

    It might be the final chapter.

    What about yourself? Have you given into desire?

  12. I thought I would have no interest in the summer sale, but there have been too many indie games that have come out and are at such low prices.

    You know how when you’re at a checkout page for an online store they have those pictures in the sidebar of other items you might consider purchasing while you’re there? I need an app that replaces those with all the games I’ve previously bought and haven’t played yet, and accompanies them with “Are you sure?” And perhaps even a “It’s been 128 days since you’ve bought Dark Messiah: Might and Magic” for everything I’ve racked up 0 hours on.

    I can’t help but continue reading yer Rock Paper Shotguns and blogs about all the latest games, which enthuse me and put me in a mood to want to play something specific and different every day. Although lately I’ve been getting better at reversing that. I’ll look at my games list and find something that I’ve been neglecting, then go out and specifically find related blog posts and videos that really put me in the mood to play it.

    Oh, another app that I need is something that goes through all my unplayed games, then finds old articles and blog posts written about that game and just randomly inserts them into my RSS reader, posing as new items. That’s a bit pathetic. I have no self control that I need to trick and guilt myself into playing the stuff I should be.

  13. Sam I think you need the equivalent of an internet parental lock, tweaked to simply ban you from all those game sites. We have one at work. I cannot see RPS or Steam there, although my Google Reader does give me… a little window into the game world.

    They haven’t banned Electron Dance yet. That just tells you I haven’t made the big time yet. Come on! Ban me!

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