In Review – February 2020

Low Spend 2020

Despite spending a couple of dollars mindlessly, I didn’t just throw in the towel. However, it did lead to me thinking more about what I’m trying to accomplish, and making a small revision to the plan.

Sure, some of it is about spending less money, but mostly, it’s about spending less money on things I’m just not using. There’s a huge difference with how I treat PC games and how I treat mobile games. When I’m looking for something new for my phone or tablet, I usually select something that’s a free download, and if I really like it, then I’ll spend money on it, either by purchasing it outright, purchasing a “remove ads” option, or spending an equivalent amount on microtransactions that I would consider paying for a game.

As I see it, I only make mobile purchases when I’ve already played and enjoyed a game, and I’d like to continue doing so. Since my health often keeps me from being upright at my computer for long periods of time, and let’s be fair – mobile games are frequently not endlessly replayable, I’m going to allot myself a $10 per month budget that I can only spend on tablet or phone games.

Otherwise, though, it wasn’t a bad month for testing my resolve. When a few things showed up that I wanted in a Fanatical Bundle, I managed to trade some old keys for them instead of buying the bundle, and getting MORE keys I wasn’t going to use.

Although the All Star Bundle #12 was a fantastic value, I only wanted The Testament of Sherlock Holmes and Tales from Candlekeep from it.

Most of the temptations this month came more from a desire to buy than a desire to own, but a few things did get added to the wishlist, two of which aren’t even out yet.

For the second month in a row, I didn’t use my provision for a paid MMO subscription, and I also didn’t renew my XBox Game Pass this month, so as far as non-mobile gaming was concerned, I played games I owned, or that were available with my (gifted to me) Utomik sub.

The Nope List

Dark Asylum: Mystery Adventure – Tried it out on Utomik, and it felt very very much like a mobile game with timers and lives and that’s just not what I want in a hidden object game at all.

Tiny Force Deluxe – I didn’t hate it. I mean, it’s fun to toss your little guys into the enemy little guys and watch them all bounce all over the place. But I didn’t find it particularly engaging either.

Community Game Along – #DatingSiMonth

I really thought I’d enjoy this one more than I did, but I did manage to complete it. I also did a full write up here.

I feel like my biggest complaint – the need to replay to get the whole story – is a “feature” of the genre, and not specific to Purrfect Date. However for someone like me, who likes my stories to wrap up tidily in the end, it made me hesitant to invest my time in other dating sims. I often struggle with completing a game once, never mind multiple times.

Ten Games to Tackle in 2020

On that note, I’m starting to worry that this was WAY over-ambitious of me. Of course, that’s also the reason I wanted to do this – it’s so hard for me to set aside dozens to hundreds of hours to play a game, no matter how awesome it might be.

I didn’t stop playing Far Cry: Primal because I wasn’t enjoying it. But once I took a week or so off, it seemed less pressing to go back to it. There’s always other things I want to check out.

After a whopping six-week hiatus, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t feel an overwhelming need to restart the whole game. Sure, I forgot almost all of the key binds for the game, but otherwise, I didn’t find it particularly hard to get back into.

I am, however, finding all the map markers a little bit overwhelming. I’ve decided for the time being to focus primarily on capturing outposts and bonfires, and doing major quests when I stumble across them. I already know that I’m not going to want to be bothered with finding all the collectibles and such.

Even if I put aside some time tonight to play, and I can get a decent session in without the game crashing, I might get 6 hours in for February.

Other PC Gaming

Cryofall kept me logging in for several days, but mostly, I played things that were super casual.

I somehow managed to play the third Snark Busters game first, and I found it rather enjoyable. Going back to the first in the series was a little jarring, and if I’m totally honest, a whole lot less fun. They’re hidden object / adventure game hybrids with utterly forgettable stories and a neat quirk with mirrors.

Pickers is something I’d dabbled in before, but never finished. I sat down one evening and just played through the 30 day campaign and really enjoyed it. It’s something I might play again down the line – there’s no real story to it other than “find the good stuff & make the money”, but it was a fun little challenge, and a good way to spend three or so hours.

Mobile Gaming

This month was rough for me in a lot of ways. There were a couple of days I barely got out of bed. There were many others that I was up, but only got as far as the couch. And on these days, being able to play SOMETHING on my phone or tablet was a lifesaver.

The surprise “must have” mobile game for me this month was BitLife. It’s fascinating and appalling, and many times, it’s just plain wrong. So far, I have mostly been playing it with an eye towards getting a “win” (a successful happy life), but I expect it won’t be long until I feel like exploring the seedier side of this life sim. A one-time payment of $4.99 unlocked all its features and got rid of ads.

GoodReads Challenge (8/36)

In anticipation of watching Netflix’s Locke & Key, I decided to run through the graphic novel series via Kindle Unlimited. This was great for the first five volumes. The main story has one more collection, but I decided against buying just the last book, which wasn’t available to borrow, and instead decided to just read some summaries online. I suspect this wasn’t the best of decisions, but I couldn’t justify the expense for a digital book I’d likely only read once.

I also hunted down some used physical copies of some of my all-time favorite books, and ordered the newest novel by my favorite author that no one has ever heard of, so I have those to look forward to.

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