Ten Games to Tackle in 2020

Since I’m not going to be buying much in the way of new games next year, I decided that I’d use at least some of that time to tackle some games that have been lingering in my library that just seem too damn long or overwhelming.

Now, I don’t actually expect to finish all of them, and it’s possible I won’t even start all of them, but what I am doing is getting myself prepped and making sure things are installed. I chose ten games with some pretty significant potential play times, because really, the only better time to play these monsters than during low-spend 2020 is if I had played them when I actually bought them.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins

[How Long to Beat: 29 – 81 hours]

Received in the May 2019 Humble Monthly

I have a weird relationship with the Assassin’s Creed games. Weird, in that, I buy them but I don’t really play them. After my third or fourth attempt to get into the first game, I decided that playing them in order was overrated. Although there are some earlier entries in the series I want to spend some more time with, I decided to go for Origins.

Borderlands

[How Long to Beat : 22 – 63 hours]

Purchased Jan 3, 2013 for $4.99

I have played a little bit of Borderlands quite a few times, but never really stuck with it. Rumor has it that’s it’s better in co-op, but that’s not really my thing, but I feel like my recent interest in shooters filled with mayhem and destruction mean it’s time to give it another go.

Crusader Kings 2

[How Long to Beat: 65 – 291 hours]

Purchased September 2013 in a Humble Weekly Bundle (total bundle price: $6.00)

Crusader Kings 2 is another game that irks me – I should like it, I want to like it, I keep buying more and more DLC for it, but I don’t actually play it long enough to get up and over the learning curve.

Dying Light The Following Enhanced Edition

[How Long to Beat: 20 – 83 hours]

Purchased July 6, 2018 for $15.99

I really have no excuse for not diving into this sooner (except maybe that I keep going to back to the Dead Rising series whenever I feel the need to get my zombie killer on).

Fallout 4 GOTY

[How Long to Beat: 34 – 208 hours]

Purchased November 25, 2018 for $19.98

Here’s another series I had to finally give in and tell myself it was ok to play the later iterations without having completed the early games. I still probably SHOULD start with 3 or New Vegas, but I think I want to go into this one with very low expectations if I want to actually get my money’s worth.

Far Cry: Primal

[How Long to Beat: 14 – 36 hours]

Purchased August 22, 2019 for $5.50

I have no idea if I’ll even like this one – I’ve never played further than half an hour or so into any Far Cry title, but I love the concept, and I just kind of want to mess around and be all prehistoric and make my tools out of sticks and stones.

Grim Dawn

[How Long to Beat: 22 – 106 hours]

Received in the October 2016 Humble Monthly

This one I’ve dabbled in, but never really gotten into for no real reason I can fathom.

Slay the Spire

[How Long to Beat: 10 – 234 hours]

Purchased July 5, 2019 for $12.50

True confession: I’m worried this one is going to be too good, too addictive, and I haven’t had space for that kind of game in my life. Guess we’ll see how it goes.

Starbound

[How Long to Beat: 21 – 192 hours]

Received as a gift June 2017.

As one of the half a dozen people worldwide who couldn’t get into Terraria, I’m afraid I won’t like this. Or, more precisely, that I won’t get it.

The Witcher 3

[How Long to Beat: 52 – 191 hours]

Not yet purchased.

Will the hype machine kill this one for me? Will I finally discover that I no longer enjoy long & meaty RPGs? Will I finally understand what Gwent is all about? I suppose we’ll find out.


Honorable Mentions

  • Bioshock Trilogy
  • Call of Cthulu
  • Divinity: Original Sin
  • Endless Legend
  • The Witness

These didn’t quite make the cut, but if I wanted to leave them here in case I nope out of any (or, god forbid, all) of my top 10.

Because I really struggle with giving myself permission to play even one massive, life-eating game – actually listing out a bunch I really want to spend some serious time with feels kind of overwhelming. However, since I’m also not restricting myself to these titles only, I’m hoping to open myself up to a good balance of intimidating titles, with some lovely little palette cleansers from my library in between.

Autumn and Winter Sale Shopping List

Look, I know I just talked about Low-Spend 2020, but there are TWO major Steam sales between now and then. Do I need any more games? Not even a little. Am I going to buy some more games? Absolutely.

However, I want to put some real thought into my purchases – including the price point at which I’m willing to take the plunge, hence the shopping list.


Almost Certainly Going to Buy

The Witcher 3 GOTY Edition

70% off ($14.99)

This one is kind of a no brainer. It’s been 70% off pretty much every recent sale, and I fully expect it’ll hit that price again. I’ve resisted buying because I probably don’t have time for a 200 hour RPG, but I feel like it’s time to take the plunge.

Sunset Overdrive

25% off ($14.99)

This feels a little ridiculous, but I haven’t enjoyed a game this much in a really really long time, and I need to own it. To be fair, I’ll probably buy it before the year’s end with no discount at all.


Probably Will Buy

Utomik 6 Month Subscription

25% off ($28.35)

This might be cheating a little, but there’s still enough stuff on Utomik I’d like to spend some time with that this seems like a great deal (and frees up 6 months worth of paid subscription slots).

Heartbound

0% off ($9.99)

Sure, I’d love for this one to see a discount, but I’m optimistic that it will be completed sometime in 2020, so if I want to support it at full (or at least close to full) price, this is the time to pick it up.


Unlikely to Be Discounted Enough

Disco Elysium

50% off ($19.99)

As much as I’d like to get my hands on this one, it’s probably too new to get the price drop I’d be looking for, and it feels too likely for eventual Humble Choice inclusion to spend full price on it, especially considering how long things tend to sit in my library.

Lobotomy Corporation

50% off ($12.49)

I’ve been eyeing this for awhile (and I can see it being a game I spend a LOT of time with), but it hasn’t had enough of a discount yet for me to pick it up.

Re:Legend

50% off ($9.99)

It’s probably too new to Early Access to hit 50% this year, but I’m super intrigued even though the early reviews are less than stellar. I’d absolutely scoop this one up for $10 or less.

Low-Spend 2020: Putting a Halt to Impulsive Game Purchasing

I’ve known for awhile that I have a problem with impulse purchasing, but I try not to think about how big of a problem it actually is.

I have not actually played anywhere near that many games – I do tend to idle for cards, which makes at least that portion of my calculator very very wrong.

Of course, bundle buying absolutely throws the account value out of whack. On the other hand, this is only games I own on Steam, and it’s still way too many. So I’ve decided to slow my roll next year, and stop buying things just because they’re cheap or they look interesting or I’m having a bad day.


Low Spend 2020 – Allowed Spending

Subscription Spending

I’m allowing myself the full 12 months of Humble Choice, as well as one paid MMO subscription and one paid gaming subscription service at a time.

Non-Subscription Spending

I am allowed to spend up to $50 gifting games to others during the Summer and Winter Steam sales, and I am allowed to purchase non-Collector’s Edition expansions for World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online. Additionally, I may elect to purchase one new co-op game or MMO to play with my husband if something comes out he’s excited about.


Other than what I’ve indicated above, I will not be purchasing any new games, or making any cash shop or micro-transaction purchases in 2020. This includes purchasing any bundles other than the Humble Choice subscription.

While I acknowledge that I’m still allowing myself a massive budget, I still feel like this will be an improvement over what I’ve been doing – which is just making game purchases without a whole lot of thought behind them. It’s not really about the money – although I love to shop, I don’t spend to the point where it strains our budget. But by always chasing the next great deal, I am not really enjoying the things I buy.


While it’s not restricting myself to only five games for an entire year, 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.

One Year / Five Games

Oh, this is diabolical.


I might have missed this one entirely if Naithin hadn’t posted about it (and I read that right before bedtime too, so you bet I was thinking about it while I was waiting to fall asleep). Let’s be real – I probably couldn’t stick to this and would just take my beating. And I’m not so organized as to worry myself about categories – I’m just going to look at potential play times here.

Game One: World of Warcraft

I would definitely want an MMO, and this one was super-close. Like, I had already started writing about the Elder Scrolls Online close. But every time I’ve take an extended break from WoW (like, for example, now), I come back recharged and excited and ready to Do Stuff. Plus there’s pet battles. I can spend a LOT of time on pet battles. And I haven’t seen the Horde side of the last three expacs, so I probably wouldn’t run out of stuff to do, even if it wasn’t always the most exciting things.

Besides, I have a guild that’s been around for a good 10 years, and I miss those folks like whoa.

Game Two: Rimworld

I’ve been away from Rimworld a long time, but I haven’t forgotten how easy it was to lose myself in. Sure, all the changes since I played last would be overwhelming at first, but I don’t think it would take me too long to get caught up. Plus, I’m pretty sure there’s like 80 bazillion new mods I haven’t even looked at since I played last.

Game Three: RollerCoaster Tycoon Triple Thrill Pack

Another building game, you might be thinking. Yes. Another building game. There is SO MUCH content in this game, and I may even someday learn to build my own coaster that doesn’t kill people. This has the added bonus of being extremely low spec, so if something happened to my regular gaming rig, I wouldn’t be left game-less.

(this is where it gets really hard)

Game Four: Tales of Maj’Eyal

I’ve played enough of ToME to know I enjoy it, and there are currently over 1700 achievements to strive for. I can see this one holding my attention for many many hours.

Game Five: The Sims 3

Replayability and longevity have to be considered, and what game has more to do than Sims 3? I’ve played hundreds of hours already, and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. Add in a whole bunch of self-imposed challenge modes like the ones here, and I would probably never get sick of it.


Well, that was uncomfortable. My interests are so varied and my library so vast. Cutting down to a single MMO and giving up all manner of mobile gaming were probably the biggest sacrifices.

Thank goodness this isn’t a thing I actually have to do, although it certainly makes me less apprehensive about my plans to seriously limit my gaming purchases in 2020 (more info on that soon).

Goodbye, Humble Monthly. Hello, Humble Choice.

It’s been over a year since Humble Bundle sent out surveys to feel out some customers about adding additional tiers to their Humble Monthly subscription. Today, they announced that Humble Monthly is going to become Humble Choice before the end of 2019. Since the early unlocks for November have already been announced, that seems to imply that Humble Choice will begin with the December 2019 bundle.

The tier structure they’ve come up with is … interesting, to say the least.

So, let me break this down for you.

If you have an active Humble Monthly subscription, you will be grandfathered into the Classic plan when Choice launches. You keep paying $12 a month (or whatever it comes out to for whatever multi-month plan you currently subscribe to), and you get 10 games a month, Trove access, store discount. The primary change for you is that there will no longer be “hidden” unlocks, which I am taking to mean that you will still be able to pause a bundle after the games are revealed, but prior to claiming any keys.

However, if you want to keep the classic program, you can only pause, because if you cancel at any point, you will never be able to subscribe at the classic tier again.

For non-current subscribers, the options are a little different. The Lite plan costs $5 a month, and gives you Trove access and a small store discount. The Basic plan costs $14.99 a month, and you only get to choose three games from each month’s options. The Premium Plan is $19.99 a month, and even then, you’ll STILL have to pass on a game every month, because the top tier subscription only allows you to select 9 games.

If you are currently cancelled, and think that you might want to lock in the Classic plan, I wouldn’t advise waiting to see if you get a new batch of early reveals. Excluding the Lite (which is basically a subscription service to the Trove), every other tier is going to cost more and you will get less than if you lock into the Classic tier now.

Now, I’m a little grumbly about how not consumer-friendly this whole Classic tier is, but as someone who has only skipped two months of the Humble Monthly since I started my subscription back in August of 2016, I’m going to ride it out. I don’t know how long the pause window will be every month, but you can bet that Humble Bundle is counting on the fact that people will forget to pause when there’s nothing of interest.


Edited to add: The part of this I am most curious about, if we’re being honest is the “unlimited” access to published originals and betas. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out – will all Humble Published games be available to all non-Lite subscribers as DRM free downloads? Steam keys? Of are they just going to jam them all into a choice bundle? Does this apply to already released games? We shall see how it pans out.

For me, the possibility of getting Forager and Crying Suns as part of my sub is too good to pass up, and I’m sure there are many other Humble Bundle published games that I’d be interested in as well.

What I’m Playing Wednesday – Aven Colony

Ok, I know I said I was frustrated. I was. I took a day off, played some Ode, and went back to it fresh.

And then:

Sure, half the colony was unemployed, and crime was rampant, and we were running out of food, but I did it. I saved all 1000 colonists in time.

There’s just three scenarios left – I probably won’t play the sandbox mode (if I need to build more colonies on alien planets, I have other games for that). I find I rarely enjoy this type of game without very specific goals and win conditions (although an open ended colony builder like Rimworld really works for me).

Maybe when I finish this up, I’ll be ready to get back into something story driven. Yesterday, I cancelled all my active subscriptions (ESO+ and Utomik) until I see how much time & energy I’m going to have for gaming during Day Job’s busy season.

It’s not like there aren’t plenty of things in my Steam library I can play without paying for services I’m not using.

Quick Look – Ode

This is going to be brief – even for a Quick Look – because although I’m sure there are the right words for the experience of playing Ode, I’m not sure that I know what they are.

If you want a beautiful, relaxing experience, and you took advantage of the Uplay+ free month, take a few minutes and give this one a download. Make sure you have the right language selected (mine defaulted to German, and I was very confused for a few minutes), and put on your headphones.

There’s a little bit of light puzzling, low-key platforming, but mostly, you float around and touch things. There are orange orbs you can collect – and they are useful – but there doesn’t seem to be any kind of fail state. There are only four levels (and you can’t save mid-level), so make sure you have the time to relax and not need to rush it.