In Review – December 2020

I seriously considered skipping out on this post this month because (with some very minor exceptions), all of my gaming time was spent neck-deep in World of Warcraft. Normally, I’m a dabbler, but I’ve been all in all month long.

If I hadn’t been tracking it, I wouldn’t have believed I spent over two hundred hours with a single game over the course of a month. Of course, there’s no way to differentiate idle time from active playing time, and I do tend to leave WoW running and walk away to do other things.

I did play a couple of chapters of Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments for #AdventureGameDec, completed 10 turns in Civilization 6 for Long Live the Queen, played a handful of games of SMITE, and played through the tutorial of Dawn of Man. Even totaled up, that only account for about 6 hours of time, and all my other game time was spent in the Shadowlands.

I guess that means – at least for me – the $40 I dropped on Shadowlands was a good time-for-entertainment investment, even when you tack on a month’s subscription fee. Although I haven’t been making tons of gold, I did just pick up a token, so I should be able to go back to subbing via in-game gold again. Given my guild’s super-casual raid schedule, I’m expecting most of my play time over the next month to be spent leveling up more alts, and maybe spending more time in previous expansions increasing my nerd point total.

Happy New Year, friends. I hope your 2021 is full of all the best nerdery!

Nerd Girl Goals – December 2020

Community Game Along – #AdventureGamesDec

I don’t even want to admit to how many point and click adventure games are sitting, never touched, in my library. Still, I just picked up Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments a couple weeks ago at an absurdly deep discount with the intent of playing it during December. After all, who doesn’t love curling up with a good mystery when it’s cold and blustery outside?

I’m not going to pre-select any alternate or additional games fitting the theme this month, but I am not short of options, including most of the other Sherlock Holmes titles. I’ve also been itching to dive back into The Council, and I’m pretty sure that’d fall under the umbrella of this theme.

Subscription Gaming

I’ve left my choice for subscription game service as To Be Determined for December, and I’m likely not going to use one this month. There are still several games on XBox Game Pass I’d like to try, but I also know that even this year, there’s likely to be a lot going on in December, and besides, Shadowlands is still very fresh and I’m likely to spend a lot of time there.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to already being a bit concerned about the longevity of the initial Shadowlands content for someone who tends to avoid doing dungeons and raids – at least while they’re current content. However, I’ve decided to renew my sub in December and see how long I stay engaged. If I lose interest in the new stuff, there’s a lot of old stuff I still want to dabble in, as my play has been pretty sporadic going back as far as Warlords of Draenor.

I mean, I’m getting awfully close to 20,000 achievement points, so that’s definitely a thing I want to spend some time filling out. In the short term, I’d like to get a total of four characters to level 60 and keep up with progressing them each through their covenants, but I don’t expect to do much in the way of the gear grind for most of my alts.


Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

I don’t know that I want to put much of anything else on my plate this month, but it’s my turn again in our Long Live the Queen game in Civilization 6, so I should be posting about that before the week is out.

But I feel like it’s almost traditional to drop a few titles here that I probably won’t touch. I did recently download King’s Bounty: The Legend after reading that it was reminiscent of the Heroes of Might & Magic games. I also just picked up Megaquarium and Cattails during the Steam Autumn Sale, and I really did love the demo of Crying Suns which was in the most recent Humble Monthly. Maybe I’ll fire up one of those before the end of 2020.

In Review – November 2020

This has been another month that has gone by in a flash while feeling so very very long. In fact, without ManicTime (and my earlier blog entries), I would have forgotten about approximately half of what I played this month.

I’m assuming that “nw” represents the time I spent on Aviary Attorney for the Community Game Along.

As you can probably tell, World of Warcraft took up a huge amount of my time this month. Back on November 13th, just under two weeks before Shadlowlands launched, all of a sudden I was motivated to start leveling characters. And level I did. I went from having five level 50 characters to having twice that number (including a Kul’Tiran mage and Void Elf hunter who were basically brand new characters).

Since Tuesday, I’ve leveled up my shaman, gotten my druid to 58, and trucked an additional five characters through the opening scenario so I could start working their professions. Unfortunately, I might have missed the big money making window of crafting materials and early crafted upgrades, but I really enjoyed the journey, even if I’m not entirely sure what to do with myself at max level.

Earlier in the month, I made my way through two visual novels for the Community Game Along. I’m still not entirely sold on the genre as a whole, but I really liked Murder Most Misfortunate, and I did find Aviary Attorney interesting, if a little bit frustrating.

I slaughtered a massive number of zombies in Dead Rising 4 to distract me from the Presidential election and, despite it being a pretty awful Dead Rising game, I found it to be a pretty satisfying zombie game.

The rest of my gaming this month was merely dabbling – a couple multiplayer games with friends, a dozen hours of Autonauts, and just enough time with Carto to appreciate the mechanics. I thought I’d probably return to it, but once I did a deep dive into World of Warcraft, everything else sort of fell by the wayside.

With a whopping 158 hours spent on gaming in November, I really didn’t have much time for any other hobbies – I didn’t watch much television, do much reading, or do any non-blog writing at all, so there were definitely goals I made at the beginning of the month that went un-met. I’m surprisingly fine with that. Despite mostly having been handing the — well, the whole lot of everything going on out there — pretty well, there’s also been a lot of stress both big and small, and whatever is getting me through is going to be good enough for me for now.

Nerd Girl Goals – November 2020

Community Game Along – #VNNovember

For the longest time, I thought visual novels were basically romance novels for your computer, and I paid very little attention to the genre as a whole. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that – it just wasn’t for me. I don’t read romance novels, rarely watch sitcoms or romantic comedies, and I’ve mostly stayed away from Visual Novels and Dating Sims for the same reason – it’s just a topic outside of my interests.

But somehow, over the years as I’ve been building my excessive Steam library, I’ve managed to acquire an awful lot of games that have the tag for Visual Novel that aren’t romance-focused. For my primary choice this month, I’m going to go with Aviary Attorney, but I’ve also picked out a few back-up titles, and none of them are primarily romantic in nature.

I’m particularly interested in Methods: The Detective Competition – I’ve recently played the first several chapters in the demo, and plan on picking it up today as it’s on sale at the moment. I have also played the first case of Night Call in the past, and have been meaning to revisit it. I also am considering Va-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action and Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs if I find I’m really enjoying the theme this month.

Subscription Gaming

Since my World of Warcraft sub is still going to be active for Shadowlands release, I expect that, despite and absurd amount of waffling, I will be grabbing the expansion and leveling at least my shaman through the new content. In the meantime, I’d like to get at least two more characters to level 50, and participate in the pre-release event.

I should probably look into what the pre-release event is going to entail.

I am still finding myself not particularly invested, but vaguely interested, and I don’t know if that’s because my affection for World of Warcraft has evolved into nostalgia, or if my current state of mind just isn’t allowing me to get particularly excited about much of anything right now.

I’m also planning on maintaining my XBox GamePass for PC subscription through the month of November, as there’s still a few things I have downloaded and haven’t even poked at yet. I also would like to check out Deep Rock Galactic (available November 5), and maybe give Eastshade another shot since I ended up returning it when I picked it up on Steam.


Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

I keep overfilling my plate before I get to this section, but yet again, I want to allow for some leeway for myself. I am likely to keep dabbling in SMITE, Among Us, and Puzzle Pirates throughout the month – the first two mainly to spend time with friends, and the third because I’ve found it oddly soothing as of late.

I’ve also been itching to play something building-focused and fiddly, and although Planet Zoo hasn’t hit a price point that I’m willing to pull the trigger on (especially with all the DLC, lordy!), I do have Planet Coaster hanging out unplayed in my library, so I might give that a whirl this month.

Reading & Watching & Other Stuff

So far, I have (mostly) been keeping up with The Pike Cast reading list, although the fourth book they’re covering – Monster – is making it’s way to me all the way from Australia, so I may be a bit late on that one.

They recently released the list of the next five titles they’re planning to cover, and I have gotten them all ordered! I’m particularly excited to listen to the episode on Scavenger Hunt, which is one of my top three Pike novels. Of course, with a release date of every two weeks, it’ll be February before that episode airs.

Which, I suppose, indirectly leads into the other stuff section.

Once upon a time, November for me was all about NaNoWriMo, but it’s been 8 years since I last attempted it, and fifteen since I’ve completed the month long marathon of writing. In fact, it’s probably been five years or more since I’ve even dabbled in fiction writing. I don’t know how good I may have been at one time, or how much those creative muscles have atrophied, but I miss it.

Since I’ve been out of the game a long time, and – let’s be honest – there’s a whole lot of other stress in everyone’s life right now, I’ve decided not to tackle the whole thing this year. Instead, I’m going to set a goal of completing a half-NaNoWriMo; 25,000 words instead of the full 50,000.

If I can get back into the groove, I figure I could finish up a YA thriller / horror novel of appropriate length in about three months. That feels doable to me. I have a vague idea already, and I’m absolutely taking some inspiration from the Christopher Pike books I’ve been re-reading lately. It won’t exactly be fan fiction, but I feel like it’s not that far off either.

I’d also like to get back to some of the TV shows I talked about wanting to watch back in April, assuming my attention span permits it. I feel like I’ve been completely wasting a lot of my time lately, and making a TV date with myself may not be the peak of productivity, but it will also enable to me to get reacquainted with the crafting activities that I enjoy.

There’s no question in mind that I’ve completely overloaded my November goals, but with the holidays being even more low-key than usual this year, and this being the start of the Great Season of Hibernation at our house, I may not have overloaded them nearly as much as it seems. I’m hoping that this month will bring a good mix of self-soothing and rediscovery of things I used to really enjoy.

In Review – October 2020

I’m really loving ManicTime – although, really, I did NOT need to know how many hours I spent between online shopping & doom scrolling this month! The only weirdness I noted here was that it doesn’t actually know what the Puzzle Pirates window is – the 18.45 hours I spent in Java(TM) Platform SE 6 U25 was spent on the cartoony high seas!

I managed to complete two games this month for #HorrorGameOct in the Community Game Along: Alan Wake and Stories Untold. I tried out, but ultimately didn’t get invested in two more – Little Nightmares and Among the Sleep.

The 9.0 patch for World of Warcraft released on Tuesday, October 13th, and that was when I reactivated my account to check out the revised leveling experience. I managed to finish leveling both my warlock and paladin, and spent way too long in the character creation screen before losing interest. Now that the Shadowlands release date has been re-announced for November 23rd, and the second half of the pre-patch coming on November 10, I’m starting to get the itch to go back and at least finish my priest and maybe one other character so I can focus on the pre-launch activities and the gear catch up mechanics therein.

But while I’ve been treating the MMO as more of a solo play game, I’ve been playing SMITE and Among Us when I want to hang out with friends – even having set up a night for my WoW guild mates to try out Among Us for the first time.

The only other games I spent any significant time with this month were My Time at Portia, which I played for a few evenings near the beginning of the month, and Puzzle Pirates, which I’ve been playing pretty compulsively for the last week or so. I still haven’t even purchased Phasmophobia, as the majority of my friends weren’t overly enthused for the concept, and I haven’t touched Hades all month long.

I did, however, play a dozen different demos during the Autumn 2020 Steam Games Festival, and tried out Drake Hollow on XBox Game Pass for PC. I added a few games to my wish list, and satisfied myself that Drake Hollow wasn’t for me.

I purchased two new games directly through Steam this month – 1000 Days to Escape and Abracadabrew. I also bought The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker on Fantatical, as well as two of their bundles and the Humble Monthly for October, making this a pretty major month for game acquisitions. All three of these bundles are still available for purchase at the time of posting, if you see something here you’d like to grab for yourself.

Fanatical’s Very Positive Bundle 5 ($3.99)
Fanatical’s Reaper Bundle 7 ($3.99)
Humble Choice – October 2020 (price varies by subscription option)

I did also complete my GoodReads Challenge for 2020 this month, and am currently sitting at 38 books read for the year. I’m really enjoying the nostalgia of rereading (or in some cases, reading for the first time) the books of Christopher Pike, and listening to my first ever podcast, The Pike Cast. It has even pushed me in the direction of starting a new project, but I’ll talk more about that when I talk about my November goals.

Normally, this would be where I’d dump a whole lot of pictures of all the wonderful Halloween related television and movies I’ve watched this month, but I’ve really been struggling with my attention span and simply watching things as of late. With the upcoming presidential election here in the U.S., and with social distancing still very much being a thing, I just wasn’t into the whole concept of Halloween this year either.

That said, sometime before I go to sleep tonight, I will be putting The Monster Squad on television because some traditions are worth preserving, even if I’m not really feeling it.

In Review – September 2020

Full disclosure: I am garbage at keeping track of how much time I spend on things (and sometimes, even what things I spend time on!) throughout the month. Nathin pointed me at a program called ManicTime which automatically tracks how much time I spend with various applications, and there is a even a monthly summary, which is 100% perfect for me! However, changing computers mid-month means I don’t have one pretty screenshot that covers everything, and I managed to … not save the data from the before the swap. Oops.

However, starting next month, I will be able to take a quick look and see what I spent the most time on over the month, which should make these “In Review” posts both easier to write, and more accurate.

By a large margin, I spent the most time this month on SMITE, despite still not doing a single post about it. This seems to be the first game that really appeals to the entirety of our friends group, and although we still spend a lot of time playing against bots, it’s been a really nice way to touch base with everyone for a game or two.

The only game I managed to complete this month was Spiritfarer, which validated the $5 I spent on XBox GamePass. I also dabbled briefly in Children of Morta, Forager, and Hypnospace Outlaw (the latter of which gave me a killer headache, I have NOT missed the 90s).

I also didn’t manage to do much of anything for the Community Game Along this month – I had the best of intentions with Sonic Generations, but it gave me incredible motion sickness, so I completed only one level.

I also briefly tried out Pikuniku, but it just didn’t grab me.

Unexpected Pick Ups

After SMITE, the second biggest distraction this month came by way of a few impulse purchases. The Council finally dipped down to 75% off after having been on my wish list for ages, so I played through most of the first (free) chapter, and liked it enough to purchase it, but have yet to go back to it.

I have also put several hours into Hades, a game I really expected to be too difficult for me to really enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m bad at it. But poking around the Supergiant site and the FAQ for the game, I discovered that they had the difficulty issue covered.

The fact that Hades was designed with variable difficulty to appeal to the widest audience cinched the decision for me. I figured if it was too frustrating I could return it. And then proceeded to play for more than three hours in my first sitting. Oops again.

The remainder of my meager gaming time this month was spent on Pax Online 2020 demos, and restarting My Time At Portia, which I really enjoyed last winter, but tended to be super crashy, so I never actually finished it. I expect that I’ll continue on with that one through at least next month as well.

GoodReads Challenge (35/36)

It’s been a crazy month, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time for reading either. However, after spotting The PikeCast on my Twitter feed early in the month, I decided to track down a copy of Die Softly and relive my teen years a little bit. I was a huge Christopher Pike fan back in the day, but I didn’t remember this one at all. I’m looking forward to the introductory podcast where they’ll be talking about this one.

Nerd Girl Goals – September 2020


I’m planning to re-sub to XBox Game Pass for PC sometime this month, primarily to take a look at Spiritfarer and Hypnospace Outlaw (although there are still plenty of other titles on there I’d play if I found the time). Hypnospace Outlaw is the shorter of the two games, so I’m going to make that the priority this month.

Now that the release date for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands has been announced, I am optimistic the 9.0 patch will drop sometime in September, and that’s when I plan to reactivate my sub. I skipped out on a lot of Battle for Azeroth, so there’s very little I’m going to do at this point to prepare for the next expac outside of leveling some alt characters so they’re ready to enter the new content. Plus it will let me see how much I enjoy playing again before I drop a bunch of money on the new expansion.


Since I’m not overly familiar with much from Sonic Team, I didn’t have something prepared for this month. So when I saw the (very well reviewed) Sonic Generations on sale on Steam for a dollar back in June, I snagged a copy to dabble in this month.

I’m going into it with low expectations – I’m notoriously bad at platforming games, and I have no history with the Sonic franchise so I’m missing out on any nostalgia value.


Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

I feel like I’ve put a lot of stuff on my plate before even getting here this month, and I still plan on putting some more time into SMITE (both playing and finally blogging about).

Still, I like to poke through my library a bit, dust off a few titles that look interesting that I will (mostly likely) ignore all month in favor of some other shiny thing that caught my eye.

Automachef is one I’ve been looking at anyway, and I’ve been on a building kick, so I might dabble in that. Endzone: A World Apart showed up on Utomik recently, and I have been wanting to check that out. Pikuniku looks like a charming little puzzle game (and it’s short!) and Death & Taxes recent demo was raved about in a Discord I’m in, so since I have it in my library from the steal-of-the-century bundle, I might give that a whirl.

One thing I won’t be doing this month is diving into anything too lengthy, because if all goes according to plan, we’re getting new PCs this month, and I’d rather not have to worry overly much about migrating saved games. Of course, setting up a new system is also going to eat somewhat into my gaming time this month, but it’ll all be worth it in the end.

In Review – August 2020

Community Events and Projects

Yet another month where I’ve struggled with focus, and more specifically, with sitting my ass in the chair to write. Thank goodness for Blaugust Promptapalooza 2020! Although I didn’t do nearly as many prompts as some people, I posted four entries from the available prompts.

I also managed to complete (and write about) the single player story mode of Injustice: Gods Among Us for the Community Game Along. Although it didn’t get me jazzed about the fighting game genre, it was a fun way to spend a couple of evenings.

I took another set of turns for Long Live the Queen this month, and hoo boy, am I way in over my head at this point. Collectively, we’ve passed the 300 turn milestone, and I don’t expect it’ll go around too many more times, but at least we’re on track for victory. I think.

I actually put a lot of hours into SMITE this month (both on my own and with friends), but I found myself struggling to figure out how I wanted to write about the game. I started a couple of posts, but didn’t get very far. Hopefully, I’ll start to get all of that figured out in September.

I did lose most of a week this month to an expected (but suddenly rather urgent) home improvement project, so I didn’t do even a fraction of the other stuff I had planned on this month.

Other Gaming

I started out the month with Little Big Workshop, a game I had owned for awhile but hadn’t thought much about until it showed up in the August Humble Monthly. I played through the majority of the game twice, losing interest only after unlocking the final set of goals (but before completing them as they felt very anti-climatic). is another game I had picked up on a whim awhile back – I like the idea of logistics management games, but I usually don’t find them very compelling. is slow – you actually need to produce a ridiculous quantity of items for each level after the first couple, but it kept me well engaged through most of its available levels, giving me a little more than 10 hours of playtime before I felt like it was starting to play more like an idle game than an active one.

I had been excited about Ruinarch since playing the demo back in June, and I picked it up as soon as it was available. It’s still in very Early Access – at this time, you cannot even save the game – but I’m enjoying it nonetheless, and look forward to seeing how it all comes together in time. I probably won’t even play through all the available scenarios before shelving it for a few months, but I have no regrets being an early supporter.

There were a couple of games I dabbled in this month that just didn’t do it for me. Book of Demons just felt dull – maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance, but nothing about it drew me back after a single short play session. Krystopia is a perfectly serviceable puzzle game with a mostly forgettable story frame, however, it relies heavily on the “connect up the circuit” type puzzles, which I don’t particularly enjoy.

Lastly, I played an embarrassingly large amount of the mobile game Match 3D on my phone. I tend to gravitate towards very repetitive, mechanically simple game experiences when I’m stressed out (or otherwise all caught up in my own head), and this absolutely fit the bill. I spent $3 to get rid of the ads in between each level, but otherwise, haven’t felt that the optional in-app purchases were even the slightest bit necessary to enjoy the game.

Indie Arena Booth 2020

I cannot resist a virtual game conference, although I tried to use some restraint this time around since the Indie Arena Booth at Gamescon was around for only a few short days.

I definitely spent the most time with To the Rescue!, but I also really liked the whole vibe of Lucifer Within Us. I also made sure to check out Gamedec since I had backed it on Kickstarter, but I spent just enough time with it to confirm that I’m far more interested in the complete experience than a short demo.

The rest of the demos I tried out didn’t really grab me, but I really am loving the resurgence of demos, even if they are only available for tiny windows of time.

All in all, August was a pretty intense month, even if I didn’t do much of … well, anything … that aligned with the goals I set at the beginning of the month. Still, I think I’d rather have a plan I don’t follow than no plan at all!

Nerd Girl Goals – August 2020


Since we’ve already done a daily post-a-thon once this year, Blaugust is looking a little bit different. I’m intrigued by the idea of a Promptapalooza, and I’m looking forward to reading all the interesting stuff that comes from it, even though I am hesitant to commit to completing too many prompts myself. You can find the intro post and first prompt over on Tales of the Aggronaut.

Nerd Girl Thoughts will be responsible for the prompt on August 10th.

#FightingGameMonth is the theme of August for the Community Game Along, and it’s the third month in a row that I’m going to be stepping outside my genre comfort zone in order to participate.

And again, because I’m not 100% on the genre definitions, I’m going to rely on the not-so-reliable Steam tag system. Going over my library, I think the main game I’m going to try out is Injustice: Gods Among Us, although I’m hoping to also sneak in a post about a super fun, free fighting game before the month is out.

Steam also told me that the Batman Arkham games count as fighting games, which while I’m thinking that’s a stretch, made me think this might be a good time to start my replay of the series.


Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

I want to talk about SMITE for a minute, here. There are now 110 playable gods in the game, each with unique abilities, passives, and synergies. While I understand that it’s possible for someone to know how to play every single character, I have a Pokemon-brain that only lets me maintain competency at about a dozen or so at a time.

Because of that, I really want to buckle down and learn that handful of characters cold. In the “main mode” there are five roles, and I’d really like to have four characters per role, but I’m going to set my goal for three, because, well, Pokemon-brain. I want to make sure I have build paths on lock as well as managing the actual in-game button pushing.

I expect my biggest struggle to be the assassin class / jungle role, and I am grateful to have a patient group to play with who don’t get overly bent out of shape over losing.

Otherwise, I plan to turn my attention to some shorter and more story-focused games. While I’m missing my strategy games, I find I rarely have the patience for them, and diving into a huge RPG just doesn’t even appeal right now. With how much I have on my plate outside of gaming this month, I just won’t be able to get deeply involved for days a time, so I need to keep my focus more, well, focused.


I’ve just started on Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff ahead of the release later this month of the series on HBO. I’ve been a fan of Matt Ruff since stumbling across the weirdly wonderful Sewer, Gas, and Electric years ago in a used bookstore. I grabbed this one via Kindle Unlimited back in December, and honestly, forgotten all about it until I started seeing ads for the show.

E.A. Copen also recently released the first two books in a new series, and I have Shadows Over Hemlock up next to read. I’d been taking a break from urban fantasy for a bit, so I was delighted to discover her new series was more of a horror story.


Although there’s still a lot of TV I’d like to finish up (I have a nasty habit of not wanting shows to end so I just … stop watching them?), I expect most of my TV time this month will be spent keeping up with the Smite Pro League games. Even though I space them out throughout the week by watching the VODs on YouTube, watching six sets every week is quite a commitment in and of itself.

All in all, I think I’ve planned an ambitious month, considering I’m also committed to a lot of garden work, as well as several projects around the house that need to be finished up before we can get the professionals in to get us settled before winter. It feels weird to even be thinking of winter in August, but the one major thing I’ve learned since owning a house is that everything takes twice as long as you expect it to.

Nerd Girl Goals – July 2020

This is me, fully admitting I have no real and actual plan for the month.

Community Game-Along

Normally, I try to pick out what I’m going to play for the theme of the month way before the month starts. Usually, this isn’t too hard, because either I only have a couple of games that might fit the theme that I’ve even vaguely interested in, or I have a ton because it’s a theme I already really enjoy so there probably won’t be a bad pick.

But I’m going to make a confession here: JRPGs confuse the heck out of me.

Using Steam’s Dynamic Collection feature gives me 54 games to choose from this month. My own (admittedly sort of haphazard) organizational system shows that I have 73 choices. Not a single one of those games have I played for more than a few minutes, and clearly I don’t necessarily know what a JRPG even is.

So, I downloaded a whole bunch of stuff to dabble in and see if anything sticks.


Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

Oh, look, it’s another spot where I don’t quite have anything definitive to say. The Steam Summer Sale is going on through July 9, and I’m waiting to make my bigger purchases until after the Humble Choice reveal on the 3rd. Not that I’m expecting overlap, but why go through the hassle of doing returns if I don’t have to?

I had originally planned to get Disco Elysium as my big splurge game, but I’ve been poking around, and there’s a not-insignificant number of reports of frequently crashes by people playing on AMD graphics cards, so that one got pushed back in priority for me.

Now, I am primarily debating between Megaquarium and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Triology – neither of which I truly need, but I can see either one of them being something I’d enjoy playing sooner rather than later, so whichever one I choose, I’d like to put some hours into it this month.

I’d also like to dabble in whatever else I pick up, big or small. So far, I’ve bought four little games that looked good to me, and I’ll likely pick up another handful of sub-$10 titles. I don’t feel like I have to play them to completion immediately, but I want to put in enough time to confirm they’re good games for me.

I’d also at least like to take a look at No Man’s Sky before my XBox Game Pass for PC runs out in about a week.

On the MMO front, I’ve reinstalled RIFT. After reading Syp’s recent post about it, I decided to take another trip through Telara, just to see if there’s any joy left there for me.

As far as Smite is concerned, I’d like to get familiar with more of the gods that have been added since I last played, and try to find a couple in each role that I feel at least moderately competent on. The group I’m playing with is made up mostly of folks new to the game, so I’m not dragging them down overly much just yet, but I would like to be able to be a little more flexible than I am at the moment.

Mid-Year Reset

I don’t think 2020 has been what any of us expected it to be when we were looking forward back in the fall and winter of last year. I gave myself a couple of challenges, and as it turns out, neither of them are really working out for me. I have decided I’m no longer going to work on either Low Spend 2020 or my Ten Games to Tackle ideas.

I think my Low Spend idea has succeeded, in that I put a lot more thought into what I’m buying. If I don’t see myself playing it reasonably soon, or if I already have something (or multiple somethings) unplayed in my library that I expect will offer a similar play experience, I don’t make the purchase. I’ve also found myself thinking a lot more about spending more on interesting independent games, and less on blockbuster titles that I just seem to collect and never actually play.

As far as taking on some of the bigger, more intimidating titles in my library, what I’ve mostly discovered is (a) big games are still overwhelming and (b) I often feel like I have to play a game because it’s a huge success and it shows up on Must Play lists. I think I need to give a little more thought to what makes games work for me – while it’s good to step outside my comfort zone now and again, I need to accept that my taste, skill level, and tolerance for frustration just make some games unplayable for me, and there’s plenty of other choices out there.

For a post about my monthly goals, this one feels extremely nebulous. It’s strange to be so forthright about just not having any idea what I want to do right now.