… this one too was loosely inspired by Naithin!
Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried out a handful of regular blog posts or personal challenge ideas that have just … fizzled out. Mostly, they weren’t anything I deliberately abandoned, rather things that just fell by the wayside or that weren’t working out for me. In fact, other than the updates around the change of the month (which seem to have settled comfortably into a review post and a goals post), there’s very little that hasn’t changed from the start of the blog.
So what ideas seemed like they were great, but just didn’t work out for me?
Man, I thought this was such a great idea. Pick one day a week where I would talk about the game that was currently taking up the majority of my game time. Except I didn’t think about what would happen when I was deep into a game for multiple weeks in a row. Or when I was between games. Or when I was playing five different things, but none of them for long enough to have even formed a cohesive opinion. What I’m Playing Wednesday didn’t really make it out of 2019 (although I brought it back for one post in 2020 when I wanted to write about a bunch of games I’d been dabbling in, but had no idea what to call it and it just happened to be a Wednesday).
Initially, The Nope List was a post made up of bite-sized summaries of games I had failed to actually get into in any given month. Then I folded that into my In Review posts, which wasn’t really working for me either because those could sometime get unwieldy due to tossing so many things into a somewhat disorganized format. Starting in March 2020, I did away with The Nope List entirely as a regular feature, although it did pop up again as a convenient way to divide the demos I played during the first big Steam Games Festival into multiple posts.
This category and the next one are kind of intrinsically linked. Going into 2020, I had some big plans mostly centered around really working my way through my library instead of chasing after something shiny and new. Over the years, I’d acquired some games which, if I were to play them to completion, would represent a very hefty time investment, and because of that, they weren’t getting played. They were intimidating. I was starting to wonder if I’d ever actually dive into them.
So I made a list of some of these beefy games, planning to make a dent in them. Another cool concept that just didn’t work for me. I played only one of the ten games for a fairly significant amount of time. I tried out another four, but just long enough to bounce off of them (and if I’m being really honest, only one of those did I dedicate a fair amount of time to before walking away). Which means half the games I selected, I never even loaded up. Sure, 2020 was an unusual year for all of us, but I think the real reason this one didn’t work out for me is that I chose games I felt like I should play rather than ones I really was excited about.
And that loops right into…
Out of all of these, this one is the one that kind of hurt to have had to throw out, and the only one I think was well thought out and could have worked in any other year. I made the rules in such a way that I completely set myself up for success; I allowed for Humble Choice purchases, for subscription game services, for MMO expansions, and to continue being the Steam Sale Santa.
What I didn’t count on was that my non-nerdgirl plans were going to be completely derailed by a global pandemic, leaving me in a kind of dark place, where I would really need the serotonin hits from buying stuff I didn’t need. By the end of April, I was desperate to spend some senseless money. I revised the rules. I gave myself $100 to play with. I thought I could salvage the plan.
And then, I just … kind of forgot about it. I started to have computer issues, and was finding most of the games I wanted to play wouldn’t run. In May, I was still tracking what I bought, but June brought the Itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice & Equality, and then the Steam Summer Sale, and I formally decided in my July Goal Post to throw in the towel.
In retrospect, I realize that was also about the time I was entering a bit of a mental health crisis, alongside people everywhere who were watching COVID spiral out of control and realizing that this wasn’t going to be over anytime soon. I realize that just buying stuff willy-nilly doesn’t actually fix anything, but I was able to have some experiences in 2020 that I would not have had if I had continued arbitrarily restricting my spending.
Instead, I bought some things I really enjoyed, and some things I almost immediately forgot about. I threw money at cool sounding Kickstarters. I picked up early access titles that I really wanted to support. I grabbed a couple games I probably never would have bought, but my friends were playing them, and we played together. When I look at the big picture, I really have no regrets.
This is a project I might revisit again, but probably not for an entire year, and probably not until the world around us settles a little bit, if it ever does. I do think it was moderately successful, as I’ve been much more conscientious about where my money goes, and I have been looking at alternate ways to get value from my library long after the happy chemicals have faded from the purchases.
Bonus Blaugust prompt idea: Have you tried out any type of regular posts that just haven’t worked out for you? Was it because you changed your focus, your circumstances changed, or perhaps you just jumped into an idea with both feet before really thinking it through? Are there any types of posts you’ve gotten away from that you would like to revisit in the future? What would you do differently if so?