A (Micro) Transgression

I knew I was going to have issues with Low-Spend 2020, and just over a month in, I’ve made my first forbidden purchase.

I’ve been on a kick for mobile slot machine games lately – more so since I discovered that some evil geniuses have decided to add quests to the mindless game play loop.

Normally, this would be just another guilty pleasure, nothing worth even mentioning, because despite these types of apps being absolutely infested with microtransactions, I’m pretty good at resisting the lure of “free money” (which isn’t actually even money!)

But here’s the thing – I also fully believe that if you’re enjoying a free-to-play game, no matter how inane, it’s actually a good thing to throw a couple of dollars at the developers, just as long as you never go over what you would have paid for the game if you had bought it outright.

Last night, I got home late, I was tired, and was unwinding with a slot-machine focused quest or two, and one of those amazing deals popped up. And I thought, I’ve been playing this game every day for over three weeks now, I should toss a couple of dollars at it.

And without any more thought than that, I did.


Obviously, I’m not going to waste a lot of time lamenting that I failed in my low-spend goals over a measly $2.11. I’m still in it for the year, but I wanted to make a short post in the interest of full-disclosure.

Nerd Girl Goals – February 2020

GAMING

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.

Ten Games to Tackle in 2020

  • Finish up Far Cry Primal.
  • Start Borderlands.

#DatingSiMonth – Community Game Along

To tell the truth, my initial reaction to #DatingSiMonth is “What the hell am I going to play for this?”

As it turns out, I had more options than I realized. This, friends, is what happens when your gaming library gets out of control.

I’ve already played Danganronpa 2, and put over 100 hours in to Stardew Valley.

Then there were a few that seemed to be … miscategorized. (Of course, if Killer is Dead is actually a dating sim, feel free to correct me.)

I settled on Purrfect Date to be my primary Community Game-A-Long game this month, although I did also take a peek at free Dating Sims on Steam, as well as browsed through Itch.io for free dating sims, so it’s entirely likely I may hit up more than one.

Other Gamestuff

  • World of Warcraft: I’d really like to put some time in grinding out the rep for BfA flight. Also, there’s that bee mount I’ve been ignoring that I would like. And two plus worth of patches to check out. I guess I’m back (but I’m still on token-time, so we can see if I can also rack up some gold while I’m at it).
  • Utomik: For my birthday, I was gifted an entire year of Utomik subscription. Since I checked last, they’ve added Rise of Industry, Coffee Talk, and Ministry of Broadcast to their offerings. I would like to try out at least one of those this month.
  • XBox Gamepass for PC: Although I currently have my sub paused, it’s active through mid-month or so (and let’s be real, I’ll likely renew it because it’s only $5). Here there are also a handful of new-ish games that I’m interested in, namely Gris, A Plague Tale: Innocence, and Children of Morta. I’d like to dabble in at least one of these as well.

I think that’s probably more than is realistic, honestly, especially if I’m going to read another 3 or more books, finish up the deck building, and maybe even start trying my hand at making some custom Magic: The Gathering lands and tokens.

I’ve ordered myself an inexpensive set of acrylics, and bookmarked a couple of tutorials, and I absolutely intend to document the process. I have very little innate artistic talent, but a near insatiable drive to make stuff, so this should be interesting if not immediately successful.

In Review – January 2020

Where did January go? This month simply FLEW by! I spent far fewer hours gaming than usual, but as a result, I felt as if my leisure time was more balanced this month than usual.

Low Spend 2020

I am on track!

Ok, admittedly that’s not saying much. It’s been one month. That’s barely even self-control.

However, Temtem released in early access and tested my resolve, because the people I follow who are playing it seem to be really loving it. I assume this temptation will be back if it comes out in full release before the end of the year – I can tell myself that an EA MMO is fine to miss out on, but there’s nothing quite like an MMO at full release.

The Nope List

With only two games this month, I decided to put the Nope List back into my In Review post this month. I’ve already talked a little bit about why I ended up shelving Ori, so no need to rehash that other than to say I am still terribad at platforming games.

However, Hero of the Kingdom III was a huge disappointment. The first two games in the series weren’t life-changing, but they were enjoyable RPG-lite, hidden object adventures that were satisfying to play. The third installment managed to suck any iota of fun out of the concept, and after less than an hour, I realized that there are far better grinds out there, were I to be in the mood for grinding. I don’t expect this is anything I’ll go back to – it’s not a case of the being the wrong game for my mood, but instead, for being just wrong.

Community Game Along – #PlatforMonth

After shelving Ori and the Blind Forest halfway through the month, I instead played through Type:Rider and enjoyed it, not in spite of the lack of challenge, but because of it.

Ten Games to Tackle in 2020

I put about 10 hours into Far Cry Primal, and it’s showing me to be at about 20% completion. It’s highly unlikely I’ll go for the full 100%, but I figure I’ll get another 20 or so hours out of it before I call it finished.

I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying it, especially since I got off to a really rough start with it. For the first couple of hours, I felt so very clumsy and aimless, but I’m glad I kept going because once it clicked, I found it a lot of fun.

Plus, I get animal companions I can (and frequently do) pet.

Of course, if I proceed at this pace, there’s no way I’m getting anywhere close to the 10 games I put on my list, but I also know my both my game time and interest tend to ebb and flow, so I’m sure there will be months where I put in 40-50 hours on this project, rather than the meager 10 for January.

Other Gaming

I can’t even blame it on playing too many other games.

I spent one evening on We Were Here Together with a friend of mine – this one felt way more challenging than the first two, but not entirely in the best of ways. I felt like there were several puzzles where it wasn’t clear at all what we were supposed to be doing, and having played the first two games, I don’t think that we were failing the communication challenge. It was just more obtuse than what I had been hoping for. Unfortunately, scheduling with my co-op partner is frequently a nightmare, so I don’t know when or even if we’ll get back to it to work on the second half.

I am close to being finished with Pirate Mosiac Puzzles – Caribbean Treasures, but I haven’t really been particularly drawn to it.

Lastly, I did spend a couple of days getting my Deathwing Mount in World of Warcraft. I expected to go back and poke at my reps for flying and start on my pre-expansion prep, but I haven’t so much as logged in. Still, I’m satisfied with having completed the anniversary event for the cost of a token that was just sitting around.

GoodReads Challenge (3/36)

Here again, I am also precisely on track. I’m poking at my Kindle library, just sort of picking things on a whim. All three of these books were solid reads, but none of them were anything I’d rave about.

Other Nerd Girl Stuff

What I have been doing a lot of that’s been keeping me away from my PC is finishing up the sort of our Magic: The Gathering card collection, and starting to build up a bunch of decks for the Commander (or EDH) format.

I’ve always enjoyed playing Magic, but if I’m being completely honest, I’m a mediocre player. What I do really enjoy, however, is the challenge of putting together strong decks, and both the larger deck size and more constricting rules have made this something I keep coming back to.

So far, I have completed four decks, and I have another half dozen or so in progress. I’m fairly certain all the money I’ve “saved” by not buying games, I have managed to squander away on MTG singles. The upside is, once I have everything put together (and I’ve satisfied my inner need for documentation by putting them into my ManaBox app), we can put the rest of our cards back in storage for awhile.


Well, for a month that seemed to fly by, I guess I did a whole lot more than I thought when I sat down to sum up my January!

Game Over: Type:Rider

It may have taken choosing an extremely short title for #PlatforMonth, but I managed to finish up Type:Rider in just over two hours!

If you’re looking for a platforming challenge, this isn’t it. If you’re looking instead for a lovely romp through the history of typography (or even if you just appreciate a clever use of letters as art and some pretty graphics), then you’re in the right place.

True confession: I didn’t push myself playing this game. I did make it a point to get all the asterisks, but I skipped over any letters I couldn’t immediately see a way to get to. I didn’t hunt down the ampersands either, but I grabbed a couple that I practically bumbled into.

I assume that one or both of these things are required to get to the “bonus chapter”, so I did not manage to unlock it. However, I actually started to struggle on the final chapter, and although I enjoyed my time playing Type:Rider, I didn’t feel an overwhelming pull to go back and try to hunt down all the collectibles.

The Tetris-style segment gave me a heck of a time!

For a budget game (full price is just under $5), I think Type:Rider was a worthwhile experience, but it probably will only appeal to a very niche audience.

Changing Direction for #platformonth

I was under the mistaken impression that I could play Ori and the Blind Forest on easy and it would be … well, easy.

Instead, I played it for several days in 10 minute increments, and quite honestly, didn’t get very far. Having been a PC gamer from a pretty young age, I never really worked on my platforming chops as a kid, and now that I’m over 40 and my reaction times aren’t what they once were, it’s really challenging to get to a place where most platforming games, even on easy, are something I can tackle without getting frustrated.

I have to believe this isn’t how MOST folks play.

Instead, I decided to redirect my efforts. Although I’d still like to participate in #platformonth with the Community Game-A-Long, I’d like something that I have a chance of completing before the month is out. So I dug through my Steam library and came up with another option.

Not only is Type:Rider totally my aesthetic, it’s also gloriously simple. Maybe too simple, because it gets reviews like this one.

A very simplistic platformer, with not much going for it. The only "challenge" to it is the controls, as the character follows inertiamore than player input.
A very simplistic platformer, with not much going for it. Sign. Me. Up.

But it’s lovely. And easy. And short. I will ride the inertia and gape at the stunning visuals, and any letters I miss on the way by will stay missed. I’m very okay with that.

Always Running Late

For someone who is meticulous about being timely IRL, I still can procrastinate for the Olympics. I feel like this post has a sort of an Inception-style thing going on for it, because it’s a short story about waiting until the absolutely last minute, and also, it’s written and posted more than a week after I intended to.

Sorry about that, folks.


It seems like it’s been forever since the information about the 15th Anniversary event in WoW came out, and I was pretty sure I was going to reactivate my WoW sub in November to take advantage of it.

Then, I saw that the event was going to be a long one, running all the way through January 7th, so there was no rush. And rush I absolutely did not. Before I knew it, November had disappeared, and then it was December and I was stuck in bed sick for over a week, and then it was the holidays, and that token just never got spent.

At the beginning of January, I again claimed I was going to get my act together and go get that Deathwing mount. Finally, on Sunday, January 5th, a mere 48ish hours before the even was over, I reactiavted my account.

And after approximately 10 months off, I had to remember how to play (thank goodness for muscle memory), scrounge up 10 item levels, and actually get through all three LFR events. Easy peasy.


Having missed at least a couple of patches, making up that iLvl was far easier than I could have hoped. One random world quest for a trinket, and several quick upgrades while opening up Najatar (not to mention the hella boost to my necklace), and I hit 380.

All in all, it was easier than I anticipated all around. Monday evening, my husband and I started queuing up for the LFRs (I know, I know!!!) – Outlands was flawless, Northrend was … less flawless (stupid dance, stupid defile, stupid old person memory for mechanics), and we only had one wipe on Cho’Gall in the Cataclysm content. The whole shebang, including figuring out how the heck one gets to The Caverns of Time these days, took about two and a half hours.

So, let’s say that this mount took approximately 5 hours of effort, and about two months of procrastination.

As it stands now, I have not logged back into WoW since then – I still have 20 days remaining on my sub – and yet, I’m still thinking about going back for real for Shadowlands.

Nerd Girl Goals – January 2020

I figure there’s no time like the a new year to mix up the format a little, right?

January 2020.
Subscription Game Service: XBox Game Pass for PC
Paid MMO Subscription: None
Community Game-A-Long: Ori & The Blind Forest - #PlatforMonth

GAMING

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 decided to double up my goals this month by making sure I play something on XBox Game Pass for PC and by doing this month’s Community Game-A-Long so I decided on Ori and The Blind Forest for #PlatforMonth. Platformers really aren’t my jam, overall, but I’ve been wanting to check this one out for awhile.

Additionally, I’d like to start working on the list I set for myself for 2020 with Far Cry: Primal. It’s the shortest of the titles I’ve selected for myself, and I think that’s probably a good way to ease myself into some of these more overwhelmingly lengthy titles.

Even though I have less than a week to pull it off, I’d still like to hunker down this weekend and try to get my Deathwing mount in World of Warcraft. I’m not sure I can pull it off – I haven’t played for almost a year, and I have to get a significant boost to my iLvl before doing the event, and I only have a few days in which to do it. I guess procrastination doesn’t always pay off.

I’m really not sure what else I’m going to be poking at this month. I have a date set up to play We Were Here Together with a friend. Maybe I’ll dabble some more in Guild Wars 2. I also have a handful of new games from the Winter Sales, and the January Humble Choice releases on Friday. Anyway you look at it, I’m not short on options right now.

WATCHING

I’m actually hoping to spend less time watching television over the next few months. I’m trying to get back to working my mind, and creating things again. It’s not that I don’t think television and movies are worthwhile as media – they absolutely are – but they are also the path of least resistance.

No watching goals this month.

READING

I came in just under the wire for finishing my GoodReads challenge for 2019, and yet I still upped it for 2020. I set my goal for 36 books, which is a meager increase, but I am planning on at least half a dozen of those being non-fiction.


All in all, I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. I’m painfully analytical, and I am always trying to smooth out life’s rough edges year-round. However, I do usually pick some sort of focus.

Last year, I went for monthly, to concentrate on things as they presented themselves.

This year, I’m trying to focus more on experiences, and less on things. This didn’t really solidify for me until after I decided to try out having a low gaming spending year, but it all fits together really well.

So this year, I want to play rather than collect. I want to try new things, and revisit old favorites with new friends. I might even take a few steps out of my comfort zone.

In Review – December 2019

There isn’t a Nope List this month, because I played so little overall, and there was nothing I walked away from due to anything but lack of time and other shiny things calling to me.

What I Played This Month

My Time at Portia: A carry-over from last month, but I played a LOT more this month. This is a game I would have really loved to have finished, but here’s the thing – the crashes killed it for me. Although it doesn’t seem to be a very common problem, I had random crashes to the point where I’d have to do some days five or six times before I’d make it through to a save. I was forever tweaking graphical settings, and I finally just gave up, shortly after flipping over into year two.

Cosmic Express: I wanted to try out a new (to me) puzzle game for the December Community Game-Along (#PuzzleGameMonth). I played about a dozen levels over a couple of days. I did like it, but it’s something I feel like I can step away from for awhile without having to start over.

Pirate Mosaic Puzzle – Carribean Treasures: Mosiac puzzles are probably my favorite type of bite-size gaming, and sadly, I’ve blown through almost all of what I have managed to find on Steam. This one is solid, and despite having very little time for gaming, I zoomed through it.

Peace, Death: This one is probably better suited for play on mobile (or at least on touch screen), but it’s a fun little game where you decide who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, based on an ever-increasing list of things you need to keep an eye out for. It’s not super long, but I feel like it’s something I’ll go back and do a run of from time to time.

Master of Pottery: Not an exciting game, but more of a toy. It’s pretty to play with when I’m burned out on everything and just want to unwind.

Sunset Overdrive: Why oh why can’t I quit you?!? I’ve more than finished the game on XBox Game Pass for PC, and now I’m replaying it on Steam. At least this time, I’ll have those sweet sweet nerd points to show for it.

Hero of the Kingdom: A cute little hidden object quest-a-thon. The story is nothing to write home about, but it’s a relaxing game which takes less than three hours to blow through beginning to end. Not my first time playing, but my first time completing it.

Steam Winter Sale Purchases and Gifts Received

If I had given myself an actual budget for this winter sales period, I would be so very far over it. However, my gift purchasing came in under the $50 I allot myself, and my person purchases on Steam proper did as well.

So what did I buy?

Crest: The Indirect God Sim – $2.99

The reviews may not be stellar, but actual indirect control god games are hard to come by, and I’d rather spend $3 than drop than $22 to pick up Godhood, which I still expect to drop or be bundled in time. Kind of an impulse purchase, but it’s been on my wishlist for a long time, and it was at an all-time low.

Peace, Death + Hand of F DLC – $2.38

Somehow, I have it in my head that this will be sort of like Papers, Please, but less depressing, despite the fact you’re playing as a grim reaper. A low investment pick-up, to be sure.

Varenje: Full Game DLC – $1.44

I probably should have tried out the free episode first, but for under $2, I’m down to test drive the full game. The art looks fantastic, and even a mediocre hidden object puzzler is usually worth a few hours of entertainment.

The Atomic Breath Pack – $2.00

Three little time-wasters – one focused on destruction, one on parkour, and an arcade shooter. Nothing super exciting, but a cool little package I hadn’t noticed before and grabbed on a whim.

Lost Dimension – $7.49

One part tactical RPG, one part find-the-traitor, this really sounds like it’ll be something I’ll be able to put some serious hours into.

Lobotomy Corporation – $11.74 after $5 coupon.

This one hadn’t quite hit the price I was hoping for – until I took into account the $5 coupon I earned (primarily from buying gifts for others). I’ve been looking forward to this one for awhile, and again, I expect it to be the kind of challenge I soak many hours into.

Re:Legend – $13.29 after coupon on Fanatical

The difference in price cut between Steam and Fanatical was too much to ignore, and even though this one also didn’t QUITE hit my target price, I decided to go for it. I didn’t want to wait another whole year to get a shot at this life sim with a side of Pokemon.

Total Spent – $41.33


& then, my friends came through with a few titles that I was still too … ahem … frugal to pick up myself just yet. I’m super excited for all three!


In the end, I picked up almost everything I planned to, and I have SO MANY very lovely games waiting for me to set aside some time for them. I hope your holidays (and Winter Sale season) treated you as well as they have treated me.

Impulse Purchases and a Last Hurrah

My plan for a low-spend 2020 is weighing on me. A year without buying anything new suddenly seems SO VERY LONG INDEED.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve picked up a handful of things, some of which were planned purchases, and others that really really weren’t.

I did finally pick up The Witcher 3 GOTY during Black Friday sales, and I grabbed a copy of Sunset Overdrive for my library when a physical copy was available on Amazon for around $10. So far, so good.

However, in the last week, I’ve also picked up a handful of things that caught my eye that weren’t anything I had been looking to closely at before catching a good sale. Anthem was only $6 on Amazon – it’s a physical copy and I haven’t opened it yet, but I’m going to hold onto it in case the big changes that are rumored actually make an appearance. I grabbed FTL and Where the Water Tastes Like Wine on a Humble Store sale, and Rocwood Academy and Master of Pottery were an impulse purchase on Steam, but all in all, I dropped less than $20 on the whole batch.

And then today, Chrono.gg put the Plantinum collection of Civilization VI on sale for under $30, so I scooped that up, and then I grabbed Autonauts on Nuuvem for $5. Somehow, I’ve managed to spend about $50 before even looking at the Steam sale, which is supposed to be my last spending hurrah until 2021.


Which is, I guess, both good and bad news, because the Steam sale isn’t really blowing my skirt up this go around. I’m not saying there aren’t any good deals, but none of them are ah-mazing. Originally, I had planned on picking up a couple of bigger titles, and now, the more I look, the more likely it seems that I’ll grab a couple of smaller ones (Crest is looking particularly appealing at the moment) or skip buying on Steam altogether this time around.

I also plan to keep any eye on Epic’s daily freebies, and take a closer look at some of the bundles Fanatical is dropping as part of their winter sale. There are some really fantastic deals out there – but I am already finding myself saying “But you don’t need that!”

Less than two weeks before I have to depend on Twitch Prime, Humble Choice, and sheer will power for a whole year.