120 Games, 1 Goal - Pile of Shame: 0

@Lawnch That’s really cool that you went to such lengths for this, as it’s an option I hadn’t really considered.

Personally I’ve created a massive spreadsheet with every game I’ve ever owned and input stuff like purchase date, completion date, release year, metacritic score, howlongtobeat hours, publisher, developer, how much I bought/sold it for and a whole ton of other stuff. It was a mountain of work to enter everything, but now that I’ve done that I have a really easy time to create all kinds of cool lists based on years, generations and stuff like that, and I can then see my monthly/yearly progress in graph form which is particularly motivating for me.

mmmmmm I love graphs. I do stuff like this for wrestling. Don’t know if I could do it for games but it is interesting for sure.

Damn that’s really a great idea actually @Ikon, I didn’t even think of making graphs out of it. It requires upkeep, but it’s a valuable resource if you’re as full on into this hobby as we are haha.

Shamelog #025 - Grunge & Atmosphere

A few nights this week have seen me wandering the streets of Vizima, The Witchers’ first major city, unraveling plot threads and engaging with the locals. Antics involving a shady dwarf, a questionable guard commander, a few games of poker and a lot of drinks were constant and joyful.

It’s seriously impressive to think that this game was CD Projekt’s first. Many medieval cities in games are more microcosms of a city environment than a living, breathing space. While I’m sure there’s a bit of development magic gone into making Vizima feel so alive, it does so much to provide a mood and larger-than-life feeling that’s hard to get in similar games. The streets feel alive with people going about their own days, the buildings rise around you oppressively and the interiors feel like lived in spaces. Despite the more obvious places where budgets forced some cuts (the very small number of character models stand out for example) CD Projekt have done so much with so little.

It’s strength lies in the city’s independence from the player. Where a place such as Skyrim’s Whiterun feels like a toy box that comes to life as the dragonborn interacts with it, only for it to pause upon the players departure, Vizima feels like it has history, like it will go on with or without your engagement. The city holds both a slight hostility and an indifference to you in its walls, which is oddly freeing in a way that other games aren’t. You don’t have to be the hero in this space - you are already on your own path with your own goals, and as a Witcher you engage with other people through necessity rather than curiosity - you need to earn gold to live, and you do so by slaying monsters. Whether you care or not about the situations others have found themselves in is entirely up to you. That’s refreshing, even 10 years after release.

This is definitely a series I want to take my time and soak in, and already I can understand why it has become such a cult classic. Very much looking forward to digging in as the game and series progresses.

Games Left to Play: 114
Currently Playing: The Witcher


Yea, I remember the first time it rained in Vizima and being amazed the NPCs ran for cover and talked about the rain. It felt much more alive than the Bethesda open world design.


Oh definitely, the rain is actually so good here. Its atmospheric in itself, but having the world react to it just ups that even further. I almost feel like I should be standing under shelter and waiting for it to pass!

Just thought I’d share what motivates me to keep going with this task. I’m sure the way you are doing it might be even better because you have us to follow along with you… but there’s something about the visualization that really captures my attention:

And FFS, now that I look at them together like this, it’s completely illogical that one of them aims to go down, and the other up. Back to the drawing board!

Looking at your list, we share a few notable entries in our backlogs. I think I’ll hold off on the following and play them once you get around to them. Should be fun to compare experiences:
68 Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain
77 Catherine
79 Dragon’s Dogma
91 Pikmin 3
97 Metroid Prime 2
98 Metroid Prime 3
107 Zelda: Majora’s Mask

And you have some of my all time favorite games in your pile… I envy you for being able to experience stuff like Red Dead Redemption for the first time!

@Ikon wow. That’s amazing, and such a clever way to track that data. How long have you been doing that - since 1998? Is that all through your spreadsheet, and if so, would you share the actual sheet? I should have a look at making mine public too, but it does have a ton of useless info on it as well as it’s just as much for insurance purposes as it is for tracking this info… hmm, maybe I need to make another one :grin:

On a side note, definitely keen to play through those games you have down at the same time! When it comes to MGS V I’ve been watching through full playthrough’s of 1-4 on Youtube (only done the first game so far, but this playlist was excellent to watch through if you’re interested) but am only up to MGS 2 at the moment, so still a while off there. I’m also very keen on experiencing Catherine pretty soon (probably first half of next year) thanks in large part to IGN’s Marty Sliva always going to bat for it. When I get to any of the ones you’ve listed I’ll definitely let you know in advance so we can work out a good couple weeks for the both of us to focus on one/some/all of them :smiley:

Shamelog #026 - Digging Deeper in Vizima

The Witcher is definitely a game that requires a commitment to play through, I’ve found. Having been busy with life and not being home much for a couple weekends, having the game dragged out over a longer period of time makes it hard to focus on what’s happening. Drop in drop out casually, this game is ill suited to allow. Still, the rich world The Witcher produces continues to pull me in.

The way the second act of this game wraps it’s way around into itself is an excellent feat of storytelling. The beginning sends you out in several directions narratively, only for you to find that everything is connected in the way that a believable world should.

I felt quite clever towards the end of the act, having figured out something was up with Raymond. I very nearly accused an innocent man of murder while nearly dismantling the city’s underbelly, but thanks to a late night party with old friends and a trip through a crypt I was able to piece the real story together. This was the moment I understood the “cult following” this game so rightly deserves.

I came across this in game book while playing today, which distills why I’m into this game so much so perfectly:

The Rivian Pogrom
Anonymous, based on eyewitness accounts

"After the war, the people of Rivia were unhappy. Poverty was the plight of many and most believed the kings and magnates had betrayed them during the peace talks by not exacting reparations from Nilfgaard. A scapegoat was needed and as usual it was the changelings — nonhumans and witches.

A mere spark was required to send a furious crowd into the streets. Anyone who seemed different was targeted. Dwarves, elves and those accused of using spells were all murdered. People also used the situation to settle old scores, loot and rape. I admit shamefully that few were brave enough to stand in defense of the persecuted. Among those few was the famous Geralt of Rivia, who in seeking to protect his friends was struck with a pitchfork and died. There would have been more victims if not for the intervention of Triss Merigold. The sorceress sent a powerful hailstorm down on the crowd. Only that powerful spell could stop the rioting. What happened to the body of Geralt of Rivia and those who stood by his side, I do not know."

The way this book is written in such a way that invokes not just the state of the world you are in now in game, but the way things used to be; the combination of the Vice News video on Wolfenstein 2 and the horrific news from the WSJ regarding Poland’s National Independence Day in learning about the country’s white supremacist history; the way the world bloody is at the moment…

I very much appreciate that this game isn’t for The Woke Gamer. Without going too deep, you basically have to choose a side between an order of knights who work tirelessly to keep everyone safe (but a racist as fuck) and a group of freedom fighters working for equality (but are happy to kill innocents, the law be damned). You can stave it off for a while, but by the end of act 2, the game is all like, “Nah buddy, you’re gonna get involved whether you like it or not.” I’ll admit the choice was relatively easy, but I did falter for a second thanks to a real great character who happened to be on the wrong side. Again, great writing, characterization and world building takes these things to the next level in a way I didn’t expect.

Now halfway through act 3 and neck deep in it’s political intrigue, I can’t stress enough how glad I am that I gave this game it’s due.

Games Left to Play: 114
Currently Playing: The Witcher


Speaking of: A fan-made mod for “The Witcher 3” adds a prologue of the first game’s events remade in the new engine.

1 Like

Oh heavens no, I started this work in 2015 or 2016. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on it and it’s still nowhere near “finished”. I’d be happy to share it with you, though. You’d have to keep in mind that some of it is in there because I’ve been using the opportunity to learn some Excel along the way :slight_smile: I’d prefer to email it to you or something, because it’s not at a point where I feel like I’d want to share it with too many just yet.

Also, I feel like I have to add that even though I’ve tried to keep track of every game I’ve ever owned here, it’s tough when you go back to older stuff like the NES, which me and my brother got when I was like 6 or something (I’ve decided to not go anywhere near our even older C64 stuff). For most of the old systems I know that I don’t own them anymore, and I know which ones I’ve beat. There is always the chance that I’ve forgotten to add a few, and I occasionally go back and go over what we might have had. Case in point, I just went through my entire history at Humble Bundle and added something like 50 more games today… which feels pretty damn bad, let me tell you!

Re: MGS. It’s funny that you say that, because even if I’ve played all of MGS1-3 (and Twin Snakes), I hated playing MGS4 with a passion and watched the entirety of that game on youtube :laughing:

I’d definitely be down to do Catherine first, that game has always intrigued me!

You’re reminding me so much of what I enjoyed about Witcher 1 that I found lacking in the followups. Maybe you’ll find those still interesting, but that first game was just special in a way that I don’t feel like the later games were able to achieve as they started prioritizing other things more.

@onsamyj huh. That looks really cool. Still glad I’m playing through the game as it was made originally, but the thought of it remade in that kind of beauty… drool

@Ikon ah that’s cool, yeah totally fair enough. Maybe when you’re in a place where you’re pretty happy with it and I’ve really got mine the same we can compare, I’m sure there’s notes we could both take from each other! I was working on a way to have the spreadsheet randomly pick a game for me when I didn’t know what to play, kind of got there with that but still needs work to get right. Will definitely hit you up when I’m planning on diving into Catherine :wink:

@TheJames some games just have a special air of magic, and I’m pretty sure The Witcher has that. Sad to hear it doesn’t seem to persist as much through the series! Hopefully I still find things in them to draw me in.

Kinda disappointingly, there’s totally a neutral option though? It’s just… how do I put this. The way it’s done is so against how games normally present story choices that I love the hell out of it from a design perspective…
even if it feels milquetoast af.

huh, I was so sure I definitely had to pick a side! There you go I guess, kudos to the game for pushing me to not sit on the fence!

Shamelog #027 - A Witching Slog

For the last few weeks, I’ve spent most of the time describing just how into the world and atmosphere of The Witcher. Thanks in large part to the writing and world design, this continues to hold through right through the first four of five chapters. Usually at this point in an RPG I’m full on committed, thinking about the game non-stop though the day, eager to continue on for an hour or two each night. Yet, when I’m away from The Witcher, I still find it difficult to make myself jump in.

The most major part of The Witcher I’ve left out has been re: the gameplay. It’s not great. There, I said it. The ideas are sound - potions, oils, upgrade points - but the timed swings are just a means to an end. This far in the combat has gotten pretty grating. That plus the fact that this game kind of should be culled down a bit (the prologue and first chapter should be condensed, and the 4th chapter almost feels like it shouldn’t be there) has me looking forward to the end.

With a bit of luck, final thoughts next week!

Games Left to Play: 114
Currently Playing: The Witcher

1 Like

Yea, it’s got that weird RPG jank to it. As someone who likes a lot of messy RPGs, I find it charming more than annoying but I do agree that the game is overlong. I think it has the problem most RPGs of this era had which was a final act that was more of a chore to slog through and less of a satisfying climax.

1 Like

Shamelog #028 - “The Death of Single Player"

Small aside - this past Monday we received word that an ex-workmate of mine, who finished up at my work about 6 months ago to live her dream and travel the around country, lost her life in a car accident involving her car, one other and a road train (a truck with a lot of trailers on it,) so I haven’t been overly keen to jump into the final act of The Witcher. This week is a little off topic as a result.

What a loaded phrase. “The Death of Single Player”. It’s a little bit dramatic to be honest, and generalises a much finer idea - that AAA development of games focused on a private experience has come to a stop. It comes up every now and then, with the most recent being this year. At the end of the day, the game industry pendulum has swung back and forth with this notion, always swinging back around to producing some pretty stellar single player games (see: games of 2017.) Though I agree that calling out the death of single player is a little premature, I feel there actually is a little more base in those thoughts than usual.

Honestly, I feel like we’re in a peak for gaming. 2015, 2016 and 2017 have been a continual upward rise for games, with so many wonderful experiences being released. I also feel that this trend won’t continue - the gaming industry just can’t seem to keep a good thing going for too long (see the late 90s, around 2007 etc). This time around, much ink has been spilled over the astronomical costs of development, the rumblings around shitty workplace practices has grown to a more coherent argument, and the ever increasing need for capitalistic growth pushes back on the art of game making. All of these factors seem to be converging to a point right now that could be on it’s way to changing the gaming landscape as we see it now. We’re sitting on an inflection point - larger publishers are looking to make more and more money, and the way forward seems to be less single player focused, more loot boxes opened.

So, to break it down - the assumption that the biggest AAA publishers are moving away from single player games is essentially truth. We’ve already seen it from Blizzard and Valve. EA’s single player games are being crushed with the weight of profit expectance, while Ubisoft and Square Enix have stated multiple times in investor calls their intention to focus on “continued player engagement” and “continued player investment". Sea of Thieves, Anthem, Skull & Bones, likely even Red Dead Redemption 2 will be all focused on retaining your attention as a multiplayer experience, with one goal being to get you to spend more money. Rare, Bioware, Ubisoft, Rockstar - all developers beloved for decades for their single player games. If the developers of these companies are working on these games, they can’t be working on other potential single player games.

That, at least, is the argument.

I do agree with that logic. This is correct, these massive AAA companies are moving away from the types of games that a lot of us are super passionate about. But to say that means the death of single player games? Hardly.

Where the companies already mentioned falter, others take their place. As of 2017, it looks like Bethesda is bearing the torch for AAA single player development, particularly with FPS’s. Nintendo is of course going to do Nintendo. We have also seen a rise in smaller publishers taking up the mantle - Paradox, PlatinumGames, NIS and more have been doing an excellent job with more smaller budget yet fantastic games. Most importantly, small to mid sizes indie devs round out the single player space - Ninja Theory, Supergiant, Fullbright, Klei Entertainment, Playdead, Frictional and many, many more are just about household names. These developers are the future of single player, and I for one am super happy for it to be in their more than capable hands.

I could go on, but I think that’s it for tonight. What do you think - are we at that point where single player changes? What’s the future of gaming? Sound off below!


Guess what I was playing the whole month:


Yeah, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is great, then servers are not melting. Sigh.

Which reminded me how I actually very like games, that give you tools for meaningful interactions with other players, but not rely on (or don’t even have) chat. I’m roleplaying a fisherman (and singing altered version of “I’m lumberjack and I’m okay” for some reason) and I have steady clientele that buys from me. I don’t know who those people are (Hi, Ale!), we didn’t spoke a word to each other (because you can’t) but I don’t really care. At least I’m not gonna discover that they are racist, sexist, or any other –ist.

Fish. All of it.

I wanted to start a thread about games that do that (like how GW2 and TESO puts you and people around you into a party, for example), but I’m too lazy. Feel free to steal the idea, I would be glad to participate.

Also, since I’m still chipping away at long big huge enormous games, I decided that, you know, completing something can help, so I played couple of short games.

Distraint” is disturbing (not necessary a horror, more unsettling than scary) point-and-click-y thing, but puzzles are more or less logical and simple. Maybe I’m reading too much into some aspects of it, but (it’s not really a spoiler, it’s in a premise from Steam page) it feels not just anti-money, but a bit anti-Jewish. Not sure. Other than that, I liked it. It’s not elaborate or innovative, or anything, but simple (ish) story very well complimented by visuals and sound. To be really unsettling for me, game need to be in first person, but this one gets close.

Speaking of puzzles, I kinda hated “Dreaming Sarah”. Can’t tell you anything about the game, because pretty early I just got walkthrough and turned my brain off. Not my thing at all.

Swarmriders” is free very simple twin stick shooter. Kinda cool. I was testing new metal sticks for my gamepad and stumbled upon this game. Because apparently I buy very unnecessary stuff when I’m not buying games.

Unnecessary stuff like Joy-Dog Grip.

Still thinking what to do next. Maybe January would be rules free. Still with a budget, of course, since it’s life. And for February I’m thinking to do a “Free February” where I would be playing only free games (you can join). Just from Humble Bundle alone I got “Shadow Warrior (2013)”, “Sanctum 2” and “The Bureau: XCOM Declassified”. Add “Watch_Dogs” from Ubi and that’s already a lot.

Dude, that Distraint game looks super cool. I’d never even heard of it! The developers other game Silence of the Sleep looks pretty sweet too. Both will very soon be on my Steam wishlist!

I like your idea of the Free Feb thing. For the last couple of years I’ve been doing #4iF, which was a thing started on the old games site Joystiq called “4 in Feb” focusing on everyone playing 4 games in feb from their pile of shame. Of course that’s basically all year round for me now, so might have to do something different in 2018!

1 Like