Resolve to Dissolve the Gaming Shame

It’s confession time. There are some games that haunt me. Not in the sense of being reminded of bad experiences, but rather the knowledge that I may have fallen short. Or it’s possible the game didn’t or couldn’t live up to my expectations. Call them regrets, if you will. It’s time for me to address these and get them off my back.

The one I never played: Starcraft

Yes, that Starcraft.

What can I say? Back in the 1990s I was a Command and Conquer kid! It was my go-to favorite franchise for strategy gaming. Having this other game show up and get widely proclaimed as one of the best and most influential titles of all time just hit me the wrong way. I didn’t want to like it because it was popular. Plus I associated the game with Warcraft, a similar title set in a world of magic and orcs – and I was just too cool for that kind of fantasy setting when I was kid.

Younger me did some dumb things, and missed out on some cool stuff. Not adult me! I purchased Starcraft Remastered from Blizzard’s confusing storefront and will be beating the game in 2020.

The one I never finished: Homeworld 2

This one stings.

As I’ve publicly professed before, Homeworld is my absolute favorite video game series of all time. The first game captivated my imagination in December of 1999 and I credit it, along with Star Wars, for cementing my lifelong love of all things space.

But I never beat Homeworld 2. I’ve completed the other games in the series at least a half-dozen times over, but number two eludes me. Back when it released there were some balancing issues that made the single-player campaign punishingly difficult at about the midway point. I still remember giving up on it back in 2003.

The Remastered version was prettier and easier to play, but I just stopped playing about two thirds of the way through. Something about the story didn’t overcome real life and I gave up on it. I remember something about hyperspace cores, Progenitors, Sajuuk, and bears. Oh my!

Yeah, I need to finish this one properly.

The one I never was able to get into: Fallout

War. War never changes. It’s also very brown.

I tried, multiple times, to get into Fallout. Each time, my experience was very much the same: brown. Maybe role playing games and I don’t get along. My apathy for this influential title is shared among many slow paced point and click games for the era. Still, I’d hoped that at some point a light bulb would go on and the barren wasteland of Fallout would start to be more appealing.

Maybe it will this year?

Here are five other games I’ve never played that make my list for 2020:

The one that couldn’t possibly be as bad as everyone said it was: Diakatana

It can’t really be that bad, can it?

The one I watched my brother play but never got into for myself: Thief, The Dark Project

The one where you type to make robot drones do things: Duskers

The one with the five-hour soundtrack I’ve listened to dozens of times: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

The shooty spaceship game I absolutely cannot believe I’ve never played: Descent Freespace

This is not about “clearing the backlog”. For the uninitiated, “backlog” refers to massive game collections that expand faster than anyone can reasonably play through them. No, attacking backlog conjures up feelings of obligation and makes gaming feel like work. It’s just not feasible for me, as a gainfully employed adult, to ever complete every one of the four hundred and thirty games currently sitting in my library.

However, I’d like to experience more of what I’ve missed out on. And that means treating games like a fun hobby instead of work to be done. This means it has to be okay to not complete or even start some of the games I already own. Therefore, I have two guidelines set up for my gaming habits in 2020:

  1. For every old experience, there has to be a new one. When I install a game I’ve played before, I need to also try at least one game I’ve never played.
  2. Games get two hours to to prove to me that they’re worth playing. If I don’t see the value in them after two hours, I can set any title aside and say that, while it might be good, it may not be a game for me.

That’s it.

2020 may not have more gaming going on, but it’ll have some different gaming going on. And that’s exciting to me!

Resolutions, Regrets, and Plans for the Future

My gaming library contains 377 titles. By my count, I’ve only played about 40 of them through to completion. This means that a whopping 89% of my game collection sits uncompleted. There is nothing logical about this.¬†

New Year’s resolutions have traditionally been an exercise in failure for me. Emotion overcomes reason as I get caught up in visions of new beginnings and make a pledge to do some big thing in the new year. Inevitably my efforts come up short, renewing doubts about my ability to follow through. Last year was no exception to the rule, even though it was about gaming. And if there’s anything I possess the ability to do, it’s play more games. My failure to play twelve new titles in twelve months was pretty disappointing. It’s not that I had no interest in new experiences, but rather I’m extremely comfortable with what I already know. Just like many of us have favorite books or movies that we can quote line by line, others of us have favorite games that remain engaging when played time and again. I’m simply avoiding new, unproven experiences and sticking with those which I know have an entertaining payoff.

There’s nothing bad about this, but I count myself among those gamers who have developed an affliction referred to as “gaming guilt”. There are a few different types of gaming guilt, but mine stems from my gargantuan backlog of unplayed games. For example, the oldest email receipt I can find is for Half Life: Opposing Force. I purchased this way back on March 13th, 2011 and have not yet played through it. There are hundreds of other titles in my collection that share a similar fate. To be specific: My gaming library contains 377 titles. By my count, I’ve only played about 40 of them through to completion. A lot of them of them I played through multiple times. This means that a whopping 89% of my game collection sits uncompleted. There is nothing logical about this.

Video games are a unique commodity, so I don’t think it’s reasonable to compare their acquisition to books or movies. Thanks to digital sales, giveaways, and bundles, it’s easier than ever to amass a huge collection of titles for minimal investment. Collecting is fine, but I honestly thought I’d played more than ten percent of my library. While I have no regrets about spending time on games that I love, I do wonder what other gems are lurking in the backlog. It’s highly likely there are dozens of games that I’ll wish I’d have played sooner. And it’s equally likely I own a great many duds that aren’t worth the time it would take to download them. Probably. But I have no way of knowing this until I play some new games. What surprises does my backlog contain? It’s time to find out!2018 will bring a change to my gaming habits, but I hesitate to call it a resolution. Rather than keep my hard drive loaded up with dozens of games, I’m going to limit myself to having no more than five installed at any time. Only one of those five can be something I’ve beaten before. This should let me indulge in nostalgia when I want to, but not at the expense of new discoveries. To make sure I don’t wind up five twenty-hour epics installed at the same time, I’ll check the length of each games on It’s probably not wise to place any other constraints on those give games, lest I wind up with titles I’m in no mood to play. This should be quite the interesting experiment, and I’ll do my best to share it with you. I’m going to try to post more, but I’ll keep my plan close to the vest in case it ends up being a total failure. As time allows, I also plan to do some streaming and post a few feature videos. Stay tuned to my YouTube and TwitchTV channels for more.

I hope all of you have a fun and exciting 2018; I plan to!

Backlog of Resolutions

Playing it safe doesn’t capture what I consider is the essence of what it is to be a gamer; which is to discover compelling narratives and exciting experiences firsthand. It’s certainly not in the spirit of RavingLuhn, where one of my goals is to, “sift through the games of PC past and present to pull out which ones are worth experiencing today”. Therefore I present to you the only resolution I’ve made for the year 2017…


Dustforce. Age of Wonders. Insurgency. Kholat. Teslagrad. Those are five games present in my growing gaming library that I can’t tell you anything about. I can’t even tell you how I came to own them! But there they are. Part of my collection, buried in the ever-growing backlog.

In gaming circles, “backlog” is a term given to the pile of unplayed games anyone possesses. Some people, myself included, even tend to feel a little guilty buying new games when we already own so many unplayed games. But backlog doesn’t necessarily have to be a dirty word. Much like other hobbies, it’s the opportunistic accumulation of goods to be enjoyed at a later date. It’s simply a byproduct of the hobby. To help put all of this in perspective: At the end of 2016, my gaming library contained about 307 different titles. Just for fun I went through and counted every game I had completed on PC since the year 2000. Of those 307 games I’ve completed a total of 70, or about 23% of my library. Going strictly off of basic arithmetic, that means I don’t finish more than 5 games per year. I know my own gaming habits and the time I spend on games, and I should be completing way more than five games per year. What this tells me is that for some reason, I keep going back to the same titles over and over. Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Familiar games can have a huge nostalgia factor and are quite comfortable to play. It’s no different than watching reruns of a favorite sitcom. Why spend my hard earned free time on a new game I may not enjoy when I can maximize enjoyment of my leisure time and stick to something I know is fun?

It’s safe and efficient, but there’s also no telling how much I’m missing out on by taking that approach. Playing it safe doesn’t capture what I consider is the essence of gaming; which is to discover new compelling narratives and exciting experiences firsthand. Sticking to what I know certainly is not in the spirit of RavingLuhn, where one of my goals is to, “sift through the games of PC past and present to pull out which ones are worth experiencing¬†today”.

Therefore I present to you the only resolution I’ve made for the year 2017, which contains three parts:

  1. I will not purchase any new PC games until July 1st, 2017 or the end of the Steam Summer Sale, whichever comes first. This forces me to focus on what I have.
  2. I will play twelve games I’ve never played before; at a rate of at least one per month for the entire year. This, hopefully, will drive the discovery of new, fun experiences.
  3. I will write an article about each of these twelve new games as part of RavingLuhn’s content drop in 2017. This allows you, dear reader, to take the journey with me.

Focus on what I have. Enjoy it for what it is. Discover some fun stuff in the process. It should be a good year.