Star-Fired Beef

Steam Challenge!


This is an intro to a new series I’ll be (hopefully) staying with for a long time!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading all the Steam Summer Sale posts around the blogosphere, and one common theme was a resolution to actually clear some of the backlog that people have built up over the years before going too crazy in the recent and future Steam sales. My inspiration to do so myself was steadily gaining momentum, until last week I followed J3w3l’s link back to Aywren of, where she resolved to blog about her personal challenge to clear that Steam backlog. That was the tipping point for me, and I am now taking up Aywren’s challenge for myself! Thus, this series. 😛

Now, I have almost 300 games in my Steam library and I have played very few of them, thanks to MMO’s and the “neverending” games like Hearthstone, Diablo 3, Civ 5, and the like. But I have just managed to make a clean break from WoW, uninstalled Hearthstone in a fit of pique at the over-use of RNG and the very stale meta-game, and removed myself from the treadmill of Neverwinter Online. So I am ready to throw myself into my Steam collection and find some unexpected experiences!

All bright-eyed, I went to my library and immediately found myself in the grip of decision paralysis. What to play? I have a huge variety of titles, from massive open-world games like L.A. Noire and TES: Oblivion, to tiny indie games that might only take a couple of hours to complete. Action, RPGs, roguelikes, strategy, adventure, puzzlers, platformers, there was so much to choose from. I needed a plan.

So, my first way to filter is to do a playthrough of my library alphabetically – as in, play one title from each letter per playthrough. That way I have a psychological mini-break that gives me a sense of accomplishment without having to consider the big picture. Up to 26 games per round is much easier to deal with than the hundreds of choices I’d be confronted with otherwise.

The second filter is to not count any of the games in my Can’t Stop Won’t Stop category, which is where all the “neverending” games go, like the Total War games, Crusader Kings, Civ 5, AI War, Blood Bowl, Terraria, and so on. I only have two roguelikes in there at the moment, Dungeons of Dredmor and FTL, because I know I like them and will continue to play them. I’m happy to count the roguelikes I have yet to try, since I win either way – I get to confirm that I want to play it over and over, or I get to check it off the list.

The third filter I decided on is to choose games I’ve already installed where possible. Most of my hard drive space is taken up by my Steam games and with a limited monthly download I should concentrate on not using that all up unnecessarily.

The fourth filter I’m using is to vary the genre of games as much as possible as I go. So if I play a platformer, and the choices for the next letter are FPS, RPG, platformer, and adventure, I’ll exclude the platformer from my candidate list. If that next game is a FPS, then the following choices will try to exclude both FPS and platformers. And so on.

The fifth filter I will maybe use is to choose games that have the Steam Trading Cards where possible. I added up all the possible card drops I could get by playing the games I have, and it turned out to be over 300 cards. I sell all the cards I get so at an average of maybe 10 cents each, I’m sitting on a decent amount of cash for future purchases. This filter also has the added benefit of forcing me to spend more time with games that don’t quite catch my interest to start with, which I hope will at least get me to an hour or so /played and thus be able to say I gave the game a fair shake.

Lastly, I intend to keep the number of bigger games like L.A. Noire or Dragon Age: Origins or Mass Effect fairly low each round, as I want to explore a good variety of games without taking too long to do so. I will play some, of course, but I doubt I will be playing big-name big-game titles back-to-back.

One thing I haven’t yet decided, though: what to do with the episodic adventure games like the Walking Dead or Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People? They tend to take up multiple slots in my library, so I could justifiably do only one per round. But it’s hard to let go of the connected nature of them, I think I’d feel weird about leaving them to go do another 20+ games before coming back to the next episode. Thoughts?

Okay so that is what’s happening in the near future, wish me luck on this project! I have a few games already done for the first playthrough, and I’ll be writing those up soon. I’m not sure whether I’ll post in alphabetical order or just post them as I write/play them. I’ll also update this post to keep track of progress.


11 thoughts on “Steam Challenge!

  1. You have a nice system of organization going! Good luck with your challenge!

    As for episodic games, I couldn’t imagine not playing Walking Dead straight through once you start. Honestly, each episode of Walking Dead is only a few hours long, so all the episodes add up to a normal length game overall. I can’t speak for Strong Bad, though.

    • Thank you!
      Yea I had pretty much planned on doing the Walking Dead in one chunk since it’s more an interactive movie kind of thing. But the Strong Bad/Broken Sword/Monkey Island/Sam and Max games are puzzle-based and often if I am stumped then I need a break from it, and if I’m still frustrated when I finish the episode I’m less excited about starting the next episode without a palate-cleanser.

      Maybe I should just plan to do them as a single chunk but break them up with either MMOs or a “neverending” game if I’m getting ticked off….

  2. Just play through the episodic games. Telltale Games’ stuff generally isn’t long, 1-2 hours per episode, but an entertaining story experience and probably more enjoyable continued while you still remember the story. Think about it this way, once you’re done with them, you’re done and can mark off a ton of ‘games’ or episodes as finished.

  3. My young druids are constantly telling me to play something different – one even prompted me to open a Steam account. I fear, though, that I will fall down multiple rabbit holes, never to return. This is a great idea, and I may think about it later this summer.

    • Here’s another young(er) druid telling you to play something different! 🙂 Honestly, I can’t understand people like you and Navi who are so enamoured of one game that they don’t explore others even when their home is no longer satisfying them or they need a break from it. I’ve never been able to commit myself that completely to a game, I look out and see all these other worlds, other challenges, other experiences, and sigh in wonder and anticipation. To me, it’s like only watching comedy movies, or only listening to metal. It’s great, but there is so much more out there and you might find something you love EVEN MORE!

      Oh my GODS you have a Steam account?! ADD ME. Same username as my btag. I can’t believe you’ve been withholding this vital information from me all this time.

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