[Media Meandry] Top 2020 Videogames

Rounding out the essays summarizing my experiences with media throughout 2020, this would be the year where I figured out my relationship with videogames. Videogames don’t exactly help me write fiction, so for years, I considered them a sort of nice distraction but nothing overly valuable. Through my continued health problems, I’ve found some solace in playing videogames, watching them, and when/if I should fully recover my health, I want to livestream videogame plays more often.

I like how most “retro variety streamers” on Twitch handle playing their backlogged games.

They will dip their toes into a wide variety of games and the ones they like, they’ll play to completion. Throughout the years, I’ve experimented with formats like playing a game for a strict 30-minute timeframe, or otherwise setting some sort of boundary in place to allow me to play videogames while giving me writing material. When I stream my videogame plays especially, there will be opportunities for me to figure out what games from my physical or digital collection I’d actually like to play in 2021 and beyond.

I think that if I can’t stream the game and I don’t want to play it, I should sell it.

Besides maybe EarthBound, the cartridge of which I’ve kept since I acquired it new in my childhood, I have no real interest in keeping physical games. I might buy equipment to let me, say, stream PS2 games online, but I honestly find the whole idea of owning valuable videogames [and objects in general] to be a bit perverse. I would like 2021 to be the year where I sell off a majority of any item with any degree of collectability. I am 100% fine with digital copies. I don’t mind playing FF7 through Steam rather than owning a physical copy for Playstation or PC – the only insecurity I have is if Steam were to block my access to FF7.

It is a minor gamble to prefer digital to physical gaming, but I’m OK with that.

While it’s exciting to consider the games I own that might be worth several times more than I paid for them, I don’t like the idea of materialism in most regards, so the idea of a “holy grail” physical object that is worth several hundred dollars in certain markets seems weird to me. I’m sure there will be a day when I decide whether or not I want to sell that childhood copy of EarthBound, and if I do, it will be after considering the thought far longer than just this essay could imply. It would be easier because I own a legal copy of it and there’s a prototype I’d like to play through, so if I were to sell my childhood copy, that wouldn’t prevent me from playing the game.

I would say roughly that I wouldn’t mind selling 80% of my current collection.

The problem is selling my collection without regrets.

I can look at regret from many perspectives. I am banking on Steam allowing me to play through FF7 in its entirety versus playing a Playstation copy, but even that is subject to the limitations of Playstation hardware. What if my memory card becomes corrupt? At least I can digitally save my Steam save files for later use – and worst case, I could set up a new account, repurchase FF7, and migrate the save files over, not that I’m too worried about all that. There are certain niceties to physically owning an item as well. The experience of interacting with a physical object makes it feel more substantial. That’s the argument that makes the most sense, to me, about why people collect vinyl records outside of their arguments over sound systems and such.

I’m just not big into the idea of paying exorbitant prices for media.

I might be biased because I redeemed a free copy of My Time At Portia today as part of one streaming platform’s attempt at luring new customers in. Websites like Humble Bundle also help to make select videogames cheaper for customers. Considering that I own probably over 830 games – those are the only ones I have registered in my Backloggery – and if we assume I’d want to play at least half of them, I wouldn’t mind clearing out some of those games over the next year. I don’t need to play a videogame to completion to know whether or not I like it.

Let me give two specific examples of “retro variety streamers” and their completion process.

KingOfApoc is the sort of gamer that will play games to completion on stream, regardless of how long they take. It’s inspiring to see him tackle difficult videogames, but that level of dedication is not something I care about achieving in most videogames, so I’m more content watching someone else play these sorts of games. As another example, DrOrochi will also play games to completion, but I’ve seen him stream some videogames to see how he and the chat feel about them, and probably drop the ones that aren’t too interesting. In one stream, he had a Shinobi versus Brave Fencer Musashi event, of sorts, where he played both games to see which one – or both – he wanted to stream. Almost immediately, he wasn’t invested in Musashi, and later went with streaming Shinobi.

I could do something similar once I figure out my health and streaming situation.

Honestly, I might rather spend a majority of my streaming time building set-pieces for “The Story” in Minecraft, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t do an art stream or stream a random videogame. Doing a livestream does require a significant amount of energy and time, so it’s not something I would fully want to shift my focus into, but there are certain benefits to livestreaming versus playing by yourself. My 2021 videogaming plans might be fguring out what games I might want to play or livestream. I’ll sell the ones I don’t care about.

For the remainder, maybe I’ll revive my Betterplay spreadsheet to track my progress playing games?

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: While I do like these sorts of year-end summaries, this year it was difficult for me, since I’ve been dealing with health problems, so it was almost too rough for me to write anything more substantial than this. Here were the videogames I beat in 2020: Axiom Verge [well, I used cheat codes after realizing I didn’t have the skill necessary to beat the final boss, and you know what? I don’t mind], Jill of the Jungle 1, 2, 3, and Pokémon LeafGreen.
Related: Other Media Meandry essays.
Screenshot: Backloggery is probably my favorite media database because of its flexibility, but still, I have five years worth of data there, so having a spreadsheet of my own will be a good way for me to organize what Backloggery doesn’t track well: the games you’ve completed and data on when.
Written On: 2020 December 26 [8:46pm to 9:23pm]
Last Edited: 2020 December 26 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]


My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.