[Text in brackets is commentary on the Oath, and should not be interpreted as part of it.]
On the first of January 2007, I, Carl Muckenhoupt, herewith pledge to adhere to the following policies:
“The stack” is the set of computer and console games that I have purchased, accepted as gifts, or otherwise taken as my own, but have not completed to my satisfaction. “The trophy case” is the set of games that I have completed.
On any day when I play a game that is in the stack, I will write at least one blog post about the game or my experiences in playing it. I may also, at my option, blog about games not in the stack.
[After some experience, I have decided to interpret "on any day when I play a game" as "within 24 hours of every session"]
Games will be moved from the stack to the trophy case when I complete them. Completing a game means winning it if it is the sort of game that can be won, or satisfying myself that I have seen all that it has to offer if it is not the sort of game that can be won. Completion of other goals, such as unlockables, collectibles, secrets, or bonus levels, is not required. If a game has multiple difficulty levels, beating it at any difficulty level will count.
IV. Shrinking the Stack
Whenever I move a game from the stack to the trophy case, I will grant myself one point. Whenever I purchase a game, I will subtract one point for every ten dollars that the game costs, before tax, rounded up. I will not purchase a game if it would give me a negative point total.
[I had actually already been using this point system for a few months before taking the Oath. It works better than any other system I've tried for limiting my game purchases. With other systems, such as allocating a fixed game budget per month, I'm tempted to cheat when I see a game I want but can't afford. With the point system, I'm more likely to think "I'd better go and earn more points!" and play the games I already have, which makes me want the new game less.]
IV. A. The Humble Rule
[Added 2 August 2011]
Purchases made on a pay-what-you-want basis only subtract one point, regardless of how much I choose to pay.
[This alteration was made mainly for the sake of The Humble Indie Bundle. It was never my intention that these rules limit the size of charitable donations. I was considering making such things not cost any points at all, but I do still want to put a brake on the Stack's growth.]