2010 Wrap-Up

2010 was a special year for The Stack: it was the year of the Chronological Rundown, an experiment I’m not in a hurry to repeat. How did it go? Here’s a summary:

Year Title Finished? On schedule? Dinosaurs?
1986 Wizardry III No No No
1987 Might and Magic No No No
1988 Pool of Radiance Yes No No
1989 Curse of the Azure Bonds Yes Yes No
1990 Secret of the Silver Blades Yes Yes No
1991 Heimdall No No No
1992 The Humans Yes Yes Yes
1993 Police Quest 4 Yes Yes No
1994 Final Fantasy VI No No Yes
1995 Icebreaker Yes Yes No
1996 Command & Conquer: Red Alert No No No
1997 Evolution Yes Yes Yes
1998 Tender Loving Care Yes Yes No
1999 Dino Crisis Yes No Yes
2000 Deus Ex No No Sort of
2001 Bioscopia Yes Yes Sort of
2002 Freedom Force Yes Yes Yes
2003 WarioWare, Inc. Yes Yes Sort of
2004 Escape from Butcher Bay Yes Yes No
2005 Killer 7 Yes Yes No
2006 Gumboy Yes Yes No
2007 Bioshock Yes No No
2008 Obulis Yes Yes No
2009 Batman: Arkham Asylum Yes Yes No
2010 VVVVVV Yes Yes No

Special notes on dinosaur content: Deus Ex has bird-like monsters that I believe to be feathered dinosaurs but which were not identified in the parts I got to over the course of the year. Bioscopia had no actual dinosaur specimens, but there was a man-sized theropod statue holding a sign at one point. Surprisingly, there’s another dinosaur holding a sign in a cutscene in WarioWare — is this a widespread phenomenon I wasn’t aware of? Overall, though, I think the winner for dinosaur content is Evolution, which not only had the greatest variety of dinosaurs, it’s the only game that had dinosaurs for their own sake, rather than as obstacles for the player or as signposts.

Most of the year was spent slowly drifting behind schedule, but shorter games toward the end allowed me to pull ahead and even spare a month for the IF Comp. Does this mean games have gotten shorter over time? Not necessarily: it should be borne in mind that the games that are on the Stack are ones that I haven’t finished yet. A twenty-year-old game that can be completed in a day is very unlikely to still be on the Stack. And yes, such things definitely exist: the first games in the Ultima and Final Fantasy franchises both qualify.

As for the project of reducing the Stack, this has been the worst year yet, and it’s all because of Steam and their special deals on multi-game bundles. I’ve been considering altering the terms of the Oath to handle this better, but I honestly don’t want to — the games I buy this way are for the most part short, interesting indie works that I might never get around to trying otherwise. But this still mainly a manifestation of the weakness of will that brought the Stack to its current size in the first place. Buying games, or books, or building up a huge Netflix queue, is an act of denial, a refusal to admit how short our time is in this world and how much of that time is wasted on mundanities. The Oath forces me to acknowledge my limitations, and to make the most of time by being selective — or it would, if it weren’t broken.

And yet, there’s something I’m contemplating doing with my gaming time that will likely leave me with even more games unfinished. More info later, possibly.

3 Comments so far

  1. Sean on 2 Jan 2011

    And yet, there’s something I’m contemplating doing with my gaming time that will likely leave me with even more games unfinished.

    Dun dun dun!

  2. Mark on 2 Jan 2011

    Never found FFVI’s “dinosaur forest,” eh?

    At any rate, I’m aquiver with anticipation.

  3. Carl Muckenhoupt on 2 Jan 2011

    Whoops! Yes, in fact I did find the dinosaur forest, and even if I hadn’t, there are several other places where you can find dinosaurs, including in the final dungeon. I’ve corrected the post.

Leave a reply