The Steam Summer Sale and The Great Gaming Backlog (or “The Stuart Reviews Stuff 75 Game Challenge”)

June 30, 2014

It’s the summer time! Huzzah!

That means barbeques, the World Cup, Wimbledon, no good TV and yes, in 2014 it now means the annual Steam Summer Sale.

Every summer, the online digital PC gaming rights distributer (yup, that’s the best way I could think of to describe it) sells off games at ridiculously low prices, and every year I – just like thousands upon thousands of other gamers – say I’m not going to buy anything only to end up buying far too much.

This year I genuinely didn’t think I’d buy anything, and ended up buying 27 games.

My attempts at making a nice logo are hampered by the fact I'm not a talented artist and I was just drawing over the existing one. Ach well

My attempts at making a nice logo are hampered by the fact I’m not a talented artist and I was just drawing over the existing one. Ach well

That’s right, twenty seven.

How much did it cost me? £58.70

Now to put that into context, last week after playing the demo of UFC for the Playstation 4, I thought about buying it. If I had done so, it would have cost me £45 before the cost of shipping came into it. So to get 27 games for only around £10 extra is a really good deal and well worth taking advantage of. After all, what’s a couple of pounds on a game? You happily spend that on a slice of cake or a drink. Back in the day, you’d drop a lot more than that into Arcade machines just to play a game for a couple of minutes and you wouldn’t bat an eyelid. So really, if a game you buy isn’t actually that good, you’ve not really lost much by finding out.

But that’s not the problem. The problem is that you don’t actually play the games.

Anyone who buys video games for more than just FIFA or Call of Duty will inevitably find themselves with a “Gaming Backlog”; a selection of games that they’ve bought and haven’t even got round to playing yet. With the continual release of new games, you often just don’t have the time, and unplayed titles go out of sight and out of mind very quickly.

Before I bought those 27 titles, I already had a hefty backlog of games I hadn’t played – or at the very least hadn’t played beyond a quick go – on the PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 4. Funnily enough the one console I have no backlog on is the Nintendo Wii U, and that’s because it is genuinely the best gaming platform on the market right now. If you don’t have one, you should buy one.

But anyway, I digress.

Looking at my Steam Library, it looks like I have the following games unplayed…

The 39 Steps
8 Bit Boy
Alan Wake
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare
Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures
Anomaly Warzone Earth
Astropop Deluxe
The Baconing
Battleblock Theatre
Big Money! Deluxe
The Binding of Isaac
Borderlands 2 DLC (I’ve played through the game but bought the DLC last year)
Brutal Legend
Broken Age
Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box
Chuzzle Deluxe
Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3
Commandos 2: Men of Courage
Droid Assault
Dungeon Defenders
Dust: An Elysian Tail
Dynomite! Deluxe
The Egyptian Prophecy: The Fate of Ramses
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (I bought the PC version for £6 with all the DLC, even though I have it on the 360)
Escape Rosecliff Island
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown Deluxe
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Gone Home
Hammer Heads Deluxe
Heavy Weapon Deluxe
Iggle Pop! Deluxe
Insaniquarium! Deluxe
The Last Tinker: City of Colours
The LEGO Movie Videogame
Lego Harry Potter
Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut
Marlow Briggs
Mystery PI: Lost in Los Angeles
Mystery PI: The Lottery Ticket
Mystery PI: The New York Fortune
Mystery PI: The Vegas Heist
Nikipol: Secrets of the Immortals
Nostradamus: The Last Prophecy
One Finger Death Punch
Orcs Must Die 2
PAC-MAN Museum
Peggle Nights
Pizza Frenzy
Pool Nation
Revenge of the Titans
Ridge Racer Unbounded
Rocket Mania! Deluxe
Serious Sam 2
Serious Sam 3
Shadowrun Returns
Spiral Knights
The Swapper
Syberia 2
Talisman Deluxe
Thomas Was Alone
Time Gentlemen, Please!
Titan Attacks
Torchlight II
Typer Shark! Deluxe
Worms Crazy Golf

That’s 75 games, probably amounting to around £100-120. Ooft.

But to be fair, a lot of them are from game bundles. For example, every game you see there with the word Deluxe after it is from The Complete Pop Cap Collection, which contains 35 games on its own and cost me £20 three years ago.

Other games cost as little as 30p and could easily be ignored, and one or two were even free gifts. Really…some of them are games I didn’t even know I owned.

That doesn’t excuse the fact that I own them and haven’t bothered to play them.

So I’m going to try.

For however long it takes, I will aim to play each and every one of these games at least once. I’m guessing some of them will end up consigned to the scrap-heap after half an hour, but others might well be hidden gems that I’ll love.

Who knows.

But by writing about it here, it gives me an incentive to actually play them, and will ensure I have plenty to write about.

Don’t expect hugely in-depth reviews of them all, but I promise to keep you updated…


Movies: X-Men – Days of Future Past Review

June 5, 2014

In lieu of a lengthy introduction, let’s just say that it’s yet another Marvel Superhero film and yet another X-Men film and be done with it, shall we!

Actually, no, hold on a moment.

Watching the trailers before this started, I see that there’s yet another Transformers film on the way. Jeeeeeesus. I won’t be going to that!xmen

Anyway, let’s talk X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Movies: X-Men – Days of Future Past Review: What’s This One About?

At some point in a dystopian future, the “Modern” X-Men – i.e. the ones from the original trilogy of movies starring Patrick Stewart and Iain McKellan – are at the point of extinction at the hands of the Sentinels, an army of robots specially designed to hunt and kill Mutants. In a last gasp effort to change the past and save themselves – and I suppose the world as well – they use the superpowers of one of them to send the modern-day consciousness of Wolverine back into the mind of his 1973 self in the hope that he can enlist the help of the cast of X-Men First Class to stop the Sentinels from being created.

Or in other words “A Science Fiction Plot That My Mum Wouldn’t Understand”.

Movies: X-Men – Days of Future Past Review: Who’s In It?

As you might expect, all the key players from both X-Men franchises resume their roles.

Movies: X-Men – Days of Future Past Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

With a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, 8.6 on imdb from over 104,000 votes and a Metacritic score of 74%, this is a generally well thought of production

Movies: X-Men – Days of Future Past Review: My Thoughts?

Quite clearly, one of the aims of Days of Future Past was to get as many X-Men characters from both movie franchises as possible some screen time.

They certainly achieved that.

But what was commendable about it though was that it didn’t hurt the plot at all. It didn’t just rely upon the gimmick of having both sets of characters in there, and instead of that, the storyline was actually pretty clever.

Now sure, as someone who has written almost 500,000 words on Doctor Who – a show about time travel – on this blog, then I imagine my enjoyment of the plot should come as no surprise, but even if its a subject matter that I like, it still has to have some substance to it, which it did.

And though it had the standard amount of impressive CGI special effects and fight scenes that you’d expect from a Marvel film, it didn’t sit back and rely on that like so many similar efforts from the same studio. Indeed, the big budget visual sequences actually had a point to them, and even the 3D was used in a way that aided my overall enjoyment. To be fair, that’s something Marvel has been getting right more often in 2014 than 2013.

So from that point of view, it was a success.

The acting was fine as well, but then I didn’t expect anything less.

But the movie wasn’t without its flaws.

To me, the situation the “Modern” X-Men found themselves didn’t ring true compared to what we saw of them in the first three films. It seemed far too dystopian, and convenient only to set up the time travel element. Also, if the Sentinels were created in 1973 and were almost ready to go back then, how come it took 40 – 50 years for the war to break out?

So that seemed a little bit daft, and so did the way that nothing Wolverine did up until the very end changed their future at all.

But maybe I’m just looking too deeply into it?

Movies: X-Men – Days of Future Past Review: Final Thoughts

Running at a reasonable 130 minutes, this is a movie that doesn’t drag, and for a Marvel sequel, the plot is – while not flawless – a fun and interesting one.

The cameos were cool, the special effects worked and acting was of a perfectly acceptable standard.

So I liked it and would recommend it.

For any future efforts though, I’d like to see them stick with the 1970s crew. To me, they are more interesting.