Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Getting The Itch

I really had no plans to buy the Itch.io games bundle. I'd never heard of Itch.io and I don't play indie games so why would I?

People kept writing about it, though. I clicked through a link and read about the charity it was there to support and that seemed like a good thing. I read a bunch of posts where people talked about the games they'd picked out to play and some of them sounded interesting. There were even a few I'd heard of.

Still, I wasn't intending to do anything about it. There are a lot of good causes. If I want to give five or ten dollars to support one I don't really need to fill my hard drive up with seventeen hundred video games I'll never play to do it, do I?

And then Syp posted this, in which he included the key phrase "...if you’re reading this on Monday, you still have time to take advantage of it."

Well, I was reading it on Monday, wasn't I? That felt weird. It was like he was speaking to me personally.

Of course it was Monday when he posted it, too. Syp just meant the offer was going to end that day. But I didn't think that, not at first. I thought "It's a sign!".

Okay, I didn't actually think "It's a sign!". Not in so many words. It wasn't as though I was having some kind of metaphysical, revelatory experience. It was more like when you remember a bill's due and you just have until the end of the day to do something about it before it becomes a problem.

Syp also very helpfully included a link to the offer. So I clicked on it.

Do you know how easy it is to buy things on the internet? I mean, I did. But really? Did I?

Also, buying things on the internet isn't like actually buying things, is it? It's more like clicking a button. Okay, not so much like clicking a button as... well, it's clicking a button. Which feels really different to paying for things with money. Cash money, that is.

Not that anyone pays for things with cash any more. You literally can't. I've done very little shopping these last few weeks but the few stores I've been in don't take cash at all now. If I was back at work I wouldn't be taking cash over the counter either. Cash apparently is dirty, although since all our notes are plastic now, I don't see why we can't just sanitize them before handing them over...


Itch.io had everything set up so all you had to do was choose how to give them money. I chose PayPal, which is somehow even less like spending money than using a credit card. They'd filled in the amount and everything. $10.00. Which is so cool. I mean, you could pay $5.00, that's the minimum, but who's going to open the  drop-down menu, de-select "10" and change it to "5"? No-one, right?

Certainly not me. So I paid my ten dollars, which of course felt absolutely nothing at all like spending money, atlhough, oddly, it did feel very much like Doing A Good Thing. All the good feels for none of the bad ones. Neat!

And that got me one thousand seven hundred and four games.  Well, mostly games. Also some utilities and other stuff. It's nearly two thousand items. There are fifty-seven pages of them on the website. I've gotten as far as page seven, although let's be honest, even then all I've really done is read the titles. Some of which are really amusing.

I've done a little more than just that. I've downloaded maybe half a dozen. And I've played one. All the way through.

I didn't mean to. I was just doing a little checking to see what the standard was like.

The game I played is called Milkmaid of the Milky Way. It was on Syp's list. It's "Award-winning", apparently. And it rhymes.

I liked it. The rhyming is... not terrible. After a while I didn't really notice it. The graphics are very effective and sometimes quite lovely. The puzzles are mostly logical, until the final showdown, when the solution is so insane I can't imagine that anyone ever figured it out.

I used a walkthrough whenever I got stuck and the whole thing took me a couple of hours. Maybe three. I wasn't counting. I got kind of wrapped up in the story, which was, frankly, nuts.

Then this afternoon, after lunch, I started browsing through the list some more and came across "Damn the Man, Save the Music!" which is "... a role-playing game for 3-4 punks...inspired by movies like Empire Records, Dazed and Confused, and a love for the ’90s.".

A table-top RPG, that is, not a video game. You get the rulebook, character sheets and a bunch of ancillary resources. I'll never play it but I've already spent the best part of an hour reading the rules. I do like a good rulebook.

So, ten dollars well spent. If anyone has any recommendations, do feel free to drop them in the comments. Seventeen hundred is a lot of games to choose from and a disturbing number of them have really interesting titles...


  1. As others have observed, one could launch a streaming career just sorting through the bundled games here. It could be considered something of a cultural touchstone in a small way, as somewhere around 650,000 people now all own identical game pools.

    In practice, of course, it won't be that big a deal so far as Gaming goes. Most people will play one or two, perhaps three and move along.

    I've already played quite a few of them, before the bundle existed. I'm still sorting through and figuring out which ones. Then I'll post about the (now-complete, oops) bundle, sum up what I've played already, and get started on the new-to-me stuff.

    (Not Exactly Recommendations But: Games I'm thinking vaguely of checking out first, as I sort through: Miasma Caves, PAGEN: Autonomy, Chiron's Doom, The Lost Art of Innkeeping, and the three episodes of Forever Lost.

    Odds I will actually get to any of those games first as opposed to something light and ridiculous but amusing? VERY LOW.)

    1. All of those look interesting, particularly Forever Lost. The trouble is, so many of them look interesting...

      There's huge scope here for some blogging shenanigans, with so many games and so many people potentially having access to them. I'll have to give that some thought.


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