One thing I didn’t expect to get out of starting this blog, a little over 11 years ago, was the ability to look back and see how my attitudes had changed over time.
One of the big things I’ve done a 180 on has been the virtues of physical media over download services. I used to be incredibly averse to owning digital copies of things; it felt so ephemeral compared to having something physically in my hand and I loved the look of a crowded shelf of (books/movies/games).
Also, I felt that the phrase “digital distribution” was, in itself, absolutely the dumbest phrase ever. I actually still believe this. It’s right up there with using “DRM” to mean only SOME copy protection schemes.
But, times change and the joy of having shelves full of Things has faded. I’m also a lot more confident that digital services will probably be around for the long haul – I’ve lost one or two things to rights issues over the years, but the only major service I’ve ever used that is now completely inaccessible is Desura. And, I mean, Desura.
The last physical disc game I’m planning to buy is the Dark Souls Remastered edition, which will be arriving this week, and I’m only buying THAT in physical form because, well, in this case I DO want it on a shelf.
I am still, however, buying Switch games as physical copies. This is mostly because I don’t trust Nintendo with anything online.
Anyway. This is all a lead-in to talk about a page that I stumbled across on Microsoft’s site. It isn’t, in itself, anything all that interesting – it just shows your Xbox 360 purchases in purchase order – but I found looking at the last page to be a fascinating look back at the bygone days of roughly a decade ago.
One thing I did NOT notice at first is that there is at least one thing missing, which does lend some credence to my worries about the Great Digital Holocaust. Specifically, I’m missing “Boogie Bunnies”, which was a really cute puzzle game that came out in the early days of the 360. It’s still on the Microsoft store, however, and I have the option to buy it for $4.99… so I think that I may have bought it when signed into the wrong profile, or something. A little weird, but let’s move on to talk about some of these.
Space Giraffe was actually the reason I caved on the whole buying digital games thing. It’s a shooter by Jeff Minter, and that’s all you need to know if you’re my sort of people. It was 400 Microsoft points, however, and you couldn’t buy point cards for less than 800 points, so I bought Geometry Wars Evolved to use up the rest of the card.
Triggerheart Exelica and Omega Five and Rez… well, all of these are Japanese shooters of various sorts, and all of them excellent. I actually owned the Dreamcast release of Triggerheart Exelica, so this may mark my first instance of buying a game a second time so I could have it on a new platform.
Undertow and Carcassonne were free games from Microsoft, for some reason. I think Xbox live went down for a couple of days and they gave everyone some free games to apologize. I’ve played like 10 minutes of Undertow.
Aegis Wing was another free game. I think it was the winning game from some internal garage games competition or something. It was OK, and free.
Oh, I just noticed one other thing missing from this list. There’s no Yaris. Man, that was a stinker, even for an advergame.
After that, we have Braid. I didn’t pay for this one either, I actually won it from a Mountain Dew promotion. Yeah. Braid is about as far as you can get from the Dewritos stereotype, so I don’t get that either. I didn’t particularly like Braid, but I’m told I have poor taste.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was a very fortunate purchase that came out of “I have a friend over, so let’s see if we can find a couch co-op game to play”. We blew through the entire thing in one sitting. There may actually have been some Mountain Dew involved, come to think of it. I still have never gone back to play the single player mode.
Perfect Dark was the only game I even came close to finishing on the Nintendo 64, and I’d always regretted getting stymied by the final boss, so I bought the remake. Eventually, I even played it.
And, finally, El Shaddai, which seems to have been the first full retail Xbox 360 game I bought in a digital version. It was crazy cheap, if I recall correctly – I think it was 3 bucks or something, which was enough to induce an impulse buy. It’s one of a few games that I’ve tried out, hated, forgotten about for a few years, then come back to and loved, and it really deserves to make its way to the Xbox One backwards compatibility program.
So. I bought Space Giraffe in August of 2007. El Shaddai was February of 2013. This one little page of results shows five and a half years of digital purchase history, and a third of the things on it were freebies.
Five years on from El Shaddai, I want nothing more than to have a library that I can sit down to without ever needing to find a disc. If you told me that ten years ago…
Well, anyway. So that page exists and it’s an interesting look back. I’d be interested in hearing what other people see when they look at the same thing, or if anyone else has had the same change of mind, or if you’re still in the take-my-discs-from-my-dead-hands mindset.
I should do the same thing with Steam sometime. Hmm.