Things that happened today - frustration

The Steam logo

Friday 6th of October 2017

In which I get frustrated about/derive great pleasure from the smallest of things and come over a bit philosophical about the relative value of money.

Steam sales

Yes, it's come around again (and in fact has now passed some time ago) - the Steam summer sale, when PC games become alarmingly cheap and that steadily growing wishlist you've been accumulating for the last year is suddenly filled with temptingly low prices.

My big purchase this year was Batman: Arkham Knight, the final part of Rocksteady's so-far-so-good Batman game trilogy. I already have the first two games and have waited a long time for the third to drop enough in price so that if it did indeed turn out to be full of bugs and completely unplayable (as widely reported) it wouldn't feel like such a slap in the face. Also (and this says a lot about my character) I was particularly looking forward to the fact that since the games are named alphabetically (Asylum, City, Knight) they would appear IN THE CORRECT ORDER in my Steam library.

Alas.

Screenshot from my Steam library showing all three Batman Arkham games.
I'm Batman™, apparently.

Why has someone put a ™ symbol in the name of my new game? Thanks, lawyers. Way to ruin what would otherwise be a perfectly aligned chunk of text. Seriously, why did the third game suddenly require this addition? After the second game came out, was there a rash of people suddenly using the word 'batman' in unlicensed contexts? And would this seriously stop them if there was?

This is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg. You've probably got a shelf like this at home...

A bookshelf of DVDs showing how misaligned the content of the spines can be even among sequential box sets.
If you can't see a problem with this shelf, congratulations, you obviously go through life unhindered by such annoyances.

When you line them all up like that, it's clear that someone is doing this deliberately just to annoy me. One day, when I'm president of the world, some people will be on the receiving end of some very creative forms of punishment.

Just to balance things out, here's a recent train ticket of mine.

A train ticket for seat C64.
Seat C64. Oh yes.

Of course that's only a good thing if you know what a Commodore 64 is, and ideally if you owned one growing up. Um. Which you might not have. Okay, how about this?

A shopping receipt for ten cans of baked beans and one packet of granola.
Beans, anyone?

It's also quite satisfying that they totalled to a semi-round value. Again, that is genuinely mine, and yes, I did buy that many cans of beans and a bag of granola once. Do not question why.

The relative value of money

One of the games on my Steam wishlist this year was Transformers: War for Cybertron. It's pretty old now, so it was on sale for an attractive £3.74. I was tempted, but hesitant. On the pro side of the argument was my childhood nostalgia-based affection for the Transformers and my desire for any game featuring them that didn't suck (or film. I'm not picky. I'd take a semi-good Transformers film at some point. Looks like we're never getting one though). On the con side:

  • I probably don't have time to play the games I own, never mind another one
  • It didn't get amazing reviews. Like, okay reviews, but not amazing.
  • Soundwave (ah ha see what I did there)

Mainly though, I was wrestling with having already spent £13ish on other games. Buying this one would push my budget by a significant percentage. Could I justify the spend on something I might not play for at least a year? Why not just wait for a bit to see if I could make a dent in my other games first?

And then I was on a short flight recently and happily spent £3.50 on a cup of tea and a Snickers bar. Barely thought about it. I found that odd - I'd agonise over spending that amount on something reasonably guaranteed to provide at least several hours of entertainment, but you want to overcharge me roughly the same amount for a teabag and a bar of chocolate? Go right ahead!

I started looking for other inconsistencies in how I spend money. Parking, for one. I had a hire car on the same trip and the average cost of parking was probably also around the £3.50 mark. Again, didn't even think about it - perhaps because, like the cup of tea on the plane, there weren't really any other options. I can play other games, but there's no one else selling food on a flight.

After thinking probably far too much about all this I decided I would buy the game after all. And then I didn't. For the first reason. Life's funny sometimes.

Batman Arkham Knight

You might be wondering after my typographical alignment anguish whether I've actually enjoyed Batman Arkham Knight after all the waiting. Or you might not care. Seriously though, if you don't care, why are you still reading? It's probably a nice day outside, I'm sure you could be doing something better right now that read my ramblings. Go sit in the sun or try talking to someone.

Anyway. I've only played perhaps the first hour, and to be honest I'm not sure about it, so I think I'm going to revive my hugely successful (i.e. more than two hits) 'Am I too old for this?' series to take a more in-depth look. Excitment! Or again, perhaps not. Only time will tell. Tune in later, Bat-fans.

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