I’m going to play every game I own on Steam

Buying more games in the Steam sale, a familiar lament went round the internet: “But I already own more games than I can ever play!”

I decided that, this weekend, I was going to try to play every single game in my Steam collection – so that’s just direct download – even if it was just for a few minutes. Then I need no longer shamefully admit that I have dozens of games that I have never even played for five minutes. Even if I succeed in this experiment, I’ll still have numerous games on the xb0x 360 and PC disc games, but at least one pile of games have been taken out of the proverbial box and played with a little bit.

AudioSurf

This was about the second or third time I’ve played the game, so I just zipped through This Corrosion (Sisters of Mercy) and Don’t Stop the Music (Rihanna). My mother rang halfway through the latter, and I couldn’t figure out how to pause the game, so I just had to let my little vehicle crash and then sort it out after she’d hung up. Time played: <15 minutes

Ben There, Dan That!

I got this little indie game for my birthday a year or so ago. I couldn’t get it to load for some reason, and I had forgotten what all the controls do. I’m not sure if it’s that one or the other one (Time Gentlemen, Please) which I’ve played before, but I have put an hour or two into one of them. Time played: 0 minutes

BioShock 2

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I was given it as a house-warming present by a friend, and had only spent about half an hour with it until today. The thing that immediately struck me was that it addressed some of my complaints about the first game, namely the lack of variety in world design. The city of Rapture is much more beautiful in its decaying dystopia this time around, and it really is a pleasure to explore. It looks absolutely incredible, and the orchestral soundtrack is just beautiful. Being able to travel outside into the ocean surrounding the underwater city is a novel experience, and the game seems improved in many ways, though it is overall not much different from BioShock. The story hasn’t hooked me in as much as the first one so far, but I’m looking forward to seeing how things have changed since I was last here. Time played: one hour

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AudioSurf

I picked up this fun casual game in the Steam sale for £1.50 yesterday. AudioSurf is essentially like Columns – collect the colours in blocks of three. It looks a lot like Guitar Hero, but doesn’t require the twitch timing skill to hit the passing block at the precise moment – instead, you just have to have the reflexes to be able to dodge and weave past the nasty grey blocks while you’re collecting the others.

The fun with AudioSurf is that it rummages through your music collection and reinterprets each sound file as a set of raw data from which it builds each level. Each drum beat becomes a bump in the road, and musically dense sections become steep slopes. The rest of it is interpreted as fireworks and spinning lights for a rollercoaster ride through your record collection. Faster songs become harder levels, and the gameplay experience matches the type of song you’ve loaded in. Psychedelic songs by Foetus and Cardiacs become dizzying, unsettling experiences, and seem to confuse it slightly, since it doesn’t know where to place the emphasis. Slow, brooding tracks are good for relaxation but make less interesting levels. Lykke Li’s Get Some worked pretty well.

My Girl Talk level was – like the record – a varied but slightly shallow tour. Lady Gaga’s Just Dance had so  much bounce it was terrifying, and Disturbed’s Megadeth-a-like Perfect Insanity was immediately enjoyable but quickly forgotten. The Venture Bros soundtrack sounded pretty good, so I’m thinking funky soundtrack stuff and heavy rock has the best mix of strong rhythms and intricate layers of sound to build the best levels. Something like Faith No More would work really well.

AudioSurf is a popcornish colour-matcher that allows you to play your records: a very easy sell for me. Fans of Bejeweled should definitely investigate, though it’s been out for a couple of years, so you probably already have.