I love trading cards, and I mostly blame Magic: The Gathering for it, but this affection traces back further than that to when I was a wee lad, collecting Fleer baseball and Marvel cards with a vigor I’ve never since seen again. I still have much of my collection stashed away in boxes and binders, but have mostly fallen away from collecting cards due to the cost these days and the fact that, part of the fun, is trading X and Y for Z with other collectors. Alas, I can count the number of real-life friends I have on one blender-mangled hand, and none of them are down with this type of lifestyle.
That all said, Steam now has trading cards, and while I still don’t fully understand how the system works, I find it fascinating nonetheless. Also, with these being digital trading cards, I no longer have to worry about accidentally bending or nipping them, as well as how to store them safely amongst everything else crowding up my studio space. Basically, you play a specific game, and a new trading card is added to your inventory roughly every 30 minutes. However, you can only earn so many, say 5 out of 9 cards, and thus have to either trade with other players or sell/buy cards online. Once you complete a set, you can craft a badge which gets you some background art, new emoticons, discounts on other Steam games, and XP to level up. It’s an odd meta game that I have a hard time ignoring. Thankfully, I haven’t gone full tilt yet, selling only one duplicate for $0.27 and sitting on it while I figure out my plan of attack.
I was able to give Grinding Down long-standing compadre Greg Noe some of my extra cards from The Binding of Isaac, allowing him to craft his first badge. It was both exciting and not. Like when you’re seven, and you are watching your best friend opening his birthday gifts. I believe he has some Stacking cards for me, too, but last time we attempted to trade the system kept glitching out. Another time, me hopes. I’m also pretty close on completing all the cards for Super Meat Boy.
Anyways, even though I got all the cards that I possibly could to drop from The Binding of Isaac, I’ve been playing a lot of it lately. Like, first to relax and just mindlessly see how far I can go, and then immediately after try my hardest to actively reach the end. Unfortunately, I’ve still not gotten past the Depths, but I feel like I’m getting better with every run. However, getting far actually requires a ton of luck, in that certain items will be more beneficial than others. Noe mentioned that a friend of his beat it on his first run, to which I replied, “Fuck him.” Trust me. When I beat The Binding of Isaac on my 157th run, now that will sound impressive.
Bosses that I just can’t seem to grok:
But it’s not actually the bosses that often slow me down or bring my flight of fancy to a grinding halt. Just your day-to-day room enemies are enough to give you grief if you don’t know how to handle them or can’t hit the keys fast enough, and I particularly hate entering a room to find it filled with charger maggots, hoppers, knights, keepers, and globins. On the other hand, I’m a pro at dealing with flies and piles of poo.
Hopefully, luck will be with me one day soon, giving me the best items from the get-go and opening a clear path to Mom. If I can just beat The Binding of Isaac once, I will feel a great wealth of accomplishment, because it really isn’t a simple task. I do have to wonder if I’d be any better at the game using a controller, but I don’t think, unlike Hotline Miami, another tough title requiring quick reflexes, that it offers gamepad support.