Our 2013 Gaming Resolutions
With another year beginning comes another attempt at a “New Year’s Resolution”, essentially self-imposed achievements and trophies waiting to unleash their iconic jingles once we’ve completed the challenges we’ve set ourselves. What makes these even more lucrative to the collection of achievement whores and trophy hounds that populate these hallowed halls of GamingLives is that they’ll be the only person to earn those points and awards and put them on display in the echelons of their minds. With this in mind, I chased down the rest of the GamingLives writers, causing millions in property damage, in order to inform you – the reader – of how we’re going to tackle our next year of gaming. Whether our aspirations will be fulfilled or fall to the wayside is anyone’s guess, but without further ado, here’s how we’re going to max out our gamerscore for the year 2013.
My resolution is a simple one: clear my backlog (stop sniggering). As it stands, I have 152 games in my Steam Library – due in no small part to Valve’s insidious tactic of offering massive discounts all the time – that I have accumulated over the last five years or so. By my count there are 45 games that I have played to completion (or at least to the end, if not the full 100%), 42 that I’ve started but not finished, six that I’ve installed and are yet to be played, and a rather worrying 28 titles that I haven’t even installed yet. The remaining 31, incidentally, are those that I have played but don’t count as “completable”: your MMOs, TF2s, DOTAs, Football Managers and so forth.
Traditionally, every time I go to start one of the titles in my backlog, I weigh up the pros and cons, thinking about how much time I have available, which of the games would best suit my mood, what other similar games am I playing at the moment. Then, after careful thought, I fire up DOTA 2 or Civ V or another comfy old release I’ve played a hundred times before and utterly fail to make a dent in the pile. So, this year I resolve to put some serious effort into playing the new games I already own before playing the old ones again or buying newer games to add to the queue.
I give myself about a month.
My resolution is to check myself into a Battlefield 3 addiction clinic. Christ almighty, have I fallen in love with Battlefield 3. Since its release in 2011 I’ve racked up just over three hundred hours in its multiplayer mode alone. That’s quite a small amount compared to some people; the current leader of ‘Highest Playtime’ on the PC leader-board clocks in at over three thousand, four hundred and thirty-six hours, which is the equivalent of about one hundred and forty-three days. Whether or not this statistic is the work of one lone man or the outcome of multiple people using one account I’ll never know, but it makes me look like a part-time player.
The problem with sinking three hundred odd hours into one game, is that every other release gets neglected. With only a limited amount of time to actually play games, (usually an hour or two daily, if I’m lucky) and with the constant lure of Battlefield 3, it makes tackling games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Far Cry 3 next to impossible. The recent Steam sale and Christmas haven’t helped matters – giving me the two previously-mentioned games, a slew of other, cheaper titles, a combined list of wanted games and a pile of shame that numbers close to forty. A new console generation is on the cards and I’m still playing Chrono Trigger for goodness sake! At least I would be, but the Americans are trying to re-take the Gulf Of Oman, and they need the best chopper pilot going. Unfortunately he’s busy managing his game-time like an actual sane person, so they’ve got to settle for me. Tally-ho chaps, last one to the flag is a dead Ruskie!
In 2013 I am going to play more of the Wii. Not the Wii U, but the bog-standard Wii. My house-mates and I have just inherited one (victim of a house downsize), and now I have no excuse to have never actually played a Wii game. I know, shock-horror, right? A cursory look at Metacritic is telling me there are dozens of titles that come highly recommended, and Gamey friends often recommend them to me (guiltiest party: Ed Price, RE: Zelda). I reckon just a couple hours’ playtime a week will at least introduce me to something that I’ve largely been indifferent to: kinetic gaming. Who knows, it might even change my outlook how I play my favourite games?
Actually, scratch all the above; my Gaming New Year’s Resolution is to buy a 3DS and wait patiently for Pokémon X & Y. You got me this year Nintendo, you creepy friendly weirdoes.
I wanted to come up with some gaming resolutions this year to help me look at the industry in a different way, but apart from the attempts to climb the ever-increasing Everest that is my pile of shame, it’s been a struggle to come up with a challenge that isn’t born from negativity. Vowing to start switching off at titles set in a post-apocalyptic world or stop buying DLC are both ideas I’ll find myself adhering to, but I’m hardly starting the year off as I mean to go on if I’m going to make decisions based on growing cynicism.
With that in mind, I’ve decided that in 2013 I’m going to take more chances: some of the most memorable titles I played last year – for better or worse – were ones that I picked just because something about them caught my attention. Maybe it was the promise of a new innovation that eventually never panned out, or because it attempted to subvert our expectations of what a genre means to us, or that the description alone was so batshit-insane that I couldn’t resist the temptation. Even though my favourite titles were ones that remained firmly within my comfort zone, some of those that merited the most discussion were ones I’d simply never think of playing a few years ago, even if that discussion was occasionally about humiliating tasks I’d rather perform than ever touch them again with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole. Even if every title I take a chance on turns out to be a stinker, I know I’ll be richer for the experience.
New Year’s Resolutions are something that I’ve never engaged in. I’ve never felt much inspiration to change myself you see. I’m happy with who I am and what I’ve accomplished, and this year that is truer than ever. However, with the threat of a bendy-limbed hurricane of angst and guilt hanging over my head – yes I’m talking about you, Ed – I resolved to write down a few of my hopes for the year ahead. So, without further ado, my gaming resolutions:
To make a return to my roots: ostentatious as it sounds, I’ve come a long way since I began playing games. I haven’t even been playing games for all that long, but I like to think I’ve grown up just a little since the beginning. Some games have stayed with me; the newest Pokemon game is sitting in my 3DS even now, but some have fallen to the wayside. This year I want to get back to the things I played with my old man, and there is every possibility I won’t have to go old school to do it, with the release of the new Carmageddon scheduled for this year. That and Diablo 3 will do nicely to bring back the feel of being 9 years old again.
Play more with my family: half my family are gamers. My dad, my little brother and I each own our own consoles, each of them more than capable of online play. We should be gaming with each other every couple of weeks, despite the fact I live a couple of hours away. Coulda, woulda, shoulda apparently, because the only time I ever play a game with my old man or my little brother is when I make one of my rare visits home. That needs to change.
It may seem like a weird resolution for a gamer, but to play more games would have to be my New Year’s vow. Actually no… I should clarify. More new games. By new, I mean stuff that is actually released this year, as opposed to, say, stuff from five, ten or even fifteen years ago. I tend to scoop up new releases with the best of intentions, and then drift off to a long-forgotten retro title, old favourite, or unfinished game from back when the Xbox 360 was a mere nipper – rather than the bloated, shiny, plastic-surgery victim that Microsoft have shaped it into, like a controlling spouse with too much money and too few cares.
This year, I need to try and keep at least half a finger on the gaming pulse, shake off the mantle of apathy towards new releases, despite the looming shadow of a new (and probably annoyingly ‘media-centric’) console’ and play some new fucking games before I fall into that category of Retro Gamer and drown in a sea of cough drops, misery, Meldrew, and haughty condemnation of anything post-2000. I can do it. Can’t I?
My main resolution for 2013 will undoubtedly be 1920×1080 as it gives me that beautiful 1:1 pixel ratio on whichever TV or monitor I decide to use. If we’re talking about the farcical resolutions that people create in January, only to break a week or so later… such as to stop masturbating to Tamzin Outhwaite or to cut back on the number of times they eat Korean takeaway and throw guilty donations to DogsTrust instead, then I’ll say this:
I’d love to tell you that my resolution is to take time out and play more games, as I genuinely never get a chance to game anymore and it’s fucking annoying to say the least, but the truth of the matter is that I’ll be saying exactly the same thing this time next year. Gaming is a passion that I have, but a passion which clings scarily-low on my ladder of priorities. There was a time when I’d spend my evenings running around Cyrodiil for four to six hours at a time and never get bored of it, or I’d spend the entire weekend driving around the White Mountains in Paradise City without a care in the world… but those days are, sadly, gone. It’s not that I’ve fallen out of love with gaming as a pastime; it’s just that everything else happened around it and now gaming is more of an afterthought.
To that end, my honest gaming resolution must simply be this: to ensure that my passion for gaming doesn’t drop another rung on the ladder.
At present I rarely buy games near release date. I think Borderlands 2 is the only game I’ve ever pre-ordered in my whole time as a console gamer, and waiting for games to drop in price means I often miss out on the fun of playing when other people are raving about it and as with most things, it’s never quite the same being so late to the party that most people have already left!
Motherfucker! I’m thirty years deep in gaming shit. Thirty years, son. I’ve got this shit nailed down. What can I give up? I don’t play triple-A bullshit like Call of Fifa: Halo Medals or whatever. I play the fucking lemons. I’m going to keep doing it too. Eating up those sweet achievement maxes and playing the unsung underdogs. So in 2013 I vow to keep playing some proper fucking shit! Good shit though. Lemony shit with plenty of vitamin C. Same as we do every year, Pinky.
I was kind of stuck to think of a gaming resolution for the New Year, since I’d already begun to take action on my gaming before 2012 was out. I wanted to start maxing out games for achievements more; I have since spent far too long squeezing every achievement out of multiple games. I wanted to stop looking at Facebook in case people spoke to me (which they rarely do) and play some PC games I have stacking up; yeah, started doing that too. Then it struck me: what I really want to do is make some games.
I’ve already begun dabbling in the area of game development with an extremely dull and rather stupid art game, and a simplistic and suicide-inducing platformer inspired by Ed and Richie, but I want to keep going. I’m using Game Maker: Studio, a supposedly easy-to-use piece of software for game development (which feels a little like cheating, but then the IGF nominated Hotline Miami was made in the same software, so who knows?), and it’s currently like crawling on my hands and knees through a sea of razorblades trying to work out how to make things work, but I’ll get there. I hope.
I have more ideas, and I hope to get those made in some form. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and self-motivation to get anything done, and I have absolutely no artistic talent to speak of so it’ll all probably look like crap, but I’m a little bit determined. It’s been my childhood dream to make games, and to finally say that I have released some, no matter how ridiculously bad they are, makes me a little bit happier inside.
Failing that, I really want to be #1 on the Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1 leaderboards, which is about as pointless and moderately obscure as an achievement can get.
My new years gaming resolution is to stop buying new games and actually play the games I already own. Over this Christmas and Steam sale period I’ve had 26 new games in total. Twenty-six! This monster pile includes games like Assassins Creed 3, Black Ops 2, Hitman Absolution, Borderlands 2, Dishonored, XCOM, Diablo 3, both Darksiders games, CS:GO. The list goes on.
To be fair to my wallet, a large chunk of those games were part of a multi-game deal on Steam and the rest were gifts, but it’s still an insane amount to even attempt to get through. When added to my existing pile of games that I’ve not played, I have well over 35 releases to play. Some of these existing titles were left over from when I went slightly mad and brought a crap-load after giving up gaming for Lent last year. (I will not be doing that again.)
I could conceivably not buy another title all year and still have new games to play when next Christmas rolls around. I should even probably think about putting a limit on the new games that I buy. It won’t happen though… I may have a problem.
It’s no secret amongst the GamingLives fraternity that I detest most multiplayer, apart from co-op. Unfortunately, with multiplayer intruding on almost every game thanks to publishers attempts at crippling the second hand market with ‘online passes’ or trying to make gains from flimsy DLC packs consisting of a couple of maps and new skins, then charging the best part of a tenner for them, it appears I’m a little bit like Canute trying to hold back the tide. Even amazing single player games like Elite, being remade through Kickstarter by the original developer, have multiplayer highlighted as a large component. I’ll spare you photo evidence of the contortion my face made when I read that bit of heart-breaking news, but suffice to say my wallet shot back into my pocket faster than a Cobra Mk III hyperspace jumping out of Thargoid infested witchspace!
So this year I intend to try out more of the multiplayer aspects of games, to see the fun in getting constantly ganked, the lobby waiting times, the glitch cheats, the same maps over and over. I mean, several million CoD players doing the same thing year after year can’t be wrong, right? RIGHT?
This year my gaming resolution is to play a few more arcade or indie titles. I tend to give them a miss, sticking to the big names and the AAA. Last year though I got stuck into and was blown away by games like Mark of the Ninja, WARP and Faster Than Light. Normally I would pass them over – mainly through my own sad prejudice – thinking the games wouldn’t be of the same quality or even as enjoyable as a big budget title. Last year I was proven completely wrong and this year I’m looking forward to some more gems. Bring on 2013!
So what about you, dear reader? Have any gaming resolutions of your own, or have a better resolution one of us can steal and pass off as our own? How big is your pile of shame (mine’s fifty!)? Why not let us know in the comments below?
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