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Alasdair Duncan avatar 11:31 AM on 12.30.2011  (server time)
Resolutions: Get Better At Games

So in 2011, I set myself the challenge of completing more games and making a dent on my backlog. In the end I had mixed results; the games I finished almost all the games I started this year, but I still didn't really make a dent on my actual backlog as I mainly played and completed games that I bought in 2011. Taking stock of the situation I can take comfort in the fact I now have a fairly solid work ethic when it comes to completing games but I realise that big chunks of my Steam library may lay unfinished for a long time.

So now in 2012, I have set myself a new challenge and it's one that I wrote about a while ago, concerning my fairly narrow tastes in games. In 2011 I didn't stray from my usual favourite games, franchise or genres; FPS/RPG combos, small indie titles on PC and XBLA. Lacking funds for the latter part of 2011 meant I didn't get to play things like Skyrim or Rayman Origins but really I played the type of games I would play every year. Hell, I managed 2 playthroughs of Mass Effect in 2011 which is no surprise to me.

So in 2012 I'm going to make an effort to expand my horizons; each month I'm going to play a new game in a genre I'm not familiar with or have traditionally resisted playing for whatever reason. There's a couple of reasons I'm doing this, firstly I feel I will get better at games by experiencing new mechanics and gameplay devices. Playing the same type of games that have similar structures, controls and mechanics means I'm getting better at that type of game but it could mean I'm getting stale in my thinking.

Secondly, I could be missing out on some great gameplay experiences because I'm just playing the same genres over and over again. Variety is the spice of life, so they say and that's something I'm missing out on right now. Thirdly, I think this will be a useful exercise in seeing how a newcomer approaches a genre of game they're unfamiliar with; are games still accommodating for new players or are many catering for the hardcore.

So here's the deal; each month I'm going to play a new type of game that I'm not familiar with and I will write up what I thought of each game in a blog post. Now here's some conditions I'm going to make clear before we go any further: this isn't a backlog challenge, I'm not under any pressure to make sure I finish each game. If I pick a game and find it overly frustrating to play or just not enjoyable, I'll stop playing it but I'll explain why in my blog post. I'm going to try and pick a recent example of a genre or at least a videogame in the last few years that is a fair representation of it's respective genre. I've not got access to a load of systems so my hand is forced in that respect, which is also why I'm not going to listen to complaints of "I can't believe you picked that game, don't you know the superior version is on the SNES?!?". Unless someone is super keen to read what I'm going to write and wants to donate some consoles my way, then I'll be playing on the 360, PC and my DS.

So that's my resolution for 2012, yes it's a flimsy attempt at masturbatory self improvement (along with the cooking classes my brother has signed me up for and I'm going to try and see if Rocksmith will teach me guitar after all these years) but hey, I'm going to try some games, probably fall on my arse and maybe even learn something.

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