Yep. In spite of everything that 2020 and the start of 2021 are, I’m doing this again.
Last year I set myself a lot of goals mainly focused on developing a healthier lifestyle in personal life and hobbies, and given the literal plague that broke out near the start of the year, most would probably say I chose a bad time to try and get my shit together. In all honesty, I feel the opposite -- I accidentally chose the most important time for me to get my shit together. Not a GOOD time by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it’s better I tried than for me to have put them off entirely.
The REAL bad news is I still have never actually ever played a Devil May Cry game other than 4 to begin with (I intended to buy DMCV, never did), so I don’t feel it’d be cool to use DMC combo rankings again. So to grade my resolutions this time… I’m keeping an eye on Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, so let’s use Jet Set Radio rankings!
COMMIT TO AN ACHIEVABLE CREATIVE PROJECT -- Motor
I gotta admit, I started hyping up a bunch of ideas that stemmed from this resolution with friends in various circles. I tossed around the ideas of writing short stories, building Ren’Py visual novels, I even mentioned the notion of writing a handful of community blogs again -- this time purely for the fun of writing blogs as a Dtoid community member. Though this is the only blog I’ve completed since then, so you can probably guess what happened with the other ideas as of this point in time.
The biggest obstacle I faced with this goal was my assumption that creative work would be more of a refreshing activity like playing games or watching TV. In reality, as it turns out, work is work, even if it’s passion work. That’s kinda sorta the entire reason I chose to stop blogging after I got a full time job. And in between work being work despite all the things I like about my job, and last year being probably the most stressful year of my life… I can’t blame myself for just not committing to a passion project. So, I won’t be hard on myself for falling so short of this one.
Despite this, I did make some milestones in my creative experiments I’m proud of. I built a couple of extremely rough game prototypes in Tabletop Simulator, and I’m extremely happy I did! But I’m still wrestling with whether I want to invest so much of my free time into that as to playtest and iterate them enough to make them fully realized. In theory I would love to develop them until I’d be happy to publish them in Steam Workshop, maybe even commission some simple artwork for them, but that isn’t happening for a long time.
It’s unlikely I will be confident to actually dedicate myself to these projects until I develop an overall healthier lifestyle. I’ll continue to dabble in them as an act of having fun in the moment when the fancy strikes me, but I’m going to shelve the notion that I’ll commit to one until I develop better self-care patterns. Speaking of which...
PRACTICE BETTER SELF-CARE -- Nitro
Hm. This one’s rather vague and broad. Let’s see, aside from self-quarantining as much as physically possible to minimize any chance of spreading a plague, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to my personal living space. So I’m a lot happier with the way I keep my room and how I manage cat allergies this year than I was last!
I’m still eating a lot of sweets and junk food -- maybe a bit less, but to be honest I haven’t paid much attention, so I could be wrong to say it’s any less. On the plus side I am exercising more often, especially thanks to Ring Fit Adventure! I only picked it up a couple of months ago, and I still don’t exercise a lot, but I’m gradually getting there! I look forward to amping up my workouts within my body’s range of comfort this year!
And there’s one particular area of self-care I know I could have handled better...
SPEND LESS TIME ON JUNK MEDIA -- Engine
I defined “Junk Media” as social media, repetitive YouTube binging, and mobile games -- you know, just about every form of digital media that depends on constant engagement forever and ever and ever. The former two… I’ve not really done a great job of avoiding. I continue to use YouTube about as often as I have the previous year. Social Media, I’ve been a lot better at toning down my use of, but I continue to lean on it for my regular indulgence in online artists. Those abnormally muscular moths aren’t going to enter my field of vision themselves. That said, I’ve been through a lot of phases of avoiding social media altogether, and I recently pruned a lot of follows from my feed that were giving me content that made me prone to doomscrolling, so I think my Twitter use is in a visibly much healthier place now than it was before. I still think I should work on my habit of how often I use it.
That leaves mobile games, which for a while, I had mostly kicked. Unfortunately that changed again about halfway into the year. Right now I’m currently in a phase of downloading and ditching a bunch of games on my phone in cycles out of curiosity, but there is one notable exception, Genshin Impact on PS4… which is a mobile game, let’s not kid ourselves with technicalities.
I’m not sure how much longer I will keep playing the games currently installed on my phone, but once my curiosity in them dies down again, I expect Genshin to cover most of my junk food gaming cravings by itself. To put it in one sentence, Genshin Impact is a guilty pleasure I enjoy and I refuse to recommend it to anyone else unless I trust they would never spend a penny on the microtransactions. Fully unpacking that take would take an entire blog I may or may not write in the future for the fun of it.
Though I might have become a gachaholic in general again, if my mobile gaming time this month is any indication. So… oops.
That aside, yeah, I think I did better at avoiding junk media last year than I did the year before, but not by much. I’m making a note to keep working on this this year… especially if I want to…
FINISH MORE GAMES IN MY BACKLOG THAN I BUY -- Turbo
You would think this would be my simplest goal, but in truth, I used some complex and arbitrary logic to dictate how many games I “bought” and how many I “finished” in my backlog tracking notes. For example, I defined an indie game as ½ of a game when purchased and beaten. I also made some really weird conditional exceptions to those rules based on whether I got a game from PSPlus, whether you can actually “beat” the game, and so on. Most arbitrarily I counted Persona 3 and 5 Dancing as half-games because they kinda are two halves of the same game?
I've made the document I used to track my purchases & game clearing available HERE if you want to read it and judge my commitment to this goal for yourself. But I warn you, it is a sloppy document I created without originally intending anyone else to read it. Its formatting is not kind on mortal eyes.
For practicality’s sake, the ACTUAL number of games I purchased last year was 13, and I beat 13 games not counting PSPlus games. And in all honesty? Even though I was far from the original bar I set for myself, I intentionally set that bar unrealistically high to make myself buy fewer games than I completed in my backlog. So if you include PSPlus games I beat, I think I succeeded in my real goal whether or not you use my arbitrary made-up conditions!
For the most part, I was sticking to my original calculated backlog allowance for most of the year. It was around the latter half that I started to slack and purchase more games. I want to blame pandemic exhaustion, but in honesty, it was probably the relapse into gachaholism. I think this year I’ll more realistically hit the 2-for-1 goal I aimed for last year. I might rearrange my formula though… maybe buying an indie game counts as ½, but beating it will count as one full game, to better incentivize me to play more indies as I intended last year? I’ll give it thought.
Oh, and Breath of the Wild was one of the first games I finished last year! It was absolutely worth circling back to after I left it hanging in my backlog for years. Now I'm ready for the sequel that probably still will exist maybe possibly.
RESEARCH AND DONATE TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION CHARITIES -- Jet
There is no clever segue into protecting the environment. There is only environmental protection.
I mean, in the context of last year’s blog, I included this one as a half-joke remarking on how quickly shit hit the fan in 2020. But I did genuinely want to do it! And so I did it! And in doing so I felt slightly less bad for the trajectory of the planet’s health, for even though I am but one mortal wage slave, I at least gave something resembling a contribution to solve one of my biggest concerns that is out of my hands to truly solve. So I say this was very much a goal worth setting!
SO... WHAT’S NEXT?
Normally this is where I define some new resolutions I’m setting for myself in the coming year, but… honestly, I don’t think I should do that in this blog this year. Aside from wanting to improve upon the goals I set last year, my new goals I want to achieve next year are rooted in deeply personal matters. Last year gave me a lot to think about regarding that, and it’s too personal for me to want to elaborate on a community blog of all places. I am confident those matters will work out though, even if I expect it to be a lot of emotionally challenging work.
In the meantime, I appreciate you for reading what I’ve been up to the past year, even though I’ve not been very active in this community. I know it’s not easy for a lot of us to have hope in the future after how exhausting… EVERYTHING has been over the past several years, and how it keeps becoming more so. I mean… I started drafting this blog shortly after New Year’s with a much more optimistic tone, but I revised that once current events hit me like an isekai protagonist's backstory.
My point is, I am exhausted of being exhausted of bullshit, and if nothing else, I want to do whatever I can to MAKE this next year be better for myself and my loved ones, and I know I haven’t shown it a lot with my inactivity, but ya’ll are a big part of those loved ones. If that doesn’t work this year, then I’ll try again in 2022. And again in 2023. And again after that. However long it takes. Because I exist, and as long as I exist, I intend to honor the notion that life can get better.
But for today… I’m working on making 2021 better than 2020.And that means being kind, sharing whatever simple joys I get my hands on, and treating myself the way my friends want me to be treated. So... here goes!