Beat the backlog... or something actually doable
Here we are, on the verge of a new year (unless you live somewhere in the world where the calendar has already turned over, in which case Happy New Year!!!) As is the custom, the beginning of a new year beckons us to make resolutions so as to improve our lives in the coming 365 days. Last year my big resolution was to lose weight and get a new job and I technically did one of those, even if the job doesn't officially start until next year. More easily completed was my gaming resolution, which was to buy a Vita, which I did and I love.
As we depart our pre-Trump era and enter the post-Obama world, I thought it would be fun for the writers here at Destructoid to share their gaming resolutions for 2017. See what we'll be playing next year, and tell us what you're going to do in the comments below.
My gaming resolution is to play more racing games.
As a kid, 100 laps in an endurance race was just a typical Saturday. I spent hundreds of hours playing games like Gran Turismo 2, among the many other arcade-like "Kart" racers that dominated the '90s. But over time, it became a genre that a lot of my friends grew out of, and I started dedicating less time to them. I've had the good fortune of working with tons of writers who are well-versed in racers over the years, but I really want to kick it into gear (ha) in 2017.
My gaming resolution is to dive in to the sea of JRPGs.
I'm pretty OCD, so despite all the mental gymnastics I perform to justify making my backlog smaller it is still quite large. Lots of games like shooters, platformers, or racing games I can knock out in a day or so while listening to podcasts or Let's Plays, so the last couple of years I focused on finsihing them. Role-playing games are the most daunting not only because of the sheer length of them but just because of how many there are. On the western front, things are pretty quiet as all I have to knock out there are Bethesda's latest two Fallout games and Skyrim.
No biggie right? But boy oh boy are there a lot of JRPGs. There are like over 20 games in the Shining and Atelier series' each, for example. RPGs have always been one of my favorite genres growing up, and now that it's my responsibility to cover Japanese games, I really need to dive deep into the genre and truly earn my weeaboo stripes.
My gaming resolution is to write more about what I play.
For a lot of people, you'll hear about how they don't like specific genres and would love to try them or find the time to get into them. For me, I honestly don't have that issue. Awhile back, I wrote about potentially starting to dig into RTS games, but I've managed to do that regularly for the past two years. Heck, two weeks ago on a whim, I fired up Ace Combat: Assault Horizon and plowed through it in a mere seven hours. Whatever I have an interest in, I typically play it and finish it without much reservation.
The thing I've stopped doing is writing about individual games (all while writing more about gaming in general...weird). Long time readers of the CBlogs should remember that I used to write on a fairly regular basis before some dark times happened for me (depression really sucks). Grand Theft Auto V was the game that kind of broke me, making me realize I don't truly care about AAA releases and that maybe criticism wasn't the path for me.
That changed a few years later after meeting Johnathan Holmes at PAX East and realizing there are other aspects to writing about games I hadn't really thought of. Developer interviews, behind-the-scenes drama, industry buzz; all of that has a place and can often be more involving than some nobody talking about beating Final Fantasy IV.
I do kind of miss the more intimate approach I used to take with writing my blogs, so for 2017, I pledge to go back to writing at least one CBlog a month. Just because I'm in a staff position doesn't mean I forget where I started. The DToid community is really great and I'd hate for anyone to think I don't appreciate the great talent we have lurking in the CBlogs. You guys are awesome and I'm happy that your interest has allowed me to finally start covering the games industry in a way I've dreamed about since I was 18.
My gaming resolution is to play online more.
I've always been kind of a simple gamer, so when games starting going online and charging money, I backed away from it entirely. I still play quite often but prefer to either play single player games (third-person character action titles especially) or on the couch with my some buddies. But now that I'm older and it's harder to meet up with my friends, I want to try and play online with them. I'm not the best player, so I expect to lose hard and often, but now that I'm starting this career I definitely want to know more about the gaming world at large.
Besides, they don't really make third person character action games anymore. Did you see that new God of War? They took my favorite dumb franchise and made it smarter than me. Although I love button mashers where I tear through waves of dudes, those games are being replaced by fun looking character shooters. I really just want to dive in.
My gaming resolution is to build my first gaming PC.
For the past 8 years or so, I’ve had to do a lot of traveling. I lived on campus throughout the week and then went home over the weekend to visit my parents. A desktop PC would’ve been unwieldy to use, or I would have had to get two of them. Instead, I invested in a ‘gaming laptop’, and I’m currently still using the second replacement.
My laptops have always served me well: I always made sure to buy one that could at least run most of the recent games. In that sense, I never really ‘missed out’ on anything. However, I do have to turn off all the bells and whistles in just about every game in order to get it to run smoothly, and 60FPS is still a pipe dream. In contrast, when I watch gaming videos on YouTube and see what a real PC can do, things start to tingle a little bit downstairs. I don’t need a better PC, but I sure as hell would like one.
For all of 2016’s faults (and believe me, 2016 hasn’t been a better year for me than for any of you), it was also the year in which I got my own place and a steady job. After 8 years, I have the space and the money. That’s why 2017 will be the year in which I buy myself a complete set of hardware, mourn my wallet, take a day to assemble and install, and then turn the specs on Overwatch way the hell up.
My gaming resolution is to actually beat a newly-released game.
Going through my list of Trophies and the stacks of games I have on my shelf, I realized something: I haven’t actually sat down and beaten a game in ages. The last game in which I saw the story through to its natural end? Deadpool. In July. A game that originally came out three years ago. Yeah, I'm a bit behind.
For just about every game I sit down to play, I spend a good week or so putting in a few hours here and there before eventually giving up due to life’s myriad responsibilities or moving on to something else. Hell, I’m not sure how many games released in 2016 I’ve even played, but I’m sure I could use one hand to count them up.
And that sucks. Every time a new game comes out, the QPosts are filled to the brim with people commiserating over the game’s hardships and finding mutual joy in its successes - something I’ve been absent from for far too long.
So, my gaming resolution for 2017 is to finally buy a new game at launch, dedicate myself to playing it, and actually engage with the community on a new release for once. I always feel so left out when all you lovelies get the newest games and QPost or CBlog about them, so it’s time for Wes to stop liking tacos, dick jokes, and endless selfies, and to start liking video games again.
My gaming resolution is to stop caring about sharing video.
One of my favorite things about gaming these days is how you can share screenshots, videos and even make little GIFs of things you saw or did in game. It can be posting about Monster Hunter on Miiverse, live streaming The Witcher III or uploading Overwatch highlight videos but no matter what it is, it's a step up from having to describe it to others like we did years ago.
I just can't deal with the idea of keeping things interesting for live streams or having rehearsals for recorded playthroughs. There's going to be times I'm just riding a horse from one place to another and I can't make it interesting live and rehearsing playthroughs so everything flows well makes first playthroughs a chore rather than fun. I fell into that trap with FFXV and it kinda killed my enjoyment.
So I think I'll just use video as I do images -- to supplant my blogs/posts instead of posting long form videos where I sometimes doze off and Noctis ends up grinding against a wall. It's not for me. Here's a moogle getting smashed instead.
My gaming resolution is to stop going so deep into single games.
When I compare 2015 and 2016, I feel like I didn't play any more or less in terms of total time spent. Gaming is still my primary hobby, and I probably spend a good 15 hours per week on it.
But when I look at my list of played/completed games between the two years, the contrast is enormous. While I finished well over 50 games last year, I'm barely breaking double digits this year.
Most of my time has gone into two games: Battleborn and Destiny. While I don't regret the hundreds of hours spent in either of those universes, I do lament the opportunity cost: I've missed out on so many other experiences this year has had to offer. I haven't rolled any of Stephen's sausages. I haven't witnessed any line puzzle islands. I haven't valleyed any stardews.
In 2017, Battleborn's content will likely dry up after the next scheduled pieces of DLC and Destiny won't provide much new stuff outside of scheduled events, so I'll have more time. But I'll need to make the conscious effort to start new things rather than sticking with what's comfortable. I want to go less deep, more wide. I don't necessarily want to play games more; I want to play more games.
My gaming resolution is to play on a modern console.
I wasn't terribly impressed when the current generation of console hardware was announced, and I've been hesitant to jump in as a result. Plus, let's be honest, a console is a pretty hefty investment. I've kept myself busy by playing stuff on the older consoles I already own or trying out games on PC, but there are enough excellent console exclusives out there now that I'm not sure I can keep up on current trends in gaming with just my rapidly aging PC. Plus, I miss playing games with my friends. I love Overwatch and play it almost every night, but it's not the same as jumping on a console with friends.
In order to buy a new console, I'm going to have to bring in some extra money, so I suppose that finding some extra work is part of this resolution, as well. Stupid adult responsibilities.
My gaming resolution is to survive reviewing every game released on Steam in 2017.
You read that right. I'm starting my own site launching hopefully in just a few days called Steam Shovelers (just a teaser page at the moment but I promise it will live up to the dot cool URL) where I and a group of talented writers from various outlets are coming together to attempt the impossible. With nearly 40% of Steam's library having been released in 2016 (that is just over 4200 games) that means over 10 games a day would have to be reviewed to make this a reality.
Am I sick and twisted for attempting this? Yes, but aren't all the great thinkers and artists (pronounced are-teasts) in the history of time?
Also, I'm going to stop saying "You go girl" to myself every time I get a kill in Overwatch as D.Va. Maybe.
My gaming resolution is to catch up on the current PS4 generation.
For years now, I've dealt with Nintendo's excuse of a console and told myself it was going to be my only console experience for the foreseeable future. But this past month, a combination of an unused Toys R Us credit card, a return of my previous apartment's security deposit, and a moment of weakness after working retail for the holidays saw me taking the plunge and buying a PS4. I've now properly joined the current generation of consoles.
I'm about ready to hydrate myself after the drought of games on the Wii U. I've taken the opportunity to buy Overwatch, Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator, Bloodborne, and Street Fighter V thanks to the PS Plus holiday sale. But there are literally years of games I want to experience that I missed out on and that's before even considering the insidious choice of subscribing to PlayStation Now. I want to finish the Arkham trilogy I started despite what everyone thinks of Arkham Knight. I want to play The Last of Us Remastered and see why everyone calls that game of the year material for its respective year. I want to play the sequel to Mirror's Edge that I never thought would exist but does, against all odds. I have to finish Doom, which I rented and knew was fucking awesome. There's so much to play in 2016 during the year of 2017 before even getting into the big names of the upcoming year, like Nier Automata.
Oh, my god, I need more hours at work to pay for all this.
My gaming resolution is to play more of what I buy.
My worst habit as a game buyer is that I tend to buy games when I'm busy with other games. That means a new purchase might go straight to the backlog, which piles on higher and higher until I forget to play entirely. It's terrible because, in this era of sales and easy access, there's really no reason to pick up a game ahead of time. Thusly, barring special circumstances like big discounts or review assignments, I will not buy a game I don't intend to play as soon as possible.
If I can stick to the resolution, that should at least save me some money the next time I think about playing a spiffy new shooter and instead just load up Destiny or Star Trek Online to run some dailies. That's happened an embarrassing number of times.
My gaming resolution is to put a sizeable dent in my backlog, and to beat the newer games I buy.
I promise myself that I’m going to work on finishing off my ever-expanding backlog of games each and every year. On the plus side, this means I can get lazy and not have to think of anything else as far as gaming resolutions are concerned. On the downside, I’m starting to think this backlog will never be cleared.
Admittedly, I’m already putting a bit of effort into finally finishing off some of these games. I’m completed a sizeable chunk of the 3DS port of Xenoblade Chronicles, for instance. After that, I want to beat Chrono Trigger. Did I mention that much of my backlog consists of role-playing games?
While I don’t think it’s even remotely possible for me to clear my entire backlog within one year, I’d like to try and reduce it if only a little. I also want to make sure that I actually finish each new game that I buy, so they don't just add to this backlog.
I just need to remind myself that I don’t need to buy every single new and expensive game the moment they show up on the market. I’ve got a large collection of excellent titles, all ready to play. Then I can buy the things that interest me for cheaper prices later down the line.
Sadly, I then remember just how many releases of 2017 look like they’re shaping up to be pretty damn good. NieR: Automata, Gravity Rush 2, Persona 5... the list goes on. There’s also the upcoming Nintendo Switch, which I want to get my hands on. I can only see this adding to my ever-expanding backlog of games.
Oh gods, please send help.
I guess I could always just replay Bloodborne for the 20th time. That's a pretty attainable resolution.
My gaming resolution is to highlight more of the mobile games that are actually worth playing.
Tomorrow, January 1, I am finally dumping my iPhone and Sprint. With a new job and possibly a new apartment, I need to start saving as much money as possible. That's why I'm switching to one of those contract-free phones and getting myself an LG Android. It's a fresh start as I'm sure none of my apps will transfer over and a chance for me to really start putting a focus on the many mobile games that come out every week.
Destructoid doesn't cover many mobile games here and with good reason: most of them are just lazy cash grabs. But amongst those and the big-name releases that do get coverage are a few great and fun games that hit the various App stores with little to no fanfare at all. I don't carry my Vita or 3DS around with me when I'm on the bus or train, so I spend plenty of time playing mobile games. And in 2017, I'm going to find the hidden gems that are all too easy to miss.