By dankempster 7 Comments
2013 (and in particular the latter half of the year) was a year in which I seemed to go 'off the boil' in several aspects of my life, and one of the most telling of those was in witnessing my writing drop off from semi-regular to practically non-existent. As one of my myriad little New Year's Resolutions to try and get myself back to where I want to be, I've decided to aim for regular weekly blogs this year to ensure my writing muscles stay well-exercised. I should be dropping them every Saturday, or very occasionally on Sundays if my Saturday schedule won't allow it. I'm also going to try adding a little more structure and consistency by following a monthly cycle of different blog formats, which I'll outline below:
- - The only feature with a bona-fide title at present, my first blog of every month will be something called The Gaming Agenda. It's basically a short list of around four or five games that I plan to play over the course of the coming month, along with my reasons for picking them and what I hope to get out of playing them.
- - Not sure if this is going to be a legitimate title for this feature yet, but it's directly inspired by the precedent of fellow Giant Bomb blogger @Mento, who's done this with his own unwieldy digital distribution collections in the past. In the second week of every month in 2014 I'll be downloading a handful of games from my Steam library and playing the first hour or so of each, to try and determine which ones I'm most keen to play through. The most appealing game (or games) will most likely find their way onto the following month's Gaming Agenda. Hopefully this way I can kick-start myself into finally clearing out some of my enormous Steam backlog.
- - Don't worry, this isn't a title for a feature. It's just a way to illustrate that the third week of every month is reserved for more opinion-based pieces of writing. I used to try and do quite a lot of this, and produced some of my best (and most controversial) blog-work as a result. In all likelihood the opinions will stem from a game I've played (or am playing) within the given month, but if nothing specific has grabbed me I may cast my net a bit further and write about the industry in general.
- - A companion piece to The Gaming Agenda, the fourth week of every month will be when I write up some post-gameplay thoughts on all of the games I managed to play within the month. Collecting everything in a single blog should mean the thoughts don't get too rambling, and it'll also provide me with some handy reference points for when I start putting together awards at the end of the year. Oh, and don't worry - that probably won't be the title of this feature.
- - I'm well aware that, due to the variable definition of what constitutes a month and the awkwardness of dividing anything by seven, some months in 2014 will have five Saturdays in them. In those months, I'll use my free blogging credit to talk about... Well, anything, really. I could end up writing a second opinion piece that particular month, or divert my writer's mind onto a different track and talk about something other than video games. Even I can't be sure what I'll be writing about until I start writing, so if nothing else, the results will hopefully at least be different enough to be interesting.
Finally, there's a possibility that a new serial blog may be forthcoming in the near future (don't worry, it won't be Enduring Final Fantasy VIII). I'm still in the planning stage of the project at the moment, but it does happen, I'll be posting updates on a completely different day of the week so it doesn't interfere with the regular weekly blogging schedule. Probably Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
So, with all that clarified, let's crack on properly with what this blog is really all about...
The Gaming Agenda - January
In a slightly bizarre turn of events for me, I haven't actually brought through any half-finished titles into 2014 - partly because I managed to wrap up games like A Link Between Worlds and Pokémon White in the dying days of the year, but I'd wager that my continuing obsession with the already-beaten Pokémon Y also had something to do with that. I started playing Assassin's Creed: Revelations last month but wasn't really feeling it, and have since stopped playing it altogether with a view to trying it again later this year. Consequently, my decision as to what to play to kick off the year has been pulled off a blank slate. I've picked out five games from my Pile of Shame that I'll be aiming to make it through in January, and I think I should be able to comfortably beat at least four of them before the end of the month. Here they are:
One of my own personal goals for this year is to try and beat all the Legend of Zelda games that I own but haven't yet seen the end of - Link's Awakening, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, Majora's Mask and Skyward Sword. I decided to start with Link's Awakening, specifically the DX version which I downloaded from the 3DS eShop back in October of last year. I started playing on New Year's Day, and have already made it through the game's first three dungeons. I'm digging the slightly surreal vibe, and looking forward to seeing through the remainder of Link's first handheld adventure.
Putting together my 'Top Ten' list for My End Of 2013 Awards last month made me realise just how eager I am to play more of Telltale's The Walking Dead. I've bought the pass for Season Two, but before I get started with that I'd like to go back to the original game and play through its DLC add-on, 400 Days. Once this chapter (which supposedly bridges the gap between the two seasons) is complete, I'm sure it won't be long before I'm reunited with Clementine at the start of Season Two.
After picking up a PlayStation 3 early last year, I went on a bit of a spending spree trying to snap up some of the exclusives that I'd originally missed out on. Originally only God of War III and Ascension were on my 'to-buy' list, but I decided to pick up both HD collections as well so that I could experience Kratos's whole story arc. I plan to start with the first HD Collection, consisting of God of War and God of War II, then move on to Kratos's other adventures later in the year.
Now that I've finally put Enduring Final Fantasy VII to rest, it's time to take the next step in tying up all the loose ends I've left with Final Fantasy, a series I probably have more history with than any other. That next step is to beat the two main series games I've never seen the end of - specifically Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy XII. FFVIII is first on the agenda, and I plan to get started with it this month. I probably won't be able to see Squall's adventure to completion in January, but seeing as I won't be Enduring it, it definitely shouldn't take me almost four years.
So there we are - both The Gaming Agenda for January, and the blogging agenda for 2014 as a whole, laid out in this first blog of the year. I'll be back in the blogosphere next week, with the inaugural instalment of Letting Off Some Steam (still not entirely sure that name is going to stick). Thanks for reading guys. Happy New Year to you all, take care, and I'll see you around.
Currently playing - The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (3DS)