Dan's Blogvent Calendar - December 17th

It's been a little while since I wrote anything for Blogvent that was actually about video games. Today I'm going to make amends for that, with a little list. Not one of those fancy-schmancy Game of the Year lists that everybody else seems to be trotting out right now, though. This is a list of games with no end, that I wish I'd played more of in 2013, and intend to play more of in 2014.

1. Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise

I love the Viva Pinata franchise. The cute collectable Pinatas, the vibrant aesthetics, the addictive gardening gameplay that belies a surprisingly complex set of mechanics... all of it just appeals to my inner gamer in a way that few other games can. I've been meaning to revisit Trouble in Paradise for some time now, to re-experience the joys of tending to a Pinata garden. I'm also really keen to tackle more of the game's challenges, which serve to provide some sense of progression in what is essentially a wide-open game. I didn't get round to it this year, but I fully intend to next year.

2. Forza Motorsport 4

It's been quite a while since I last got well and truly lost in a racing sim. The last time was probably when I played through Forza Motorsport 2 to the point where I completed all of its myriad Career mode events. I only scratched the surface of Forza 3 by comparison, moving through its structured Season mode, but stopping short of getting any deeper. After a bit of a break from simulation racing, though, I feel like I'm ready to once again launch myself into a deep and demanding career mode. Forza 4, which I own but am yet to spend any decent amount of time with, is the prime candidate.

3. Pro Evolution Soccer 2013

A birthday gift from my friend Duncan way back in February, I am yet to spend any significant amount of time with this instalment in Konami's long-running soccer sim franchise. I've played plenty of matches, but the real draw here is the Master League, and I still haven't taken the plunge into this edition's incarnation of the life-eating managerial mode. My hope is that in the new year I'll be able to start putting some more time into PES2013, and finally begin my journey from the bottom of the Championship all the way up to the UEFA Champions League winners' podium.

4. Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Three months ago, Animal Crossing: New Leaf was my go-to game to unwind after a long, busy day at work. The relaxed pace of town life and the huge array of customisable options available to the player were major factors, letting me escape reality for about half an hour every day in favour of this laid-back approximation. Then Pokémon Y happened, and I am ashamed to say I haven't touched New Leaf since. My town is probably a mess, my friends have probably all moved away, and my mortgage won't have been paying itself. Hopefully I can pluck up the courage to return to it in 2014, tidy up the town, and resume my duties as mayor.

5. Pokémon Y

I know what you're thinking - "Dan, you've gotta be kidding, right? You've put hundreds of hours into the Pokémon franchise this year, over 150 of which have gone into Pokémon Y alone." I guess this doesn't technically qualify under the criteria outlined above, because I have played plenty of Pokémon Y this year. But in spite of that, I am still very keen to play more of it in 2014. There's one main reason for that - Pokémon Bank. Let's not forget that this year's Poké-blitz has all been in service of one key goal - to try and catch as many of the 718 known species of Pokemon as possible, and have them all in one single game cartridge. On December 27th, Nintendo launch the Pokémon Bank service, which will enable me to transfer everything I've caught in LeafGreen, SoulSilver, Emerald, Platinum and White into my Pokémon Y game and move one huge step closer to fulfilling that dream.



Currently playing - Assassin's Creed: Revelations (X360)

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