Mid-Year Resolution Check-In

Resolutions! They're like achievements, only no-one cares! Oh wait! That's achievements too!

I was going to be good and check in on the ten rather ludicrous resolutions I had set for myself this year more often than simply once at the halfway point, but it seemed like so much self-indulgent navel-gazing - or rather, more self-indulgent navel-gazing than even I was prepared to put up with. So this'll be it until 2014, at which point I'll find even more reasons to limit my own enjoyment of a medium I adore for the sake of a spurious sense of progress or self-control. Fairly sure this is why everyone gave up on New Year's Resolutions in the 90s.

But what were these resolutions I made so long ago? Actually, that's a good question. I better do some digging. Preparedness had better not have been one of them.

1. BEAT ONE TURBOGRAFX-16 GAME PER MONTH

I've been having a lot of fun with this one. Screenshot LPs of the current sextet of games from everyone's favorite also-ran 16-bit console can be found yonder. I can't say that the games themselves were all that great for the most part; they tend to be the sort of games you'd pad out a Genesis and SNES collection with until you were fortunate to spot Chrono Trigger or a rare Treasure game for a reasonable price on eBay. The sort you'd slowly accrue a lot of after so many "buy two and get the third free" offers. Not terrible, but not particularly amazing or memorable either.

But I've enjoyed caption-commentating on them and writing in equal measure about their discouraging foibles and subtle charms. They haven't been my most feedback-intensive blogs, but it stands to reason that there would be some difficulty inherent in striking up a conversation about a game no-one played on a system no-one bought during a console era many users on this site weren't even around to see. I call this phenomenon "The Lunarian Lament".

2. FOCUS MORE ON "DOWNLOADABLE" XBLA/PSN/STEAM/GOG/DESURA GAMES

I made this resolution in the tacit knowledge that it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy, thus saving me from having to write a resolution I'd actually have to put some conscious effort towards. However, besides the Indie-driven May Madness, I've not really done much of this so far this year. I've still got a laundry list of £5-£15 downloadable games from last year in my periphery and I continue to hold out for promising 2013 additions to this market, like Gunpoint or Starship Damrey or Guacamelee!, in the chance that they somehow get even cheaper in a seasonal sale of some kind. I don't have a whole lot of disposable income and I try to make every penny count with luxuries, and that sense of guilt is exacerbated even further when I deign to peek across the room to my pile of shame gathering dust in the corner. It wouldn't hurt to be a little more cutting edge with the games I choose to review too: I've no doubt in my mind that someone will find my recent Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines review of use, but as a game that came out in 2004 and has dropped to practically nothing in value among the handful of venues that still supply it I can't imagine that "someone" will grow to "someones" any time soon.

So I'll make this my mid-year refocused resolution. There's a lot I'm missing out on due to this overzealous frugality, and I imagine people would get more use out of a timely review like Crimson Shroud than they would for a long in the tooth (as it were) computer RPG from a company that hasn't even existed for eight years.

3. REVIEW EVERY GAME I BEAT (with Caveats)

Yeah, I haven't been doing this either. I ought to, since I find writing reviews both somehow terrifying and invigorating. Like climbing Everest but, uh, writing about a video game on the internet instead. I get through so many oxygen tanks.

I've written six so far this year, which is at least keeping in pace with last year's twelve reviews. The various May Madness entries for games I managed to beat in the singular day afforded to them were almost reviews in of themselves, but that feels like a cheat. So yes, I'll endeavor to keep reviewing stuff. I kinda need to if I want to get good at it.

4. WIKI COMPLETION PROJECT: THE FAMICOM DISK SYSTEM

Ah, well, yes... you see, the deal with this is...

...that I've successfully managed to complete it. Every single one of the 192 known official Famicom Disk System releases now has a fully featured page in our wiki. I finished writing the last description this morning in preparation of this update. The FDS was the birthplace of a lot of very important games - Super Mario Bros. 2, Metroid, Castlevania II, Kid Icarus and the first two Zeldas in particular - and home to a lot more very poor games that were produced on disk for the various cost benefits and save game utilities they offered before NES cart technology caught up around the end of the 1980s. Of course, we foreigners never saw any of it. The very idea that you could buy a disk drive for your NES probably comes across as a ludicrous notion for many people who has/had one.

It ought to be understood, if only to myself in order to deflate my own ego, that the Famicom Disk System is not the same as the Famicom (or NES) in general: that library numbers in the thousands and is a bit beyond the scope of a single wiki contributor. Still, how many people bother to complete an entire console's library of entries on their own? Oh jeez, someone just shut me up already.

Forget Luigi, this is the Year of Disk-kun! Looking at you next, Phillips CDi! (Nope.)

5. CONTINUE WITH MY BLOG FEATURES

I think it's fair to say I've done this. I don't have many ongoing features, and the only one I absolutely have to keep up (that would be the Comic Commish, since it was the basis for my Gold membership) has been carefully seen to. I don't do Brief Jaunts as often, but that Vampire: the Masquerade four-day E3 playthrough probably counts. May Madness was as much of a rousing success as it ever is, which is to say it made me think "I did 28 blogs in a single month, what the heck is wrong with me?" to myself. An annual existential crisis is generally what I'm aiming for with that feature.

Still to come: Even more Brief Jaunts (I hope to delve into a lot of the GOG CRPGs I've been buying, and maybe an adventure game like The Longest Journey) and the Desura Dementia December at the end of the year. The Indie Royales have already provided me with more material for that feature than I know what to do with. And, of course, six more Comic Commishes and TurboMento-12s apiece. Really, my honest thanks to anyone who politely humors me with this immense amount of inconsequential output.

6. BEAT AT LEAST THREE PS2 GAMES, INCLUDING YAKUZA 2
7. BEAT AT LEAST THREE WII GAMES, INCLUDING FRAGILE DREAMS
8. BEAT AT LEAST THREE ADVENTURE GAMES, INCLUDING GEMINI RUE
9. BEAT AT LEAST THREE OTHER GAMES ON MY PILE OF SHAME

All right, let's see here:

PS2 games beaten: two, including Yakuza 2. So just one more then? I have been meaning to get through these Onimusha games...

Wii games beaten: four, including Fragile Dreams. Still not done with the system, but I am slightly peeved that this copy of Kirby's Epic Yarn keeps crashing due to a disc error. That trick with the toothpaste better work, because returning anything to Amazon is a pain in the neck.

Adventure games beaten: four, not including Gemini Rue. Two of those are kind of shaky as well, since they (To the Moon and Analogue: a Hate Story) can be completed in a couple of hours. This is something I really need to rectify, since the point-and-click Adventure genre has managed to regain a strong footing after the Fall of Malignant Vileness that almost finished it off. I especially want to play Primordia, Gemini Rue and a few of the bona fide classics I've picked up on Steam as well.

That other thing? I've beaten plenty of backlog games so far this year. Should've set that bar a little higher, frankly. There's 12 according to a list of items removed from my 2013 Pile of Shame (6 if you don't include games from the above three categories).

10. PLAY GAMES WITHOUT SHOOTING PEOPLE

I've completely checked out on this one. It was just one of those indelible cultural facets of modern game design that managed to sneak itself into every other game I played, regardless of where that game's focus might otherwise lie. I am continuing to avoid the more overt shooter game genres like the various FPSes and third-person cover-based stuff, but there's no denying I've broken this resolution a dozen times over already. I'm not even sure what I was thinking when I came up with it, but it clearly demanded a lot more focus than I was ever prepared to muster.

For the sake of making this blog a little more interesting and/or (probably not "and") padded out, let's explore the games I've played in 2013 and see just how many of them allow you, nay, require you to shoot another human being in the face or other, less vital region. You might be surprised:

  1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Fortunately not. Humans can be shot by other humans, but only after being psychically commandeered by aliens, at which point I ceased to take responsibility. For a game with a lot of gun violence, it's fairly non-sociopathic. At least towards our own kind. Those alien scum can fend for themselves (and frequently do).
  2. Barkley Shut Up & Jam Gaiden - Sadly inevitable, as Hoopz chiefly attacks with firearms and many of the game's bosses are human.
  3. Spelunky - Those shopkeepers got what they had coming to them. I refuse to believe they were human beings.
  4. PlayStation All-Stars - Play as Nathan Drake, Radec or Dante for long enough and you'll gun down another human eventually.
  5. Fragile Dreams - There's no firearms (well, besides bows). No other humans either, really.
  6. Hotline Miami - In my defense, I did try to go for melee kills most of the time. Not that the entire point of this exercise wasn't completely rendered moot by the sheer psychopathy of this game.
  7. Pandora's Tower - No guns, no human opponents.
  8. Ninja Spirit - Shurikens are not guns. I'm willing to go on record to state as much.
  9. Hotel Dusk - Not that kind of game. Though, actually, Kyle does shoot someone during the intro so I dunno.
  10. Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars - There are guns but no humans. The humans got wiped out!
  11. Shining in the Darkness - No guns.
  12. Dungeon Explorer - No guns.
  13. Dog's Life - Could you imagine? No, and no killing of any kind. Well, that lady at the end was an accident.
  14. Might and Magic VII - You're actually given futuristic blasters towards the end of the game, but I never used them on regular enemies.
  15. Tomb Raider - By the goddamn hundreds. Speaks volumes that this is the only new game I've played so far this year.
  16. Yakuza 2 - As violent as Kazuma Kiryu can be, gun violence isn't his deal. You want to talk signposts or bottles or pliers, though...
  17. The Legendary Axe - No guns, all axe.
  18. 999 - Fortunately it never comes to that.
  19. Knytt Underground - No guns, no weapons of any kind.
  20. Neutopia - No guns, just a whole lot of dull-witted and redundant NPCs.
  21. Zeno Clash - Why use guns when I let my fists do the talking? (I did in fact let the guns do a bit of the talking too, but then this is a game where no-one ever seems to die so... no harm, no foul?)
  22. Unmechanical - No guns. Used my pincher menacingly a few times.
  23. To the Moon - No guns. How would a gun help you get to the moon?
  24. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery - I fired no projectiles that weren't fired at me first.
  25. Saira - No guns. Nifflas doesn't seem to like them.
  26. Anodyne - Nah, I had something a lot better: a broom.
  27. Analogue: a Hate Story - Taking out a gun might have spooked my virtual waifu *Hyun-ae.
  28. Bonk's Adventure - If I had found a gun, it would've been a hell of an anachronism.
  29. Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory - Cube is too sweet to use guns.
  30. Rochard - Just a gravity gun. It did have a regular fire mode though, and it wasn't like you could avoid using it. Only so many areas had space crates to throw around.
  31. Cthulhu Saves the World - The mighty Cthulhu has no need for guns!
  32. Yoshi's Island - "Who would win in a fight, Master Chief or Yoshi?" "Is that a joke? Hey, here's how that scenario would play out: Master Chief casts Gun 3; child's toy blown to shit." "But Yoshi would make eggs out of the bullets and fire them right back." "Master Chief eats eggs for breakfast!"
  33. Vampire: the Masquerade - Since I was avoiding combat like the Dickens (who is probably another vampire in this fiction), I managed to avoid gunning down too many people. Still, as a Toreador, I was more proficient at shooting things than the other classes. Should've picked one of those crazy loons, the Malkovichs.
  34. Gekisha Boy - Only ever shot people with a camera.
  35. Rhythm Heaven Fever - Got very close to shooting myself, if that counts.

Well, I believe I've indulged my narcissistic personality disorder sufficiently for the time being. At least these resolutions are keeping me focused. Slightly more palatable junk coming later this week, I promise. I've got this whole Monolith Soft retrospective I'm working on for starters.

Thanks for checking out my blog today! Sorry!

5 Comments
5 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King

Futuristic space blasters in Might and Magic!? Why have I been putting it off for so damn long? (Technical issues.)

Also, doesn't Ace fire on Snake in one of the endings? I seem to remember that.

Posted by Mento

@video_game_king: I am not responsible for what that gentleman might or might not do to that other gentleman in one of that particular game's non-canonical endings. Well, they're all sort of canonical, but you know what I mean.

Also, yes, blasters. Might and Magic is a weird series. In VIII you meet Galactus.

Moderator
Posted by Slag

@mento: @video_game_king:

I think you two might be the last regular active bloggers on the site (well and Zombiepie). If nothing else that feels like a New Year's resolution gone right.

dude Mento you've got the work ethic of madman. I don't know what else to say. That is a supremely daunting list of resolutions and to see that you've achieved so many of them almost seemingly unknowingly is super impressive. Especially the wiki one.

Hopefully you get a job in games someday if that's your desire. I'd love to see what you could do with this kind of drive and passion for games of all types.

Posted by Mento

@slag: Hey, thanks man. When I wrote all these I already had the intention of knuckling down on clearing my backlog in 2013, so most of these just happened regardless. Really, a lot of these resolutions were just declarations of what I planned to get up to this year anyway rather than going out of my way for some challenging milestones. Plus there's stuff like the guns thing I completely flaked on.

But yeah, I am at least a little chuffed that a small segment of the wiki was completed, though my requirements for a completed page might be less stringent than everyone else's. If the many contributors find way to break up the monumental task of a fully complete video game wiki into smaller, manageable goals it might go a long way into making it happen someday. Possibly just before the site closes down forever due to budgetary/retirement/apocalyptic reasons.

Moderator
Posted by Slag

@mento: hey sorry man for the delayed response.

this new notification system in theory is pretty rad, so far for me though it's 100% busted. I'm encouraged they are at least trying though, might help bring blogging back in vogue which the community badly needs imo.

Regardless of what your intention was for the resolutions, I'm still impressed you achieved all this. It probably helped that in your mind it wasn't a big deal. That tends to be a helpful mindset for large undertakings in my experience. Don't feel bad about the gun one, that was probably too limiting for someone playing as many titles as you did. You would have to had to pass on a lot of great games.

I hear you about the wiki. As someone who has done a lot of wiki work (mostly elsewhere but I've done a little here before getting too discouraged by the continued lack of a style guide) I know what kind of effort and time commitment it takes to even do small contributions right. You are totally right that many people did even a little a lot would get done. You did a noble thing sir.