Resolutions: Making 2013 Less Fun Already

Just a bunch of goals for 2013. I have a Pile of Shame already, because you can't have enough ways to make your entertaining hobby less so, but I want to stay focused this year. I have no idea how many new games will end up grabbing me, though I suspect a lot of companies will be shifting their development efforts to the new generation of consoles so maybe there'll be a dearth? Or maybe not? Regardless, it's about time I cleared some of this backlog, buy and play some recent games that I shouldn't have missed out on and just overall make the following year's gaming a little more interesting.

1. BEAT ONE TURBOGRAFX-16 GAME PER MONTH

I suspect we would've gone the Mega Drive route and stuck with PC Engine as its name in Europe. I mean, "Turbografx"?

I made an abortive attempt some years ago to get into the TG16 blogging game, as a response to its games inexplicably appearing in the Wii's European Virtual Console despite the fact that NEC never elected to release the console in this territory. With the renewed interest in the device coming from Jeff and co, hearing about its odd history on Chrontendo (specifically its Chronturbo sub-series) and seeing a few highlights of the console's library featured on GameCenter CX, I figure I'll take another whack at it.

I'll frame each one as I do with the Brief Jaunts, probably, with lots of screenshots and a perfunctory review/explanation of each game and how well it has aged in the two decades since most of them originally came out. I suspect I'll just pick twelve generally well-regarded games I won't hate, since that system sure seems to have a lot of shoot-em-ups that I suck at. I have been meaning to get around to Rondo of Blood, after all...

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

If 2012 made a strong case for anything, besides "America doesn't want a rich asshole President", "jumping from a plane in low orbit is awesome" and "Koreans sure dance weird", it's that those little games on the various digital distribution networks can no longer be ignored or derided as quirky puzzle-platformers of little substance. Universally, at least. Whether or not you rated The Walking Dead, Journey, Fez, FTL or Hotline Miami highly on your respective Game of the Year Top Tens, you can't deny how well they represented themselves last year. As such, I've decided to keep a closer eye on new releases from that particular market in 2013. I'll also probably play more of the ones I've already accrued on Steam and the like, since I seem to keep piling them on. Another year of Humble Indie Bundles and Indie Royale Bundles will ensure a constant stream of the things, no doubt.

Honestly, though, I probably won't be forsaking the big retail releases this year either. Especially since I can just rent those for far cheaper than even these $10-$15 Indie games run. Curiously, the XBLA title I'm most interested in right now is Banjo Tooie, so I can hardly claim that I'm poised at the cutting edge of this new, smaller sub-industry.

3. REVIEW EVERY GAME I BEAT

Some caveats:

  • I won't review any game that was released before the site was launched - no disrespect to the many retro reviewers out there, but I just can't see that information as overly helpful nor can I really write in that "do I score it based on its era or do I mark it down because of how unfavorably it compares to games of today?" mind set. Besides, most of the older games I'll be playing this year will be the aforementioned TG16 games, which will probably receive a sufficient amount of elucidation in those blogs anyway.
  • I probably won't bother reviewing games that receive (or have received) a staff review. Adding my two cents amid a sea of other user reviews introduces a fun competitive aspect to the process, but no-one pays those screeds any heed if the game has something official written on it by the Bomb Crew. Besides, anything that important will be probably be reviewed to death by everyone and their grandmother anyway. Or it'll be reprehensible dreck they foisted onto poor Alex Navarro for somebody's twisted amusement, in which case I probably won't be playing it in the first place.
  • All that said, I'm really only doing this to get better at writing critically. So I'll probably willfully ignore my own stipulations? Resolutions are fun to write.

4. WIKI COMPLETION PROJECT: THE FAMICOM DISK SYSTEM

This'll be your year, Disk-kun!

Through an odd coincidence that is in some considerable part due to my recent habit of reading up on NES games and inputting anything worthwhile about them into the wiki, I've managed to update a lot of entries about the once-powerhouse NES peripheral. In fact, I've actually added some 50+ FDS pages to the wiki personally. For those unaware of what one of these Famicom Disk Systems is, a brief history lesson: The Famicom Disk System was an early device that allowed Famicom users (i.e. Japanese NES users, since the FDS was never released elsewhere) to play floppy disks on their system. The disks allowed for more memory storage as well as the ability to save one's game, which were the few benefits that owning a home computer had over Nintendo's console at the time. As I'm sure most of you are aware, NES carts eventually evolved to the point where they could do everything these floppy disks could and then some, all while not requiring the annoying task of flipping the disk over, and so the FDS struggled to entice big developers to produce content for it save Nintendo themselves. By the 90s, new FDS releases had slowed to a crawl. Before then, though, they were the original format for games as important as The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Kid Icarus, Castlevania and Super Mario Bros 2 (both the US/EU SMB 2's original incarnation Yume Koujou: Doki Doki Panic, and the Japanese SMB 2 best known to us as The Lost Levels).

Since approximately half the 192 FDS games (excepting all the hentai unlicensed games, though a few are on the wiki much to ZombiePie's assumed chagrin) have a "full" page - at least in terms of having box art, screenshots, general info, a blurb, some explanatory overview text and all relevant releases - I'm going to endeavor to see the same done for the other half before 2014. At the very least I want to make sure we have a page for every one. I have no idea why I want to do all this, other than that more people need to know about Kick Challenger: Air Foot.

5. CONTINUE WITH MY BLOG FEATURES

Which is to say: Bringing back the May Madness feature where I play a month's worth of Steam games; bringing back Desura December where I play a fortnight's worth of Desura games; keep up on the monthly comic commissions (kind of semi-internet-legally required to do so there); and produce more Brief Jaunts. Hell, I was going to do all that anyway, but having it all written out here ensures I don't chicken out.

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

An uncharacteristically pensive Kazuma Kiryu contemplates a year of Yakuza.

Some reasonable goals here, necessary for clearing some of my more egregious backlogs. Yakuza 2 is long overdue, since I own 3 and 4 is damn cheap at the moment and I want to catch up. I really enjoyed the first one, despite playing it for the first time only a couple years ago. It was really when playing Sleeping Dogs - specifically its environment-enhanced combat and goofy incidental side-missions - that I wanted to jump back into Kazuma's smart-casual gangster duds and punch a tiger or two. Fragile Dreams I received unexpectedly as a gift and sort of owe it to the game's most vocal fan around these parts, to get myself immersed in that post-apocalyptic world full of Japanese melodrama and ominous chicken merchants tout de suite. I also just want to beat more Wii games in general: I've been slowly building up a library of them and I don't imagine stopping anytime soon now that the Wii U is out and Wii games continue to drop in price as a result. Maybe I can finally get Kirby's Epic Yarn for a decent price. I also made a list of adventure games I really ought to be getting on with sometime last year, since I've been getting into the point and click groove again. Gemini Rue stands out especially, as I've left it half-finished since May of last year.

Considering my Pile of Shame also has XCOM and Hotline Miami on it, both of which I currently have loaded and ready to go, I don't think I'll have any trouble hitting goal #9.

10. PLAY GAMES WITHOUT SHOOTING PEOPLE

So, OK, initially I was deliberating actually going through with something so... I dunno, condescending? Precious? Motivated by bleeding heart lefty politics? So instead of deliberately antagonizing a bunch of Giant Bomb's resident gun nuts and others who think violent video games aren't to blame for anything whatsoever, I decided to frame this challenge as simply that: A challenge. Besides avoiding military shooters, which is something I've been able to do for a couple of years without issue already, I'm going to make sure that at no point in 2013 I put a bullet into another simulated human being.

There's some exceptions of course. I can play games where you shoot aliens, monsters, zombies and anything else decidedly non-human. I can also shoot things with a bow (it is the year of the bow, after all) or a dart gun or a taser of any kind. Melee weapons are also OK. So are explosives. The last stipulation is that if a game has a non-lethal path - like, say, Dishonored or Mark of the Ninja - I'll try to follow it. Games like Hotline Miami will be a tad harder without guns, but I hear the knife is as effective. Or the bat. I realize that's a contentious issue.

Really, a single dude not buying gun-shooty games for a year isn't going to dissuade anyone or change anything, and it's not like it'll make anything I'll play that much less violent overall, but I want to see just how pervasive and hard to avoid this stuff really is in our games. I'll keep you all updated.

So those are my resolutions for 2013. I'm guessing it'll be a mellow year outside of the big conventions, in which we'll be seeing our first glimpses of the next series of expensive machines we'll need to buy so we don't miss out on anything. I hope you'll all stick around for another year of reading about the dumb old shit I'm playing and seeing what idiotic nonsense stickperson JC Denton is up to. Speaking of which...

BONUS COMIC!

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Definitely late to the party here. Happy to report my original sniper, Col. Lady "Checkmate" Gunshoot, is still around though.
Start the Conversation
11 Comments
Posted by Mento

Just a bunch of goals for 2013. I have a Pile of Shame already, because you can't have enough ways to make your entertaining hobby less so, but I want to stay focused this year. I have no idea how many new games will end up grabbing me, though I suspect a lot of companies will be shifting their development efforts to the new generation of consoles so maybe there'll be a dearth? Or maybe not? Regardless, it's about time I cleared some of this backlog, buy and play some recent games that I shouldn't have missed out on and just overall make the following year's gaming a little more interesting.

1. BEAT ONE TURBOGRAFX-16 GAME PER MONTH

I suspect we would've gone the Mega Drive route and stuck with PC Engine as its name in Europe. I mean, "Turbografx"?

I made an abortive attempt some years ago to get into the TG16 blogging game, as a response to its games inexplicably appearing in the Wii's European Virtual Console despite the fact that NEC never elected to release the console in this territory. With the renewed interest in the device coming from Jeff and co, hearing about its odd history on Chrontendo (specifically its Chronturbo sub-series) and seeing a few highlights of the console's library featured on GameCenter CX, I figure I'll take another whack at it.

I'll frame each one as I do with the Brief Jaunts, probably, with lots of screenshots and a perfunctory review/explanation of each game and how well it has aged in the two decades since most of them originally came out. I suspect I'll just pick twelve generally well-regarded games I won't hate, since that system sure seems to have a lot of shoot-em-ups that I suck at. I have been meaning to get around to Rondo of Blood, after all...

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

If 2012 made a strong case for anything, besides "America doesn't want a rich asshole President", "jumping from a plane in low orbit is awesome" and "Koreans sure dance weird", it's that those little games on the various digital distribution networks can no longer be ignored or derided as quirky puzzle-platformers of little substance. Universally, at least. Whether or not you rated The Walking Dead, Journey, Fez, FTL or Hotline Miami highly on your respective Game of the Year Top Tens, you can't deny how well they represented themselves last year. As such, I've decided to keep a closer eye on new releases from that particular market in 2013. I'll also probably play more of the ones I've already accrued on Steam and the like, since I seem to keep piling them on. Another year of Humble Indie Bundles and Indie Royale Bundles will ensure a constant stream of the things, no doubt.

Honestly, though, I probably won't be forsaking the big retail releases this year either. Especially since I can just rent those for far cheaper than even these $10-$15 Indie games run. Curiously, the XBLA title I'm most interested in right now is Banjo Tooie, so I can hardly claim that I'm poised at the cutting edge of this new, smaller sub-industry.

3. REVIEW EVERY GAME I BEAT

Some caveats:

  • I won't review any game that was released before the site was launched - no disrespect to the many retro reviewers out there, but I just can't see that information as overly helpful nor can I really write in that "do I score it based on its era or do I mark it down because of how unfavorably it compares to games of today?" mind set. Besides, most of the older games I'll be playing this year will be the aforementioned TG16 games, which will probably receive a sufficient amount of elucidation in those blogs anyway.
  • I probably won't bother reviewing games that receive (or have received) a staff review. Adding my two cents amid a sea of other user reviews introduces a fun competitive aspect to the process, but no-one pays those screeds any heed if the game has something official written on it by the Bomb Crew. Besides, anything that important will be probably be reviewed to death by everyone and their grandmother anyway. Or it'll be reprehensible dreck they foisted onto poor Alex Navarro for somebody's twisted amusement, in which case I probably won't be playing it in the first place.
  • All that said, I'm really only doing this to get better at writing critically. So I'll probably willfully ignore my own stipulations? Resolutions are fun to write.

4. WIKI COMPLETION PROJECT: THE FAMICOM DISK SYSTEM

This'll be your year, Disk-kun!

Through an odd coincidence that is in some considerable part due to my recent habit of reading up on NES games and inputting anything worthwhile about them into the wiki, I've managed to update a lot of entries about the once-powerhouse NES peripheral. In fact, I've actually added some 50+ FDS pages to the wiki personally. For those unaware of what one of these Famicom Disk Systems is, a brief history lesson: The Famicom Disk System was an early device that allowed Famicom users (i.e. Japanese NES users, since the FDS was never released elsewhere) to play floppy disks on their system. The disks allowed for more memory storage as well as the ability to save one's game, which were the few benefits that owning a home computer had over Nintendo's console at the time. As I'm sure most of you are aware, NES carts eventually evolved to the point where they could do everything these floppy disks could and then some, all while not requiring the annoying task of flipping the disk over, and so the FDS struggled to entice big developers to produce content for it save Nintendo themselves. By the 90s, new FDS releases had slowed to a crawl. Before then, though, they were the original format for games as important as The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Kid Icarus, Castlevania and Super Mario Bros 2 (both the US/EU SMB 2's original incarnation Yume Koujou: Doki Doki Panic, and the Japanese SMB 2 best known to us as The Lost Levels).

Since approximately half the 192 FDS games (excepting all the hentai unlicensed games, though a few are on the wiki much to ZombiePie's assumed chagrin) have a "full" page - at least in terms of having box art, screenshots, general info, a blurb, some explanatory overview text and all relevant releases - I'm going to endeavor to see the same done for the other half before 2014. At the very least I want to make sure we have a page for every one. I have no idea why I want to do all this, other than that more people need to know about Kick Challenger: Air Foot.

5. CONTINUE WITH MY BLOG FEATURES

Which is to say: Bringing back the May Madness feature where I play a month's worth of Steam games; bringing back Desura December where I play a fortnight's worth of Desura games; keep up on the monthly comic commissions (kind of semi-internet-legally required to do so there); and produce more Brief Jaunts. Hell, I was going to do all that anyway, but having it all written out here ensures I don't chicken out.

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

An uncharacteristically pensive Kazuma Kiryu contemplates a year of Yakuza.

Some reasonable goals here, necessary for clearing some of my more egregious backlogs. Yakuza 2 is long overdue, since I own 3 and 4 is damn cheap at the moment and I want to catch up. I really enjoyed the first one, despite playing it for the first time only a couple years ago. It was really when playing Sleeping Dogs - specifically its environment-enhanced combat and goofy incidental side-missions - that I wanted to jump back into Kazuma's smart-casual gangster duds and punch a tiger or two. Fragile Dreams I received unexpectedly as a gift and sort of owe it to the game's most vocal fan around these parts, to get myself immersed in that post-apocalyptic world full of Japanese melodrama and ominous chicken merchants tout de suite. I also just want to beat more Wii games in general: I've been slowly building up a library of them and I don't imagine stopping anytime soon now that the Wii U is out and Wii games continue to drop in price as a result. Maybe I can finally get Kirby's Epic Yarn for a decent price. I also made a list of adventure games I really ought to be getting on with sometime last year, since I've been getting into the point and click groove again. Gemini Rue stands out especially, as I've left it half-finished since May of last year.

Considering my Pile of Shame also has XCOM and Hotline Miami on it, both of which I currently have loaded and ready to go, I don't think I'll have any trouble hitting goal #9.

10. PLAY GAMES WITHOUT SHOOTING PEOPLE

So, OK, initially I was deliberating actually going through with something so... I dunno, condescending? Precious? Motivated by bleeding heart lefty politics? So instead of deliberately antagonizing a bunch of Giant Bomb's resident gun nuts and others who think violent video games aren't to blame for anything whatsoever, I decided to frame this challenge as simply that: A challenge. Besides avoiding military shooters, which is something I've been able to do for a couple of years without issue already, I'm going to make sure that at no point in 2013 I put a bullet into another simulated human being.

There's some exceptions of course. I can play games where you shoot aliens, monsters, zombies and anything else decidedly non-human. I can also shoot things with a bow (it is the year of the bow, after all) or a dart gun or a taser of any kind. Melee weapons are also OK. So are explosives. The last stipulation is that if a game has a non-lethal path - like, say, Dishonored or Mark of the Ninja - I'll try to follow it. Games like Hotline Miami will be a tad harder without guns, but I hear the knife is as effective. Or the bat. I realize that's a contentious issue.

Really, a single dude not buying gun-shooty games for a year isn't going to dissuade anyone or change anything, and it's not like it'll make anything I'll play that much less violent overall, but I want to see just how pervasive and hard to avoid this stuff really is in our games. I'll keep you all updated.

So those are my resolutions for 2013. I'm guessing it'll be a mellow year outside of the big conventions, in which we'll be seeing our first glimpses of the next series of expensive machines we'll need to buy so we don't miss out on anything. I hope you'll all stick around for another year of reading about the dumb old shit I'm playing and seeing what idiotic nonsense stickperson JC Denton is up to. Speaking of which...

BONUS COMIC!

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Definitely late to the party here. Happy to report my original sniper, Col. Lady "Checkmate" Gunshoot, is still around though.
Moderator Online
Posted by Video_Game_King

Wait, what? How did this end up in my PM box? I want to say "Fragile Dreams", but a lot of these could apply to me equally well. *reads it* Oh. It was Fragile Dreams. I'll just leave this here. To prepare you for his terror, you see.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Oh dear. You certainly are setting yourself up for an... exciting... year? Currently, my video game new years resolutions mostly consist of "I should probably finish all those RPGs I've sunk significant time into but have yet to finish". Man. Might and Magic IX sure needs its fair shake around here, and I don't see anyone else willing to rise up to the challenge. I'm going to die, aren't I?

Online
Posted by Mento

@ArbitraryWater: Well, you do literally have to die to complete one of those games. I mean, you personally won't die, but your soul might?

Also, all those resolutions are kind of small potatoes. I just wanted an excuse to put off making a lot more comics for another week, at which point I ought to be getting on with the January Comic Commish. Hopefully I can make this Turbografx-16 stuff interesting for people.

@Video_Game_King: I am looking forward to the creeping crawling clucking horror. Just hope the game around it is OK.

Moderator Online
Posted by Video_Game_King

Don't worry. It is. I think the worst problems I had in it were "boss battles that make no sense" and "ranged weapons are useless for most of the enemies".

Posted by omghisam

Mento said:

I ought to be getting on with the January Comic Commish.

Yeah you should.

Maybe for 2014 you can think about making a game. Get a copy of RPGMaker and dole your wit out with continuous button prompts.

Online
Posted by ZombiePie

You are going to die if you do this. 

Moderator
Posted by Slag

Holy crap man, these goals sound depressing. I mean if you enjoy doing this then go for it, but to me it looks like you've just set yourself up to fail by overloading yourself with some many different semi-difficult goals.

Just make sure it stays fun for you ok? That's what game are supposed to be

I'm going to make sure that at no point in 2013 I put a bullet into another simulated human being.

That could be difficult

There's some exceptions of course. I can play games where you shoot aliens, monsters, zombies and anything else decidedly non-human.

I take that back. That's pretty easy then

just curious, is this motivation of yours about the Connecticut thing?

I'm no gun nut but what is so bad about shooting games unilaterally compared to say ripping somebody's spine out in Mortal Kombat?

I guess what I'm saying it's the level of violence I find more disturbing rather than the weapon. e.g. I'm playing Sleeping Dogs at the moment. Fantastic game, I should have rated it higher on GOTY list, however horrifically brutal game. But it's not the gun play (which it has) that's hyper violent, it's literally beating the f*** out of people. Snapping limps, cutting someone's face open with a diamond bladed saw, burning someone alive in a furnace, slamming a car door repeatedly on a person's head, stuff like that.

I think if I wasn't used to seeing that stuff in old Hong Kong karate movies it would probably really bother me.

fwiw I generally don't play many super violent games and don't feel deprived for it.

Posted by Mento

@Slag: Don't worry about this stuff being fun. Half of it I intended to do anyway, and the other half should make the year more interesting. The focus on downloadable games just makes sense at this point seeing how they've slowly become this force to be reckoned with (and ignored too long, at least by me), and I generally get through a lot of older games every year (though, surprisingly enough, not quite at the same rate I tend to accrue them).

As for the gun thing, yeah, it was initially something I thought about doing to "protest" the lack of stricter gun control after the most recent school shooting, but decided against following the political angle because it's a sore point for a lot of people and some dude on the internet refusing to play shooters wasn't going to make a huge difference even if the resulting "one man's stand against video game gun violence" story got sensationalized to heck (and it would be rather self-aggrandizing to suggest I could pull that off anyway). And, as you say, games find plenty of ways to be violent by other means. So in the process of dumping the idea, it morphed into this challenge of sorts. Would it actually be possible to still play the amount of games I do without shooting another person? Depending on how easy or difficult it is to avoid, it might result in something revealing. I don't play a lot of shooters that don't involve aliens or zombies (which, honestly, is almost pushing the "no humans" rule) anyway so it shouldn't make a huge divergence. We'll see.

Actually I've probably already broken that one by accidentally gunning down a shopkeeper or two in Spelunky. But man, those things ain't human.

Moderator Online
Posted by Slag

@Mento: good to hearman

I just know in your shoes that was a perfect recipe for burnout. Everybody's different though. :)

Would it actually be possible to still play the amount of games I do without shooting another person? Depending on how easy or difficult it is to avoid, it might result in something revealing

My personal belief is that you will find it fairly easy depending on what genres you like. If you like Puzzles, Platformers, Puzzles, JRPGS, Sports games etc you probably won't notice a thing.

However for whatever reason the huge AAA games all seem to have it these days.

And I'm not sure it's AAA thing as much as it's an American thing. A lot of the old AAA Japanese games don't seem to have such a heavy emphasis on it.

Posted by nintendork666

I'd also really like to beat Fragile Dreams this year.