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I started 2023 with grand intentions of finishing up long backlog games. Instead I spent January playing smaller stuff.

At the end of 2022 I had a bunch of games that I wanted to either finish or play, from that year and before. I never got to Horizon Forbidden West or God of War Ragnarok (despite the 2019 GoW game being my second favorite game of all time) because I still had unfinished business in the first games of those series but couldn't find time to complete it. I had a bunch of big games from 2022 that I still needed to check off the endings to, including Signalis and A Plague Tale: Requiem (both of which I liked quite a bit.) And of course I have a long list of games that are either "important" or hugely appealing to me or just games I want to complete to "get ready" for the next game in their respective franchises. I had a list of "important" PSVR games I want to complete before PSVR2 (my birthday present to myself for 2022 was a pre-order) comes out.

Instead I've mostly played some smaller stuff that has been hanging around on my backlog for awhile.

It's not that I haven't tried. I started out pretty strong with PSVR and even platinumed a game (1976 - Back to Midway). I can honestly say that I have enjoyed a lot of those experiences but days where I had headaches or just felt tired did not lend themselves to that and I've fallen off, even though every time I've put the headset on to play another of GNOG's puzzle boxes I've come away having liked the experience. I dipped back into Horizon: Zero Dawn to start the DLC I never got to and that game looks great. I even got to grips with the controls again (mostly) after all this time, and I remember the world well enough that the DLC story makes sense. I can't say I didn't like it, but I didn't feel compelled to go back. I even tried to pick back up Tales of Graces F to get through the epilogue. That game is incomprehensible to me 2+ years after I put it down, and even though I remember the Vita-to-PS3 graphics being acceptable back in 2020 for some reason right now I find them eye bleeding. Other games have just sat on my hard drives, taunting me, while instead I've picked up and played through a bunch of small stuff.

I love these two miscreants.
I love these two miscreants.

River City Girls was one of the first games I decided to play on a whim this year. I zipped through it in a few days and... I loved it. The music was incredible, the graphics were pleasant, I loved the two high school delinquents you play as and chuckled at the surprise ending even though I kind of saw it coming. What a fun time. Then I played inFamous First Light because my friend was raving about it. That's one I'd meant to get to for a long time and when I finally was great! A bite sized inFamous experience where the collection tasks weren't overwhelming and with by far my favorite protagonist from that series. Fantastic stuff. 9/10 please make another. Then for some reason I decided to dip into Far Cry with Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, and, well, I think it's one of the best written games I've ever played and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, even if mechanically and level design wise it is pretty mediocre.

Right now I'm getting into The Pathless, which I bought just before it went on PS+ of course, and so far I'm enjoying that quite a bit. It's not a revelation or anything but it seems fun and I'll probably finish it in a couple days, which seems to be where my head is at right now.

Sometimes you just want to wipe grime off an eagle. It's not a sex thing! It's mostly not a sex thing!
Sometimes you just want to wipe grime off an eagle. It's not a sex thing! It's mostly not a sex thing!

So do I feel bad about not accomplishing my ambitions? Not really. I still have time to get to those games, and I've been enjoying what I've been playing. Gaming is a hobby and sometimes you just find yourself headed in some direction for reasons you can't articulate. At times that can feel like a rut and be kind of oppressive in its own way, or stick you playing something you're not really enjoying much, but I've played through 3 games I've really enjoyed already this year, and spent time with others that were either pretty good or I've only played a little of yet. I'm not in a "gaming isn't fun right now" phase I'm in a "gaming is fun as long as I keep to light, short, experiences" phase and that seems...fine. I played a lot of long, heavy, games towards the end of the year and maybe my mind just needs a break and to spend some time blasting soldiers with neon or buying all the food at the mall in River City. That seems okay for now.

When it comes to a hobby having a list of "shoulds" or "want to accomplish" can help when you're directionless but can also make what should be fun and relaxing feel like an obligation. That's especially true when it comes to games, and I think getting through a month where I can say that I mostly enjoyed what I played is better than saying I forced myself to check a few boxes off a list and didn't really like doing it.