Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Gaming Resolutions

Although it may be trite, I enjoy the spirit behind New Year's resolutions. While they may not always be successful, the intent to pick up new habits and improve on the old year is a noble one. Seeing as how I am both a sucker for New Year's resolutions and a giant video game geek, is it really a surprise that I have a special sub-set of gaming-related New Year's resolution? We'll see how long these last:

The Must-Plays of 2010

I try to avoid pre-release hype, as it usually just reinforces the fact that I'll never get around to all the games I want to play. However, try as I might, I can't help but be excited about some of 2010's huge releases. Although I'm not convinced that it will make it out in 2010, Team Ico's The Last Guardian, promises to elicit awe (and possibly tears). I think that Super Mario Galaxy was one of the best games of the decade, so I am ecstatic about the prospect of Super Mario Galaxy 2. Finally: A playable 3D Yoshi! On the opposite end of the cuteness spectrum stands God of War III. The series brings me back to the golden days of brawling games and its fluid, brutally efficient combo system does a great job of modernizing the genre. Additionally, I enjoy the story and its characters far more than I probably should. Ever since God of War II's (literal) cliffhanger ending, I've been looking forward to part III.

Staying Current

Until I figure out a way to become independently wealthy or to get paid for keeping up with new releases, I will continue to amass a backlog of games that deserve to be played. As 2009 slips away, there are a handful of games that I skipped over. Batman: Arkham Asylum is probably the top priority; I am a big fan of the Dark Knight and, from what I've heard, the game succeeds as both as an excellent video game and a worthy entry into Batman lore. Following closely behind the caped crusader is Demon's Souls, whose promise of cruelty appeals to my sadistic tendencies.

Delving deeper into the still-recent past reveals still more games I was forced to leave on the shelf. Next year, I hope to squeeze in time for Deadspace, Braid, and Muramasa : The Demon Blade. I am also interested in Assassin's Creed 2, although my personal quirk (or affliction, as Jorge would argue) of feeling compelled to play the first game in a series before playing the sequel might hamper this goal.

Lastly, there is still a long list of games residing on my "list of shame." These are the games I haven't played even though they are considered some of the medium's seminal works. Like my perpetual intention to read Moby Dick, I still fully intend to complete Half Life or a Baldur's Gate game at some point. Maybe this will be the year?

Broadening Horizons

Last year, Sean Sands from Gamers With Jobs embarked on a noble attempt to explore game genres he usually avoided. Unfortunately, the project proved too taxing on his patience and sanity, and was ended prematurely. While I won't aspire to the "one game each month" formula that Sean tried, I am going to try to dabble in genres I have either forgotten or neglected.

For example, I haven't played an RPG since Final Fantasy X scarred my psyche with its insipid dialogue and horrendous voice acting. Perhaps thirteen will be my lucky number? I cannot remember the last Western RPG I played, but the prospect of Mass Effect's rich sci-fi universe is tempting.

My absence from RPGs is comparatively short in relation to other, even more neglected genres. I haven't seriously played a sports game since the N64-era, so I might try to fire up the latest edition of Madden. Although the world of military simulations is strange and scary to me, my affinity for Civil War-era history might convince me to seek out some strategy game action. Are there any games out there where you can customize your soldiers' facial hair? I'm looking for authenticity folks!

So there it is: Three broad resolutions to work towards during 2010. If April rolls and I still haven't finished Super Mario Galaxy 2, Batman is still gathering dust, and I continue to live in my platformer-centric rut, try not to be too harsh on me.

In order to deflect some of the attention away from me, I'll turn it over to you folks: Have you made any gaming resolutions for 2010? What are you looking forward to in the new year, and what are you glad we are leaving behind? Any tips on overlooked games or under-appreciated genres?


  1. I finally made peace this year with the reality that I'll never be able to play all the games I'd like to. Letting go of that self-imposed imperative liberated me somehow, and now I don't feel guilty spending more time with games that deserve closer scrutiny, knowing I'm doing it at the cost of playing other games.

    So, for what it's worth, I recommend not getting too bent out of shape about not playing Muramasa, for example. In the case of that particular game, you're not really missing much anyway. :-P

    Have a happy 2010, Scott.

  2. I tend to start the year with gaming eyes that are bigger than my gaming stomach. Ultimately, I always end up slowing down and "chewing my food," as wise man once said. ;-)

    Thanks for visiting as always, and have a Happy New Year!

  3. Resident Evil 5
    Uncharted 2
    Fable 2
    Operation Flashpoint 2
    Assassin's Creed 2
    Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
    Modern Warfare 2
    Brutal Legend
    Littel Big Planet
    Batman Arkham Asylum

    Well and thats not even my complete backlog, so yeah I guess I'll be playing lots and lots of old games..

    You mentioned before, that you still haven't played The Darkness and Mass Effect, so I suggest forgetting about everything else and playing those two first ;)

  4. I too plan on playing Dead Space and Arkham Asylum sometime in 2010, but might I suggest you shift Braid to the position of top priority? To start with, the Steam holiday sale lasting a couple more days has it priced at pocket change. More importantly though, Braid is the only game that I played multiple times through last year. Given your self-admission of being in a rut of platformer games and your quest to look deeper into games that others just play for fun it is a tragedy that you haven't yet played Braid.

    Other games I'm hoping to play this year include Mass Effect (in anticipation of what looks like a fantastic sequel), Split/Second, Space Invaders Infinity Gene, and Heavy Rain (working on Indigo Prophesy at the moment). I haven't played any God of War games yet, but the PS3 collection is a tempting introduction to the series.

    Long term, I'm most looking forward to games that attempt to iterate on the gameplay of Borderlands. It was a very enjoyable game but without as much polish as I would have liked and it makes me excited for either a sequel or something else inspired by it.

    The gaming community has as much potential as ever this year and I'm excited to see how things unfold this year!

  5. Experience Points regular Krystian Majewski will be releasing a game called "Trauma" in 2010 that is nominated for awards at the Independent Games Festival! I'm looking forward to playing that.

  6. @ JT

    Agreed. Trauma looks fascinating. I'm sure Krystian can't wait to have the blogosphere dissecting his gem. ;)

  7. @Christian

    I knew someone was going to mention The Darkness! Nag, nag, nag! :-P

    Seriously though, I'm going to do it. A lot of people have been talking about it, and I'm interested to see what it's all about.

    That's a pretty good list of games you got there. Waiting on games like LittleBigPlanet was probably a good thing in retrospect, as now the community has sorted itself out a bit.


    Yeah, to be honest, who knows if the whole "expand my horizon" thing will work out. Rest assured though, Braid is high on my list. I've even been able to avoid spoilers all this time!

    Borderlands really surprised me as to how much buzz it generated. It wasn't really on my radar, but it seems to be making a big impression with folks who like a little Diablo with their FPS.


    Nice call! Now, to start up the EXP hype machine. He'll have to cut us in once he's a rich, famous game designer right? I only want a small mansion... ;-)