Thursday, December 29, 2011
New Year's Resolutions, 2012
Now that I've done this for a few years, I can also see how I've kept up with some past goals. Last year, I resolved to broaden my horizons regarding the types of games I played. Additionally, I expressed my interest in venturing away from the major release track and exploring the independent and experimental game scenes.
Overall, I think this plan was a success: thanks to our periodic Indie game podcasts and a concerted effort to pay attention to lesser-advertised games, I was exposed to a pretty eclectic batch of games. Inside a Star-filled was an classic shooter with a philosophical slant. The Cat and the Coup was a pleasant adventure game and a much-needed history lesson. Don't take it personally, babe... reintroduced me to interactive-fiction and reminded me how terrifying high school is. A variety of other independent and browser-based games reminded me how varied the medium actually is and that innovation does not necessarily require millions of dollars and a huge R&D team.
In a way, this resolution may have been too successful: I still haven't played some of the biggest mainstream games of the year. Skyrim is no where on the horizon, Dark Souls has been passed by, and I just now started Skyward Sword. Within the next few weeks, I'm hoping to fill in the biggest hole in my 2011 release list: Portal 2. I played the first game over a year late, so I guess it's fitting that I neglect the second one as well.
All this brings me to my first resolution: to strike a balance between playing major releases and independent titles. Both spheres are important, but I'm still trying to figure out how to balance my attention between the two of them without swinging wildly between extremes.
My second resolution relates to another strange section of the video game landscape: Facebook. As regular readers and listeners know, Jorge and I have been exploring the weird world of Facebook games recently. Going in, I had the stereotypical prejudices of a "hardcore" gamer: Facebook "games" hardly deserved the title. They were unethical, get rich quick schemes that extracted time and money from players without giving anything back in return. However, after more than a month of experimenting with a small selection of games, I find some of my assumptions crumbling. It's been nice having some of my prejudices challenged, and I'm looking forward to articulating some of my findings in the coming months by both playing more Facebook games and giving them the critical treatment most non-social games get these days.
If this sounds like I've gone off the deep end and joined the cult of social games, fear not. My third resolution is squarely within the realm of "traditional" video games: I want to build a sweet gaming PC. I haven't had a PC capable of playing games since college (and the one I had then was still a clunker), so it's been far long. The advent of Steam and the indie scene's proliferation makes the PC the most versatile, democratic, and sophisticated gaming platform out there. All that being said, I'm somewhat anxious about the process: it's been a long time since I've assembled computer parts myself and the freedom you gain in the PC world often comes at the expense of a console system's reliability. It'll undoubtedly be an adventure, one I'll share with you all, regardless of how many things explode.
So there you have it: a quick recap of last year's goals and a few new ones to tackle in 2012. Now, I'll cede the floor: Do you have any video game related New Year's resolutions?
Thanks to everyone for visiting the site. Jorge and I look forward to seeing you in 2012 (assuming the Mayan apocalypse doesn't destroy us all)!