Resolutions For a New Gaming Year

I'm pretty sure people never fulfill their New Year's resolutions. They're projections of the person we aspire to be, and we're not that person. They're expressions of the want to want something we don't want. We want to want to exercise every day, but oh god we don't want to exercise today. Self-improvement is a quagmire. Changing is hard, and more to the point it's often simply daft. Surveying our lives from the vantage of the New Year's hangover, we tend to adopt the perspective of distant social planners, removed from the lived enjoyment of our vices and failings and so not appreciating how necessary and good they really are. From this far perspective, we might tell ourselves that there's no point in having a couple microbrews after work, and so we shouldn't do it -- a mistake of judgment we'd never make while actually in the grips of something cool and relaxing.

In that spirit, here are some resolutions about the kind of gamer I want to be -- not the one I am:

  • Play socially, not anti-socially. A marathon session alone on my couch does nothing to level up my real-world friendships. Try to game with friends in person, or people I know online (not randoms). This has an added benefit: if I find myself compulsively playing something that is not actually worthy, a watching friend can intervene.
  • Don't pursue optional goals in games unless they provide concrete value. It's not enough that the gameplay is enjoyable -- it has to be so good that I can't get enough of it playing only the main game, which should be rare.
  • Don't play games where the only hook is accumulating in-game rewards. Be suspicious of games that have an especially rich variety of color-coded loot, skill trees, etc., because they are probably trying to trick me into playing more than I really enjoy. Gaming is not my job.
  • Write more.

How about you folks? Are you happy with the shape of your gaming habits, or are there things you would change?

Comments

My resolution is to remember the law of diminishing returns. If you are getting fragged over and over in a game and getting more and more frustrated this does not mean that you should keep at until you get it right. I call that the 2:00 am delusion.

Replay less games when you're not going to get anything new out of the game. Corollary: play more new stuff.

pop58 wrote:

My resolution is to remember the law of diminishing returns. If you are getting fragged over and over in a game and getting more and more frustrated this does not mean that you should keep at until you get it right. I call that the 2:00 am delusion.

That only works at the casino.

Play more old stuff.

I think I hit my happy-place for gaming last year. I honestly can't think of a way to 'improve' how I'm currently gaming. Last year, I levelled up my gaming in the following ways:

  • Broke my additon to achievements, and lived by the code of only playing a game until it stopped being fun, not until I stopped getting cheevos.
  • Stayed off the bleeding edge of the release schedule for all but the games that I was most enthused about.
  • Played more with the missus - it's tough to find games that work together for us.
  • Played more with others - both couch co-op and online.

The last two still have room for improvement, but at least my friends list now has a sizable contingent of Goodjers on it, which makes for easier finding of multiplayer games.

Mine is to play more of the games I already have instead of lusting after the new, bright and shiny. I have tons of games sitting around the house that I don't feel like I gave a fair shake to, this year I hope to spend more time playing those and hopefully save myself some cash.

* This resolution does not apply to Mass Effect 2 and/or Bioshock 2. A man has his limits.

As of late October, I'm only working one job instead of two (hallelujah!), so this year my gaming resolutions are:

- Play more games
- Play more online multiplayer, particularly with the GWJ community

After the NFL postseason is over, I'll definitely have plenty of weekend spare time to devote to fulfulling those goals.

My resolution is to stick with monthly picks for the Horizons Broadening Project at least through next December (so that I will have done it for one year). I've backed this up, so that it's not a want-to-want, by running this project publicly here at GWJ.

Speaking of which, here's the latest thread.

grobstein wrote:

Don't play games where the only hook is accumulating in-game rewards. Be suspicious of games that have an especially rich variety of color-coded loot, skill trees, etc., because they are probably trying to trick me into playing more than I really enjoy. Gaming is not my job.

This is why Modern Warfare 2 has not stuck with me. When I realized I was only playing to get that next rank, unlock that next rifle, open that next perk. 'Twas silly. Sillier still because I don't like playing with pubtards and was playing the game with the mike muted and everyone turned down so I didn't have to mute them individually.

I watched my brother-in-law join a game and mute everyone before the session started. I'm beginning to think the social aspect of MW2 is fundamentally broken when people would rather treat other players as though they were bots. I wish they would have just given us an instant action mode with bots because it would be more enjoyable.

I digress, my point is I find myself unable to perpetuate the madness anymore.

Jonman wrote:

[list][*]Broke my addiction to achievements, and lived by the code of only playing a game until it stopped being fun, not until I stopped getting cheevos.

I like achievements that suggest something I might like to do, even if it is just to say I've done it. However, you're right. I've made a point to never go after collection achievements unless there is some in-game benefit I actually care about.

Jonman wrote:

Broke my additon to achievements, and lived by the code of only playing a game until it stopped being fun, not until I stopped getting cheevos.

Ha! I was wondering what had stalled your march up the leaderboard.

Kindly continue this resolution until I can snag another 7000 or so points.

Have more fun, that's my goal. Oh, and be a better team mate that will lead, not take the back seat.

My resolutions are to actually finish a few of the games I already have instead of constantly buying new ones. I also intend on learning how to play one of the many strategy games I have purchased like Sins, Galactic Civs, Demigod. I tend to buy strategy games because they severly peak my interest but then easily become overwhelmed by their complexities. I refuse to let them beat me this year and will learn to play one of them.

My resolutions are simple:

Have fun.
Play with friends.

Both are fairly easily accomplished, but well worth any time/effort put into them.

blackanchor wrote:

My resolutions are to actually finish a few of the games I already have instead of constantly buying new ones. I also intend on learning how to play one of the many strategy games I have purchased like Sins, Galactic Civs, Demigod. I tend to buy strategy games because they severly peak my interest but then easily become overwhelmed by their complexities. I refuse to let them beat me this year and will learn to play one of them.

Blackanchor totally stole my thunder (on both points). My only addition on the above is I resolve to play games I enjoy and not put them down to try something that merely looks better. "I will get back to it" never happens. Learning curves aren't fun, I end up climbing the same ones over and over trying to 'get back to it'.

Play a full game of Civ(III, IV, Rev). Or, at least, get a game past 0 AD without getting crushed by something stupid.

My resolution is to stop buying so many games that I don't even have a chance to play. Steam deals I'm looking at you.

Make some headway in my backlog. That's about it.

Okay, I've been chewing this over for weeks now. Here's my resolution:

To not buy any games this year until the next Steam holiday blowout sale.

I've given myself a couple caveats though:

1) Elemental from Stardock is allowed to be purchased. Basically if I had to choose only one game to buy this year, it'd be this. So, I'm kinda doing exactly that.
2) I am allowing myself an extra $100 total for game purchases all year. This may seem contradictory to my overall goal, but the basic idea is for me to get through my pile and dive deeper into games that I keep getting sidetracked from (X3, for example). The $100 I am allowing is mostly going to be used for DLC (Beatles Rock Band & Dragon Age, I'm looking at you). If I make the decision to buy, say, Mass Effect 2 at release, then I'm simply hurting myself the rest of the year.

I'm currently looking into moving back East to be closer to family, so money is of utmost importance to me this year. I need to save up and decide what I'm doing. So, this resolution to not buy games and enjoy what I have is a way to help me achieve the other goal I have of saving up money.

I really love "more social gaming". I've been thinking a lot about this lately. I just wish I knew what the good social games to play were these days. I would drop a game like Dragon Age in a heartbeat if I knew that in return I could play with friends.

Botswana wrote:
grobstein wrote:

Don't play games where the only hook is accumulating in-game rewards. Be suspicious of games that have an especially rich variety of color-coded loot, skill trees, etc., because they are probably trying to trick me into playing more than I really enjoy. Gaming is not my job.

This is why Modern Warfare 2 has not stuck with me. When I realized I was only playing to get that next rank, unlock that next rifle, open that next perk. 'Twas silly. Sillier still because I don't like playing with pubtards and was playing the game with the mike muted and everyone turned down so I didn't have to mute them individually.

I watched my brother-in-law join a game and mute everyone before the session started. I'm beginning to think the social aspect of MW2 is fundamentally broken when people would rather treat other players as though they were bots. I wish they would have just given us an instant action mode with bots because it would be more enjoyable.

I digress, my point is I find myself unable to perpetuate the madness anymore.

I'm kind of there right now. I enjoy MW2, but it is more or less a SP experience. At best I play with really good bots who actually engage in teamwork. That's a best case scenario. Worst case I play with a bunch of idiot bots who camp and don't try to go after the objective and then shoot me with akimbo shotties.

I really need to quit that game too.

For those of you commenting about MW2--do you not play the game with real world friends on your team? That's totally what I would do... if I had any friends.

Anyway, my resolution is to spend less time gaming, and more time writing romantic poetry for the common man.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

For those of you commenting about MW2--do you not play the game with real world friends on your team? That's totally what I would do... if I had any friends.

Anyway, my resolution is to spend less time gaming, and more time writing romantic poetry for the common man.

I've got some people, both from GWJ and real life friends and family who I play with. I do occasionally get on with them. However, once I broke the addiction of "Gotta get the next rank to unlock [X]" I no longer felt compelled to play the game. Really, it's pretty hollow once you get over trying to unlock digital bits.

That's why I'm trying to focus on games I like to play for the gameplay.

Actually, what really helped was all the ridiculous things they introduced to unbalance the game. Things like EMP and nukes for ridiculous kill streaks. COD4 already was punishing for newbies or casual players. MW2 is just downright cruel. That's not even covering all the other crap like tactical knives, akimbo shotties, and close combat with javelins that makes this a game that can't even be played the way it was intended.

My resolution for this year was to play the entire series of Zelda games, preferably on their original console. I've already fallen on the operating condition as I'm playing a GBA port of Zelda the first on my portable DS. *sigh* At least I'm working on my goal, right right?

Botswana, I'm so glad you posted in this thread today. I have been grinding away at MW2. Level 37. I realized after thinking about what you wrote that my only goal was to get better at the game and level more. And that I'd get frustrated by tactics I felt were cheap or overpowered kill streaks and this would just make me angry and hate the game, until I was given the next Scooby Snack. I'm giving up on the game and buying something else tomorrow. Thanks.

I'm planning on playing more of the games I have and not buying too many this year. In 2009, I probably bought 40+ games, and I put significant play into maybe 10 of them? The time for resolutions came and my ridiculous buying habits were the first thing that jumped out at me. Also, that Steam sale was a bit of a wakeup call that I could be spending my money better in late December than any other time of the year. Mass Effect 2 for $20? I'll take it.

That said, I think I'll likely cave to 2 major purchases. First is the Chaos Marine expansion for DoW2. I've played the original coop a lot with a friend & it's a gas. More will be better & holding off my purchase just means I'd lose a rare great coop gaming opportunity - no thanks. Second is Heavy Rain. It looks like it might hit me just right and I may indulge in a rare-for-me day 1 purchase there. Beyond that, yeah I know there are tons of wonderful games coming out, but hey, I already own tons of wonderful games. Of course, I may buy a few games for my son...

Finishing games is also a priority, but if I'm not buying any, that should be more attainable goal in 2010 than in 2009.

Oh, family, eating right, and exercising to lose weight also seem like good things to focus on for the new year as well.

Botswana wrote:

Actually, what really helped was all the ridiculous things they introduced to unbalance the game. Things like EMP and nukes for ridiculous kill streaks. COD4 already was punishing for newbies or casual players. MW2 is just downright cruel. That's not even covering all the other crap like tactical knives, akimbo shotties, and close combat with javelins that makes this a game that can't even be played the way it was intended.

I guess I feel the opposite about all the crap power-ups they added--they're still crap, but there's so much of it that it becomes meaningless noise, which lets me concentrate on killing people. Maybe the people who play on the PS3 are just not as good as the Xboxers, as I've seldom been in a match that felt ridiculously unbalanced.

Whelp, that resolution didn't last long.
Thanks Steam.

Carl

carljetter wrote:

Whelp, that resolution didn't last long.
Thanks Steam.

Carl

King's Bounty?

Sonicator wrote:
carljetter wrote:

Whelp, that resolution didn't last long.
Thanks Steam.

Carl

King's Bounty?

That's the one.

Carl

Sonicator wrote:
carljetter wrote:

Whelp, that resolution didn't last long.
Thanks Steam.

Carl

King's Bounty?

If downloading that game was viable I would totally have bought it. Damn African internets.

I realized several months ago that things like Achievements/Trophies were fundamentally destroying everything that caused me to originally like video games. I realized this when I downloaded "Kung Fu 2," a sequel/remake of the old Nintendo game that caused me so, SO much difficulty when I was a kid.

My allowance took a long time to work it's way up from $1/week to $5. That was a revelation in itself. I remember Nintendo cartridges costing a GREAT deal back then--50 bucks, the same as they were before the current-gen knocked them up by a mere 10--and having to save up for a long time to make my very first video game purchase on my own: Kung Fu. I remember the trip to KMart, and the great satisfaction I felt in working so hard to earn it. Then I actually put it in (without blowing on it...it was still new). I'm not sure what the final number was, but as much as I hate to admit it, it probably took me a solid 100 attempts to beat the first stage. And when I finally did, my cousin and I ran around the house screaming like idiots because we were so excited.

This was true for a lot of games back then: the experience (and your success) was dependent on fast reflexes and sometimes, in a few notable instances, on a bit of wit and deduction, not on your Googling skills. GameFAQs did not exist. Hell, neither did the internet. I remember Gaming Hotlines that would give you hints when you were stuck at the highway robbery of $2-3/minute, and only the lowliest loser would stoop so low as to use those instead of figuring it out himself.

Then, recently, I popped in Fallout 3 finally. I had played for not even 30 minutes before I found myself cruising the web for hints about the best perks and stat upgrades, and which skills would best benefit my play style. I NEVER did this in the first 2 Fallouts, and had great success in both games, was disgusted to find myself doing this now. Like one guy said before, when did gaming start to become a job?

I could really turn this into a long rant, but in a nutshell, my gaming resolution is to play games for the sake of just playing the game. It sure made Uncharted 2 a lot more fun. No more backtracking for 15 minutes just to explore that one hallway I'm sure I missed in the offchance it has some little treasure I might need or spending more time on the internet and in menus than actually PLAYING. If I was that character in real life, I wouldn't be doing that; I'd be doing everything in my power to stay alive (and inevitably trying to become a little more powerful in the mean time, but not for closure instead of need).

And I think the perfect game to get me back into this role is the one I just downloaded finally from PSN: Braid. This sh*t is tough, albeit beautifully so. Not in the beginning, mind you, but I think that's the point. What kind of satisfaction am I going to get out of a game if all my achievements are spoon-fed to me by other people who've done them before? And I think many of the posts above agree with this...if I'm bored, I'll stop, and if I'm stumped, I'll take a breather, and if I'm finished with the game and don't feel like there is anything else to gain from another playthrough other than some stupid weapon that will be good on other subsequent playthroughs or some secret character costume that proves I did that subsequent walkthrough, then it's time to move on.

There are too many great games out there (and life is too short) for me to buy into gimmicks.