Gaming Goals for 2015

For the rest of the gaming world.
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Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney [ beaten 04/26/2015]
What a dream come true. Two of my favorite franchises blended into one game! As the title implies, it's Layton and Wright action! If you're a fan of either game series, this one will have something for you. There are plenty of puzzles to tackle, but also plenty of court moments. It feels like it's got something for fans of either series (or both!). The court sequences feature a hint system like in the Professor Layton games, so if court battles are not your forte, it's alright as long as you hunt for the Hint Coins! The story was great. Once it got going I couldn't put it down. This game really felt like a crossover, and not just "Professor Layton in the AA universe" or vice-versa. Yes, Phoenix will tackle puzzles and yes, Layton will be in the court room. Even the music shared that crossover feel, as themes/tropes from both series can be heard intertwined.

As of this writing, there is a ton of bonus content to go through, including a series of 12 episodes that take place after the events of the main game. Each episode features a new puzzle to tackle

Fans of either series will enjoy this game immensely, so check it out! Here's hoping this wasn't a one-off.

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I really need to play that.

I really want to be able to afford that.

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I ended up giving the extra content a bash. There's lots of concept art to see, but the real meat here was the episodic content. I assume the developers released these gradually but since I'm only getting to it now I got to try 'em all at once. Each episode is about 10-15 minutes of (unvoiced) dialogue with a puzzle near the end. It was a great little freebie to follow the main story. The fourth wall was smashed harder than Kid Icarus Uprising. The puzzles are supposedly leftovers from development and it kinda shows. Not bad overall though.

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Just finished off Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. Fantastic game. I still remember playing the first Luigi's Mansion for the GameCube. It was my first game I ever tried on GameCube, at a kiosk in a store. I'll never forget seeing the GameCube graphics for the first time and seeing Luigi and the environment look so much better than N64 graphics at the time, and the smoothness of Luigi and how everything looked.

Dark Moon is no exception. It looks fantastic, and playing it with the 3D enabled on the 3DS looks really good, and actually seemed to add to the experience. Floating 3D ghosts are so much better than 2D ghosts. The game looks and plays beautifully, and adds so much more to the game than the first one did. I had read reviews before playing this [although I was going to play it anyway] saying that this game was rated higher than the original, and I see why. Dark Moon improves on the first one in almost every way possible, adding a variety of collectable items, and more mansions to play in [think "worlds"]. The first Luigi's Mansion always felt quite short to me, being in only one mansion from what I remember.

For anyone who played and loved the first one, I *highly* recommend the sequel, Dark Moon.

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The Wonderful 101 [ beaten 05/15/2015]

Here's a game that cranks everything to 11... and then 11 more... every single stage. A game that attempts to top itself every time and succeeds wonderfully. Just when you think the game has reached the climax, you find out it's still just the rising action. Fans of titles by Platinum will feel right at home here. Expect a truly challenging game that rewards skillful play.

The line drawing mechanic can be a bit picky at times, and sometimes they got a little heavy-handed on the minigames. It has a large learning curve too. Still, this is a solid experience for any action game lover. I really enjoyed this one and I hope a sequel is in the works. Also, WONDER RED FOR SMASH

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Just recently finished Transistor. For those of you who like a game with an amazing soundtrack (or, you know, just a great game all-around), pick this one up. If you'd rather just listen, check it out.

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2015 backlog complete! Excluding the newcomers (which will likely be a part of the 2016 backlog :D) I've finished all the games I wanted to get to in 2015. How's everyone else doing?

I have to say, as a result of having a large (albeit shrinking) backlog, I've become a lot pickier over what games I end up buying. I'm really honing in on a good system - making sure to only buy 'tier 1' games - games that I definitely want to play day 1. The rest will either go on a wishlist or I'll just wait for it to go on sale. Helps save a bit of money too!

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I don't think I'm likely to accomplish any of my gaming goals this year. Kind of mind-blowing that it's already September. I've been struggling to enjoy games the way I used to for a while now. I don't think my unstable lifestyle of fucking around is very well suited to hardcore gaming.

Stepping away from gaming has given me another perspective too... In theory, it seems to be a waste to play videogames in youth. Youth gives us fitness, sociability, ambition, and more. Our bodies are basically at their best in our 20s-30s, and our minds will continue to perform at top level well through our 40s and probably 50s for our generation too. Why should we squander the bounties of youth to exercise the mind, especially in such a way that does not really provide the compounding benefits of scholarship and professional endeavor? For health, it's shortsighted. For social life, it's regrettable. For career, it can be depressing. The rewards of youthful gaming must not be entirely short-sighted, but right now they seem to me to be easily thrown in with the sin of laziness. I am feeling more and more like those people whom I couldn't convince that Halo 3 was so much better than Halo 2 and that they weren't the same game.

I'm not saying that what I'm doing is in any way better than gaming. Not at all. Personally, I've had very little productivity this year and my social life can't be that much better than an average hardcore gamer's. But I still feel some kind of ineffable guilt in even contemplating spending my money on a MGSV and sitting down for 50 hours to engross myself in the game and its lore/previous games. It's not like watching a tv episode or movie. It's a real mental commitment. To enjoy these games properly, I want to go deep, deep into the game. Not just tap in and tap out like some flappy bird / casual game shit. Hell, I haven't continued Skyward Sword for this very reason and I got it at launch. TV/Movies are probably just as much a "waste of time" but they are so much easier to consume; there's almost none of that strange guilt. I think that's why I like Civ V. I can go deep and achieve that mental flow in just 1 day. No mental commitment to continue another day or loss of enjoyment for deciding to stop after 1 game. Sm4sh is like a casual game to me by these definitions.

I don't know what to do.

I think if I get a stable 9-5 job, I should easily get back into gaming. But if I find something to work on that really pleases me, I'd prefer to work on it 24/7, and that seems like the best outcome. So if I want the best outcome, I should have it in mind all the time... but that precludes the kind of gaming I so dearly miss.


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On an average weeknight, I probably spend anywhere from 0 to 2 hours a night doing something leisurely, usually gaming. Compared to a few years ago when it was hours and hours, I don't think I've lost anything by having less spare time. I still "go deep", it's just in smaller bursts. If anything my experiences have gotten better - with less time I try to make the most out of short sessions.

I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill here, thinking you can't enjoy a game unless you can devote many hours of your spare time. You mention 50 hours - sure it might take that long, but spread over the course of weeks, playing here and there, you'll still get the same experience I'll bet versus if you played it non-stop. There are certainly games that require a lot of investment - I's argue something like Zelda requires barely anything versus something like Civ, but the investment you make doesn't have to be in a large lump sum.

It's getting kinda late and I'm starting to ramble but I guess what I'm trying to say here is that you shouldn't worry about something like having to devote a ton of hours - you can enjoy games with just a little here and there too, and I doubt it'll feel much different. Just try it out

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I'm kind of with Ray. I know exactly what he means by the weird guilt. Games now feel like a waste of time to me. I get really upset at anything I deem "filler" in a game, which turns out to be a lot. Maybe it's the guilt of the wasted hours from when I was younger. I don't really do anything more productive with the time I'm not playing games. Wandering around in the woods and eating wild blackberries or watching a series on netfilx for the fourth time isn't any more worthwhile, but it somehow feels like it is. Regardless, I can't really play a game without feeling bad, unless it's something super short and easily digestible like Super Hexagon or Warioware.

I still fucking love local multiplayer games, but I feel like I've used videogames as a substitute for socialization growing up (and like Ray, I'm not much better at it now) and it really sucked away the little ambition that I had (I'm a pretty content guy, but goddamn.) The most recent game I've played is probably Animal Crossing 3DS, which was so long ago that I can't even remember the proper subtitle.

So yeah, I didn't have any gaming goals for 2015 and I probably won't have any for 2016, beyond beating my Star Fox 64 high score. I still hang around here because I love you guys, but I don't even have Steam installed.

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You guys both mention guilt and I find that really interesting - what is it that makes you really feel guilty playing video games? It's just another activity to spend your free time on. Do you feel guilty because you feel like you can't enjoy it fully, or something like that?

I'm actually the opposite - netflix/TV/etc all feel like the guilty activity to me, and I could definitely be doing something more productive instead.

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"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time"

I often can't motivate myself to play games for very long. The ones I usually play for extended periods of time? Puzzle games, where it's "just one more puzzle..." I'd love to play something co-op again, but it's tough to get others excited. Most of my friends want to play versus games like League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Magic: The Gathering, etc. I don't even like to use my desktop computer due to how long it takes to start up and how noisy and hot it runs. On top of that, something about it got damaged on the way to Seattle, and it crashes more than it did before and has some weird graphical glitches. I lack the stuff to really troubleshoot it here.

I did get rather into the Assassin's Creed games on my PS3 a month or two ago, while I was still living back in New York. But most of my systems are back there at the moment. I brought my Wii U but haven't set it up due to lack of space (don't even have a desk for my computers), my 3DS, Vita, and, well, my desktop computer.

I want to play something, but usually when I get enough motivation together to do so, it doesn't scratch the itch the way it used to. Most of my motivation does indeed come from playing together with others. I had a blast playing a tabletop game called Betrayal at House on the Hill last night, and then a couple rounds of Cards Against Humanity.

I think that's what I want. More together.

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Drevin wrote:You guys both mention guilt and I find that really interesting - what is it that makes you really feel guilty playing video games? It's just another activity to spend your free time on. Do you feel guilty because you feel like you can't enjoy it fully, or something like that?
Games require your full attention. I'm never just sitting there with my full attention on Netflix. I'll watch TV shows before bed and I'll get sleepier and I can read stuff online or play guitar or whatever at the same time. Games keep my mind active and awake. I've never really liked playing games during the day, either. I'd rather cook a meal in my free time than play a game then microwave a couple burritos.

I guess the ratio of enjoyment to time put in is just going down. I'm not really interested in storylines anymore (MGS excluded). Power fantasies don't really do much for me either. I'm more interested in the abstract game mechanics than the aesthetics they put on top of it. Unless it's something like Animal Crossing, where I'm playing in order to chill out, I'm interested in something that'll actually challenge me without having to put 10 hours in to get to that point. Cranking up the difficulty usually just makes games more boring by just making you have to hit enemies more, if they even let you do that without having to unlock it. I guess I feel that most games tend to be doing the same thing over and over in order to see the slightly different parts.

I guess the problem is mostly the games that I play. I play them because I have them. I could probably get into fighting games or shmups or something, but don't really want to spend the money on them.

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