Gaming Goals for 2015

For the rest of the gaming world.
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TL;DR below.
When I was little, all the way up to when I was in high school, I always played video games. I still play video games. But, back then, there was definitely something magical about having school, and then coming home and really not having many, if any, responsibilities. Some of the best moments I remember in my life were playing video games at home after school, and I can remember vividly the grade I was in, which games I was playing, what else was happening in my life at that time, what the current weather was outside or which season it was when I was playing, and what music I was listening to around that time. Games recall a lot of those times for me, and a lot of those times recall what game I was playing.

Then life happened. Around grade 11 I started getting really busy, and that continued into grade 12 and university. I still played video games, but not how I used to. I got my first girlfriend, I got my first real non-work experience job, I moved out, and I had to prioritize differently.

For a few years, I hardly played any video games. From 2008 to 2011ish, I didn't do much in the way of gaming. I played through some games, but I also felt that same guilt. I remember, having learning this new way of living on my own; working lots, running my own consulting business, and taking care of things on what seemed like a never ending todo list, that those were the things that were important. If I had things on my list, I had to get those done first. I didn't play a game because I was disciplined enough to myself to prioritize that lower. I got to the point where I was so incredibly busy and had my time filled with so much, that any time I was idle and just relaxing, sitting down, drinking a glass of water, and doing nothing but listening to the wind outside, I felt guilty, like I wasn't doing anything and I should be.

Obviously I still prioritize if there's critical things I need to do, but a big thing I've learned in the last 2 years especially is that balance is actually really important. Life gets stupid busy, and that's a lot of the reason I decided to make a goals topic for this year. I wanted something that was fun to look forward to accomplishing. For me, this is finishing a backlog so that I can get to newer and exciting games and look forward to releases without going "gah, gotta get that game but I really shouldn't because I haven't finished all of these games...".
Ray wrote: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.
I can understand that, thinking from your perspective. The last year has definitely been an adventure for you, and because of the little productivity, I can see how 50 hours in a game would seem like something that would definitely trigger guilt. For me, it doesn't, because obviously the 50 hours isn't all at once, and it's spread out, with plenty of work and other commitments between [although I try not to go for too long without playing the game, especially if the story is important...sorry Twilight Princess...]. I think you'll be able to get back to the point of playing a game and really enjoying it once your work life gains some momentum and productivity increases again, and I hope when you hopefully go home this Christmas that Devo and I will see you on Minecraft again! That was a blast last year. You have a mind of an entrepreneur though, and the last year has definitely not been a waste. It's been an experience that you've learned a ton from, and the fact that you're not discouraged and still diving into productivity on new ventures and ideas is awesome.

With regards to Netflix and TV, I'd much rather be playing and enjoying a game, because for me, that's where a sense of accomplishment comes in. But at the same time, if Netflix or watching TV, or even working on a project like Ray mentioned gives you that sense of accomplishment and joy, awesome. Do that! Heck, I've been watching Magic School Bus on Netflix the last couple weeks. Even doing nothing once in awhile I think is totally fine, and that's the part that took me forever to realize. The biggest thing is knowing when you've slacked off too long and need to do something that needs to or should be done, and I think we're all smart enough to do that. It's not like being a kid that doesn't do any work and avoids it at all costs and plays WoW all day or misses work to play a game.
Warp2063 wrote: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.
Totally. For me, I have the social part together for the most part. I have my friends from church, I play drums [both at church and for other bands], I know a lot of people from work and a lot of the students who attend/attended the school, and have a connection with a lot of clients. I see people a lot, so for me, being able to come home and isolate for awhile and settle down with a video game in the comfort of my living room and get away from everything is awesome. I get right into whatever environment the game might offer, and just relax. Heck, even when I'm at work and need to relax, I pop into my office, close the door, pop on video game music [usually Zelda soundtracks], and start working.

But at the same time, I 100% get what you're talking about. Some of the absolute best times I've had over the last 2 years have been hanging with Devo and AC Dasher again on a regular basis. It doesn't matter if we're out getting food or coffee, playing a board game, playing a video game, listening to music, taking photos, or just sitting around doing nothing. It just feels awesome and is a total recharge to hang out in person and be together.
Monkey wrote:I still hang around here because I love you guys
That's why I still renew the domain name every year. No plans on cancelling. This coming February-March will be 10 years. We've all grown up together.

Games are cool, other stuff is cool too. Work and love what you do, but take time to relax and get some balance. We doin' that? K cool.

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Well said Scott, great read. Just sittin' here reading, relating, and while I read your stuff just reminiscing about all the great memories - gaming and in person hangin' - over the last ten to fifteen years

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Wow guys. I really appreciate all of your thoughtful posts. I was afraid my feelings would just be dismissed, but this proves I've been sticking around the right people :)
Drevin wrote: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.
This is what I'm talking about. When you commit to a game over the course of days and weeks, you are making space in your brain that is completely reserved for that game. It occupies a part of your conscious 24/7 that you could be using for something else. With Civ V, you allocate the brain-portion, play the game from start to finish, and then deallocate everything. With Zelda, you make space and try to get in the zone as much as possible until you've beaten the game and reflected on it thoroughly. Right now and for the past while, I haven't made any space in my brain for that kind of thing.

Civ V might take 6+ hours to play, but everything is in temporary storage. Same with most casual games. Start & stop w/ no long term costs.

Hmm.. Actually, some casual games become so addictive that they force you to create that dedicated space in your brain. I remember in 9th grade, I would play Meteos at lunch and had it so much in my head that I would imagine launching my teacher out of the classroom :lol Competitive games with an interesting meta have this as well. Smash and Halo for instance; you can pick them up and put them down, but competitively you need to be aware of why you win and lose and what to learn for the next match. I suppose there is a risk of this with Civ too. The days proceeding a session are peppered with cravings to play again.

Maybe the difference is that story games require an active decision of commitment, whereas competitive & casual games are more flexible. I believe I can stop any time without penalty, so starting is stress-free. Commitment to casual games is accidental, haha.

Warp, I think your observation on togetherness is one I can definitely relate to. I remember a new game would launch and everyone would discover it together. Even single-player games could be shared this way. I definitely miss it, and when I contemplate playing Pokemon Sapphire, I just think about how I'd be going into this isolated world without anyone to share the fun.

Scott, always so supportive. Thanks for your anecdote. I remember those days when you wouldn't play anything. Don't worry, I don't think I've wasted my last 1-2 years. I've definitely learned a lot and tried many, many things -- and I'll try more. Hell, did I even mention to everyone here that I've been in Jaipur, India for the past month and that I'm planning to stay for probably another?

And back to the whole enjoyability of games... Sure,time enjoyed is not time wasted, but when I play games in my living room and look outside to see the sun setting over the pacific, I can't help this feeling.

We have a good group here. Things have changed for all of us in the past decade, but we've stuck around. I'd like to keep together for as many years as possible!

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Y'know I've been meaning to post here quite a few times but I've always seemed to put it off for various reasons. Well I've finally got a little bit of time and I think I'd like to share some of my thoughts.

Ray, I think I can definitely say getting a 9-5 is something that can either make you want to play a lot or not play at all. I just recently got an 8-4 job (woop woop) and there are days when I just come straight home ready to take on something I haven't done in a while. That said, I can definitely understand that guilt feeling. For the longest time I felt like that while looking for a job because I felt like I could be using it more efficiently. I even started working on my own game, though that's currently on the backburner until I move out to my own place. But that feeling of "I could be doing something else" felt strange. It was especially strange for games that I'd normally play on and off like Team Fortress 2 and Smash Bros. It felt like a waste because I may have been getting better (or worse, depending on the day) but because there was no real "progress" I never felt like it did much. It just felt like something to do until the day ending.
Ray wrote:Maybe the difference is that story games require an active decision of commitment, whereas competitive & casual games are more flexible. I believe I can stop any time without penalty, so starting is stress-free. Commitment to casual games is accidental, haha.
I can definitely agree with this. Casual games or even ones that you may not play really hardcore are so easy to just pick up and play. But when you're putting in something big that you know you have a lot of stuff to do, that's when it feels more like effort to do it. I think this is how I felt when I recently attempted to get into an MMO (FF14 specifically) in college. It was fun for a bit but there was so much to do that it felt like it wasn't worth the time. I ended up quitting which I absolutely do not regret, no offense to those who may play it because it was just too much effort for something that should be fun.

For the most part, I don't buy a whole lot of games; it's either a big main title from Nintendo or a multiplayer game I can play on Steam for me. So that sense of accomplishment is completely different for me. When I don't finish a game, I usually don't mind too much. It used to be fairly rare but it started with Kirby Mass Attack (not because it was hard but because I'm one of those "100% as early as possible" kind of people) and from there the backlog has grown. Steam sales certainly haven't helped but I don't even mind that I haven't touched some of those. My backlog isn't something that bothers me but rather something I can fall back on, which is nice. If I ever get to the point when I'm so bored and don't have anyone to do anything with, there's a good amount of things I could pick up. Plus I love restarting games; I can't tell you how many times I've played Terraria, oh man. If that game didn't exist I can guarantee my backlog wouldn't haha.

I will definitely say I can agree with Warp on that multiplayer aspect. I don't hesitate when it comes to games I can play with others, even if it's only for a little while. To me, that's never a waste of time. It's always fun and festive and I always keep my eyes open for new games I can play with friends. I certainly can't wait to move out so I can afford a desktop and 4 controllers. That's the dream for me, believe it or not.

I certainly love just checking in on this place though. I don't post as often as I'd like but I enjoy seeing the conversations here and there. You guys are like the oldest part of my family. And I'm not saying that just because you're all probably older than me (I think) but because we've been together for so long. I think besides a select few only you guys really remember my Afrochicky days. That really means something to me. It's always nice to take a few minutes and relieve some of those days. My memory's not the greatest so it's nice to see some great stuff there reminding me of a lot of the good times that will continue.

But yeah, if anyone's interested in online multiplayer stuff, or even just online chillin' and chattin', I'm definitely down for it. I prefer stuff that's a bit easier to pick up and play but if it's planned in advanced even something the longer ones can be a good time. :)

And who knows? Maybe in the near future I can actually visit in person. I've always wanted to hang with the NC crew and chill out.

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Totally down for a NC meetup sometime. I'd love to play some N64 or Smash or something locally.

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Currently playing Diablo 2 [yes, for the first time], and StarCraft: Legacy Of The Void comes out next week. I only have Assassin's Creed Unity left on the list, but I've definitely completed some other titles this year that weren't on my list. Still gonna see if I can play Unity at the end of the year.

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I hosted a smash tournament w/ ~64 entrants recently. Some dude went by the moniker Afro and I thought of Afro. Was a really fun night.

First round 4 Player FFA top 2 advance
Second round 4 Player FFA top 1 advances
Quarter Finals 1v1
Semi Finals 1v1
Finals 1v1 Best of 3

Not strictly competitive settings since the audience was so mixed. Hoping to do it again

I kinda broke the rules and competed myself, I couldn't help it! Got eliminated in the Semi-Finals in a Captain Falcon ditto so luckily I didn't win any of the prizes

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Fallout 4 beaten! I ran into two different gamebreaking bugs while playing the game and ended up reloading a save from hours before. I had to replay quite a bit of the game, but in the end it was worth it. Anyone thinking about picking up the game soon I'd be prepared for some annoying bugs - or better yet wait for a few patches first.

Story and ending wise I feel like things fell short. It was an ending, I'll give it that, but it didn't resolve things very well. There isn't really an epilogue, usually in the older games you'd find out how the different factions ended up after your actions in the game. It's a nice touch and its omission is sorely missed. It cheapens the ending, and makes it feel incomplete.

The dialog system has definitely been dumbed down. For one thing your choices aren't fully written out (you select "Help" and your character says "Sure I'll help out"). The option you choose in a dialogue choice might not be what you wanted or how you wanted to phrase your response. It also feels like what you say ultimately has no consequence in the conversation. I reloaded my save a few times to explore different options - beyond the immediate response being different, the conversation carried on normally which felt kinda off. The choices didn't cause any actual branching - which I'm pretty sure they did in previous games. Each choice still lead you to every single option more or less.

The side content is great and I got lost in taking quest after quest for hours. Gun modding is a welcome addition and hope it stays in - although I would like to be able to assemble a gun from scratch instead of modifying base guns (which there are only a handful of). Invincible companions yes - but I imagine many people are like me and consider companion death a failure state, so it's more of a quality of life thing to me. I believe there are ways to make them hostile toward you, which does allow you to kill them if it happens.

Overall, it's a good game. An average Fallout game. For anyone fresh to the series, I think it makes a decent starting point, although if you liked what's inside you'll likely find more depth in the previous games. Pick it up when it goes on sale.

EDIT: I guess knowing your companion cannot die trivializes tense encounters somewhat... but at the very least companions can get incapacitated and slump to the ground and be useless until the fight is over. Another annoyance with dialogue - there are no checks save for Charisma now. I'm pretty sure there were some options in older games when you had high Intelligence for example...

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Alright, so how is everyone doing? Only a few days left of 2015.

I've been working on my last one on the list, Assassin's Creed: Unity, and am literally typing this on my laptop as I watch the credits scroll for the game. I haven't completed 100% sync yet, but I definitely will and I'm going to consider this game finished if even if I don't get 100% sync by New Years, but I'm going to try for it anyway.

Looks like Drevin finished his list, and added more as well and finished those too. I actually managed to finish several that weren't on my original list as well, and I'll probably add those at some point in a separate list.

Afro, how did that list of yours end up going?

My goal is to get to level 30 in FF:XIV before the year is out.

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I'm pretty happy with my progress! I did manage to get through my list for 2015, including some newcomers. I've got more games to add in 2016. It'll probably be shorter but it'll contain plenty of RPGs so it'll likely take me the majority of the year to tackle!

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Status report:

Super Mario Bros 2: Did not beat
Metal Gear Solid V: Acquired PS4!
Halo 5: lol

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Ray wrote:Halo 5: lol
Did he move?!...DID SCOTT JUST MOVE...

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link470 wrote:Afro, how did that list of yours end up going?
Oh man y'know I completely forgot about it haha. I didn't accomplish a single thing on that list. So many games occupied my time; Splatoon, Xenoblade, Smash...then I got a new PC to play even more games...jeez. I honestly don't know if I'll even go back to those, I have so much I want to do next year. I dunno, I'll work on it.

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