In the last week of 2015, I wrote about my gaming resolutions for 2016. I had distilled my digital ambitions down to three basic goals:
Simple in theory, but did I manage to put those aspects of gaming into play in practical ways?
Not as much as I would have liked.
To be honest, I hadn’t even thought much about my resolutions until recently when someone asked me to revisit them (hi, Richard!), and I’m glad he did. I think a refresher can only help me reprioritize.
Let’s see how I’ve fared in the past eight months.
I had a lofty overall goal this year: to play and complete 50 games. That got derailed for an odd reason (though, to be fair, I suppose I could still pull that one out before the year’s end), but I’ve actually done relatively well anyway. As of the date of this writing, I’ve completed 26 games (which includes a couple of games with no real end like Pokemon Go). You could say I have played a decent amount.
My goal was to play for the sake of play. I haven’t been living up to that.
I am often thinking about trying to catch up and get current (like my monthly game challenge for September), and that can turn playing games into an odd sort of chore. It also presents me with a gross choice if I end up playing a game I find I’m not enjoying: how long should I give said game? If it’s a full blown AAA title, I’m more likely to give it several hours before I set it aside. If it’s a shorter indie title, I am likely to give it an hour or so before I make my decision. But even this plan has major flaws; I feel invested in the titles I start, and have most certainly “suffered” through games I didn’t like, simply because I felt compelled to play them start to finish (I’m looking at you Killzone: Shadow Fall). That’s a weakness I have. I have tried to become better at recognizing when a game just isn’t for me, but I still find myself feeling like I will be missing out if I put it aside.
I’m in this exact situation right now with both Deus Ex: Mankind Divided as well as No Man’s Sky.
I need to get better at recognizing when a title isn’t resonating with me and moving along to the next game. I just find the line between that and giving up too soon to be a tenuous one.
But back to play.
I need to refocus on this for sure. Play is such a purely wonderful thing. I need to stop caring about finishing each game I play so I can tick it off a list and feel current.
This goes hand in hand with play. I still psych myself out all too often and don’t even start in on the many games that interest me.
Experiences matter most to me in life; I want to experience as much as I can. For anyone who knows me in reality, that’s probably a difficult thing to picture, especially given the self-imposed seclusion I’ve been in for, well, years now. Video games offer us a safe place to experience any number of scenarios. Why not take advantage of that?
I haven’t been nearly to the degree I’d like.
I feel like I should try just jumping in to new games as often as possible to get over my issue with starting nothing at all.
It all makes sense in theory.
So while I’ve had many video game experiences this year, it’s not been nearly what it could have been. And I have only myself to blame for that.
Though, through Pokemon Go, I’ve had several encounters with people in the real world that made me smile, and those are experiences I never anticipated.
This I am good with.
I often use the website HowLongToBeat for reference when planning what games I’m going to take on and when. They break down the average times a game can take to complete depending on your playstyle (e.g.: main story, completionist), and I’ve come to realize I am at the high end for how long I take to complete any given game. I may not fall under the heading of “completionist,” but I do like to take my time and explore a game I’m playing.
This is particularly true for open world games that I’m having an excellent time in.
When I finally completed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt earlier this year, my total hours invested (minus the DLC, which I have yet to play) were over 160.
That’s so many hours. I just loved the game.
I have no regrets, as it was easily one of the best RPGs (and games) I’ve ever played. But, according to HowLongToBeat, the expected hours for a completionist run were 164.5.
Now I was thorough and I did everything I could, but I don’t think I was a completionist in the true sense of the word. I have realized through various games that I will always fall under the higher time estimate.
And that’s okay.
I love exploring these worlds. I marvel at the fact that they were created by people and that these amazing games didn’t just pop into existence. It’s remarkable, and I love that I can partake.
So I am definitely good on exploring. I am an explorator.
Or, if you want proper grammar, an explorer.
But I like explorator.
Anyway, whatever you call it, I’ve got it covered. Exploring digital worlds is a joy.
So, one out of three isn’t terrible, but it also isn’t great. Having this reminder of my gaming resolutions is a great way for me to refocus and give myself a mental tidy in hopes that I put the first two goals a little more into practice.
Did you make gaming goals for the year? If so, how are you faring?