Two thousand nine, we barely knew ye. I know my past posts haven’t really been particularly timely or relevant to anything going on in the industry. Blame the weather, blame the holidays, blame the alcohol, but don’t blame me. I suppose now is the time to reflect on the year that was and recount the highlights of my past posts, cite a few witty one-liners and ‘Oh no he didn’t’ passages for the sake of filling up my unofficial target word count. As much as I admire some of my previous posts, I won’t force you to reread them, however if you freely choose to do so, I recommend this one, and this one. Instead of looking back, I’ve decided to go with cliche #2: New Year’s Resolutions.
Do any of you actually know the words to “Auld Lang Syne?” Didn’t think so. Shall we?
First up, I’m removing fanboy/girl, Sony Defense Force, X-bot and any other flamebait-able words from my vocabulary. I feel like using those phrases means I can’t articulate what I want to say. Using the term fanboy as a default response means that I shouldn’t have opened my mouth in the first place. There are plenty of synonyms at my disposal to replace any potential appearance of words like fanboy. Resorting to things like that shows a lack of creativity and imagination; I’m better than that.
Gaming is a purely subjective experience. What works for me may not work for someone else. Just look at KillZone 2. Seriously. Graphically the game cannot be denied the praise it has received and it is well deserving of its label as a visual benchmark for future shooters in this generation. However the game just didn’t work for me; for whatever reason I couldn’t find the same enthusiasm found in other members of the TAG community. It happens, but that doesn’t mean that I am any more wrong or right for having my own opinion on the matter. If you feel I am misguided, that’s perfectly fine, too. As I said, this is subjective. All of these opinions, be they text or podcast or behind the middle school, don’t mean anything in the big picture. Form your own opinions, be prepared to defend them with a reasonable explanation and embrace the discussions that will follow.
Number two: I will not sacrifice my bank account for the sake of owning all of the noteworthy releases. I have too many games in my collection that are barely played or simply untouched. Of course I’ve taken them out of the plastic; it would be embarrassing to own a game that you could immediately tell I haven’t played. Considering how few people will actually see my video game collection, an even smaller subset of that group will genuinely care about how I’ve arranged the games I own. My time is better spent playing fewer games but with a greater passion. I need to learn to focus on the now and not get caught up in the next big thing. If I have the time, money and of course interest in a new release, that’s fine. But I can’t let peer pressure govern my gaming habits. Shame is what I make of it, not everyone else. I can be at peace being the only member of Talking About Games not playing Mass Effect 2 on Day 1.
I say these things now, not in the moment because I need to start the repetitive meditation. I say that I will be strong enough to resist the call of [Instert Game Here], that I won’t be influenced by every podcast on my iPod talking about [Insert Game Here] while I sit in the corner with yesterday’s news. I believe it’s possible to stay informed without eliminating my savings. And if that means that I’ll have to do more research and ask more questions, is that such a bad thing? Being able to actively participate in dialog without first-hand knowledge of some of these games should enhance my ability as a podcaster, right? Don’t answer that, I’m going to assume it will help.
My final resolution: Remember to have fun. There was a time when gaming used to be fun. I’m sure there is a correlation between fun-ness of gaming and amount of real world responsibility. Mo’ money, mo’ problems, right? Perhaps I can share some blame with my position as Editorial contributor/Post Game Report Co-host. There are times that I have been a bit overwhelmed with news stories as Google Reader reminds me that I’ve accumulated 59 unread stories in the past hour. I’ve skipped training wheels and gone straight to light speed trying to consume as much information as possible. I need to find a happy balance between being informed yet relaxed. No one can keep up with every single news item out there. Naturally that hasn’t stopped me from trying, but my time spent keeping an eye on Google Reader is time not spent enjoying the games I love. The moments that I let my roles and responsibilities become a job and not a hobby need to be reduced. I was a gamer before I was a blogger. I need to remember that when I need to press the reset button on my priorities from time to time.
I have a lot to be thankful for this year. At the beginning of 2009 I had no idea that any of this would be possible. Writing for Talking About Games, becoming a featured podcaster, helping Soldier get a couple achievements, experiencing the laugh of JVB in person. Interacting with people like Parris, Jay (and even Larry), the endless game nights with the Talking About Games community, the mallet tours, the test puppies, the “turrents”, the segues – this has been a fantastic year for me.
Bring on 2010.
Celebrate the new year at Talking About Games, they are good people.