The Massive Effect of Discordant Gameplay

Mass Effect is a series with a remarkable DNA to it. Story, dialogue, unique characters, and cover-based combat ooze out of the original trilogy. It’s unfortunate then that Mass Effect Andromeda would come along and do one thing fantastically, one of these mostly well, and have the other two make you worry that something went wrong.

Mass Effect Andromeda sees humanity and other races of the Milky Way galaxy create the Andromeda Initiative and leave their home for the closest neighboring galaxy, Andromeda. The story launches them towards Andromeda in the middle of the Mass Effect trilogy, ensuring that choices made in the previous games aren’t made void by an overwhelming canon. Six hundred years pass and the humans end up arriving in Andromeda to a wake-up call forcing your character, Ryder, to wake up and take on the seemingly impossible: find a new home.

The story has Ryder coming upon multiple facilities called vaults that he can use in order to shape the nearby worlds and make them a home. Trying to bar the way towards colonization is a race of beings called the Kett that serve as the game’s primary villains. You also make a rival out of a particular Kett known as the Archon. On paper facing the Kett is a welcome challenge, however, it doesn’t take a lot of your time. The main story should take most players 20 hours or less if you want to breeze through. The side missions however are padding to the game’s time. Take for example my playthrough. With a completion percentage of 91, I spent nearly 68 hours in single-player. Side missions are plentiful enough that you will rarely have no objective you could meet, but they come at you fast and hard. But the number of side missions makes me believe that the main quest line could’ve been beefed up. However, the beginning and end of Andromeda stand out as great dramatic acts that pull you in.

Much has been made of the technical issues that have risen at Andromeda’s launch. And while part-way through my play through a patch was released that eased on some of the issues, many still linger. Among the issues still persisting, textures failing to load correctly, abnormal camera angles after fast traveling, and a few game crashes of unknown origin. On one particular set of missions, I also witnessed a squad member unable to fight as she was stuck in a basic model pose the entire time I was on the planet. It was amusing, sure, but if there were bigger fire fights going on, I would’ve had a bigger issue on my hands. It still feels like a laundry list of issues that should’ve been worked out already, or led to a slight delay in Andromeda’s release. Despite these issues however, the environments of the Andromeda galaxy are truly wonderful to behold, and are easy desktop wallpaper fodder.

Sound and music in Mass Effect Andromeda are for the most part great. Sounds of combat and loud and ferocious and draw you right in with gusto. Along with that, voice acting across the board is superb with special recognition from me going to Nyasha Hatendi for voicing Jaal, and Christine Lakin for voicing Peebee. Both of these characters had the added benefit of having some of the better dialogue in the game, but also the best performances. The same however, can’t be said for the music of Andromeda. I found the music serviceable in combat, but during moments to be filled with wonder or triumph it seemed lacking, especially when compared to the memorable themes from the trilogy.

More than any single component, Mass Effect Andromeda gets it’s combat spot on though. Cover is still an important aspect, but steps are taken to encourage the player to move around the battlefield instead of picking a spot and calmly picking enemies off. It serves to make the combat very enjoyable, slicker, and faster then before. Unlike the original trilogy, you also don’t need to worry so much about your class, as you can swap between them on the fly to strengthen certain abilities. As you earn levels, you can unlock all of the available skills if you so choose. It makes for incredible versatility especially when you realize that you can change these at any time through the menus.

Though when you do need to go through the menus it is a tedious task to find what you are after. The various quests are split between 4 different menus and you can’t simply push a button and browse the different categories. Further, the quests aren’t organized by time, you acquired them, but alphabetically. It leads to a little bit of confusion and a lot of frustration. Further, you can only track a single quest a time, making it difficult to work on the huge number of side quests. However, I came upon multiple issues of quests not tracking correctly and either not showing me points of interest to complete the quest, or showing portions I already finished.

Mass Effect Andromeda’s multiplayer though is very light on the menus, and big on the fluid combat featured in the main campaign. The objectives are very much the same as they were for Mass Effect 3, you work with three other players to face waves of enemies with some objectives and a final extraction to mark a completed mission. I greatly advise that if you want to try the multiplayer, to get most of the way through the campaign first. Not understanding how the combat works and not knowing what your preferred play-style is, turned out to be a recipe for disaster. Despite the great playability, I don’t presently see much reason to come back to the mode beyond an initial curiosity. I have hope that this will change with worthwhile DLC.

Achievements for Mass Effect Andromeda can be described as generous. A good 19 of the 55 achievements are tied to major quests, while the majority of the rest reward experimentation in combat by mixing and otherwise using the various powers available to you. Only one achievement makes any mention of “multiple playthroughs”, and other achievements are able to be unlocked through single-player or multiplayer. I find this to be a plus, since it allows for many different play preferences to possibly unlock all the achievements.

Mass Effect Andromeda tries so hard to win the player over, but throughout it’s technical issues, and extreme padding with side missions mar a solid shooter core, and a mediocre RPG layer. Andromeda in fact, may have the thinnest RPG layer in the Mass Effect series to date. Instead it is first, foremost, and specializes in being a third-person shooter. Fans of previous moral quandaries (such as my favorite side quest from ME1, Samesh Bhatia) will be disappointed as well, as I noted only two truly gray decisions to be made in my playthrough.

Andromeda doesn’t feel like it’s aiming for any one goal but is here because it was expected to be. As a result, the RPG portions of Andromeda suffer, despite how wonderfully realized the combat is. There’s a true discord in Andromeda, and I can only hold out hope that a renewed RPG focus takes center stage in the inevitable sequel.

Graphics: 6/10
Sound: 8/10
Gameplay: 7/10
Achievement Difficulty: 5/10
Total Score: 7/10

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A Spoilerific Look at Breath Of The Wild

Well friends,

it’s been a ride waiting all these years for the release of The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. Not only is it finally here, but some have finished it — myself included. My original plan was to play a bit of it, give my impressions, and then do a spoiler-filled post about it. My plan fell through completely as I was simply enjoying the game itself far too much and kept wanting to come back for more. Having recently finished the game and having seen the credits, I do feel a sense of closure. No, I didn’t get every last shrine or armor nor did I fill the Hyrule Compendium, and I didn’t even find every Korok. What I did do however was climb every tower, free each Divine Beast, and reclaim all of Link’s memories. In this post I am going to bring up moments and sequences that can be called spoilers therefore you have been warned that I may discuss events that you may not have seen.

Still here? Wonderful. Let me first address the Vah Ruto in the room: Breath of the Wild is a remarkable open-world game. Some worlds, including Oblivion or Assassin’s Creed, never felt inviting or offered a sense that I could explore and be rewarded for it. Breath of the Wild offers this in spades thereby instating my belief that this game should be regarded as a masterclass of open-world design. Even ruins had tantalizing prospects of treasures hidden in them. Everywhere you go in Breath of the Wild there are both enemies to combat or wildlife to hunt. The game simply never feels barren or desolate.
Yet despite this, it makes for one of two things: either an imperfect Zelda game or a reimagining of what a Zelda game can be/is. Consider for a moment the beginning of the game: you are stuck on a plateau where you are tasked (among other things) with clearing four Shrines that each gift you with a rune that you use for the entire game to solve puzzles. This means that once you receive the bombs, magnetism, stasis, and cryonis runes, most if not all puzzles found in the game can be solved with these abilities. During my playtime the only times I felt like I couldn’t complete a Shrine were when I came across the combat-oriented ones. Furthermore, the Divine Beasts (which are game’s equivalent of dungeons as we have known them) don’t have boss keys and can be completed in any order you desire. You can even choose not to complete them at all. Breaking from Zelda conventions is one of the things the developers wanted to do and they did so with aplomb. Does this mean we have a new kind of Zelda game? Yes, absolutely. This is the most risk Nintendo has taken with Zelda as a franchise since Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. While I do believe that Breath of the Wild isn’t perfect, I do feel that the risk paid off and this will be a title that brings in plenty of new fans.

But for the returning fans, there is plenty to love. References to multiple games can be found (nevermind which timeline this may or may not be in) but no title is referenced quite like Ocarina of Time. Dialogue throughout the game points to the various races being very aware of who were made Sages, going so far as to say that the Divine Beasts were named after Ruto, Nabooru, Darunia, and Medli. Medli being the lone sage reference to Windwaker. Additionally, Urbosa, the Gerudo Champion, speaks about the legend that Ganon once assumed a Gerudo form. Even the music while working my way to Hyrule Castle itself was very reminiscent of the organ playing that Ganondorf plays in Ocarina of Time.

Speaking of Hyrule Castle, I tweeted that I had a lot of thoughts about one room in particular. While climbing the Castle Walls, it’s very possible to run into Princess Zelda’s room. Aside from a bow and sword I hadn’t seen before, I found Zelda’s diary which was very eye-opening. In the pages of her diary, Zelda expresses resentment towards Link at first. She quickly changes her attitude on him once she witnesses his courage first hand and then appears to develop feelings for him. Among the entries, Zelda discusses a conversation between herself and Link about why he is so quiet and doesn’t usually express himself. Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t this give characteristics to an avatar Nintendo typically left purposefully blank? I’m intrigued to learn if fleshing Link out further was ever discussed during development.

While on the subject of Zelda herself, I am absolutely thrilled with how she is characterized in Breath of the Wild. In the game, all of Hyrule is not only aware of Ganon, but actively takes steps to prevent the Calamity his arrival brings. This all weighs heavily on Zelda, who through the course of Link’s memories, is unable to summon forth the power that is expected of her until a dramatic climax. This understandably brings forth feelings of anger, jealousy, fear, and ultimately, failure. Why am I so thrilled with a downtrodden heroine? It’s another breaking of convention for Zelda as a character. In prior games, Zelda was usually featured as someone who understood her place in guiding Link to his duty against Ganon and sometimes also as a damsel in distress. In Breath of the Wild, Zelda is trapped in Hyrule Castle with Ganon, but is there willingly holding him back from taking control of the rest of Hyrule. She has some real gumption y’all!

Now, on the bosses, I think it’s a great idea to have the random bosses strewn about the environment. You don’t need to face them at all, but they do present solid challenges, and offer some great loot if defeated. But of all the bosses I encountered, none were as challenging as the version of Ganon in Vah Naboris. During this encounter, the boss moves quick as lightning and is difficult to counter due to the sheer speed at which he moves. I’m still not certain how I beat them, but it is the most memorable.

In addition to the subject of bosses, I love the design of Ganon, it looks very much like his exposure to the Guardians affected him as he attempted to assimilate the technology and use it as a means to achieve a physical form. I was intrigued by his spider-esque form as well, but it was something positively new for him. And I really enjoyed how the fight against this form was varied enough that it felt as though I could use any of my weapons and skills against him, and they weren’t “wrong”. I will say that I was disappointed by what was a by-the-numbers form in Dark Beast Ganon: a hulking beast that is very much like older forms of Ganon. Furthermore, to make things even more generic Link is required to shoot at glowing spots on his body highlighted by Zelda with a special Light Bow. We’ve seen that segment a few times over, and I was surprised after such an inspired first form that we would have that segment to fight.

Now these are just my thoughts on the latest Zelda, but they may change with the DLC that is expected to release this Summer and in the Fall. But what are some of your thoughts on Breath of the Wild Right here is a great outlet to be as spoilerific as you’d like, so go ahead and leave a comment and let the words flow.

Mass(ively) Effect(ive)

This Tuesday sees the release of the latest entry to the Mass Effect franchise, Mass Effect: Andromeda; a game where players get to explore the Andromeda galaxy. Given that Andromeda begins following the conclusion of Mass Effect 2, I wanted to offer an overview of the series in order to add context.

In 2007, Bioware – opting for their own take on sci-fi after making Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic –  released Mass Effect, their take on a third-person shooter/RPG hybrid. What’s very notable, is that not only were they creating their own mythology and universe, but actively envisioned a trilogy of games from the very beginning. Additionally, Bioware focused on creating a system for player choice to be a vibrant component to facilitate true impact from these choices. The player assumes the role of Commander Shepard, being able to determine how the character looks, acts, his/her background and specialty, all based on user preference.

Personally, I am a huge science fiction fan and Mass Effect seemed to be an experience I couldn’t pass up once I heard about it. As I began to explore the Mass Effect games, I was quick to realize that childhood sci-fi favorites like Star Trek had nothing on the lifeforms created for this franchise.

Mass Effect‘s alien species feel very alive and most of that comes from the shipmates you encounter on your journey. Through characters like the weapons specialist Turian Garrus Vakarian, the Asari Dr. Liara T’Soni, the Quarian engineer Tali’Zorah nar Rayya, and the Krogan warrior Urdnot Wrex, each of the major races you encounter feels more fleshed out, allowing the player a more personal connection to some of the large scale conflicts happening in the game.

One of the larger aspects of the game is the in-game character-to-character dialogue one can choose to engage in. Speaking to your shipmates will reveal conflicts and point you in directions to solve them. Black Market trades, war atrocities, and issues stemming from belief and religion rear their heads during play. It was common in my own playthrough to have my morals challenged knowing full well it would affect not only the characters in the vicinity, but would undoubtedly create unforeseen circumstances later in the game(s).

With Mass Effect giving the player a way to control their own future, it gives true weight to the decisions you make as Commander Shepard by having them be reflected and recounted by NPCs. The story of the game does traverse along a path, but the player has the ability to add variances to the story and in this way make it their own. Before Mass Effect, I had not experienced a video game that accomplished such a branching story to such a successful degree. During my own playthroughs, it felt like I was getting closer to these characters and doing my own self-discovery. It ended up being that much more rewarding since I had to bide my time and ask these characters questions in order to dig a little deeper and learn more about them, their motivations, and what makes them tick.

Mass Effect is truly a fantastic introduction of a living and breathing sci-fi world that isn’t perfect. That imperfection drives a lot of the drama, and from there arises an interaction and experience that blew me away. Coming up on the 10th anniversary of the release of the game and given that no game is without flaws, I would say that it is one of the best RPGs to have come out for the last generation of gaming consoles. Since release, Mass Effect has earned 12 awards including RPG of the Year (2007, TeamXbox), Best Original Score (2007, IGN), and Best Story on PC (2008, IGN).

If you are interested in trying Mass Effect out for yourself, here are some links to get you started:

Steam on Windows for $20

EA’s Origin Service for $15

PlayStation 3 for $15

On Xbox 360 and Xbox One for $20

In addition, a box set of Mass Effect is available for $16.95 – $29.99, depending on your preferred platform on Amazon. Or, as always, check with your local used game shop!

Switch Previews

On March 3rd, Nintendo will launch their latest video game console, and for all of the hype, there’s an awful lot of question still lingering around it. I can’t answer a lot of them just yet, but what I can do is go over the launch titles expected to be available in retail or as a download once the Nintendo Switch goes on sale. Let’s get right to it with the most hyped title – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda has long been a series of certain expectations, you go through the story of the game, visiting dungeons and collecting items that you all of a sudden conveniently need. Well, like it or hate it, that and other conventions for the series are thrown out the window. Once the game begins, it’s expected that you will have very little to tell you where you should go. Instead, Breath of the Wild will encourage you to pick your own path and carve out your own adventure. This may very well be the game Zelda fans have been waiting for, and previews of the game tell of a game that packs a wallop. It’s being called the greatest Zelda title since Ocarina of Time, and possibly the game that will force Ocarina to settle for 2nd best Zelda game. All of this praise means even more once you understand that the developers wanted to bring back that feel of wonder and exploration that the original Legend of Zelda on NES gave. If there is a must-own title at launch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks to be that game. Breath of the Wild is a $60 grab physically or digitally.

1-2-Switch

It would be easy to dismiss 1-2-Switch as “just” another collection of minigames, but these are designed for parties and to be the center of everyone’s attention. Not only that, but they showcase the Joy-Con controllers of the Switch with extensive use of each feature. The game packs in 28 different mini-games for you to choose from, or you can have the CPU choose games for you. Previews so far have compared 1-2-Switch to the Warioware series, suggesting a lot of the minigames are relatively quick and simple to play through. But it has already attracted criticism for not being a pack-in title for the Switch. While the title is tailor-made for party or game night scenarios, there is no sign of a single-player mode. All signs point to 1-2-Switch being a hard sell unless you regularly have friends over. 1-2-Switch will be a physical or digital purchase for $50.

Fast RMX

Little seems to be said of this indie racer, but you’re most likely be able to find videos on YouTube. But, Fast RMX is a racer that is best described as a cousin to F-Zero. It’s a futuristic hover racer that emphasizes speed above all else. Fast RMX has 4-player split screen and 8-player online multiplayer options. Further, this is the third game in a series that has been only on Nintendo consoles since the Wii. This is a digital-exclusive offering and will be a $20 purchase.

Snipperclips

Snipperclips is a unique co-operative title where up to 4 players re-shape each other to solve assorted puzzles. Expect this game to be a source of equal parts fun and frustration depending on who you get to play with. Players will need to work together to come up with inventive ways to solve puzzles, and sometimes combine shapes to create something else. This may be the most inventive puzzle game in years. Expect this to be one of the most downloaded titles of the launch lineup. Snipperclips will be a $20 purchase.

Just Dance 2017

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Just Dance 2017 is coming to the Switch, which will support up to 6 players for your latest dance party. Featuring over 40 songs included with the game, and over 200 through a subscription based service. Just Dance 2017 for the Switch will utilize one Joy-Con per player, and features the same gameplay you either love or love to hate. Just Dance 2017 will be a $60 physical or digital title.

Skylanders Imaginators

Just in case you don’t use Amiibo enough, Skylanders are here to get you to buy more figures! A starter pack will be in retail that offers two figures, the game card, and a portal for use with the figures. For the uninitiated, Skylanders is a combination action and platforming game that has a pretty loyal fanbase. Also, this version adds in a Crash Bandicoot cameo and allows players to make their own Skylanders. The Starter pack will roll you back $60.

Super Bomberman R

Super Bomberman R is the return of the Bomberman series after an absence of seven years. In this edition, up to 8 players can compete and cooperate towards laying bombs down in order to progress through levels. Some previews have painted the picture that the game is a tad clunky, but of the launch lineup, this may be the most accessible multiplayer game around. Further, expect this to be a general pallet cleanser compared to the monstrous size of Breath of the WildSuper Bomberman R will set you back by $50 in physical form or digitally.

I Am Setsuna

I Am Setsuna is an RPG made in the SNES-era fashion, and has it’s roots deep into the classic title Chrono Trigger. When Setsuna is selected as a sacrifice to appease demons, what should be the end of her life turns out to be the beginning of a true test. I Am Setsuna takes plenty from classic RPGs including passive bonuses, and a combat system almost taken from Chrono Trigger itself. I Am Setsuna and it’s classic RPG experience will run you $40 as a digital download.

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight already was on the Wii U, but it will be coming to the Switch on launch day with every piece of DLC in tow in Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove. In Shovel Knight, you guide the titular character through an 8-bit adventure on a quest to rescue his beloved from the clutches of the Order of No Quarter. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove also boasts up to 4-person multiplayer, and 3 additional campaigns involving different characters and abilities. Lastly, a new mode of play will allow you to alter the body and pronouns of each playable character. Meaning, if you want, your Shovel Knight can have the appearance of a woman but be referred to with he/him/his pronouns. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove will be a $25 digital download.

There you have it, the nine titles confirmed to be launching on March 3rd alongside the Nintendo Switch. There’s plenty of other titles coming soon like World of GooMr. ShiftyMario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Stardew Valley, plus more games are coming every week for this brand new system. What will you plan on grabbing? I’ll hope to see you back here to see my thoughts on two of the titles, Super Bomberman R and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Why It Pays To Take A Step Back

Yes, the Nintendo Switch launches in just a week, and the gaming world waits to hear about how the system and its launch games fair. But for right now, most are reacting to the news that the Virtual Console won’t be available at launch. 

For those that don’t know, Virtual Console is a service that made its way to Wii, Wii U, and 3DS systems as a way to play games from older set ups. However, you had to purchase them again from Nintendo. It’s important to note that only the Wii has enjoyed Virtual Console games from the very beginning, with 3DS and Wii U getting the service within a few months into the hardware of the lifespan. 

So what does this mean for Switch’s Virtual Console hopes? Just wait a bit. Based on how long it took for 3DS and Wii U to get them, I would expect the service to launch in the summer. June, perhaps as an announcement at E3, would be ideal. 

In short my recommendation is to enjoy what games you will be getting (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Bomberman R myself) and keep your ear to the ground for when the games of yore start to arrive.

 Once the Nintendo Switch launches I have every intention of posting impressions of the hardware as well as the aforementioned games and what services will be made available. Happy gaming everyone! 

Sailor Moon – The Most Relatable Heroine

When I was in Middle School, my family had joined the households that enjoyed an expanded channel set to include Cartoon Network. Naturally, as a kid I flocked to it, but I didn’t expect to be exposed to Japanese anime on the programming block called Toonami.
Toonami made a point to showcase action oriented cartoons of both American and Japanese origin including classic Voltron, Thundercats, Dragon Ball Z, Beast Wars, and ReBoot. As a kid there was one show I wrote off as ridiculous and never paid any further attention to, but I’ve recently started watching the subtitled version from the beginning. It’s a series that has a pretty big fan base even among those people I’ve met online. And now I believe I see why Sailor Moon is so cherished.
For the uninitiated, Sailor Moon is the story of how a 14-year-old girl, Usagi Tsukino, is given the ability to transform into the “Soldier of Love and Justice”, Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi manages to thwart evil forces and learn more about herself and others in the process. If it sounds like a superheroine, you’re absolutely right. But, to put it in American superhero terms, Usagi is more Bruce Banner then, say Tony Stark. Usagi is a reluctant heroine. She didn’t ask to become a defender of others, and even her own team of Sailor Guardians suggests she is not cut out for the task ahead.
And therein lays a lot of what makes Usagi such a terrific character. Not only does she not really want to be a heroine, but Usagi is a klutz, prone to emotional outbursts, and the cares of a normal 14-year-old typically take precedence in the early episodes. Think fame, sweets, and daydreaming. When she transforms into Sailor Moon, Usagi’s still susceptible to her 14-year old whims, particularly fawning over a constant savior of her and her friends, Tuxedo Mask.

While Usagi’s whims may annoy her friends, it makes her very accessible to the viewer. Unlike other heroines, she isn’t agile or a combat master like Marvel’s The Black Widow. Usagi isn’t fantastically strong like She-Hulk or DC’s Wonder Woman, and isn’t a confident leader like Storm. What Usagi is, at least in the beginning of the series, is a girl. She wants to please her parents, hang out with friends, be there for them, and imagine a romantic future. It shows the viewer that you don’t have to be the most coordinated, strongest, smartest, or most mature person in the room. You can still make a difference with the right tools. And that to me is the point of at least the show’s initial season.
Also, it’s important to note when Toonami aired Sailor Moon. They showed the anime regularly in the programming block starting in 1999. But Sailor Moon’s anime had debuted in Japan in 1992. What other shows at either time had women as the stars and heroes? I can primarily think of only a handful, but in my mind it shows how important this kind of show must’ve been. Not every show with superheroes had women in starring roles, and here’s a series showing not just a heroine, but also the reluctant heroine who wants to just be a kid. That had to really resonate with kids of all varieties that felt like they were being dragged into maturity.
It amazes me that I stayed away from the show when I was younger. Was I turned off by the dubbed version? Was it the “Sailor Moon Says…” segment that beat the viewer over the head with a message from the episode? I’m not sure what the reason was, but I am very happy with talk and desire flowing for more women to be represented in all forms of entertainment that I came back to view Sailor Moon with fresh eyes.
As of this writing, I have watched 40 episodes in the first season through Hulu. 

Resolving On Resolutions

It’s that time of year and, yes, I do believe in the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. But why? At it’s core, I believe the ultimate idea is to give yourself goals to follow in the new year. I also understand but reject the stereotype of goals failing. Why make someone else’s failure to stick to their goals a reason to make none for yourself?

At any rate, I’m here to talk about my own goals for the coming year. So without further adieu, here they are!

Watch 1 movie I haven’t seen before each week. 

Why make this one of my goals? I have a bad habit of buying some movies and then not watching them. A few examples sitting in my collection include 42The Life of PiAliens, and The Wolverine. I believe by making a concentrated effort to watch more of the movies I own, but I also plan on watching other selections from streaming services and from theaters. As a matter of fact, tonight I’ll be going to see Hidden Figures, which I’m very excited to see.

Complete 2 games each month.

Seems like an awfully simple goal, right? But with the increased size of modern games, and my desire to play perhaps too many games at once led me to pick this as one for the year. But there is a stipulation. Some games I would like to play have a prominent multiplayer component. And most of the time, those parts have no end. So, those parts won’t really help me actually complete a game. With that in mind, completing a game for the purpose of this goal will mean that I saw the credits for the game. I already have one game under my belt for the month: their Final Fantasy I remake on iOS. There’s bound to be more to come!

Increase calories burned.

Truly though, who doesn’t have this as a goal? My belief is that since calories burned is an easy metric to track with my Apple Watch, I can use that as a metric of my success. The idea is by seeing something I can control and measure each day, some weight will drop without the need for weighing. Do I have an end goal? I actually don’t, but at the moment the goal is 500 calories burned in a day. I’ll need to work harder on my days off to reach it, but it is certainly doable.

Cook more often.

It’sno secret if you follow me on Twitter (and you really should), that Gary and I enjoy cooking and watching cooking shows. But we don’t cook as often as I’d like. My goal is to increase how often I do the cooking, wether it’s baking or dinner I feel like I’m ready. Besides, I feel this way I’ll be able to improve my cooking skill. At least so long as I push myself to try new things.

Be more social, but selective.

I don’t get out a whole lot, but I also don’t make that great of an effort to get in contact with local people in order to change that or even to invite them into my home. With that in mind, the goal is to talk to those I want to know better more, and to try and do something with them. I’m anticipating nothing more then games, movies, and food. Still, I think it will be fulfilling. But why selective? I’ve learned that I don’t have an obligation to be social with someone simply because they have an interest in me. After all, if I don’t want to, it wil only serve to affect me negatively. As another prong of this goal, I plan to deactivate my Facebook account. These days, I only look at it when there are notifications for me, and even then those are usually about groups I’m in. The platform holds no interest to me anymore.

Have a new position by year’s end.

I only have so much control over this, but I do still want to try. By the year’s end I hope to have a new position. Will it be in the same company? The same property? I don’t know. But I know the opportunities are there and I will need to find them. Where there is a will there’s a way, after all.

Consistency In All Things

Towards the end of last year I became very bad about keeping to a schedule for the stream and for committing to do much of anything. I went with my desires and didn’t go for what I should have concentrated on. This goes for real life, the stream, the blog, and truly all aspects of my life. That changes this year. If I say I am streaming, then I will stream. If I say I am going to clean the house, then I will. As the header says: consistency in all things.

On that note, starting again on Monday, the 9th of January, the stream will return. I’ll be concentrating on only one game from now on, starting with concluding Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While I will be focusing on games with a story, there will be moments of multiplayer goodness as well. As always, keep an eye on my Twitter for what games I will be playing.

I hope you’ll join me for next week’s post which will be highlighting something I’ve been watching with new eyes: Sailor Moon.