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.

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New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions are a very fickle thing. Some of us say we’re going to do something just to save face in front of others at a party. You know, when you say you’re going to go to the gym religiously, but really you’re thinking of that leftover pie in the fridge.

Myself, I think it’s a fantastic time to try and take stock of your last year, what you liked, what you didn’t, and find ways to improve upon it. Thing is improvement is different to everyone. So, with this post I hope to outline my resolutions for 2016 to you and explain why I have chosen them as goals.
First up happens to have everything to do with this blog. It has been horrendously neglected over the last few months. The fact that this is my first post since July really speaks to it. In short: I want to write more. Now, I have in mind blog posts, but who knows? Maybe it will expand into other avenues. But the main purpose is to get this blog to have expected postings.
My second resolution sounds a lot more specific, but it really isn’t. I want to be more active in the gaming community. Presently, I have profiles set up on YouTube, Twitch, and Trueachievements.com, but just being there doesn’t feel like it’s enough. What I;d like to see is that I try to stream when I can. I’ve made the determination that I can’t stick to a regular streaming schedule because of things like having a new puppy in the house, feeling like I get interrupted constantly, and that I was playing more for what would get views then what I wanted to play (that took a LOT of figuring out to come to.) But along with that I want to be more active in communities and a local level. As it stands, I don’t know of any groups of gamers in the local area, and I’m just “there” on any online communities.
The next resolution is probably the simplest and hardest one to do. Say “hi” more. See, at work I need to say “hi” to everyone that comes through, and that is well and dandy, but it’s with friends that I ironically have the hardest time with. At the moment I’m that friend that exists, but I never say hi or anything. On Facebook, I creep around, reading about what’s going on in people’s lives like it’s my own personal CNN. My goal is to engage my friends more, wether it’s through social media, or just a text to let them know I haven’t forgotten about them.
Everyone has this resolution, right? I want to get back in shape. If there’s ever a cliche, there it is. But really, I feel like I haven’t done al I could especially with two dogs now, and the ability to work out at home (if I move some furniture). And really, not much is stopping me there, but I need to keep reminding myself, or it simply won’t happen. For me, it’s very much an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. So how do I get back in shape? Making better food choices and making the time to actively move more. In the past, that’s all it’s taken for me to lose.
Another resolution is about the exact opposite. I want to watch at least one movie a week. That may not seem like much, but sometimes I get so worked up in doing anything/everything else that I don’t take the time to watch any of the movies I keep getting. Ideally, this would also be of movies I haven’t seen, but sometimes the mood strikes and you want to watch that one movie again.
While I’m at it, I’m not giving myself a time limit for this one, as it will really depend on home life and how things go at work, but I want to stream again. I don’t know that I can go to a set schedule but more of a “when I’m able” schedule. As with my earlier mention, it would be whatever strikes my mood.
But there, you go, a few resolutions for the new year, and everyone of them is doable. I hope to hear some of what your resolutions are, so go ahead and leave them in the comments area or write a blog in response! Until next time!

How Plants vs. Zombies Can Teach Us About Multiplayer Shaming

If there is any one kind of game I am really bad at, I think it’s competitive multiplayer. I’m not “Jumping off a bridge would be just as good” bad, but I have trouble stringing together a series of kills. As such, I loathe the summary reports at the end of games like Battlefield and Call of Duty.

Both titles clearly show how well each player did on respective teams, and what the kill/death ratio is. This might appear as 8 kills and 12 deaths for instance, but mine tend to be more lopsided. It’s especially embarrassing when you see someone who has a score that only Hawkeye would go “pfft” at. No, not embarrassing – crushing. It’s enough to make me wonder why I spent $60+ on a game when I am so undeniably bad at it. That kind of feeling does not make me interested to continue a game franchise, or, at best, play the single-player mode and then move on.  So imagine my surprise when it took a multiplayer only title to make other titles look bad. Enter Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.

So, what do I mean? Well, Garden Warfare has a lot of the same modes you might expect in a Battlefield title along with a few that seem very much made for Plants vs. Zombies. And it manages to create a very exciting third-person shooter experience. But what really sets it apart are it’s summary screens after the battle. See, Garden Warfare will tell everyone how many vanquishes (the game’s version of kills) and how many coins you earned. Coins can be earned for a variety of different tasks like healing others, destroying fortifications, and even for just trying! But you notice what’s missing? Your death count is not publicly disclosed to the other players. Instead, if you really want to know, you can view how many deaths – and indeed your ratio – on a separate, private screen.

This simple little change gets rid of what I like to call “Multiplayer Shaming”. That feeling you get when you realize one way or another that you aren’t as good as you thought you were.  When you don’t have to worry about how that looks, suddenly every little vanquish you get helps out! Why don’t more games do this? My only assumption is that a game like Halo or Call of Duty has a huge Professional Circuit and wants to keep it professional and the pros want those stats.

Aside from that one reason I can only think of more reasons to hide the death count from other players. Garden Warfare is also a title where shooting your opponent isn’t always the goal you need to aim for. Take the Cactus character for example. It has the practical role of being the plant’s sniper. But aside from that it has three very distinct abilities which can turn the tide of battle. It can lay down potato mines which work exactly how you would expect. But they can also lay down some Wall-nuts which a zombie has to either break down or walk around to bypass. But the last ability is the most flexible. The Cactus can summon either a Garlic or Artichoke Drone that the player controls to fly overhead and pelt zombies with pin-prick shots or call in a corn airstrike. Did I mention the game is on the zany side?

And maybe that zaniness is the key to the multiplayer shaming. Where actually having fun with the games and trying to not take them so seriously is the best thing to do. Despite this, the atmosphere of a game can lead itself to a certain environment. But why so many multiplayer titles choose to take the more serious approach is beyond me. But maybe with Garden Warfare leading the charge, multiplayer shaming will eventually fade.

Xbox One Download of Garden Warfare

Xbox 360 Download

PlayStation 4 Download

PlayStation 3 Download

PC Download via Origin