The calendar year may be an arbitrary delineation of time, but a new year is still a useful milestone to trigger self-reflection and prospective planning. While it's a bit of a cliche, I usually have some gaming-related resolutions. Because I knew that 2017 was going to be a year loaded with new releases, the only resolution I had — that I recall anyway — was to play more games on the PC. I technically managed to accomplish that thanks to some old Falcom games, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd and Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection. A pair of decade-old releases wasn't exactly what I originally intended for my upgraded gaming PC, but with so many console exclusives last year, I'll take the victory where I can get it. With 2018 shaping up to be not as jam-packed with releases, I plan on being a bit more ambitious with resolutions this year.
- Commencing the PSP Backlog Quest
Last year was a great year for games in general and RPGs in particular, but that meant it was a lousy year for my backlog. The only game I even attempted to knock out was the original Nier and that fell by the wayside with shiny new releases and reviews stealing my attention before I could complete it. In 2018, I want to knock ten games out of my backlog, whether by completion or deciding that I'm never going to finish them, and half of those games need to be PSP releases. With UMDs getting cheap, I've been adding to my collection the past few years, but I haven't been playing any of them. That changes this year. I've already committed to finally putting Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions to bed. After that, I want to try a few of my imports like Grand Knights History, Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki: Alternative Saga, and Nayuta no Kiseki. Most of all, I want to finally tackle Sakura Taisen 1 & 2, the PSP port of the Saturn games that have been teasing me from the shelf for years now. Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love was one of my favorite games of the PlayStation 2 and Wii era so I really want to jump back into the mecha combat-dating sim combination. If I somehow make it through that gauntlet, I still have Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth, Breath of Fire III, Wild ARMs XF, and plenty of others waiting for me. Not to mention that there are a number of 2017 releases that I own and still haven't played.
To make sure I accomplish some of these grand plans, I'm instituting Throwback Thursdays, where I must play the current backlog game for at least two hours on Thursdays. I know it's silly to have these rules, but I've had success in the past using this tactic to keep forward momentum in a game. I'm so easily distracted by the new and shiny that if I don't have some sort of rule I'm liable to get sucked into something like Yakuza 6 for a month and lose where I was in the backlog game. Having that one day a week that I must play the backlog game keeps it fresh in my mind, so I don't lose track of what's going on. Anyway, I plan on documenting my travails through the PSP catalog, so feel free to point out any interesting sounding games for me to try in the comments.
- Try to reduce my gameplay time
This is a corollary to the last editorial I wrote. It feels like I'm twenty-five to thirty percent slower than most other gamers, so I want to see if I can get my playtimes down a bit. I don't plan on compromising fun, I'm still going to be hanging out in hostess clubs in Yakuza and following the marital strife of my favorite NPCs in Falcom games, but I do want to make sure that I'm having fun and not playing something just to check things off a list.
- Mix in some shorter games between epic RPGs
Another response to 2017, where there were multitudes of great games, but almost all of them seemed to be sixty-plus hour epics. By the end of the year, I was burnt out on playing one huge game after another. This year I want to mix in some smaller experiences. I have plenty of smaller games unplayed in the backlog and I also want to mix in some indie games as well. Hopefully that will add some variety to the gaming I've been doing and prevent burnout.
- Play an old-school-style computer RPG
Growing up mostly playing PC games, it's odd that I never got into isometric computer RPGs. Before the internet was ubiquitous, finding information about videogames was not a trivial task, so I just don't remember being aware of them. Also, going to college and getting out of PC gaming right as that genre reached its creative zenith in the 1990s / 2000s probably played a role. After enjoying things like Mass Effect and Fallout 3, I've always wanted to go back to games like Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment. They look so intimidating that I end up just falling back into playing modern releases. I really want to give a game in the sub-genre a try and I'm hoping that something like Divinity: Original Sin II might capture that spirit without being completely unfriendly to someone new.
So those are my gaming resolutions for 2018. I'll probably fail miserably to accomplish them, but it should be fun trying. Hopefully everyone has some great gaming plans for the new year.