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Saturday, February 20, 2010

One Achievement, Two Years In The Making

Wait for it...

Over two years since I first inserted Crackdown into my 360, I finally got my last achievement in the game. Was it worth it? Oh yes. And this is the first landmark in my year of no new games (see my first blog, Games of 2010: CANCELLED!)

I mentioned in my previous blog that it had been over a year and a half since I played Crackdown. I never realized it had been so long. So much has happened since then and I've played so many games. It's obvious by viewing my playtime with Crackdown how easily it is to move on to a new game, and how hard it is to return to an older game. From my first achievement till today, it essentially took me 2 years and 14 days to complete Crackdown.

Now I did beat the game long before that. I probably beat the final boss within my first few days of playing. But I'm a completionist. I love to do everything in a game and create a perfect save file. Having a gamerscore doesn't help: achievements are like crack to me and it gets to me when I have one missing achievement for as long as I did with Crackdown. There are quite a few other games I own where I am missing only one achievement as well. Since I am taking this year off from buying/playing any new games, I look forward to finally completing those games once and for all.

A big part of doing this, abstaining from new games in 2010, is so that I can appreciate games I currently own and/or never finished. I was looking at my current collection, and I own 66 games across three systems. Of those 66, I can say that only 16 of those games I have completed (including Crackdown). Only 16 games do I feel I have truly experienced everything the game had to give me. That leaves 50 games for me to play through in this year I already own. 50! Do I really need a new game?

No. But that hasn't stop me in the past. Which is why I get to a point with games like Crackdown which I never feel accomplished with. Revisiting Crackdown was such a pleasure. There were few games that did what it did so well at the time, and still few I think that can. It's amazing how after a year and a half, I still knew how to do everything: fight the bosses, secret tricks, and fancy manuevers. It's like when I played Super Mario World after 15 years and still remembered all the hidden levels. Crackdown was always a game I felt I never had closure with, never felt complete with playing. Until today. And a big weight has been lifted off my gaming backlog.

So the question is: What has been the longest it has taken you to complete a game?

Bonus questions: What achievement took you the longest amount of time to obtain? Was it the last one you needed?

I think today was a great start on my way to clearing up my backlog for 2010 gaming. One down and 50 to go. I have been blogging everyday since I began my mission, and I hope to continue to do so and keep everyone updated with my progress and achievements. I don't know where to begin next. Like I said before there are a lot of Xbox arcade games where I have only one achievement to go, but some of those seem very hard to pull off. But, I do have a year...

Two years in the making. Believe it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Little Crackdown is What I Need to Start

Oh Crackdown 2... how sweet you look. What's that you say? Your release date is somewhere in 2010? Oh, that's not good. You see Crackdown 2... I made a promise. I told all my games I currently own, that in 2010, I will not purchase a single new release. I even made a blog about it (see my first blog Games of 2010: CANCELLED!) I've been neglecting my games for far too long, and I wouldn't want to do the same to future games. Especially you Crackdown 2. Cause baby, your worth the time spent. But hey, at least I get to finish what I started in Crackdown 1!

I never bought the original Crackdown because I didn't have to: my roommate owned a copy. He barely played it anymore so I borrowed it and got hooked. It's a great game, very fun and the action never gets old for me. The difficulty borders on "too easy" and "difficult because of that freakin' camera!" but I didn't mind. Plus Crackdown had another thing going for it: achievements! Oh yes, I'm an achievement whore, and I'm obssessed with getting a 1000 gamerscore on all my games. And Crackdown had some intense achievements; some took serious time commitment to pull off.

The first achievement I got was on Jan. 6, 2008. In 10 days I would get 43 of the 50 achievements. Apparently I took a month off, and on Feb. 17 & 18, 2008 I scored two more achievements. Then four months later I scored another two, which included the Free Runner achievement. And about two weeks later I scored two more, which included the painful Street Racer Elite, and the tedious Ring Leader achievement.

For those who have been counting, in about 7 months time I had 49 of 50 Crackdown achievements. The missing link? Orb Hunter, where you have to collect all 300 Hidden Orbs. Now as you can see, in less than two days I racked up 43 achievements, and the rest of that time I was coming back every two months and getting two more achievements. I was hooked on Crackdown when I first got it, but obviously my interest lessened as I got more games to play and attempted to rush through. I did comeback to Crackdown, but after that 49th achievement, I haven't played Crackdown since that day; which was July 7, 2008.

Until today. I borrowed Crackdown from my friend again, and after a year and seven months, I have returned to finish what I started. Those damn hidden orbs! But here's the kicker: since the last time I played my HDD has been reformated twice, and I've since lost that near perfect file. So I started from scratch today, and have been focusing 90% of my efforts to only the hidden orbs. Right now I have about a hundred to go. And if I were to give it another go around, I could finish up by today. But I wanted to take a break and blog.

If I can finish Crackdown and get that last achievement that has been staring at me for over a year and a half, I think that would be a great way to kick off returning to my backlog. There have been games I haven't played longer than Crackdown, but very few that I came so close to finishing, and never did.

So the question of the blog is: What games do you own that you almost completed (95-99%) but never did, and how long has it been since you played them? 

Bonus question: What games do you have all achievements but one, and haven't played in a very long time to finish it off.

Let's go get some orbs!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Siren Song of Pokemon

I love Pokemon. And you know what? I'm proud to say it. I don't feel ashamed, or embarrassed, or try to make excuses for myself because of my age and lifestyle. I play Pokemon proudly, and have since Red/Blue.

Before Pokemon, there was Alleyway, Kid Icarus, Mario Land 2, and Excitebike rotating through my original Gameboy. After Pokemon, there has barely been any other game to co-occupy my cartridge slots. Gold/Silver/Crystal were the only games that played on my Gameboy Color. When the GBA came out, I dabbled with a few SNES remakes (Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong Country) but all that was just to hold me until Sapphire. My Nintendo DS fared much better, and I actually owned more than five games for the first time for any of my handhelds! But that was a time before Pokemon, and I haven't thought twice about another DS game since.

Of all the years of Pokegaming, I've probably accumulated more than a billion hours on each of the games. Except something strange happened when I purchased Diamond for the DS... I didn't play it as much as any other Pokemon game. In total, I had about 250 hours plus clocked in for Diamond. "But that's a lot for a game!" you say. To put it in perspective, on Sapphire, where I had a near complete file, and played day in and out, to and from high school, I had nearly 800 hours of gameplay. Fact.

My experience was no doubt rushed with Diamond. And a lot of those hours were spent trading Pokemon from my GBA to DS. Soon I went from playing it everyday to every few days to once a week. And when they announced Platinum, I pretty much stopped playing. I did make an attempt to go to all the exclusive Downloadable events, even though I wouldn't keep playing afterwards.

Why did this happen? Again: too many other games to play. The benefit of it being a portable is I always got to travel with it, but when I got Diamond I didn't travel as much, and when I was home I wanted to play my 360 and other console games. Also the announcement of Platinum so quickly gave me the idea that I could make up for my lack of Diamond play. Surely.

Pokemon Platinum was released on March 22, 2009. Total hours of gameplay as of today: 116.
What went wrong?

Too many games. I can't emphasize this enough. Even my beloved Pokemon series has gotten the cold shoulder. That is even more of a reason to embark on my year of gaming abstinence (see my first blog Games of 2010: Cancelled). Not one but two new Pokemon games that I entirely neglected. And, even though I know I scratched the surface of what they can offer, I felt they have been the best version of the game since Pokemon Gold. Which brings me to my point...

Pokemon Heart Gold/Soul Silver will be the biggest obstacle for me in my year of no new games.
I always said they should've remade Gold/Silver, ever since the FireRed/LeafGreen remakes. I felt having both the regions Kanto and Johto was the best thing the series ever did and no other game ever revisited that idea. It had the most significant upgrades to the series gameplay wise, and everyhting has evolved from the changes made in Gold/Silver.

When Heart Gold/Soul Silver drops on March 14, I will have to keep every muscle in my body from purchasing it. Of all the titles I personally have been anticipating, Pokemon will be the most challenging to stay away from.

But I made a promise! A resolution! I am embarking on a journey for all gamers around the world! No new games! This year will be the year of playing only the games I currently own, and nothing more! For the past two days I started playing Pokemon Platinum again and it is such a great game. I'm discovering all these new features that I didn't know were in the game and trying out so many new Pokemon and their abilities, all because I didn't spend enough time with it. Were I to get Soul Silver (the version I wanted to purchase so I could capture Lugia) next month I wouldn't be able to truly appreciate the quality of the remake, because I spent no time with Diamond/Platinum. Alos I'll add my Pal code in my profile; so if you want to battle or trade, hit me up! A feature I never took advantage of was the online play, something I also waited so long for the series to have.

So the Question of the blog is this: What game release of 2010 will be hard for you to resist? Will it be too hard or do you think it's possible not to pick it up right away?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Ghosts of My Gaming Past

I’ve never been consistent with maintaining my gaming profiles on websites like 1Up or Gamespot. A few months ago I created an account on Gamesradar and that went nowhere. But since I’ll be going on this journey of playing only the current games from my collection for all of 2010 (see my previous blog), now would be as good as ever to update my profile on this site.

About a year ago, I became a big daddy (not the Rapture kind, although that would’ve been sweet). I always felt I was ready for such a momentous event, and I’ve been loving it every day since. But having a baby means you need space. And living in an apartment in Brooklyn, there isn’t a whole lot of space. I’ve had to sell and donate a lot of my personal items and if you don’t see where I’m going with this…

Looking at my old gaming profile, my games collection was quite exhausting. If I still had as many games, I think this 2010 would’ve been very nostalgic. But alas, all I have left are my Wii, 360, and DS games. It would’ve been nice to revisit some Dreamcast games and Gamecube games. In fact, there were many games that I sold recently that I never got to play. All the more reason to take this sabbatical of "new" games! As I go through my games list and delete/update, here are some notable mentions of games that I owned, never or barely played, and sold:

Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Reserved it, got the bonus disk, played until I discovered Hyrule Castle, never touched it again. In fact, I actually went through the Ocarina of Time bonus disc and 100% OOT all over again instead of finishing Link’s newest quest.

Eternal Darkness Bought at a Gamestop for about $8, and never played it. Like I said before, gaming for me is an experience. And Eternal Darkness was an experience. I kept putting it off because I wanted to give it that attention, but I guess life, love, and other games got in the way.

Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2 Didn’t want to start this until I finished the first one. Played almost all the way to the end of part one. Never did find out what happened to Red Ring Rico.

Mega Man X Collection Only played Mega Man X (which is my favorite of the series). And on the plus side, beat it for the first time ever since I originally had it for the SNES (it’s true! Sigma was just too hard when I was a kid). Downside: never played any of the other X games on this compilation.

Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike On launch day I waited for about an hour and a half before Toys R’ Us opened and I went home with my Jet Black GameCube, and Star Wars Rogue Squadron II. Was always a huge fan of the Rogue Squadron series, and played the heck out of all of them. Except this one. Played about the first three stages, then never again.

Viewtiful Joe If you judge this game by the first two and a half levels, then this was a sweet, kick ass game that brought back the very best of old school beat 'em up with new school special effects like slow motion. If you judge every other level after that – you have more to go on than I did.

Breath of Fire IV Borrowed this from a friend, and couldn’t stop playing it. But then he wanted it back, so I never got to finish it. Bought it a few months later, and never touched it. Sold it on Ebay for a pretty penny though.

Chrono Cross/Dragon Warrior VII/Dragon Quest VIII/Jade Empire/Star Wars KOTOR II I LOVE RPG’s. I really do. Too bad I never got to play these…

I like to think that I truly owned some great games, even if I never got to play them. If I did play some of these games, I never stopped because they didn’t hold my interest; I stopped because something else took me away from playing them. A lot of these games came out around times where there were too many games coming out. Playing a whole lot of Metroid Prime meant no Zelda, and then I moved on to the more current release rather than returning to Wind Waker. Looking back, my problem was worse than now. I had the money to buy all these games but they only sat on my shelves. Now I have less money to buy games, so I only buy one and miss out on everything else. And instead of returning to games I missed, I move on like everyone else and buy what’s current.

If you are still with me, let me ask you this: What games in your collection have you neglected? Are there games you swore you’d get back to but never did, and it doesn’t look like you ever will?

I didn’t mention this in my first blog, but I would appreciate any feedback and response to my blogs. Everything I write I share with you, the reader, and encourage you to give your own stories, experiences, and feelings. I feel we as gamers can all relate to this situation of the neglected games.

Looking back on all the games I use to have, and never fully enjoyed, makes want to pick up and play all the games I currently have, and barely played. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of them. But I’m excited to be doing this, and think after the year spent with all my games, I’ll appreciate it more what it’s like to play a game.

The Games of 2010: CANCELLED

A little while ago, I came across an article on Gamespy written by Michael Drucker. The title of the piece was "Dear Videogame Industry, Please Stop Making Games". The author expresses his concern about the abundance of good games there are to play, and there being less time to enjoy those titles. There are many gamers and critics who share this belief, and are constantly mentioning their desire to catch up on their backlog of games. I empathize with his feelings, and certainly know what it is to neglect a game not because it wasn't good, but because there are just too many games to play. He suggests that the game industry stop releasing games for a year, to give everyone the oppurtunity to enjoy the games they have, and maybe even take a chance on a lot of games they missed out on. Of course that would never happen, but it's a romantic idea and one that got me thinking...

Therefore, I've decided, I am going to take the year off: in 2010 I will neither purchase or play any new releases.

Ironically enough, I've yet to play any of the releases of 2010 yet. Mass Effect 2 being the first hotly anticipated title I wanted to get my hands on, but it's going to have to wait. Till 2011.
That was as hard to type as it's going to be to act upon. Or is it? I believe I can do it. As of right now I own a Xbox 360, Wii, and Nintendo DS. There are very few games I own that I have completed, and every time I purchase a new game, the major downside is that I know I will neglect other games in that series, or any other recent purchase.

As the days go on, I will list the specifics of my gaming experiences, and the path that this journey takes me on. There are a lot of games this year that I would love to play, but I have a backlog I need to cleanse. I hypothesize this will bring me closer to my curent gaming collection, and allow me to thoroughly appreciate each and every game I own to their fullest extent.

I have been playing videogames since I was four. I grew up with the NES, and owned almost every system (Sega Saturn and PS3 games have never graced my TV screen). Like Michael, I remember a time where great game releases were few and far between. Now there are so many new games I want I don't know where to begin. I considered getting a Gamefly account to catch up and save money, but I feel that will only add to the chaos of being a video gamer. For me, games are an experience. And when I have to rush through Super Mario Galaxy in a few days because I have three other new games to play, I miss out on that experience. It doesn't help that I'm a completionist and enjoy spending hours trying to achieve 1000 gamerscore or perfect a game file. When I was little and owned a few games, I was proud to say that was common with all my games. Now that is a rarity.

I will challenge myself to play these neglected games of mine, and resist the urge of all the new games. But that isn't enough... I will attempt to have no new game purchases throughout 2010 either! That means I will spend one year with all my current games, and nothing else! 

Don't believe me? Then follow me. See how I do. My gamertag will be a big hint as to what I play. I'll try to post updated Wii status somehow. I'm interested to see if I can hold up to this one year abstinence of "new" gaming. I will post my hunts for missing achievement, unfinsihed games, and ::gasp:: giving games a more than one day play through!

I will do my best to photo and possibly video document this journey. And even though I have a very busy schedule, I'll try to not go more than two days without a post.

Let my gaming of 2010 begin!!!!

Here is the link that inspired me: