tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-43992571742939561862016-02-25T04:34:32.300-05:00How To Be A Better GamerI've been gaming ever since I was born. I can talk endlessly about video games...but what do they say about me? Is my passion a positive one...or does it encourage my bad habits? I'm on a journey to explore my relationship with games and discover how I can become a better gamer mentally, physically, and spiritually. I want to share what I learn along the way with those who also want to become better gamers; in the real and virtual world. Press Start to Join!Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/104163992168583768584[email protected]Blogger50125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-73008521577165145872015-04-20T14:44:00.000-04:002015-04-20T14:44:41.747-04:0039% = Mission AccomplishedI did it. After unlocking the Menace of Magneto achievement yesterday while playing LEGO Marvel Superheroes, I raised my average game completion rate up to 39%. I've been writing my last few blog posts how I'm trying to raise my percentage before the Steam Summer Sale (I would put a link to them but you can just check my blog history on the right).<br /><br />I set the bar really low for this goal. No clear percentage I needed to hit; as long as I raised it by one percent I would be happy and considered my attempt a success. Yesterday I did that. And it felt good.<br /><br />Why'd it feel so good? Because I didn't realize I had raised my percentage until a few hours after I did it. By setting the bar so low and not putting a lot of pressure on myself, I've been able to achieve what I wanted to achieve the most: playing my games and not worrying about it.<br /><br />Not simply to play them for the sake of playing them, but to enjoy them. To go back to a time when I was excited to get my hand on ANY game. Somewhere in the 25 years that I have been gaming, I lost that feeling.<br /><br />I look at my Steam library (or Wii U, Xbox 360, 3DS, etc.) and I feel overwhelmed. "THERE ARE TOO MANY GAMES!" I would yell in caps. I would stare at my collection, undecided on what to play, and then not play much of anything as a storm cloud floated over my head and rained down the feeling of never being able to play my games ever.<br /><br />But I'm on a mission to change that. Raising my Steam percentage by one percent is only the beginning. Technically, yeah, I did what I set out to do. But I'm not done. It's only one game, one percentage, one challenge. There's a lot more to play and do.<br /><br />And for the first time since I started this blog about five years ago, I feel excited and unafraid of what lies ahead.<br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Getting my groove back</b></span><br /><br /><br />Now, I don't want to get ahead of myself. I only started this challenge less than two weeks ago, on April 8th. That was the day I started playing LEGO Marvel Superheroes, one of the many games in my Steam library I had purchased part of some sale, but had never played.<br /><br />I wanted to raise my percentage from 38% to AT LEAST 39%. When I started playing LEGO Marvel my percentage instantly dropped by one.<br /><br />I was shocked so much I wrote a blog about it. Realistically though, I wasn't too stressed. The main reason why I chose LEGO Marvel Superheroes as my first game to help me achieve my goal before the Summer Sale, is because I had 100% a LEGO game in the past. I never played LEGO Marvel, but knew that if I started playing and really liked it, I would be committed to playing it 100%.<br /><br />So far, I have a total of 30 hours of playtime with LEGO Marvel. I have 30 of 45 achievements unlocked, which gives me a 67% rating within that game. That's how much <strike>work </strike>&nbsp;playtime I had to do in order to raise my percentage by <strike>ONE </strike>&nbsp;TWO Percent.<br /><br />Seems like a lot. The debbie downer in me would say, "30 hours? I don't have that kind of time to play video games!"<br /><br />This is why I've been keeping a commitment log. I started playing this game ten days ago, but only have played it eight of those days. The most time I invested in a day was six hours. The least was one.<br /><br />And those six hours of gaming wasn't in one sitting, it was spread throughout the day. And it wasn't a fluke, as I gathered two six hour gaming days with LEGO Marvel.<br /><br />I have a busy life, but there is time for me to still play my games. To be able to stay that is a huge accomplishment for myself.<br /><br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">A small step is still a step</span></b><br /><br /><br />I keep this log because it encourages me every day to stay focused on my task. The amount of games in my library can look intimidating. The amount of hours or achievements can feel suffocating to my personal time. The growing number of games in my wishlist seems unrealistic and foolish.<br /><br />But when I update my log every day, and see that I am making some sort of progress, I start to feel better about it all.<br /><br />Even if I play an hour, I need to take pride in that. For the ten days before I started this challenge, I hadn't put any hours into my Steam library. I probably would be shocked to see how long it's been, if ever, I got 30 hours of gaming done with my Steam games in the past six months!<br /><br />A percentage jump may seem like an insignificant step up, but it's not to me. Or I should say, I don't think of it as being insignificant. A few years ago, when I started this blog, I was rushing to just play games to unlock achievements as fast as I could. I felt like I needed to catch up, and I wasn't satisfied that I was actually playing my games or unlocking achievements, just disappointed that I wasn't where I wanted to be.<br /><br />I burned out fairly quickly, and that negative thinking stayed with me for a very long time. It wasn't until recently, without even thinking about it I had noticed I kind of stopped caring about having too many games I'll never have time to play.<br /><br />I realized my logic was wrong all along, because without trying I was playing games. All of the "time I didn't have" was being used to create fun and memorable gaming experiences. And I've forgotten that's what it's all about.<br /><br />So I started this challenge not so I could eventually 100% my completion percentage (a feat I know is impossible) but really as an excuse to play my games FOR FUN.<br /><br />I created a "goal" that I can never fail at, because all it requires for me to do is to play my games. Doesn't matter which ones or in what order, as long as I play them. I'll use the achievements as guides but if I'm not feeling the vibe of a certain game, I don't have to play it. I can move on to another game in my backlog collection.<br /><br />I used to look at things in a negative way. Now I'm starting to think more positively about my gaming "TO PLAY" list. I'm tired of feeling shameful, and this is the first step to not feeling that way.<br /><br />One step forward is still propelling me in the right direction. I'm still making progress towards my goal. It's ironic because I would always get overwhelmed looking at all my unplayed games, when really all I had to do was make a "game" out of playing them.<br /><br />All of this I'm writing about is something I never used to think about because I just did it. I played games for fun. I completed games for fun. Somehow along the way I lost site of that.<br /><br />This one percent increase is the first step in getting back into that mindset. They say the first step is the hardest. If that's true, than reaching 50% completion should be a breeze.<br /><br />Wait, did I just give myself another challenge without finishing the current one?<br /><br />CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-10873217361769581502015-04-20T10:56:00.000-04:002015-04-20T10:56:48.636-04:00Let's not forgot about the Humble Indie Bundles<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RlR_wRo2-LY/VTUTVKnBw6I/AAAAAAAAAPU/EkzZdCRePiQ/s1600/humble_indie_bundle_14.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RlR_wRo2-LY/VTUTVKnBw6I/AAAAAAAAAPU/EkzZdCRePiQ/s1600/humble_indie_bundle_14.jpg" height="358" width="640" /></a></div><br />As I'm writing this, the 14th Humble Indie Bundle will end in under two hours. I mentioned briefly in my previous posts about the upcoming Steam Summer Sale, that I have a large amount of games in my Steam account from the Humble Bundles.<br /><br />A lot of those purchases were impulse buys, and whereas I only wanted two or three of the games I ended up with more than I could handle. Looking back on it I've come to realize that a few of those games might never, ever, get played.<br /><br />I also mentioned that I'm going to be more conscience of this when it comes to future indie bundles, and try not to buy eight games when I only want one. Chances are, that one game will go on sale another time through their store or on Steam, and I can buy it then.<br /><br />All this inner dialogue manifested into blog form, was so I could be aware of impulsively buying Humble Indie Bundle's and how it negatively affects my Steam library by: adding to my never ending backlog, lowering my Steam percentage, and creating an unrealistic view of what my library means to me.<br /><br />In the future, I said to myself, I won't impulsively buy a Humble Bundle unless I want ALL the games. I said this to myself a few days ago.<br /><br />Last night, I bought the 14th Humble Indie Bundle. I paid $10, so I could acquire every game offered.<br /><br />I only really wanted TWO games. &nbsp;I did what I told myself I wasn't going to do.<br /><br />Do I have a problem? Is there something wrong with me?<br /><br />Let's talk about it.<br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Ten games for $10 tho</b></span><br /><br /><br />There's no denying the value of these Humble Bundles. I mean, they're PAY WHAT YOU <strike>WANT </strike>CAN. You can literally spend a penny, and get a few games.<br /><br />When the bundle first came out, there wasn't specific pricing tiers like how it is now. You paid one price, and you got all five or six games advertised.<br /><br />After a while they started adding unlocks and bonuses as incentive to pay more. Three or four games would make the actual bundle, while the rest of the games became available if you paid more than the average or a certain dollar amount.<br /><br />Even with the added tiers, the savings is still there. For Humble Indie Bundle 14, the most you had to pay was $10 to get all ten games being offered.<br /><br />I come from an era where newly released Super Nintendo games went as high as $80 at Toys R Us. <br /><br />To see 10 games that are full length, have hundreds of hours between them, and are critically acclaimed offered for $10?!? It's hard not to click that paypal button.<br /><br />There's a lot of other upsides too: you can control how your money is split, between the Humble people, charity, or developers. All the games are DRM free, and come with Steam unlock codes as well. Recently they've added soundtracks to these deals, and this one in particular had four.<br /><br />What's the downside? Honestly there isn't, unless you think like I do.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Ten games tho...</b></span><br /><br /><br />So now I have ten new games. Two of which I could probably make the argument I really wanted, but honestly none of these were on my radar as must have or own games.<br /><br />Don't get me wrong: they all look like really fun to play, and most if not all has something about it that interests me.<br /><br />The games that make the bundle are: Pixel Piracy, UnEpic, Super Splatters, Shadow Warrior Special Edition, Outlast, Torchlight II, La-Mulana, 140, MirrorMoon Ep, and Contraption Maker.<br /><br />What I like about these bundles is they always have a few games that are making their debut on Mac, and several of these do.<br /><br />It's a pretty good lineup, but now I have ten new games that I'm already worrying about when/how I'm going to play them.<br /><br />I've been writing a lot about trying to play my games in my Steam library before the Summer Sale, because I know I'm going to buy something then. But I don't want those new games to just sit in my catalog for months, possibly years, unplayed.<br /><br />A bulk of the 103 games already in my Steam account are unplayed, and I don't want to keep adding to that number. I've been writing about what I can do to help me focus and start playing my games, and one of the decisions I made was to focus on games that have achievements, so that I have some visual feedback that is telling me I am playing my games.<br /><br />I know achievements are unnecessary, but it's a goal I can set for myself that feels tangible and is easy to see if I'm working on it or not. If I don't keep track of my gaming habits, I'm always going to feel like I'm not playing my games, or at least have an understanding of the time I do spend on gaming.<br /><br />By looking at the amount of games I own, and the amount of time I have to play games, and the amount of time I am actually playing them, I can make smarter decisions about my purchases. I can be better about not adding a bunch of games to a backlog that I've barely made a 1% improvement towards completing.<br /><br />So how did I justify this purchase last night, despite all these recent blog posts?<br /><br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">Keep Calm and Play Games</span></b><br /><br /><br />Last night I saw a tweet from somewhere reminding me about the Humble Bundle ending soon. I checked the site again, crunched the numbers, and decided I was going to buy it. And I felt good.<br /><br />I didn't feel ashamed. I didn't immediately regret that decision or beat myself up telling myself I'm never going to play these games. Instead I remained surprisingly positive. Somewhere inside me, I had this feeling that, "Yes! These games look great, I saved a ton of money down the line, and I can't wait to start playing them!"<br /><br />I honestly haven't felt that way in a long time about a lot of my video game purchases. I wrote a while back about everything I bought for the Wii U last year, and even when I got the Mario Kart 8 bundle I had this feeling of dread that I wasn't ever going to get around playing it.<br /><br />But it wasn't like that last night. I bought the bundle, felt really good about it, and then I started playing LEGO Marvel Superheroes, a game that I started playing in my attempts to raise my Steam percentage before the Summer Sale.<br /><br />I'm having a lot of fun playing Marvel. Even though I just bought ten new games, I didn't feel pressured about installing them or playing them right away. I didn't have this image of more games being tossed on a sack of games collecting dust floating around in my head while I played.<br /><br />I am loving the heck out of LEGO Marvel, and I played it until I went to bed, like I have been doing for the past few nights. Even though the purpose of me playing it is to bring up my Steam percentage, the actual point of all this is to stop worrying and play my games.<br /><br />There is a lot of fucked up shit happening in the world. When I used to game as a kid, a lot of it was to escape from the horrors of the real world, both within my own life and outside. I'm not saying that's the only reason why I gamed, but it was definitely one of the things that brought me the most happiness growing up, and helped me deal with those issues.<br /><br />Now I have two smart and beautiful daughters and a loving wife, and my life is pretty good. The world around me is still fucked up, as much as it was as when I was kid. The only difference now is I am hyper aware of it, since I have two kids I'm trying to raise in this world.<br /><br />Gaming still brings me a lot of happiness. That has never changed. Even when times were good I still played games; it's been the one constant of my life and my passion for it only seems to grow day by day.<br /><br />I don't know when I started getting very anxious about my gaming habits having a negative effect on my life. A lot of it revolved around spending too much money during moments I didn't have time to invest to play them.<br /><br />But now, I really feel like I'm at a point where I'm getting a lot of that time back. Last year I was still complaining about not having enough time to play games, and doubting my Wii U purchases because I didn't have any time to play them.<br /><br />Meanwhile, almost a year later, every single one of my Wii U games I've beaten, some even 100%. I also competed in a local tournament for Super Smash Bros for Wii U, and won. An achievement I don't think would have been possible, if it wasn't for the two hours of playing For Glory every night in the weeks leading up to the competition.<br /><br />I started playing LEGO Marvel a few days ago, and already have about half the achievements done for it, and will probably have it 100% by sometime this month. I am feeling more confident this time around then I did last year about playing my games. By the time the Steam Summer Sale rolls around, I will be thinking about my Steam library more positively.<br /><br />I want to be happy about playing my games, and even more so when buying them. I don't want to regret every purchase, especially when I 'm getting ten games valued over $100 for $10. That's insane!<br /><br />We live in a great age of gaming, and I should be happy that my biggest problem I face every night, is what game I should play. There are a lot of people in the world right now, where they don't get to ask that question, and have to deal with some serious shit.<br /><br />I bought ten games for $10. Why did I ever think this was a bad thing? I will be more than happy to take advantage of the Humble Bundles in the future, and not feel ashamed about it.Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-48679816054595959972015-04-14T10:23:00.000-04:002015-04-14T10:23:13.633-04:00Planning my Steam bean diveThe Steam Summer Sale is fast approaching (like two months from now) and I've been mentally and physically preparing for it by writing blog entries and playing games. My "goal" is to play games from my Steam library consistently enough to build up my Steam percentage by the time the Summer Sale begins.<br /><br />The main point of this is to avoid buying games from the Summer Sale without feeling guilty.<br /><br />If I go into the sale on a hot streak of playing games for two months straight, then surely I can keep the momentum going afterwards including those new game purchases, right? Hopefully, if I don't burn out by the end of it.<br /><br />I've been slowly dissecting every part of my process, from the meaning behind the Steam percentage to what happens if I do/don't succeed. That last part is what I've been dwelling on the most, specifically if I do make it through this, what happens next?<br /><br />I know I shouldn't put the cart before the horse, but in a weird way talking about creating more challenges for myself before finishing this one, has been encouraging. I know this journey will be long and might not have a realistic end, but knowing how long it can be and all the different challenges I might face, keeps me focused and determined to complete it.<br /><br />Or it might be too much and I'll give up. Who really knows!?! I know I don't, so I say screw it and let's talk about my next challenge: the Steam Bean Dive!<br /><br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">Origin story</span></b><br /><br /><br />Full disclosure: the idea for this challenge is not my own. I am not trying to take credit from an idea that the fine people over at <a href="http://www.trueachievements.com/forum/viewthread.aspx?threadid=4635751">Trueachievements.com</a> invented (at least I think they inveneted it, it's where I saw it first).<br /><br />A Bean Dive is a community event they do every year, where you take all those games you have sitting around or downloaded on your harddrive with no achievements unlocked, and you pop at least one achievement in each game.<br /><br />The point of this is to drive down your percentage/completion rating, and work your way back up.<br /><br />I talked about this a bit in my last post, about how sometimes gamerscore or steam achievement percentages don't tell the whole story. You can be sitting pretty with a 90% completion percentage on Steam, but that could only be registering five games you've managed to play in an account showing you own 500 games.<br /><br />Basically, if you really wanted to, you can create a score/percentage that tells a different story from the truth. People lie all the time about gaming stuff, so the notion that people do this is probably more realistic than not.<br /><br />Over at Trueachievements the Bean Dive is meant for you to own up to those unplayed games or to pull down the facade of having a real high percentage. It's an idea that I really love, and want to apply once I get past the Summer Sale.<br /><br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">Not so secret dirty little secret</span></b><br /><br /><br />Not all bean divers are dirty little liars. I'm sure that's only the minority. Most gamers probably use the bean dive to catch up on all those purchases during sales or promotions.<br /><br />I would imagine the Steam users have this problem more than the Xbox 360/PS3 owner. I technically have a Steam account from 2009, but it wasn't until early 2013, when I got my new Mac, that I started to build my collection of Steam games.<br /><br />In just two years, I have over 103 games in my Steam account, which is about 30 plus games more than my Xbox 360 collection. And I have had an Xbox 360 since launch.<br /><br />So yeah, it's easy to build a collection pretty fast because of all the sales. Daily sales, midweek deals, week long specials, weekend deals, random publisher deals, Summer Sale, Holiday sale, etc.<br /><br />We all know by now that sales are never in short supply on Steam. I was buying games even when I hadn't touch my Steam library for months.<br /><br />Fortunately, the wealth of sales isn't as abundant on Xbox live, so my library hasn't grown as fast. They do have weekly deals with gold and random spotlight sales, but the selections are more limited than you would see on Steam. Also those don't get too crazy, they usually keep the mega specials for their holiday sales.<br /><br />Because of that I never really felt compelled to participate in the bean dive. Raising my percentage was always a needs to do item on my list, but rarely would I have more than one or time game sitting in my collection without a single achievement.<br /><br />The complete opposite is in effect with my Steam library. And as much as I've written about my percentage changing back and forth between one percent, I shudder to think how big of a dive it'll take if I start activating all the games with achievements on my account.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>A new challenger approaches...in the distance</b></span><br /><br /><br />The Steam achievement percentage is calculated a bit differently than your Xbox 360 gamerscore. For one, you don't have to actually unlock your first achievement for that game to count towards your score. As soon as you load the game and Steam tracks the playtime, it gets added to your completion percentage.<br /><br />All those games I let sit idle in the background so that I could get Steam Cards for? They are part of my completion percentage. That's why I freaked out when I started playing LEGO Marvel Superheroes and my percentage instantly went down, even after getting five achievements. The 38% I had been obsessing over on my profile is inaccurate and actually a whole lot lower.<br /><br />I'm having a lot of fun playing Marvel Superheroes, and pushing myself to play the games in my Steam library has encouraged me to play this game rather than sitting around and not. I'm enjoying it a lot, so much so that I will probably 100% it before the Summer Sale. Hopefully.<br /><br />But now I have a decision to make. Will the next game I play be one that I already have contributing to my Steam percentage, or not?<br /><br />I didn't know LEGO Marvel Superheroes wasn't, but now that I'm aware that my percentage is compiled only from 40 games in my library, do I keep dropping it by playing the games like LEGO Marvel, with no playtime at all? Or do I work at the games that are already contributing, so that I can keep rising my percentage, even though I know it's not telling the whole story?<br /><br />The compromise I've decided to make for myself is to play the games that are currently part of the 40 that Steam is calculating my percentage from. I'll play those games, continue to bump up my percentage, and then bean dive it all the way back down after the Summer Sale.<br /><br />I feel like this would be the best way to keep me focused going forward, and to really stress the fact that I need to play more games than I buy. Right now I'm playing catch up, and after the Summer Sale there will be even more for me to catch up on.<br /><br />The point of this current challenge was to compensate for my percentage going down after I added whatever games I bought from the Summer sale. I knew my percentage was going to take a hit, but now that I know there's a much bigger hit for it to take I figure I'd get it out of the way and do the bean dive after the sale.<br /><br />There are 14 games with achievements that I have not currently calculated into my Steam percentage. Between those games, is 379 achievements.<br /><br />To put that into perspective, I currently have 497 achievements from 40 different games.<br /><br />Regardless of what my true percentage is; it's easy to see that I haven't put any effort into playing my Steam games. I need to light a fire under my ass and start playing them.<br /><br />I don't want to completely crush my hopes and dreams at the moment, which is why I'm going to stay focused with my current task. But now I know that once the Summer Sale ends, the real challenge begins.<br /><br />Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-86393792820869780442015-04-11T10:12:00.000-04:002015-04-11T10:12:23.350-04:00Steam achievements: Achieving the impossible?<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qfq1rAiFvQk/VSkrdd8QruI/AAAAAAAAAO8/Yewg75seiaU/s1600/Arkham%2BCity%2BSteam%2Bachievements%2Blist.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qfq1rAiFvQk/VSkrdd8QruI/AAAAAAAAAO8/Yewg75seiaU/s1600/Arkham%2BCity%2BSteam%2Bachievements%2Blist.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br />I've written a lot this week about trying to bring my Steam game completion average percentage up before the annual Summer Sale. There's no set number I wish to reach; I'll be happy if I raise it by one or two percent, honestly.<br /><br />So far in the two nights since I've started working towards this goal my Steam percentage has gone down by one percent. It's complicated.<br /><br />Although I'm still early in this journey, I'm already thinking about what may come next. Let's say, a week from now I've still manage to play some Steam games every night, and my percentage has gone up. If I can keep that momentum going until the Summer Sale, surely I can continue afterwards right?<br /><br />So what's the end goal? To play ALL my Steam games? To get all my Steam achievements?<br /><br />I finally realized that if you hover your mouse over the achievements amount on your profile page, it tells you it pulls that number from "x" amount of games where you have obtained achievements.<br /><br />Is it possible to have a high or perfect achievement rating across all games I own that have them?<br /><br />Is it even worth it?<br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>I've been here before</b></span><br /><br /><br />The Xbox 360 was the birth of the achievement score. Finally, I thought, a list that tells me if I've completed a game 100%. Before then I only beat a game or 100% it on my own without a gamerscore. HOW DID I MANAGE!?!<br /><br />I was a fan of achievements. There's something about having a visual representation of your gaming accomplishments you can show off that's, at least for me, satisfying.<br /><br />It felt like my hours were being represented. Not only that but my skill. What intrigued me the most about achievements was they weren't all story based. Sure you had (and still have) achievements that unlocked from merely completing the game, but the ones I gravitated to the most were the ones that challenge you to complete it on a more difficulty setting, or accomplish a high score, or daring feat within the game.<br /><br />At first I was obsessed with achievements, and used it as a way to judge if I'm playing my games or not. If I didn't have any or very little achievements on a game, I'd try to play it more so I didn't feel I was neglecting it.<br /><br />After a while, it became very obvious that achievements didn't tell the whole story. Some games, it was a little too easy to 100%. Some games, like Gears of War, offered ridiculously time consuming achievements that only the most dedicated could ever get. Even games I felt like I was passionate about and willing to invest the time in, had achievements that were near impossible due to their difficulty, or, finding the time to actually do them.<br /><br />Also when you go to sites like Trueachievements.com, and see all the top achievement hunters with scores in the hundreds of thousands, and you've barely broken past 10,000, it can get kind of discouraging.<br /><br />After a few years, I kind of gave up on my achievement hunting quest. Mainly because I was buying games too fast to even play them. I also found myself playing other games on other systems, where no achievements were to be found ::cough Nintendo cough:: and that kind of put the whole achievement hunting subquest into perspective: do I play games for the achievements or for fun?<br /><br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">100%</span></b><br /><br /><br />I mentioned in one of my previous posts that the achievement percentage doesn't tell the whole story of how you play games.<br /><br />At first I was confused as to how they get that percentage number, and all I had to do was hover my mouse over it. Should've got an achievement for that...<br /><br />So now I know that my current 37% completion average is across 40 different games where I have got an achievement. That explains why it went down: when I was at 38% it was across 39 games.<br /><br />Unlocking a new game changes the score, so depending on what I've played it'll go up or down.<br /><br />Naturally, my mind wanders towards the idea of getting 100% completion. And right away I think about two things: 1) if I do get 100%, it'll never stay that way 2) Team Fortress 2.<br /><br />Let's start with the second point: TF2 has 513 achievements. This ain't the Xbox 360. Games on Steam can have as many achievements as they want, and Valve has taken full advantage with the (now) free to play shooter.<br /><br />Civ V, which is a game I got for free thanks to a GOG promotion but haven't played yet, has 287 achievements.<br /><br />Games like these that have massive achievement lists throw the whole average game completion statistic out the window. Achieving 100% in either game is drastically different from achieving 100% in say, Limbo or DeathSpank.<br /><br />So even when you 100% a game, that doesn't tell the whole story. Yeah it would be impressive to have a 100% statistic, but someone could easily own 500 games on Steam, only play 5 that have achievements, and earn a 100% percentage mark on their profile.<br /><br />Which brings me to my first point: even if somehow, someway, I achieved 100% in the 40 games that already count towards my percentage, as soon as I play a new game, whether it has 10 or 100 achievements, it'll disrupt my average.<br /><br />When I think 100%, I think "complete". Something that you don't have to work on anymore because you've done it all. That's possible for an individual game, but for a percentage that covers your entire library now and forever: it's an impossible and unrealistic goal to try and achieve. I can only imagine it will end with me descending into madness.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Glutton for punishment</b></span><br /><br /><br />I'm still going to try to raise my percentage up, even though I know that number is meaningless.<br /><br />It's the same as the Xbox gamerscore; it doesn't paint the full picture and can also be deceiving. Just because someone has a high Steam percentage, doesn't mean it applies to all their games in their account, only the ones they've played. It's also how someone can boost their gamerscore by playing simple games for the achievements.<br /><br />I don't want to pad my achievement percentage, even if I know it means nothing. There's still something about equating a high number with progress. When I look at 37%, I feel a little bad about it. If that number was say, 85%, I would feel much happier.<br /><br />I know I play games for fun, that's my number one priority. Sure I've gotten sidetrack with achievement hunting for the sake of achievements before, but I always come back to the games because I love to play them.<br /><br />Achievements should be a positive side effect of playing games. But I think instead of using it as a definitive guide to how I'm playing my games, instead I want to use it as a supplemental stat tracking tool.<br /><br />Achievements may not be all that important to how I play games at the end of the day, but it does help me stay focus and give me short term goals that can lead into long term progress.<br /><br />The end goal isn't to have a 100% completion. The end goal is to keep adding to my score habitually, so that I reach a point in my life where I stop neglecting my games, and I don't feel weighed down by future purchases.<br /><br />If I focus on the short term, and keep knocking out achievements and playing my games, ideally I reach a point where I don't feel like I'm playing catch up with my games, which is how I've felt for the past few years.<br /><br />I had an Xbox 360 since the beginning, and I never broke 50,000 gamerscore, which kind of brings me down. My first Steam purchase was in 2009. So yeah seeing 37% almost six years later gets to me.<br /><br />But that's okay. Those numbers don't tell the whole picture. In the almost 10 years I've gotten the 360, a lot has happened in my life. My current gamerscore does paint that picture, nor does my Steam completion percentage with how long I've actually played games on Steam.<br /><br />For now, the Steam achievements will be a motivator. PLAY MY GAMES is really what they're yelling at me, not that it has to be 100%.<br /><br />Hopefully, two months from now, I won't have to worry too much about this.<br /><br /><br />Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-56536878350495940482015-04-10T08:00:00.000-04:002015-04-10T08:00:10.633-04:00How not to freak out about your Steam achievement percentage<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-odHAq89EC2g/VSe7Lq-cyZI/AAAAAAAAAOo/OuK-oNOQd-s/s1600/Steam%2Bprofile.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-odHAq89EC2g/VSe7Lq-cyZI/AAAAAAAAAOo/OuK-oNOQd-s/s1600/Steam%2Bprofile.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br />"So you want to play your Steam games, huh? You want to write <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2015/04/preemptive-2015-steam-summer-sale-goals.html" target="_blank">blog post</a> after <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2015/04/two-months-and-60-games.html" target="_blank">blog post</a> about how you're going to take control of your Steam backlog before the 2015 Steam Summer Sale, huh!?!"<br /><br />"Mr big shot "blogger". Talking about Steam achievement percentages, and how all you have to do is just raise it by one percent; one tiny little insignificant percent that'll probably just happen as soon as you start playing any game you own."<br /><br />"Well how about if I take your percentage, and lower it about one percent, huh!? Play a game for two and a half hours and BAM! Minus one percent for your efforts. That'll show you! That'll show all of you! BWAHAHAH."<br /><br />... ... ...<br /><br />End Scene.<br /><br />So if it's not clear (and why would it be) but that little rant up above is what I heard when I looked at my Steam achievement percentage last night, after playing about 2 and a half hours of LEGO Marvel Superheroes.<br /><br />See I'm trying to get ready for the Steam Summer Sale, about two months away, by playing the games in my Steam library I have neglected for far too long.<br /><br />I don't really have an end goal, other than just keep playing until the sale, but I did mention in my first post about this that I wanted to at least raise my Steam achievement percentage up a bit, even if it was by one percent. Small progress is still progress right?<br /><br />Well, I checked to see my percentage after I played and unlocked a few achievements last night, and I was a little surprised. Before I began my percentage was at 38%, and when I looked it was 37%.<br /><br />It's fine. I'm cool. I kind of predicted this would happen. I'M PERFECTLY FINE AND NOT FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT AT ALL HONEST.<br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>SERIOUSLY I'M FINE I'M NOT FREAKING OUT</b></span><br /><br /><br />I don't want to get all pretentious and quote a line I wrote in a previous blog, but I'm pretty sure I briefly mentioned that this might happen. I don't know how exactly Steam calculates the average achievement percentage; if it takes into account all the games you own or only the ones you played.<br /><br />Either way, that number is bound to go down as much as it can go up. And unlike Xbox achievements, not every game on Steam is created equally. Half-Life 2 has 33 achievements, Portal has 15, and Team Fortress 2 has 513.<br /><br />When I set out on this quest to play my Steam games before the Steam Summer Sale, ideally I was going to use the Steam completion percentage as a benchmark for my success. By the time the sale rolled around, I was going to compare where I was when I started with where I would have ended up.<br /><br />That's still the case, and I still want that Steam percentage to go up at least one percent from where I started. I'm at a negative right now, so I have to consider that as well, but fortunately I mentally prepared for this so I'm creating other outlets to help me tell the full story of my progress.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>MORE TO THE STORY</b></span><br /><br /><br />38% tells me just that: 38%. A number that sums up the average of Steam achievements. What games make up this average? I don't know quit asking me already (but if you do know please let me know, k thanks.)<br /><br />But what about playtime? What about individual game percentages? What about my game percentages compared to others within said games?<br /><br />There's a lot of information that I can use to not only keep track of my progress, but to help motivate me in this quest and inspire me to keep playing my games.<br /><br />I knew that my percentage would go up and down, but I wanted to keep track of the instances of when I play games as much as my percentage of achievements.<br /><br />This is a feature that I have come to love on the Nintendo systems. The Wii had a daily log that told you how much time you spent on a game every day. It also had a ranking system in another menu that showed what games you played the most and your total time. This was expanded in the 3DS, and carried over to the Wii U (although they scaled it back a bit with the Wii U. I don't know why that is so quit asking).<br /><br />I can look at my daily gaming time every day since I got the system in handy graphs that I can sort by day, week, month, or even year. Steam only tells me total playtime overall for each game in my library, but doesn't break it up the way the Nintendo consoles do. Which is a shame, because I really enjoy tracking my progress.<br /><br />Keeping track of my progress for me is essential in silencing the voice in my head that says, "I don't have time to play games because I'm so busy." I can hop on my Wii activity log and see that when I'm playing Super Smash Bros, I'm playing at least an hour and a half each time, and that helps quiet those nasty little voices in my head.<br /><br />Allowing me to visually see the days I tend to play games more often than not also allows me to be more aware of the evenings I have opportunities to play games, and to schedule my gaming around those times more often.<br /><br />When the Summer Sale rolls around, and my Steam average game completion rate has gone up (hopefully) a percent or two, it's not going to tell me how much time actually went in to that. So I have to keep track of it myself.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>MY STEAM COMMITMENT LOG</b></span><br /><br /><br />When I was in my BFA acting program in college, I had a professor who introduced to the class the Artist Commitment Log. It was an excel spreadsheet that he had created to log his daily activities that related to his craft. The goal was to spend at least 45 minutes a day related to acting, theater, film or whatever your artistic passion may be, and to put it in the spreadsheet.<br /><br />What I really enjoyed about this log, was how he gave the option of dividing everything you did into three different categories: physical, mental, or spiritual. Let's say you're an actor: so physical could be you exercised for half an hour, or did a twenty minute vocal warm up in the morning. Mental could be you read a new play for about an hour, or memorized lines of monologue for an audition.<br /><br />Spiritual was a little more loose in it's definition but probably the most important: something that you did during the day that helped you find peace within yourself. You can look at your log and notice every day you've been doing physical and mental training, but you find yourself burned out or stressed. Spiritual could be taking a nice warm bath, meditating, reading a book or watching a movie for enjoyment rather than education or practice.<br /><br />This log didn't have to be on an excel spreadsheet, it could be written down or cataloged any way you liked it. The numbers didn't have to be exact, and the definitions of each category could be fine tuned to your own personal needs.<br /><br />The point of the log was simply to keep track, so that you can look back at your progress, and that in turn can help you remind yourself that you are always doing something, anything, to help you pursue your passion in a positive a way.<br /><br />I've applied this concept to a lot of different things in my life, and right now I feel like it will benefit me in my quest to playing more Steam games before the Summer sale. So I've <a href="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Y5rSzLJqbNuPq4kT9bSyoRUUAGopeIOefe6Qs4iJNnI/pubhtml" target="_blank">created a spreadsheet</a>, where I will keep track of what I play every day until the sale.<br /><br />It's simple but effective. I have the day and date, the games I played that day, and a section for notes. In the notes section I will put total playtime that day, and what achievements if any I unlocked.<br /><br />That's really all I need, and basically the same thing that can be found on the Wii U/3DS. But it helps. It's a great motivator, and I want to be able to use it as best as I can in order to achieve my goal in raising my Steam percentage.<br /><br />I might be one percent less from when I started last night, but thanks to my log I know I played a never before played game from my catalog for 2.7 hrs, and unlocked five achievements while doing so. That's progress!<br /><br />In a way, since Steam doesn't tell how much you are playing daily, I have to keep track of the hours I spend and put them on my log every day. If I'm thinking about the log everyday, then I'm thinking about what I have to do to fill up that log.<br /><br />That's what my professor was trying to teach us. It didn't matter what ended up on the log, as long as you were trying to add something to it everyday.<br /><br />So when all is said and done, two months from now, hopefully I'll have a log that tells a bigger and better story than a number with a percent symbol next to it.Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-91688858957437194982015-04-09T11:11:00.000-04:002015-04-09T11:11:49.002-04:00My Steam wishlist: Games for the sake of games<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YagsZCwSoUk/VSXr_zNgHlI/AAAAAAAAAOU/sPpLOSNLbR8/s1600/Steam%2Bwishlist%2Bscreenshot.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YagsZCwSoUk/VSXr_zNgHlI/AAAAAAAAAOU/sPpLOSNLbR8/s1600/Steam%2Bwishlist%2Bscreenshot.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br />It's Steam week on the howtobeabettergamer blog, apparently. I'm fine with that, considering I haven't written anything consistently on here for a very long time. My inspiration to write after a several month hiatus, is the impending Steam Summer Sale.<br /><br />I'm kind of scared about it honestly. It'll be here before you know it. You'll be sitting at your computing watching Twitch or Snapchatting with your friends when "OMG FLASH SALE LOOK OUT HIDE YOUR WALLETS!"<br /><br />Memes will cover every gaming site about how you only realize you have a game when you try to buy it on sale, or how you'll dive like Scrooge McDuck into a seemingly endless pile of unplayed digital downloads.<br /><br />It's the latter that terrifies me more than the former, so I'm trying to take action by writing about how I'm going to prepare for the Steam sale by playing some of those unplayed games sitting in my collection, so that I have some peace of mind going into the Summer Sale.<br /><br />It's been very therapeutic to write about this. What's helped the most so far was narrowing down the games I should play in these two months while I wait for the sale. I managed to reveal a nice round number of 60 games that I can play, and not worry about my entire collection consuming my frail mind.<br /><br />But what about when D-Day comes? When the Steam ships arrive on my beachfront, what games will I open my heart (and Steam wallet) to and let join my collection? And what games will I beat back with a lit torch like the Ring Wraith that's out for my soul?<br /><br />It's heavy stuff.<br /><br /><a name='more'></a>My wishlist is in a endless state of flux. I'm always adding and deleting games, sometimes with no real emotional investment behind it. Most of the time it all depends on the mood I'm in.<br /><br />I visit my wishlist randomly and sometimes curate it for several days straight, before neglecting it for a random amount of months. It's like my town in Animal Crossing. Or this blog. There are days, sometimes weeks where I'm constantly checking in, poking around the Steam store to see what I could add, then suddenly losing interest and neglecting it until an article about a game has me adding it to my list.<br /><br />Most of the games I add are on impulse. Such and such game site will say a game is great, so I'll add it to the list, almost like a placeholder, like I'm going to do more research about it later. A lot of the times when I revisit my list after a while, I end up deleting games I no longer have an affinity for, or can't remember why I added it in the first place.<br /><br />What I get is a list that has no direction, no focus, and maybe will have one or two games that I really care about playing. Everything else is just there because of hearsay, and I don't know if that's a bad thing or not.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>THAT GAME LOOKS GOOD, I GUESS</b></span><br /><br /><br />When I first got Steam (since I'm on a Mac it took a while) I couldn't take advantage of it because my computer at the time couldn't support most games. It wasn't until about two years ago I got a really good Mac that could play most games available for it.<br /><br />Fortunately, Mac support is still limited enough that most of the Steam catalog isn't available. I see this as a positive, because it keeps me from getting overwhelmed by the possibilities of what I can buy and probably has prevented me from spending more money than I already have.<br /><br />At first I would add games to my wishlist that I could only play on my Mac. If it was available on my 360 than I would get it for that instead.<br /><br />After a while that mindset shifted, mainly because I was running out of space on my 360 hard drive and the Steam client has improved dramatically over the years with features you can't get elsewhere.<br /><br />Since I had a great Mac that could run pretty much anything I wanted, my buying habits reflected that, then I started getting sad because I was buying more than playing. To compensate, I just started adding anything and everything to my wishlist.<br /><br />More games were being made available for the Mac, and it seemed like everything that was coming out was a must have and must own. So if someone raved about a game on a website I would check to see if it was Mac compatible on Steam and add it to the wishlist, and wait for a sale.<br /><br />At first this happened rarely, but now pretty much anything worth playing falls into that category, and my wishlist looked more cluttered than my catalog of games I actually owned.<br /><br />So when those mega Steam sales came around, and EVERYTHING on my wishlist had that green bar next to their price, I didn't know what to get. I was at a mental Steam impasse, and would become so overwhelmed with the options I had created for myself I wouldn't buy anything, in fear of adding to my growing list of never&nbsp;played games.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>STEAM KNOWS THAT I KNOW THAT IT KNOWS</b></span><br /><br /><br />Recently Steam has added user views, curators, and your own personal queue to help sort through the seemingly endless content available to play. It has helped me a lot actually, because it guides me towards games that are similar to games I have in my library.<br /><br />What it also does is suggest games based on your playtime as well. Which sounds super helpful and informative, but I don't think my account has benefited much because I don't have a lot of playtime on many of my games.<br /><br />If I achieve my initial goal of bringing up my percentage and getting into more of a rhythm to play my Steam games before the Summer Sale, hopefully that will&nbsp;help improve my recommendations based around playtime.<br /><br />What these curation tools have&nbsp;done to help me the most is making me realize I should stop adding games to my wishlist.<br /><br />I've gotten to a point in my Steam queue where they&nbsp;are recommending games "because they are popular" or to see how I would respond with it in my queue. It literally asked me a few times something like, "just testing the waters here, no big deal".<br /><br />I think I've gotten to that point with my Steam queue because really I have everything worth playing either a)in my library or b)in my wishlist. If I start adding anything more it really is because it's popular or just cause.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT</b></span><br /><br /><br />I think I'm pretty comfortable with everything that is currently on my Steam wishlist. I would like to say I'm going to freeze my Steam wishlist as is until the Summer sale, but who knows maybe a game will be added that I really want to play, or an older game finally gets Mac compatibility (I'm looking at you Papo &amp; Yo).<br /><br />Currently I have 23 games on my wishlist. That's a lot. But at least it's less than half of 60, right?<br /><br />Now, I think I did a pretty good job of removing those "impulse" games. I also removed any game that didn't have Steam achievements because I want to keep the momentum of building my percentage up after the Sale. But I do have to admit there are some games that stayed because even though I'm not 100% crazy about them, they still look interesting and like something I would get a kick out of playing. Does that make them my first choice? No, but hey if the Steam Summer Sale is lacking on deals for the games I do want, maybe I'll pick up those games and be pleasantly surprised if I end up falling in love with them.<br /><br />Steam let's you rank your games on the wishlist, which honestly I don't like to do. I know what games I would prefer to have over the other, but that's like saying I'd prefer to have a banana over an orange. Doesn't really make a difference, and I don't like one that much more than the other.<br /><br />Except Arkham Knight. I really want Arkham Knight and I'm excited they're bringing it to the Mac. Although that's going to be in the Fall, so that'll probably be a Holiday Sale purchase.<br /><br />What it all really comes down to are the deals that end up being made available when the Summer Sale hits. Like many who have lived through these mega sales, the majority of my purchases come from the daily specials and flash sales, which is where the biggest discounts occur. On the last day I look at everything that wasn't offered as a daily deal or flash sale, and decide if the discount is still worth it.<br /><br />Just because there are 23 games on my wishlist, doesn't mean I have to buy 23 games. I know that. My fear going into these mega sales though is that if I buy just one game, will I ever play it? And I don't ever buy just one, I usually by 5 or 6.<br /><br />I know it's only two months, but I'm trying to stay positive that two months of me actively trying to play my games, will remove that negative connotation that comes with buying games from a mega sale.<br /><br />There really shouldn't be any hesitation when it comes to buying video games. I mean, talk about a first world problem right? Here I am, getting anxious about if I'm going to play a game that's probably loaded with content and can give me many hours of fun, at a crazy price that is realistically absurd to be available at, and I'm nervous about it.<br /><br />I have to think more positively about when I add a game to my wishlist, so that I can stay positive when it comes time to purchase it. And I have to get back to basics for that to happen. I have to play my games.<br /><br />If I play the games I own, I'll play the games on my wishlist. It sounds so easy when I put it that way, right?Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-64155167588765844812015-04-08T19:47:00.000-04:002015-04-08T19:48:43.732-04:00Two months and 60 games<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zqVh7Gs0JR8/VSW9T5RqraI/AAAAAAAAAOE/iaSsCNGAXNI/s1600/Steam%2Blibrary%2Bscreenshot.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zqVh7Gs0JR8/VSW9T5RqraI/AAAAAAAAAOE/iaSsCNGAXNI/s1600/Steam%2Blibrary%2Bscreenshot.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br />In my last post I wrote about how I am <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2015/04/preemptive-2015-steam-summer-sale-goals.html" target="_blank">mentally preparing for the Steam Summer Sale</a>. It's not that far off, and already I am gripped with fear that I am going to uncontrollably purchase anything that's 75% off or less than 5 bucks, while my collection of Steam games continues to collect digital dust.<br /><br />To ease my worries, I have made a (simple) promise to play some of my Steam games until then. That means no impulse purchases like I did last weekend when the Lego games were on sale.<br /><br />Instead I'm going to just focus on a few games, get my game completion percentage up, so I don't feel guilty with every purchase I make during the Steam Summer Sale. Let's face, I'm gonna wanna make some purchases. It can't be stopped! (Well it can, but I don't want it to be).<br /><br />I wrote how in two months I have 103 games to choose from, and should have no problem achieving the simple task of raising my percentage AT LEAST ONE FRIGGIN' PERCENT.<br /><br />But 103 is such a large number, and after I published my blog post I was automatically crippled with the thought of, "BUT WHERE DO I BEGIN!?!"<br /><br />So I decided to sort through my games and what I discovered was I don't have 103 games to choose from. I actually have 60. And that number helps me breathe a lot easier for some reason.<br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">IT'S ALL ABOUT THOSE ACHIEVEMENTS, BABY</span></b><br /><br /><br />I'm not simply trying to play games from my Steam library leading up to the Summer Sale, what I really want to do is raise my average game completion percentage up, which currently sits at an unfavorable 38%.<br /><br />Doesn't take a math genius to look at the number and realize it's less than half. I'm a glass is half full kind of guy, so that number makes me sad.<br /><br />Obviously that number comes from the Steam achievements, so I don't need to play the games that don't have achievements because they won't affect my average. Now, I know, at the end of the day achievements aren't that important, but really it's kind of a mental thing. If I look at my profile and I see a number that says, "Hey, you've played less than half your games you've spent a lot of money on," I get kind of down. So if I bring that number up, it'll also make me think about my Steam library in a more positive way.<br /><br />I know that really playing the games is all that matters, but having some sort of visual reference to validate that I am playing my games is soothing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who looks at achievements that way.<br /><br />And this doesn't mean that I'm never going to play those non-achievement games. I just won't be doing it before the Summer Sale. Maybe as a reward after I get through this I should play one of those non achievo games as a sign of good faith.<br /><br />Because seriously, I've should've played Gone Home by now.<br /><br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">THE NUMBERS ARE A LIE</span></b><br /><br /><br />Speaking of Gone Home, don't believe the 2.6 hours of playtime it has on my profile. I did it all for the Steam trading cards. Meaning I just loaded up the game to the title screen and did something else, like, not play the game.<br /><br />::sigh...what the hell is wrong with me?!?...::<br /><br />Anyway, there are a lot of games in my library that I simply let idle so that I could collect the trading cards because #priorities. So unfortunately if I do decide to play, let's say, Mark of the Ninja for realz&nbsp;the total playtime is going to be off. Which actually kind of bums me out.<br /><br />I enjoy looking at the time spent playing games because it helps to put things in perspective when I 100% a game. I can compare my experiences between games, and it helps ease the fear of not having enough time to play games or better focus my energy on different games after noticing that I've maybe spent too much time on one game.<br /><br />So yeah, what did we learn? Don't let games idle. I have a lot of "playtime" hours where I didn't actually do anything, and all that wasted time could've actually gone towards building up that game completion percentage. Live and learn.<br /><br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">60 GAMES = NO EXCUSES</span></b><br /><br /><br />Not every game in my Steam library is created equally. Some games I excluded from the final 60 because they are PC only, and I have a Mac, so that helps a bit.<br /><br />I'm sure those few games that are PC exclusive aren't going to be missed, because I have 60 games to choose from. That's still a large selection, albeit less than 103. If I continuously sit in front of my computer deciding what game to play and never getting to around to focusing on at least one freaking game than I think it's safe to say I have a problem.<br /><br />What I learned the most from these 60 games though, is I won't probably ever play some of them. I won't name any names, because I don't want to hurt any feelings, but realistically a lot of those games I look at and <a href="http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/ep4zqu/the-final-bosman-good-vibes-and-metroid-prime" target="_blank">they're just not my vibe</a>.<br /><br />The bulk of those games that don't vibe with me were add-ons from Humble Bundle purchases. Very few if any games I purchase individually do I regret buying. I try not to purchase something I won't enjoy. But if there is one or two games from a Humble Bundle I really want, I'll take the whole bundle because it's a good deal, no?<br /><br />That was the way I used to think, but it's easy to let things get out of control, and chances are that one or two game from the bundle will go on sale eventually on it's own, so I'm better off waiting until it does, instead of adding five more games to my library I'll never touch.<br /><br />More importantly though, they bring my percentage down.<br /><br />Not to say I won't end up liking those games, but honestly I have enough games that I should be playing because at some point I was really excited or interested in playing it.<br /><br />The point is, even though within the 60 there are games I don't want to play, there still is a huge selection to choose from. The hard part now is focusing on what do I play first, but I guess that's a good problem to have?<br /><br />Maybe I should stop worrying about what to play first, and just pick something. If I somehow end up not liking my choice, I'll probably have unlocked a few achievements in the process and can just pick something else from the 60. Really it's a win/win, and I need to stopping psyching myself out and play something.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-33201427408060698712015-04-08T10:01:00.000-04:002015-04-08T19:48:22.443-04:00Preemptive 2015 Steam Summer Sale Goals<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7RRjFlpu6Vw/VSUZ98nR2HI/AAAAAAAAANw/JxGo_oLv45I/s1600/Summer%2BAdventure%2BCard%2B2014%2B-%2B07.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7RRjFlpu6Vw/VSUZ98nR2HI/AAAAAAAAANw/JxGo_oLv45I/s1600/Summer%2BAdventure%2BCard%2B2014%2B-%2B07.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br />Last year's Steam Summer Sale began on June 19 and ran until June 30th. As I write this, it is April 7th, so that leaves me about two months time to actually play some of my games I have purchased over the years on Steam.<br /><br />I have saved a ton of money on video games by buying through Steam. Regrettably, I haven't played any of those games as much as I would have liked. On my Steam achievements stats page, I have 4 perfect games, and a 38% avg. game completion rate. I have a total of 103 games in my library.<br /><br />Two months. 103 games. 38% average game completion rate.<br /><br />I have some work to do.<br /><a name='more'></a><br />My immediate goal is to bring that game completion percentage up. How much can I bring it up by the time the Summer Sale rolls around? I don't know. I don't want to set a "it must be at xx.x%" goal because I don't know how to calculate the percentages on Steam, and honestly it'll go up if I just start playing games and unlocking achievements.<br /><br />But I want it to go up. If I get to the Summer Sale and it hasn't gone up by at least 1%, I don't think I should be allowed to buy a single game from the Summer Sale.<br /><br />If it somehow is less than 38% by the time the Summer Sale rolls around, I should be banned from buying anything from the Holiday Sale as well.<br /><br />I have so many great games to play on my Steam library, why haven't I started them? I think subconsciously I'm afraid.<br /><br />I have this fear that I'm going to start a game, and it's going to take me forever to finish it. It's a reasonable fear, because my life can get really busy and finding the time to play games on any gaming platform I have access to can be difficult.<br /><br />Yet I'm starting to realize it's not as difficult as I make it seem to be. I can squeeze in at least an hour of gaming EVERY DAY if I REALLY WANTED to. I put that in all caps because honestly there's no excuse not to be trying to do that with the collection of games I haven't played yet.<br /><br />Also, if I get really into a game, I notice I find the time to play it regardless of what might be going on in my life. I like to make excuses that I don't have time to play games; I have kids, I work a full time job, I like to spend time with my beautiful wife, etc. Valid, important, and reasonable excuses, don't get me wrong, but yet I can still clock in over 600 hours of Pokemon X, train to win a local Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament, record game play footage for a bunch of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/BeBetterGamer" target="_blank">old school N64 wrestling games</a>, and <a href="https://miiverse.nintendo.net/posts/AYMHAAACAAADVHjPaRhYog" target="_blank">200% Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze</a>.<br /><br />Yup. The guy with the kids 200% Tropical Freeze. "Don't have time to play games" my ass.<br /><br />I still tell myself, while I browse my Steam wish list and my library, "Oh I'll NEVER have the time." I call bullshit! That's bullshit sir, and you need to stop lying to yourself.<br /><br />Yeah I don't have the time I once had circa the time in my life before the age of 22. But I still have <i>some </i>time to play games, therefore no excuse not to play the games off my Steam library that have been collecting digital dust while I breed yet another Greninja this time with a timid nature as opposed to modest.<br /><br />The real problem is focus. I don't focus in on my Steam library like I should. Does that mean I'll neglect my Wii U or 3DS? No. I'm pretty sure I didn't need to add that last 200 hours of Pokemon X game play. If I dedicated that time instead to my Steam library, who knows how high my Steam average game completion rate would be by now? 38.5%?<br /><br />So I have two months. More than enough time to play some Steam games. More than enough time to properly curate my wish list with things I want to buy during the Summer Sale (if the price is right).<br /><br />I'm not going to be fearful while I do it. I'm not going to think while I drag and drop my wish list games, "Oh man I'm never going to have time to even play this". I need to stop thinking about how "I'm not" going to have time to play something, and think about how "I WILL" find the time.<br /><br />So yeah, that's my goal gearing up for the Steam Summer Sale: "Play my Steam games I already own while I wait."<br /><br />Seems pretty simple when I put it that way.Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-24534192274113174312015-01-15T16:55:00.000-05:002015-01-15T16:55:35.398-05:00Do I really need the Majora's Mask New 3DS?!?<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_GPI4R220Iw/VLg1u1aMowI/AAAAAAAAAM4/WuZAFDeNeSA/s1600/Majora's%2BMask%2BEdition%2B3DS%2BXL.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_GPI4R220Iw/VLg1u1aMowI/AAAAAAAAAM4/WuZAFDeNeSA/s1600/Majora's%2BMask%2BEdition%2B3DS%2BXL.png" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br />I really want the Majora's Mask Edition "New" 3DS XL. But do I really need it? A part of me says, "YES!" That's the part of me that smiles every time I pull out my A Link Between Worlds 3DS XL to play my games. It makes every game feel like a special moment, because I have this amazing looking system to play it on. When I'm around a group of people holding their standard 3DS's, I'm usually the only one that has this edition and I bask amidst their "ooh's"&nbsp;and "aah's."<br /><br />Another part of me says, "NO!" That's the part of me that made a promise not to go over my budget of $520 to spend on games this year. A promise that I've broken for the past five years. It's also the part of me that knows this "New" 3DS XL model is a re-design, but what about the eventual re-design of the re-design? The only reason why I have my Link Between Worlds 3DS XL, is because I didn't buy the 3DS when it first came out. I waited, and my patience was rewarded with a sweet Zelda themed portable.<br /><br />This is the struggle I have on a daily basis with my relationship to video games, magnified. I'm trying to better my gaming habits: reduce my spending on impulse purchases and spend more time playing the large library of games I own. But video games never stop being awesome, and there is always a new game or limited edition bundle that I want, because this is my passion and I don't want to miss out on anything. Yet I know it's impossible to own and play every single gaming thing that is released.<br /><a name='more'></a><br />If you asked me on January 13th if I was going to get a "New" Nintendo 3DS when it came out, I would've said no. Eventually, I would pick one up, but like most new console releases there really isn't a need to get it right away. I already have a 3DS, and there isn't anything exclusive to the new design that motivates me to have it instantaneously. Xenoblade Chronicles is exclusive to the new system, and it would be neat to play that game as I missed out when it was released for the Wii, but it's not a must own game for me.<br /><br />If you told me the new Pokemon game was going to be only playable on the New 3DS, then yeah I'd have to buy it. But even then I would probably wait until that Pokemon game was released. I tell people all the time how I most likely won't even get a PS4 or Xbox One this year, because it's still too soon and there aren't enough games yet. The longer those systems go without releasing games I'm interested in, the easier it is for me to wait. So why should I follow a different ideology with the New Nintendo 3DS?<br /><br />It's amazing what a coat of paint on a handheld can do. It's gorgeous! And I know it's probably going to be prettier in person, because my Link Between Worlds 3DS XL was/is. It's the best kind of bundle too, one that actually comes with the game. I usually prefer the limited edition console packaged with the game as opposed to the standalone models. It helps to cover up the fact you're paying money for a system you already own, because at least it's coming with the game. If it's not with the game, than you can always just buy the game and not the new system. Which is the same thing you can do even if it is bundled with the game.<br /><br />See what mind tricks video games play on me? I know I don't really need this to play Majora's Mask. I know it's just a fresh coat of point. I know my patience will most likely be rewarded with a <i>new </i>New 3DS model later on. I know I don't have the money for it. But still the best counter I can come up with all those arguments are, "It looks so pretty!!!!"<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XxsEVOyndyU/VLg2ccBgDVI/AAAAAAAAANA/Vw2GtsCCZu0/s1600/Majora's%2BMask%2B01.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XxsEVOyndyU/VLg2ccBgDVI/AAAAAAAAANA/Vw2GtsCCZu0/s1600/Majora's%2BMask%2B01.jpg" height="384" width="640" /></a></div><br />I have never even played Majora's Mask! Yes, I'm practically drooling over my keyboard at the images of this design, and I've never played the game it's about. I mean it's Zelda, and I'm a big fan of Zelda, but the secret of my love of Zelda is that <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/08/my-deep-dark-secret-about-legend-of.html" target="_blank">it's built on lies</a>. I haven't played most of the games in the series, yet it's one of my favorites. Madness!<br /><br />My excitement for the A Link Between Worlds bundle was justifiable because it was a new Zelda game set in the world of the SNES game I played a lot of....but don't tell anyone this...I never beat the game when I was a kid. Shhhh! I said don't tell! My excitement for the Wind Waker HD was justifiable because I bought Wind Waker for the GCN when it was first released...and played it for a few hours...and never beat it (<a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/07/11-years-later-i-finally-beat-wind-waker.html" target="_blank">until I got it for the Wii U, 11 years later</a>).<br /><br />A lot of my excitement for Majora's Mask being re-released is that I can now finally play it. I had Ocarina for the N64 back in the day, and it was one of my favorite games on the system. But Majora's Mask came out a month before WWF No Mercy. With a limited budget to buy games as a kid, I wasn't spending any of my own money on games that didn't have the title WWF No Mercy on the box in the months prior to it's release. So I skipped on Majora's Mask, because I was patient enough to save my money and wait for No Mercy.<br /><br />That's a part of the struggle, deciding on what games get your hard earned money or not. As a kid it's a little easier to make these decisions, because you don't probably have any income coming in from a job or anything. Part of the problem when I got older is all my money went to games, because I had the money to buy anything I wanted, I didn't have to force myself to choose. But that created a bad habit, because even though I was buying all the games, I wasn't playing all the games. Eventually I sold a lot of games I never ended up playing, and regret a lot of those purchases.<br /><br />I started a gaming budget for myself to avoid that, but apparently I suck at self control because every year since I promised I would stick to my budget, I always spent more. Last year I smashed my budget, <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/10/i-spent-lot-of-money-on-nintendo-in-2014.html" target="_blank">thanks in particular to the Wii U</a>. I don't regret the Wii U purchase and all the games I bought for it, but I would've felt less guilty if I had been sticking to my budget the years leading up to last, as opposed to just repeating the same bad habit.<br /><br />Last year should have been the year I broke my budget justifiably. But every year before that I was "justifying" my excess spending fully aware that I was lying to myself. I like to buy games, and it's hard for me to stop. That's a problem. That's money that can be spent elsewhere: vacations, date nights, underwear, etc. I should start to justify why I don't need games, rather than why I do.<br /><br />I'm trying something different with this year's budget. I created a mini roadmap of the games coming out this year that I know I'm going to "need" to buy. So I decided if I really "need" those games, than I should subtract it from my budget now, so that I'll have the money by the time that game is released. This allows me to be more aware of my impulse game purchases, and how it will affect my budget for games that are expected to be released in the year.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-E3YcwBT3eF4/VLg26lC4RXI/AAAAAAAAANM/ZVngKyEZEZ0/s1600/Majora's%2BMask%2B02.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-E3YcwBT3eF4/VLg26lC4RXI/AAAAAAAAANM/ZVngKyEZEZ0/s1600/Majora's%2BMask%2B02.jpg" height="384" width="640" /></a></div><br />Majora's Mask was on my budget for this year. As was a few other games and accessories. But if I put the Majora's Mask bundle on my budget, I go over. That means a game or two that I "really needed" would have to be removed. If if I buy the New Nintendo 3DS Majora's Mask, I'd pretty much would lock myself into buying only the games that I had on my budget, unless I decided to swap those out for other games.<br /><br />So yeah, I know the answer. Getting the Majora's Mask 3DS, in my situation, is not a good idea. Maybe if I had stuck to my budget all these years, I could've. But I don't have the discipline yet I desperately need. I had it as a kid; every game I owned I played. Practically all the games I owned I 100%, even if I barely liked the game. But that's what you do when you are a kid who had more than enough time to do so. As you get older your responsibilities grow and the time for video games (at least in my life) reduces drastically.<br /><br />Anyway, <a href="http://kotaku.com/psa-the-majoras-mask-3ds-sold-out-online-but-you-can-1679470703" target="_blank">it sold out pretty much as fast as it was announced</a>. Sure people are still able to preorder it at this moment, but it's not the easiest thing to do right now. That actually helps me, knowing that even if I did somehow convince myself that I needed to get this, it would be crazy difficult to obtain. And I would be crazy to try and do it. I'm crazy about video games, but I'm not that crazy...right?<br /><br />So yeah, I'm not getting it. I wish I could, but honestly the main thing for me is being able to buy Majora's Mask when it's released, and to play that all the way through. That's what I really need to focus on. And this is only the beginning of my struggle this year, Majora's Mask is released in February, but I'm sure this won't be the first and last shiny new gaming thing I'm going to want this year that will break my budget. This is a test on whether not my will is strong enough to keep myself from going over budget this year.<br /><br />I have to stay strong, and accept the fact that I will be the one "oohing" and "aahing" when someone else pulls out their Majora's Mask Edition New 3DS XL in front of me.Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-45507126991262682092014-12-23T12:44:00.000-05:002014-12-23T12:44:43.114-05:00Maybe I should renew my Xbox Live subscription for 2015<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yM2MBbYtbsI/VJmgm6EaKhI/AAAAAAAAAMo/ZwkF8SbzhyI/s1600/Games%2Bwith%2BGold.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yM2MBbYtbsI/VJmgm6EaKhI/AAAAAAAAAMo/ZwkF8SbzhyI/s1600/Games%2Bwith%2BGold.png" height="304" width="640" /></a></div><br />Last week my Xbox Live Gold subscription expired. I have been a member of Xbox Live for close to 9 years, but I keep automatic removal off. At the end of every year, I always tell myself I won't need to renew. Something eventually always keeps me coming back. It used to be multiplayer that kept me renewing. Then Netflix and other apps, and eventually the deals on games you could only get through Gold. I always felt the <strike>$50</strike> $60 I spent on my subscription was worth it.<br /><br />For the past year, I barely touched my Xbox 360. The only times I turned it on was to play Castle Crashers or MineCraft with my daughter. I haven't played an Xbox 360 game online since Halo 4, which I played mostly at the beginning of the Summer <i>last year</i>. I only bought one game on sale this year, and that was Beautiful Katamari (another game I can play with my daughter). This year you no longer needed a Gold Subscription for Netflix, Hulu, and other apps but I had purchased a new TV a few months before that allowed me to use those apps. Now I don't even use my Xbox 360 for Netflix or Hulu anymore.<br /><br />Surely next year I don't need an Xbox Live subscription? <a href="http://www.polygon.com/2014/12/13/7388089/xbox-live-games-with-gold-free-games-2014" target="_blank">Polygon recently published an article</a> on how much money you saved on games through the Games With Gold promotion this year (inspired by the <a href="http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2014/12/feature_did_playstation_plus_represent_value_for_money_in_2014" target="_blank">Push Square article on PS Plus</a>). The promotion began in June of 2013, so this was the first full year and the savings are pretty staggering. If you downloaded each game offered for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 the total value was $584.67. But what if you didn't download every game? What if, like me, you only have an Xbox 360 and only downloaded a few games...was it still worth having an Xbox Live subscription?<br /><a name='more'></a><br />There were 25 games offered for the Xbox 360 this year through Games With Gold. That's two games each month, with a bonus third game offered in June. Like I mentioned earlier, this year I bought only one game, Beautiful Katamari, for my Xbox 360. But thanks to Games With Gold, I added 12 new games to my collection.<br /><br />I downloaded about half of the games that were offered this year for free. Why only half? Why not just download all of them, I mean, they're free right? And I'm already saving money if I did download all the games. Well, I knew that even though I was getting the games for free, I was still adding them to my never ending backlog. As cool as it was to get more games for free, I felt guilty with almost every download, because I wasn't playing any of those games.<br /><br />Last year I downloaded every game that was offered. But that was quickly filling up my HDD, and honestly was I ever going to play Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013? Probably not. So this year I decided that I would only download games that I would eventually play. Yeah I know, I say that about games I buy on sale and they just end up on my backlog. But my Xbox Live membership is already covered for the year, so why not take advantage on games I am interested in or were already on my wish list?<br /><br />Here is a list of all the games I downloaded in 2014 through Games With Gold (the dates they were first offered are in parentheses):<br /><br />Sleeping Dogs (1/1/2014)<br />Toy Soldiers: Cold War (2/16/2014)<br />Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution (3/1/2014)<br />Dungeon Defenders (3/16/2014)<br />Dust: An Elysian Tail (5/1/2014)<br />Saints Row: The Third (5/16/2014)<br />Dark Souls (6/1/2014)<br />Dishonored (8/16/2014)<br />Halo: Reach* (9/15/2014)<br />Darksiders II (10/16/2014)<br />Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise (11/1/2014)<br />Red Faction: Guerrilla (11/16/2014)<br /><br />*Technically, I already owned Halo: Reach. I had created another gamertag a few years ago, and was given a free download code for Halo: Reach because I participated in their beta program. I maybe downloaded one or two other games through that gamertag, so those games including Reach are attached to my console, but not my current Gamertag. I don't use the other one anymore so I downloaded Reach to have it on my main Gamertag.<br /><br />Besides Reach, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition was the only other game offered this year that I already owned. In total there were 11 games I didn't own that I chose not to download. I would have downloaded SSX, but I was a few days too late and my Xbox Live subscription expired before I could.<br /><br />How much were these twelve games worth before they were offered for free? How much would I have paid if I bought them at full price? Well I went on the <a href="http://xbldb.com/" target="_blank">xbox live database</a> to check their list price before they were free:<br /><br />Sleeping Dogs - $20<br />Toy Soldiers: Cold War - $15<br />Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution - $30<br />Dungeon Defenders - $15<br />Dust: An Elysian Tail - $15<br />Saints Row: The Third - $20<br />Dark Souls - $20<br />Dishonored - $20<br />Halo: Reach - $25<br />Darksiders II - $50<br />Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise - $15<br />Red Faction: Guerrilla - $20<br /><br />Total - $265<br /><br />Minus $60 for the Xbox Live subscription, that's a total of $205 I've saved on these games. That's a pretty significant savings. But I could've gotten these games all on sale if I really wanted them, right? Most of these games were on sale at one point in 2014, so let's take a look at the lowest prices they hit throughout the year (besides being free):<br /><br />Sleeping Dogs - $12.39 (4/7/14)<br />Toy Soldiers: Cold War - $15 (not on sale in 2014)<br />Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution - $30 (not on sale in 2014)<br />Dungeon Defenders - $3.74 (12/15/14)<br />Dust: An Elysian Tail - $2.99 (2/17/14)<br />Saints Row: The Third - $20 (not on sale in 2014)<br />Dark Souls - $4.99 (1/20/14, 2/22/14, and 10/7/14)<br />Dishonored - $6.59 (7/7/14)<br />Halo: Reach - $7.49 (2/17/14)<br />Darksiders II - $9.99 (7/7/14)<br />Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise - $15 (not on sale in 2014)<br />Red Faction: Guerrilla - $9.99 (7/22/14)<br /><br />Total - $138.17<br /><br />Minus $60 for the Xbox Live subscription, that's a total of $78.17 I would've saved if I actually bought the games when they were on sale at their lowest points. Of course, you never really know when a game will be at it's lowest. For example, Darksiders II went on sale multiples times this year at different prices, and eventually was offered for free. The difference between the two totals is $126.83, which is pretty significant too.<br /><br />If you downloaded as many games as I did through Games With Gold, it seems like a no brainer to keep the Xbox Live Subscription for another year. Then why am I still hesitant Why do I need to write a blog filled with facts and numbers that convince me it's a good deal, yet I still have reservations about it?<br /><br />It's that dreaded backlog. Of those twelve games I downloaded I only played four: Sleeping Dogs, Toy Soldiers: Cold War, Dark Souls, and Dust: An Elysian Tail. Each of those games I can honestly say I played around 30-45 minutes. I was excited to get each of these games for free (except Dungeon Defenders, don't know why I downloaded that) but I immediately put them on the backburner because I didn't pay for them. Instead I played games I did pay for, partially because I felt obligated.<br /><br />I didn't spend much time on Dark Souls, <a href="http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/dark-souls" target="_blank">critically hailed as one of the best games of 2011</a>, because I saw that I could easily put a hundred hours into that game, yet it would be taking time from games I actually paid for. A part of me would feel really guilty about that. I mean, free is free and I can't really complain, but every time a game gets added to my backlog I'm overwhelmed with guilt and it kind of cripples me from attempting to clear up my backlog.<br /><br />It sounds silly, I know. If I was a kid I would have killed to get a free game, any game. I probably would care less what it is; the excitement of having that game a part of my collection would be enough and I would make sure I would play it because I wouldn't have had it any other way unless it was free. What happened? Why do I feel sad and guilty when I get a free game instead of excited and overjoyed?<br /><br />I need to break out of that mentality. I paid for one Xbox 360 game this year, but I ended up having twelve new games added to my collection (thirteen if I had downloaded SSX fast enough). Yeah I didn't really play any of them, but at least I didn't actually pay the $265 I would have if I did. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself, and embrace the Games With Gold program, because it's a fantastic deal and the numbers don't lie.<br /><br />If I ever want to not feel bad about adding games to my backlog, I need to start clearing up my backlog. That's what I'm determined to do in 2015. I don't think I should be so hard on myself if I do renew my Gold subscription, and add more games to my collection, as long as I wasn't paying full price I should be happy. Besides if I start clearing up my backlog of games I didn't pay for, I'll have a whole bunch of great games I didn't, and that's a pretty cool reward.<br /><br />It looks like I will be renewing my Xbox Live subscription for another year. I really thought this would be my last year, but now more than ever it pays to be one. The benefits you receive in terms of saving money on games is incredibly valuable (unless you own most of them or don't want any of them). At the end of next year the deciding factor for renewing my subscription will be if the total value of games I got for free was more than $60. I have a very large wish list, so as long as the Games With Gold program keeps offering games from that list, I'll continue to be an Xbox Live member for a long, long time.<br /><br /><br /><br />Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/104163992168583768584[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-31207863143945665752014-12-22T12:46:00.000-05:002014-12-22T12:46:25.905-05:00Why I won't buy Trials Fusion this Holiday<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xLzDGI2WHOg/VJhSjxlDB3I/AAAAAAAAAMA/ENZzTGVK7W8/s1600/Trials%2BFusion%2B01.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xLzDGI2WHOg/VJhSjxlDB3I/AAAAAAAAAMA/ENZzTGVK7W8/s1600/Trials%2BFusion%2B01.jpg" height="358" width="640" /></a></div><br />The video game sale season is upon us! At the end of the year people all over the world look forward to the weeks of sales that flood Steam, Xbox Live, Nintendo eShop, PSN, etc. Hundreds of games get discounted, and it can be hard to resist buying all the games that you don't already have from last year's holiday sale. Christmas happens around this time I think.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/12/why-i-wont-buy-any-games-during-2014.html" target="_blank">I recently wrote</a> that this year, I'm not going to buy a single new game from any of these video game holiday sales. Why? Blame my backlog. It's gotten out of control, and I really am going to make an effort in 2015 to play those games I've been neglecting. Seriously, I am! Also <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/10/i-spent-lot-of-money-on-nintendo-in-2014.html" target="_blank">I've spent way too much money on games this year</a>, so I don't need anymore.<br /><br />It can be tough to avoid purchasing games this time of year. When I'm at home I can simply play games to avoid it, but these game companies make it real easy to buy games either through their apps or online. It doesn't help that every gaming website loves to post the daily sales and specials going on, with helpful links to purchase said games. So to avoid buying away from home, I've decided to write about why I won't be buying a certain game that is on sale. Each game I write about is one that has been on my wish list for a while. This entry is about <a href="http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/Trials-Fusion/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258411401" target="_blank">Trials Fusion</a>, which is today's <a href="http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/promotion/countdown-2015-xbox-360-daily-deals" target="_blank">daily deal in the Xbox countdown to 2015 sale</a>.<br /><a name='more'></a><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AMEYAWrfy9w/VJhUFp1i9uI/AAAAAAAAAMM/HNmVRGAMRXA/s1600/Trials%2BHD.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AMEYAWrfy9w/VJhUFp1i9uI/AAAAAAAAAMM/HNmVRGAMRXA/s1600/Trials%2BHD.jpg" height="358" width="640" /></a></div><br />Normally Trials Fusion is $19.99, but it is being offered at 50% off for $9.99. Not a bad deal, although Trials Fusion carries a bigger base price than Trials HD and Trials Evolution did; both were $15. I bought Trials HD on April 15, 2011, about ten months after it was released on June 21, 2010. It was also 50% off when I bought it for $7.50.<br /><br />I've put about a couple of hours into Trials HD. I'm probably being generous with that estimate. I know I beat the first set of tracks on Easy, and Gold medaled a few of them. It was a game I kept coming back to play every few minutes in between other games. I wanted to play the game over a few weeks to try and complete all the challenges, but I never did.<br /><br />Since it was so easy to jump in and play, it was even easier to not play it for a long time. I also bought the Big Thrills DLC when I bought the full game on Apr 15, 2011. It was also half off it's full price of $5, so I got it for $2.50. The Big Thrills add-on was originally released in December 2010, so about six months after the game's launch. There is another add-on for the game, The Big Pack, which was released the day Trials HD launched.<br /><br />I never bought The Big Pack DLC, maybe because it wasn't on sale the day I bought the full game and the Big Thrills add-on. I do remember being aware of it going on sale at different times, but I knew I wasn't playing Trials HD regularly to justify that purchase. "I'll play it soon enough!" I kept <strike>lying </strike>saying to myself. I knew eventually I would get around to it, and sure enough by the time Trials Evolution came out, I still barely had put any time in Trials HD.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RodFEY7u4Kg/VJhVkfclhdI/AAAAAAAAAMY/XP-vvNgqyGk/s1600/Trials%2BEvolution.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RodFEY7u4Kg/VJhVkfclhdI/AAAAAAAAAMY/XP-vvNgqyGk/s1600/Trials%2BEvolution.jpg" height="358" width="640" /></a></div><br />Trials Evolution looked sweet and I was interested in getting it. But I knew it would probably succumb to the same fate of Trials HD if I bought it right away. I'd play it for a few minutes here or there, and then just forget about it. That's not a knock on Trials, it's a result of my own faults. I know it's such an easy game to pick up and play that when I do put it down, I don't come back to it because I'll tell myself it'll be easy to come back to. But I never do!<br /><br />So it wouldn't suffer the same fate, Trials Evolution has been sitting on my wish list since it's release, which was April 18, 2012; a year and three days after I had bought Trials HD on sale. If I had put in the time, I could have been done with Trials HD by the time Evolution was released. But I can also make that statement about a lot of games and their sequels. Fortunately I avoided the temptation to purchase Evolution whenever I saw it on sale.<br /><br />Eventually, Trials Fusion was announced and it released this year on April 16, three years and a day since I first bought Trials HD on sale. When I saw they were releasing Fusion, it created a dilemma: do I skip Trials Evolution or not? Would it be so bad if I removed Trials Evolution from my wish list completely in favor of Fusion? If I had bought Evolution during the time it came out, that would have given me two years to play the game, and yet I still have barely invested any time in Trials HD.<br /><br />Trials Fusion seems like a fantastic game to play. I enjoy Trials HD a lot, and know I would enjoy Fusion. I just can't justify buying it today, knowing I still have yet to play more than a couple of hours in Trials HD, a game I bought three years and eight months ago. While writing this, I realize that I should remove Trials Evolution from my wish list. If I do buy another Trials game, it should be the latest entry in the franchise.<br /><br />A big part of reducing my backlog in 2015 is going to be reducing my wish list. I feel like I burden myself with having to obtain sequels for games that have already been in my backlog for years. Trials is a perfect example of a series that I enjoyed ever so briefly, but feel pressured in getting each game released in the franchise so far. Who knows, by the time they release the next game, I still probably won't have played more of Trials HD (I hope that isn't the case).<br /><br />For now Trials Fusion will stay on my wish list. Trials HD is definitely making my list of backlog games I need to play and finish in 2015. Maybe next holiday Fusion will be on sale at a bigger discount than 50%, but I'm only going to get it if I've completed Trials HD. I could always download and play Trials Frontier for my iPhone, it's free and that might help me get back into wanting to play more Trials HD at home.<br /><br />That's my story about the Trials series, and why I won't be getting Trials Fusion this holiday. Feels good to write this out, takes a lot of the pressure off actually. This is only the beginning though, the daily deals keep coming for Xbox, and there are still a bunch of games currently on sale through Steam that I need to write about. I'm going to be doing a lot of writing these next couple of weeks, but that means I'll be saving a lot of money and preventing more games flooding my backlog!<br /><br /><br />Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-16098964138003380022014-12-19T12:47:00.002-05:002014-12-19T12:47:26.344-05:00Why I won't buy any games during the 2014 holiday sales<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HOL_Xrx1zUU/VJRj0XiIv2I/AAAAAAAAALw/e6Pv41pn32k/s1600/Steam%2Bholiday%2Bsale%2B2014.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HOL_Xrx1zUU/VJRj0XiIv2I/AAAAAAAAALw/e6Pv41pn32k/s1600/Steam%2Bholiday%2Bsale%2B2014.jpg" height="368" width="640" /></a></div><br />Ugh...the <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/" target="_blank">2014 Steam holiday sale is here</a>. As well as the <a href="http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/promotion/countdown-2015-xbox-360-week-long-deals" target="_blank">countdown to 2015 Xbox sale</a>. I'm sure there will be some holiday sale shenanigans on the Nintendo eShop next week. All these sales are exciting, and there are many great deals to be had. But not for me. No way, Jose. I will not buy anything that is on sale during these holiday times...oh snap, <a href="http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/METAL-GEAR-SOLID-V-GROUND-ZEROES/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d8024b4e085c?cid=search" target="_blank">MGS V: Ground Zeroes is $6.59</a>?!?!<br /><br />No! I will not buy it! For the past couple of years, I would give myself a small budget so that I could take advantage of these holiday sales. My patience for not spending any money on new or recent games throughout the year was rewarded when I could snag six or seven games for the price of $60. But this year, I spent way too much money on games. I wrote about the amount of money I've spent on <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/10/i-spent-lot-of-money-on-nintendo-in-2014.html" target="_blank">Nintendo products alone</a> this year, but I've been too afraid to calculate all my other gaming expenses of 2014.<br /><br />Truthfully, I don't need any more games this year. To be perfectly honest, I've never needed to buy games during these holiday sales. I've always had plenty, and it's just me overloading. It's like that third plate at Thanksgiving dinner. I don't really need it, I'm just not exercising any will power and giving in to my selfish, gluttonous ways. And even though I saved a bunch of money last holiday, I've yet to play most of those games I bought one year later.<br /><br /><a name='more'></a>This time, it's going to be different. But how? Can I really just quit cold turkey? I have been strong enough to avoid sales such as the 2014 Spring Xbox Live sale or the Steam Summer sale. But those are individual sales. Every platform I play games on has some sort of mega deals going on now. And it won't stop until <i>after </i>Christmas. So I need a lot more than will power for these next couple of weeks where everywhere I turn my head a sweet deal on a game catches my eye.<br /><br />Should I just play Pokemon Alpha Sapphire or Super Smash Bros for Wii U every time I think about getting a game? When people try to quit smoking or drinking, one practice to fight temptation is to substitute something else every time you have a thought about smoking a cigarette or having a drink. Like, instead of drinking a glass of vodka you could have chocolate milk or a pack of sunflower seeds. Maybe everytime I get the itch to buy a new game, I should right away turn on a game I own and start playing.<br /><br />That is definitely a healthy solution, and will keep me focused on playing the games I own. But I'm not always around my games or systems. What do I do if I'm on my phone and I'm browsing the Steam app, and <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/253030/" target="_blank">Race the Sun is $1.99</a>!??! It's so easy; I can just click buy and, oh yeah, it'll feel so good. So fast, so easy, man. Buying games online or through apps all day: that's the life I want to live.<br /><br />No! I can't do that, not this year. Even if it is so convenient. Maybe next year. I need to earn that right. Buying games during the holiday when they are on sale should be a reward for playing all my games throughout the year. I should be craving to buy games because I don't have anything else left to play. My need for more games should be satisfied because I actually need new games to play, not to fulfill some weird pleasure rush I get from just buying a game because it was cheap and "look now I have another new game I'm never going to play!"<br /><br />My second answer to this problem is to write about the games I would have bought instead of buying. Sounds weird right? Well it's kind of like creating a pros and cons list, although the end result will always be me not buying the game. But at least I talked about it! And hey, each game I write about can be a blog entry and well, would you look at that! I'm actually writing about games on my blog about games I barely write anything on!<br /><br />I feel this would help me greatly because I still feel like I'm doing something productive in the gaming space, and I'm not dropping money I shouldn't be. I'll write about why I would've bought the game, what appeals to me about it, and why the deal is such a good one. Then I can talk about why I don't need to buy the game. Do I really need another strategy game like <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/221540/" target="_blank">Defense Grid 2</a> or <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/237990/" target="_blank">The Banner Saga</a>, when I know I'm going to be spending a lot of hours in Pokemon Alpha Sapphire the next couple of months? Or maybe I should finally play the copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown I have downloaded on Steam?<br /><br />For every game I would want to buy this holiday season, I'm sure there is a story that can be told about why I shouldn't get the game now. Maybe later? Sure, as long as I keep working on my backlog. I am really determined to tackle my backlog effectively next year. Hopefully holiday 2015 will be a different scenario and I can buy games again.<br /><br />That's the dream. For now, the reality is I shouldn't buy a single game from any of these holiday sales. I only have myself to blame, what with all those great games sitting in my backlog. Woe is me; I <i>guess</i> I'll play those great games I already own, ugh... #gamerproblems. But seriously I'm excited to start writing about the games on my wish list that will be staying on the wish list this year. Who knows, maybe when I start writing about certain games, I'll come to the realization that they shouldn't be on my wish list, and maybe I would be better off never buying it, regardless of it being on sale or not.<br /><br />Either way, I'll still have a lot of great games to play up until holiday 2015 even if I don't buy a single game this holiday season.<br /><br /><br />Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-79545685321493708302014-12-03T15:26:00.001-05:002014-12-03T15:26:07.741-05:00Gaming Goal of 2015 #001: Having a budget of $520 to spend (and sticking to it)<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wnXVqTBlc4M/VH9wYmdSx5I/AAAAAAAAA0Q/yav3pwpHbbE/s1600/Deals%2Bwith%2Bgold%2Bcancelled.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wnXVqTBlc4M/VH9wYmdSx5I/AAAAAAAAA0Q/yav3pwpHbbE/s1600/Deals%2Bwith%2Bgold%2Bcancelled.png" height="400" width="400" /></a></div><br />For the past few years, I've given myself a budget of $520 to spend on gaming for the year. Why $520? There are 52 weeks in a year, so I wanted to limit my gaming purchases to about $10 a week. Since I created this budget goal, every year I have spent way more than $520. Like, a lot more. This year especially I crushed my budget (and not in a good way).<br /><div><br /></div><div>Every year I try not to buy too many games and I always end up doing so. I don't want to not buy games because I'm spending too much money (I am). I want to not buy games so that I actually have the time to play the ones I have. At best, I can squeeze in 2-3 hours throughout the day to play games. If I can manage that time in a day, it usually means I'm only playing one game. It can take me weeks to finish a game, or a couple of months if I want to 100% complete it. With a full time job, family, and other responsibilities life manages to throw at me there's just not enough time to play all the games that I keep buying. My backlog is out of control because of my spending and it really needs to stop (or so I tell myself every year).</div><div><br /></div><div>It's always a struggle to find the time to play the games I do have, but what's been an even greater difficulty for me has been finding the time to exercise. In my junior year of high school, I started working out a lot. I went from a skinny kid who could barely do a pushup to being able to do 60 pushups in a minute by my senior year. I was able to workout nearly every day in my last two years of highschool and my first two years of college because, well, I had the time. Back then, I had the time to do whatever I wanted. I could work out, play video games, and hang out with friends. But soon school and work started taking up more of my daily time, and I began to start a family with my (now) wife. I stopped working out consistently around the time I became a Dad.<br /><a name='more'></a></div><div><br />My oldest daughter is turning six this month, and these past six years I never really got into a exercise routine like I did in high school. There were a couple of weeks here and there where I tried, but nothing really stuck. I still managed to play video games though! Although maybe not as much as I would have liked, but at least I never lost that hobby completely. But I always wanted to get back into exercising. When I was younger I did it to get stronger and look good for the ladies. But when I became a Dad I wanted to do it to keep up with my kids and to live a long healthy life.</div><div><br /></div><div>I never wanted to be an out of shape Dad. My father was extremely out of shape and lived a very unhealthy lifestyle, and unfortunately he's not here today because of it. I do not want to be such an example for my kids. I never drank or smoked, like my Dad did, and I don't eat as unhealthy as him, but exercising regularly is extremely important part of the equation in staying healthy. My problem was trying to find the time and energy to do it every day and renew a habit I used to have.</div><div><br /></div><div>It takes a pretty long time to form a new habit. It varies from person to person, and the general consensus is it <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5926583/why-habits-arent-actually-formed-in-21-days" target="_blank">takes a little over 60 days to form a new habit</a>. I'm at the point in my life where trying to do something, anything for three months straight of my own free will sounds like an impossible feat. Since becoming a Dad it feels like a million different things pop up every day for me to do, so when I do find the time to do something, it's usually reserved for gaming.</div><div><br /></div><div>But an opportunity arose this year that has so far been allowing me to reach that 60 day exercise goal. My oldest daughter started Kindergarten this year, and she has to take the bus to school. The bus picks her up at around 7:25am, which means I have to wake up at 6:30am to get her ready. The luxury of sleeping in to 7:30am has ended unfortunately. But after I put her on the bus, I have about an hour before I have to leave to go to work. Now I could use this time to hop back into bed, but instead I saw a golden opportunity: I could do a 15-20 min workout during this time.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Really the hardest part was not crawling back into bed. I needed to find the energy to actually do a workout every morning after waking up. So the first couple of weeks were rough, but here I was trying to workout every morning for two weeks, something I hadn't done in over six years. I was also really hard on myself in the first few weeks, not seeing results fast enough. Again, I had to remind myself that I'm trying to undo six years of being barely physically active and not working out, I shouldn't hold myself to the standards I set in high school.</div><div><br /></div><div>Was I successful in forming a new habit of exercise? In a way, yes. It hasn't been perfect, or easy. Life still somehow manages to get in the way even at 7am. There have been times where I had to leave the house early for appointments so I couldn't exercise. I got really sick a few times and could barely crawl out of bed. Some nights I don't get to go to bed as early as I like, so my workout in the morning suffers due to low energy. I'm also still trying to find a workout routine that works for me. I can't do 60 pushups in a row like I once did. I've been slowly building strength, but it has been slow mainly because I'm only working out 20 minutes, whereas I would workout 45 minutes at the school gym and continue to lift weights for an hour at home in my glory days.</div><div><br /></div><div>Even with all the obstacles, I can say that when I wake up in the morning, I do my best to get my exercise in. I have an app on my phone where I keep track on the days I workout and the days I miss. At one point, I had a 30 day streak and the most days I missed in a row since beginning in September has been two. That's not bad. It's pretty freaking good in my case. Have I reached the 60 day streak yet? No, but I feel like I am right on track that maybe sometime next year I will have. It's the most exercise I've ever done in the past six years. This gives me a lot of confidence, not just with my body and health, but mentally as well.</div><div><br /></div><div>If you want to form better habits, usually you'll have more success <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5724234/how-to-form-good-habits-this-year" target="_blank">if you do one at a time</a>. If you try to create a bunch of new habits for yourself and start them all at the same time, chances are you will fail or not reach all the goals you wanted to. It's never fun to say you are going to change how you do something, and a few months later look back to see nothing has changed. When I started this blog back in 2010, I started it with the idea that if I fix my negative gaming habits, they would make me fix bad habits in other areas of my life. Almost five years later, and I'm still trying to correct my worst habit: buying too many games.</div><div><br /></div><div>I really do believe that since I struggle with a lot of bad gaming habits, I still struggle with some bad habits in other areas of my life. If there's anything I can learn from my new re-formed exercise habit, is that it's never too late to change. Ok maybe I'm not as fit as I was in high school, and I know I still have a long way to go, but I'm on the right path. And honestly as long as my daughter is getting on that 7:25am bus, I have no excuse not to be working out. I haven't reached 60 days straight, but I'm getting close and I'm not beating myself up as hard as I used to when life got in the way of my exercise. If I miss a day, fine, I know I can get back as quickly as I fell off. I didn't have that mindset even a few months ago, but now I'm developing the confidence to get it back.</div><div><br /></div><div>I think confidence is going to be the key in sticking to my gaming budget next year. One of the biggest challenges I face with my budget is I have nothing really keeping me from spending over it. At any time I can make a charge to my bank card and have a new game available to play instantly. It really is about resisting the temptation, and I feel like I will always break it. Even when I get a game I've anticipated for years, I find myself looking at deals the next day and price drops of other, less anticipated games.</div><div><br /></div><div>Am I addicted to buying games? Maybe I am. That's something I've been thinking about a lot. But I also feel that I don't really have anything to punish myself with. I spent all that money on Nintendo this year, and I know I was going over budget when I did it. But instead of losing something for it or taking something away, I just threw out a bunch of yolo hastags.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I'm also convincing myself that one day, I'll be able to play games almost as much as I used to. Yeah I won't ever be able to recapture the time from elementary school to high school, where I had what felt like a near infinite amount of hours to play games. But I do always tell myself that one day, I'll have more than just a couple of hours a day to spare, to justify those impulse digital purchases. And maybe it will happen!?! I used to say the same thing about exercising a few years ago, that I would never have the time to. But lo and behold, now a slot of time in the morning is available where I can work out.</div><div><br /></div><div>I can't keep justifying these purchases waiting for more time to open up in my life. If I want to do anything I want to do, I need to make the time for it. I need to accept that I have a limited amount of time in the day, and that's ok because I'm still getting a chance to play video games. I think I obsess too much on what is available to play, and how I can't play it. I need to embrace the games I have, and appreciate the time I can spend with them.</div><div><br /></div><div>I made a ton of purchases this year on Nintendo, and next year there are already a few games I know I want to get. Splatoon, Yoshi's Woolly World, and Majora's Mask 3D are definite must haves. And if the new Zelda and Star Fox games are released in 2015, I will be picking those up too. I'm not trying to be developer biased, it's just that Nintendo is making the games I want to play right now. Sure there are a few games on other systems like Arkham Knight and Evolve that interest me a lot, but right now a lot of 2014 has been dominated by Nintendo, and most likely so will 2015.</div><div><br /></div><div>So another year is coming, and another budget of $520 to make or break. I think this year I'm going to try something different to curb myself from buying too many games. I used to have a rule that I won't buy any games at full price, and instead seek out games that are only on sale. It's a good rule to have, but it also encourages you to buy as many games as possible for as little amount of money as you can. I can easily picked up six or seven games for the price of one through various sales and specials, which is great financially, but bad in terms of now I have all these games and no time to play them. Maybe it isn't so bad to buy a game when it's released, if you are limiting your total purchases for the year.<br /><br />A part of the reason why I think I've been able to keep up with my daily exercise recently is because I've also been keeping track of it on my phone. The app I use is called Good Habits, and basically it's like putting an X on your calendar everyday. It does feel good to look at my streaks and see a month more dominated with X's than blank spots.</div><div><br /></div><div>I want to apply that to my video game spending. So what I am going to do is establish when the games I know I want are being released, and see if I can not spend any money on games in the days leading up to them. This is really what I should've been doing all along. A large part of the reason why I'm buying so many games is I'm always trying to play catch up. There are too many games I want to play and not enough time to play them, but I think it's time I let that mindset go and try to keep up with the new releases of 2015 and for a moment forget about the past releases.</div><div><br /></div><div>So that's actually another neat foot note I can try to use for my 2015 budget. Maybe I should only spend money on games that are released this year. Who knows if I'm able to hold my streaks long enough between each release, that just might give me the confidence I need to know I can reduce my spending willingly. I just need to stay focused, and that's hard when there are so many video games I want to play. But as I'm starting to realized, unless it was my full time job to play video games, there's never going to be enough time to play the games I want in this lifetime.</div><div><br /></div><div>I guess that's a post for another day. So yeah another year approaches, which puts me in the mood to say "this year will be different!" But who really knows, maybe it will? I'm going into 2015 with a lot of momentum. I've begun to exercise consistently which has gotten me fired up and I also have a strong list of games I got this year that I'm confident can keep me playing well into 2015.</div><div><br /></div><div>The games that I really want aren't expected to release until Spring of next year anyway. In the video game world, a TBA release date of Spring 2015 can be anywhere from March to June. So if, let's say, Majora's Mask is due to come out in March, that gives me about three months from today to not by any new games. That will put me past the 60 day mark and, voila, a new habit will be formed!</div><div><br /></div><div>It sounds easy, but for the past five years, it hasn't been. But I shouldn't be too hard on myself, and I know it can be possible. In 2015 I will stick to my budget, I will limit my video game purchases, and I will be a better gamer for it.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div><br /></div>Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/104163992168583768584[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-62390271347640863532014-11-24T13:30:00.000-05:002014-11-24T13:30:58.935-05:00Re-building my Nintendo 64 collection (part one)<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-tydsyJ-6kDk/VHN4TsS300I/AAAAAAAAAz4/N3421z8oxsw/s1600/Majora's%2BMask.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-tydsyJ-6kDk/VHN4TsS300I/AAAAAAAAAz4/N3421z8oxsw/s1600/Majora's%2BMask.jpg" height="390" width="640" /></a></div><br />Nintendo recently announced <a href="http://youtu.be/Hj6cXziHpjQ?list=UUGIY_O-8vW4rfX98KlMkvRg" target="_blank">Majora's Mask is coming to the 3DS</a>. Everyone who played the <a href="http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/l0_gKWzYFEFKk0MmdUSHMxOJkZg7Z-Rn" target="_blank">Ocarina of Time 3D</a>&nbsp;had been wondering when this announcement was going to happen. It doesn't seem we have to wait too long to get our hands on it either, with an expected release date some time in the Spring of 2015. This remake looks fantastic and I can't wait to play it.<br /><br />Confession time: I've never played Majora's Mask. I know! All the time I spent playing Ocarina of Time over and over again I could have been playing Majora's Mask. It's one of the many Zelda titles I've never played, even though <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/08/my-deep-dark-secret-about-legend-of.html" target="_blank">I claim to be a huge fan of the series</a>. How come I never played Majora's Mask? I was probably too busy still playing <a href="http://www.giantbomb.com/virtual-pro-wrestling-2-odo-keisho/3030-23213/" target="_blank">Virtual Pro Wrestling 2</a> which was released January of that year, and saving up my money for <a href="http://www.giantbomb.com/wwf-no-mercy/3030-11394/" target="_blank">WWF No Mercy</a>, which came out a month after Majora's Mask.<br /><br />For the longest time Majora's Mask was on my wish list of Nintendo 64 games. I had a great library of N64 games growing up, but I missed a few big ones like Majora's Mask. Over the years I sold, bought, and sold again my N64 collection. In the past year I've slowly tried to re-build, and I'm getting closer to restoring my N64 library similar to it's glory days.<br /><br /><a name='more'></a>This time around when I started building my collection, I didn't want to create a large pile of cartridges sitting on my shelves, nor did I want to spend a lot of money on these classic gems. My philosophy on actually owning a game has changed from when I was younger, so I'm not as interested in reclaiming an older game in it's complete original and boxed form as I am in simply having it in some official capacity. Yeah, I could download a bunch of ROM's and call it a day, but owning a ROM and saying it's part of my collection gives me an empty feeling. I'd rather have a digital copy through the Virtual Console than an emulator on my computer.<br /><br />Not every game from the N64 library is available through the Wii Virtual Console or has an upgraded remake like Ocarina of Time 3DS or <a href="http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/Perfect-Dark/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d802584109c2?DownloadType=Game#LiveZone" target="_blank">Perfect Dark</a>. I would prefer to restore my full collection digitally, but I don't mind owning the physical copy of a game if that is the only way to get them. Let's use Ocarina of Time as an example, which I currently own through Wii Virtual Console. I didn't need to have the full box set like I originally did when I was a kid, which would probably cost me $60 on eBay, I was more than happy to pay $10 to add it to my collection again. But games like WWF No Mercy or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beetle_Adventure_Racing" target="_blank">Beetle Adventure Racing</a> I had to track down via eBay or my local game store <a href="http://www.oogiegames.com/" target="_blank">Oogie Games</a> in order to get it again, because you can't download those games.<br /><br />So for part one of this list I'm going to focus on the physical games I need to complete my N64 collection. There are a few games I can get digitally that I would like to re-obtain, but I'll save them for a separate list. At the top of my blog you can find a link to a list of my video game collection, where you can see which N64 games I currently own. Every one of the games I currently have I used to own back in the day when I first had my N64, with the exception of Battle for Naboo. For my current wish list there are some games I never owned before, but most I did.<br /><br />Ok here is my list of N64 games I can only get a physical copy of that I need to complete my new and improved N64 collection:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-1GL7fC8TVME/VHNdJ53DRuI/AAAAAAAAAyY/8dipKQNUAqU/s1600/Diddy%2BKong%2BRacing.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-1GL7fC8TVME/VHNdJ53DRuI/AAAAAAAAAyY/8dipKQNUAqU/s1600/Diddy%2BKong%2BRacing.jpg" height="480" width="640" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Diddy Kong Racing</b></span><br />I first bought this game at a community sale in the apartment building I grew up in from a kid younger than I for five dollars. FIVE BUCKS! It was a steal back then, at a time when N64 games cost upwards of $70-$80. He was eager to just sell whatever games he didn't care for and to a kid his age five dollars was a lot of money. I knew it was too good to pass up, and although I didn't expect it to be better than the illustrious Mario Kart 64, I eagerly gave the kid my hard earned cash.<br /><br />Now, I know Mario Kart 64 is considered the gold standard for a lot of kart racing fans and it's a game that has a special place in every Nintendo 64 fans' heart, but I love Diddy Kong Racing as much and in some ways even more than MK64. There is a lot of extra stuff to do in the game besides cup races; there's items to collect, boss races, and hidden characters to unlock.<br /><br />After weeks of playing I thought I had 100% the game, and one day my friend told me he had unlocked T.T. Of course I didn't believe him, because video game rumors went unverified for a long time in the early days of the internet, but sure enough I did those tricky time trials and unlocked him too. I have a lot of fond memories like that for Diddy Kong Racing, and it's a shame it's the only entry in the franchise, because developer Rare were doing things that Mario Kart wasn't and it would've been a serious franchise competitor.<br /><br />I know there was a DS remake of this game, but I want to have this part of my N64 collection so when I have friends over we can all play together. Plus they took out Conker and Banjo in the DS version and I loved racing as Conker and Banjo!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-X1DZOA1aj-k/VHNeVlu_WqI/AAAAAAAAAyk/Qh4mgPmjk_0/s1600/Donkey%2BKong%2B64.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-X1DZOA1aj-k/VHNeVlu_WqI/AAAAAAAAAyk/Qh4mgPmjk_0/s1600/Donkey%2BKong%2B64.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Donkey Kong 64</b></span><br />When I started to rebuild my Nintendo 64 collection this year, I focused mainly on one developer series: the AKI/Asmik Ace wrestling games. I <i>needed </i>to have those wrestling games again; they were my favorite games by far on the system. Now that I'm looking to complete the rest of my library, I've noticed I haven't re-obtained a single Rare developed game for the Nintendo 64. Rare's games on the Nintendo 64 were some, if not the best, non Nintendo developed games on the system.<br /><br />Donkey Kong 64 was the best of both worlds: you had the excellence of the Rare platforming and collecting you saw in the Banjo games, with the backbone of the Nintendo franchise. All the main characters were there, as well as a few new editions. Just like Super Mario 64 so expertly brought Mushroom Kingdom into 3D so did this game with Donkey Kong's Island.<br /><br />I was a huge fan of the Donkey Kong Country series, yet I never actually owned my own copy of Donkey Kong 64. When I got my special memory pak, I got it with Rogue Squadron. My friend got the Donkey Kong 64 bundle, so I went over to his house and played his game. We never got around to beating it, so it's been on my Nintendo 64 bucket list for a long time. I've remained a loyal fan to Donkey Kong, having beaten DKC Returns and Tropical Freeze, but I left most of the island on the N64 unexplored.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ko6B4Ai9A3k/VHNgZbqWgdI/AAAAAAAAAyw/orGzts0nznk/s1600/Goldeneye%2B007.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ko6B4Ai9A3k/VHNgZbqWgdI/AAAAAAAAAyw/orGzts0nznk/s1600/Goldeneye%2B007.jpg" height="438" width="640" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Goldeneye 007</b></span><br />What can I say that hasn't been said about Goldeneye? This was <i>THE N64 GAME </i>everyone played when there was four controllers in a room. We all know about the historical significance of the game and how it opened the doors for FPS games on consoles, so why have I still not re-added it to my collection? Why wasn't this one of the first games I re-bought?<br /><br />I usually play games by myself, so a lot of the games I bought initially for my N64 were single player games. Yeah, the wrestling games are multiplayer, but honestly it's rare to have people over these days who were as fanatical about WWF No Mercy or WCW/nWo Revenge as I was. Plus you kind of need to have some interest in wrestling to want to play a wrestling game. Anyway, so everytime I saw Goldeneye available to buy, I would choose another game because I didn't have people to play with regularly.<br /><br />This past Summer I started a gaming get together at my house every Friday. The main draw was my new Wii U and Mario Kart 8, which we played every week for at least an hour or two. But when people saw I had an N64, they started bringing their games, and Goldeneye quickly became a favorite of ours to play.<br /><br />We were all kind of hesitant to play it initially. FPS's have evolved so much we didn't want our childhood to be ruined by modern gaming. A lot of the N64 games don't age well graphically, and Goldeneye is one of the best examples of that. It just straight up looks ugly these days. Also going back to strafing with the c-buttons was going to feel so unnatural, even though we use to do it all the time.<br /><br />I think we were all surprised with how much fun we ended up having, and how once we jump back into the water with Goldeneye we never wanted to get out. Visually it was a bit hard to get readjusted too but with four players the fun is still there. If anything the archaic aiming and weapon mechanics actually made it more fun. We were playing against the game as much as we were playing with it; simultaneously acknowledging how far we've come and celebrating the joy of classic gaming. Sure Goldeneye doesn't compare to modern shooters, but you can't deny it's still a blast to play with a group of three other friends.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-iBrV11xRHik/VHNlYMKNLII/AAAAAAAAAzA/dqODN6Q9vN0/s1600/Pokemon%2BStadium.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-iBrV11xRHik/VHNlYMKNLII/AAAAAAAAAzA/dqODN6Q9vN0/s1600/Pokemon%2BStadium.jpg" height="478" width="640" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Pokemon Stadium/Pokemon Stadium 2</b></span><br />I am a huge Pokemon fan. I have played every main entry game of Pokemon since Gen I, with hundreds of hours spent on each one of them. When Pokemon Stadium came out, I was pumped that I could go home and play Pokemon on the big screen in 64 bit graphics! Sadly, the purchasing power wasn't in my control, so convincing my parents to get me another Pokemon game when I already had two a bunch for my GameBoy was a tough sell.<br /><br />The cards were never in my favor to own Pokemon Stadium as a kid. I really wanted to own the adapter that let you play with your copy of Red &amp; Blue on the big screen too, and later Gold &amp; Silver. It was another one of those situations where I had a friend whose house I went to regularly and I got to play it over there, so when I was gifted with the chance to own another N64 game I usually choose something I didn't have access to.<br /><br />I want to own these games now because I'm just a huge fan of the meta game in Pokemon, and I love to see how far it's come. I don't have a desire to recollect the original GameBoy games, so this would be the closest thing to Gen I I could get (unless they do a 3DS remake). A lot of the stadium games never were as good as these two were and it's a shame the series never had as much depth as the main series.<br /><br />Plus I think it would be awesome to play rental Pokemon matches in Stadium with my daughter, who is quickly becoming a fan of the Pokemon games, and is on her way to completing Pokemon White on her DS.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-utiEYLEzJSQ/VHNr8BxaQzI/AAAAAAAAAzQ/D8x4Yt8WE2k/s1600/Star%2BWars%2BShadows%2Bof%2Bthe%2BEmpire.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-utiEYLEzJSQ/VHNr8BxaQzI/AAAAAAAAAzQ/D8x4Yt8WE2k/s1600/Star%2BWars%2BShadows%2Bof%2Bthe%2BEmpire.jpg" height="480" width="640" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire</b></span><br />This was the second game I ever owned for the Nintendo 64. Back in the day, this was the closest you got to reliving the epicness of the Star Wars movies, and I loved every moment of it. Sure it was a spinoff with some Dash Rendar dude who I never heard of at the time, but all the major components were there: Stormtroopers, Battle of Hoth, Boba Fett, Speeder Bikes, etc.<br /><br />You could switch form a first person shooter to a third person on the fly, which is pretty incredible back in the day, and every level felt different from the one before it. The day I decided to rebuild my Nintendo 64 collection, they had every Star Wars game from the N64 I loved at my local game store except this one. I haven't gone out of my way to re-obtain Shadows of the Empire, but that needs to change very soon.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-edfG29epHoU/VHNtcbx9qKI/AAAAAAAAAzc/fPVQvQGRDa4/s1600/VPW%2B64.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-edfG29epHoU/VHNtcbx9qKI/AAAAAAAAAzc/fPVQvQGRDa4/s1600/VPW%2B64.jpg" height="480" width="640" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Virtual Pro Wrestling 64</b></span><br />As I mentioned earlier, my favorite series on the Nintendo 64 were the AKI/Asmik Ace developed wrestling games. These included WCW/nWo Revenge, WWF No Mercy, WCW vs. nWo World Tour, and WrestleMania 2000. I know you are probably asking, "how are a bunch of wrestling games your favorite N64 games? What about Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, or insert classic N64 title here!?!?"<br /><br />Around the time the N64 was out, I was obsessed with wrestling. And these games, they weren't just wrestling games, they were THE BEST wrestling games. And still are, FACT. Sure, I played Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time for hundreds of hours. Shoot I even probably put in a hundred hours in Wave Race 64. But all I had time to do back then was play video games. And once create a wrestler mode was introduced in Wrestlemania 2000 and future titles, no series kept me coming back for more.<br /><br />Hundreds of hours were sunk into Wrestlemania 2000, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on WWF No Mercy, the announced sequel. But that was coming at the end of the year in 2000, and what I discovered on this new thing called "the internet" was that the developers of these WCW and WWF games also created a Japanese wrestling game called Virtual Pro Wrestling 64. At the time I made this discovery, the sequel to said game, Virtual Pro Wrestling 2, was going to be released in January of 2000.<br /><br />I visited my local import gaming store (and by local I mean I took the train to Chinatown) and ask the guys in the store if they heard of these wrestling games. They actually had Virtual Pro Wrestling 64 in stock, but said they would be getting VPW2 a couple weeks after it's released. They also explained that all I needed was an adapter that cost 15 bucks to play it on my system, so I decided to wait for Virtual Pro Wrestling 2.<br /><br />These two games used the same legendary AKI wrestling engine, but in many ways are far superior to the WWF/WCW games. Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 is honestly the best game in the series, mainly because it's roster is incredibly deep and the create a wrestler mode has a few features not available in it's successor WWF No Mercy, such as creating masks and an MMA fighting style.<br /><br />I've probably put in 10,000 hours of gaming in Virtual Pro Wrestling 2, but have never played the first one. From what I've seen, it's pretty similar to WCW vs. nWo World tour, having been released around the same time. But it's roster is incredibly deep and features a lot of legendary Japanese wrestlers that never reappeared in VPW2. Importing Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 at the time cost me around $100, and it wasn't easy for me to come up with money like that at my age. Importing games were like an investment, and since VPW2 was so fantastic I never felt the need to invest any more money in an older import.<br /><br />Nowadays the market value for Virtual Pro Wrestling 64 is lower than some localized games, like Conker's Bad Fur Day. I really would like to add this to my collection, because for the first time ever I would have completed the entire series of AKI developed wrestling games.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2nKVmLyd6w4/VHNvHUwaLPI/AAAAAAAAAzo/gfFrWHNCRVM/s1600/Conker's%2BBad%2BFur%2BDay.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2nKVmLyd6w4/VHNvHUwaLPI/AAAAAAAAAzo/gfFrWHNCRVM/s1600/Conker's%2BBad%2BFur%2BDay.jpg" height="432" width="640" /></a></div><br /><b><span style="font-size: large;">Honorable mentions:</span></b><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Blast Corps/Conker's Bad Fur Day/Jet Force Gemini</b></span><br />When you think of Rare on the Nintendo 64, you probably think of Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong and Goldeneye. But they made a lot of other games for the system, and practically every single one was a critical hit, if not a financial one. These three games were always on my radar as a kid, but for one reason or another, I never got the chance to own or even play them!<br /><br />The history of Rare is an extraordinary one, and honestly their N64 games are all that is left of their legacy. After the N64 they were eventually purchased by Microsoft, and most of the designers who helped create their fantastic N64 catalog left the company. Their games have never been the same or have received as much critical acclaim as they once did. Only Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie ever got the HD treatment on XBLA, but games like Blast Corps and Jet Force Gemini never saw any kind of digital re-release. Conker's Bad Fur Day got a re-imagined port for the Xbox, but every gamer who has played the original can vouch to say that port was lacking a lot of what made the first one special.<br /><br />These three games are honorable mentions because they've been on my wishlist since I had an N64. I never got the chance to play these games, never rented them from Blockbuster or had a friend who had them at their house. Also the price to obtain Conker and Blast Corps is pretty high, as these games are a bit rare (no pun intended).<br /><br />But a part of me feels like my collection would be incomplete if I neglected the unsung heroes of Rare's legacy on the N64. A lot of the games that make up my current collection and my wish list were developed by companies that no longer exist, or no longer make the games like they used to. I am not into collecting games for collections sake, but I feel with Rare developed titles like these I should make an exception. Chances are if they were good enough back them for me to be interested in owning, they are still good enough today.<br /><br />Hopefully I will be able to add all these games to my collection soon, without breaking the bank. I spent too much money on Nintendo this year, so next year I want to be more disciplined about sticking to my game budget of $520. I'll have to figure out which games I want to add to my Nintendo 64 collection next year, and what the most cost effective way that'll be. As much as I want to relive the glory days of N64 gaming, I don't want to blow all my game budget on re-building and neglect a lot of the great games scheduled to be released in 2015.<br /><br />There are only ten games on this list, so theoretically I can do a game at least once a month for the year...but let's not forget that there are plenty of N64 games I want to re-add to my collection that are available digital through the Virtual Console and XBLA. So keep an eye out for part two of this list soon!<br /><br />Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/104163992168583768584[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-65078936290621043702014-10-28T11:34:00.000-04:002014-10-28T11:34:02.286-04:00I spent a lot of money on Nintendo in 2014<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BCnWv4REQB8/VE-064PhXnI/AAAAAAAAALE/pv5AqRz2m2g/s1600/New%2BSuper%2BMario%2BBros%2B2.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BCnWv4REQB8/VE-064PhXnI/AAAAAAAAALE/pv5AqRz2m2g/s1600/New%2BSuper%2BMario%2BBros%2B2.png" /></a></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">It's the end of October, which means only two more months until the end of the year. November and December become a spectacle of deals and discounts in the video game world. Every major publisher and platform have blowout end of the year sales, and before we know it there won't be any money left to spend on our loved ones, because it all went to video games.</div><div><br /></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">That is, if you have self control. I, when it comes to buying video games, do not. I <i>have </i>been getting better. This year, despite the amount of money I've spent, I exercised a lot of self control. I avoided a majority of Xbox Live sales and specials, most notably their Spring sale. I haven't bought anything on Steam this year with my own money; I only purchased the original Half-Life for under $5 with credit in my account I obtained from selling Steam trading cards. I also managed to avoid the Steam Summer sale completely (which took a LOT of self control).</div></div><div><br /></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">I curbed my enthusiasm to rebuild my legacy consoles, notably my Gamecube and N64. I probably bought less than five games combined for those systems. And thanks to Pokemon XY; my 3DS collection hasn't grown beyond that and Super Smash Bros. (but I will be buying Pokemon Alpha Sapphire). All in all, trying to stay under my budget of $520 for the year seemed obtainable this year. That is, until I bought my Wii U. Then the spending just wouldn't stop. And it's not over yet...<br /><br /><a name='more'></a></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I haven't calculated my total purchases for the year of everything I bought video game related, but going off of my Wii U purchases alone at this moment, I've spent $477.59. And I'm not done yet! I am most definitely getting Super Smash Bros. on #dayone, and I've already pre-ordered the Gamecube adapter and special Smash Bros. themed controller. I won't go into specific detail about each of my purchases, but I've kept a record of my Wii U purchases in a Google document you can find on the top of my blog called "Collection". I'm still working on that by the way so it's not an accurate reflection of my entire collection, but all the Wii U information is up to date.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">What amazes me about this spending is how quickly and unexpectedly it happened. The sole reason why I bought the Wii U, was to take advantage of the Mario Kart 8 bundle. Originally, I had told myself that I was going to wait until a potential Super Smash Bros. bundle to get a Wii U. But Mario Kart looked so damn good and I made a last minute decision to go out and get it the day it was released.<br /><br />You got a free download code for one of four games if you got that bundle, and I chose Pikmin 3 because I knew my daughter and I could play it together (she's a big fan of Pikmin). I instantly fell in love with the system and these games once I got it. Finally I was experiencing these two franchises in glorious HD, and the Wii&nbsp;Gamepad was surprisingly light and had a beautiful screen resolution. I knew I would benefit greatly from off screen TV play, and right away I was reaping&nbsp;the benefits whenever my wife or kids wanted to use the main TV; it didn't interrupt my online racing with Mario Kart 8.<br /><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">A month after I got the Wii U, my family and I moved to an amazing apartment in the downtown city area of Buffalo. This was perfect timing, because in the Summer I have Friday's off of work, and with a spacious new apartment and the glorious Mario Kart 8 game, I began inviting a bunch of friends over every week. The main attraction was Mario Kart 8, but a lot of other classics were played: Goldeneye, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and even Mario Kart 64. We played a lot of Mario Kart 8, and even though we didn't plan to, ended up playing a lot of N64 or other Nintendo games.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">For my birthday in the Summer I was gifted a couple of games for the Wii U, and my collection was steadily growing in a few short months. I took advantage of the eShop E3 sale, because when does Nintendo have sales? 33% off in any other sale (i.e. Steam, XBLA, Humble Bundle, etc) is something that you pass over instantly. You instead seek out that 50% to 75% or more discount. Very rarely does Nintendo hold sales on their own digital downloads, so a 30% off discount on a major Nintendo game like Wind Waker HD feels as good as a 75% off sale on Steam. I know mathematically they are extremely different, but math can't explain my <i>feelings</i>, man.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Also since I bought a deluxe Wii U, I was automatically enrolled in the Digital Deluxe Promotion, and I had a couple of $5 eShop cards waiting for me. So I bought Earthbound. Then I had a bunch of Club Nintendo points racked up with the new system and all the gifted games I received, as well as the one I purchased (Wind Waker). So I redeemed some coins for Super Metroid. I was quickly building a collection of Wii U games (that I wasn't playing because of Mario Kart 8) but I was excited that I was getting all these new games so soon after I got the system. The fact that I only bought two of the eight games in my collection added fuel to the fire, and I felt the need to get a few more games before I was satisfied.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">After buying the Xbox 360 (almost nine years ago!) I decided that whenever I buy a new system, there would have to be ten games part of it's library that I would want to OWN before buying it. I made this decision since I went a few years before I started to really enjoy my 360, because there wasn't a whole lot of games that interested me for a while. I know I wanted to wait until Smash Bros., but when Mario Kart 8 was released, there were ten games I knew I wanted to own. It was a win-win situation. I never expected within a couple of months I would own most of those ten games. To put it in perspective, there are way more than ten games I know I want to own for my 3DS, but as of now I only own five.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">When I was younger, my parents bought me a system and maybe an extra game to go along with it. I would have these two games for months until I got another game. I thought I was really lucky when I got the N64, because within six months I had four (FOUR!) games part of my collection. Little did I realize that afterwards I would go a whole year and a half before I got my fifth N64 game, or any new game for my SNES, Game Boy, or Genesis. It was a tough time financially for my parents, and therefore no new games.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Even when I bought my first system with my own money (the Gamecube) I went almost a year before I was able to reach past five games in my collection. When I got old enough to hold down a job, the power to buy games was in my complete control. But with great power comes great responsibility, and to this day I still struggle with my spending habits. Spending almost $500 in less than six months is nothing to sneeze at for me, regardless of how much money <a href="http://kotaku.com/how-much-money-have-you-spent-on-your-wii-u-1643085897" target="_blank">other people may spend on the same system</a>. At the end of the day, with a family and bills to pay, $500 is a lot to me.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">But here's the thing, even though I know I grew my Wii U collection a little too fast, and broke several of my own self imposed rules, I don't regret it. I haven't been this excited for a system in a long time. Last Steam holiday sale I bought $60 worth of great games, and I haven't touched them since. I received the Zelda 3DS XL bundle with a Link Between Worlds, and I love that game, but I haven't invested any other time in my 3DS beyond Pokemon. Even Super Smash Bros. hasn't completely torn me away from it, because my hands start cramping up after a while. And if I do buy a game that's discounted on the Xbox 360 marketplace, it's almost out of forced habit because I used to do it so much. Now I don't get as excited about sales because I don't get excited about my 360.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">For some reason, all my excitement for gaming is coming from my Wii U. Whenever I do get a chance to play games, I go right to my Wii U. I've unlocked everything in Mario Kart 8, and I still hop online to race people. I bought Hyrule Warriors #dayone, because why the hell not? I don't remember the last time I YOLO'd so hard in a game purchase. I didn't need to buy it #dayone, I could have waited until next year, but I didn't. I was so pumped to play a game like that because it's such a new experience I can only get with my Wii U.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">And pretty much every game on my Wii U can be played with my daughters in the room. I don't like to play violent games in front of them, which is why I've barely put any hours into GTA V and several other of my mature rated games. But Donkey Kong Country, Wind Waker, etc. these are games I don't have to hide from them. In fact, I love that they get exposed to these type of games because I also grew up with them. And we can play them together! It's not just Pikmin 3 my oldest enjoys, we play all the Wii U games that have multiplayer. My wife even plays with the Wii U! Which is rare, not because she doesn't enjoy games, she does, but she struggles with the controls on games that rely on two sticks. But Super Luigi Bros? Oh yea, she plays that, so much that we completed it together!</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">There's a lot to love about the Wii U, but honestly once Super Smash Bros. drops, I know I will be on that for a long, long time. I feel I was in a rush to buy and play all these great Wii U games, because I didn't want to miss out on them before Smash released. Once that game comes out, I know it will be hard for me to want to play any other game when I can go online and play For Glory hours at a time. If it wasn't for my hands hurting after about an hour of the 3DS version, I probably would only be playing Smash 3DS until Smash Wii U. Anyway I've broken many rules of mine because of the Wii U and Smash Bros.: I've gone over my yearly budget, I've bought games when they were released #dayone, I've bought games at a discount less than 50%, and I've bought games before I've finished recently purchased ones.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">But all that doesn't matter (for now). In the past few months, I've had more fun playing the Wii U than the past couple of years with my Xbox 360, Steam, Wii, etc. I've been excited for a few games in the past few years, but nothing like what I'm experiencing now. So yeah, I've put a lot of money into the Wii U this year, but I don't regret it. I consider it an investment in my gaming happiness. Too long have I felt burdened by the games I've own. Somehow, some way, Nintendo's new system has made playing games fun for me again.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">It might be the classic franchises and gameplay hitting all my nostalgia buttons.&nbsp;It might be the long wait until I was able to experience solid online features, DLC, or even the HD graphics for these games. Nintendo's been behind the curve for a long time, and now that they are catching up; it's only benefited their classic franchises and help thrust them to contemporary gaming. I never felt truly blown away the&nbsp;Wii, because it was still a few steps behind PS3 and Xbox 360, but the Wii U does a lot of things better, and feels like a console of it's time.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I consider the money I've spent now on the Wii U an investment, because I probably won't buy anything for any system after Super Smash Bros for a long time. And if I do get tired or need to take a break from that game, I have all the rest of my current Wii U games to complete or play again. And then of course, there's that Zelda game coming next year, no big deal. I know I won't be spending much if any money on games for the rest of 2014 after Alpha Sapphire and Super Smash Bros. But the money I have spent on games this year, a majority of it on the Wii U, has been money well spent.</div></div>Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/104163992168583768584[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-15115290442159669582014-08-28T19:53:00.000-04:002014-08-28T19:58:34.315-04:00Recommendations: Video game documentaries you need to watch<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ECFfNyYVSrQ/U_9YE9jDNDI/AAAAAAAAAKc/s-bNzEX5CKg/s1600/Atari%2BGame%2BOver%2Bimage.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ECFfNyYVSrQ/U_9YE9jDNDI/AAAAAAAAAKc/s-bNzEX5CKg/s1600/Atari%2BGame%2BOver%2Bimage.jpg" height="426" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">There's not enough well produced documentaries about video games. The medium has a history that goes back farther than you think, and there are hundreds of stories waiting to be told. These stories and experiences can be inspirational, enlightening, and uplifting. It's always a positive benefit to be more aware of the history of something you are passionate about, to help give you a different perspective or more knowledge than what you have.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I love watching documentaries, so whenever I hear about a new documentary involving video games, I immediately try to watch it. This Fall, the now defunct Xbox studios' <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIaWAyHIqok" target="_blank">Atari: Game Over</a> is set to be released over Xbox Live and other digital outlets. It tells the story of the E.T. game made for the Atari 2600, and how it was such a colossal failure it pretty much tanked the company, resulting in all cartridges being buried in a landfill. It's the first documentary that is funded by a major gaming company, and the first to be distributed on a gaming platform. The documentary started out as an independently produced film, but I guess some people in Microsoft were so passionate about the project they decided to give them some support.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">The story of the E.T. cartridges buried in a New Mexico landfill has become something of an urban legend in gaming, because no one ever had any proof that it actually happened. The documentary not only will reveal that it did, but go into more detail as to how this game even came to existence. It's great that films like this exist, because it tells a story we might not fully understand how and why it happened. In anticipation of the Atari: Game Over documentary, here is a list of video game documentaries I have personally seen and love, and are definitely something you need to watch, whether you think you know the stories that inspire these films or not.</div><a name='more'></a><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//player.vimeo.com/video/37762235" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Watch it now:</b></span> <a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/513254" target="_blank">Hulu</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">This brief documentary gives you a basic run down of the Japanese Arcade scene, and how it's managed to thrive over all these years. It covers many different genres of arcade gaming in Japan, and shows you the inside of small local arcades to big company owned buildings. There is a lot of ground to cover, and the doc does a fair job of balancing the different topics. This doc isn't as focused or specific to one topic/person like the other films on my list, but it's still a fantastic primer for the Japanese Arcade culture.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Going to Japan and playing at an Arcade is on <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/08/the-importance-of-video-game-bucket-list.html" target="_blank">my gaming bucket list</a>, so of course I would enjoy a film like this. What I found most interesting about the film was the unspoken rules of the Arcades, particularly the fighting cabinets. There is a sort of hierarchy when it comes to who can play on what machine. These unspoken rules of the Arcade is something I remember fondly about the arcade scene I was a part of growing up, and something I miss. Playing at Arcades taught you how to respect and appreciate your fellow gamer, and everyone pretty much got along and had a great time.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">With the absence of Arcades, I feel a lot of that social respect between gamers has been lost. It's nice to see Japanese gamers keeping the Arcade scene alive, and it's as vibrant and popular as it ever was. If you plan on going to Japan one day like me, or even would just like to see what their Arcade culture is like, definitely check this film out.</div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/xMJZ-_bJKdI?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></div><b><br /></b><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Buy &amp; watch it now</b></span>: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001518KW8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001518KW8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=hotobeabega-20&amp;linkId=ZREYATWGMVBFPBUO" target="_blank">Amazon</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">If you don't know about the storied rivarly between Pac-Man world record holder Billy Mitchell, and average joe Steve Wiebe, you need to drop everything and watch this film now. Or at least later tonight. The hype is real with this one; not only is this one of my favorite video game documentaries, it's one of my very documentaries, period. The drama is palpable in this one, and there is a lot more going on under the surface than a world record.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Everyone loves an underdog story, and it doesn't get any better than the story of Steve Wiebe. He's a average man, with a wife and kids. And one day he was just scrolling around twin galaxies, recently unemployed, saw the Donkey Kong record and thought, "Yea I could beat that." What he didn't realize was that the man who held the record, and many other Arcade records in his career, was <a href="http://www.twingalaxies.com/scores.php?player=28206" target="_blank">Billy Mitchell</a>. A cocky, charismatic, and determined man who did not want to see his record fall to some "nobody."</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">And this isn't just a one vs one story. What I find fascinating about this documentary is that in a way it reveals how inclusive gaming can be, and how much outsiders aren't respected or welcomed unless they prove themselves several times over. It wasn't just Billy Mitchell's record at stake; the entire core of Twin Galaxies and all those guys who pretty much held records for various other Arcade games, weren't too welcoming of this nobody. He wasn't part of the group. He wasn't there in the eighties for the Life magazine photo shoot. They had never seen him before, so of course he had to cheat for his Donkey Kong score. There was no possible way some guy could walk off the street, and be better than them, especially better than their heroic champion, Billy Mitchell.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">This a documentary anyone can watch. But if you are a gamer who has developed a social group or clique revolving around gaming, you need to watch this. We should be welcoming to anyone who wants to get into gaming, or be apart of what we love, no matter who they are. The more people the better I say. And who cares if they are better than you, they can be the challenge you need to elevate your game. Ever since the documentary the Donkey Kong world record has gone back and forth between the two, as well as <a href="http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2014/1/video-donkey-kong-record-holder-hank-chien-talks-gaming-love-life-54267/" target="_blank">other newcomers</a>. The origins of the competitive rivalry between Wiebe and Mitchell though, is a must watch.</div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/xmO2qvRgOV4?rel=0" width="420"></iframe></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><br /></b></div><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: large; font-weight: bold;">Watch it now: </span><a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/319596" target="_blank">Hulu</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">This premiered at the Sundance film festival the same time as King of Kong, and I consider it a nice supplement to that film. King of Kong focuses mainly on Billy Mitchell, but there were a few other legendary arcade players who joined him in the Life magazine photo shoot along with Walter Day, founder of Twin Galaxies. This movie explores the lives of everyone involved, some who make small appearances in King of Kong.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I actually saw this movie after King of Kong, and I think it's a great reference that gives you more background about this group of connected players Steve Wiebe faces resistance from. The story mainly focuses on Walter Day, founder of the Twin Galaxies website, and his dream of bringing together the best players in the world at his arcade. Many of the world record holders featured in the Life magazine&nbsp;photo shoot, all gain a small amount of fame and fortune afterwards. But with a few exceptions, the fame didn't last more than fifteen minutes, and some haven't really recovered.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">E-sports is becoming a big sensation right now, but for me this documentary explores the roots of the competitive gaming scene, and focuses on the individuals personal lives. It's a very intimate and candid look at the trials and tribulations of being a successful competitive gamer or world record holder. It's also a great look back at a time where we didn't have YouTube or twitch, which would've helped these kids probably gain more crossover success and lead different lives. If you love King of Kong, definitely check this out to gain some more knowledge of the other world record holders that came up with Billy Mitchell (and yes, he's in it too).</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NhwNTo_Yr3k?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Tetris: From Russia with Love</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Watch it now:</b></span> <a href="http://youtu.be/NhwNTo_Yr3k" target="_blank">Youtube</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Originally premiering on BBC, this documentary explores the origins of Tetris, and it's creator Alexey Pajitnov. This is a very detailed and specific documentary, and you learn all you need to know about one of the greatest and most influential games of all time. Not only did Alexey Pajitnov create this game at a time where practically no one else was even making games, but he did so under the Iron Curtain of Russia, and the doc explores how that heavily impacted the creation and almost jeopardized the distribution of the game.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">It's quite amazing that the game became such an iconic and international hit. There were many restrictions and challenges from having the game even being shared, let alone sold to millions across different platforms. This documentary also gives fascinating insight as to how companies like Nintendo, Atari and others tried to sort out all the legal rights in dealing with these video games, since no one had done it before.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">It's also a very touching personal story, because we all know Tetris, and maybe know the name&nbsp;Alexey<span style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</span>Pajitnov, but what I didn't know is that he didn't see a single penny (rupee) for his creation, until recently. So many different companies and people made millions while he made nothing, and practically lived in poverty most of his life. But he is still a very passionate designer and loves talking about Tetris, and his personality and joy just shines every time he is on screen. This is one of the few docs that explores a games history through design and to profile the designer itself. As a gamer, we should all know more about the history of classic games, and this doc is grade A in exploring the origins of Tetris.</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/yTK6MnPa8Zo?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Watch it now:</b></span> <a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/429491" target="_blank">Hulu</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Now that you know the origin story of Tetris, want to see who the best player in the world is? So did Robin Mihara the producer and narrator of this doc. This film explores the competitive side of Tetris, mainly with it's various world record holders through out the years. Mihara is on a quest to determine who is the best living player in the world, and this doc has a few neat twists and turns that I don't want to spoil, so that's all I'll tell you about the plot.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">This is probably my favorite doc of the list and it's hard to explain why I love it so much without exposing the story. If you thought that King of Kong had drama, wait until you see this one. Besides the intrigue and mystery surrounding all the different players involved, this film does a fantastic job of explaining Tetris. Even if you think you know how that game works, this game reveals a lot of information that the casual player doesn't know, and does so in a way anyone can understand.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">This film has excellent cinematography, and the music is outstanding. Tetris is one of those games that works on such a high mental level. Watching competitive Tetris is almost as nerve racking as playing it. There is an extreme sense of focus and urgency for these players, especially as they try to reach the elusive final level in the game, that only one person has claimed to ever reach...</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/GhaT78i1x2M?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Indie Game: The Movie</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Watch it now:</b></span> <a href="https://www.netflix.com/home?locale=en-US" target="_blank">Netflix instant</a><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Buy &amp; watch it now:</b></span> <a href="http://buy.indiegamethemovie.com/" target="_blank">Indie Game the Movie</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">With the rise of Kickstarter and it's influence on gaming, we are seeing a lot of indie designers find success rivaling big AAA studios. Games like Braid, Super Meat Boy, and Fez have reached sales numbers that any major publish would love to have, without employing hundreds of designers and creators to reach. Indie Game: The Movie explores the journey of the small design teams behind those three games, and chronicles the rise of indie gaming in the past few years.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">The stories behind Phil Fish, Jonathan Blow, and &nbsp;Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes (Team Meat) are all fascinating. They are perfect examples of how rewarding yet extremely difficult being an indie game designer is. When you have only one or two people working on a ambitious game and striving to make a name for yourself in a saturated market, it can be very stressful, painful, and a true test of will. This game candidly shows the hardships each creator endures with the creation of their games as well as from the critics and players they are making these games for.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">This doc came out before Phil Fish finished Fez, and before he <a href="http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-07-29-phil-fish-quits-development-cancels-fez-ii" target="_blank">cancelled Fez II and quit the business</a>. You can see his frustration with public expectations here. As a viewer I would say to pause and reflect on how much of their personal lives developers give to each of their games. Sometimes we are not aware that a game can be made by one, two, or hundred people. Regardless of how many are involve, it is usually not an easy process, even if the designers are passionate and generally positive people.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">There have been a lot of stories recently about designers receiving a lot of abuse from gamers in regards to their games. We need more documentaries like this to show that it's not always easy to make a game as it is playing one. This does a great job at shedding some light on this process, and much like&nbsp;Alexey<span style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</span>Pajitnov,&nbsp;these designers care a lot about their games, and want to bring enjoyment to people more so than make money. Gaming is an art, and designers are our artists, and maybe we should be kinder to these people who have taken up the charge at providing us with hours of entertainment at the cost of sacrificing a big chunk of their personal and private lives.</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/SXEdspVDMxw" width="560"></iframe></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Minecraft: The Story of Mojang</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Buy &amp; watch it now:</b></span> <a href="http://minecraftstoryofmojang.com/" target="_blank">Minecraft: The Story of Mojang</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">So you are an indie game designer, with a small group of extremely talented and passionate people working alongside you. You make your game, and suddenly it's a major mainstream hit, selling tens of millions of copies worldwide and becoming an instant classic and immediately influencing hundreds of other games. What do you do next? That's the story of this doc, as it explores Mojang and it's founder Markus "Notch" Persson, the creator of Minecraft.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">This is a great doc because a lot of footage is from the beginning of the success of Minecraft, and catalogs all the crazy things that follows. You watch Notch experience most of his games milestones first hand, and enter the surreal world of gaming stardom as he does. Minecraft is insanely popular, and this game does a great job of explaining why, and the influence it has had not just in gaming, but in many different aspects outside of it. You don't need to be a fan of the game to enjoy it; I've yet to play Minecraft and thoroughly enjoyed the story.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">This documentary doesn't show too much of the hardships of creating a game like Indie Game: The Movie, but it does sprinkle a little bit of that in. It's very obvious that Minecraft has consumed most of Notch's life, and now he is tasked with building a brand and growing a company. He can no longer privately code for hours on end in his room, instead he's thrust into the position of being the figurehead for the ever growing indie scene.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">This film does a beautiful job of showing how much gaming can change not only the lives of the people who make them, but those who play them as well. Many players have dedicated a large amount of their lives to this game and creating the massive community. It profiles some of those gamers, podcasters, and Youtube creators. One of the highlights of the film is when it showcases&nbsp;one teacher who created a whole curriculum around Minecraft at a NYC school. We need more documentaries like this one, and even if you never played Minecraft&nbsp;there is a lot to learn and appreciate from this film.</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hEBEDgpnD54?list=UUGAW_bqcFm33_N2ZmygvQsQ" width="560"></iframe></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Playvalue: Your Guide to Gaming History</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Watch it now:</b></span> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/playvalue/featured" target="_blank">Playvalue YouTube channel</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">There are a myriad of self published documentaries available on YouTube. Some stories are too large to be told in a two hour movie, so many channels have a whole series dedicated to gaming history. Playvalue is one of the best, and has a series that explores, in great detail, a lot of the origins of the many areas of gaming history that has shaped the genre today. From the rise and fall of atari, to the feud between Nintendo and Sega, even the beginnings of copyright laws and issues with gaming. This series is the closest you get to a school textbook about the history of video games.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">There are over twenty videos, and they all are very fun and informative to watch. There might be some internet and magazine journalists you recognize from the tech world featured, but unfortunately this series was a short lived one. I loved watching these, and when they suddenly stopped making them I was extremely disappointed. Luckily all the videos are still up on their YouTube page, and hopefully they stay up forever. Like I've mentioned throughout this whole article, knowing your history is going to give you a fresh new perspective on games, or get you interested in subjects you had no idea about. The Playvalue series covers a lot of different topics and aspects of gaming, so it has something for every type of gamer. I recommend that you watch all of them, you just might learn something.</div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/qXhG0MFmHmM?list=PLPrHmEKxAl05Wa-FqrZKUt4cP3Utqsip-" width="560"></iframe></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Final Fantasy VII: A Retrospective Look At The Franchise</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Watch it now:</b></span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPrHmEKxAl05Wa-FqrZKUt4cP3Utqsip-" target="_blank">That One Video Gamer YouTube channel</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Meet Jirard "Dragon Rider" Khalil, a.k.a. The Completionist. He's on a mission to complete as many games as possible. His videos are well produced and very funny, and he <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/thatonevideogamer" target="_blank">streams</a> a lot during the week with his fellow completionist gamers. Completing a game might not be for everyone, but he explores each game from an angle you might not have the time or patience too do yourself. He's not afraid to tackle new games, but he mostly plays games from his childhood that he loves.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">One such game is FFVII, a game that he wrote a thesis paper in college called Embracing Your Dreams: The Storytelling of Final Fantasy VII. Inspired by that paper, he created an extensive series of videos exploring all the thematic elements of the game, and how they are presented through each character, plot point, and gameplay mechanics. I have not seen any series of videos that comes close to the level of detail and research that Jirard does with the FFVII series. And he just doesn't breakdown the main game, but he also includes the various spin offs and even the movie Advent Children.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">If you were a fan of FFVII, you need to watch this. If you weren't a fan, you still need to watch this. This isn't a video series that explains what's wrong or what's right, instead it's a very specific examination of the game and how it expresses it's themes, and executes it's artistic vision. I appreciated the level of research and attention to detail of Jirard's analysis, and it seems the massive FFVII was just made for collegiate level discussion. You will definitely come out with a better understanding and appreciation for the game, I know I did. I wish that someday he can do more videos similar to this one, or hopefully others will try a similar approach with their favorite series or game.</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/X6p5AZp7r_Q?list=PLn4ob_5_ttEaA_vc8F3fjzE62esf9yP61" width="560"></iframe></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Tropes vs Women in Video Games</b></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>Watch it now:</b></span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLn4ob_5_ttEaA_vc8F3fjzE62esf9yP61" target="_blank">Feminist Frequency YouTube channel</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Last, but certainly not least, is Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes vs Women in Video Games series. This is an honorable mention because the series is still ongoing, and recently released her <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i_RPr9DwMA&amp;list=PLn4ob_5_ttEaA_vc8F3fjzE62esf9yP61&amp;index=7" target="_blank">latest entry this week</a>. If you follow gaming through websites or blogs, than you know about some of the horrible backlash she has had to endure, dating back to the beginning of her Kickstarter campaign. The abuse is horrible and unwarranted, not only because it's not fair to attack her for her belief as a women who loves video games, but because this is one of the smartest, engaging, and enlightening series of videos about gaming culture being done right now.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">At the beginning of each video Sarkeesian clearly states, "This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember it's both possible, and even necessary, to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it's problematic or pernicious aspects." I 100% agree and love that she begins each video with that declaration. I love movies, TV, video games, and comics and I can enjoy many of my favorites as well as simultaneously criticize them on certain issues that affect me directly, like <a href="http://butmyopinionisright.tumblr.com/post/31079561065/the-problem-with-the-big-bang-theory" target="_blank">stereotyping of geek culture</a> or <a href="http://annenberg.usc.edu/sitecore/shell/Applications/Content%20Manager/~/media/MDSCI/Racial%20Inequality%20in%20Film%202007-2013%20Final.ashx?db=master&amp;la=en&amp;vs=1&amp;ts=20140731T1347226383%20" target="_blank">lack of latin representation in TV and film</a>. I think a lot of people attack what she's doing because they think she's some crazy feminist out to destroy games. Those people obviously don't understand her initial statement, and refuse to acknowledge that because she grew up with games and loves games, she too can have a passionate opinion about the genre. She has a desire to explore the abuse and negative tropes of women found in games because she is a women who had played games all her life and become very aware of that problem, and she does a great job of making other people aware of her observations.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">When I first saw the series, I was amazed of the large amount of examples and references Sarkeesian uses to clearly express her point. This isn't some video series where someone express how they feel for twenty minutes, with no evidence to back it up. This is a very well educated, thoroughly research, and sensitive approach to discussing a topic. The subject matter might be seen as controversial to some, but honestly I wish there were more people doing a series with this much research and detail involved. It's not just an examination of our gaming culture, but an examination of how society has influenced our gaming culture and vice versa.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Whatever your initial feelings may feel to hearing the title of the series, or even the title of her channel, I encourage every gamer to watch this series. Start from the beginning, and remember to heed her opening statements clearly. I love games, and have played games all my life, but there are countless times where I too may find certain aspects of the culture or designs disturbing, confusing, or wrong.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I also have two daughters, who love video games, and watching this series has made me aware of certain things that I never would have been aware of, frankly, because I am not a women. But I can still relate, being a male, to the idea of tropes vs gender, or race, or religion, etc. We all in some way, can relate, regardless of gender, nationality, or religion. And that's what makes this documentary so fascinating. You might not take the same stance as Sarkeesian, but I guarantee you will at least see things from a different perspective, and be able to more clearly analyze all the different social implications found in games or other media, wherever they may originate from.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PpCESY07Nd8/U_--gm-w7XI/AAAAAAAAAKs/XtfKZnXB-CU/s1600/GTA%2BV%2Bimage%2B-%2BWatching%2BTV.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PpCESY07Nd8/U_--gm-w7XI/AAAAAAAAAKs/XtfKZnXB-CU/s1600/GTA%2BV%2Bimage%2B-%2BWatching%2BTV.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Well these are my favorites, and I encourage everyone to try and watch these films. We can learn a lot from documentaries, and a great documentary doesn't teach you to think a certain way, or tell you to behave a certain way. A great documentary shows you a story from a different perspective, and leaves room for you to formulate and create your own opinion. You can learn many things about the subject of the film, but maybe even about yourself. These are real people who love and care about gaming, something that, if you are reading this blog do too.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I'm always on the look out for great documentaries, and I have seen a ton, but not all. Of the many I have seen these are the ones I feel every gamer needs to watch. It'll help give you a new perspective, I know they each have given me one. I learned a lot from all of these, and I've been able to apply what Iv'e learned in all aspects of my life, not just gaming. Maybe they will do the same for you.</div>Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/104163992168583768584[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-15745126343818651782014-08-27T15:47:00.000-04:002014-08-27T15:47:42.404-04:00Why you should love Mario Kart 8's DLC, Nintendo, video games, and life<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HpjCDjxvfHI/U_38-hdponI/AAAAAAAAAIw/iktgJoZszO8/s1600/Mario%2BKart%2B8%2BDLC%2Bimage%2B01.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HpjCDjxvfHI/U_38-hdponI/AAAAAAAAAIw/iktgJoZszO8/s1600/Mario%2BKart%2B8%2BDLC%2Bimage%2B01.jpg" height="358" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Yesterday Mario Kart 8 DLC was "finally" announced on the <a href="http://store.nintendo.co.uk/wii-u-ddc/the-legend-of-zelda-x-mario-kart-8-aoc-pack-digital-download/10991121.html">Nintendo UK eShop page</a>. I say "finally" because we all knew this was coming. I bought Mario Kart 8 #dayone, and everyone I know has asked me if I think there will be DLC for Mario Kart 8. "Of course" I would say, "why wouldn't they?" "Because they hate money" or "Nintendo does things backwards" was usually the response I got, or something else along those lines.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">"<a href="http://kotaku.com/mario-kart-8s-dlc-is-so-gross-1616697911">Mario Kart 8's DLC is So Gross</a>" screams the headline of a article published by Kotaku at the beginning of the month. I wonder if Kotaku will publish a more positive headline about the proper Mario Kart 8 DLC, now that it's been announced. I won't hold my breath, when it comes to DLC, Nintendo, Mario, and video games in general websites and anonymous commentators are quick to publicize how bad, terrible, lame, or gross something is. But when something amazing is announced, something that no one thought would actually happen or is better than what we could have dreamed, it's business as usual and they keep the visible excitement minimal, or non existent.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Most of the headlines you saw about the announcement were simple ones, like "<a href="http://www.polygon.com/2014/8/26/6071823/mario-kart-8-link-animal-crossing-dlc">Link, F-Zero and Animal Crossing are coming to Mario Kart 8 as DLC</a>" or something similar. Very by the books. As if this is nothing out of the ordinary. Ummmm......guys, LINK IS GOING TO BE IN FREAKING MARIO KART! Not only that, but Animal Crossing characters, Nintendo themed levels from Zelda, Animal Crossing, F-Zero and more! Also Captain Falcon's racer is going to be in the game! F-Zero meets Mario Kart!!! There should be more headlines that read like this: "Mario Kart 8 DLC announced is the best thing ever and the best is yet to come wow Nintendo is actually making dreams come true right now!!!"</div><a name='more'></a><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-1k7SpXC14yg/U_4CdVnMEzI/AAAAAAAAAI8/mj3Lj44zq0A/s1600/Mario%2BKart%2B8%2BDLC%2Bimage%2B02.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-1k7SpXC14yg/U_4CdVnMEzI/AAAAAAAAAI8/mj3Lj44zq0A/s1600/Mario%2BKart%2B8%2BDLC%2Bimage%2B02.jpg" height="358" width="640" /></a></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I know it's not just me that's excited. Anyone who gives a hoot about Mario Kart 8 is excited. But even if you don't give a hoot about Mario Kart, Nintendo, or even the Wii U, you probably should. The Mario Kart 8 DLC isn't just a announcement of some cool fan service DLC. It's a statement. A statement from a major game company that says, "We're listening." It's something that has been happening for a long time with smaller, indie developers and publishers. They were the first ones to give fans what they want. But slowly, a lot of the major companies like <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2014/03/18/diablo-3-finally-exorcises-its-demon-the-auction-house/">Blizzard</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWSIFh8ICaA">Sony</a>, <a href="http://www.polygon.com/2014/5/13/5713440/xbox-one-no-kinect-release-date-price-microsoft">Microsoft</a>, even <a href="http://www.gamespot.com/articles/rejoice-simcity-s-offline-mode-is-rolling-out-today/1100-6418378/">EA</a> and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/02/07/call-of-duty-switches-to-3-year-development-cycle-next-game-from-sledgehammer/">Activision</a> have been making changes to their products that reverberate the motto of: "We're listening."</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">There are several things that are so right about the Mario Kart 8 DLC, and hopefully it's not just a sign of what's to come within the franchise, but a signal that across the board developers from major companies like Nintendo are showing how much their fans mean to them. Nintendo has been very proactive about this all year. Gamers can be fickle and passionate, but also really sensitive. We need some sort of confirmation that we aren't just dollar signs to these companies. We respect these developers and their games, and wish that the same respect and appreciation was given back to us in some ways, even if we have to pay to get it.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">So here is a list of everything that we can learn from the Mario Kart 8 DLC, and how that can help us love it, video games, and even each other, a lot more:</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6Dh5nNyOCv0/U_4EhEJNTrI/AAAAAAAAAJM/w6Q7sXVgY5E/s1600/Street%2BFighter%2BX%2BTekken%2Bimage%2B01.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6Dh5nNyOCv0/U_4EhEJNTrI/AAAAAAAAAJM/w6Q7sXVgY5E/s1600/Street%2BFighter%2BX%2BTekken%2Bimage%2B01.jpg" height="358" width="640" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">Franchise crossovers bring everyone together</span></b><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Over the years, Super Smash Bros. has allowed fans of different Nintendo series and franchises to enjoy the same game. It's not "Mario's" game like "Mario Party" or "Mario Tennis" and everyone else is making a cameo. It's a collection of franchises big and small, across different regions even. When Marth and Roy showed up in Melee, not a single Fire Emblem game had been released in the US. Link has been in every game of Smash Bros., with a collection of over 20 games under is belt. Ness, the star of Earthbound, has only one game, but has also been in the series since the beginning.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">With Brawl we saw the inclusion of Solid Snake and Sonic, two major characters from non-Nintendo franchises, and mascots for the Sony PlayStation and Sega consoles. These crossovers between franchises helped attract people from all over to play as their favorite characters, letting the game become a celebration of all the different communities that are involved with video games.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">For the longest time, people would debate over which fighting game was better than the other, including games like Street Fighter and Tekken. Then we got Street Fighter X Tekken. Two major fighting franchises, coming together to form one game everyone can enjoy. When franchises crossover, whether it be separate companies or internal, it's allowing fans of their respective franchise to appreciate the other. I bet there were many Street Fighter players who never touched a Tekken game, but started to like a lot of the Tekken characters and vice versa.&nbsp;</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Or how about all the people who play Fire Emblem now; if it wasn't for the success of Marth in Melee and being one of the most favorable characters in the game, that Franchise would still be Japan only. Link and Animal Crossing showing up in Mario Kart, repeats the success of Super Smash Bros., but at the same time keeps the movement going of bringing people together who enjoy different types of video games. The more characters they add from different series, the more it creates an awareness from all the different types of games out there, and hopefully creates more love and appreciation for those games.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ee2405q5S00/U_4RbnvGK9I/AAAAAAAAAJc/M4_QsOz2wPQ/s1600/Mario%2BKart%2B8%2BDLC%2Bimage.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ee2405q5S00/U_4RbnvGK9I/AAAAAAAAAJc/M4_QsOz2wPQ/s1600/Mario%2BKart%2B8%2BDLC%2Bimage.png" height="362" width="640" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>DLC releases can be timely, of high quality, and inexpensive</b></span><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Nintendo basically announced two separately timed DLC releases. The first release is in November, and gives us three characters (Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, and Link), 4 new vehicles, and 8 new courses. The next release is in May, gives us the same amount of courses, vehicles, and new characters (Villager and Isabelle from Animal Crossing, and Dry Bowser). The releases are six months apart, and are $8 each, $12 if you buy them together.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Word of advice: buy them together. There really isn't any reason not two. $8 seems like such a weird price point, but if you think about it it's because they could offer everything for $12. Which is probably all they really need to make profit on these anyway. Nintendo is stingy about deals, and even though they have got a teensy bit better with their weekly eShop sales and their recent E3 and Super Smash Bros. themed sales, don't expect any deep discounts on these DLC packs anytime soon. So just buy them together, and save yourself the four bucks.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">But let's talk about the timing, and the quality of the packs. Anyone whose played Mario Kart, knows that there are always 4 cups with 4 races, and since the DS they've been adding an additional 16 retro courses from previous games. Think about that: for $12, you are getting 16 new courses. They could have stopped there. That's practically another Mario Kart game. Some of these tracks will be new and some remastered tracks, which is fantastic. The remastered tracks in Mario Kart 8 made them feel like new again, so I'm excited about what tracks they will be bringing back.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I thought going forward, a bulk of their DLC would've been just giving us more remastered tracks. That would probably have been the easy way out right? Maybe a new track here or there, but Mario Kart has only ever appeared once for every system. You would think they would want to save a bulk of their tracks for the newest entry on whatever the successor to the Wii U OR 3DS ends up being. But now that they are giving us new tracks, it elevates the level of quality they are giving to the fans. They could've taken the easy road, but they didn't. And not only are these tracks new, but they are representative of different franchises as well, similar to what Sega did with Sonic All-Stars Racing.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QaO7uZ-j1KQ/U_4ngO6QDwI/AAAAAAAAAJs/0JMMcsZaHnQ/s1600/Mario%2BKart%2B8%2BDLC%2Bimage%2B04.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QaO7uZ-j1KQ/U_4ngO6QDwI/AAAAAAAAAJs/0JMMcsZaHnQ/s1600/Mario%2BKart%2B8%2BDLC%2Bimage%2B04.jpg" height="358" width="640" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>The possibilities are endless</b></span><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Timed DLC releases are becoming more common with video games, but I feel that Mario Kart is basically giving everyone a new Mario Kart game for $12. And it's not going to stop. Six months from the launch of the game, we get this DLC. Then six months after that, another set. I sense a pattern here, but you don't have to be a genius to figure that out. I am willing to bet all the money in the world that Nov. 2014 and May 2015, we will get additional DLC packs released, with a similar amount of tracks, courses, and characters.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">And why not? With DLC, online gaming, and consoles lasting much longer than they have in the past, developers are figuring out more ways to extend the life of their game and to keep us playing over longer periods. DLC for the Wii was a pipe dream, but the Wii U is different, and they know this. They have to play catch up, and by making exciting and consistent DLC that is a great way to achieve that. When you have games like GTA V that releases consistent multiplayer updates or Call of Duty with their timed map packs, Nintendo now finally wants to get in on that action.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Mario Kart 8 is the perfect game for DLC. There is only one Mario Kart game each Nintendo system. And if Nintendo is going to follow that pattern (which they probably will) they are going to need to keep releasing DLC to keep things fresh. Although, they also couldn't. Mario Kart Wii sold over 30 million copies and was the highest selling Wii game (besides Wii Sports but really that doesn't count.) Not a single piece of DLC was released, no digital copy you could buy, and they still sold crazy amounts. Now think about a year from now, when you can buy a new copy of Mario Kart 8, with all the DLC packs included at a discount. It's very smart and going to make a lot of money for Nintendo. And we as consumers are going to save quite a bit of money too.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-s_d_JGNkyW0/U_4woJSgesI/AAAAAAAAAJ8/VADdd_FERjA/s1600/Rusty's%2BReal%2BDeal%2BBaseball%2Bimage%2B01.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-s_d_JGNkyW0/U_4woJSgesI/AAAAAAAAAJ8/VADdd_FERjA/s1600/Rusty's%2BReal%2BDeal%2BBaseball%2Bimage%2B01.jpg" height="384" width="640" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>DLC is part of the healthy evolution of gaming</b></span><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">We should be happy we are getting great consistent value from a game that is supposed to last us an entire console generation. It shows that gaming is changing for the better. When I played Super Mario World for the SNES, and unlocked every level, there really wasn't any other reason to keep me playing the game. I would have the urge every now and then to play it, but besides maybe restarting my save file, or challenging myself to speed run the game, there is really nothing new that I could come back to. I would need to wait for the next Mario game, which ended up being Super Mario 64, and was a complete change from Super Mario World.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">DLC allows a developer to keep an existing game fresh, and make the wait between games feel a lot shorter. It helps shake up the original design on the game, like what Far Cry: Blood Dragon did for Far Cry 3. Yes, some DLC started out on a bad note, like the classic horse armor from Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. But everyone was pumped about all the DLC that was released for Skyrim. Times have changed, and developers are realizing the power and potential of DLC releases.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Mario Kart 8 is a fantastic game. In my opinion, it's the best in the series. I bought it #dayone and loved every moment that I've turned it on. I've unlocked everything in the game, and now and then I feel the urge to play online or I'll invite people over to play. I'm still in the honeymoon period, but if two or three years went by and nothing else was added, I would feel like it's a disservice to the game and the people who play it. Games aren't complete products&nbsp;anymore, they are always evolving and getting better. It's great to see Nintendo embrace that with Mario Kart, and I'm sure with Zelda being an open world game, and Splatoon being a multiplayer&nbsp;online shooter, we are going to see them innovate more with the same game over longer periods of time. DLC allows them the flexibility and freedom to do so.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">And this goes for all games. That's why Minecraft is such a hit. It's a game that is always evolving. A game that you can keep coming back to. Those Adventure updates and what not are essentially DLC. Whether the developer chooses to charge and how much is another debate, and one I believe is a case by case discussion. But every game should leave room for expansion and improvement. It keeps people coming back for more, and encourages new players to experience games with a fresh spin or advancement.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AraOH9v0gkQ/U_4yr7nyaHI/AAAAAAAAAKE/rkSS9wVNIVQ/s1600/Bastion%2Bimage%2B01.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AraOH9v0gkQ/U_4yr7nyaHI/AAAAAAAAAKE/rkSS9wVNIVQ/s1600/Bastion%2Bimage%2B01.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">DLC helps further games as an art form</span></b><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I believe video games is an art form. Which makes designers the artists. DLC is one of their tools they can use to help create their art. I attended a Q&amp;A with playwright <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Adly_Guirgis">Stephen Adly Guirgis</a>, and someone asked him if there were anything in his older plays he would want to change. He said, "Of course. Nearly all of them." He said he believes that "a play is never you finished, you just stop writing it."</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">That statement really affected me, being an artist. You spend days, weeks, months, and years creating something that you can show people, and then suddenly it's considered complete? You force yourself to move on and create something else, but you are always evolving as an artist and when you reflect at any piece of work you did previously, you know you can improve on it or help make it deliver it's message more clearly.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I feel video game designers are at an advantage over most artists, because they can make sequels, and now DLC. They can make a game like Uncharted, and all the time think about how they can improve on the design and tell a better story, so they can then make Uncharted 2, and 3, and 4. We might see it as just sequels or cash grabs on the surface (and some are) but really it's a way for these designers to improve on their craft. Would you want to play Super Mario Galaxy the same way you played Super Mario 64?</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Would you want to play World of Warcraft the same way it was the first year it came out? I'm sure the people designing the game wouldn't want to either. Now instead of waiting for the sequel, designers can always keep improving on their designs, and release it as they go. Title updates fall into this category too, and Mario Kart 8 is bringing a bunch of them today as well. But DLC has given us new game mechanics, new story arcs, and new features that normally we would wait until the sequel to get. Now the designers can give us that at a much faster rate, and our games are better for it.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qevJqG9C4aw/U_40oYImxWI/AAAAAAAAAKM/uaC-4GcmCZQ/s1600/Mario%2BKart%2B8%2Bimage.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qevJqG9C4aw/U_40oYImxWI/AAAAAAAAAKM/uaC-4GcmCZQ/s1600/Mario%2BKart%2B8%2Bimage.jpg" height="358" width="640" /></a></div><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">We live in an exciting time, and we should enjoy every moment</span></b><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I don't mean with just video games. Sure, there are stuff that happens in video games that can make us upset, frustrated, and angry. But we also live in an exciting moment in video games history. I grew up with the NES: no online play with people across the world, no downloading games from the Internet, no smart phones or smart tv's or virtual reality headsets. Gaming has come a long way, and although it's not perfect, there is a whole lot we don't have to complain about.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Nothing hammers this point home more than when I play Mario Kart 64 right after playing Mario Kart 8. So much has changed, and we as gamers have benefited a lot from it. We need to take every opportunity we can to appreciate the positive that exists in our daily gaming lives. And let's not keep it within gaming: we should be grateful about all the positive that we do have. I'm able to type out this blog post without fear of getting killed because of my religious beliefs, or waking up to the sounds of bombs dropping. I can snack while I play video games, while families around the world don't have anything to eat or fresh water. Sometimes we forget how good we have it, and should be grateful and humble that we do.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">In a weird way, DLC for Mario Kart 8 helps me appreciate all the good in life. The fact that I can get excited about something as simple as Link driving a F-Zero racer, shows how lucky I am. Some people don't have that luxury, because they are thinking about how they are going to pay rent, or feed their kids, or just survive the night. It might sound bizarre, but it's true. Knowing that I can get excited about these things, keeps me from getting mad about, say, Mercedes Benz DLC. Because in the big picture it doesn't matter. Mercedes Benz or Link, it really is all the same.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">So even if you don't play Mario Kart 8, and the DLC means nothing to you, think about all the positive that can come from an announcement like this. Think about what games you would want it's developers to take a similar route with. And try not to get upset about it. Try not to freak out if we actually don't get anymore Mario Kart 8&nbsp;DLC after this, or we never see such and such character or track return. Let's just be grateful for what we have and the time we are living in. In the video game world, and in real life. If you can't get excited for Mario Kart 8 DLC, find something you can get excited about. Because we are living in an age where Mario Kart is getting DLC. Awesome DLC. Chances are any game you are playing, is having awesome things happening. And we can all, as gamers, appreciate that.</div><br /><br />Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-26839856372301466832014-08-26T11:29:00.000-04:002014-08-26T11:29:13.599-04:00My deep dark secret about the Legend of Zelda series<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VZY0GAZfUdc/U_ymTAEmIDI/AAAAAAAAAxE/N_eAJ21hW7M/s1600/Wind%2BWaker%2Bscreenshot%2B-%2BLink%2Bsays%2Bgoodbye.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VZY0GAZfUdc/U_ymTAEmIDI/AAAAAAAAAxE/N_eAJ21hW7M/s1600/Wind%2BWaker%2Bscreenshot%2B-%2BLink%2Bsays%2Bgoodbye.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Yesterday I wrote about adding the <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/08/adding-to-my-bucket-list-zelda-three.html" target="_blank">Zelda Three Heart Challenge to my Bucket List</a>. In the past three months, I've written quite a few posts about The Legend of Zelda series. I love those games and I always say it's one of my favorite franchises in gaming. It's a series I've been familiar with as a kid way back on the NES, having played the original Zelda as well as The Adventure of Link. Like everyone else I love Ocarina of Time, adored the latest entry A Link Between Worlds, and cherished the moment when I <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/07/11-years-later-i-finally-beat-wind-waker.html" target="_blank">finally beat Wind Waker, eleven years later</a>.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I would call myself a fan. I mean, I have the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1616550414/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1616550414&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=hotobeabega-20&amp;linkId=HZNFXUXVPOCNYLFQ" target="_blank">Hyrule Historia</a>, so that makes me a pretty legit fan of the series right? Here's the thing: those three games I just listed, are the only Zelda games I've beaten. That's right. Out of twenty plus games, the twenty five plus years of history, I have only played three Zelda games to completion. Like everyone else, I flipped when I saw the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZmxvig1dXE" target="_blank">Wii U Zelda</a>, and instantly raved about how great it was gonna be. But how should I know? I've only played <i>three</i> Zelda games long enough to finish them.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">In fact, there are several Zelda games I haven't played at all! It's something I'm pretty ashamed about. It's like saying your favorite food is Sushi, but when you go out to a restaurant you order the same 4-5 rolls every time (guilty of that too). I know I probably shouldn't really be too ashamed of this "secret". Your knowledge and experience with a particular piece of media/art/entertainment doesn't equate to how big of a fan you are. You can call yourself a Doctor Who fan and only have watched Matt Smith, no one is going to (or should) deny you your fandom. But considering that I've only beaten three Zelda games in my life (and two of those I completed within the past year!) I feel I need to explore why I never did beat/play most of the Zelda games, yet I still hail the series as one of the greatest of all time.</div><br /><a name='more'></a><div style="text-align: justify;">Why is this such a deep dark secret for me? I haven't played all the games from Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Mega Man, etc. There are a lot of different series I haven't played a bulk of the games for. The difference is I have been hailing Legend of Zelda as one of the best franchises of all time my entire life. Whenever a new Zelda game comes out, I exclaim it's going to be the best ever, and say I'm going to buy it #dayone, like I did with Wind Waker. But what ends up happening most of the time is I either a) don't get the new Zelda game or b) do get the new Zelda game and never play it for more than a few hours.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">If you have the pleasure of knowing me personally, you've heard me discuss at extreme length the brilliance of the level design in the Zelda series. Or you've heard me talk about how more people bought the Ocarina of Time 3DS remake instead of A Link Between Worlds, and that's a direct insult to the legacy of the franchise. But if you knew my secret, how I haven't played a single Zelda game to completion between Ocarina of Time and A Link Between Worlds, you'd be able to call me out on it. You'd be able to say I really have no right to complain that more people aren't buying the new Zelda game as opposed to the old Zelda game, because I&nbsp;haven't even played any new Zelda's either. I'm still stuck on Ocarina of Time being the best thing ever, and have yet to move on.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oNl3BIqlrrY/U_ynRR9vsVI/AAAAAAAAAxM/tRFSYTbK-m4/s1600/Wind%2BWaker%2Bscreenshot%2B-%2BGoron%2Bdisguise.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oNl3BIqlrrY/U_ynRR9vsVI/AAAAAAAAAxM/tRFSYTbK-m4/s1600/Wind%2BWaker%2Bscreenshot%2B-%2BGoron%2Bdisguise.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">And you would be right. Essentially all these years, I've been lying about my experience in regards to Zelda. I claim to have loved every entry in the series and yet haven't played more than half of them. When it comes to the Zelda series, I'm like that kid that says he got the newest game, but if you ask to go over to his house to play it, he can't have any company over because he's punish. Or when you finally get the game and ask how he beat the first boss, he convienently forgets. But he totally has the game and beat it in like a day. Yeah, I'm that annoying kid me when it comes to Zelda. It makes me feel dirty.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Don't get me wrong, my love and appreciation for the series is honest and genuine. Ocarina of Time is one of the best games I've ever played, as is A Link Between Worlds and Wind Waker. My passion for the series is real, but I have up until recently exaggerated on the experience I have with the series. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. It might be me projecting, but whenever someone says they love a certain game or series, or the reverse and say they hate a game or series, I always wondered how much time they actually spent with the series. I wondered because I knew I was hiding that fact when the discussion came around to Zelda.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">We should all be honest about the experience we have with something. Writing all this down and publishing it for all the world to see, it feels good, to finally get it out into the open. That's the point of this blog. I believe games have the power to make you a better person in many different ways. Being honest about your experience with a certain subject is one, because you never want to get caught in that lie. At least I can honestly say there isn't another game where I have faked my experience level with. I have played every Pokemon game to completion, as well as every Mario game (except Super Mario 3D World) and all the AKI/Asmik Ace THQ wrestling games like WWF No Mercy and WCW/nWo Revenge. These are some of my favorite franchises of all time, and I've invested literally thousands of hours into. I don't know why I was always compelled to lie about Zelda, but I was always afraid I was going to get caught. I didn't want to get caught, because then people would use that against me, and probably question any other subject I claimed to have knowledge of.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Rest assured, Zelda is the only series I have been keeping this a secret of. I don't know why. Maybe it was one of those franchises where I felt ashamed that I wasn't putting enough time and effort into. It did take me eleven years to finally beat Wind Waker, and I was very sad about that fact. But when I finally beat it, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders, and now I'm ready to actually play all these Zelda games I've talked endlessly about. I never felt ashamed to hide the fact that I haven't played games like Super Metroid or any of the Castlevania games, I shouldn't be afraid about not having played Zelda either. There are too many games out there, and not enough time to play them all. And that's okay. I don't need to lie about not playing certain games, because maybe I didn't have the time to get around to them.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Even though I've played probably hundreds of games in my lifetime doesn't mean I have played them all. It's probably nearly impossible to do so. I don't judge people if they haven't played a certain game, so I shouldn't pretend like I go around playing all the games either, even if it's a series as revered as Legend of Zelda. It feels good to finally let this out in the open, and I hope it encourages more people to stop lying and hiding the fact they haven't played such and such game. A meteor didn't come out the sky and land on me, Eiji Aonuma didn't call me up and tell me he hates, everything is just the way it was before I wrote this. There is no reason to be afraid. By revealing my deep dark secret about Zelda, I've accepted I made a mistake and can now move on. If anything, it encourages me to finally play all these Zelda games once and for all. I already did it with Wind Waker, so why should I stop there?!?</div>Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-20736075458747295932014-08-25T11:00:00.000-04:002014-08-26T09:27:43.754-04:00Adding to my Bucket List: The Zelda Three Heart Challenge<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ebJHXQCFObo/U_s5zdwwEtI/AAAAAAAAAw0/aFwAqUkOSR8/s1600/Wind%2BWaker%2Bscreenshot%2B-%2BPiece%2Bof%2BHeart.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ebJHXQCFObo/U_s5zdwwEtI/AAAAAAAAAw0/aFwAqUkOSR8/s1600/Wind%2BWaker%2Bscreenshot%2B-%2BPiece%2Bof%2BHeart.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">While reading a recent <a href="http://kotaku.com/how-to-make-old-games-feel-new-again-1626309484" target="_blank">Kotaku article</a> about making old games feel new again, I was inspired to add one of their recommendations to my <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/08/the-importance-of-video-game-bucket-list.html" target="_blank">Bucket List</a>: The Zelda Three Heart Challenge. If you don't know what it is, there is a brief summary on the Zelda wiki <a href="http://zeldawiki.org/Three_Heart_Challenge" target="_blank">here</a>. It's pretty much what it sounds like: you play through your Zelda game of choice, without grabbing extra heart pieces or containers. It's a fun, creative way to add challenge to any Zelda game, and something every fan (including myself) should try at least once.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I've played Ocarina of Time on multiple occasions, and 100% completed it almost every play-through. I heard about the Three Heart Challenge a few years back, and what fascinates me the most about it is how it offers a different experience than 100% completing a Zelda game. If you collected all the Gold Skulltulla's in Ocarina, chances are someone else did that too almost exactly the same way you did. Finding all the bottles, heart containers, etc. is pretty standard stuff and we've all shared similiar experiences in achieving that goal. But a Three Heart Challenge pretty much guarantees your play-through won't be similar to your friends, or any one else's.<br /><a name='more'></a><br />I would imagine you pretty much have to try not taking a hit from enemies or bosses, and that will have you focusing on a play style you feel most comfortable with. What item will you use more: the bow or boomerang? Will you go for the big leaping attacks or will you play it safe with short, quick stabs? Will you go out of your way to collect items that you don't really need to complete the story? Or will you try to get every collectible possible besides the heart pieces, to prove that you are the ultimate Zelda master? The possibilities are endless, and that's what excited me the most about the Three Heart Challenge.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">A part of me feels like I should try this first with Ocarina of Time. It's the Zelda game I've played the most, and have a good memory of all the dungeons and bosses. The idea of tackling the Water Temple with three hearts though? That's the stuff of nightmares. But if someone can beat the entire game under <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYSDrAr3Hxg" target="_blank">20 minutes</a>, it can't be too hard right? Or maybe I should try it with Wind Waker, the Zelda game <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/07/11-years-later-i-finally-beat-wind-waker.html" target="_blank">I finally beat after 11 years</a>. Even though it took me forever to finally finish that game, I didn't faint once during my journey. A three heart challenge shouldn't be too difficult for me with Wind Waker. I've also been meaning to play A Link Between Worlds again, maybe doing the challenge will finally pull me away from Pokemon X.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Or maybe I should do them all! Who knows, it'll probably be so much fun that I would want to keep doing them across all the different Zelda games I own. I don't really care about how challenging they will be, that's part of the fun. I've never been one to shy away from a difficult game or challenge, so I'm not too worried about it. I'm more interested in the experience, and the Zelda Three Heart Challenge seems like no other. So let's add it to the list! Hopefully one day soon I can proudly cross it off.</div><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">My Bucket List</span></b><br /><div><ul><li>Complete the endless set list in Rock Band</li><li>Visit an EVO tournament</li><li>Compete at a regional VGC Pokemon tournament</li><li>Play at an Arcade in Japan</li><li>Attend a PAX event</li><li>Host a 24 hour gaming session for charity</li><li>Enter a video game tournament with my kids</li><li>Lose to my kids in video games (without trying to)</li><li><b>Complete the Zelda Three Heart Challenge</b></li></ul></div>Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/104163992168583768584[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-9896727965211710232014-08-13T17:19:00.000-04:002014-08-13T17:19:23.453-04:00The importance of a video game Bucket List<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qlsEHFOAqnQ/U-uAVUrx1cI/AAAAAAAAAGs/aF5Ukv0mnL0/s1600/Rock%2BBand%2B3%2Bimage.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qlsEHFOAqnQ/U-uAVUrx1cI/AAAAAAAAAGs/aF5Ukv0mnL0/s1600/Rock%2BBand%2B3%2Bimage.jpg" height="358" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I love <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/07/the-importance-of-video-game-wish-list.html">lists</a>. I love creating&nbsp;<a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/01/my-gaming-goals-of-2014.html">goals for myself</a>. I love <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/07/to-be-best-no-one-ever-wasin-2015.html">dreaming big</a>. You know what has all these elements and more? A Bucket List! I don't have one written down anywhere expect in my brain, and that's a big mistake. They are as important as your grocery lists. Even more so! We don't know how long we have on this Earth, and we should have something tangible that encourages us to make the most of our time. Shoot, I could die right now as I'm typing this...</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">...but I didn't! I was kind of scared for a moment, but now those few seconds are gone and I will never get them back. Why live my life in fear of when I might die, or (even worse) live to regret the things I never tried to do? That's why it's important to set goals for yourself, both long term and short. We don't know how much time we have to live, so we should try to make our time here as enjoyable as we possibly can, by pushing ourselves to achieve or pursue our dreams.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Some goals are simple like "I wanna lose 5 pounds" or "save $1000 by the end of the year". These are tangible, realistic goals that with a little planning and dedication, can be achieved. Other goals like, "learn to play the piano" or "beat my best half marathon time" require a more long term investment and cannot be achieved without lots of hard work or practice. These are goals, and they shouldn't be confused with what's on your bucket list. What's on your bucket list should be things you achieve outside your daily routine or something you might only be able to experience once in your lifetime. Visiting Japan, is on my real life bucket list. As is going to Wrestlemania. But what about my video game bucket list? What do I want to experience at least once in my life in the world of video games!?!?</div><a name='more'></a><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-a3wsoUA_qXw/U-vBs9TlLGI/AAAAAAAAAG8/nGYt0mQwh4k/s1600/Rock%2BBand%2B3%2Bimage%2B02.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-a3wsoUA_qXw/U-vBs9TlLGI/AAAAAAAAAG8/nGYt0mQwh4k/s1600/Rock%2BBand%2B3%2Bimage%2B02.jpg" height="358" width="640" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Complete the endless set-list in Rock Band</b></span><br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">This will happen, if all goes well, in about two weeks from today. I've always wanted to take the endless set-list challenge, but never had the time to do so. I could have&nbsp;done this by myself, but the way I always wanted to do the endless set-list was with at least three other people. Playing the game solo is fun, but with other people you really get the sensation of living out your rock band fantasy. I used to throw Rock Band party's, but the opportunity never presented itself where I could have a bunch of people in my place playing Rock Band for 6-8 hours.</div><div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">The challenge was really intimidating in the beginning of the series. They had separate achievements for each difficulty level, and the no fail option couldn't be turned on in the first Rock Band. In RB2, you couldn't pause in between songs, or switch out party members. You had to have everyone connected for the duration of the set-list, and that put a lot of pressure on a group's endurance and wealth of batteries. But Rock Band 3 was more generous, and it doesn't matter what difficulty you play the set-list on to get the achievement. Songs don't start right away, so there isn't any pressure to have everyone stand and play for 6-8 hours straight; you can take breaks to use the bathroom, eat, or switch instruments.</div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">Completing this set-list isn't impossible, but I wanted to achieve it in a&nbsp;party atmosphere. I didn't want it to be too challenging for everyone involved, and I want it to be an experience we all remember fondly, not just me. In a couple of weeks I have a day planned where me and a few of my friends will attempt this. I will try to live stream it too, on my new <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/bebettergamer">twitch.tv channel</a>. If I complete this, it'll be a great start on my journey of completing my video game bucket list.</div><br /></div><div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-VXNy7DeA0aE/U-vG3GnwK-I/AAAAAAAAAHI/wLZ3MSv5bd4/s1600/EVO%2Bimage.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-VXNy7DeA0aE/U-vG3GnwK-I/AAAAAAAAAHI/wLZ3MSv5bd4/s1600/EVO%2Bimage.jpg" height="382" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Visit an EVO tournament</b></span></div><div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I love watching <a href="http://evo.shoryuken.com/">EVO</a>. I don't play many fighting games. I do fancy myself a Super Smash Bros. player, but no where near the competitive level. I have downloaded many a Street Fighter game, but mostly because I love the art direction and presentation of those games. I can barely beat the Arcade mode on medium difficulty, so I live out my fighter fantasy through streams of competitive players like <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/eg_jwong">Justin Wong</a>.</div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">EVO has grown exponentially over the years, and the crowds have become electric like at other sporting events or wrestling PPV's. I feel like you don't even have to be good at fighting games to enjoy watching high level players duke it out. Games like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Marvel vs Capcom&nbsp;are beautiful&nbsp;and easy to understand. Two players fight until one wins, that's it! It's easy to get wrapped up into the drama of watching any match between two highly capable players. But when you take that it raised the stakes to a super competitive and international level at&nbsp;EVO, it's hard to not get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions involved.</div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">Some people can go on vacations whenever they want. I unfortunately don't have that luxury (yet). One year, I would love to venture to EVO, and experience first hand the excitement rather than watching it from my computer while I do the dishes or something. I want to cheer and slap hands with people. I want to root for my favorites and see all the different players from around the world competing at their very best. EVO is the closest we have in gaming to events like the SuperBowl or Wrestlemania. These events happen once every year, but the moments at each EVO occur once in a lifetime.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Viu6d4SsjQY/U-vJGLALnGI/AAAAAAAAAHU/kAXHGMGj40o/s1600/Pokemon%2BWorlds%2B2014%2Bimage.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Viu6d4SsjQY/U-vJGLALnGI/AAAAAAAAAHU/kAXHGMGj40o/s1600/Pokemon%2BWorlds%2B2014%2Bimage.jpg" height="362" width="640" /></a></div></div><div><br /></div><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Compete at a regional VGC Pokemon tournament</b></span><div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I wrote about this at great length in a <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/07/to-be-best-no-one-ever-wasin-2015.html">previous blog</a>. This is technically a personal goal, but because life has always prevented me from seriously competing at a VGC, if I ever do it might be a once in a lifetime thing. I want to be able to say I did enter in a regional tournament once in my life. I took that plane or drove ten hours to try and be the very best that no one ever was. Pokemon is a series that I have been with since the beginning, and I feel like I need to one day prove that all those hours I've invested into the games hasn't gone to waste.</div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">I honestly don't care if I win or lose. I just want to be a part of the experience. I want to talk with other players, and compete with the best. I don't want to be a spectator, like I would at EVO. I know I have what it takes to win at least a match or two, and then I can cross this goal off my bucket list. Once I do that, I can then add "Win 1st place at a regional VGC Pokemon tournament" to my bucket list.</div></div><div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-wX_RpfHN6Ao/U-vKyXtr4YI/AAAAAAAAAHg/WEAlYjiXFEw/s1600/Taito%2BGame%2BStation%2Bimage.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-wX_RpfHN6Ao/U-vKyXtr4YI/AAAAAAAAAHg/WEAlYjiXFEw/s1600/Taito%2BGame%2BStation%2Bimage.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br /></div><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Play at an Arcade in Japan</b></span><div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Japan. It's like my personal Mecca. The day I visit will be the day my spirit returns to what was probably it's original birth place. I've always had a strong fascination with the culture of Japan, even outside the world of video games. But Japan is the birthplace of Nintendo, Sony, and nearly most of what made video games possible today. Visiting Japan is on my bucket list, but how do I celebrate my arrival in the motherland of gaming? By playing video games of course!!!</div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">I don't want to be another tourist, snapping pictures of the Kyoto Nintendo headquarters or simply shopping in the Shibuya district. I want to feel what it's like to live as a gamer in Japan. I want to go to the Sega and Namco arcade buildings. I want to visit the small underground arcades and sit next to the intense and competitive Bust-a-Move players. I want to literally bust a move in front of a crowd playing DDR. And then high five the dude who can do Sandstorm on Expert when he jumps on. Arcades are a relic in this country, but they are alive and well in Japan. I want to experience that at least once in my life.</div></div><div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4kxoVFy38zc/U-vMuuYEIKI/AAAAAAAAAHs/Di5nJCMX0vk/s1600/Pax%2BEast.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4kxoVFy38zc/U-vMuuYEIKI/AAAAAAAAAHs/Di5nJCMX0vk/s1600/Pax%2BEast.jpg" height="362" width="640" /></a></div><br /></div><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Attend a PAX event</b></span><div><br /></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">When PAX prime first appeared in 2004, I knew I wanted to attend. It was like comic con, for video games! That statement alone is surreal. But it has grown dramatically since it's inception with PAX East, PAX Dev, PAX Australia, and next year PAX South. These events were created for the fans by fans, and every year more developers come out and show their support for PAX. A lot of big game announcements are made, and a lot of demos for new games are displayed.</div><div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">If I went to PAX, I would visit a lot of the panels they present. I love hearing experts in gaming come together and talk about various aspects of the game industry; from social issues to game design. PAX also presents a lot fun&nbsp;tournaments you don't see normally done on a large scale. For example, this year at PAX prime they are holding a Mario Kart: Double Dash tournament! I would totally sign up for that.</div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">Despite the controversy over the years, there is a lot to love about PAX, and I would love to venture out to either PAX East or Prime one day.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fTVDldBg-CU/U-vN6XE79SI/AAAAAAAAAH0/SuatVsPmaM8/s1600/Extra%2Blife%2Bimage.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fTVDldBg-CU/U-vN6XE79SI/AAAAAAAAAH0/SuatVsPmaM8/s1600/Extra%2Blife%2Bimage.jpg" height="512" width="640" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Host a 24-hour gaming session for charity</b></span></div><div><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I see a lot of these on twitch.tv, usually for charity or other events. I would love to host or be a part of something like this, and stay awake for the full 24 hours. I only remember staying awake for 24 hours about four times in my life, and sadly I wasn't playing video games the whole time. But I love these concepts and especially if it's for a charity, it seems like it would be a fun and rewarding experience.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I don't know how likely this will be for me now, and hopefully I can achieve it while I'm still young. I have two kids and ever since I became a Dad it's been a lot easier for me to fall asleep due to exhaustion. I would probably have to train for this event, or the stars would have to align for something in my schedule to allow this. I also would need a good group of friends who would rotate shifts and stay up with me. As for the games, I would want the 24 hour session to cover a wide variety as opposed to one game or series.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Plus I can wear that nifty 24 hour gaming badge you get once you complete this. Right!?!&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">...What? You don't get a badge? There's...no badge?</div><div><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zrTrDXB7shk/U-vO9Bo4j-I/AAAAAAAAAH8/glcRtLwab3E/s1600/Koopalings.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zrTrDXB7shk/U-vO9Bo4j-I/AAAAAAAAAH8/glcRtLwab3E/s1600/Koopalings.jpg" height="370" width="640" /></a></div></div><div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Enter a video game tournament with my kids</b></span></div><div><br /></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">I don't know what the future has in store for my life. I do know video games will play a big part of it, as it always has. But lately my passion has been evolving around my girls taking up and playing games. I had a DS in my oldest daughter's hand since she was one and a half, and she hasn't put it down. She's picked up quite a few games since then, and mainly plays with the Wii now and gets better everyday. My youngest, now two, has her own DS that she loves playing and rarely lets go. It's only a matter of time before I start taking them to tournaments and watch them play against other people.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">How cool would it be if I enter a regional Pokemon tournament a few years from now, and my daughter enters in the junior division? It wouldn't be the first time that has happened, there are a few well known family competitors that enter the Pokemon tournaments. Or maybe we'll be entering a Smash Bros. or Mario Kart tournament together one day. Whenever that day happens, there is going to a big fat smiley face next to that check mark.</div><div><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-A6-Sk1NPZKw/U-vQBjCKlhI/AAAAAAAAAIE/GA6ZVsY6Wac/s1600/Les-Enfants-Terribles.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-A6-Sk1NPZKw/U-vQBjCKlhI/AAAAAAAAAIE/GA6ZVsY6Wac/s1600/Les-Enfants-Terribles.jpg" height="400" width="640" /></a></div><div><br /></div><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Lose to my kids in video games, without trying to</b></span><div><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">One day, the student will be the master. When that day comes, I will know my job has been done. It will probably be one of the most defining moments of my life, the day my girls can consistently beat me in video games. I probably will cry. Not because I had my butt whipped, but because I did my job has a parent. All the years playing games, the skills I have developed, will now have been passed on through my girls. And they will be better at games than I could have ever possibly dreamed to be.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">What game will it be? When will it be more than one game? What game will they <i>want </i>to beat me in? And will I ever be able to beat them again? These are questions I can't wait to find the answer to, and this is probably the most important item on the list. Next to...</div><div><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-nUSDDrhWw-c/U-vTPwsianI/AAAAAAAAAIQ/6rZuw_FLbVY/s1600/Baby%2BMario.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-nUSDDrhWw-c/U-vTPwsianI/AAAAAAAAAIQ/6rZuw_FLbVY/s1600/Baby%2BMario.png" height="640" width="524" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;"><b>Give my grandchild their first gaming system</b></span></div><div><br /></div><div><div style="text-align: justify;">I have been gaming all my life. I grew up with a NES in the household, and currently have the Wii U. So much has changed over the years, and I'm amazed with how far we've come. My daughter has it really good right now with the technology and quality of games that are available to her, I can't imagine what's going to be around when my grandchild is born into this world.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Will it be a Nintendo console? Will it be a portable console? Am I going to have to purchase a special chip that needs to be implanted in the baby's brain for them to play games? Wherever we are in the world of gaming by that point, I will be at the hospital #dayone with console in hand. It will be my duty, no, honor to gift such a special token to my grandchild. It will be pretty symbolic, and I can't wait until I can check this off from my list.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">So that's my list. I'm sure I will add more to it as time goes on. Having a list like this inspires me to live my life to the fullest, which is something we should all be trying to do. Whatever your passion is, I recommend you create a bucket list for that as well, because it might inspire you to think differently about the way you approach your hobby. I want to live a great normal life, but I also want to live a fantastic life around video games. Hopefully, when my time on this Earth is over, I will have checked off every item on this list.</div></div>Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/104163992168583768584[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-24056289761106147052014-08-05T12:32:00.000-04:002014-08-05T12:32:04.472-04:00Celebrating the launch of my Twitch.tv channel<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_jID3Q_NJ7Q/U-DsoAJC9AI/AAAAAAAAAGA/Gt3vf7fsYHc/s1600/Twitch+screenshot.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_jID3Q_NJ7Q/U-DsoAJC9AI/AAAAAAAAAGA/Gt3vf7fsYHc/s1600/Twitch+screenshot.png" height="312" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Monday night I officially launched my <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/bebettergamer">Twitch.tv channel</a>. What made the stream official is I didn't put the words "test stream" in the title of the broadcast. Last week I purchased the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Elgato-Capture-PlayStation-Definition-Recorder/dp/B00840353W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1407249733&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=elgato+game+capture+hd">Elgato Game Capture HD device</a>, and wrote about my <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/07/twitch-and-me-28-years-in-making-or-how.html">aspirations of becoming a broadcaster on Twitch</a>. Since getting the Elgato, I've been testing almost every night; messing with the video quality, settings, audio, etc. The Elgato is a fantastic piece of hardware, is easy to use, and did most of the heavy lifting for me. After tweaking a few things, I figured I was ready to begin broadcasting for realz.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Of course, no launch is perfect and my first stream wasn't without it's issues. Towards the end of the stream I lost connection to Twitch, even though my Elgato program said I was still connected. I didn't have that problem during my tests. Also I realized after the stream was over, that the title was of the last test stream test I did, and it still had the previous game name, even though I changed it. Hopefully I can avoid that mistake the next time I go live. Other than that the audio came through fine, the video quality was fantastic, and I was able to showcase my awesome skills playing <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WCW/nWo_Revenge">WCW/nWo Revenge</a>.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I always wanted to broadcast the series of N64 wrestling games developed by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asmik_Ace_Entertainment">Asmik Ace</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syn_Sophia">AKI Corporation</a> and published by the defunct <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/THQ">THQ</a>. These games include WCW/nWo Revenge, WWF No Mercy, Virtual Pro Wrestling 2, and a few others. In my opinion they were/are the best wrestling games ever made. I invested thousands of hours into these games, and I feel like I play them at a high level. What better way to introduce myself to the Twitch.tv world than by showcasing my mad wrestling game skills. Naturally, the first match I play, on the highest difficulty setting, I LOSE! EPIC FAIL!!!</div><br /><a name='more'></a><div style="text-align: justify;">So much for my debut. It was like months and months of buildup for a wrestler, than when he finally appears he trips on the entrance ramp. Oh well, no big deal, I was having fun. I had nothing to lose but my pride. It's not like I never lost to the CPU before, I just found it funny that it started out that way. I'm wasn't going to restart the stream or erase my lost from the record books. I just have to pick myself back up, clean up my wounds, and try again. Nothings ever been easy for me, especially in the world of video games!</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QfFkbfuyiD4/U-EBfSCIvfI/AAAAAAAAAGQ/Y6eNvhY4mTc/s1600/647281-wcwnworevenge_na.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QfFkbfuyiD4/U-EBfSCIvfI/AAAAAAAAAGQ/Y6eNvhY4mTc/s1600/647281-wcwnworevenge_na.jpg" height="446" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I want to stream at least three different programs a week. Don't know how long it will take for me to be consistently putting on these shows weekly, but that's the goal. One of the oldest ideas I've had for a Twitch stream was what I begin with last night: Monday Night Wrestling. I am insanely passionate about those N64 Asmik Ace/AKI games. I've always wanted an opportunity to share my enthusiasm and love for them, and connect with people who were or still are fans of them. Wrestling used to consume my life, but I don't follow it as I once did. I do watch it when I can, and have recently watched more because of the fantastic WWE Network (if you ever were a fan of wrestling, you <i>need</i> to sign up btw).</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Monday is a day most people can associate it with wrestling. It's something you can have on in the background while you watch Raw. Maybe you can mute your TV during all the talking and watch some real action on the stream. I can talk endlessly about these games as well as wrestling, so it's going to be a great start in putting out consistent and entertaining content because it's a subject I am very knowledgeable and passionate about.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">WCW/nWo Revenge was released in 1998, and in my opinion it's still one of the most fun games you can play today. I watch a lot of fighting games on Twitch, even though I don't play many. The reason being there is a lot of drama that comes from just watching fighting games, especially when you have competitive or highly skilled players invloved. I feel the same can be said about wrestling games. I would watch more wrestling streams, but there isn't a lot of good ones out there. Like the WWE shows, you need to put on entertaining matches to keep people engage. When I play games like Revenge or No Mercy, I always tried to imagine it's a real match and put on an entertaining spectacle for whoever was watching.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-z3Q0vMx2V50/U-EDavyHrwI/AAAAAAAAAGc/FRQAKXJD48I/s1600/NoMercyGameBox.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-z3Q0vMx2V50/U-EDavyHrwI/AAAAAAAAAGc/FRQAKXJD48I/s1600/NoMercyGameBox.jpg" height="442" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I'm very excited about the future of this series. Every Monday I'll rotate one of the games, and try to beat them 100%. WCW/nWo Revenge will take the least amount of time to complete, but I can still revisit it if I want to make another run at a title with a different character. Last night I started with Rey Mysterio Jr. and completed the Cruiserweight championship. Including the first losing match, it wasn't easy and there was plenty of drama to be found. Multiple wrestler run ins, close two counts, and high flying finishes. If only I had 100 people watching instead of one!</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Viewer count and follower numbers takes time, and I need to stay consistent if I want to attract an audience. I don't know what other weekly program I will do next, but I have a few ideas. I would like to do a weekly show with my wife as she watches me play a game she enjoys discussing, such as Half-Life 2 or Portal. My wife has a very unique view on games because she comes from an artistic film and writing background, so she is very good at noticing the themes and narrative devices used in games. She's also a woman, obviously, and picks up on all the different ways women are represented in games, which even someone like me, who considers himself open to gender equality and women's rights, etc., can missed out on because I'm not a woman. There are certain things so ingrained in our culture found in video games we forgot might be offensive to the opposite gender, race, culture, etc. and I love talking about those topics with her.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Another idea I would like to do is a "Let's Play" series with my oldest daughter, because playing games with your kids is one of the best bonding experiences you can have in a parent/child relationship. I think having a camera would be best for that kind of stream, so maybe that's something I can do down the line when I figure out how to make it work. Or if I get another mic. Right now I'm using my trusty Rock Band mic for the audio, and I want to make sure I am consistently putting on content before I start dropping money on equipment, new software, etc. The Elgato was an investment in the future, but I'm not loaded with cash like Richie Rich.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I do love the idea of #dayone streams, and I've already decided in my mind (and on the schedule on my Twitch channel) that I will be doing a launch party stream for Hyrule Warriors in September, and Super Smash Bros. when it comes out. Playing old, almost forgotten wrestling games might be a blast for me and others who crave that nostalgia, but you can't deny the large audience a new game can attract with a stream. I was with thousands of others watching Mario Kart on #dayone, even though I would be getting it after work. All those streamers were getting multiple follows and subscriptions, and having that game helped them a lot. I need to build an audience, and even though I don't usually buy games on launch to save money, it'll be beneficial in certain instances if I want to boost the number of followers (btw please follow me on twitch!)</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I'm very excited about the possibilities of all this, and I can't begin to describe the feeling of actually pursuing something you love after many years of telling yourself you can't make it work. Sure, a few years ago I probably couldn't stream once a week, but things change and new opportunities arrive. As I get older, I'm beginning to accept when I might not have time to accomplish something, but I try not to completely ever give up on the idea. I hear all the time that if you want to achieve your dreams, you have to just go for it. And it's true. Go out there, work hard, and you'll achieve it. To quote the inspirational Dane Cook, "Dream it, you fucking dreamers." Let's hope I don't wake up from this dream for a long time.</div>Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-32164851154152879242014-07-31T11:17:00.000-04:002014-07-31T11:17:18.947-04:0011 years later, I finally beat Wind Waker<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7YOT43YiUPQ/U9kGVr__shI/AAAAAAAAABY/7buiTiVuqZI/s1600/Wind+Waker+screenshot+01.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7YOT43YiUPQ/U9kGVr__shI/AAAAAAAAABY/7buiTiVuqZI/s1600/Wind+Waker+screenshot+01.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I'll never forget receiving EGM issue #148 in the mail. The cover headline exclaimed "More Reasons to Buy A GameCube" and it had a picture of Mario, Link, and Samus. By the end of the year 2002 Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker would be released. I already had my Gamecube since #dayone, and as much fun as Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II, I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of those games.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Nintendo was looking to do something radically different with each iconic character, much like they did with the N64. Super Mario Sunshine was the continuation of the 3D Mario gameplay introduced in Super Mario 64, but this time he was running and jumping with the <a href="http://www.mariowiki.com/F.L.U.D.D.">F.L.U.D.D.</a> strapped to his back in the resort island of Delfino. Metroid Prime was bringing the series to the FPS genre, having last been seen on the SNES and skipping the N64 with the exception of Samus's appearance in Super Smash Bros. It was also developed by <a href="http://www.retrostudios.com/news.asp">Retro Studios</a>, an American company with Prime being it's first project. #nopressure.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">As shocking as these changes were, the biggest response came from the new animated art direction presented in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Gone was the dark, moody art style that was so critically praised and revered in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. Instead Link had big cartoon eyes and eyebrows that overlapped his hair. The animation was impressive and smooth, but it divided much of the Zelda fan base and the "controversy" has become more memorable than it's extraordinary <a href="http://www.metacritic.com/game/gamecube/the-legend-of-zelda-the-wind-waker">critical praise</a>. I was excited for each of these games but I was most looking forward to buying Wind Waker, and exploring every bit of that seemingly endless blue ocean.</div><a name='more'></a><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-JWm2j0CMXbY/U9kQWEu-XcI/AAAAAAAAAB0/MHtWGHwGoSM/s1600/3200276814_141517f00f_o.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-JWm2j0CMXbY/U9kQWEu-XcI/AAAAAAAAAB0/MHtWGHwGoSM/s1600/3200276814_141517f00f_o.jpg" height="640" width="554" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I don't remember if I reserved Metroid Prime or Super Mario Sunshine, but I do remember putting my $5 down at Gamestop for Wind Waker. Wind Waker was originally announced to be released in November, but got pushed back to March (in North America only, Japan only had to wait until December). I didn't mind, because much like the proclamation made by EGM two issues later, there were "TOO MANY GAMES!" That was a big year for all games, not just for Nintendo.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Super Mario Sunshine was only the beginning. After it's release in August, you had heavy hitters like Kingdom Hearts, GTA: Vice City, and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_in_video_gaming">many others</a>. I picked up both Sunshine and Prime #dayone and played them to near completion as soon as I loaded them in my GameCube. I remember beating Super Mario Sunshine in one weekend, in an attempt to finish the game before a friend of mine. We made the bet on Friday and when I called him Sunday to confirm I had beaten Bowser and Bowser Jr., he said he hadn't really played much since we last spoke. FLAWLESS VICTORY!</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I remember beating Metroid Prime around Christmas. I'm pretty sure it was Christmas Eve I finished it, but the events of that particular holiday are a bit clouded and, to put it bluntly, sad. Playing through Metroid Prime while some crappy stuff was happening in the background is what I remember most about that Christmas, and maybe one day I'll write a blog post about it. The point is I pretty much finished these games within 2-3 days. I was excited and couldn't stop playing them. Now my anticipation was even higher, because two of the big three had delivered exciting experiences, and I just knew Wind Waker was going to knock it out of the park.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-6CCTxgELEgc/U9kW5GToT7I/AAAAAAAAACE/CvHHKMF3Y1M/s1600/zlCfzSOR-10O4anyBk.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-6CCTxgELEgc/U9kW5GToT7I/AAAAAAAAACE/CvHHKMF3Y1M/s1600/zlCfzSOR-10O4anyBk.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Since I pre-ordered Wind Waker, I received the bonus disk that featured the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time and Ocarina of Time: Master Quest. It was a pretty sweet bonus, and I was looking forward to playing Ocarina again. But I was focused on Wind Waker, and after school I picked up my copy, went home and immediately began playing. I somehow had even more time to play video games at that time than I did during the onslaught of Holiday gaming in 2002. I assumed getting to the end of Wind Waker was going to be a breeze.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I instantly fell in love with Wind Waker. The animated style that caused so much heated debate, was beautiful in my eyes. Traveling from one island to another was fun, even if at times it was tedious. But what video game doesn't have a tedious moment in it? The revised combat system that Ocarina innovated, was smooth and fun. Everything about this game I loved. But what resonated me the most was the discovery of Hyrule Castle, and the revelation of Tetra as Zelda. SPOILERS!!!</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I was shocked. When I told all my friends, they were all like, "duh of course she was Zelda." I don't know why, but I did not see that coming. I also didn't expect the strong story connections between Ocarina and Wind Waker. It helped me care more for all the characters in that world. I was hooked, and loving every minute of the game. I had the Master Sword in hand, and to continue my adventures I had to awaken the power of the sages.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/--wYxGCgQZwI/U9llNwnFYaI/AAAAAAAAACg/KYHxfzypbGE/s1600/zlCfzSMIBSoEefe0Mg.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/--wYxGCgQZwI/U9llNwnFYaI/AAAAAAAAACg/KYHxfzypbGE/s1600/zlCfzSMIBSoEefe0Mg.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I don't have too many regrets in my life. A lof of my regrets are silly and superficial, like asking for the Virtual Boy for Christmas instead of Super Mario RPG or DKC3. If I had a time machine, I would mostly try to fix my gaming regrets. I would stop my young self from trading all my boxed SNES and N64 games to FuncoLand, or buying that PS2 controller adapter that erased all my Xbox save data.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">The most important thing I would do though, if I had a time machine, would be to figure out why I stopped playing Wind Waker. I remember being so excited reserving it, waiting for it, going to the store, and playing it but I don't remember why I stopped. I don't remember what caused me to stop playing it one day, which led into a few weeks, then a few months, and eventually 11 years.</div><br />Even if I got distracted by school, friends, or girls, why didn't I go back to the game? It's not like I stopped playing Wind Waker and every other game in my collection for 11 years. It eventually became a game that sat in my collection, and every time I looked at it I thought, "Never did finish that game..." And I would not start it up again! Why?!!?<br /><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">It's one of my biggest personal unsolved mysteries. It rivals that of my C3PO action figure, which I lost IN MY ROOM when it fell out of my hand one day. Seriously. I had it, in my hand, dropped it on the floor, and NEVER SAW IT AGAIN. Why I stopped playing this masterful game I don't know. But more importantly, why I never tried to finish it was worse. I felt like I was never ready; the time had passed every moment I considered continuing my save file or starting the quest over. As I mentioned in my previous <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/07/twitch-and-me-28-years-in-making-or-how.html">blog</a>, this is one of my biggest mental roadblocks. When I try to begin something again I start thinking the "time has passed". That I will never have the opportunity to do it even though realistically I still have the time to.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-EThY0z5qn6A/U9llf70NVbI/AAAAAAAAACo/_DL3nYIO_9w/s1600/zlCfzSOSgsoe6zuFNs.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-EThY0z5qn6A/U9llf70NVbI/AAAAAAAAACo/_DL3nYIO_9w/s1600/zlCfzSOSgsoe6zuFNs.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I originally started this blog at the beginning of 2010. The goal at first was to write about <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2010/02/games-of-2010-cancelled.html">completing my backlog</a>. You can still read all my old posts in the blog archive, I keep them around as a reminder of my constant starting and stopping. Like Wind Waker, it was a project I began, did for a little bit, and neglected for a long time. Every now and then, I would write something, mostly about me starting the blog again and things being different, and then I would disappear from the blog for another few months.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">The second blog post I worte for the blog was <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2010/02/ghosts-of-my-gaming-past.html">The Ghosts of My Gaming Past</a>. It's a list of the games I was most ashamed of never playing or finishing from my collection (at the time). A few weeks ago I read the post for the first time in years, and Wind Waker is the first game I write about. It reminded me that at one point, I actually 100% the Ocarina of Time version from the bonus disk! What was wrong with me!?!</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">When I read this, it gave me more incentive to complete my current play through of the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002I0GF72/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002I0GF72&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=hotobeabega-20&amp;linkId=WLFQNIWB4QEJJRFW">Wind Waker HD</a> version. I jumped at the chance to download this game as soon as I could from the eShop when I got my Wii U, and during E3 it was 30% off. It was the first game I bought after the Mario Kart bundle, and I was determined to have it be the first Wii U game I completed. I wasn't going to let the same thing happen again in HD. I was finally going to put this ghost to rest.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qYnjSytrhfA/U9lole2kYJI/AAAAAAAAAC0/Var3Eybl1yg/s1600/zlCfzSOUDdMe-GaiL3.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qYnjSytrhfA/U9lole2kYJI/AAAAAAAAAC0/Var3Eybl1yg/s1600/zlCfzSOUDdMe-GaiL3.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I didn't want to rush through this play through of Wind Waker. I did hurry to the point when I got the Master Sword, but once I got there I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was back at the point I mysteriously left from 11 years ago. Now anything I did in the game was a brand new experience, so I slowed down how I played the game and took my time to enjoy it. I explored every piece of the sea chart. Played tons of different mini games for hours. I got addicted to the auction house, to the point of if this game was in real time, Ganon would have destroyed the world three times over. I wasn't worried that I was spending too much time from the main game, because I knew I would eventually finish it. Only it would be on my terms when it happened.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">When I finished Wind Waker, my total play time was 41 hours and 38 minutes. There should have been no reason why I didn't finish this back in the day. I probably averaged 40 hours of gaming a week back then, maybe more. I'm glad I finally beat the game, and I enjoyed every second of it. This isn't the end of my journey with Wind Waker. I would like to play through the game again in Hero Mode, because Link didn't faint once while I played the game. I also want to 100% the game, something I haven't done with a Zelda game since Ocarina.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Nowadays I don't play games to just beat or complete them. The goal is to play games whenever I can, and get the most out of my experiences. I'm really fortunate that this HD version was released, it gave me the incentive to play it again. Wind Waker isn't the only game in my collection that has been waiting for me to finish it, and it probably won't be the last. But it's taught me that it's never too late to finish your games. I'll try to be more proactive with putting these ghosts of mine to rest. Whether I play a game to it's end in 11 hours or 11 years, it doesn't matter, as long as I finish what I started.</div>Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/104163992168583768584[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-78714216468650387632014-07-29T15:50:00.001-04:002014-07-31T09:25:18.587-04:00Twitch and me: 28 years in the making (or, how I'm learning to seize the day and stop complaining)<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ewJpg2E8QCI/U9fnF3ZSPOI/AAAAAAAAABI/xlo5hcOJFuU/s1600/twitch.tv.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ewJpg2E8QCI/U9fnF3ZSPOI/AAAAAAAAABI/xlo5hcOJFuU/s1600/twitch.tv.jpg" height="312" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Kids today don't know how good they have it. Yep, I just said that. I'm officially an old curmudgeon. My 28th birthday was last Friday, and I thought I still had a few more years before I started shaking my fists at all these damn kids on my lawn. Maybe I'm being a little bit dramatic, but sometimes I feel like kids today take everything for granted. And when I mean everything, I mean video games.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">To be fair, I don't hang out with a lot of kids, so I don't actually know if they are taking things for granted. I just assume they are, because I'm a little bitter they have so many luxuries available to them at the start than I did. So yeah, I'm projecting, but I'm old now and you will start complaining too when you get older and realize how much better the future generation has it. And how furious you'll get when you hear them say they're "bored" with things you never thought you would ever see come to life.&nbsp;</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Ok, let me take a step back. This is "How To Be A Better Gamer". This blog is meant to be a place where I grow and learn, not complain and whine. So what if I grew up with a NES and four year olds get to play on an iPad now. I like to think having played with the "classics" has made me more appreciative of the technology we have today. So what if kids today can record, edit, and publish to YouTube or stream on Twitch.tv their footage of the Destiny Beta on Xbox One, while I wrote down in a notebook my best times in Diddy Kong Racing to compare with my friends. And so what if kids today have unlimited options when it comes to getting games whenever and however they want, with Amazon, GameFly, and Steam. I was the Blockbuster Store Champion baby!</div><div style="text-align: justify;"></div><a name='more'></a><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I may have been around since the (almost) beginning of gaming, but that doesn't mean I should live in the past, and reminiscence about how pure the old days were, or that kids today are missing out. We can't control when we were born into this world. What we can control is how we adapt to the changes in the world around us. From NES to Xbox One, I've seen a lot of changes. If there is one innovation I do wish I had when I was younger, it's the ability to live stream on Twitch. All I did was play video games whenever I wasn't at school. If I had the opportunity to take those thousands of hours I spent by myself and share it with the world, who knows where my life in relation to gaming would be now.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">But I shouldn't think that way. I shouldn't sit around and say, "Man, I wish I had this or that when I was growing up." Why should I sit on the porch and yell at the kids playing on my lawn, when I can easily get up and create my own fun. What's wrong with now? So what, I'm 28. That's about 28 years of gaming experience (I had a Game Boy instead of a pacifier. True story look it up.) I have a full time job now, but school pretty much was a full time job growing up. Would that have stopped me from streaming when I got home? What was homework then is basically chores now, so really there is no difference. Yeah, my responsibilities as an adult are greater, and a lot more is on the line, but I'm also smarter about how I manage my time and those responsibilities. And if those responsibilities were so time consuming, I wouldn't be able to find &nbsp;the time for all the TV shows, movies, wrestling, theater, and video games that I have enjoyed since becoming an adult.&nbsp;</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I do have kids. Two beautiful daughters. And once you have kids, your life does revolve around them. But I've put a DS into each of my daughters hands when they were both one and a half, and they love to play video games. Sure I can't sit and play video games by myself for hours like I use to when I was younger, but I don't have to. Why wait for my girls to go to sleep before I begin my private gaming with headphones on, when I can have them on the couch next to me playing as a family. I may not have been able to stream games when I was younger, but now I can introduce that technology to my girls and they can take full advantage of it when they are older.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Gaming with my daughters has been a surreal experience. I never would have imagined that I would go from playing Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, to one day playing Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze on the Wii U... with my five year old daughter sitting next to me, controller in hand. Why make excuses for myself about not streaming or not going to tournaments or not going to events because now I have kids? Why not include them!?!? Sure it's taken a while...but now they are old enough to enjoy and appreciate games as much as I did when I was a kid.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">And isn't that what it's all about? Sure I didn't have the luxury of online gaming or digital downloads or (soon) the Oculus Rift as a kid, but since I have been with gaming for the longest time my appreciation and passion for these new innovations can be passed down to my kids. They can enjoy it more than I ever did. And that's fantastic! So instead of sitting around with a sad face, watching these teenagers stream their DOTA and MineCraft, I decided to man up and purchase a device myself. That's right, hear that young generation: Jose is entering the streaming game! Get your quarters ready because A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES!</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Besides if I was a kid imagine how hard it would've been to convince my parents to purchase <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00840353W/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00840353W&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=hotobeabega-20&amp;linkId=Z3AM5XX2MBUNZCLN%22%3EElgato%20Game%20Capture%20HD,%20Xbox%20and%20PlayStation%20High%20Definition%20Game%20Recorder%20for%20Mac%20and%20PC,%20Full%20HD%201080p%3C/a%3E%3Cimg%20src=">something like this</a> that allowed me to put my face and room public for the whole world to see. It was hard enough to convince my Mom to let me go to my friend's house on the weekends, and he lived down the hall! It was hard enough to get my parents to drop $50 on a game, let upwards of $200-300 for a streaming device or $1000 for a computer!</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">So maybe it's better that all this technology has appeared when I'm closing in on 30. I don't have to wait and beg my Mom to buy me these fancy things. Yeah these kids today might be really lucky, and they are, but I was lucky too. I grew up with the NES, before that you had to go to an Arcade to even play a video game. People spent more money in a month going out to the Arcade then my parents did when they bought me an NES and some games. Everything changes. Things naturally get better. That's just how the world works. And instead of complaining about how much better our lives would have been if we had what kids have now, we should just enjoy the fact that we have it. Maybe it's not these kids taking all this new stuff for granted, maybe it's me.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">So I am taking the plunge. For about a year I suppressed my desire to own a capture card to stream on Twitch, because I fooled myself into thinking the time for someone like me to do such a thing had passed. Why did I tell myself that? I'm 28, not dead! I've been playing games all my life, but suddenly I'm going to restrict myself from being on the cutting edge of one of gaming's greatest innovation? If anything, I'm all ready ahead of the curve because I have 25 plus years of experience, knowledge, and passion waiting to be unleashed.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Let's find the time to keep doing what makes us happy. Let's not complain that, if we were younger or if we had the time blah blah blah. It's not like we really could do anything we wanted as a kid. I know I didn't. Heck, I know my kids don't. If it was up to them, nothing would get done. I've been waiting to do this my whole life. I've put in more than 10,000 hours. 15 years ago I was ready to stream and share my love of gaming with the world, but the world wasn't ready then. It is now. Yeah I do wish I had Twitch when I grew up, but I have it now. There's no better time than the present to start something. Or, this Friday, according to Amazon.</div><br />See you soon on <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/bebettergamer/profile">Twitch</a>!<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/0pCp8g-VjOs" width="640"></iframe></div>Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/113200809852465169694[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-4576252216369678262014-07-28T14:43:00.000-04:002014-07-28T14:43:36.973-04:00What I learned from winning my first local Pokemon tournament<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_wn7AEc075U/U9ZPwD5R9oI/AAAAAAAAAu4/zfygkUPXioE/s1600/pokemon_xy_launch_169.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_wn7AEc075U/U9ZPwD5R9oI/AAAAAAAAAu4/zfygkUPXioE/s1600/pokemon_xy_launch_169.jpg" height="362" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I've been playing Pokemon since Red &amp; Blue launched on the Game Boy back in 1998. That's almost 16 years ago. I've played every single entry, completed the National Pokedex twice, and at one time owned all the event Pokemon. I started getting interested in the competitive meta game around Generation IV, and have been breeding competitive Pokemon since Gen V. One of my <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/07/to-be-best-no-one-ever-wasin-2015.html" target="_blank">biggest dreams</a> is to compete at a Regional VGC tournament, and maybe one day compete at the Nationals or Worlds tournament. And WIN IT ALL! (Also I just turned 28 years old).</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I've only competed in two local tournaments in my lifetime. Both occurred this year. After 16 years of playing Pokemon, I've finally been able to go out and try to prove myself at a tournament setting. I've played a lot of battles against other people in my life. Back in the Generation I days we would battle at lunch time in school with our link cables under the table. We had to be discreet when we battled, or the teachers would take our Game Boys away. It was pretty obvious some intense Pokemon battling was going on as everyone crowded around on opposite ends of the table, trying to get a glimpse of the action.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">But up until now I never went and played at a tournament. I guess the thought never really occurred to me that tournaments for Pokemon existed, until the <a href="http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/VGC#Video_games" target="_blank">2009 VGC competition</a>. Ever since then I've had a thirst for wanting to compete at a pro-level, but never got a chance to go anywhere because, you know, life and stuff. Now I'm at a time in my life where I want to be more proactive with my hobbies. I don't just want video games to be a past time. I want to take it to the next level where I have something to show for the 100,000 plus hours I've put into it (not an accurate number but I'm sure it's pretty close.)</div><a name='more'></a><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">There isn't much going on here in Buffalo in terms of competitive Pokemon battling. At least that I am aware of. I'm sure there are probably local meetups at college clubs, but I have no awareness of those events because I'm no longer in school. I have been going to my local game store, <a href="http://www.oogiegames.com/" target="_blank">Oogie Games</a>, for a weekly Pokemon meetup. I'm definitely the old guy in the group, but it's nice to see so many young kids still interested in Pokemon. It's a very casual meetup where we battle and trade, and I get to recite stories about Pokemon games that begin with, "Back in my day..."</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">If it wasn't for the Pokemon Club at Oogie, I would have never heard of the Pokemon tournament being held at Buffalo State University during their Craagnorak event. It's sort of a mini anime/video game convention that different clubs from the student union put on. I never went to Buffalo State, and I only knew of two people who I work with that were going to a Smash Bros. tournament at the event, but I figured #YOLO. It was my first opportunity to compete in a tournament setting and get a small taste of what it would be like if I ever went to an official VGC tournament.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AJQB1-HlBVk/U9Z0JUJHYHI/AAAAAAAAAvI/cx_oeUw8oMo/s1600/oct_p03_01_fd865.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AJQB1-HlBVk/U9Z0JUJHYHI/AAAAAAAAAvI/cx_oeUw8oMo/s1600/oct_p03_01_fd865.jpg" height="384" width="640" /></a></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">The rules were Kalos born Pokemon only, singles 6v6, with modified&nbsp;<a href="http://www.smogon.com/" target="_blank">Smogon</a>&nbsp;rules. I have certain feelings about Smogon rules, but that's a blog post for another time. I didn't let it discourage me, because I feel any high level player should be able to adjust and adapt to any rule set they are given. If Michael Jordan played 5 on 5, 3 on 3, or 1 on 1 it probably wouldn't matter to him because he would still play to win. That's the mentality I feel you need to have if you want to elevate your game.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">If I lost the tournament it wouldn't have been the end of the world. At the end of the day it was a chance to meet fellow Pokemon players and exchange friend codes and battle strategies. My goal for the whole tournament was to win my first match. If I did that, I'd consider the trip a success. I ended up winning 3rd, and a $20 Nintendo eShop card. There wasn't an entry fee so I was surprised there was a prize. The player who knocked me out had a Clefable that literally walled my entire team. Nearly all of the battles we fought I had defeated all but his Clefable, yet no one on my team could really damage him and he was able to freely set up and sweep every time.&nbsp;</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">It was a fun event, and I learned a lot. No matter how much you read online sites like Smogon or <a href="http://nuggetbridge.com/" target="_blank">Nugget Bridge</a>, you never learn as much as you do when you battle real people. You need to be battling as many different people as possible, because everyone has a different strategy. That's why I try to play on wifi a lot. No amount of pen and paper calculations can prepare me for a tournament as much as playing on wifi and against human opponents can. Playing at this tournament opened my eyes to that, and I told myself for the next tournament the Pokemon I bring will be well battled against human teams, unlike the group I brought to this tournament.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">That tournament was in April, and I've been kinda sorta keeping my eye out for more. I really should create a google alert or something. Luckily enough, at the Oogie Games Lockport location they announced a Pokemon tournament for July 23rd. I was excited because it was a Pokemon tournament. But it also happened to be on a Wednesday which is when the Oogie Games Tonawanda location was having our weekly Pokemon Club! I figured I could missed this one time, only because I was going to compete on their behalf.&nbsp;</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;"><i>(Also for people not from Buffalo, Lockport and Tonawanda are two surrounding areas of Buffalo. Oogie Games actually has six different locations in the WNY area. I consider them all part of Buffalo but don't tell that to anyone here. It's like someone who lives in Brooklyn getting upset when you say, "Oh so you live in NYC?" and they suck their teeth and go, "Uh no, I live in Brooklyn." I'm actually from Brooklyn, which is to say yes I am from NYC so get over it people.)</i></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-64qoHxWdzxg/U9Z_n5CpsNI/AAAAAAAAAvY/UI0E4a0h6yg/s1600/august_p06_02.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-64qoHxWdzxg/U9Z_n5CpsNI/AAAAAAAAAvY/UI0E4a0h6yg/s1600/august_p06_02.jpg" height="384" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Anyway July 23 was just two days from my birthday, so I thought it would be pretty cool if I won this tournament to start my bday on a high note. But I didn't want to get too cocky, because I've gone to several Smash Bros. tournaments at the different Oogie locations in the past, and the competition has been intense. I didn't want to underestimate the level of competitors that would be there, even if it is a Pokemon game and I would probably be the oldest person there. I was the oldest person at the Buffalo State tournament, and I had my butt kicked by Clefable. CLEFABLE!!!</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">The rules were pretty interesting for this tournament. It was a 3v3 singles battle, with the match setting similar to Battle Spot. This was a competition I could easily train for, because all I had to do was take my Pokemon into some ranked online matches via in game wifi and adjust my team accordingly. I decided to bring my Battle Maison team as my core, who consisted of Greninja, Dragonite, and Mega Mawile. I had reached a plus 50 streak with these three, so I knew they could do some work. (I will do a full battle report in a separate blog, this post is all about the story, baby.)</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Anyway I hoped online and at first, I was untouchable. I won my first five matches online with this team. "Don't get cocky kid" echoed in my head. I had a little less than a week to prepare for this tournament, so I figured I would just battle as much as I can online until the day of the tournament. Five battles is not a long enough measuring stick to prepare for a tournament. What if someone brings a Clefable?!? I had yet to see a Clefable online, and I was sort of determined to have that match up to see if my Mega Mawile could take her down.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">As I played more battles online, I started to lose. A lot. I was getting beat up by a lot of tricky strategies and clever team combos. Some battles came down to one on one, and unfortunately I didn't always come out on top. I lost a majority of my games to Japanese players, which gave me a little hope. I was beating a majority of the American players, because they relied more on power or speed which my team could defend pretty well against. But the Japanese teams used clever gimmicks and Pokemon I rarely competed against. If one of those Japanese players showed up to the Ooogie Games in Buffalo, I was going to be in trouble.&nbsp;</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QU-m7AZnnAA/U9aAmXhithI/AAAAAAAAAvk/3XgrakvxGZs/s1600/oct_p15_04.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QU-m7AZnnAA/U9aAmXhithI/AAAAAAAAAvk/3XgrakvxGZs/s1600/oct_p15_04.jpg" height="384" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I was pretty nervous the night before the tournament. My record for the week on Battle Spot had been 26 wins and 20 losses. Not a record that gave me confidence to win a high level tournament, especially if the people who showed up played as well as they did online. I did train a Mega Kangaskhan as backup, which helped secure a lot of my online wins. I also had a Talonflame and Chandelure, although I never used them online due to type match-ups. I was having a lot of trouble with Tyranitar and Azumarill, and most of the times those matches ended up with me losing. I was worried everyone who showed up to the tournament would have these guys on their team.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">It was a 30 minute drive from my house to the Lockport location. The tournament started at 6pm and I had to leave as soon as I left work. I first had to pick up my wife and my kids from daycare and drop them at home, so I didn't even change out of my work clothes. At least I would look nice in my dress pants and button shirt. A big change of wardrobe form the&nbsp;<span style="text-align: justify;">Craagnorak&nbsp;</span>tournament, where I went dressed as Ash Ketchum. I was&nbsp;going to bring my Ash Ketchum hat, but I forgot to pack it with me. There was no time to waste so as soon as I dropped the girls off I headed straight on over to the tournament.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I hate arriving late anywhere, so I called to let them know I was going to be cutting it kind of close. I didn't want to get there and be left out, but it was my first time driving to their Lockport location and I didn't know if I was going to be held up by traffic or get lost on my way (which was more likely to happen). But I did get there right at 5:58pm like Google maps said I would, and finally the week long wait at ended. I was ready to compete. This time, I wanted to make it to the finals. If I won or didn't win, no big deal. But I wanted to improve on my previous 3rd place appearance.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">The thing about Pokemon, is you never want to underestimate the person you are playing against. This is a game that has been around for 16 years. Some people, like me, have been playing this game since junior high school. Others started with later Generations; maybe they got into it when they were in the 5th grade and Platinum was the first game they played. For a lot of the kids who come to the Pokemon Club, Pokemon X&amp;Y is their first ever Pokemon game. So when I walked into the Oogie Lockport and saw two very young kids waiting for the Pokemon tournament to begin, I didn't think, "All right little kids I'm totally going to win." Instead I was thinking, "I hope one of them doesn't bring a freaking Clefable."</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-M0PEJeaPGuw/U9aB9zsvxWI/AAAAAAAAAvw/OKr_QnbTETc/s1600/oct_p12_01.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-M0PEJeaPGuw/U9aB9zsvxWI/AAAAAAAAAvw/OKr_QnbTETc/s1600/oct_p12_01.jpg" height="384" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I was third to arrive, and we waited a few minutes and soon three other people arrived. They were all boys, probably from ages 16-18. They all drove themselves so they couldn't be younger than that, but I don't think they were any older than 18. A lot of people tell me I look like I'm still 18, which is good for when I want to compete at a Pokemon tournament. I was very excited that one of the younger competitors who arrived before me was a girl, because it was like staring into the future and seeing my daughter who one day will be driven to these tournaments by her Dad, the aging Pokemon veteran.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">The Oogie Games employee who ran the tournament was very nice and generous with the tournament brackets. We only had six people, so he made all the matches two out of three and added a losers bracket. I was a bit disappointed that only six people, including myself, showed up to this tournament. At Craagnorak there was close to about 25 people that competed. But &nbsp;Parker, the Ooogie employee, made it worth everyone's time who showed up. I've been to other tournaments for other games with a small amount of people, where the host still insisted on having one match, single elimination, and the tournament ends in under 20 min. That's not fun or rewarding for the few people who did manage to show up. But Parker was a great host, and after he created the brackets we were under way.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">At first I was going to take notes and record every battle video for each match, but when the first battle started, I could already tell I was way over prepared for this tournament. I came in thinking I was going to be up against other super competitive players, who may or may not have illusions of grandeur like I do about playing in the top cut of the World tournament on a live-stream broadcast. Instead, all the players that were in the tournament hadn't EV or IV trained their Pokemon, or put in nearly as much hours as I did. They may not have shared my enthusiasm and passion for competitive battling, but that was ok. In fact, I was fine with that. A lot of the nervousness that I had leading up to the tournament instantly went away, and not because I knew I would probably win. At that point winning was not important anymore.&nbsp;</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Instead of being surrounded by other competitive players, I was surrounded by people who simply loved Pokemon. They loved Pokemon enough that they showed up to a tournament at their local game store on a random Wednesday night. It's something we all had in common, regardless of how much we've played the game, or how intensely we've prepared. We all talked about our favorite Pokemon, what other games in the series we've played, and how we wished there were more of these tournaments. I may have initially wanted to win, but the real reason I came, and why everyone else came, is because we all wanted to meet other people who played Pokemon. After a while the battles didn't even matter anymore.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-edk63h5zBpY/U9aEu3fIkGI/AAAAAAAAAv8/U_SSZoOqN5c/s1600/june_new_p6_03.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-edk63h5zBpY/U9aEu3fIkGI/AAAAAAAAAv8/U_SSZoOqN5c/s1600/june_new_p6_03.jpg" height="384" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I know there are millions of people who play Pokemon around the world. I know I am not the only one who plays Pokemon. I know there are people who play it more than I do, and are better at it than I am. I guess my nervousness for before the tournament wasn't because I was afraid to lose. I was afraid no one else would show up. It's awkward enough to be the only one to show up to any tournament, let alone a Pokemon tournament. But to be the 28 year old husband and father of two who shows up alone to a Pokemon tournament? That's just sad.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">A lot of that fear stems from the fact that growing up, I was the only one who stayed with Pokemon since Red &amp; Blue. By the time Gold &amp; Silver was released, nearly everyone who I had intense lunch time battles with had moved on from Pokemon. You have to remember when I grew up with Pokemon we were still in the early days of the internet. There were no smartphones, Twitch.tv, Facebook, etc. None of the portals that connect players from around the world had existed yet. The only Pokemon players I could meet for the longest time were whoever happened to be a classmate. I went to a big high school, of about 4,000 students, and made a lot of friends. And when Ruby &amp; Sapphire dropped I played it alongside a few other people. I was the only one to put in over 500 hours though; everyone else beat the Elite Four and moved on.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">My dedication and passion for the Pokemon games has led me to believe that one day, maybe I will compete at a top level. But honestly, I'm just glad to meet someone who is a fan of the series and simply likes the game. I don't need to have people around that play it as intense as I do, just someone that can share some of the passion I have. For the longest time, even though I know it wasn't true, it sure did feel like I was the only person playing Pokemon. So whenever I meet anyone that likes the series, in person, it's an exciting moment. It's not just message boards or blog posts, I'm looking at a living breathing person who loves Pokemon like I do.</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uJ43O7sH-V0/U9aWwcS5AbI/AAAAAAAAAwM/FyUFxApd7IA/s1600/EN_p02_03.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uJ43O7sH-V0/U9aWwcS5AbI/AAAAAAAAAwM/FyUFxApd7IA/s1600/EN_p02_03.jpg" height="384" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">I ended up winning a $20 Oogie gift certificate for first place. Even though my team wasn't threatened too much by what other people brought, I still learned a lot. The young feisty girl who was the future version of my daughter, had a Vaporean with the item Rocky Helmet, which was pretty scary. She actually knocked out a few of my Pokemon, and I was very excited to see how she battled. It reminded me a lot of myself at that age. She was using different strategies and move-sets on common Pokemon, which is something I strive for and have always played the game in that way. It gives me hope, that maybe her and all the others will keep playing the series for another 15 years.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I invited everyone to come to the weekly Pokemon Club at Oogie Tonawanda. We need new faces. When I told everybody about the meetup, they got really excited and seemed genuinely interested in showing up. Hopefully, they will. They are getting an opportunity I didn't have, to meet people in person who love Pokemon. I may have grown up in the time of the arcades, and had a lot of great social gaming experiences and friends who play with me to this day, but Pokemon, for some reason, has always felt empty in that regard. I don't want them to feel like I did all my life, that they were the odd one for loving this game. Now it's easier to see people online and engage in social media with fans from all over the world, but nothing beats that human interaction.</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">You could compare it to the difference between beating the Elite Four and battling a human player. You aren't getting the most out of the game until you are playing against human players. Pokemon is a social game, and everybody who loves it should have the opportunity to experience that. I always would say I would &nbsp;keep showing up to the Pokemon club until no one shows up. But now, I keep showing up so that no one is afraid <i>they </i>will be the only one showing up.&nbsp;</div><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">Will I one day be the very best no one ever was? I hope so. I don't really need these tournaments to prove how good I am at the game. I can always hop online to test myself and train, and the real benchmark for my skills will be the day I show up to an official VGC competition. What's most important is the friends I meet, the experiences I share, and the memories I create on my journey there. Playing with other people and having fun, that's the real victory. In my second ever real life face-to-face Pokemon tournament, we were all winners.</div>Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/104163992168583768584[email protected]0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4399257174293956186.post-12646872652768700092014-07-22T19:10:00.000-04:002014-07-22T19:10:31.472-04:00The importance of a video game wish list<div style="text-align: justify;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ThNADwIN1vY/U87vBOavmeI/AAAAAAAAAuo/B_Pf2D6WTdE/s1600/Portal+Cake.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ThNADwIN1vY/U87vBOavmeI/AAAAAAAAAuo/B_Pf2D6WTdE/s1600/Portal+Cake.jpg" height="360" width="640" /></a></div><br />I love making lists. I love video games. I love making lists of video games I want. I recently wrote a <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/06/games-from-e3-2014-that-i-want-part-one.html" target="_blank">blog post</a> (in <a href="http://www.howtobeabettergamer.com/2014/06/games-from-e3-2014-that-i-want-part-two.html" target="_blank">two parts</a>) about games from E3 2014 I want. The problem is I want so many games, across different platforms, it's hard to keep track of it all. Usually I would write down all the games I wanted in one of my many notebooks I use for gaming notes/ideas/list making. This worked for a while, but it wasn't an efficient or organized way to keep track of everything.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Steam lets you create a wish list, as does the 3DS and the Wii U. But what about my 360 or legacy systems? I do use <a href="http://amzn.com/w/38TN7Z2FA3UCC" target="_blank">Amazon</a> to keep track of some games I want (mostly it's games I want people to gift me). Yet there are a ton of games I want and I would prefer to keep it all in one location to better organize, catalog, and update as easily as possible.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">So I created a spreadsheet in Google docs. I know it's nothing revolutionary, and I'm sure thousands of gamers have use a word processor before, but that's what this blog is about. I'm learning how to be better in all aspects of gaming. Having a wish list, something I've always had in some form or another since I was a kid, is very important for being a better gamer.</div><a name='more'></a><br /><div style="text-align: justify;">As I am getting more familiar my blog and adding nifty features, I noticed you can add links to Google documents. I thought it would be cool to add my ever changing video game wish list for all to see. Right now it only has the Wii U and 3DS, because I originally had all the other systems in separate documents. I'm going to transfer them over soon, but I just wanted to curate these lists first because they are for my newer systems.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I don't know why I get so excited when I make these wish lists. Fantasizing about owning all these games one day is fun, but also a little scary when I think about the money I would have to spend to own all the games on this list. But I do think every gamer should keep a wish list, because there are a lot of benefits of having them. So here's a short list about why you should have a wish list:</div><br /><h3>#1 - It's fun</h3><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Ever go into a video game store "just to browse". We do it all the time. That Amazon wish list is the digital equivalent of window shopping, and adding things to your list is almost as fun as buying the item. When I add games to my wish list, I don't just type the name of the game and move on. I'll sometimes go to the games product page or their official website to watch videos and look at screenshots. I'll read up on the developer and their past games, or if it's a new game in a series I'll read up on it's history. This helps to ease the emptiness I feel inside when I don't have a game. Just kidding, it's not that serious. But it is fun to "hype" yourself up for a game as you are adding it to a list. Going the extra mile to research more about the games you add to your wish list also helps because...</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><h3>#2 - It's educational</h3><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">If your wish list consists of the name of the game, and maybe a number or system it's for, then you are doing it all wrong. Usually when I create a wish list, I like to add the game's release date, price, developer, and download size (if it has a digital version). I try to find out as much as I can about a game before I buy it so I know I am getting a product I will enjoy and not regret spending my hard earn money on. By adding more information you can learn a lot about not only the games you want, but your habits as a gamer. I like to add the developer name to my lists, because then I start to become more familiar with that studio as they release newer games, or if I want to visit some of their past works. Sometimes by doing a lot of research about a game, I end up removing it from my list. This is helpful, as well as having the release date or prices on your list because...</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><h3>#3 - It helps to save you money</h3><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">My mom taught me to always make a list when I go food shopping, so that I don't get distracted with things I don't really need at the grocery store. The same logic applies to video games. If you sit down and make a list, and invest a lot of time and energy on it, you will be less likely to buy games that are not on that list. I don't have any science to back this up, but it works for me. I might see a really great deal on this week's Xbox Live Gold deals, but if a game that's 75% off isn't on my list, I won't get it.</div><div><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">I find this method is most effective if you restrict the amount of games that are on your list. What I like to do is have ten games per system on my wish list at any time. These are essentially the top ten games I want. After doing your research on each game you put on your list, it should be pretty easy to choose the top ten games you want. All the other games that aren't in my top ten, get moved to the "Other" tab. These are games waiting in the wings, like basketball players sitting on the bench waiting to come on to the court. When I buy a game from the top ten, it's time for me to add a game from the "Other" tab on to the main list.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">If you invest a lot of time and energy into your list, and give it the power it should have, it can be really helpful in controlling your spending habits. This is why I add prices to my list. Ten games may or may not sound like a lot, but if each game on that list is currently $60, you get another perspective (like, that's a whole month's rent, kind of perspective). Now when you see a game on sale you know is on your list, you can look to see what the original price is, and determine whether or not the discount is enough to buy.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">The wish list you create on Steam does this automatically for you. They always show you the price, and whenever a game on your list is on sale. They can also send you email alerts to let you know something from your list is 75% off. This can be very helpful with newer games you want to save money on, or games you know you want to get another time. You can put it on your Steam wish list and sort of forget about it until you get that email that says it's 75% off. Which leads me to my next reason of why having lists is one of the best things you can do...</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><h3>#4 - It helps you plan <i>when </i>to buy games</h3><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">My Christmas list always usually consisted of 90% video games, 10% everything else. Usually of the 15 or 20 SNES games I requested as a kid, I only got two. I was happy with whatever I got, but what I didn't realize until I got much older is it isn't realistic to want that many games at once. Sometimes buying a large amount of different games can only lead to your backlog getting bigger and your bank account getting smaller.</div><div><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">This is why I put the release dates on my wish lists. It helps me keep track of upcoming releases of games I really must have when they come out. Let's take Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS. Pokemon is coming out Nov. 21, and Smash Bros. Oct. 3rd. That's about a month and a half difference between two games I know I want to get #dayone. I have no reason to buy another game during this time, or even a month or two before or after. Bestbuy is currently having a two for one sale, but looking at those upcoming dates it would be unrealistic for me to try to add two new 3DS games to my collection.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">It also motivates me to start saving for these future games. I try not to buy too many games at launch, but there are certain games I don't want to wait around for. Nintendo games usually don't have as many sales as other games do. Within six months of BioShock Infinite's release, I was able to buy it for $20, while Ocarina of Time 3DS, a launch title, only recently reduced it's price by $10. Speaking of Ocarina, I almost always forgot about that game if it wasn't for my wish list. Which bring me to my next point:</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><h3>#5 - Keeps you organized and prevents forgetting about games</h3><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">In the Summer there aren't as many games released around the Fall/Winter, so it's easier to track what the new titles are. But once October hits, every week about a dozen or so fantastic games are released and the onslaught sometimes doesn't end until February. It can be easy to lose track about certain games you know you would like or want to get a midst all the chaos that ensues during the Holiday season. That is also a very busy time for a lot of people in their personal lives, so one can be forgiven if they forget about certain games when they are focusing on final exams or family vacations.</div><div><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Sometimes I will go a few months without buying a game or looking at my wish list, and I'm always surprised with the amount of games I've forgotten about. When I knew I had to add Super Smash Bros. and Alpha Sapphire, I had forgotten that Star Fox 64 3D was in my top ten. Maybe it'll be back one day, but for now I will keep it in the "Other" tab. Although a lot of games may be sitting in that "Other" tab for a long while, I won't ever forget them.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">This is another reason why I like to have the dates on my wish list. Sometimes when I'm moving games around, I'll notice a game I had on my list for a year or two and regain interest in it. A lot of the time when I finally purchase a game from my top ten, I will look at what games are the oldest and give it the newly opened spot. Older games are usually cheaper too, which is always a plus.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><h3>#6 - Makes receiving and giving gifts easier</h3><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">Sometimes when I gave my parents those huge Christmas lists, they didn't get me a single thing on it. I don't know if this was to keep me humble and grateful for anything that I got, or because they didn't read it and threw it out. I honestly don't know, because when I would ask them about my lists the answers I got were always vague and mysterious. I am of the mind set that if someone gives you a list of what they want, chances are they really want whats on there. If you want to make that person happy, just stick to the list.</div><div><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">My sister still asks me if my Amazon list is updated whenever my birthday or Christmas rolls around, because it makes her life easier. It's always frustrating when you try to buy someone a gift they already have, and then you have to return it and ask them what else you should have gotten. It ruins the fun in buying something special and surprising them when they open it and go "I already have it".</div><div><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">You don't only have to use your list for yourself either. If there is someone you know that loves games as much as you do, why not get them something from your list?!? Personally, I feel getting someone else something you really wanted makes you more satisfied and happy than if you receive the gift yourself. I know this is actually a scientific fact: spending money on someone you love will make you more happy than if you spend it on yourself. If you spend a lot of time choosing ten great games on your list, why keep that to yourself? Spread the joy! Besides there are so many other games on your list you can always get.</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><h3 style="text-align: justify;">#7 - Phase Three: Profit!</h3><div style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;">There isn't a science to creating the perfect wish list. You should try to make it personal to your own interests, have as much information as possible, and be creative when creating your list. As much fun as it is playing and enjoying games, it can be just as fun fantasizing about owning all the games. But making a list can keep you proactive about what you buy, when you buy, and how much you spend. Of course none of this applies to you if you are rich, because who needs lists when you got it like that. But if you are like me, having a list is a great way to have fun managing your money and future game collection.</div>Jose Riverahttps://plus.google.com/104163992168583768584[email protected]0