My Gaming Future

I love video games. I really and truly do. I love them so much so that, as I’ve stated in the past, I’d like to make my own games someday. In many ways, gaming is better now than it’s ever been. But gaming is also a mighty expensive hobby, and I’m not made of money. Even more so, gaming is becoming more and more time consuming.

Now, I realized some time ago how much of a time commitment gaming was becoming, but it really hit me personally when I played Persona 5. Now, don’t get me wrong, from what I played, Persona 5 was a pretty great game. But once I had put more than ten hours into the game and still wasn’t done with the first dungeon, it kind of lost me. I still want to go back and finish it sometime, but it really hit me just how long games get these days. And it would be one thing if it were a couple of games here and there, but it seems like most major releases these days require 50+ hours just to get through the story.

Somehow I actually managed to beat Red Dead Redemption 2, which was a great game, but took forever just to get through the story (and as I mentioned in my review of the game, it’s fifth chapter feels like little more than extensive padding just to drag out the story longer. And yes, this was the primary reason I scored RDR2 an 8 as opposed to a 9, despite its many, many strengths). For as much fun as I had with the game, it seemed like its main story – great though it was – went on much longer than it needed to, when the countless side activities the game’s open world provides would have more than sufficed in regards to content.

In short: these games are too damn long.

That’s not an innately bad thing, of course. But if you have one game after another after another that each take forever to complete, you begin to not have time for any of them.

That’s why, as of 2019, I’m trying to cut back on my video game purchases. Yes, I bought the Bowser’s Inside Story remake and Kingdom Hearts 3 already. But the former is a remake of my favorite DS game, a title I enjoyed so much I definitely want to give it another whirl in its new guise, while the later has been in the making for thirteen years (and, more importantly, I love me some contemporary Disney, so I couldn’t resist playing a game that featured Frozen, Tangled and Big Hero 6 in it). So that’s two games so far in 2019, plus a couple other I have on pre-order. But if we went back to this time last year, I had pre-orders up the wazoo! And, as is evidenced by the fact that I’ll only now be getting to my reviews of games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and God of War (and still need to get to a point where I can review Ni no Kuni 2), I’ve gotten pretty backlogged.

In my defense, the reason I’ve been playing so many games these past few years is, well, because of this website. I greatly enjoy writing reviews and sharing my opinions, and I want to build this site up. What better way to do that than build up an extensive library of game reviews?

Well, I think I’ve succeeded in building such a library of reviews covering several different eras of gaming and many different genres. Not to brag or anything, but my Red Dead 2 review was my 328th video game review. So I think I’m at a point where it’s okay to slow down with the video game reviews for a while.

Now now, I don’t have any plans to stop updating this website. I plan to keep on keeping on with the Dojo. But when it comes to video games, I think I’m going to start prioritizing the games I still have in my collection for reviews, and that I don’t need to purchase more than a few new titles every year. Granted, that may make my annual Game of the Year awards less interesting (talking of which, my 2018 awards will happen really soon), but there are only so many hours in a day.

I still have plenty of games I already own that are in need of some reviewin’, and I’m still going to buy new games and review them. But because time and money are limited, I’m going to have to be more picky. I’m going to try and put a number limit on myself for games per year, and try to stick to that (there will be exceptions of course. If Nintendo suddenly announces they’re making Super Mario Galaxy 3 and it releases this year, I don’t care if I’ve met my limit, that’s a game I’d make exception for no question).

I remember in my younger days, I replayed video games a lot more. Star Fox 64, for example, is an easy game to beat. But I still probably spent countless hours on it over the years playing its single and multiplayer modes over and over. I find myself continuously wanting to replay games like Bloodborne and Super Mario Odyssey, but then I tell myself I’ve already reviewed them, and that I have other games to review. But games like Bloodborne and Odyssey are the kind of games that beg to be replayed over and over, much like Star Fox did all those years ago. Besides, it’s not like someone is paying me to play these games (though I am continuously trying to build up this website and hopefully can get some earnings from it. Wouldn’t that be dandy?). Plus, there are more ways to write about games than the direct reviews themselves.

While it’s been great picking up different big releases each year to review them, I think I’m at a point where I can also just replay games if I feel like it, and write other articles about them. Don’t worry, I’m still going to write game reviews, but probably less for newly released games every year. Gotta pick and choose.

Yeah, I will review Persona 5 and other extensively long games when I can. But I’m not going to try to rush those games to completion just to add another review to my belt sooner. If anything, my review of Red Dead Redemption 2 felt special. As long as that game was, I took my time with it, and my review almost felt like a reward to myself…as weird as that sounds.

Basically, my point is, it’s getting harder and harder for me to review every big game that gets released these days. So I’ll be slowing down with that for a bit. Again, I think I’ve reviewed enough games, covered different genres, and awarded each number on my scoring system more than enough to justify the majority of my reviews in the foreseeable future being games I already own. Like I said, that’s no shortage of games as it is, and with the occasional review for a new release, Indie games, and other articles focused on games, and I think I still have more than enough game-related material for my site. And of course I also have my movie side of things and, as I keep saying, I want to start writing about TV shows to some degree as well.

So…sorry I’m not going to be able to review every major release that hits shelves, but I will still keep the gaming side of this site strong and healthy. Like a kid who ate his broccoli. Plus, this opens up more time for me to work on other creative outlets, like my long promised videos and studying up on video game design. You’d want to play a game made by me, right?

Hope you enjoy what I have in store.

My Thoughts on Persona 5’s Joker in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is finally out (and it’s pretty great). A day before its release though, it was revealed that the first of the five upcoming DLC characters for Nintendo’s brawler is none other than the protagonist of Persona 5, Joker.

*And yes, I am aware that by internet standards this news is old by now. But guess who doesn’t care and is going to write their thoughts about it anyway….. Me, obviously. I can’t very well write other people’s thoughts.*

To sum up my feelings about Joker being added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I direct you to this classic prequel meme.

Now, I’m not going to pretend like I’m a major fan of Persona who knows the series by heart. Persona 5 is, thus far, the only Persona game I’ve actually played. And even then, I didn’t get very far as I was intimidated by the game’s sheer length (though I guess I really have no excuse for not going back to it now that I’ve trudged through the campaign of Red Dead Redemption 2. I’ll get back to it). However, Joker’s addition to Super Smash Bros. not only showcases how far Persona has come as a franchise, but also can give Smash Bros. fans a collective sigh of relief, as all our concerns over the fact that Nintendo chose all the DLC characters were maybe a bit misplaced. That is, assuming Joker isn’t a one-off and the rest of the DLC characters don’t end up middle finger-y towards fans in the same vein as Piranha Plant (yes, I’m still salty about that).

Not only are third-party characters still in the cards, but so are fresh character ideas that are unexpected and different. Granted, I still (obviously) expect some of these DLC characters to be from Nintendo franchises (why wouldn’t they be?), but it’s kind of nice that the first one announced is so promising, and not just another random Pokemon or Marth clone. Maybe we can finally get Dixie Kong as an expected (and well overdue) character, and then get a bunch of surprises for the rest of the DLC (because, honestly, aside from Dixie, what major recurring Nintendo character isn’t in Smash already?).

Basically, Joker’s presence in Super Smash Bros. – like Snake’s all those years ago – opens the door to seemingly anyone. Especially seeing as Persona 5 isn’t on Switch (though I assume that his inclusion could mean a port is in the future), it feels like all the gloves are off. And that’s awesome.

Most importantly, let’s hope this means we can finally get Geno.

AfterStory’s Top 10 Games of 2017

2017 was a meteoric year for gaming, arguably dishing out some of the best titles the medium has seen in decades. Release upon release of exceptionally crafted works of art, 2017 flipped preconceived notions of established franchises, while pushing boundaries of creativity with precariously novel IPs. While 2017 had its fair share of shade –  it further cemented the toxic implementation of loot boxes and microtransactions – 2017 managed to maintain a pristine shine of quality, despite the ever growing culture of filth that has surrounded this beloved medium. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is an unpolished, yet addictive multiplayer experience that rightfully took the world by storm with its heart pounding action and unpredictable encounters. Nier: Automata, while not the underrated masterpiece fans claim it to be, is an exuberant experience with the foundation of a masterpiece, as technical and design limitations hold it back from further greatness. What Remains of Edith Finch is arguably the most diverse and entertaining walking simulator to date, with a sense of gameplay variance that is unprecedented for the notorious genre. ARMS is a surprising gem of local multiplayer goodness, crafting one of the best motion-controlled experiences to date. Seeing the release of two games that effortlessly entered my “favourite games of all-time list” and the copious amount of diversity and quality released throughout this illustrious year, 2017 will forever be remembered as  the best year of the current generation, a personal favourite of mine that continuously exceeded my expectations. Without further ado, below are my favourite games of 2017.

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Top 10 Video Games of 2017 (Game of the Year)

Here we are. The big one. Game of the Year.

Naming the best video game to be released in almost any given year is a pretty challenging endeavor – I say ‘almost’ because some years, like 2012, kinda suck in the video game department (I’m sorry, how else can you explain Journey winning so many GotY awards for 2012?). This difficulty is doubled, maybe tripled for a year like 2017. Despite some questionable directions the video game industry went into during the year (I’m looking your way, Battlefront II), when was the last time a year had so many stellar releases beginning right out the gate all the way to the tail end of the year?

Seriously, 2017 was a hell of a year for video games! It was like BOOM! Awesome game! BOOM! Awesome game! BOOM! Awesome game! It was murder on the wallet, but worth every penny.

With such a high watermark of a year now in the history books, the year’s best game must be named. Traditionally, I have acknowledged my top 5 games of the year. But for a year as exceptional to the medium as 2017, I had to up the ante to a full-blown top 10!

The following are the ten games that I feel stood out the most among the many greats of 2017. A number of notable titles barely missed making it on here (PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, for example, snagged my “Best Online Multiplayer” award for its intensity, but it lacks the polish of the ten games I’m listing here). I haven’t reviewed all of the games I’m about to list just yet, but I hope to get around to it. Also, as I always state when making such a list, these are my feelings for the moment, so if I later appear to change preferences to what I list here, that’s not necessarily a contradiction. Opinions change. The only things set in stone here are the top two.

Also of note is that, despite being one of the best games of this (or any other) year, I have exempted Mario Kart 8 Deluxe from this top 10 for the obvious reason that it’s a re-release. Same goes for Crash Bandicoot.

Now with that out of the way, my top 10 favorite video games of 2017!

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