Opinion-Bytes: Getting Back Into Retro Gaming


New Year’s Non-Resolutions


What’s the point in having a New Year’s resolution?  It’s easy to say, “I’ve learned a lot this year, and I’ll somehow apply that knowledge to make a ‘better me’ the next”, but I’m a bit more… realistic:

-The most common resolution?  “I’m fat!  I need to lose weight!”  Well, I’m a big guy that loves big food.  I will NOT be visiting ‘Camp Putdownadaforka’ in 2015.

-I could say I’ll work on propelling myself into a better job, but money isn’t everything.  I never work nights, weekends or holidays.  I don’t think it get much better than that!

-As for the money I DO make… yeah, I’m not much of a saver.  Not because I’m flat out terrible with money, but because I know how precious – not to mention fleeting – life can be.  So, I spend money on the things I enjoy.  I love taking my family to fun places, going out to restaurants, and my two favorite hobbies have always cost a fair amount of coin:  Film and video games.  I may not live in a mansion, but I lead a happy lifestyle.  What’s the point of having a wad of your cash in your pocket if you leave this life unfulfilled?

-People often vow to relieve themselves from stress in the New Year, but screw that.  “I will be less stressed” is a weak resolution, and furthermore, it’s odd.  Why would I cite myself as a source of stress?  For the sake of argument, let’s say I am.  Maybe I have a chemical imbalance and can’t help myself!  Nah, my stressors are probably the same as yours:  OTHER PEOPLE.  Not everyone, of course, but I know that if I leave the house long enough, I’ll find just enough of those joy-joy mood parasites to feel at least SOMEwhat agitated.  On second thought, I don’t even have to leave the house for that… I can just hop on the net or turn on the news.

-Travel?  Didn’t I JUST rant about how other human beings affect me?  Why would I want to hotbox myself in an airplane with people who have NO social awareness whatsoever?  I have no intention of dealing with folks who can’t keep their knees off the back of my seat, have never learned how to properly utilize an ‘inside voice’, or can’t stop burping and farting without explaining their entire medical history to me.  Your gastroenterological issues are yours and yours alone, pal.  Keep your escaped poo and bile particles confined to your own personal bubble, PLEASE.

Clearly, I’m joking.

On a more serious note, though, I’m really not the kind of guy that likes to partake in the whole ‘New Year’s Resolution’ thing.  Life is too short to fixate on flaws.  If I feel like making some changes, I’ll do my best to make them… and an arbitrary date on the calendar won’t have anything to do with it.  That said, I HAVE learned some hard lessons over the course of 2014, so the opportunity to share these ‘epiphanies’ couldn’t have come at a better time.  Hopefully, this list provides something you can think about while deciding how to spend your money in 2015 and beyond.

For starters, I’m honestly done with buying games on day 1.  The industry has changed in such a way that it doesn’t even make sense to me anymore.  Most major releases have either not worked, or required a significant patch upon release… meaning these games aren’t complete out of the box.  There’s also a troublesome trend of games being sold as if they were crack:  Major publishers will provide a mere taste at release – at $60 a pop, mind you – so you’ll get hooked and feverishly buy into whatever DLC they throw at you.  Me, I’m tired of spending full price for a product that’s literally incomplete off the shelf.  MSRP for good intentions?  No thanks.  So, I just won’t do it anymore.

And yes, this also means no more pre-ordering.  “Pre-ordering doesn’t harm anyone though, right?  I mean, if a game comes out and you hear bad things about it, you can always cancel.”  Yes, I can always cancel, but why pre-order in the first place?  How many times have you been legitimately burned for not doing so?  Unless you’re looking to get a limited collector’s edition or the latest console, your local retailers will have a TON of copies on display.  And believe it or not, pre-ordering DOES hurt the consumer.  Think about it:  Why are publishers confident enough to release their games in an unfinished state?  Because those pre-order numbers tell them they’re going to make a lot of money regardless, so as a result, they let that ‘fix it later’ mentality creep in.  This, unfortunately, is what happens when we tell these companies, “Yes, we’ll buy your product sight unseen.”

And you know, I think I’m just going to buy less games in general.  I’ve purchased a TON in the last 12 months… and for what?  To sit on my shelves looking pretty?  I mean, it’s nice having a large selection of games to choose from, yes, but that’s no justification.  It’s disheartening to think of all the games I bought at full MSRP; many of them remain unplayed, and can now be had for $30 or less.  Yes, by the time I get around to most of the titles in my backlog, they’ll be worth at LEAST 50% less than what I paid for them.  Since September alone, I haven’t had the opportunity to play Far Cry 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Hyrule Warriors, The Evil Within, or the remastered iteration of Grand Theft Auto V.  I’m not even sure when I will… so what the hell did I buy them for?  That’s five games I could have nabbed for $30 instead of $60… meaning if I was smart, I could have had an extra $150 in my pocket.  That’s not exactly chump change, you know?

So, with that decided, I’ll naturally work on my backlog.  As a matter of fact, I’ve already begun the process… and to be perfectly honest, I’ve been much happier with those games (The Witcher 2, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword) than most of 2014’s offerings.  That’s not to say I won’t dabble with the Wii-U, Xbox One or PS4, but rather they’re not likely to be my primary source of entertainment until the end of the year.

But there will be a point in time when tackling the backlog buffet feels too much like a chore… so I’ll keep things interesting with retro games.  I’ve emulated my childhood favorites for years, but all that did was remind me how stupid I was for selling off my old systems.  Well, I’ve had it up to here with regret, so I bought a Retron 5, original SNES controllers, and a respectable batch of old-school games.  I know it’s technically emulation, but I don’t care.  There’s just something about using original controllers in a machine that has a cart sticking out of it.  I plan on utilizing this machine A LOT, so you can expect to hear my thoughts on some retro games as I complete them.

But again, don’t mistake this rundown as New Year’s resolutions.  The wind has been blowing this way for me as of late, so the change in tide was inevitable.  For once, I actually welcome it, too… which is weird.  I’ve always been apprehensive to change, but this time it’s different.  Maybe it’s because I do my best to always look for the silver lining, I don’t know.  I certainly don’t approve of major publishers continually attempting to pull the wool over our eyes, but if they HADN’T plunged the industry to new lows last year, I’m not sure I would be the informed consumer I am today.

Regardless of how you felt about 2014 though, here’s hoping each and every one of you have a fantastic year in gaming.  New, old, or REALLY old… it matters not.  The only thing you should really concern yourself with is having fun.  That said, it never hurts to stay informed so you can make decisions that better suit you, your wallet, and the industry as a whole… that is, as you, the consumer, would want it to be.

Happy New Year!