Friday, December 19, 2014

Why I won't buy any games during the 2014 holiday sales

Ugh...the 2014 Steam holiday sale is here. As well as the countdown to 2015 Xbox sale. 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, MGS V: Ground Zeroes is $6.59?!?!

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 Nintendo products alone this year, but I've been too afraid to calculate all my other gaming expenses of 2014.

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.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gaming Goal of 2015 #001: Having a budget of $520 to spend (and sticking to it)

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).

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).

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.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Re-building my Nintendo 64 collection (part one)

Nintendo recently announced Majora's Mask is coming to the 3DS. Everyone who played the Ocarina of Time 3D 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.

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 I claim to be a huge fan of the series. How come I never played Majora's Mask? I was probably too busy still playing Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 which was released January of that year, and saving up my money for WWF No Mercy, which came out a month after Majora's Mask.

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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I spent a lot of money on Nintendo in 2014

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.

That is, if you have self control. I, when it comes to buying video games, do not. I have 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).

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...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Recommendations: Video game documentaries you need to watch

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.

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' Atari: Game Over 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.

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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why you should love Mario Kart 8's DLC, Nintendo, video games, and life

Yesterday Mario Kart 8 DLC was "finally" announced on the Nintendo UK eShop page. 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.

"Mario Kart 8's DLC is So Gross" 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.

Most of the headlines you saw about the announcement were simple ones, like "Link, F-Zero and Animal Crossing are coming to Mario Kart 8 as DLC" 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!!!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My deep dark secret about the Legend of Zelda series

Yesterday I wrote about adding the Zelda Three Heart Challenge to my Bucket List. 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 finally beat Wind Waker, eleven years later.

I would call myself a fan. I mean, I have the Hyrule Historia, 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 Wii U Zelda, and instantly raved about how great it was gonna be. But how should I know? I've only played three Zelda games long enough to finish them.

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.