Past and Future

I never did get around to talking about inFAMOUS 2. My bad. Though it will probably be another broken promise, maybe I’ll get around to it later.

I’ve been putting together a proposal for my thesis advisor over the last few days, and I realized something: Twilight Princess was released nearly five years ago. Though it is still readily available for the Wii, it is ancient history in terms of video games. Know what else I’ve noticed? My time for gaming declined rapidly after the release of Twilight Princess. I’ve definitely been able to play video games over the last five years, but have never had the time or the money to do so as much as I would like. So I made a list of games released after December 2006 (yes, I purchased Twilight Princess for GameCube), and the list of games I’ve actually played is far smaller than the games that I have wanted to play. I’ve made time for some of my favorite series, and have tested the water with a few new series and individual games, but, dang, if it weren’t for the fact I play some titles that most gamers would call “hardcore” I’d totally label myself as a casual gamer.
Though it doesn’t list EVERYTHING here is a list of most of the games I’ve played over the last five years:
  1. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, played through it twice upon release and clocked around 100 hours of play time between the two playthroughs.
  2. Super Mario Galaxy, only one playthrough, and though I love it I probably won’t ever play it again. It makes me dizzy. Probably no more than 10 hours play time.
  3. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, liked it better than Metroid Prime 2, but still didn’t hold a candle to the first Metroid Prime. 15 hours play time.
  4. New Super Mario Bros. Wii, enjoyed it, but actually prefer the first New Super Mario Bros. for DS. Probably no more than 8 hours play time.
  5. Super Smash Bros. Brawl, clocked almost 130 hours on this bad boy in about a month and a half.
  6. Metroid: Other M, made a post about this game after I played it. I enjoyed the gameplay, but the story was atrocious. 12 hours play time.
  7. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, I usually love me some Fire Emblem but this game was so broken! 20 hours play time.
  8. Dragon Quest IV, great game, but ruined by the lack of a party talk function and static characters. 24 hours play time.
  9. Dragon Quest V, another fantastic game, and the included party talk definitely helped with character development though its predecessor did outshine it in some areas. 26 hours play time.
  10. inFAMOUS, another fantastic game from the developers of the Sly Cooper series. I played both as a Hero and again as a Villain. Probably around 20 hours play time between the two modes.
  11. Ghostbusters, so much fun, but super short. 5 hours play time at best.
  12. Valkyria Chronicles, though Fire Emblem is what hooked me to the SRPG genre, this game is probably the best I’ve played. Played through it twice over the course of a month and clocked about 80 hours total.
  13. Batman: Arkham Asylum, another great one. I had to go through it really fast because I was wanting to play other games. 16 hours play time.
  14. Bayonetta, fun, though very odd. I bought it for twelve bucks and sold it back for ten because it was so short. 6 hours play time.
  15. VanQuish, amazingly fun to play, but another very short one. 6 hours play time.
  16. Okamiden, a decent little game, but one that ultimately disappointed me a bit. 20 hours play time.
  17. inFAMOUS 2, a great sequel that definitely improved on the original in every way except story. Between both modes probably around 20 hours of play time.

So aside from a few heavy hitters, a number of the games I’ve played over the last few years are lucky to hit ten hours of play time. Adding up the play time of all the games listed puts me at around 518 hours, or about 21.6 days, of play time over the last five years. Sound like a lot? Well, that’s actually barely more than 1% of the total number of days in a five year time period. To be sure, it is still a pretty significant number, but considering the amount of time I put into JRPGs from 2001-2006, I’m very certain that 518 hours pales in comparison. The three Fire Emblem games I played from 2001-2006 probably amount to 110 hours of play time, and I played numerous other RPGs that easily amounted to 50+ hours of play time. Not to mention other games like Super Smash Bros. Melee that I’m positive I played more than its successor.

I can infer a lot from my list. I haven’t had the time to play that I used to have. This is mostly because of, well, growing up. In the Spring semester of 2007 I’d finally scraped enough money together to go back to school full-time, and I was beginning to get into the more intensive courses of my Bachelor’s degree. Working a part-time (and at times full-time) job on top of that didn’t really leave me with the time to play video games, and especially those epically long RPGs like I had in the past. As can be seen in my list, I did make a few exceptions for Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, and Valkyria Chronicles, but for the most part the video games I played were fairly short in comparison to those RPGs, and that leads me to my next point. I was less likely to plop down $30-50 for longer games and went with shorter games instead. When I did purchase a longer game, it was from an established series and developers that I have been a fan of for some time.
So what does this say about me? Basically, my gaming tastes have stagnated significantly over the last five years due to my lack of time to play and explore new games. For example, VanQuish was my first 3rd person, over-the-shoulder shooter video game; a genre that was established by Gears of War even before I played Twilight Princess. I’ve not played critically acclaimed games like BioShock, or Fallout 3. These two titles, and probably some I’m forgetting, helped revolutionize the Western developed RPG genre and actually started giving the JRPG developers some competition outside of Japan. Oh, and those JRPGs that basically defined my gaming existence from 2001-2006? Yea, the JRPG genre is pretty much dead outside of Japan these days. If I were to ever want to play some of the JRPGs that have piqued my interest in the last two years, I’d either have to learn Japanese and import from Japan or import an English version from Europe where they are still (somewhat strangely) being localized to the European market.
I’m currently half way finished with my Master’s degree. I haven’t decided for sure, but I’m beginning to feel that I don’t want to pursue a PhD at this time, if at all. I’m hoping to find a job once I’m finished with my MA this coming Spring, and not just a job, but something long term and careerish. When that happens, I hope to be able to pursue my old hobbies once again. You have no idea, dear nonexistent reader, how badly I want to read a book just to read it! I’ll never forget my English major training so I’ll always think about whatever I read in that light, but I won’t have to write a paper about them or discuss them in class! I was able to read two books over the past summer that didn’t have anything to do with school and it was such a joy. I haven’t been able to read like that since 2006 either. And though I’ll probably pursue a social life, I plan on catching up on some of the games I missed and I’m looking forward to what else is on the horizon.
So what do I plan on playing when I have the time? Here is a list:
  1. BioShock and maybe BioShock 2 if I like the first.
  2. Fallout 3
  3. 3D Dot Game Heroes. I actually own this one and have played it a bit, but didn’t have the chance to finish.
  4. Heavy Rain
  5. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
  6. El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
  7. L.A. Noire
  8. Epic Mickey
  9. Mass Effect 2. I don’t have a 360, and I have no plans to purchase one. As a result, I can only play the second Mass Effect for PS3.
  10. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  11. 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
  12. Radiant Historia
  13. Final Fantasy XIII. I’m not really sure about this one. It looks better to me in many ways than Final Fantasy XII did, but I’m very tired of Tetsuya Nomura’s character designs and the excessive overly dramatic dialogue.
  14. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. I have it, just haven’t played it yet.
  15. Muramasa: The Demon Blade. I have this one too, but haven’t played it.
That list looks quite a bit more diverse than my previous list. And maybe that means my gaming tastes will catch up to the current state of games. There are also two video games coming this fall that I’ll probably play come December. The first is Batman: Arkham City, and the second is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. But until that Master’s thesis is finished, the degree is obtained, and a careerish job is found those games will still have to wait.
…I knew there was a reason I decided to call this blog “The Most Outdated Gaming Blog on the Net.”
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