I’m not generally one for New Year’s Resolutions but this year circumstances are kind of guiding my hand. 2017 is going to suck for us. First our lease is up in July and we’re going to have to move since they want to renovate the apartment. They’ve been going through the entire complex doing this, dislodging some residents who’ve lived here for decades, so while I’m not taking it personally, it’s a major inconvenience. I’m old enough that moving means hiring someone. My days of humping heavy furniture up and down stairs are behind me, and Angela is in even worse shape for that kind of thing. So moving is going to be both a headache and a big expense. In fact we’re going to start packing up some stuff as soon as the Christmas decorations come down just in case we find a new place before July and have to move in a hurry.
Money is going to be tight this year because of that, and because our health insurance is going through the roof. Between the two of us we’re paying about $800/month on health insurance now. Mine is through work and went up about $40/month this year, Angela’s is through the ironically titled Affordable Care Act, and it jumped $125 or so from 2016 to 2017. So now we need to cut $165/month from other areas. We’re going to cancel cable and that will cover about $75/month of it, but the rest will have to come from cutting down on fun stuff, including games. Of course the big wildcard in all this is: how much will our new rent be? We’re looking at moving to a town outside the Raleigh area to see if we can save that way, but we can’t go so far out that we don’t get decent Internet since I need that for my work. It seems like rents go up just outside the city and then start going down as you move further out into more rural areas.
So enough depressing myself, here’re my fairly un-specific gaming resolutions for 2017:
Play games longer — I’ve already started doing this. For years I’ve been a real ‘grazer’ when it comes to games. I buy a ton of them and play most of them for a short time, basically until the novelty wore off or until some new shiny caught my eye. I very rarely finished games. I’ve been changing that habit in 2016 though. I’m not only finishing more games but in some cases continuing to play past the end of the narrative. I’ve found that many games seem to have 3 stages: The shiny new game phase where you’re learning the major systems and everything is fun. Then the ‘mid-game’ phase that can feel a little rote (and that’s where I previously would bail). Then finally the “Expert” phase where you’ve played enough that you start picking up on subtleties that you missed earlier, or maybe enjoying aspects that you’d kind of overlooked… I’m finding it hard to quantify this, but I know that I’m finding my interest in games seems to start high, then fall, then ramps back up the more I play.
Buy fewer games at launch — I need to resist the hype surrounding new games and buy far fewer at launch. Not only will this save me money since prices drop so quickly, but these days many games improve in the months after launch as the developers fix bugs, tweak performance or add features. Since I virtually never play games twice it just makes sense to wait for these improvements before purchasing and playing a game. I’ll still get a few titles at launch: stuff that is primarily multiplayer for instance, since you want to be competitive and play when the community is most active. Also a few select titles that just feel special to me: Horizon: Zero Dawn for instance.
Blog when I have something to say — This is a bit of a tangent, but I just recently re-opened this blog and already I’m feeling a little like I’m in a rut, mostly because I’ve been trying for daily posts even when I’m not really feeling it. So in 2017 I’m going to cut back and just do posts when I have something I want to share
And that’s about it. Here’s hoping 2017 sucks less than I expect it to. But I doubt it will.