The New Year brings a chance for a fresh start. Henceforth, I make the following solemn oaths: no more trolling and no more fanboyism. It's time to be a better gamer. These are my 2012 New Year's resolutions.
1. Stop hating Nintendo
I hate that I hate Nintendo. Sure, the company let me down since introducing me to video games in the early '90s, but it's time to stop pining for the Super Nintendo era that will never return. We have become distant since I bought my first PlayStation, and we've hardly spoken since the Wii's awful motion control scheme, but that doesn't mean I have the right to hate.
I scoff every time a new Zelda comes out, complaining that it won't be up to Ocarina of Time's standards. I've called series creator Shigeru Miyamoto backwards for including mute protagonists…only to grudgingly play the newest entry and admit I like it. Zelda is great, and Wind Waker has become an all-time favorite. Critics panned this cell-shaded GameCube entry prior to its release, but I love it.
So I'm quitting cold turkey. You'll get no more hate from me, big N. Bring on the Wii U; I will even stop snickering at the nonsensical name…promise.
2. Give up the "hardcore" gamer status
I admit it: I play just as much Skyrim on my flatscreen TV as Fruit Ninja on my phone. It's time to give up the hardcore prefix. I'm just a gamer like everyone else thanks to male anatomy euphemisms and bowling simulators (read: Wii bowling). This new age of waggling and "becoming the controller" makes hardcore gamers look archaic rather than part of an elite club. We're a dying breed. We're not evangelizing the casual gamers; they're converting us.
I still feel like a "real" gamer compared to my Aunt Edith and her Wii Sports, but I'm not above playing the iOS puzzler Cut the Rope. And I reserve the right to roll my eyes when Aunt E tries to explain how the Kinect is "basically virtual reality."
3. End the console wars
Maybe the Mayans weren't predicting the end of their calendar system in 2012 but the end of the console conflict. It seems almost silly to swear allegiance to a single platform in this digital age of Steam and cloud storage. Competition is good, and I certainly don't want consoles to go away any time soon, but it's time to put the emotional squabbling aside. Each company has a different philosophy of business, and the services they offer are of the highest quality (though wildly different).
Some gamers prefer to champion a "winner" in the on-going conflict, but the real war is on our wallets. Instead of heralding console victories, let's extol the experiences that moved us: the cinematic feel of Uncharted, the cover system of Gears of War, or the child-like sense of adventure in Skyward Sword.
4. Get back to role-playing game basics
Putting character progression and skill trees in shooters and racing games doesn't satisfy my ravenous hunger for a true RPG; it's like eating peanuts when what you crave is red meat. But my diet in 2011 consisted mainly of quasi role-playing elements like those in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Even Final Fantasy is no longer a conventional RPG. But this year, it's time to actually play an honest-to-goodness RPG. Now if only I could find one….
What are your gaming resolutions for 2012? And where can I find a "real" RPG?
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