Friday, January 01, 2010

365 video game reviews in 365 days

This year begins one of my most interesting and difficult New Years Resolutions ever:

I'm going to play and review one new video game for every day this year. That means I will play 365 new games in 365 days. I'll play them across all my gaming systems and I'm going to try games from every category, especially games I would never have played otherwise.

Video games are both my hobby and my source of income, yet I'd say in a given year, I probably only play an average of one new game each week. During the holidays when the best games come out, this number climbs....but during the rest of the year, I can go for weeks at a time playing just one or two of my favorites. For example, throughout most of the month of December, I played Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 almost exclusively, with only a handful of exceptions here and there.

This year, I'm going to expand my horizons. Big time. This is no cake-walk. There are going to be RULES. They are as follows:

1. I must play at least one new game for every single day this year: The key here is that the game must be new. The release date isn't important, but it has to be something I've never played before. Without this rule, I could simply pop Super Mario Brothers or Halo into a console and then write a review about it from memory. That's more of an exercise in writing than an exercise in gaming. Every game I play this year will be something that I've never played before...which is going to force me to try a ton of new games I would never have otherwise given any chance to.

I'm going to back up my list with evidence. When I play an Xbox 360 game, that will be easy...because Xbox Live tracks your games and the dates you played them. I will have a link to my gamercard posted on this blog and you can double check my progress there. With the other systems...I'll either have to find some 3rd party websites that track achievements or take pictures of the game itself. One thing's for sure....I'm not going to cheat, because that would only be cheating myself.

2. I have to earn a least one achievement or trophy in each game I play: I'm adding this rule to force myself to give the game enough of a chance that I can form a fairly educated opinion on it. If it wasn't for this rule, I know I'd boot up some games, decide quickly that I don't like them, and move on to something else. This happens all the time when I visit Gamestop and try something on a kiosk, so this will prevent me for playing a game for a few minutes and setting it aside. Some games are very stingy with their achievements, so I have a feeling this will make things pretty difficult in those cases. That's part of the challenge.

Most newer Playstation 3 games offer "trophies" (which I believe are also trackable online somewhere, I've just never checked), so I should be good there. As I mentioned above, in the event that I'm playing a game on one of the other systems (Wii, PSP, DS, etc) that has no achievements, I can always take a good old fashioned picture at the furthest point I reach in the game. If for some reason I am not good enough to earn an achievement, the game won't count towards the 365, no matter how much time I spent on it.

And now, the disclaimer rules:

3. Gamer score will not be the focus of this challenge: Even though I have decided that I have to earn at least one achievement per game, I can't let myself get obsessed with completion. Often, I don't like picking up a game and then seeing that "25/1000" in my profile. It makes me feel like I should keep playing and earn a little more score. This quest is about trying new things and doing a ton of gaming, not grinding for those last 400 points on a game I've already beaten.

4. I don't have to play one new game every day: Even though it's a challenge, I also want this experiment to be fun. If I find a game I love, I want the opportunity to progress further than just a few levels in. That means that some days, I might not play a new game, and other days...I'll play several. I have more time to play on the weekends than I do during the week, and imagine I might like to take a vacation every once in awhile.

5. Reviews may be updated at a later time, including the scores: While I will not edit any review I've posted (except for a typo or something), I reserve the right to add additional thoughts and even change the score if I come back to it later and change my mind about it. Every once in awhile, a game comes along that I don't take to on the first play-through, but I later find myself really enjoying for whatever reason. I want to make sure I capture that.

That's it. Those are the 5 basic rules of my challenge and I'm looking very forward to it. Can I make it? Time will tell.

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