My Top 10 Video Games of “2018”

Funny quote from Earthbound

With 2018 being my first full year as a father, the value of shorter games that I could play to completion in just a few hours became greater than ever. While binging a 5-10 hour game over a weekend is a perfectly cromulent option, I only have 45 minutes to an hour to play games, most days. That being said, I can drag a 5-10 hour game out for a week or two and perceive what most would consider a short game as a full, meaty experience. Naturally, you’re going to see a nice variety of these shorter games in this year’s top 10. They are the perfect length for my current lifestyle, seeing as I rarely finish a game thinking, “What? That’s it?”

However, I also filled a good portion of my 2018 gaming time with some lengthy roleplaying affairs. I have to approach games like this as a long-term commitment that might take six months or more, and to be prepared to take numerous breaks from them in order to enjoy a shorter experience along the way. A couple of these games captured enough of my imagination and attention to make the list, however.

This write-up took much longer to compile than usual—waiting five months later than usual to wrap it up and allowing my memories of these games to deteriorate didn’t help. So, what made the list in 2018? I better hurry up and tell you before I forget everything!

As always, the games on this list didn’t have to be released in 2018 (hence the quotation marks in the title), just that I either beat them or played the majority of them in 2018.

Go on….

Consistency, or Lack Thereof

Inconsistency.

This is another one of those blogs in which I talk myself through a problem I have. I hope that it is helpful for me, and maybe for you, as well.

When I was a bowler in high school, there was one particular Saturday afternoon in which I was the only member of my team who could make it, and the opposing team only had one guy show up, as well. While our absent teammates’ handicaps played into the scoring, it was, essentially, a one-on-one match-up. My opponent was a nice kid a couple of years younger than me. Quiet, no trash talk, no hot-dogging. He was just there to bowl, like me.

I had a not-so-great day on the lanes. A strike here or there, a bunch of splits, and I couldn’t pick up a spare if a dude was standing at the ball return paying me money to do it. I think I carried a 160 average that year, but if I had to guess my scores that day, they would have been probably 115, maybe one good game at 170, and 137. Meanwhile, my opponent, a developing bowler in his own right, had a career day. If his average was 140, he bowled a 210, a 180, and a 190-something that afternoon. While my opponent wasn’t much of an underdog, he was an underdog. And I was beaten handily.

At the end of the third game, I sat, dejectedly, changing my shoes at the scoring table. My opponent approached and said simply, “You lack consistency.” He wasn’t being mean, just offering a critique of my afternoon. He was so correct that I didn’t know how to respond. I just sighed and said, “Yeah.”

Go on….

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Nuked My Video Game “Want” List

Bionic Commando Explosion

In my 2017 year-in-review post, I teased a scintillating future blog about video game-buying habits. I’ve reached a desperate point in my life in which these habits must change, and I’m ready to reveal everything in this exclusive tell-all blog that I definitely didn’t just write on my lunch break.

Some years ago, maybe from 2012-2015 or so, Kickstarter overflowed with crowdfunded video games. Every week (probably every day, to be honest!), a new game with a clever pitch, a sizeable funding target, and enticing stretch goals hit the service. Some were entirely new games, while others were long-awaited sequels, hollow nostalgia bait, or spiritual successors from the creators of long-dead franchises.

The onslaught of new and exciting crowdfunded games was a lot for me to keep track of. I simply have too much professional wrestling knowledge clogging my brain matter to remember all the video games I want to buy. Priorities, man. So, I started a “want” list that included all of the Kickstarter games I eagerly awaited. In time, this list expanded to also cover upcoming games not on Kickstarter, plus already-released games that I did not yet have, but wanted to get. This all seemed perfectly logical and harmless, and the want list became my go-to resource for all of my game-buying decisions. I made a spreadsheet and organized games by platform and scored them as low, medium, high, or very high priority, based on how badly I wanted them. Clearly, I don’t take my hobbies too seriously.

Go on….

My Top 10 Games of “2017”

Donkey and Diddy Kong

You may recall my Top 10 Video Games of “2016” post from last year, which was a pretty easy list to assemble, considering I only finished ten games or so in 2016. But, as you may also recall from my year-in-review post from the beginning of this year, I beat over 20 games in 2017, almost all of which I thought were a lot of fun, so putting together a list of my 10 favorites was as anxiety-inducing as cutting people off a guest list. Despite these hard decisions, I am compelled to make my Top 10 Video Games of “20XX” list a tradition (unlike any other) on this No Good Blog!

Go on….

My 2017: What Worked and What Didn’t

Futurama - Fry about to fall into cryo-chamber

Hey, so 2017 was pretty crazy, right? It was pretty crazy for me, too, with a lot of successes and failures personally and creatively. As a sort of personal therapy, I’m reviewing what worked and what didn’t work this year, both to get it off my mind, and to put it all in a central location for future review and self-embiggenment. Maybe it can help others who happen to stumble upon it, too.

Go on….

Ultima Online is 20 Years Old, and Heeeeerrrre Come the Memories!

Ultima Online Art

I received Ultima Online unexpectedly as a Christmas present in 1998. My brother recommended it to my parents as something that he thought I would like.

He didn’t know what he was getting me into.

Ultima Online was one of the first massively multiplayer online role-playing games, taking the lore and settings of Richard Garriott’s Ultima series and adapting it to massive online play. At the time, I was a regular online player of Diablo, Quake, and Starcraft. Competitively speaking, I wasn’t very good at any of them, and our not-great-even-for-a-rural-area internet connection further handicapped my play. Nevertheless, online gaming was a new and exciting experience, and I was having a blast playing over the internet with friends and strangers alike, even the ones whose usernames were just mashups of profanities and pot references. Well, except when I would get killed by cheaters in Diablo. That wasn’t fun, but there was only so much you could do about that. It was the frontier days of online gaming, with no checks in place to fight the outlaws, and minimal punishment for those who did not play by the rules.

Ultima Online was a deep dive into an even more robust, immersive online gaming experience: a persistent online world with its own evolving culture and economy. It was exciting, if not a little intimidating, to step into a game world that never stopped, even when you logged out. Adventures were had, business transactions made, towns were overrun by skeletons, and so on, all while your character slept peacefully in the inn as you lived your real life, logged out of the game. Instead of being the core figure in a grand, world-sweeping adventure, I was but one of thousands of players, all inhabiting the same world at the same time, all with their own goals, schedules, skillsets, and more. It was a completely different dynamic from any other RPG I had played.

Go on….

My Top 10 Games of “2016”

I dunno.

Prepare yourselves for the sorriest “top 10 games of 2016” you’ll ever see, for two important reasons:

  1. We’re well into 2017. Nobody cares about 2016 anymore.
  2. None of the games on this list were actually released in the year 2016.

You see, I love video games, but I’m frugal (or cheap, depending on how polite you’re feelin’ today) and therefore typically a couple of years behind on tech. I  almost never play current games. I remember an old PvP comic in which Cole is just getting around to buying Baldur’s Gate 2 quite some time after its release, and Brent and Francis make fun of him for being an old man. That’s me. That’s my life! But it’s okay. 2016 was a good year of gaming for me. I definitely didn’t get to play as much as I would have liked, but I had a good time when I had the chance.

The only caveats for games appearing on this list are that I either beat them or played the majority of them in the year 2016. So let’s get started.

Go on….