A new year is a time of new beginnings. A time to reflect on the last 12 months and to prepare for what comes next. It’s a common practice for people to make resolutions each year. A person will resolve to lose weight, exercise more, be less stressed out or spend more time with family. Those resolutions, or desires, will then shape the next 12 months of a person’s life.
If you are reading this, then video games are probably a big part of your life. While I love the hobby, I rarely think about how to become a better gamer. So, to start off my 2018, I’ve put together a list of Video Game Resolutions to strive for in the new year. This started as a personal project, but after fleshing it out, I felt like it was something to share. Now, I present to you my 2018 Xbox One New Year’s Resolutions.
Play An Indie Game You’ve Never Heard Of
Today, it is more and more common for a game to show up on the Xbox store with little to no fanfare. Marketing is expensive, and games by smaller developers with a stretched budget can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Many great games can be missed if there is no one talking about them. Think about the last game you played because you heard from a friend it was great, or listened to a podcast that talked about it. Be that person this year. Pick a game that fits your tastes that you’ve never heard of – then, buy it! Then, if you like it, tell the world all about its greatness.
Make a Shame List and Fix It
Let’s face it, there is just not enough hours in the day to play all the games that we want to. This gets harder every year as more amazing games are being released than ever before. What tends to happen is that we miss some amazing games along the way, and thus, create a “Shame List”. A “Shame List” is just a list of games that you should have played, but haven’t. Games your friends would make fun of your for missing. Did you skip BioShock? Red Dead Redemption? Halo? In 2018, make a point to fix this. Create a list of 12 games you would consider “must play” that you somehow managed to skip. 12 games – 1 for each month. Carve out a few hours here and there during the month to knock a game off your list. At the end of the year, you will be able to hold your head a little higher.
Don’t Buy a Game Until You’ve Beat a Game
One of the biggest drawbacks to digital purchases is that it’s so easy to do. Just a few “A” presses is all it takes to have another new game (which is almost instantly added to your growing backlog). This not only takes up valued hard drive space, but can also hit your wallet pretty hard. A good practice is to not buy a new game until you finish the one that you are working on. This resolution wouldn’t account for sales, of course, because sometimes you just can’t pass up a great deal. This is more for the person who is 1 hour into Wolfenstein and then buys Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty at the same time. Too many of us spider web game to game, often never fully appreciating what they have. If you buy Wolfenstein, then focus on beating it. Once it’s complete, pick up your next adventure. You will feel more accomplished, have more to show for it, and be much more financially responsible. Trust me, the Xbox Store isn’t going to run out of copies.
If You Don’t Like a Game, Move On
One of the worst things we do as gamers is continue playing games that we don’t like. We do it for various reasons, like, “everyone else loves this game, so I have to love it” or, “I paid $60 for this game, so I’m going to get my money’s worth.” However, in the end, we are just left with empty hours and a bad experience to show for it. We should train ourselves to let go and move on. Video Games are created for the user to enjoy. If you play a game for an hour and you aren’t enjoying yourself, then the game is not for you. Be OK to move on. You might find that when you return to the game that you actually enjoy it, or you might find that the game should just be deleted and forgotten. Either way, don’t waste the little time you do have forcing yourself to enjoy something you don’t.
Gift a Game
One of the great, new (and underrated) features of Xbox Live is the ability to gift games. You can go to the Xbox Store, find a game you want to share, and then gift it to another Xbox user. You simply enter their gamertag and that person will be sent a redemption code via Xbox Live to download that game. The Xbox Live Community is arguably the best video game community around. Gifting is just another way to make it more awesome. Find a game that you love and think more people need to try? Then find someone that might not know as much about games as you and gift them that game. You become an ambassador, not just for that game, but for Xbox as a community. Think of this as the “Pay it Forward” for Xbox.
Join a Club
In 2017 Xbox added the ability to create and join Clubs on Xbox Live. Clubs are groups of gamers who join together on Xbox Live. The Club page offers an activity feed, chat feature, and the ability to create tournaments. This is one of the coolest, and most underused, features on Xbox Live. It’s a great feature because it lets you find a group of people to connect with, which is based on a game or brand that you love. Clubs allow you to connect with people even if you aren’t friends. You can view the activity feed of the members and talk over Chat. You can even browse live broadcasts from just that community. Clubs also give you the ability to start Tournaments. The host sets the rules and rolls out the tournament to the entire Club. If you haven’t joined a Club already, make this something you do in 2018. If you don’t know what Club to join, you can create a post for others to find you. You could even start a Club of your own and if you do that, shoot me an invite @neolego.
Play an Original Xbox Game
Backwards Compatibility is one of the most amazing features on the Xbox One. It is easy to take for granted because there isn’t a lot of fanfare around the regular releases, but the work put in by the Xbox Team is nothing short of phenomenal. Think about it, three generations of software…two with completely different architecture…all running flawlessly on a single machine. At E3 2017, Microsoft revealed that original Xbox games were being added to the backwards compatibility library. As of this writing there are 450+ Xbox 360 games available for the Xbox One and 13 Original Xbox games. As an Xbox gamer you should make a point to try a game or two that you might have missed or never really appreciated. Psychonauts, Crimson Skies, Knights of the Old Republic, and Ninja Gaiden Black all come to mind. If you haven’t played any or all of these games before, make a point to try at least one of them on your Xbox One in 2018.
Get 100% of Achievements for a Game
Xbox launched a game based achievement system with the Xbox 360 that has since changed the landscape of video games. Every game that hits Xbox One has a list of earnable achievements for doing various activities in the game. You can unlock an achievement for finishing a level, beating a boss, ranking on a leaderboard, or various other things within the structure of a specific game. These achievements can be shared on Xbox Live to your activity feed or even on social media. In 2017, Microsoft added the rarity level of achievements. So, if you earn an achievement that only a small percentage of other gamers have, you get a special diamond by that achievement. I for one don’t advocate Achievement Hunting as sport, even though I have some good friends that are avid hunters. I also don’t support forcing yourself to play a game just to get every achievement. Bottom line, if you aren’t enjoying yourself, move one. What I do encourage, however, is for each gamer to try and 100% at least one game in their library. I would suggest you pick a game that you love the most and work hard to unlock all achievements for that game. For me, it’s the LEGO games. I do my best to 100% every LEGO game that comes out because I love them so much. Whatever that game or series is for you, make a point to 100% it this year.
Tweet something Positive to a Developer and/or Creator
The video game community is really good at a few things. One of the things we are great about is whining about things we don’t like. We have no problem jumping on Facebook or Tweeter to say how much we hate Battlefront’s loot boxes, how PUBG is broken on Xbox, or how Microsoft has no exclusive content. What gamers are really bad at though, is taking the time to encourage or praise a developer or creator for something that we love. An old english proverb says that “you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar”. It’s really time that the video game community starts using more honey. Did you like a game? Find the Developer or Writer or Music Composer and Tweet at them, “good job”. Is there a Loot Box System that you like? Find that Publisher and let them know. Are you playing an Xbox Backwards Compatible game and loving it? Tell the Xbox Team how amazing that is. Did you read an article or discover a game by following a writer or youtube content creator? Then tell them. Most of them work for nothing, and do what they do for the love of the community. In 2018, we have the chance to be better – so let’s resolve to try.
Take a Day Off
This might be counter intuitive to add to an Xbox New Year’s Resolution List. The fact is, at the end of the day, video games just aren’t the most important thing in life. I challenge all of us to unplug for a day…maybe more. I don’t know what your goals or responsibilities are, but take time this year to grow. Read a book, learn a new language, get outside and be social (it won’t kill you – I promise). 2018 is going to be an amazing year for video games, but don’t let that be the only thing you are looking forward to in the new year.
There you have it, my list of New Year’s Resolutions for Xbox One Owners. I would love to hear what your New Year’s Resolutions are. Please share them in the comments below!