It feels weird, right? To have resolutions about games. Whether you are a video gamer or a tabletop player, it feels strange to take time to make resolutions about what is arguably a past time, a hobby, and try to organize it somehow. Heck, many people are concerned with lofty goals like ‘finally write that novel’ or ‘get around to using that gym membership I bought last year’.
Yet, I’ve found my life in gaming feeling a lot more fulfilling since starting the practice a few years ago. It might be that I’m now in my mid-thirties with a child, but I had come to realize that gaming was becoming less about me actually playing games and more feeling guilty about wanting to play games. Spending breaks at work looking for store sales, and then when I finally got home, feeling too tired or distracted to actually sit down and play the games I wanted to play all day.
If gaming was as simple as it was when I was 10, I probably wouldn’t feel the need: get home from school, I have one of five sega genesis cartridges, and no car, no internet, and no credit card to just impulse buy more stuff. But that’s not where we are in the 2020’s. No, we have steam sales every week, we have Game Passes that hand us libraries of games with various revolving doors. Social media and internet scrolling has advertisements of what to buy next constantly. Meanwhile, more and more ‘live service’ games are designed to keep you playing weekly or daily quests even if you have long grown bored with the content.
For me, goals bring clarity and focus; it helps stave off the paradox of choice that in a lot of ways has us mindlessly purchasing games instead of interacting with the games we truly want to enjoy. Honestly, just setting my first resolution of “beat 10 games” was enough to keep me playing games I wanted to play, instead of just pining for the next capitalist purchase I could snag during a steam sale for a quick dopamine hit. Just writing down for myself something like “Finally paint a wargaming miniature like I have wanted to for a decade” let me actually enjoy a hobby that I’ve felt unable to access for years.
In a moment, I’m about to list the gaming goals and their rationale I’ve got for 2023. After that, I’ll invite you to do the same… with maybe a small incentive to sweeten the spot. With that all being said…
Gaming Resolution #1 - Twelve Games Beaten
This one is a no brainer, but my ADHD addled brain has me write down to force myself to track it. Everyone wants to beat the games they play, but I realized a few years ago a very frustrating habit of letting myself truly enjoy a game to about the halfway mark, then drop it as some new shiny advertisement for a new release distracted me.
Who knows, maybe this will be the year I finally beat Darkest Dungeon?? Everyone's got a game they need a little push to beat.
Just writing down what games I get to roll credits on for the last few years has been incredibly satisfying: last year I managed to beat 16 games, so I’m upgrading my goal from 10 games this year to 12. There’s a little hidden caveat though - I’m not allowed to buy any new games until this resolution is finished. Trying to enjoy what you have rather than always pining for a shopping dopamine hit is healthy.
Plus, I bought the Final Fantasy 10 HD remaster like 6 years ago and I keep saying I’m going to play that next.
Gaming Resolution #2 - Steam Achievement Average Brought Up To 45%
Keeping the theme of the last resolution, this goal is to help me enjoy what I already have. I have… very mixed feelings about achievements. On one hand, I sincerely enjoy well-crafted achievements that give me a sense of satisfaction for reaching them. Games like Civilization 6 which have little tongue-in-cheek goals for doing fun things like winning a cultural victory with Genghis Khan can be really fun.
On the other hand, achievements can be a way to artificially extend the life of a game, sort of like the infamous coffee thermos collectibles of Alan Wake. In addition, becoming obsessed with achievements can become perfectionist: am I enjoying my attempt at a highest difficulty run in Darkest Dungeon, or should I just enjoy the chance to just beat the game normally? What happens if you play a game, don’t like it, and see there are still 90% of its achievements to collect? Do you feel forced to play a game you don’t like?
For myself, I’ve made a sort of compromise, trying to get my steam achievement average up to about 45%. I’ve noticed over time that most games let you get about 30-60% of its achievements just by playing the game normally and beating it. I’m currently at a 41% average, and saw in my backlog a few games from years ago that I abandoned without beating and - you guessed it - only like 3 achievements unlocked. So, using this resolution as a way to nudge myself back into playing some games I’ve really liked and shooting for fun and odd goals… while also not getting too obsessed about it.
Gaming Resolution #3: Five Board Games, Five Times
A few years back, people who liked board games realized just how quickly their game world was speeding up. Instead of just a few new releases to look forward to in a year, suddenly there were hundreds being released. Indeed, at GenCon 2016, there were 600 new board games published during that weekend alone).
To help combat this, Sarah Reed shared her ideas for a gaming challenge so board gamers would enjoy their own collections: play ten board games ten times each in a year - the 10 by 10 challenge. It was honestly genius. Studies had shown that most analog games were only being played 3-4 times, despite being $50 each. It was a way to avoid being entirely obsessed with filling shelves and enjoying what you already have.
Much like the last two resolutions, this is a way of enjoying what I already own. I bought or was given about a dozen board games in the last three years that I’ve barely been able to enjoy due to quarantine and fatherhood. 2023 I’m hoping to complete a half challenge here, and maybe even some board game reviews done.
Gaming Resolution #4: Run A (Small) Tabletop RPG Campaign
Right before my kid was born, I had wrapped up a giant Dungeons and Dragons game. Two years long, nearly twenty players cycling in and out… it was a lot of fun to introduce the game to a lot of new players while in a bar setting.
Soulbound is definitely becoming a favorite ttrpg system - looking forward to hopefully getting some content out about the system soon.
Now that I finally have free time again, I want to get back into it, but the trick is managing to do it in a way that isn’t overwhelming. So, going to do a small campaign of 3-5 sessions while still letting myself try something new. Soulbound is a ttrpg that takes place in the Age of Sigmar setting, and has everyone starting superpowered at level one. Should be a great game to jump in and out of, and feel like I’m getting to roll dice again. You don’t need to go big with each resolution, just feel like you are getting to do things you’ve always wanted to!
A Contest of Resolutions For 2023
With all of this being said, its time for us to put our money where our mouth is. We really do enjoy the idea of gaming resolutions: setting goals shouldn’t just be for things we find frustrating, but also for the more enjoyable parts of life. To help spread the idea of gaming goals, we’re putting forward a humble challenge to set your own!
By entering our 2023 Resolutions contest, you can possibly win a free $10 gift card to the Steam store, or another gaming platform of your choice. All you have to do to enter is:
- You can leave your gaming resolution as a comment on this article, or by joining our discord channel and going to the “2023 gaming resolutions” section.
- Clearly state a gaming resolution that you have for the next year. “I hope in 2023 to…” or however you’d like.
- Leave at least 3-4 sentences explaining your resolution and why you are choosing it. So, if you are saying “Beat five games”, you might list some of the games you are trying to beat and why.
- Do the above points before 11:59pm on January 20th, and you have officially entered the contest!
- If we get at least ten entries into the contest, we’ll pull two gift cards for contestants, and then pull another one at 25 entries, for a total of $30 of gift cards to give away.
And that’s it! We’d love for you to list more than just one, but there’s no pressure. At the end of the day, it all goes back to our motto:
We hope your 2023 will be a great year, both out there in the real world and whenever you get a chance to pick up some dice or a controller. Again, we hope you join our discord and hang out with us as we play new games and enjoy old ones. Happy New Year!