The Steely Resolve, The Lapse In Concentration, and The Terrifying Discovery

I often mention the psychological weight that my OCD heaps upon me, and I’ve been trying really hard in the last year to reduce that somewhat; frugality is utterly foreign to me, but it certainly has been fun trying to restrict my purchases somewhat. And that’s partially why I selected my most recent Gaming Resolutions; clearing the backlog, keeping the new stuff in check. So, with nigh-on three-quarters of the year gone, let’s check in to see how I’m doing with those resolutions, shall we?

…to Complete at least two Zelda games. I want to play through them all in release chronological order, and (as I indicated last week) I’m getting close to wrapping up a 100% run on Ocarina of Time. But then what – do I go on to Majora’s Mask (which I’ve never played) or follow-up with the Ocarina Master Quest? Decisions, decisions.

A robust start; not only have I knocked out Ocarina, but Master Quest, Majora’s Mask, and Wind Waker as well. “Comply and exceed,” as we say in the business.

…to Complete at least two PS2 games. This scares me a little, really – of the eight games there, three are rhythm action games (which I’m notoriously bad at), the Katamaris are O/C collection nightmares, and Bujingai is as hard as nails on the higher skill levels.

Oooooh. Ummmmm… not quite as successful here. I tried to hammer out N2O… couldn’t quite push through the skill barrier there, must return to that really. I’ve got one tricky task left in Katamari Damacy that seems to be dependent on luck more than anything, so hopefully that’ll eventually fall in my favour. But then what – We Love Katamari? The safety-net of Super Galdelic Hour?

…to Complete at least four(!) from the PC, Nuon, Dreamcast, and Jaguar groups. Holy shit!

Holy shit indeed. After a promising start – Full Throttle falling quickly way back in April – there’s been scant action since. The dream was to Complete all three renditions of Jet Set Radio on the Dreamcast, but I’ve since discovered that that task would actually require skill. Back to the Jaguar, then, and Tempest 2000, which continues to mock me. Fifteen years old, and so disrespectful to its owner. For shame.

…to keep on top of stuff obtained through the year. In 2008, I managed to Complete 11 of 18 new purchases – let’s aim for a similar target of 60%

This was looking pretty reasonable – I’d only acquired five new games this year, completing three of them… right on the money!

And so, three months out from the end of the year, I find myself in a slightly uncomfortable situation where I need to knock off a bunch of games without actually knowing whether I can conjure the skills required to do so. But that’s OK – there’s not much on the horizon, and I’m prepared to back myself in from here.

Of course, then the Australian dollar goes for a bit of a leap, and I find myself at Play-Asia buying Chrono Trigger DS, Madworld, and We Ski. And mere milliseconds after clicking the checkout button, I realise that there are a few games on the horizon after all… Halo 3 ODST. Brütal Legend. Gridrunner Revolution.

A momentary brain fart has ensured that The List is going to inflate quite a chunk by the end of this week.

But worse was yet to come.

One of my gaming rules-of-thumb over the past couple of years has been to try and Complete at least one game a month; with external forces taking their toll, I figured I was going to be struggling this September (especially after cleaning up Soul Bubbles and Sight Training in late August), but I recently had a rather frantic couple of days that saw me complete a game.

Sadly, it wasn’t a game on The List.

Yes, I managed to complete one of my real-life games: the acquisition of a new Moobaarn, a lovely apartment in the city that I’ll take ownership of in the next couple of weeks. The existing tenant still has another six months on the lease, but that hasn’t prevented me from starting to sift through my possessions, using the upcoming move as an opportunity to shed some excess stuff (fear not: I don’t get rid of games. Except for Half-Life: that was rubbish, and suffered from a massively gamebreaking bug on Windows XP. And Metroid Prime 2: Echoes; that was just plain awful).

But what I found in my burrowing… well, it was terrifying.

I found…

…forgotten games.

First there was a couple of Jaguar CD games, hidden (cunningly enough) in the JagCD box. Two of them. Then a cachet of PC games from years gone by – Quakes a-plenty, a Deus Ex and Soldier of Fortune, and the triggering of a memory that there may be a Thief II hiding somewhere. And then, worst of all, came the discovery of one of my biggest banes – the freebie. The pack-in disc. From the time when I frantically bought an Xbox 360 Arcade after my first RROD.

The Xbox Live Arcade Compilation Disc.

Five games.

And suddenly, the fanciful notion that I secretly carried – of me whittling The List down to forty by the time I hit that age – became completely confounding. It matters not that I jumped right in and knocked Uno off in a matter of hours today, because that compilation includes a rhythm-action game (Boom Boom Rocket) and a Zuma-wannabe (Luxor 2).

And that, quite frankly, has knocked a bit of wind out of my sails.

But then comes The Steely Resolve again… a biting of the bottom lip, and a determination to remain absolutely accountable for my choices. That, and the promise of more Halo hijinks later this week, followed by some nutty Minter goodness on Friday.