The PCG Q&A
Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights for you:
- What game did you hate at first, but eventually love?
- Which PC classic was just too old to enjoy when you finally played it?
- Would you ever give up Steam as your main PC gaming platform?
It's 2019, the perfect time to make a change in your life! And then slowly but surely abandon it and just keep on being the same person you were last year. But for the meantime, let's pretend we are really going to make a change and stick with it, at least in terms of our gaming habits.
What are your New Year's gaming resolutions? When it comes to PC gaming, what do you want to do more of (or less of) in 2019? Here are our resolutions, and as always, we'd love to hear yours in the comments below.
James Davenport: I will play fewer games
But spend more time looking for and playing games I actually care about. 2018 was the year 'living' games crept up on me. They crept up on a lot of us, I'd wager. I get a little sick thinking how much time I've spent in Destiny 2, and how much of that time was actually worthwhile versus goo-brained impulse. A bit overwhelmed by the task of keeping up with these games, 2018 didn't really come into focus for me until the final month or two when I dropped everything to catch up on what I'd missed. In just a few days, I had more fun, illuminating experiences playing the likes of Far: Lone Sails, Wandersong, Thronebreaker, Dusk, Ashen, Frostpunk, Lost in Vivo, and plenty more smaller, finite games than I had all year grinding for gear or checking off weekly quests.
Playing every rad indie game isn't exactly aligned with playing fewer games, I know. In 2018, I had to get a whiff of everything I could. Not only was I attached to a few living games, but I felt compelled to try everything, as if failing to touch the next Battlefield would somehow isolate me from The Games Discourse forever. I'd just like to live a little. See, do, and learn some new stuff and then let that experience guide me towards games I might otherwise miss. Vague, yeah, but since starting at PC Gamer, I admit that entertainment media has dominated my free time. It's time to get back to a state where games are one of many hobbies and interests that make up my life—not the thing. I miss fly-fishing, writing bad fiction, road trips to nowhere, cooking, and meeting new people. Once the days get longer and the rainy Oregon winter lightens up, it'll get easier, I'm sure, but I'll be making a conscious effort to mix things up this year.
Steven Messner: I will also play fewer games
I'm so glad that James understands my struggle with games as a service that want to dominate every waking hour of my free time. Over the Christmas break, I was looking forward to finally getting around to knocking off some books I wanted to read, TV shows I wanted to finish, and a few indie games I wanted to beat. Instead I largely played games like Warframe and World of Warcraft for no reason other than I felt obligated to. More than once I'd just sit down at look at all the games in my library and sigh before halfheartedly booting one of them up. It was a horrible feeling.
I love games, but I feel like this year they've slowly infected every area of my life and its robbing me of the joy of playing them. Just before Christmas, I was even waking up early just to sneak a few extra hours of games before work—as if my day needed more games. So yeah, my resolution this year is to play them less and seek a greater balance in my life. To that end, I've resolved to not touch a game for the entirety of January unless it's explicitly required for work. I'm going to detox for a month in hopes that I can rekindle the joy of simply playing.
Wesley Fenlon: I will play more games than James and Steven, and not watch 10 seasons of ER
When it comes to playing new games, I may be the worst of the whole PC Gamer team. I spent a few months of this year playing almost nothing but Final Fantasy Tactics, and also spent a couple months doing almost nothing in my free time but binge watching 113 episodes of ER. (ER was a really good TV show, it turns out.) In past years, I've spent more time playing old games like Nethack, or just whatever the hell strikes my mood, than the latest releases. That makes it hard to keep up with the current conversation, but it's my way of keeping gaming a hobby for me, rather than pure work. I'm not going to pledge that I'll play all the new games as they hit, but I do want to fight my tendency to veg in front of 5 hours of TV a night and instead play games more often. As long as I can lord my increased gaming productivity over Steven and James, I'll consider it a year well spent.
Evan Lahti: I will Slay the damn Spire
When you beat Slay the Spire, you unlock the real way to beat Slay the Spire: Act 4 and Ascension mode, which mixes in additional modifiers for extra difficulty. In 63 hours, I've managed to go all the way once, with this block-heavy Ironclad deck. I don't want to end 2019 without notching Ws for Slay the Spire's other two archetypes, The Silent and The Defect. To do that, I feel like I've got to do the equivalent of training two different martial arts, learning the various card and relic combos that have the best chance of producing a victory. It's a testament to Slay the Spire's depth of design that The Ironclad was initially my least-favorite character, but by failing dozens of times, reading guides, and making my own discoveries, I found a comfort zone with Ironclad, and it was a great feeling.
By now there are a bunch of great, established run-based games: Darkest Dungeon, The Binding of Isaac, FTL, Into the Breach. Slay the Spire isn't just a special addition to this group because it's a card game, but because, like its esteemed roguelike peers, it produces these kinds of epiphanies as you play it more. Inevitably cards that you thought were trash in the first hours of the game become gold, and playstyles you thought were impossible, like a direct-damage Defect, become viable.
Tyler Wilde: I will archive my junk
If I were to spelunk all the way to the bottom of my 'stuff' folders within 'junk' folders within 'stuff' folders, I'd find a single jpg of a shark with human teeth, and one year would have passed back in the real world. I am constantly moving crap around to make space for games, and there's really no excuse for it. I have plenty of backup drives, and it isn't that expensive to buy new storage drives. I need to organize and archive this stuff, and probably delete most of it. (The shark pic can stay.)
Chris Livingston: I will try a million* mods
I've always been a big fan of mods but for some reason in 2018 I really didn't try more than a handful. And I have no idea why! Most years I easily play more modded games more than vanilla games. At times I've even bought games specifically to try out a certain mod (like the Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings 2). But mods just kind of slipped from my radar this year. Maybe it's just that I didn't play as much Skyrim, Fallout, and GTA 5 this year as I usually do, but if I think back over the past few years, nearly all of my favorite gaming stories and diaries and experiences have involved using mods. In 2019 I plan to dive back in and start using mods more regularly. Less vanilla, more player-made flavors!
*Note: the amount of mods I try will most likely be fewer than one million.
Jarred Walton: I will test a 7nm GPU
I'm not even going to try and pretend I followed through on my resolution last year to stop obsessing about framerates. It's my job to do that, I think? Anyway, I'm incorrigible and my FPS overlay isn't going away. As for gaming, I only finished one game last year, and 2019 likely won't be any better. So instead, I'm going to look forward to 7nm processors and graphics chips.
7nm Ryzen parts are basically a given, probably within the next couple of months. It's the GPU side that's a bit more sketchy. AMD has 7nm Vega available, but only as a professional machine learning card with 32GB of HBM2, so that's out. Nvidia just launched its RTX cards in August, using 12nm lithography, which means a move to 7nm within a year is a bit of a stretch. But we know the technology is there—Apple is already using it in its latest smartphone and tablet processors—and I'm really hoping AMD will get 7nm Navi out this year. More than that, I hope Navi can do what Fiji and Vega failed to do, namely: dethrone Nvidia for a change. Or maybe Nvidia will jump to 7nm with an RTX refresh sooner than expected—it wouldn't hurt, since Turing is large and could use a reduction in power use. This is a really bad resolution, since it's effectively out of my hands, but unlike my plans to exercise and get in shape more, at least I won't have to feel too bad if I fail to meet this one.