2018 has quickly come around and I swear to God it’s as if I can’t ever close my eyes without ever having to worry about opening them and it being an entirely new year. Despite that however, it’s 2018 – and I’m still playing video games, at least partially. If you follow me on social media, or even have read up on the first entry that I posted here, odds are that you know all about my prior plans to retire from gaming for the most part, entirely at the end of 2017. The real plan was so go all out with everything gaming related during the back half of 2017, however as most plans that I make – things did not go accordingly.
Needless to say however, I’m still playing some games, still making video game related content, still writing about video games, and still streaming them; and for the most part – I still enjoy doing so. 2018 is such a foggy year for me, I’m left feeling as if it’s all just 2017.5 and would still like to do the things in gaming that I never truly go to grind out during the back half of 2017. Now for this entry, I’m mainly focusing on talking about the games that I personally plan on competing in and investing a lot of time into throughout 2018. Now of course, things always change, communities change, and support for games fade; so while things are subject to change in the future via circumstances that are out of my control, for the most part these are the games I’ll be sticking with through thick and thin.
So obviously, the first game apart of the trio is Street Fighter V. Ah yes, the title many want to love so much and force themselves to play. Luckily for me however, it’s not as much as a chore to grind out the game for me as it is for others. I started playing Street Fighter back in 2010. I knew of the franchise long before then, and took slight interest in Street Fighter 4 when I noticed the game was out for Windows PC after seeing it in a Game Informer Magazine back in 2009, but after that – it almost completely fled my memory. It wasn’t until 2010 when my partner at the time had the games intro cinematic playing in the background on the phone – which immediately caught my interest. Since that very day, I’ve always loved Street Fighter – there has never been a moment where I don’t. Sure, I’ve had my off and on time with the latest entry and haven’t committed to the game nearly a fraction of time that I had committed to Street Fighter 4 ; but ever since the release of Street Fighter 5: Arcade Edition, I’ve been putting in more in the game and have decided that it will be my main fighter going forward.
I got into Pokemon Trading Card Game roughly a year ago, as I started out with the online client during the release of the “Sun/Moon” base expansion. It was truly the perfect time to get into the game – new mechanics, for the most part new meta, and a new rotation was on the way that would change things on a pretty large scale. Before 2017, however, I was no stranger to the PTCG. Back in 2013 when taking interest in playing Black/White competitively, I took a trip to the PTCG States Championship where I was pressured into entering, and had a hell of a lot of fun playing. I remember playing some sort of Garboder variant deck a friend borrowed me, and surprisingly didn’t go 0-2 (I believe I won some 3 games or so). Despite having such an enjoyable time playing, I never really went back to the physical card game ever since then, mostly due to the whispers of how pricey it apparently was to build a tier 1 deck, and at that time I just didn’t have the money or the time to invest in a card game. Fast forward to 2017 however, with HearthStone seemingly behind me for good – I needed another card game to get into and surprisingly Pokemon Trading Card Game Online was perfect for the time. It wasn’t until I traveled to the PTCG Madison Regionals to help run a booth for a local convention, did I finally decide to jump into the physical card game. Since then, PTCG remains to be without a doubt my biggest gaming investment (money wise) and will with 100% certainty be a game I will continue playing till the end of days unless I am forced against my will to sell all of my cards.
The last title of the trio is a shocker. But like the title of all of this say’s, the cycle continues. Yeah, I’m coming back to HearthStone. I have this really weird issue of not being able to leave behind games that I know I’ve already invested money into, HearthStone is no different – except for the fact that I never truly wanted to drop the game. I stopped playing HearthStone back in 2015, early 2015 – right before The Grand Tournament expansion released. During that time, Super Smash Bros. Wii U was the only other game I was focused on, and really, the only other game I was actively playing. I had so much room to fit HearthStone in, but it was more or less due to not wanting to spend money on cards and also just being sick of the meta at the time. Nothing has really changed all that much now, of course the meta is light years more different than from when I stopped, but I can still expect to pay an arm and a leg to get the cards I need, especially considering you cannot buy singles in the game. Now let’s face it, I’m getting old – I’ll be closer than ever to my mid twenties this year, and my ability to play reaction reliant games at a high level are quickly fleeting me. Competition and great story are pretty much the only things keeping me tied to gaming as of now, and since this entry is of course focused much more on the competitive side of things – then it should come as no surprise to you that I’m always going to be looking for and picking up games to compete in, it’s my drive, it’s what keeps me happy; and I can rest easy knowing that my joints can give out in the next 5 years and I’ll still be able to play in HearthStone tournaments.
There is a fourth game that didn’t make it into the main list, and that’s because it’s the wildcard. You guessed it, it’s none other than
Tr4sh Smash 4. Despite being “mediocre” at the game, according to some of my closer acquaintances to play the game competitively as well, Smash 4 is without a doubt one of the main games, aside from SF4, that I felt I have steadily increased in skill and improved in over-time – and this is all without spending time in training room on even a weekly basis. During my first ever Smash 4 Regional, I made top 32 losers, which was a pretty big deal for me. Since that year (2015) I haven’t competed nor focused on Smash 4 nearly as much, and perhaps I dodged a bullet there. As the updates have gone by Smash 4 has sort of morphed into a stale-fest, with seemingly the same characters placing top at every tournament, and now Bayonetta dominating more than ever. But that’s not even what makes this title such a wildcard for me, it’s whether or not the game will arrive on the Switch. Without a Smash title on the Switch, the games competitive scene will eventually stagnant, before it becomes less relevant. As much as I would love to continue playing Smash 4 regularly and competing, I feel there are other fighters that are available on Nintendo’s latest platform (ARMS/Pokken) that I would be more than willing to have take Smash 4’s place, at least until Nintendo announces a port.
This Was Too Long. Time For the Verdict
All in all, I’m still here, I’m still playing games, and I really do aim to accomplish the things I never was able to last year, or at the very least – make a much better attempt at doing so. I’ve finally reached that cross-roads in my life where the decision is either “Do what you enjoy and risk failing” or “Just avoid the chance of failing and get on with the #adultlife”. Obviously there are many who balance both, but this isn’t even taking into account the other various things I work on, on a daily basis, some not even pertaining to gaming. Luckily, at least until years end, I am in a fortunate position where I can continue where I left off, and hopefully manifest some change in the direction I want to go with things. Taking things month by month is sort of my new thing, and like I said, everything is subject to change. Where things stand right now, the month of June will be a sort of cross-roads for me, by then I will decide once again if I’d rather continue all of this, or move on. Until then, these next 3 months will be full of vigorous grinding that I’ve avoided for too long.