A new year means new possibilities and a chance to set some new goals. While we’re nearing the end of January (time flies!), and 2021 is still feeling a lot like 2020, I’ve already begun to add a number of things on my roster as far as leisure pursuits go. Here’s how I’m kicking off my 2021 in video games, TV, and books.
CD Projekt Red’s newest video game Cyberpunk 2077 was the anticipated game on almost every gamer’s wish list. When it finally came out on December 10, 2020 it was revealed to be a buggy and nearly unplayable game for most players, especially if you were playing it on the last gen consoles and not the latest ones. As unexpectedly contentious as Cyberpunk 2077 has been since its release, I had the opportunity to play some of it during the holiday break I had in December on my Xbox One console. What I’ve experienced so far has been fun and enjoyable in spite of the game’s flaws.
New Year’s week often puts me in a reflective mood. I like taking the time to think about all I have accomplished and what I can do to improve in the new year. We all know by now that 2020 was not the year we expected or wished for, especially not how we imagined a new decade should begin. Despite the misery and bitterness this year has brought many of us to varying degrees, there have been some things about 2020 I can’t totally write off.
Interactive, point and click narrative video games are one of my favorite types to play, especially when key decisions in a game will shape how your story unfolds and ends. One of the developers who have been doing an impressive job of creating memorable stories and characters is Dontnod Entertainment. When Twin Mirror came out on December 1st I was eager to check out what new adventure the studio behind Life Is Strange and the recent Tell Me Why will be taking players on this time.
We may all be so over 2020 that we’re looking to put it out of its misery once and for all, but I’m one of the ones who has turned a crap year into one of opportunity. It has been surprisingly productive for my creative pursuits, finishing some older games that have been sitting in my backlog for far too long, getting a lot of reading done, and watching some movies or shows stuck in my queue for months. Among those shows I’ve tried to finish up is Netflix’s Aggretsuko, however, I recently realized that this show is losing some of its appeal that got me watching in the first place.
If there is one video game I’ve played consistently without fail, even with all the other games I’ve played in between, it’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons. From checking the Able Sisters shop for new clothes to hoping a villager will give you a DIY recipe you don’t have yet, there’s something enticing about this game that’s hard to ignore. After focusing many months on unlocking new island features and expanding my character’s house to the maximum rooms it’s allowed, the time has finally come to design and decorate the island I envisioned. However, where to get started and what I actually want to do with it has been the biggest challenge of playing this game so far.
Over the the last few months I have been going back to much older video games to pick up where I left off and finally complete them. Among those games I’ve returned to is Remember Me, a 2013 video game developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published under Capcom. I had forgotten that the studio behind the widely successful Life Is Strange series were the same people who did Remember Me seven years ago. After playing the game and beating it a few weekends ago, one of the things that stood out in my mind was the recurring theme of memories that has popped up in the French studio’s later titles.
What has made riding out a global pandemic tolerable these last few months are the various streaming services with thousands of movies and TV shows available to entertain us. If you pay for more than one service, like I do, it has become a growing dilemma to decide what to watch on any given day or week. I’m not usually an indecisive person, but even I have succumbed to endless scrolling or browsing syndrome when I’m in the mood to watch something. After finishing an older TV series on Amazon Prime not too long ago (Downton Abbey), I was in the market for a newer TV series to binge watch. With a passionate recommendation from my sister it eventually led me to dedicating the next few weeks to Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor.
It probably doesn’t need to be said that 2020 has been a wild ride and not the best kind. Anything terrible or unbelievable that has happened to us personally or to the world at large will almost always be blamed on the year itself. We’re exhausted, frustrated, and maybe less optimistic than we were 10 or 20 years ago. At this point we would be glad to rush the end of 2020 in the hopes things will somehow look up in 2021. Whether or not it will happen remains to be seen, and there is that ever persistent fear nothing will change no matter how hard we try. Despite the turbulent year I do try to find some pockets of sunshine and reasons to celebrate. This month marks the anniversary of the simpleek blog.
Retreading video games you started years ago, but never finished, brings forth a number of feelings. It’s like someone you met briefly but never really got to know better, or recalling memories that now seem vague and hazy with the passage of time. Since the pandemic has forced many of us to stay at home longer than we would have under normal circumstances, it has opened up opportunities to shift your attention on other activities that used to be deemed as “I’ll get to it eventually.” The much older video games in my backlog have been getting a lot more love and attention in recent months.