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NSD's NY2K24


What's that movie line everybody makes fun of again? "Somehow the New Year returned?" Something like that. In any case, as this weary old orb of ours has successfully made another
orbital circumlocution of its remote and lawless star system, we thought we'd do as have in previous New Year’s posts, and take stock of how we've grown as gamers (both in the playing and the running) and as storytellers, along with our thinking of where we'd like to go in the next annum. - B

A:  The goals I set for 2023 may have been simpler than previous years, but I did indeed accomplish them. That's a key to goal setting:  finding things you can accomplish. They weren’t entirely constructive, but even leisurely and time-consuming activities still require planning and organization when life is messy and complicated. I actually was able to pick up Bully once again alongside Bugsy. This time, while I didn’t 100% everything, I did make a run through the entire game and complete most of the extra objectives. The two of us also started Grant Theft Auto:Liberty City Stories together, which could be considered a stretch for this goal, although I didn’t get as far as Bugsy did. I did complete Spider-Man: Miles Morales, though I didn't put in the time to Platinum it…yet. With the next Spider-Man game only available for PS5, there's a good chance I’ll just go back and revisit Miles while I save up for any future “new” systems. When it came to music, I did get a chance to listen to BOOK by They Might Be Giants, as well as many other tracks that I've either never heard or at least not very often.

Looking forward in to 2024, I think I’d like to cover “past, present, and future” media once again. Starting out with past, I really should get back to Liberty City Stories. With GTA6 finally looming on the horizon, I don’t want to get even further behind. I think the thing that always trips me up with games like these is “extras.” I enjoy following the storyline, and Rockstar games are full of optional missions, which are usually pretty rewarding themselves. I suppose there's a bit of fear of missing out that comes along with getting hung up on "extras", not to mention potentially useful "in-game rewards" even beyond the reward of experiencing the story. Going forward. I should go with the approach of giving things at least one try, then moving on so I can complete the main story. For present media, I’ve recently begun listening to the Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays again. I have yet to listen to a David Tennant one, so I’d like to continue my listening with trying one of those. I've also discovered Big Finish has some Stargate audio series, so perhaps I might look into that as well. As for media of the future, I'm excited to continue introducing my sons to Star Trek in various forms, and, while not exactly "the future," possibly get them into Lord of the Rings as well. If anyone has any advice for completing open games such as GTA: Liberty City Stories, or media recommendations (whether it be visual, written, tabletop, or video game), I'd appreciate the suggestions and look forward to that as well.

B: For me, this past year has been a busy one, and the start of a new year seems a good time for new beginnings in a new home - we moved in late November, and the holidays (not to mention the day job) greatly slowed the process of settling in, so that "new house" feeling has yet to abate. And so, this year, I'd like to take a new approach to the annual resolutions, one more about concept and general direction rather than specific goals. Perhaps my artsy hippie father is finally rubbing off on me, but I'd like to start approaching play and creation as part of a "personal journey" of healing and self-understanding. Of course, this is probably just naming something I've been doing for a while, considering how many of my posts are about the relationship between creator and audience, and the importance, in any art, of acknowledging what an audience is bringing with them into their experience. A YouTube creator I support on Patreon recently put up a Patrons-only response video to one done by another creator about what needs to change for electronic games to be taken seriously as an art form. So, being the diligent scholar I am, I watched that original video prior to the response and soon found myself screaming at my monitor (thankfully, in the new house, I have an office on a different floor than the bedroom) when this person talked about the interactivity of games as something unique versus more "traditional" artforms such as paining, sculpture, and film... never once considering the significance of subjectivity in experiencing art and the way any media engages with our memories and associations through the act of viewing (or listening, reading, etc.) it. So, if anything can get that strong a reaction from me, I'm going to take it as a sign that it's something important and should be explored.

Pursuing this will include my now-standard New Year's resolution of making an effort to experience more media, particularly the narrative media of fiction and film, but, alongside all that, I want to incorporate more non-fiction about art, creativity, and mental health... and how all of it relates to me, what I've experienced, and what I take from it. If my thesis is that all art, games included,  plays with its audiences' expectations and experiences, I'll need to make myself the prime experimental subject... and maybe all that will help me understand a little more what goes on in this ol' noggin of mine - which means more writing and more chronicling of the things I think and feel as I read, watch, and listen... and how all that becomes part of my own imaginative process. I've also recently found myself with an increased interest in tarot (almost certainly the culmination of the annual search for new decks and books to give my mother for Christmas), and it's something I'd like to incorporate into this process as well. Not for fortune-telling or means of communing with the wider cosmos (or whatever the current vernacular is... the book I got sure throws around the term "energy" to mean all kinds of different things without pinning down a specific definition of what they heck they're talking about), but as something between a Rorschach Test and a funhouse mirror where the meaning is whatever my mind, memory, and imagination drag up. Or, for a geek-friendly reference, something like the cave on Dagobah where the only things are what you take with you. Just, y'know... not evil. Not necessarily evil, anyway.

But for all of that, I hope to keep watching, reading, and playing things... just yesterday, we added a PS5 to our stable of household consoles, which means, in addition to the availability of games unique to the system, the PS4 is no longer the main household media device and, like multiple generations of its predecessors, has made the journey to the shelf next to my desk where I can pursue the many, many titles I've acquired over the years without having the return the console to the living room. Many of these are the games I plan to play alongside, so maybe we'll get a chance to do so in 2024. In any case, no matter what media I go with, if I feel strongly about it, you know there will be a post on it here at Never Say Dice. And, for that, I am forever grateful. I wish you all a happy and fruitful 2024, however you experience. Here's to another year of gaming and storytelling!

Send questions, comments, and your favorite resolutions (New Year's or screen) to neversaydice20@gmail.com or "X-it" the old year by Tweeting us @neversaydice2.


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