So, after 6000 miles, some pretty dodgy airline (quote-unquote) “food”, and watching a surprising number of my fellow travellers being hilariously stumped by the apparent complexities of airplane toilet doors, I’m back home – and that means I can now get on with the task of rebuilding my Gaming life. Having schlepped my replacement PS4 across the equator (along with some re-bought games, headphones etc) and with my replacement Xbox One eagerly awaiting me here, I’m just about back where I was – hardware-ily speaking anyways. I spent yesterday reconnecting everything, waiting an inordinate amount of time for updates and shit to download, and now, having checked my USB stick on the off-chance I had saved my Fallout 4 stuff but finding I hadn’t, I’ve finally accepted that a) I am definitely an idiot, and b) I’m back to square one in terms of Next-Gen Gaming.

However, in a rare moment of positivity I’ma try to view this as an opportunity rather than, say, a monumentally unfunny and painful kick in the crotch. This is a fairly significant departure from, like, how I am as a person, but it kind of fits in with my New Year’s Resolution to not be a cynical, antisocial fuck-knuckle, so I’m going to embrace it – or at least give it the old college try anyways. Admittedly, I didn’t get off to the best of starts because (having finally worked out a system for choosing which games to replace) I found I’d replaced some games I still had, at the cost of others I didn’t, but – five minutes of fairly intense swearing aside – I’m just about back on track.

I mean, Hero’s an overused word these days, but, you know……

1 tb PS4
See, instead of the number 1, they’ve used a PS4. So it looks like a one. But it’s not. It’s actually a PS4! BOOM!!

Anyways, ‘what does this whole “opportunity” bollocks actually mean?’ I hear you ask. It’s a fair question, and it’s not necessarily that I’ve suddenly turned into one of those eternally optimistic (and annoying) people who thinks everything’s always awesome, but more that I’ve decided to at least acknowledge that sometimes there is a silver lining on some clouds, even if they are huge, storm-filled bastards.

Take the re-buying of my PS4; ordinarily, paying a chunk of cash-money on something I’d already paid for would just be irredeemably grim, but now (whilst it wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs) I tried to focus on the positives. In this particular instance that meant my shiny new 1tb hardrive (meaning I don’t have to do math every time I get a new game), and the fact that Sony have now put physical buttons on the PS4 – thereby (hopefully) reducing the chances of me having a stroke when a game ejects itself at the worst possible time. Sure, it still takes a degree of effort to not break down, crawl into a corner and weep like a baby, but I’m just about managing that – which is definitely something (although I managed it less with the Xbox, because that was a like-for-like replacement, but let’s just ignore that for now, eh!?)!

In terms of all the other, non-hardwarey stuff, things might be a little bit tougher. I’ve been banging on about this enough already, but it’s quite upsetting knowing there are games I just don’t have anymore, games which I have, but have lost hours, weeks, months worth of work on, and others that I didn’t have, but wanted, but which might have to wait until whenever now that I’ve just gone a bit daft at my local purveyor of quality video game narratives. Even a seasoned optimistic type might struggle to tease an element of ‘bright side’ out of that clusterfuck – so, given I’m new to this positivity bollocks, I suspect it’s going to take one hell of an effort on my part. Again though, I’ma try, and there are a few things to focus on.

Fallout 4 turrets
Next time, I’m using turrets IRL….

Firstly, even though the thing I’m most upset about is undoubtedly the Fallout 4 stuff I’ve lost, there’s definitely a few things I can look forward to in starting anew. I’ve said before that there was a steep learning curve in the game – and a lot of confusing and/or counterintuitive aspects – so at least I can streamline that in my next attempt. I won’t, for example, be taking on a bunch of Supermutants eleventy-twelve times wearing only the power armour frame again, and I won’t be spending my hard earned XP on stuff I don’t need thinking it necessary to unlock stuff I do need. That first thing will save me a good couple of hours right off the bat (because I was that stupid)! Maybe I won’t find my favourite weapon again, but I might find a better one; ditto for armour, loot etc. Sure, it’s daunting and frustrating – even quite scary – going back out into the wasteland all helpless and weak and that, and especially so having been fairly bad-ass when I was last there, but there’s at least some useful perks to doing it a second time. Hopefully.

As for the other games, and gaming in general, there are some positives to focus on too, I think. In choosing which games to replace, I had to make some tough decisions, and some of these might have benefits down the line. Some games, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t necessarily playing for fun, but more because there was some element in there that had become the proverbial monkey on my back. Where that was, for example, grinding for x, now that x is reset to 0, I’ve been reasonably happy to tell the game to jog the fuck on, and that’s been quite liberating in a way. I’ve got quite an addictive personality, and whilst I’d struggled to walk away from some games because I was reasonably close to a possible x, y, or z – facing doing it all again, I’ve been perfectly OK with a ‘bollocks to that….’ approach. So, like, there’s that too!

Likewise, there were other games that I was mostly playing on principle – in an ‘I’ve paid x for this, and I am going to get my money’s worth’ kind of way – but knowing this, I essentially had the gift of hindsight when it came to choosing games again. Upshot; they got told to get fucked too (and yes, literally – much to the surprise and obvious discomfort of the guy sorting out the shelves in the store at the time!).

Basically, taking all of the above into account, I’ve essentially streamlined both my gaming efficiency, and the level of enjoyment I’ll be getting out of it in the near future. Gone is the chaff, the excess fat, the burden and the sense of duty and/or obligation I’d begun to feel after two years of Next-Gen games and gaming. I’m back to a stripped down, leaner library of games – but one where quality has taken precedence over quantity. Yeah, I’m still occasionally going to get an itch to play games I don’t have anymore, but that’s likely to be offset by the fact that I’ve got more time for the games I’m really enjoying, and quite probably the fact that I’ma finally be able to get around to some that I’ve not yet had chance to play (thank you PS + and your whole ‘yours to (re)download and play while you’re still a member’ whatsit).

tom-clancys-the-division-34111-2880x1800And whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to say having all my shit fucked with was a blessing in disguise, I am prepared to accept that it might have afforded me an opportunity to approach the New Year with a slightly tightened set of gaming priorities. Given this year may well be a pretty good one, that’s something to hold on to (and especially useful given I’ve got 150+ hours of catching up to do in and around the Boston area), and it’s just about approaching ‘silver lining’ levels, I think. There are whole worlds of multiplayer I’d not got around to, and will now have chance to explore. Who knows, maybe they’re all full of friends I’ve yet to meet (yeah I know, but this optimism thing’s quite addictive). Perhaps one of those PS + games turns out to be my new jam, or it could be that in re-playing a particular game, I get a totally new experience!? There’s loads of potential there – and whilst it might not actually pan out – at least I’m open to the possibilities.

And I absolutely get that this might sound trite, but this is who I am now so, like, I’m totes embracing that shit, innit (first it’s finding the silver linings, then it’s the absurd (and nonsensical) inspirational Facebook posts, and then it’s just generally being an overly chipper and infinitely punchable shitweasel – and there’s just no point in fighting it)!? If I was the old me, I’d be taking bets on what point in February I’ll sack all of this off, revert to type, and start screaming obscenities at the dirty robbing bastards who put me in this position but, for now, I’m going to look at it as a fresh start.

So, you know, wish me luck with that…….