« November 2011 | Main | February 2012 »

January 13, 2012

2012: The Year I Catch Up

A bit of an annual navel-gazy post

After 2009 and 2010, I took time to write a blog post where I talked about how much I read, watched, and played in the last year. (For no particular reason that I can recall, I didn't do that last year.)

Year in questionBooksFilmsGames

Typically, I look at these a few different ways. First, what's in the numbers:

  • 85 books. A number which surprised me, though I knew it was up there. I credit a few factors. 1) I got really invested in checking stuff out of the library this year, and got into a habit of going every three weeks or so and checking out a few books. 2) I got in the habit of reading on my Kindle app (via iPad, primarily), particularly when I traveled to France with my kids last summer. This meant I always had something at my fingertips. I even traveled completely without books when I went to my folks' over winter break, something I never would have imagined I would do. 3) I read a fair amount of light material (genre fiction). Balancing that out, though, I read three of Hemingway's novels and quite a lot of what I would generally call "literary fiction". By the numbers, it boils down to mostly fiction, with 68 fiction books and 17 nonfiction books, 6 of which I would consider "stuff I read for work." There were relatively few graphic novels on my shelf this past year.
  • 155 films. Likewise, a pretty staggering number. I saw 15 series of television as part of that number (series/seasons are just one entry), and 30 films in the theater. I credit this with having sons and a girlfriend who are all nearly as much into movies as I am. I watch a huge variety of stuff -- highbrow alone or with my girlfriend, and lowbrow typically with my boys.
  • 15 games. This is more than in previous years, and I also kept track of AAA titles that I started but didn't finish (another 8). Though there are a couple of iOS games in that mix, it's mostly big AAA titles, one from the PS1 era (see recent entry) and the rest on the PS3. I counted Skyrim once, but it would be fair to say I've logged hundreds of hours on Skyrim; I've probably played over 100 hours of Skyrim just since it launched, though not really on consumer hardware (devkits instead). I rarely play games to which I've contributed except as part of development or to show folks who are interested in what I've been a part of. I also haven't counted the uncountable games of Dominion, backgammon, Quarriors, Munchin*, and whatever else we played this year (Arkham Asylum, Qwirkle and Qwirkle Cubes, etc, etc).

I usually look at these through a few different lenses.

The Resolutionary. I'm pretty happy with my film and television balance (though I may have left out a couple of seasons of TV, such as Monk; I probably watched a season or two this year, mostly while doing short but mindless tasks like wrapping presents or folding laundry). I'm even more happy with the balance of literary to genre fiction and the nonfiction/critical stuff.

What I'm not happy with is this:

The bedside table

That's an image of my bedside table. There are 36 books or so visible in the picture; on the left, there's a book in the foreground that blocks at least half a dozen more, and under the table there are three more I haven't read. The strata of books on this table go back to purchases of at least as early as 2009, and maybe further (I worry about disturbing the delicate balance). There are books on the bookshelf behind me as I took this picture that go back even further, though there are also books on that shelf that I bought since 2009 that found a slot on the shelf.

This is to say nothing of the games. I have 109 console games I've bought that I either started and never finished, or in many cases never even removed from the shrink wrap (at least 25, though who really knows). I have easily a dozen DS games I never finished. I have no idea how many iOS or GBA games I never finished (though to be fair -- who really needs more than Drop7 on their phone?).

The resolution for this year is to make a dent in all of this. I've already read one of the books on the side table, loaned to me last year and soon to be on its way to the person from whom I borrowed it. One down. Dozens to go.

The Accountant: Wow, despite shipping a game this year, this is quite a staggering amount of content to consume. The only thing I'd maybe like is to see more films on the big screen - not that 30 is a small number. That does take a chunk of time, and with more baseball obligations with my kids on Sundays this year, finding that time was hard. This year we have a head start already - by the second day of the year we had seen three on the big screen!

The Apologist: I don't write much about the games I play here lately - largely because I'm working in the AAA space and that's often what I play. It's hard to make good games of this caliber and when I have thoughts, I don't want to be misconstrued as some successful developer looking down on his peers (believe me, I have more thoughts about the quality of games I've made). However, as I dig into the back catalog a bit I'll chat about those games as I see them. Hopefully, I'll find more time to blog, but as always, no guarantees!

That's my content consumption for 2011, thanks for dropping by!

Posted by Brett Douville at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)