James Games #23: New Year, Same Backlogs

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my first post of 2020! December of 2019 got pretty busy for me, so I haven’t made a formal post in a while. Nonetheless, I’m excited for what 2020 has in store for me. I’ve got some big goals, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you. I’m hoping to post once a week, but I know that life gets busy so I’ll probably miss a couple. Lastly, there’s going to be a slight format change to my main posts. I’m replacing the “what I’m looking forward to” section, with “2020 Goals”, and the 2020 Goals section will be at the top, whereas “What I’m Looking Forward to” was at the end.

2020 Goals

Goal #1: Lose 100 Pounds

Starting this year, this was my biggest concern. I want to lose 100 pounds solely for the health benefits. I’m honestly not really concerned with looking better. At the start of 2019 I weighed 375 pounds. I was, and still am, morbidly obese. I was able to lose 25 pounds in 2019, and I’d like to lose another 100 in 2020, putting me at 250 by January 1, 2021.

So far, my game-plan has been to cut out all sugar and flour, and drink only water with an occasional Coke Zero thrown in. I’ve also been trying out Intermittent Fasting and I’ve seen some really great results so far. This morning I weighed in at 330, down 20 pounds in about 4 weeks. I know that I won’t continue to lose weight at the same rate all year, but It’s been really good for my motivation to have some noticeable success right away.

Goal #2: 100 New Movies

I’d like to watch 100 movies for the first time in 2020, it can be anything, as long as I haven’t seen it before. So far I’ve watched 13 movies, and I’ve got about 40 more on my list. I can’t do this without your help, hit me with all your movie suggestions and I guarantee I’ll put it on my watchlist!

Goal #3: Finish my Game Backlog

I had 52 games in my backlog at the beginning of the year, and I’ve only finished 3 games. One of which wasn’t even in my backlog. My backlog consists of game I’ve purchased in 2019, a few from gamepass, and several that I’d just like to replay. I don’t know if it’s possible for me to finish over 50 games this year, but that won’t keep me from trying!

Goal #4: Debt & Savings

For my own security, I’m going to be pretty vague in this section, I’ll probably give updates as percentages instead of dollar amounts. As of right now, I’ve paid nothing, and I’ve saved nothing. Yikes.

Goal #5: Reading 10 Books

I’ve been attempting to read more books for a long time. I don’t care so much about actually reading as I do the cognitive benefits of reading. I’m hoping to read 10 books this year. I think I’ve got them all picked out, but I’d love any suggestions you have for me. I’ve started Good to Great by Jim Collins, and I think I’m about half way through. It’s been interesting for me to learn about the different factors that separate the great companies from the comparison companies.

Movies

#1: Molly’s Game

Molly’s Game is a 2017 film based on the true story of Molly Blume, the Olympic Skier who ran an incredibly successful, high stakes poker table for celebrities. The movie looks at the whole story. Her rise, fame and eventual downfall. The story is being told by Molly to her lawyer, and the entire movie is in preparation for her to go to court. Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It’s a story that I’ve never heard before, and I found the entire thing very interesting. I also enjoyed that a large portion of the movie is based on friendships and relationships. Molly’s relationships with her dad, Player X, and her Lawyer all take significant arcs that added to the movie for me. As someone who’s father was also very critical, I really appreciated the scene between Molly and her dad at the end of the movie. I’m not sure if it’s available on any streaming services, but I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

#2: Escape Plan 2: Hades

I purchased Escape Plan 2: Hades because it was cheap. It largely disappointed. I really liked the first Escape Plan, and I really wanted Escape Plan 2 to be more of the same. They tried to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character with Dave Bautista’s character, but it really fell flat for me. I probably wouldn’t recommend this one.

#3: Venom

Venom is the first live action Marvel movie made by Sony since The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I remember when this movie was announced, the main questions were “Is this in the MCU?” and “How do you make a Venom Movie without Spider-Man?”. All things considered, I enjoyed it. I think that putting the Eddie Brock & Venom relationship or disagreements as the center point of the movie worked. I think it took attention away from the lack of Spider-Man, and made allowed Venom to be his own character, more than just one of Spidey’s villains. No movie is perfect, and Venom is no exception, but it’s packed with fun action and I’ll happily see a sequel.

#4: Godzilla (2014)

This movie delivered everything I wanted from a Godzilla movie. Destruction, Monster, scared people. That’s al it take for me to enjoy a monster movie. That being said I enjoyed it.

#5: The Killing Joke

The Killing Joke is a rated R animated movie based on the DC Comic of the same name. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are perfect as Batman and Joker. The movie placed a pretty large emphasis on Barbara Gordon, voiced by Tara Strong. The first third of the movie felt like a separate Batgirl movie that didn’t get enough funding, so they just lumped it in with this. The other two thirds of the movie were closer to what I wanted. I don’t think that the first third did a good job of making Batgirl out to be a likable character. For me it made the last third less devastating. I think that it would have worked better if they’d portrayed her as a perfect, likable character, who lost everything. Overall, I still enjoyed the movie. I like having a more serious, R rated, DC animated movie.

#6: John Wick Chapter 2

Keanu Reeves is back! John Wick is hired for one final assassination, but when things don’t go according to plan he ends up with a contract on his own head. This movie is packed with action, creative tricks, and it makes it all cooler knowing that Keanu Reeves does his own stunts. If you liked the first John Wick, you’ll definitely enjoy this one too.

#7: John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum

After finishing John Wick 2, I immediately started John Wick 3. Once again, Keanu Reeves does not disappoint. Similar to the second half of John Wick Chapter 2, John Wick has a price on his head again. This time, he’s been excommunicated and doesn’t have access to the resources he’s had before. If you’ve liked the first 2 movies, you’ll definitely enjoy this one as well.

#8: Escape Plan: The Extractors

This is the third movie in the Escape Plan series. Still not as good as the original, but a little bit stronger than the second. I’d still probably recommend skipping this one.

#9: The Internship

The Internship follows Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) when they are downsized from their sales jobs and start internships at Google.

#10: La La Land

La La Land is a 2016 musical, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. I generally enjoy musicals, but this one didn’t do much to grab my attention. Mia (Emma Stone) is an aspiring actress desperately trying to find her big break. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a Jazz musician who is struggling to survive. When their paths cross, they quickly become inseparable. A majority of the movie follows their relationship trials when they each start to follow their dreams. I think that my biggest issue with the story is the central narrative. Their love story didn’t seem like a big enough conflict to be the focal point of the movie. That being said, romance movies generally aren’t my thing. However I did appreciate the character arc taken by Emma Stone’s character.

#11-13: Maze Runner Trilogy

The Maze Runner Trilogy is based on a series of books by the same name. The first movie, The Maze Runner, was good. It had focus and direction, combined with mystery and survival. The second and third movies seemed to be lacking direction. I thought that they didn’t do a good job of explaining what the goal was. I’d probably recommend The Maze Runner, but the cliffhanger at the end makes The Scorch Trials and Death Cure a pretty big disappointment.

Games

#1: Batman: Arkham Knight (Replay) (XBOX One)

I first played Arkham Knight in early 2017. When Return to Arkham was released, I played through the entire series without stopping. This playthrough was once the tail end of a replay of the entire series. I really enjoyed the way the entire world connected to the story in Arkham Knight. By slowly introducing the side quests throughout the main story, the entire game felt like one coherent story. I still really love this game. I still really enjoy the batmobile/tank sections. As someone who basically wanted to 100% the game, they served as a nice tone shift from the other side quests. However I think that the Tank is overused in the story mission. One specific boss battle toward the end of the game was what pushed it a bit too far for me. I think that if that battle were hand to hand, I would have almost no issues with the game.

#2: Halo 3 (Gamepass on XBOX One)

It might come as a surprise, but until now, I had never played any of the Halo 3 campaign. It was really something else. It’s the best of the Halos that I’ve played. They had an awesome story, fun and exciting gameplay, and I never had to play as the Arbiter. I enjoyed the direction they went with the story and how they tied it all back to the first Halo. I know that many say Halo 3 is the highlight of the series, but I’m still pretty excited to see what happens next.

#3: What Remains of Edith Finch (Gamepass on XBOX One)

I didn’t really know what this game was going into it. I knew it was a walking simulator, I knew that lots of people liked it, but that was pretty much it. What Remains of Edith Finch is an experience. You play most of the game as Edith, a 17 year old girl who inherits a house after the death of her mother. Many of the rooms are locked from the beginning, because “mom didn’t want anyone in there”. Throughout the game we got to learn a lot about the Finch Family. The central narrative is structured around the family’s bad luck and the accidental deaths that have occurred in the family. I really enjoyed experiencing the personalities of all the different family members, they all felt unique and lifelike. I played the entire game in one sitting, and it only took about 2.5 hours. If you have Gamepass I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

Miscellaneous

Recent Pickups

Yu-Gi-Oh: Legacy of the Duelist (Switch)

Richter Amiibo (#84)

Dark Samus Amiibo (#85)

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