Ninja Refinery 2020

A whole new decade is upon us! 2020 is going to see the release of the next generation of consoles, and no dooubt the improvement of the “games as a service” model (Stadia, XCloud etc).

Fantastic, right?! Well, yeah. But that’s potentially a lot of money, and honestly, a lot of time that I’m not going to have.

You see, March/April is going to change my life forever. We’re expecting a child, and well, that’s priority number one. With a full-time job on top of that, which takes no insignificant chunk of my life, it’s going to be hard to keep up with everything going on.

I mean, it’s a first-world problem if there ever was one. “Guy can’t play all the latest games because he has a good life”, wow, I can hear the violins playing for me already……

But, I’ve never been about keeping up with the latest games (as much as I want to). I don’t do news and coverage on stuff. I write about what I want, old and new.

Better still, I already have a crap load to get caught-up on, that I already own.

So, for me, 2020 is going to be a year of substantial change, and a concerted effort to not deviate from the paths I’m already on.

Below is my manifesto for the year, if you will. Aims, targets and promises to myself, and to anyone reading this that gives half a crap.

 

No purchase neccessary

I don’t need to buy any other games for at least the first six months of this year. It’s a wonderful problem to have, truly, but I have more games and interests than I do time.

So (Cyberpunk 2077 being the only exception), I won’t be purchasing any new games. Free games are fine, season passess for existing games are fine (providing I’m putting the time in), and the odd expansion or DLC is permitted.

No new games, no old games. I can’t buy anything else. Bargain or not.

Bearing in mind I already have a load of stuff I want and need to dig-into. We also have Gamepass and Games With Gold and Playstation Plus, chucking out games every month. There’s literally no need for it.

2020 will be a year of breaking a terrible habit! It means I won’t likely play Jedi Fallen Order or Death Stranding until the back end of the year (unless it’s a gift or receieved for review) which is a shame. But my pile of stuff to go through is overwhelming, so it’s time that I took action.

Thankfully, whilst I’m away more than I’d like, for work. I have the Switch, which is my travel companion wherever I go, now. With have some of the best games ever made, ready and waiting to be picked up and played in whatever hotel room I’m stuck in. I can chip away at the list from afar these days!

 

The lists

Three consoles means three lists. Some bigger than others, but here’s what I’m committing to…….

Switch

Pokemon Sword – Approximately half way through it, I’m very much into this at the moment, and this will definitely get finished in the next week or so.

Mario and Rabbids: Kingdom Battle – Three quarters of the way through this tactical treasure. This is a guaranteed finish. What a treat it’s been so far!

Witcher 3 – So…..yeah, I have the Witcher on Switch now. I couldn’t resist. The combination of gift money, a sale and gold coins meant it was a bargain, and to see it sat next to Breath of the Wild in my library is amazing. Two of my all-time favourites on one console. I can’t commit to finishing it, but I’ll be getting stuck-in soon.

Breath of the Wild Starting from scratch on Switch has been amazing. I’m not rushing this, just enjoying it. I’ve no compulsion to “finish” it again in any rush. This is a dip-in and dip-out adventure.

Link’s Awakening – My first ever Zelda game on Gameboy. Re-made for the Switch. 2020 will be the year I see it all the way through, unlike when I was 8…..

Overwatch – Another dip-in and dip-out treasure. There’s no “finishing” this one, so it’s all about enjoying it in short bursts and trying to get a good rank at some point. 2020 will be the year I hit gold……..perhaps….

PS4

Shortest list here, because it’s mostly used for the PS4 exclusives (no chance of getting Death Stranding for a while thanks to my “stop buying stuff” rule).

Modern Warfare – The latest Call of Duty. 2020 is the year where I admit I’m a fan of the Call of Duty series, and not just some casual bystander that thinks they’re for chavs. Campaign nearly finished, mutiplayer is neverending.

The Last Guardian – Another one that I’ve dropped around the halfway mark. I’ll get her finished. Trico is waiting for me!

Xbox One

I have to discount the bulk of the games in Gamepass here, so whilst there are some I’ll try, I have enough on my plate.

Destiny 2 – Arguably a “forever” game, I’ll keep coming back. Raids, seasons, Iron Banner. I can’t fight it, I love it.

Sea of Thieves – I’ll never be a Pirate Legend, but goddamn do I love playing this from time to time. I miss fishing and need to try out all the new stuff from the past couple of updates.

Skyrim – I want so badly to get back into Skyrim, after playing it on the 360. I’ll be starting it soon enough, and joining the Dark Brotherhood all over again, as soon as possible.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – Holy crap am I scared of this one. I’ve tried Dark Souls and Bloodborne, and failed to “get” it. Hopefully 2020 is the year I fall for these types of game? Certainly the setting is more to my tastes, is that enough?

Fallout 76 – Flawed, disasterous and I have my own issues with Bethesda around this game. However, it’s been out a while. It was a gift, and honestly, I’m kinda curious about it.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne – Easily one of my favourites from the last year. I can’t wait to get stuck-in with the snow and all those new monsters!

Outer Worlds – I have to at least give it a go. Not sure this is one I’ll finish, but I’ll get stuck-in and see how it goes.

Final Fantasy XV – Sat waiting to be played since August, I need to give my time to Final Fantasy and see how it compares to my merories of the series.

Hitman 2 – I bloody love this game. I love the series. Time to finish those core missions, and hopefully get to hunt Sean Bean when he becomes active again.

Titanfall 2 – There’s a part of me that’s yearning to re-live the campaign again. One of the best games of the generation. One of the best first-person shooters ever, and so overlooked, it’s criminal.

PUBG/Fortnite/Blackout etc – I love a Battle Royale and this isn’t going to change in 2020. All being well, Modern Warfare will add one, too!

Elder Scrolls Online – We barely started this and as a group, there wasn’t much traction at all. I want to see more of the world and do some of the meatier content. Hopefully I can give it some time in 2020?

Gears of War 4 – After playing and loving 1 – 3, I was disenchanted by “Judgement”. Still, I picked 4 up for a bargain, ages ago. Time to get it done!

Gears of War 5 – Assuming 4 is reasonable, 5 is part of Game Pass, so I need to get on with that shortly after.

Tomb Raiders – I have all 3 of the remake games, nearly finished the first, but I want to get into all of them properly.

No Man’s Sky – I love this game, and it’s another “endless” one, full of wonder and exploration. I’ll definitely dive back in soon.

I can’t commit to finishing all of these, especially when some of them are perpetual games that can’t really be finished. I can commit to giving them the time they deserve though, and not stray from them with the allure of new releases.

This is already looking pretty unrealistic, isn’t it? But it’s a definite justification to not need any new releases for a while.

There’s plenty of other stuff to go at, but these are the ones I want to make sure I see through, in some way.

 

Spruce-up the place

The other thing that I want is to tidy the site up. Remove old crap that didn’t take off (music) and give better focus to coffee.

This site exists as 2 things. An experiment to see what I can do with limited knowledge and skill, to develop it. And as an outlet to write/be creative in lieu of anything else at the moment.

So it’ll continue, with a bit more focus and hopefully some new features as we go.

I’ve toyed with renaming, re-branding etc and it might happen, but I might not have the time or energy to commit to it. We’ll see.

I don’t think “Ninja Refinery” works, but I love my logo…..no idea what’ll happen, these things tend to strike me at odd moments and I’ll act on a whim as always.

2020 might be the dawning of an entirely new site, or just a tidier place to read stuff.

 

Coffee 2020

My biggest disappointment with the site to date, is the inconsistency with my coffee reviews. Or more specifically, the amount of time it takes to get through a bag and remember to write it all up.

I have stuff to write on methods, grinders and other things too, but I don’t commit enough time to it. So, with a baby on the way, caffeine is likely to be more important than ever before.

Let’s bring the coffee related stuff to 2020 and try and do a good job!

All reviews are a little moot, because it’s just an opinion, and everyone has different tastes and ideas of what’s “good”. I’ll always just be fair, honest and as clear as possible.

Hopefully my writing improves as I go, too!

2020
 

Writing elsewhere

I’ve been really lucky to join the Fullsync guys and do a couple of bits over there too.

It does take time away from here, but it’s great to talk to others doing the same thing. To share stuff and have a place to have a wider-audience. Assuming they still let me do stuff over there, that is.

Beyond that, I’ve sent stuff out to other places before and just had no response whatsoever, which is far enough. I’ve tried dealing with publishers and PR teams with massively mixed results……

My lack of specfic vision tends to see me wandering through stuff as I please, and I figure that’s not neccessarily a good look to the outside world. However, I think I’ll keep at it, see where I go.

I’d love to do a Triple-A review for someone, a pre-release code and have the review go live when an embargo lifts. Thats where I want to get to. An unusual goal, I suppose, but if I can get to that, I think I’ve done ok with my little blog.

Will 2020 be the year that a publisher decides to give me a shot? After dealing with a few of them, I’m going to guess not, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop trying.

Everything I do, wherever it is, or whatever it is, is a learning curve, and I think that’s enough for me right now.

Origins
 

2020

So yeah, I have a lot to go at without having to waste any more money, and I want to make this place as slick and clean as I can.

I’ve seen really slow but gradual increase in visits to the site. My output and content is never going to be a massive draw, so any increase at all is a bonus.

To anyone that does actually consistently come here to have a read, thank you. In an age where video content and podcasts are huge, written pieces are less important to people. It requires a bit more engagement than passive listening to things, so thank you for any time that you put this way.

2020 is a year of big change for me personally, let’s see how much change that means for this site!

Have a great year, enjoy your games and get a good cup of coffee. Everything will work out one way or another!

Ben

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