2023 challenges

2023 Challenges: The Beginning

2022 wasn’t a great year for me and the challenges. I set my goals way too high, with too many categories and then achieved not a lot. It’s always disheartening when you don’t reach your goals, even if they’re non-consequential like these challenges are, but even so it’s meant to be fun! I don’t want to be here writing every month that I didn’t get anything done!

That being said, for 2023 I’m going to change it up and do quarterly updates. I’ve never been great at monthly updates, I don’t think a year has gone by since I started doing the challenges where I’ve managed to stick to it, so I think quarterly will be a great change and will allow me to focus on writing other content for the blog – something I threaten every year, but which hasn’t quite materialised yet.

So, with this in mind, let’s see what I’ve decided to focus on this year.

Watch 25 anime
This is the prime candidate for things I overpromise on. I’m not sure I’ve ever hit an anime watching target. 25 seems quite reasonable – 2 shows a month brings me to 24, but 24 seemed like a weird total so I rounded it up. I think this is doable, but I’ve said that before and been very wrong, so we’ll see.

Watch 25 anime movies
Same logic as before, this works out at around 2 movies per month. I can do that, that’s easy. Right?

Watch 30 films
It’s easier to watch a non-subtitled film than a subtitled one, hence the increase in total numbers for this one. Just under 3 a month. Maybe I’ll start a Friday film night.

Clear 15 games from the PlayStation backlog
I joked recently that I don’t play games, I collect them, but there’s probably more truth in that statement than I’d like. I really want to focus on clearing down my backlog. I have so many games I’ve heard are fantastic, but they’re sitting on my (digital and physical) shelf unplayed. If anything, it’s a waste of money, so it’s time to change this! I’m including PS Vita, PS4 and PS5 for this challenge, so 15 should be a doddle.

Clear 12 games from the Switch backlog
Generally, I don’t play my Switch as often as my PlayStation, but I want to change that. 12 games seems reasonable – one a month!

Get 12 platinum trophies
At my core I think I’ll always be a trophy hunter to some extent. Whilst I’ve given up on shovelware games, I don’t want to abandon it altogether. My focus on clearing my backlogs means I’ll have less time for trophy hunting but I’m certain there’ll be some crossover, so I’ve set the target at a pretty conservative 1 platinum a month.

Read 20 manga series
Another thing I always buy and never consume – manga. I have a Shonen Jump app subscription, going wasted. I want to read 20 complete series this year. I’ll probably start some ongoing series, but they won’t count for this target unless it’s a complete series!

Read 12 books
I think I said in my 2022 wrap-up that I want to set myself some better reading habits by reading a little before bed each night. With my wanting to also read manga more frequently, I’m not stupid enough to think I’ll do a tonne of ‘normal’ reading on top of that, so I think 1 book a month sounds decent.

I think this seems like a reasonable goal for all of these challenges. I have a lot of personal goals I want to work on as well, so I think these relatively low numbers will leave me time to ficus on them, and there’s enough variety in the topics that I won’t get bored in trying to achieve them as a collective. What do you think about my 2023 challenges? As always, follow me on Twitter and see my progress on the hashtag #cs2023challenges.

2022 challenges

2022 Challenges: End of Year Recap

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I sure fell off the challenge update wagon for a bit there. I haven’t done a progress update since July, so that must definitely mean that all of my numbers are going to jump up for the end of year recap, right?! Well… not exactly.

Platinum 15 games

2022 end total: 10

Focusing less on shovelware games in 2022 and more on games I actually wanted to play meant that I didn’t quite hit my goal for platinum games. I’m not even mad about it. I played some really fun games this year, and went back and cleared up some games I’d started but not 100% completed, as well as some games I’d bought a long time ago but hadn’t even started.

Here’s my list of platinum trophies for 2022:

  1. Doraemon Story of Seasons
  2. Cozy Grove
  3. When The Past Was Around
  4. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
  5. Potion Permit
  6. Persona 4 Golden
  7. Goosebumps: The Game
  8. Wytchwood
  9. Buried Stars
  10. The Artful Escape

Get the platinum in Persona 4 Golden

As you can see above, I finally did it! I got the Persona 4 Golden platinum! It took me a really long time, and I didn’t do it in the most straightforward way possible, but I got there in the end which is the most important thing. It’s definitely still one of my most favourite games, if not coming out at the top of that list. I’m ready for the console version to come out at the end of January, and I’ve definitely got a roadmap in mind to getting the platinum more quickly than I did the Vita version!

Watch 30 anime

2022 end total: 10

A really poor effort for me and anime this year. I promise I am an anime fan, don’t take my figures away! I seem to have a problem where I’ll sit down and promise myself I’m going to watch something and then before I know it, it’s three hours later and I’ve done nothing (see also: physical Switch backlog). It’s something I really want to work on for 2023, because I just want to be productive, you know? I didn’t finish my first anime series until March and the next one wasn’t until May, what’s that about? Things have to, and will, change! Mark my words!

That being said, here’s what I watch this year:

  1. Blue Period
  2. Tokyo Revengers
  3. My Dress Up Darling
  4. Sasaki and Miyano
  5. IDOLiSH7 Third Beat!
  6. SPY x FAMILY, part 1
  7. Dakaichi! -I’m Being Harrassed By The Sexiest Man Of The Year-
  8. Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War s01
  9. Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc
  10. SPY x FAMILY, part 2 (cheating perhaps to include both parts of a split cour as separate shows, but desperate times and all that)

Watch 30 films

2022 end total: 17

I used to watch so many films that it wasn’t unheard of for me to go to the cinema and watch 4 films in a day. Those were the days I had an Unlimited pass, of course, which I don’t any more. I do miss going to the cinema, but my nearest decent one is 30 minutes away which seems like a real effort. I know in the days of streaming I have an unlimited catalogue at my fingertips, but even so, I struggle to watch a film. There’s perhaps too much choice? I’m not sure what the reason is. This is all a really long way of saying I didn’t watch 30 films, I only just hit a little over the halfway mark.

Here’s what I did manage to watch:

  1. The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorised Bash Brothers Experience
  2. Afterlife of the Party
  3. The Mitchells vs The Machines
  4. The Tinder Swindler
  5. The Duke
  6. Three Identical Strangers
  7. Turning Red
  8. Tell Me Who I Am
  9. Joker
  10. Senior Year
  11. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  12. Murder Mystery
  13. Thor: Love and Thunder
  14. Do Revenge
  15. Ticket To Paradise
  16. Disenchanted
  17. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Watch 30 anime films

2022 end total: 2

This is honestly abysmal, and not even deserving of a proper list. I watched The Garden of Words and Jujutsu Kaisen 0. I don’t even know what happened here, apart from a whole lot of nothing.

Read 18 books

2022 end total: 9

I got halfway there, which isn’t awful but it’s certainly not great. I was so confident in my reading challenges that I bought myself a Kindle towards the beginning of the year, and I’m pretty sure I still have an Unlimited account for Amazon Books which is honestly a huge waste at this point. I want to start getting into better reading habits and reading a few chapters of something every night before bed, so we’ll see how that goes.

Here’s what I read in 2022:

  1. The House in the Cerulean Sea
  2. A Medal for Leroy
  3. The Vanishing Stair
  4. The Hand on the Wall
  5. The Awakening
  6. Ruthless Fae
  7. They Both Die At The End
  8. Hector And The Search For Happiness
  9. Wranglestone

Clear physical Switch and Vita backlogs

I absolutely did not even get anywhere close to this.

2022 challenges

2022 Challenges: July Recap

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Somehow I missed the June update, so you’d think there’d be a lot of progress to report on, right? Wrong.

Platinum 15 games

July end total: 4

In the last couple of months I’ve got the platinum in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and When The Past Was Around. Both very different games but both very fun and worth playing. I feel like this total is a bit light for the challenges but I’m avoiding the ‘easy platinum’ games and trying to focus on stuff I actually want to play. I think I’ll make at least double digits this year, I have a few games I’ve started and I want to clean up on as well as stuff in the backlog.

Get the platinum in Persona 4 Golden

So, I didn’t do this in July as previously planned but now the PS4/PS5 release is scheduled for the end of the year I want to get it done before that comes out so I’m going to aim to do an in-game month every couple of days.

Watch 30 anime

July end total: 4

In June I watched Sasaki and Miyano, which I really loved. I didn’t want anything in July but August is just around the corner so I’m hoping my numbers will boost!

Watch 30 films

July end total: 14

I added Thor: Love and Thunder and Murder Mystery to my totals across the June and July. I really enjoyed Thor, though perhaps I might be the only person in the world who did. Murder Mystery was fine.

Watch 30 anime films

July end total: 2

Man, just awful here. Hoping to boost this in Anime August!

Read 18 books

July end total: 9

Finally managed to read Wranglestone, which I’ve been reading since March so hopefully now I can move onto things that don’t take me 4 months to read.

Clear physical Switch and Vita backlogs

Um… Does buying more games and adding to the backlog count? No? Oh…

2022 challenges, Challenges

2022 Challenges: May Recap

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April is a super busy month for me generally speaking – birthday month and all of that, so I didn’t get much progress on the challenges hence no update post. May felt significantly better, so let’s see if it was.

Platinum 15 games

May end total: 2

Games have taken a bit of a backseat lately, I have been playing stuff but just not trying for platinum’s and mostly on my Switch honestly. I haven’t added anything to my challenge for platinum trophies, boo!

Get the platinum in Persona 4 Golden

As previously mentioned, I’m just one trophy off on this one – unfortunately I need to pretty much do an entire playthrough to get to level 90 to get it. I don’t know why but I have in my head that I’m going to do it in July, so time will tell.

Watch 30 anime

May end total: 3

I watched two anime in May, woohoo! I finally finished Tokyo Revengers and also added My Dress Up Darling to the list. I have a few on the go at the moment so I’m hoping to add a few more this month.

Watch 30 films

May end total: 12

In May I watched JokerSenior Year, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Some were definitely better than others.

Watch 30 anime films

May end total: 2

I’ve been equally as rubbish with anime movies as I have with watching anime series, and I didn’t add any in May.

Read 18 books

May end total: 8

I think I’m still ahead of schedule on my book reading, but I haven’t actually read anything since March when I did the 24 hour readathon, shameful!

Clear physical Switch and Vita backlogs

The less said the better, honestly.

2022 challenges, Challenges

2022 Challenges: The Beginning

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Happy New Year to all my followers and readers! I hope 2021 wasn’t a total garbage fest for you all, it was okay for me but I feel glad to see the back of it! Here’s to a much better 2022!

Thinking about 2022, I want things to change. I felt like in 2021 I had my priorities totally wrong with the challenges and my focus was on things that were totally not what I wanted to really be doing. I got the platinum in a lot of games in 2021, sure, but did I play any good games? Not especially! I’ve found over the years I’ve done a few things like that, and I feel like I’d like to reprioritise things so I feel more fulfilled at the end of the year!

So, here are some slightly more targeted ~achievable~ challenges for 2022!

Platinum 15 games

I know I said in my intro that I was going to reprioritise, but I felt like it wouldn’t be Culture Shack without some focus on platinum trophies. I am going to come up with some criteria to the games I’m going to platinum so that I only get ones that actually pose a challenge and aren’t little 10 minute jobs I’ve bought just to ping the trophy. There might even be a shortlist of games I want to try to get the platinum in, who knows? This challenges leads on nicely to my next one, the first sub-challenge in Culture Shack history!

Get the platinum in Persona 4 Golden

I’ve been threatening it for years, but this year I’m finally going to do it. I’m going to get the platinum in Persona 4 Golden. I really tried in 2021, but I got caught up in other things. I first started playing the game in March 2014, so this is seven years in the making! Out of all of my challenges this is the one I’m most determined to do!

Watch 30 anime

For a self-confessed anime obsessive, I sure haven’t watched much anime lately. I really want to change this. This also comes with a sub-challenge of sorts – I want to watch one show per season. I went a bit crazy with seasonal shows the last couple of years and it was really overwhelming to keep up with, but at the same time it’s cool to be part of the hype. By paring it back to one show per season I think this will allow me to manage things a lot easier and still be part of the ‘conversation’.

Watch 30 films

I got so close to this target in 2021, and I think my mistake was only picking up steam in the latter half of the year so it felt like more of a chore. I can definitely do this!

Watch 30 anime films

Do you know how many unwatched anime blu-rays I have? A lot. Not in 2022. In 2022 I’m going to watch them… maybe not all, but most!

Read 18 books

I nailed the books challenge in 2021, and I really loved doing it. I was always an avid reader as a kid and the literature part of my degree really smashed that out of me. Now I’ve got back in my stride I reckon I can read 18 in 2022, that’s only a book and a half a month!

Clear physical Switch and Vita backlogs

My backlog has gotten out of hand, and I need to resolve that. I’m starting with my handhelds, and purely on the physical games I have so that I have some sort of structure. There’s 6 and 7 games per console so hopefully this won’t be too much of a task.

If you’re interested the games are as follows:

  • Our World Is Ended (Switch)
  • The World Ends With You (Switch)
  • Valthirian Arc (Switch)
  • Cafe Enchante (Switch)
  • Langrisser 1 and 2 (Switch)
  • Octopath Traveller (Switch)
  • Hakuoki Edo Blossoms (Vita)
  • Exist Archive (Vita)
  • 7’scarlet (Vita)
  • Tales of Hearts R (Vita)
  • Steins;Gate (Vita)
  • Pyschadelica of the Black Butterfly (Vita)

 

What do you think of my challenges for 2022? Have I bitten off more than I can chew yet again? If you have any suggestions for last minute considerations, let me know! As well as these challenges, I also have a lot of plans for the blog so I can hopefully be more active, and a lot of life goals I’m determined to achieve! Let’s make 2022 our year!

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: October Recap

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Wow, long time no recap! I said in my last update I’d get better at doing these on time and have done the complete opposite, whoops. I’m very aware I haven’t been posting so much, and I really want to rectify that, but life is hella busy sometimes you know?

Anyway, on with the challenges update! I’ll spare you a long list of everything I’ve added (or not) up until now and just do a totals kind of post, it’s nearly December so I’ll do a more detailed post at the end of the year!

Watch 45 anime

October end total: 17

Things aren’t looking so good for this one, you know. I’m having a problem where I can never seem to sit down and concentrate on anime (or games, it’s very annoying). I think I’ll be able to get up to the halfway point by the end of the year, but it’s looking unlikely this will get done.

Read 50 complete manga

October end total: 2

We might as well call this one now, because things just aren’t happening here. Time of death: 1.00pm on 4th November 2021.

Watch 30 films

October end total: 14

Almost halfway! I’m stupidly optimistic about this one, you know. I probably shouldn’t be, but I think I can do it or at least be a good way through!

Watch 30 anime films

October end total: 6

Hmmm…. I reckon a halfway target of 15 movies by the end of the year is probably more likely than the full 30, but we’ll see how it goes!

Get 35 platinum trophies

October end total: 18

I was doing so well on this challenge in the first part of the year, but as I mentioned earlier, I have really been struggling of late to sit down and play games. I think I can probably add a few more onto this total, but I’m not sure how stupidly optimistic that is.

Clear 30 games from my backlog

October end total: 1

Oh man. The backlog just keeps growing. Sure, I can sit down and watch 10 seasons of Ru Paul’s Drag Race in 2 weeks, but can I concentrate on a game for an hour? Can I heck. I’m also calling the end of this challenge, it’s never going to happen!

Play 12 Switch games

October end total: 2

So I did play Ys XI: Monstrum Nox for review (see my previous post) but I’ve not played anything I actually already owned, which is pretty shameful. I’ll be trying to fix this!

Read 12 books

October end total: 11

A challenge I’m going to actually achieve?! What a miracle! I’m actually reading my 12th book now, I’m about halfway through, so this is definitely going to get done! Hooray!

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: June Recap

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Can you believe we’re halfway through the year? My challenges progress certainly can’t. So, how am I doing you ask? Terribly, I answer!

Watch 45 anime

June end total: 9

Anime progress is super slow, but I’m hoping now I’ve decided not to watch (or attempt to watch) so many seasonal shows, I can pick up the pace on this. I’m also looking ahead to Anime August, which is next month – crazy how time flies, I feel like I’ve been stuck in a time loop.

Read 50 complete manga

June end total: 2

Man, if I thought my progress on other challenges was slow, at least I’m actually getting somewhere with those unlike my manga reading goals. I just never seem to have time to sit down and read manga, but I know I’ve got to make time! I don’t think I’ll manage to hit this target by the end of the year but I still want to give it a good go.

Watch 30 films

June end total: 9

Watching both films of The Quiet Place means I’m up to 9 films now, which is probably 3 times the amount I watched through the entirety of 2020, so I’ll take this as a win. I need to get more into the habit of watching a film at the weekend, and then I’ll definitely hit this target!

Watch 30 anime films

June end total: 4

I didn’t watch any anime films in June, boo! I need to really get a move on with these!

Get 35 platinum trophies

June end total: 14

I have slowed up on the platinum trophies in the last few months, but I still added Angels of Death to my pile in June. I loved the anime so much so when I saw the game had come to PlayStation, I had to play it. I loved it all over again, and the anime was such a good adaptation. I’m still confident I’ll hit the 35 total for platinum trophies.

Clear 30 games from my backlog

June end total: 1

Look… I just… don’t have the time. At least I’ve started a game from my backlog – Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age, so at least I’m trying!

Play 12 Switch games

June end total: 1

It’s a miracle, I played a Switch game! I finished To The Moon for a review for Nintenpedia, a site I’m about to start reviewing for. I’m super excited for the opportunity to write more reviews, and get lots more out of my Switch so I’m hoping this number will go up dramatically by the end of the year!

Read 12 books

June end total: 6

I’ve finally got back on track with my reading! I finished the third book in the Percy Jackson series to bring my total this year up to 6 so far. I’ve moved onto the fourth book, and then there’s another to go! I’m really enjoying the series, and as I’ve said before, I really wish I had read it when I was younger as I would have totally loved it. As much as I am enjoying it, I am looking forward to moving onto reading something a bit less aimed at children.

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: February Recap

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February was a significantly better month than January, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. I still have that sinking feeling that my challenges are really optimistic, but I’m still going to give it my best shot. Here’s where I’m at on my challenges as of the end of February!

Watch 45 anime

February end total: 1

My anime watching in 2021 has been abysmal. I definitely took on too many seasonal shows, and everything else has suffered as a result. I’d like to say I’m up-to-date on the seasonal stuff too, but that would be a colossal lie. Anyway, I have managed to watch Blood Lad (review pending), so at least I’ve got one under the belt!

Read 50 complete manga

February end total: 1

It felt like in 2020 all I did was read manga, but 2021 is not proving the same. I’ve read one complete manga – Haru’s Curse. I’m definitely going to up this, but I’m focusing on reading novels for now whilst I seem to be in the swing of reading.

Watch 30 films

February end total: 1

I cannot believe I haven’t watched any more films so far! I still only have Jojo Rabbit on my list!

Watch 30 anime films

February end total: 0

Unbelievable and embarrassing.

Get 35 platinum trophies

February end total: 4

I had a much better month for platinum trophies in February than I did in January. I picked up a few cheap indie games in the current PSN sale, which proved very quick to get. On the list for platinum trophies obtained in February are We Were Here, Road Bustle, Chickens on the Road, and JigSaw Abundance. 

Clear 30 games from my backlog

February end total: 0

I am very much working on this, but games take a long time, you know?

Play 12 Switch games

February end total: 0

I am also working on this, but there’s only so much time in a day!

Read 12 books

February end total: 2

I felt like in February I got back into my reading groove – I read The Last and The Poppy War. I also started reading another book, but it’s still ongoing. My aim is to smash this target early, and then free up myself to work on other challenges.

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: Year in Recap

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Let’s not dwell too much on what a shit show 2020 was, and just… leave it in the past. Here’s to a better 2021!

Now we’re into 2021, it’s time to have a look back on how I did with my challenges. I obviously had a lot of obstacles, and as a result some challanges went better than others.

Watch 40 anime

2020 end total: 40

With some last minute additions, which were technically after midnight on New Year’s Eve (my mum assured me that if I hadn’t slept then it still counted for my 2020 challenges, and who am I to argue with my mum?), I actually achieved this goal! Hooray! I’ve watched some really great shows in 2020 (and some garbage). For 2021 I definitely want to review more shows, which was an aim for 2020 that I really failed on.

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

2020 end total: 5

2020 really wasn’t the year to try and get back into cinema for me. I managed 5 movies in the cinema before the pandemic fully hit and I had to start staying home. My repeated failure at this challenge is really making me reconsider a lot of things. I’ll always love films, but in recent years, a lot has changed with my cinema-going habits and it’s just not so much of a priority for me anymore as it might have been a few years ago.

Platinum 20 games

2020 end total: 22

Another big tick for this one! I feel like I played a lot of great games in 2020. I did boost a lot of my platinum numbers with cheap indie games from the PlayStation Store, but some of these were actually really good. Some were My Name Is Mayo, so you can’t win them all. I feel like I really got back into platinum trophy hunting in 2020, and hope to continue it forward in 2021.

Read 15 books

2020 end total: 8

I got a little over halfway on this challenge. Towards the middle of the year I got really into the swing of reading, but on the tail ends of the year I felt really unmotivated to read. I do still really love to read, and I want to get back into a more regular reading cycle.

Finish 100 best movies

2020 end total: 2

I haven’t done so well on this challenge the last few years. I think perhaps partly because as I said earlier in this post, my film-watching habits have changed a lot, but a lot of the movies on the poster for this challenge are really heavy going, and I don’t often feel like watching a super serious film. Like, how often do you have an evening spare and think, “Hmm, I really fancy watching The Godfather.“? Not often, let me tell you.

Finish Naruto

2020 end total: 4 episodes

Oh Naruto, will I ever crack you? It’s just such a large undertaking. I could watch all of Naruto, or I could watch like, 10+ other shows in the same amount of episodes. I do still really want to watch it all, but I’m just going to take it easy, so don’t expect to see this challenge on my 2021 challenges!

That’s it for 2020! Thank God, amirite? I’ve already got my 2021 challenges pencilled in, but still down to take suggestions if you have any! Let me know in the comments!

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: November Recap

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Watch 40 anime

November end total: 29

I only added one more show for November; season 2 of Fruits Basket. I’m a little way off this total, but I’m also watching a lot of seasonal shows most of which, by my calculations, end before the end of the year which will boost my totals. I also plan to go HARD on anime for December to achieve this one!

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

November end total: 5

Platinum 20 games

November end total: 22

Challenge met! Since getting my PS5, I have played three games on it, and got the platinum in each of them, which is quite the achievement and probably not a rate that can continue much longer, let’s be honest! Anyway, at least I’ve completed one of my challenges this year, and with a month to spare too!

Read 15 books

November end total: 8

I haven’t read anything in so long, I’m falling behind! The likelihood of me reading 7 books in a month is extremely slim, but I hope to add at least 1 or 2 more to this total!

Finish 100 best movies

November end total: 2

Finish Naruto

November end total: 4 episodes

Now we’re into December, it’s time to start thinking about 2021 Challenges. I have nothing planned yet, so am open to suggestions! Leave them in the comments!