One of the reasons I was so excited about writing “My Idea of Fun” columns is because the way games are written about and viewed critically often seems to be in flux. As an example, when Wind Waker came out, gamers lambasted it. “Too cartoony, too kiddy.” What was cool and correct to like was Twilight Princess, when it came out. Now years later, Twilight Princess (which I rather liked) is “hopelessly derivative and forgettable,” and Wind Waker is the real winner. It’s also now okay to admit that Oblivion was really not worth all the hype, and people are finally coming out to sound a resounding “meh” about Grand Theft Auto IV.
Deeper and deeper I ventured, a brave warrior in search of… jeez, I don’t even remember at this point. At first I thought no place could be worse than the Depths, that it was the darkest point in the universe. I had defeated Gaping Dragon, its nightmare boss, and was rewarded with a key to Blighttown. That name does not sound promising, but as a brave warrior in search of <REDACTED>, it was on my list of places to visit. After all, if you’ve been keeping up with these Diaries then you know… it couldn’t be worse than the Depths, right?
The chances are that if you’ve found your way onto Tap Repeatedly, you have a videogame backlog. You can deny it all you like, but you know. You know, I know and The Log knows. The Log sees your ever amounting pile of games. He sees them and he laughs. Sat there, freshly chopped in the woodland, all sly looking, costing you money and time..
My name is Mat C and I have a backlog problem. I know I’m not alone. If you own a Steam account or have more than two PlayStation 3, Wii or Xbox 360 games to play, you have a backlog. If you’ve pre-ordered a PS Vita, intend on buying a PlayStation 4, NextBox or Wii U, you have a backlog before you’ve even purchased any hardware to tackle it on.
At Tap Repeatedly, we can help you. Or just laugh and mock. We’ll see how this goes.
I am enjoying doing these Diaries, as someone should know my suffering, but since I waited until I had a solid backlog before publishing them, I’m beginning to forget some of the stuff that’s happened to me in late December and early January (you’ll note these Diary entries date well before that). In any case, I’m going to try and catch up a bit so I don’t forget stuff if I have a Dark Souls adventure and no chance to write it down.
Now, some of you may be getting sick of the Dark Souls Diaries. I can understand that. If you are, let me know, and I’ll polish the (currently) 6,554-word scholarly paper I’ve been working on in parallel – the one that talks about Kierkegaard and Kant, about the concept of the Knight of Faith, about Campbellian Monomyth Variances, and so on – and I’ll just run with that. It will be epic.
Remember the time Armand K got really wasted and wrote that weird paranoid manifesto about how I’d tried to lock him out of the Bordello because he owed me $7.42? Well, I don’t know if Armand’s fully kicked the habit, but I’m pleased to have him back (and apparently lucid) with another guest entry. He’s been enjoying our Games of 2011 series and thought he’d just go ahead and do one himself. Game on, my …
For gaming, 2011 was a year like many that preceded it: from January to October not a lot happened, and in November a bunch of publishers thought it was a good idea to have their games compete with Modern Blopfare and Field of Battles. At least Epic and Microsoft had the sense to get Gears of Beefcake 3 shipped in September so people would care about it for two months.
Ah, but that’s not the whole story, is it…
Slow and steady wins the race, my friends, and I have slowly and steadily been failing to make much progress in From Software’s bleakly brilliant Dark Souls, as my report here will attest. But it’s about the journey, not the destination, and thus do I share with you more of the journey. I promise, you’ll get sick of reading these long before I’m through writing them. To adventure!
I’m the last person on the list so far to write one of these, so that means I’m going to tread some ground our other authors have already walked. That’s all right with me, though it does mean there may not be too many surprises on my list.
These are in no particular order, really. As with the other lists, I’m not saying “objectively, these are the best games made in 2011.” These are the games I primarily played in 2011, which define the year for me personally, and which I found most obsessworthy or worthy of conversation. I also decided, so as not to go on forever, to narrow this list down to games actually released in 2011, but I’ll mention other titles below.
When I think back over the last twelve months of my gaming year, the word that instantly springs to my mind is “change”. I began 2011 the same way I’ve started and ended the last fifteen years; as an exclusively console gamer. But mid way through this particular year something changed. I built my own PC. On a personal level this represented a huge undertaking, something I never thought I’d achieve and certainly not successfully, …
Usually I wouldn’t even consider writing one of these lists because my playing throughput is so spectacularly bad that I’m always — and by some margin — behind the curve with releases. The 2011 wave has been a particularly overwhelming one for me with game after game crashing in and yet, somehow, I’ve managed to stay afloat and play enough — merely enough — of them to warrant chiming in.
Ahh, 2011. The year in which we were supposed to have the Rapture (twice), the year of the Arab Spring, of Occupy, of the Whipping Judge and Pepper Spray Cop. The year of Steerpike’s Neglecting To Get His Carpets Shampooed, Even Though They Need It. The year of the release of Titus Awakes, which I haven’t finished but which probably doesn’t include my namesake since he died in Titus Groan. The year Brandon, Amanda, Bearwhale, and Ravious joined us as contributors. The year I gained weight, and the year I played games.
As it happens, all the games I rank below came out in 2011, though that’s not a rule. Our objective is to tell you about the games that we’ll remember most from 2011, whether they shipped that year or a decade before. And we’re each taking it in our stride – ranking, rambling, sorting. There are no rules. These are the ones that stick out in my mind. Some made me irresponsibly happy. Others made me inconceivably sad. I leave the rest to you, because I love you all, and I wish you a glorious 2012. If the world doesn’t end in December, be sure we’ll return with that year’s batch.
Happy New Year, Tappers! (That’s what you call yourselves, right? Like, when you go to Tap-Repeatedly conventions and such?) Needless to say, 2011 was a big year for games. Loads of eagerly-awaited releases, some great surprises, and just general all-around awesomeness. These days, it’s not hard to point out a really well crafted game from the last year; it’s probably a bit harder to narrow that down to five or ten. But we here at …
In our latest edition of My Idea of Fun, Tap-Repeatedly staffers discuss two delightfully under-dogged games, and explain why you (yes, you) should give them a go. Remember, there’s no shortage of unsung games out there – only a shortage of those willing to sing their praises. Today, xtal and Gregg B hop on the Fun Train to share their thoughts. What unloved games could have bubbled to the thick, gloopy surfaces of their minds? Read on to find out!
In our previous episode, a stalwart hero named Steerpike (actually his name is Ste, because it’s really irritating entering letters into the PS3 with thumbsticks) died 133 times while accomplishing essentially nothing at all. That installment took me to about October 12, so an even week of play since Dark Souls released. I’ve been writing these silly diaries in an email chain to friends who literally couldn’t care less, so what you’re reading here is the edited, tidied up, improvified versions.
I’ve got this trudging, bloviating, pedagogical article about the Souls games cooking, one that includes references to Kierkegaard and “Non-Campbellian Heroism,” but I figured I’d start with a series you guys might actually find fun to read.
I have a bit of a thing for Demon’s Souls, and for Dark Souls, and I’ve been keeping my (utterly disinterested) friends in the loop with the latest via a series of emails that do not include any mechanism for them to unsubscribe. This here, after the short preamble, is an edited and improved version of that.
It’s only Part One, though, there’s more to come! I wanted to get far enough ahead that I could actually have some backlog to work with. I’m at death 700-something, so my adventures scarcely begin here!