When I read Brandon’s post on ‘gamer’s block’ I took a step back to consider whether I’d suffered from it at any point and, truth be told, I don’t think I have. Like many others around here, I’ve got an absurd backlog of games and while the size and my distinct lack of time to make even a dent in it intimidates me, it also excites me, especially when I’ve finished off whatever it is I’m currently playing and have the time to pluck something else from my virtual shelf.
In the dawn of 2012, I tore a leaf from my Starcraft 2 Jim Raynor Wanted Poster keepsake notebook (best thing about that game, really), determined to write down great titles as I played them. I always draw a blank when people ask for stuff I should remember, and Games of the Year articles are too important to leave to memory… especially mine. For twelve months that increasingly defiled sheet survived the chaotic sluice of cords, bills, beer cans, notes to self, and discarded gaming mice that is my desk. I exhumed it the other day.
Now, I admit this hasn’t been the best year for games, but there were more titles scrawled on there than I have medals for. After all, we don’t hand out awards like candy around here. So a whole lot of thinkin’, and even a fair amount of replayin’, was to come before the tally was in. This year I humbly offer five titles worthy of Tap-Repeatedly Special Achievement Awards, plus a handful of mentions of the honorable variety.
It’s 2013, which means we all survived the end of 2012. Despite those rumors we might not! So break out the bubbly, as it’s time for some of us to discuss our games and game trends of the past year.
This year I have the honor of being the first Tap contributor to write a Games of the Year list. My list starts with five games that stuck out to me personally this year. This isn’t just games I enjoyed (though it’s all games I enjoyed). It’s also a list of games that I feel represent some important trends that happened in 2012.
After the game list, I’m going to talk briefly about looking at games from the developer side in 2012 also, so you can get the full perspective of where I lived this year!
Can games mean? How? And when they do, who’s responsible? AJ and Dix take on authorship. Read on!
Has this ever happened to you?
You’re a player of video games – what one might call a “gamer.” You’ve probably built up a backlog because of Steam sales and fall release schedules and not having time to play video games because of the rest of your life interfering. So you have some free time, you take the game off the top of the stack (or proverbial stack, as the case may be) and start playing. For the sake of argument, let’s call this hypothetical game Alan Wake.
So it turns out you don’t really dig this game that much, which is too bad, but it happens. Still, you’re desperate to fill the endless holidays hours (hypothetically) somehow or other, and this is the perfect time to check some things off the list, so you choose another. And another. Nothing clicks. This one is deeply flawed; that one just isn’t your thing. You give up on new titles and boot up a mainstay, a known quantity, maybe more than one. (Let’s call this game Endless Space. Or maybe Soul Calibur. Even Dark Souls.) And despite the glories of past sessions, the record of unbridled enthusiasm that can set you on logging embarrassing numbers of hours on a game, you can barely stand to play it. (Or them.)
You’ve got gamer’s block.
Merry Christmas, Tap readers! Or, Happy Holidays if you happen to celebrate something else! Lots of us have to hit the road on the holidays, and may be far away from our regular game consoles. So this week I took a quick break from sipping on eggnog to check out a couple of Christmas-themed games on the Android app market. Free holiday fun below the jump!
Year’s end: to some, respite; others, opportunity and new beginnings. To most everyone though: reflection. As many of us here look back on another year in search of inspiration or some meaning, I need to look deeper, farther back than a “year-in-review” will permit.
No, this is a life-in-review. I guess video games played a part in it.
Once I got into Cognition: Episode 1, I liked it a lot. But it took a while for me to warm up to it. What it feels like to me is that the opening sequence was created as a demo, but turned out not to fit the final game it was attached to. … The game really does hit its stride at the midpoint, though. If future episodes take after the second half of the game more, this is a series to watch.
It’s possible that when the PS3 was new this would’ve been awesome. In 2012 for a first-time player, it is less awesome … . So let me tell you exactly what I didn’t like about Uncharted. And the few things that I did.
With the yule tidings of the holidays upon us, it’s once again time to reach into your wallets, your couch cushions, and your hearts to support Child’s Play, the charity started by Penny Arcade founders Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. The purpose of Child’s Play is to gather toys, books, games – any entertainment – and donate the stuff to children’s hospitals.
Hard truths after the jump.
So, last I heard, STALKER developer GSC Game World had shut down. Most employees moved on to create a new studio, Vostok Games, which is working on a STALKER-like online shooter called Survarium. GSC had been developing STALKER 2 when the company’s owner, Sergey Grigorovich, abruptly shut the place down. No official reason was ever given.
Then, what appears in my inbox yesterday? A curt, almost bitchy press release about the STALKER intellectual property.
I wrote a lot of words about Halo 4 that might have amounted to a proper review. But, while I liked Halo 4, I didn’t really like all the words I ended up writing about Halo 4. I feel as if in my overview I didn’t say anything that hadn’t already been said about the game by the rest of the internet.
To sum up briefly: great action, beautiful artwork, slightly flawed level design. There is a review on Clever Musings l ended up mostly agreeing with, so check that out for a good rundown. I played Halo 4’s campaign for the action, the “shooty bits,” and in that sense it was a marvelous good time. It did suffer a little from weird spikes in difficulty on certain segments, and there was never as much ammo as I might have liked.
But in spite of it being a strongly action-focused game, I find that what I really want to discuss about Halo 4 is the game’s story and themes. Mostly, I want to talk about Cortana. From here on, I must spoil all of the single-player campaign, right up until the end. I realize that means I may lose some readers here. Catch you next time, then.
Not so long after my outing with S:S&S EP I planned to have a day with Journey. It was a lazy and quiet Saturday morning, my girlfriend was at work, my cup of tea was still hot, the sun was shining (behind closed curtains of course) and my surround sound system was cranked up and ready to go. I might still have been in my pajamas.
Ben Hoyt is an old friend and longtime industry veteran – he did a Celebrity Guest Editorial for us a while back, and has appeared as a guest star in some of my posts over the years. We’ve been meaning to do a sort of sweeping discussion of the Mass Effect series for some time now, and it’s ready at last!
My friends and I have a running in-joke about Infinium Labs’ cancelled “Phantom” console. I don’t mean to be cruel about a failed business model. It’s just that the whole story about a cancelled console that doesn’t exist, being called “Phantom”? You can’t really make that up.
But if Infinium had used Kickstarter in 2004, would we have funded the Phantom back then ourselves? How would things be different?