Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How The Time Flys

The year is coming to an end. Thank goodness. It's been a tumultuous year for me personally, but we can check it off the list and move on.

But I also feel that this year is one of my best in terms of reporting and writing. So I'm going to use this space, the last entry, to reflect on the year in gaming with the posts that I enjoyed.

- Twitch Plays Pokémon was ingenious. The concept sounded like it would reign in nothing but chaos: multiple people playing the same game of Pokémon and must traverse all of the dojo's to be the very best Pokémon master! Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was enough of a challenge when you have a full team playing and you're limited to a certain range of movement. "Go here. No go here. Take the bucket or we're going to die!" But it was enjoyable to see thousands of players act civilized when it came to Pokémon. There were mishaps and lots of button mashing causing your hero to run into walls and non-existent doorways, but overall, the game play was enjoyable. Gamers can work together for a common goal!

- Where are the religious video games? While some video games do utilize religion, they are handled in a delicate way and are not so glaringly obvious. But my interest was why there were few games based on a religion, or a retelling of a story from the Koran or the Bible. I'm still looking for an answer on why we don't see these more often given how prevalent religion is around the world.

- Time Magazine showed lack of research when making the statement that 90% of video games produced today are violent. Based on the context of the article, violence meant on the level of Call of Duty, blood and gore. It was surprising to see them come to such a conclusion given the ESRB's 2013 stats showed 45% were rated E. Only 9% receiving an M rating. This isn't to say that M content isn't popular, nor does it not sell more then other ratings. But 95 does not equal 90% of released content. There are a lot of games out there, Time. Not all are violent.

Time did it again later in the year when they placed war photographer into The Last of Us to take screenshots and report on his experience. Unfortunately he didn't really play the game, handed the controller off to someone else in the office who did know, and acted as a "watcher." He missed the intent behind the assignment, and I felt it dampened his results.

- The Stick of Truth released! I still find myself enjoying the game on occasion. I need to get the "Befriend Jesus as a Jew" achievement, but I do not like the class because of the equipment restrictions. Still, it was a game worthy of release this year.

- As a follow-up, when THQ went bankrupt and vacated their offices, they didn't take anything with them. All of their awards, their posters, computers - it almost seems like someone called out a bomb threat; everyone got up and left and never came back. The images from a Reddit user are eerie and depressing. What happens when a developer goes out of business?

- Diversity in games is needed, else the industry will become stagnant. That's pretty much been my message for the year. And nerds? Let it be. The time for change is now. It's okay to grow up. Gaming is ready for it.

- Goat Simulator became a thing, and I wrote about how simple, and sometimes stupid games, deserve their place in the world. Because simple can be beautiful. It can be elegant and enchanting. It can also be the right amount of fun without overwhelming your senses, or pouring endless hours into the world. It's just a story about a goat. With a long tongue and weird physics.

- GTA is ready for a female protagonist. Given it's legacy and how much it loves to push against the sandbox grain (see what I did there?), it is time. Rockstar is one of the few companies with the balls to do it. They need an investor or two to back them up.

Have a Happy New Year everyone. I'll be back tomorrow with my annual report.


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