Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Annual Report 2012: Gaming

(Click to Embiggen)
2012 may have seen a record number of games played by me. Certainly it didn't compete on hours, we had a second child and I used to play WoW. In terms of sheer number of games I tried and sometimes completed though, 20 seems like a lot. That total doesn't account for the ten trillion iOS games I played either. I tried to figure out a way to track them too, but there is no Steam on my iPad.

Speaking of Steam, 2012 was the year of the PC. Even for games I would have normally played on the console (e.g. Darksiders 2). I picked them up on the PC instead, piped them through to my office study TV via HDMI out and played them with a wireless controller. PC ports don't suck anymore and the hardware in my PC is not going on eight years old. It renewed my faith in the platform and even sold me on upgrading this coming Spring. Even with the looming 720 and PS4.

Most Disappointing Game: Diablo 3
I made my peace with the disappointment Diablo 3 brought on my house a while ago, but the after taste still lingers to this day. Considering I put 71.2 hours into it before finally settling on "this sucks", there must have been some merit right? Certainly the art direction was great, the nostalgia it preyed upon was welcoming and seeing old WoW friends again was fun times. Then it turned into a grind, maybe it was the same grind in Diablo 2, but in 2012 that shit don't fly. It was unbalanced in the late game, the auction house vs. crafting was junk and nothing about it screamed "play me more". Total bummer!
Honorable Mention: Assassin's Creed III

Best Broken Game: Hotline Miami
I wanted to love this game. Small indie developer with a vision for a game that it got right in some many aspects. A dope sound track that I spun in my car more than I heard it in game. Graphics that were retro because they felt right for the game, not just because they are easier and cheaper to do.Twitch game play that felt odd at first, but became crisp and tight over time. All the makings for a potential game of the year, but than it ran like shit on my modern personal computer. I was turning off print spool drivers and sacrificing goats over the keyboard, but nothing would raise the frame rates to a playable level. Boo hiss!

Game of the Year: Dishonored
Stealth gets me going. Good, bad or otherwise I gravitate towards the mechanics of sneaking. Dishonored is all the stealth I want from a first person perspective, but what makes it my game of the year is all the other stuff it does. It creates a world I want to return to, rich in implied and direct story telling. The art direction was unified, stylized and beautiful. It was all that and a great stealth game. Standing on the shoulders of games like Thief and Deus Ex and doing them one better. Making the stealth work and the fail state of having to fall back on combat not feel like a fail state. Heres to the story DLC that should be coming in the first quarter of 2013!
Honorable Mention: Mark of the Ninja

Best Multiplayer: Black Ops 2
Every year I tell myself I won't get the next annualized Call of Duty game. That it is a money grab, that the DLC situation on the PC is total bullshit, that it is a tired franchise that needs to be put out of it's misery. And then I end up buying it. I buy it because they make the same game every year, but that same game is a great one. The multiplayer is fast paced, quick and fun. If I die it was because of the poor decision I made in the split second I had to make one. Then I get to try again, over and over and then I usually get it right. If I was no good at them I would quit, but I usually log 100+ hours over the course of the year (post release) and I always get better. The class building, leveling and prestige systems are the added carrot to the stick.
Honorable Mention: Journey

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Miles Logged

Books Read

Recently Finished:

The Wise Man's Fear
Dynasty of Evil
100 Bullets Vol. 07: Samurai
Batman: Batman and Son
100 Bullets Vol. 06: Six Feet Under the Gun
100 Bullets Vol. 05: The Counterfifth Detective
100 Bullets Vol. 04: A Foregone Tomorrow
100 Bullets Vol. 03: Hang Up on the Hang Low
100 Bullets Vol. 02: Split Second Chance
30 Days of Night
100 Bullets Vol. 01: First Shot, Last Call
Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street
Uzumaki, Volume 1
Runaways vol. 1: Pride and Joy
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 2: Dallas
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite
Batman: Hush, Vol. 2
Atomic Robo Vol. 4: Other Strangeness