Do they know its Christmas time at all? I'm not referring to the African children who despite the racist implications of the song were probably well aware of Chrimbo. I'm talking about those peoples who make the video games. We usually have a wide selection of huge AAA, brilliant games released at this time of year. It always seems that everything is bigger and better. But this year has been a mess. What is little Johnny gonna get in his stocking this year? If I woke up on Christmas Day to find Destiny and Sonic Boom in my stocking, I think I personally (at the grand old age of 30) would throw a massive barney and spit at the pigs in blankets.
I am being a little facetious here, and it may just be me growing ever more cantankerous in my old age. But this year seems to have been a bit of a stinker. There have been delays, broken games, endless sequels, companies acting like dicks, re releases, disappointments and a lack of inspiration. Scummy men tried to rob us on Steam. Scummy companies tried to rob us through DLC. Pay to wait games have tried to get us to sell our grandmothers to be able to afford a litany of micro transactions which threaten to make the games fun, but never seem to produce the goods.
And this is before we get started on re releases. Obviously we knew that there would be some crossover in between console generations but it seems like overkill. I will admit that I feel like I'm part of the problem here. I happily handed over 40 bucks for the “next gen” port of The Last of Us. I would upgrade my top films from DVD to Blu ray so why not do the same with games. Unfortunately it seems like every studio has clocked onto this and has decided to provide us with “ultimate” editions featuring upgraded graphics, some DLC we never cared about the first time, and a new pair of socks for the main character.
Blockbuster after Blockbuster failed. New properties failed to register big. A lot were decent. Titanfall, Infamous, Watchdogs, and the aforementioned Destiny. Decent. Is that what we demand now. Decent? When I spend 50 quid on a game I want it to be fucking spectacular. Fun from start to finish. For that price I could get tickets for my favourite bands, or sports team, a table for two at a decent restaurant. A good night out, or a lot of drugs. I could have sex with a prostitute. Probably 3 in South Wales. If I choose to spend my 50 quid on gaming then it should leave me with an experience that is worth as much money as any of those.
Sequels. It's been a pretty insipid year. COD is in the future now. But the same. FIFA sucks a bit more than usual, NHL sucks a bit more than usual, Little Big Planet sucked a bit more than usual, NBA was not as good as last years. WWE sucks a lot more than usual. Assassins creed manages to suck a bit more than usual over two different games which suck more than usual for different reasons. Sonic Boom Blowed more than Boomed. At least Need for Speed had the decency not to bother showing up.
Fuck ups happened a lot this year. It took days before you could play Drive Club. Destiny had problems at launch. Peoples faces went missing in Assassins Creed Unity. The Master Chief collection managed the impossible by making a compilation of re releases less instantly playable than looking in a dilapidated attic for a 360 and finding those old Halo disks between a jam jar and a stapler. The fact that these are fixable by updates is something I guess, but I can't think of too many industries where you can be sold something which is incomplete on the promise that it'll be finished soon.
Nintendo decided to fuck up this year, by having some phenomenal games. Bayonetta 2, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze. Mario Kart 8. The new Smash Bros. Works of genius the lot of them. “How are they fucking up Rhod?” I hear you cry! Well Gents and Ladies let me tell you. They don't like gays for starters. And also if Nintendo decided to spend their advertising budget on advertising instead of what I presume must be a new pseudo sports league in which they race budgerigars across an island, to find flags with the face of Shigeru Miyamoto, whilst being chased by hairy cannibalistic women who are flinging faeces at them, then people may actually buy said games and the Wii U would not have been doomed to the eternal dust catcher I fear it will be by this time next year.
Talking of poo flinging, something happened this year. Desperate to usurp the stupidity of last year when every half wit decided they would name themselves a geek because they quite liked the superman movie, gamers decided they would hate women. They didn't know why. But they decided they would make it known. To the world. #Gamergate, #Gomergoat (I love it) or whatever cunting hashtag riddled “statement” that the movement decided to identify with seemed to have a lot of people angrier than should ever have been angry about video games. I can no longer identify as a geek or a gamer because of idiots. I now self identify only as bastard. It comes to something when in comaprison "console wars seems like a credible topic of conversation.
Look I'm well aware that I am being a huge grump here. And like I explained earlier a bit facetious. In all honesty I do think this year has been a big let down. After the brilliant 2013 I guess it was inevitable. The first year of new consoles lifespans is generally never known as the best. And last gen consoles had some real classics. I managed to spend a few days in South Park and had my own brilliant adventure there. And whilst I personally haven't got round to the games yet, the Dark Souls sequel was incredibly well received. It does seem like these great experiences have been few and far between.
Next week I was planning on writing a favourite games of 2014 list. The lack of candidates available made me realise that it has been a particularly weak year for gaming. As I don't think I can bring myself to write a list which included remakes of games from last year I have decided that I'm going to write a top things of 2014 lists. I'm off now to utter unspeakable things to myself, beneath my breath, before thinking about that list. Here is to 2015!
Thanks for reading guys. I really appreciate it. First of all can i apologize for the font issues with this blog. I don't know where it's gone wrong. Writing this blog has been cathartic but I do promise to be nicer calmer Rhod next week.. Stay tuned for more rambunctious rants and retributive (w)rite ups from Rowdy Rhod.