January 02, 2015

Game Over: 2014

(Sorry it's late. My life doesn't like me making deadlines.)

Happy new year everyone! And thanks for sticking with me for another year. The blog continues to grow and get more interesting, and it's all because of you! I know I'm a pretty microscopic part of the gaming world over here, but I really appreciate you taking the time to pop in once in a while, read or even skim my latest blog, and leave a comment or poll vote when you can. I still get unnaturally excited when I see comments left on my posts, or even when you drop me a line on twitter. Interacting with you guys has been the best part about this whole thing, and the highlight of my year (that's probably pretty sad, but whatever, I love you guys). I can't thank you enough for that. What I can do is pop out another Game Over blog! Just like… two days late.

I feel like 2014 wasn't too terribly exciting overall for games (maybe I'm alone on that?), but that didn't stop the industry from blowing up with news and still popping out a couple of great titles. I'm pretty disappointed in myself this year, I really didn't conquer many games released in 2014 but if you know me, this is expected. I'm always at least a year behind and I've actually managed to acquire a lot of games but just haven't had the time to play them yet. I'm also not exactly thrilled with myself regarding the blog. I feel like it's expanded a lot, and I'm proud of that, but I didn't quite meet all of my goals for the year. Of course, these have now become my goals for next year, so cheers to having another year to slack off! Let's talk games!

Quick mandatory disclaimer that this blog is about MY year in gaming, not just the current gaming generation. So here's a summary of the games I played this year, with completed entries listed in orange! Click for the blog, where applicable.

Shadow of the Colossus
Blue Dragon
Golden Axe
Tales of Xillia
Final Fantasy X
Uncharted 2^
SaGa 2
Mario Kart 8^
The Wolf Among Us^
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land
Infinite Undiscovery^
Muramasa Rebirth
Dragon's Crown
Bayonetta 2
Rocket Knight Adventures
Tomb Raider^
New Super Mario Bros U
The Wonderful 101
Pikmin 3
Sonic Lost World
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyrics
Zombie U
Resident Evil Revelations
Trine 2
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Wii Sports Club

And from that, here's what I will most definitely be visiting again:
Shadow of the Colossus - to me, this game is so simple and perfect that I'd play it most anytime. This was certainly not my first playthrough and won't be my last.
Uncharted - I'd hope by now you've all learned how I feel about the Uncharted series. Frankly, I'm surprised I'm not playing now. I love this game.
Blue Dragon - Since finishing the game, my good experience with this game has trumped the preexisting bad experience, and I've actually had to fend off the yearning to play it again many times already (I have the soundtrack to thank for that). As soon as I'm ready for another 70+ hour RPG, this will find its way into my 360 again.
Golden Axe - Duh.
Deadpool - I enjoyed Deadpool. It made me laugh, it wasn't difficult or frustrating, and it's a pretty quick game.
FFX - I play this every year.
Uncharted 2 - See previous Uncharted entry.
SaGa 2  - Again, a classic retro game that I've played many times. This is absolutely not my last.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss - I'm not in a mad rush to play this again, as I picked it apart pretty thoroughly on my first go, but it was still a fun, true-to-its-name game that I'll happily traipse through again.
SML 3 Wario Land - Wario for the win!
Bioshock - If I have to justify this then you do not know me at all.
Muramasa - I enjoyed this game a lot, and I'm really interested to see how it plays on the Wii now!
Fable - Another game I've played countless times. It'll happen again. Hopefully drunk…er.
Dragon's Crown - Maybe next time on PS3?
Bayonetta 2 - I can't say enough good things about this game. Definitely replaying.
Rocket Knight Adventures - An amazing, quick, retro title that I'm constantly drawn to.
NSMBU -  Technically STILL playing this.
Pikmin 3 - I can't wait to dive into this game for a full playthrough.
Trine 2 - Recently purchased and in the bull pen.
Wii Sports - I'm sure I'm gonna hafta take down the old man again some day.

And the games I'm not so hot about:
Dishonored - Really failed to catch my interest. I'm not sure what would have to happen for me to play this again.
The Wolf Among Us - I kind of feel like once is enough for this game. I found the speed of the game rather annoying and it  just didn't surprise me much, despite its great set up.
Sonic Lost World - I'll just play genesis.
Sonic Boom - No, thanks.
Zombie U - Just didn't impress me at all. No part of this game makes me want to play it over similar titles in the genre.

And in the in-betweeners file:
Infinite Undiscovery - I started and immediately became bored with this game. There are so many other games I want to play right now that I'm not sure when I'll have another look at this.
Resident Evil Revelations - Really, really surprised me, in a good way. I think I'll have to pick this one up when it's convenient and give it a chance.
Monster Hunter - These games have never particularly hypnotized me, but I didn't have a bad experience so I may give it a go some day.
Tomb Raider - I'm actually still working on this game as we speak. I think you can look forward to a blog in the new year!
The Wonderful 101 - As I said in the blog, I wasn't too impressed with this game, but I also only played maybe 20 minutes. I sorta feel like it deserves more time. We'll see.

And since we're talking blogged games, here's what got YOU GUYS talking' from ATSG this year. My top 3 most read blogs are:
3. The E3 Blog: 2014 - good to see you interested in my opinions!
2. That's A Wrap: Shadow of the Colossus - you've shocked me with this one!
1. Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land - can't say I'm surprised. Wario is the shit.

And my most commented blog is The Elite Four: Hardest Games.

Then there's the stuff that no one looked at:
3. The Elite Four: Party Games - you're all a bunch of party poopers.
2. Out of MP: Dishonored - really can't blame you for this one.
1. The Elite Four: Sub Bosses - still little on the new side…

My writing style grows and changes all the time, and after two years of blogging, I can say that I actually find some of my own work painful to relive. That said, there are also some posts that I'm really proud of, and I hope some people will click through again some day. Here are my favorites from this year:
Blue Dragon - I feel like this blog was - in a lot of ways - the moment everything changed for my wrap blogs. It's the first blog I can recall putting LOADS of time into, and began including screen caps and other new additions to my blogs. I know it's suuuuuuuper long and virtually nobody read it, but I'm still really proud of this entry, and my completion of the game.
Les Dispositifs Terrible: Playstation Vita - It occurred to me after purchasing my Vita that there was still a whole lot I didn't know about it before I bought it. After a bit of research, I realized that there isn't much out there in the way of opinionated hardware breakdowns of gaming consoles, so I thought I'd try my hand at it. I really like how this blog series (Les Dispositifs) came together and I look forward to doing more. They're some of my most popular blogs and it all started with this one.
The Elite Four: Sub Bosses - This particular entry was actually in the works for a long time, because I spent a lot of time trying to think up better contenders, and didn't post the blog until I was confident that I wasn't going to uncover any. I'm really excited by my Elite Four series, and a little bummed that they're not more popular (see above). I feel like I choose really unique lists to do and I hope that as you get to know me better, you'll find this series more interesting. If you have any "Top 5" ideas you'd like to see me do, please get in touch!

So that's my year in gaming, now let's have a look at some of the stuff I've regrettably backlogged…

Don't Starve - I've heard so many mixed impressions about this game and I just kinda want to see for myself. I'm saving this bad boy for PS4.
Bravely Default - This is a game I've heard almost universally good things about, and it's definitely right up my alley.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Love the previous titles, love my WiiU. No brainer.
South Park Stick of Truth - Already picked this one up, can't wait to begin!
Dark Souls 2 - This one is the winner of the "because of my friends" award this year. I still haven't dove into the Souls series yet. Really need to get on that…
MGS: Ground Zeroes - I hear this is more of a glorified demo than a game, but I enjoy MGS as a rule. I'm sure I can find the 15 minutes or so to beat it someday.
Infamous: Second Son - Another PS4 title I intend to pick up in the new year. I hear it's good fun!
NES Remix - I'm kinda of weary to check these out, but everyone says they're fun, and I'm certainly acquainted with all of the titles the game plays upon.
Child of Light - Runner up for the "because of my friends" award. Everyone says this game is beautiful, and I'm a sucker for a good-looking game.
Shovel Knight - This game stirred up quite a fuss this year. A retro-style game on a current-gen console. I've heard mixed reviews, but I know there's only one way to find out for sure!
Diablo 3 - Man, am I behind on this. I've been meaning to pick up D3 for a looooooong time now, but just keep procrastinating. I expect I'll be saving this for PS4 as well.
Tales of Xillia 2 - Xillia wasn't my favorite Tales game, but it entertained me enough that I'll pick up the sequel when I find it for a good price.
Sunset Overdrive - This is one of the few games that's managed to make me want a Xbox One. It looks quite fun and everyone tells me the humor is perfect for me.
Tales of Hearts R - Already purchased and awaiting assignment! I'm really excited to check this one out and you can expect a blog in the new year!
Far Cry 4 - Another title I considered picking up, but I've decided to wait for PS4. This game completely blew me away at E3 this year.
Little Big Planet 3 - LBP is just a fun brain exercise for me, and I've enjoyed the past titles. I'll pick it up for some gentle fun.
Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire - I'm falling pretty far behind in the Pokemon games (the last I've played was Black/White), so I've got some work to do before I get to these guys, but I'm sure I will eventually.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker - I wasn't as excited as everyone else for this game, but no one has shut up about it since. The price seems a bit steep, but I'll grab it soon.

"But what about [this game], Lo?!" Simmer down, kids. Some games just aren't for me. Titantfall, Goat Simulator (seriously?), Watch Dogs, Tomodachi Life, Every Sports Game Ever, Forza Horizon 2, Drive Club, Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare and The Crew all ultimately failed to interest me this year. The one game that is kind of on the fence is Destiny. It doesn't look like my kinda game but a lot of my friends (many of whom also wouldn't partake in this type of game) are telling me very good things. I'm mildly interested to check it out when I get my PS4.

And that leaves us with the "I'm not sure" pile, which includes Project Spark, Alien: Isolation, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Hyrule Warriors, The Walking Dead, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Shape Up and The Evil Within. All of these games have appealed to me on some level but I'm just not ready to take the plunge yet. We'll see what next year brings for these titles.

Speaking of next year, here are some of the games that I absolutely, unequivocally cannot live without in 2015 and beyond.
Uncharted 4 - If you've paid any attention at all to this blog then you knew this was coming. In fact, I'm actually holding out on buying a PS4 until Uncharted comes out. Nothing else has be excited enough for the console but this.
Silent Hills - That said, when the "P.T." demo went live on PS4, everyone's chattering was almost enough to get me to buy a PS4 to experience this for myself. I'm still really excited to hear more about this, but for now the impulse has passed. I live vicariously thorough y'all.
Splatoon - I've already been recruited to a team for this one! When I first saw the announcement, I wasn't too sure about it, but now I'm excited to play it with my friends.
Zelda U - Still don't really know anything about this game except that it's supposed to be huge, and released in 2015. Looking forward to more information, Nintendo. Plus it's Zelda. They seldom get it wrong.
Mighty No. 9 - It's been a long time since there's been a great 2D platformer in the same spirit of days past. I have high hopes for Mighty No. 9, and I hope it lives up to expectations. I'm thrilled that more developers are catering to retro gamers, even though we're swamped by modern gamers.
The Witcher 3 - The Witcher is a series that's always kind of caught be off guard, in that it's not - on paper - a game that I'd typically gravitate towards, and yet I still manage to find it attractive. There's been a lot of hype for W3, and I'm all for checking it out!
No Man's Sky - This was another title that really caught my attention at E3. It's peculiar, and I want to know more.
Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain - See previous comments about MGS. I'm looking forward to seeing how Kojima is going to screw with us this time.
Persona 5 - Persona games are usually surprising and quirky, so I'm game for P5.
Star Fox U - I just desperately hope this is a proper, true-to-heart Star Fox game. This is a series that's been messed around with a lot in the past and I just want a simple, fun, classic-style SF.
Tales of Zestiria - I'm always down for a new Tales game. Bring it on, BanNam.
Xenoblade Chronicles X - Somebody remind me to pick this up at release so I don't have to take out a mortgage to buy it later.

And in the 'maybe' department…
Resident Evil Revelations 2 - Simply because I haven't actually played the first game yet, but RER2 seems like it's going to bring some life to Team #ResidentBarry, so I'm braced for more information.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse - I'll be honest, it's been a long time since I've bothered with Kirby. This one may sneak its way onto my radar though.
Mario Maker - This game interests me but I also feel like there is a finite amount of fun to be had with it, so I'm not 100% as of yet.
The Division - From what information I have now, the Division has the potential to be a game that may convince even me to play online. That said, I'm sure it won't be long before the internet it overcome with people complaining about the usual online dynamic, so I'm skeptical.

As I said earlier, 2014 was a big year for news in the video game industry, and this time, I DID take notes! Hooray for professionalism. So here's a few game-related news headlines that piqued my attention in 2014.

Right off the top of the year, a copy of World Championships for the NES sold on eBay for a whopping $100,000 USD. Someone must have wanted that cartridge BAD. Personally, I can't imagine spending that kind of dough on a single game, and especially for a game that I don't think means much to anyone. Is there any game you'd spend big money on if you had it?

In the 'break my heart' files, Amy Hennig - of Uncharted fame - left the game's home studio Naughty Dog in March of this year, and later joined a subsidiary of EA. This hits me right in the feels, because Hennig was a large part of the mastermind behind the Uncharted series, and with U4 already announced, I was worried that her departure would affect the game for the worse. Obviously I have yet to explore that theory, but I trust Naughty Dog, and while I don't know why this departure had to happen, I hold my hopes high that U4 will stay true to the series so far.

Speaking of Naughty Dog, it was announced around the same time that ND's other big title, The Last of Us, is going to be made into a feature film. Normally, I'd commence whining about this immediately, as I'm often not a fan of adaptations - especially of new products - but I sort of feel like if any video game story could make a compelling film, this is the one. In fact, I've spoke before about how I've even showed the cutscenes of TLOU to non-gamers because I feel the story is that strong. Some part of me knows they're still going to butcher it with poor casting, directing and whatever else Hollywood can make money off of, but I hope it turns our decent in the end.

Also in the Sony family, it was announced early this year that Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America had stepped down. I can't honestly say this affected me much personally, but from what I've read online over the years, it seemed he was a rather cared for figure at Sony, and this news was somewhat sudden and unexpected for Sony fans. He was replaced by another long-time Sony resident, Shawn Layden, whom I've heard nothing about before or since.

Wow. That was a lot to process in the first three months of the year. Things seemed to keep pretty quiet until the summertime, when Ubisoft decide they want everyone to hate them. They kicked off this campaign with remarks about sexism in games, and why their games seldom feature strong, female leads. I'll be honest with you, I grew up surrounded by men. I liked things guys liked and I did things guys did. For me, sexism wasn't a terribly prominent issue because I was always quick to personally challenge it amongst my peers. I appreciate diversity of characters in games, and I like that some games offer you the option to play as male or female, but I'd be lying if I said I was truly offended by the lack of respectable women in games. That doesn't mean people have the right to diminish women or disrespect us, but I'm no stranger to male-dominated industries and activities, and I don't really turn to games for examples of tough chicks, although there certainly are some great examples. Just my two cents, for whatever it's worth.

And then - out of nowhere - Nintendo came flying out of the gates with a slew of games to excite the masses and finally put to bed all the negativity and sad rumors surrounding Nintendo and the WiiU. The company shattered expectations on WiiU and 3DS with Super Smash Bros., Hyrule Warriors, Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2 and new Pokemon entires. Not to mention the timed-exclusive Shovel Knight was gathering all sorts of attention and awards. And then Amiibos!
I noticed many people - in addition to myself - buying WiiUs this year, and I have to say it's a solid investment with titles like these. My twitter timeline is still nothing but "who wants to play Smash?" and "who's up for some Mario Kart" and my WiiU friends lists is significantly more active than my other consoles.
That said, I have to give props to Sony for blowing everyone out of the water this year with the Playstation + subscription service. The games they gave away this year were not low-end titles: Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, DmC: Devil May Cry, Metro: Last Light, Remember Me, Batman: Arkham City,  Dragon's Crown, Terraria and many, many others are all now in the collections of PS+ subscribers. I've spoken about this service in other blogs and I gotta say, it's worth it, guys. I thoroughly enjoy this service.

The rest of the year's big game news can no doubt be traced to the year's major events, such as E3. But instead of boring you with that, I'll just leave a link to my E3 blog. Right here. Go ahead and click it. It's cool, I'll wait. Go on.

You back? Okay, great! So the last thing I'm only going to dedicate a few sentences to here is gaming journalism and the ugly child born from it: Gamer Gate. Here's the deal, folks: I honestly have no idea what this is, or why it's needed to carry on for months. I refuse to involve myself in it, because as far as I can tell, it's just a bunch of immature nonsense often traced back to illegal behavior, sexism and/or misunderstanding of feminism, and other childish activities. I don't know who Phil Fish, Jenn Frank or any of these other headliners are, and if it weren't for twitter, I wouldn't even be mentioning them now. I suppose some people would call me ignorant or naive for refusing to comment on this matter, seeing as I am, essentially, a gaming journalist of sorts, but the whole thing I love about ATSG and my interactions with gamers is that none of this bullshit is part of it. We just enjoy games together. I respect people as much as they respect me - which has thankfully been a lot in the encounters I've had - and I don't want the kind of attention that these people are garnering. I feel like common sense, respect and equality are things you should practice naturally, on and off the internet. I do, and I have no business with people who can't express their opinions respectfully. So that's my piece. Let's get back to fun stuff.

My new goal in life and hobbies to try and attend at least one nerdy, hopefully somewhat game-y event a year. This year, I was conveniently in the Toronto, Canada area during Fan Expo, the super-geek gathering in the North. Fan Expo is basically another way of saying "Comic Con" as it encompasses games, film, anime, comics and many other branches of fandom all in one place. Even more exciting, is that I was able to meet some new friends there, in the form of Erica and Tom (and their combined effort!). If either of you should be reading this, it was a pleasure spending the day with you, and having your sharp eyes to find things I certainly would have overlooked!
I posted some of the goodies I brought home from the day in my last blog, and sadly I don't have any pictures or other exciting stories to tell. I basically just shopped to my heart's content. I was pleased with the amount of Deadpool merchandise and cosplayers. Well done, nerds. There was lots going on though! There were massive set ups for League of Legends and The Evil Within, in addition to appearances by artists and actors, including my beloved William Shatner and Patrick Stewart who appeared together, but sadly I couldn't attend. Total Trekkie fail, I know, I know.
In 2015, I'm hoping to get out to either PAX East in Boston or the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, so if any of you are attending these, I'd love for you to reach out and encourage me to follow through. I'd love to meet more of you and since I'd likely be traveling alone, I'd appreciate having someone to talk to! 

Of course, this section would be worthless if I didn't take the time to share with you some of my favorite finds in the video game content creating world. And I will begin with the two gentlemen that deserve it most: the Cartridge Bros.. And I'll tell you why! 
P1 and I were recently reminiscing about finding each other via twitter, which ultimately led to the boys inviting me to join their genius creation, the Cartridge Club. You've no doubt heard me raving about this a lot over the year, and it means a lot to me not only because it's a brilliant idea, but because with it, the Bros have brought together a group of people that have come to feel like family to me. I'm sadly not especially close to any of these guys, but they are some of the kindest, most thoughtful dudes you could ever speak to, and all of them great, wildly underrated content creators, too! So if you have some time to kill, I implore you to check out my surrogate family.
Darren of the Gaming Pilgrimage. The Bros. introduced us on the Dragon Quest edition of the CC, and it quickly became apparent to me that Darren and I have the same Japanese RPGer blood running through our veins. Whenever I - or any of us, it seems - am in need of information about a JRPG, I find myself checking D's channel first. The man knows his shit, and creates amazing, thorough videos on these beauties.
Rich, the Ram Vox - our man in Japan! Vox keeps us up to date on all things happening in the motherland on his channel and through his shiny new podcast, Retro Fandango. I've learned an absolute ton about famicom games and other Japanese gems since I've tuned into his channel. Plus, he's a nice dude with a little bitta Jersey in him, so he makes for an entertaining few minutes.
Kevin, of Buried on Mars fame. The other half of Retro Fandango and otherwise clever-as-can-be Martian. Marvin's (courtesy of Vox) content really covers the spread. He plays a whole bunch of systems and has one of the greatest "why I'm a gamer" stories I've ever heard. I often find myself rewatching his videos to confirm information, 'cause they're usually packed with it. AND! Great things often come in pairs, so once you've conquered Kev's channel, go meet his wife and my fellow Teenage Mutant Ninja Blogger, Sarca. She covers things you may have never heard of, but you're going to want to after you see the stuff she finds!
Dean at Round 2 Gaming. This man. Has the single most impressive collection. I have ever. EVER. Seen. And not only does he share it with you - in great detail, I might add - but he literally shares it with you. Seriously, he gives you stuff. Amazing stuff. Not like "oh here, have one my 12 copies of Sonic the Hedgehog…" No. Dude's like "Want half of Japan? No problem, I'll hook you up." His videos never cease to amaze me, and he's currently teasing us with a room tour, so you're gonna wanna get over there. Like, yesterday.
One of the newer additions to our family is the crew at Retro Nonsense. Duke and I have a ton in common and it's ridiculous good fun reliving the happier memories of my childhood with him and his kids, 8-Bit Bob, The Gameboy and Anime, all of whom are vibrant, fun, beautiful kids. If I ever have kids... nah, fuck it, I'm just gonna kidnap Duke's kids. Their videos are fun and insightful, and they've actually managed to produce a Christmas song that I don't hate. That's sayin' something, folks.
If I had just a fraction of the energy and talent that J-Rock the Game Rocker has, my shirts wouldn't have sleeves either. If you're having a bad day, you need to check out this dude's channel. If he doesn't cheer you up, you're dead inside.
In spite of the fact that I didn't let him get a word in edge-wise during our Bioshock episode of CC, Steve at Capmax Gaming is actually very knowledgable, and often subjects himself to the tireless experimentation (and sometimes suffering, #PrayForGamepad) that the rest of us don't make time for. He also collects like a fiend, and regularly makes me wish I lived in his neck of the woods.
And the reason Steve couldn't get a word in edge-wise, is because the Bros. made the terrible, terrible mistake of uniting me with my spirit animal, Retro J, one half of Tiger Fucking Uppercut. This channel…
…Jeez I don't even know how to describe it to you. These gents are simultaneously the most charming and tumultuous pair you will ever meet, and not a single one of their videos has left me cry-free from laughter. It's just… incredib- just go watch.
And for something a little different, you'll want to see what the ol' RyHoMagnifico is up to. He posts about all sorts of things, including games, but also horror flicks, comic books and collectables and then some. A well-spoken, insightful and genuine guy (and also one of my best readers!); you'd be lucky to call him a friend. Also he's an expert on potato chips. FYI.

I know there are countless other members that I've yet to fit into my schedule, but if you hit up the Bros. website, you can find everybody!

Lastly, I have to mention Retro Liberty. Aaron found me on twitter one day a while back, and while assessing his worthiness - ahem - I wound up on the RL channel checking out videos... the next thing I knew it was 5 a.m. and I'd watched a ton of NES Pursuit. Aaron and Ricky have an incredibly alluring dynamic, and they never stop coming up with new content for the channel which, even if it wasn't interesting, you'd be entertained by the editing alone. Their videos are light-hearted and fun, and remind you of what video game discussion is supposed to be.

Tired of YouTube? Not to fear, I possess the secret to the greatest minds in game-related print, too, and they are... the TEENAGE not really MUTANT not especially NINJA this one is true BLOGGERS also true! Yes, the once "three musketeers" have expanded - also thanks to the Cartridge Bros, by the way - to four and unnecessarily changed their gimmick. You will, as always, find their links permanently in my 'affiliates' section of the sidebar, along with the also-worthy-of-your-time Graduated Gamer and my not-so-evil-twin Tyler and his comrades at Legacy Control. Furthermore, the aforementioned Erica has a really neat blog pairing gaming with food! You know you want to see that.

Okay enough with the links! Let's get to…

I'll say it again: I haven't played many, let alone all of the games released this year, so I'm pretty limited here for my yearly awards. I'm okay with this.

The rest of this list will surely justify this winner and prove once-and-for-all the 2014 was Nintendo's year. I couldn't wait any longer to pick up a WiiU after all of the incredible releases this year and the console surely has a bright future, too. It's a technically imperfect console - as demonstrated in my Les Dispositifs blog - but the thing never stops bringing the fun. The WiiU even convinces non-gamers to play, and core gamers can certainly have a fair bit of fun with it, too. It's reliable, has a million controllers and a caters to modern and retro gamers alike. Thank you, Nintendo.

Ha-ha-ha! So stoked I can get away with this. It's a totally legitimate answer! Wario is one of the many playable characters in Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros. so take that! Wario always wins!
Wario has always been my favorite "Mario universe" character, his unique personality stands apart from all the others and he makes for endless fun in stories. I depend on this little man for taking down opponents, and if Nintendo won't give him his own designated year, than I will!

I don't know how much you could pick upon it from just my blog, but music is a big, big part of my life, and in addition to the beautiful original score done for Bayo2, and the stunning arrangements of existing tunes, I appreciate the subtle homages - only a true music buff would recognize - made to popular music all throughout the Bayonetta games. This sequel has a perfect example of a successful game soundtrack, in that it's fantastic on its own, but also adds the right amount of interest to the game. The soundtrack never drowns the rest of the game out, but its still always noticeable and really gets you motivated. One of my favorite parts of this game was unlocking the soundtrack and spending hours scrolling through, and enjoy the new arrangement of Moon River.

I'm not the biggest fan of the Mario Kart games, but even I can't deny that this game is beautiful. It would be so easy to mess up the design of a game like this because it's a series of race tracks, but Nintendo really knocked it out the park with MK8. Each course is intricate, different, exciting and challenging! What's more is there are an absolute ton of them. There's not only a great variation on the level design, but there are also tons of vehicles, customizations and characters that share the game's seamless style. They've even begun releasing DLC for MK8 featuring more beloved Nintendo familiars. This game just does not stop putting out.

GAME OF THE YEAR: Bayonetta 2
Consider how I feel about the soundtrack, and then apply those feelings to the rest of the game. Bayonetta 2 is the first game I've bought on day one in a long time, because it's been that long since I was this excited to play a game. Nintendo added more fuel to this fire by releasing a demo of the game shortly before the game's release date, and I was so enthused that I even wrote a blog to share my feelings. I'm so thrilled that this title managed to come to fruition without losing the series' charm and other positive attributes, while still ironing out the bugs the first title contained. This game is so good that the only complaints most people have been able to turn up are "it's too short" or "it's too easy". They even added an interesting online component to Bayo2, and while I'm not this biggest fan of it, it's one of the few online appendages of a game that I'll even consider. It's more than just a beautiful soundtrack, and it's exclusively on the WiiU. If I hadn't already owned one, I'd have bought a WiiU for this game.

Gamer of the year: You. No really. If you actually read this whole thing, you deserve an award. But in all seriousness: thank you. I push myself to work hard on this blog for you, and your pageviews, comments and feedback mean the world to me. Thank you for another incredible year; I wish you the best for 2015, and will do my best to improve this space even more in the coming year. Happy new year, everyone, and here's to what looks to be a great year in gaming!


  1. Well my original post was deleted when I went to log into google so I could post it, sob. So here's a brief run down of what I said since I don't wanna retype all that on my phone,sorry. I loved dishonored but only the stealth aspect. Otherwise it was kinda weird. In a year full of broken games and major disappointments your better off having skipped many titles. I agree wiiu is easily console of the year, they have more 90+ rated titles than X1 or ps4 combined and wiiu had 0 frame issues and resolution crap no day one patches to fix or attempt to fix broken games being launched to soon. Capt. Toad tt is a very fun game I love it and I think you'll enjoy it a lot, I am surprised you didn't mention yoshis wooly world, that game looks so great and I can't wait for it. As I bit of a witcher nut is suggest reading the books before 3 comes out. 3 will have a part in the beginning to get new players up to speed with what's going on, but the books are incredible so that's why I suggest them. Farcry4 gets my goty amazing game and runner up has to go to mk8, wow they did a great job with it. As a long time Twitter follower of yours I have to say I've enjoyed what you've done last year and look forward to this year, keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Lo! It's much appreciated. You've certainly got a fair amount more gaming in this year than I did!

    I've been trying to figure out what TMNB meant on your sidebar for the longest time, haha. Teenage Mutant Ninja Bloggers did not disappoint.

    Here's to a great 2015!