January 19, 2017

GAME OVER: 2015 & 2016

...whaddaya mean "it's the middle of January..."?

Oh shit. It is. My bad. Well, as they say: better late then never, yes?

In fact you may have noticed 2015's Game Over article is altogether… non-existent. Yeah, whoops. The end of 2015 through... well, pretty much all of 2016 turned out to be some of the worst time in my life, and sadly, I had to prioritize my well being over my well blogging. Thus the poor excuse for a 2016 in my archives, over there. Driving me nuts... 
Anyway, I had intended to come back and post a G.O. super late last year as well, but it just didn't work out for me, and eventually I gave up and decided I would just mash 2015 and 2016 together! It kind of made sense to me at the time, since 2016 was lined up to be the year that 2015 was supposed to be. Then, as per usual, I missed the 2016 deadline as well. Typical Burton! I considered skipping another year but in addition to feeling like a failure, I figured if I'm going to allow myself to cheat you like that, I may as well just cancel the blog forever. But I'm not cool with that. I quite like these year end summaries of mine...

And here we are. Hello. Happy 2017! Even if you're still writing '2016' on everything, like me. But I hope the past year hasn't sucked as much for you as it has for me and And Then She Games. But I must admit, I'm rather impressed with how well my 'little website that could' is doing. I never really comprehended the thought of there being this much content on my site, and it seems to be leaving its grimy little footprints all over the web. Regardless of my truancy, my traffic has been pretty consistent, and I learn fantastic little things from my analytics all the time, like the person who found my site by googling "Seymour's stupid hair". You, my friend, are my favorite person ever.
I must extend my thanks to all the loyal readers, and the folks who share my stuff with their unwitting friends, the pals who retweet me when I inform the universe of the occasional update, and the randos who google Seymour and decide to click on me anyway. Thanks for keeping ATSG alive, and for giving me the hope and motivation I need to keep doing this, even when I can't.

So let's relive the past together in this massive, tardy, two-year retrospective in gaming!

After consulting my list, I realized that there a LOT of games that have come out in the last two years, and I've played virtually none of them.

2015 saw the release of titles like Splatoon, Disgaea 5, Dragon Quest Heroes, Tales of Zestiria, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, Fallout 4, Triforce Heroes, Majora's Mask 3D, Ori and the Blind Forrest,  and a console edition of Jamestown(+) all of which I either have played or will play - many have already been added to my collection. It may even surprise you to learn that games like Divinity: Original Sin and Just Cause 3 are on my list (more on that later)!
Meanwhile, games like Dying Light, the Order 1886, Final Fantasy Type-0, Mario Party 10, Yo-Kai Watch, Codename S.T.E.A.M., Halo 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider highlight my 'pass' list. Even a game like Super Mario Maker doesn't really play to my interest anymore, but it was fun to see everyone else having a good time with it.
The "maybe" pile includes games like Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Yoshi's Woolly World, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Blackwater - which will all fall into the "only if I'm super bored or otherwise roped into it" category; and Bloodborne - which comes highly recommended to me - will probably depend on my Dark Souls experience... if I ever get to have one. Life is Strange is another title I've been told to give a shot, and I will if I ever come across the complete version for a decent price!
There are also a bunch on indie games that made a splash in 2015, like Limbo, Her Story, the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Super Meat Boy and Axiom Verge. All are on my radar and the I actually own the latter three (possibly four, actually). Perhaps I need to do an "indie" Game Binge?

2016 was a loud and largely disappointing year for game releases. I only actually added a few "must haves" to my list and, looking at everything else here, I'm shocked how many games I'm simply not interested in. Such games: The Division, Quantum Break, Mirror's Edge: Catalyst, Star Fox Zero, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Dead Rising 4, Mafia 3, Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Dishonored 2, Watch Dogs 2, Yakuza 6 and yes, even Final Fantasy 15 really don't even demand a fuck to give from me. Anybody else see the pattern there? I was sad to see Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithfulness tank; No Man's Sky and Mighty No. 9 seemly let down everybody and Unravel failed to pull me in after a test run.
On the plus side, games like Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, Bravely Second: End Layer, Doom, The Last Guardian and Recore all excite me! Uncharted 4 was an amazing experience for me (I even dabbled in the mobile game for it) and Overwatch just wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. Something I almost never do is indulge remasters and remakes, but I simply couldn't say no to the Bioshock Collection - Bioshock being one of my favorite games of all time. Added that to my shelf.
And of course, Dragon Quest Builders, Dark Souls 3, Furi, Paper Mario: Color Splash and Pokemon Sun/Moon remain in purgatory. I'm not entirely sold on I Am Setsuna as of yet, and Kirby: Planet Robobot is sitting in my 3DS right now, awaiting its chance to impress me. Indie titles like Gone Home and Inside remain on my radar.

But let's switch gears to the (very short) list of games I actually played these last two years!

Streets of Rage 2 (CC)
Sonic the Hedgehog (CC)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (CC)
Super Mario World
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior
Earthbound (CC)
Starfox 64 (CC)
Tomb Raider
Metal Gear Solid
WarioWare Inc.
Dust: An Elysian Tail
The Magic School Bus in Space (you heard me!)
Resident Evil 4 (CC)
Tales of Hearts R
Smart As...
Super Ghouls and Ghosts (CC)
Altered Beast
South Park: The Stick of Truth
The Last of Us: Left Behind
River City Ransom (CC)
Gunstar Heroes (CC)
and then everything went to shit...
Pokemon Picross
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Street Fighter 2
Shovel Knight (CC)
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (CC)
Beyond Good and Evil (CC)
Pokemon Red (CC)

(CC) = played for the Cartridge Club Game of the Month

...and of course, I partook in my annual playthrough of Final Fantasy X on PS2, and started up what's becoming and endless run with the remastered edition on PS Vita!
I'm sure there's a few others that snuck in, but my game life has been such a mess that I haven't done a very good job keeping track of them all. You'll notice a lot of those games are short - more conducive to my lifestyle lately. There's also a disturbing lack of articles for a lot of these games... again: time. Deep sigh.

That said, there really aren't many games on that list that I wouldn't play again if I had the time. I made pretty good use of my limited hours in 2015-16. I'm pretty well done with Resident Evil 4 fuck you Curtiss and I could probably do without any more Beyond Good and Evil, I think. Overwatch won me over after a long, strenuous courtship, but as I said in my article, if I could get it for a good price, I would. And I did. I still need to find the time to finish up Shovel Knight and give Majora's Mask a proper go. I'd like to do articles for those games as well. Let me know if you'd like to see 'em!

In terms of games I did write about... this part is always fun slash painful for me...
My most popular articles were about Splatoon - which makes sense. I published this soon(ish) after release and I know a few people sent me comments about learning from it;
My Video Game Crushes - which is hilarious. I'm glad you guys found the fun in this article, too;
and E3 in 2015 - I'm a little surprised anyone cares what I have to say about E3, but that makes me happy!
A couple of honorable mentions: my Survival/Horror introduction actually garnered more than a few views, as did my anniversary giveaway, but due to the nature of those two articles, I sort of expected the boost.
Easily my most commented on article was my mid-life crisis, a.k.a. 8-Bit Minute: Game Collection. I really begged for some thoughts on this one, so I thank everyone who commented or sent me a message. For the record: I've truncated my collection quite a bit. I'm still struggling with certain titles that I kind of want to play once more before I say goodbye, but we all know that's never gonna happen. I still wrestle with the idea of selling it all and becoming a moto-hobo. Will keep you posted.
Lastly, the articles that didn't get much attention include my look at Dragon Quest on mobile; a look at some of my favorite consoles; and a short rant about things collectors have to endure. Please read them. They need love. :(

I think my favorite works of mine this year include my article on South Park: the Stick of Truth; I just really enjoy talking about South Park. It's one of my favorite shows ever and I quote it all the time, so it was fun to sneak some jokes in there from both the show and the game. It was also one of the first articles to include a video companion. I enjoyed seeing that come together, even with the technical difficulties. Thanks to all who read and commented!
It feels like so long ago that I wrote my Earthbound article... I guess that's 'cause it was. I actually enjoyed playing the game for the first time in 20-some-odd years, but what really got my gears turning was the Cartridge Club podcast. I recall my friend Rae having some really wonderful comments to add to that conversation and it actually caused me to go back and reread my article to see if I was smart enough to think of anything she mentioned. I wasn't.
I know it's not a popular game, nor was it a popular article, but I had a lot of fun with Smart As... It's such a simple game on paper but it packs a great deal of personality in spite of that. It helps that John Cleese is your overlord. I take a small amount of pride in sharing a game that nobody really talks about, and finding so much to say to facilitate an entire article.

But that's enough of the past! Let's have a quick look at the future!
It shouldn't surprise you that I'm pretty stoked on the Stick of Truth's sequel, the Fractured But Whole, which is due next this year. Also on my shopping list are Tales of Berseria, Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, perhaps Persona 5 and even Sonic Mania.
Additionally, games like Days Gone and Mass Effect: Andromeda have spiked my interest, but I think I need to hear more.

Since we're doubling down for this G.O., I've actually got not one but two E3 blogs to reflect upon this time! Yes, in spite of my abandonment, I did manage to get on here for both year's E3. I think my favorite thing about 2015 was the expansion of presentations, to include Square Enix and Bethesda. I very much like the idea of more big names having press conferences at E3 and was a little disappointed it didn't grow more in 2016. According to my blog, the biggest moments for me were the announcement of the Last Guardian and Uncharted 4. I'm so predictable.
Gosh it's so weird to read those again and see how things turned out, and how much my opinions of things have changed!
Fast forward to 2016, aaaaaand I fell asleep reading my article. Just like I fell asleep during E3. Boring. Step up your game, industry.

2015 was a rollercoaster ride of news ups and downs. My beloved Uncharted was delayed. Twice. EA decided to shut down its legendary Maxis arm, which broke my sim heart. Kojima was exiled from Konami, much to the noise of the entire planet, and lost MGS in the divorce. What'll happen to the I.P. remains to be seen. Also, the much anticipated Silent Hills was canceled. The new Zelda and Mighty No. 9 received multiple delays, and finally, we lost a business man, an entertainer, and a gamer in Satoru Iwata. He was succeeded by a camera shy fellow called Kimishima.
On the plus side, Nintendo finally made non-Smash Bros.-related amiibo. What they didn't realize is that nobody cares about amiibo anymore... But! They did bring back the World Championship at E3 in 2015, and it was a success, if I do say so myself.
BanNam played the trademark game, keeping 'Tales of' fans guessing and dreaming. And finally, Xenoblade Chronicles X was announced and the preorders were sold out in an hour. This is good news because I actually got mine!

2016 feels likes it's been a largely negative year, even without my inclusion. We kicked off the year with many questions about Nintendo's future, namely the mysterious NX and the fate of the WiiU. This was followed by many rumors and leaks, which finally ended with Nintendo announcing the Switch by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Nintendo played the Nintendo card by releasing the much sought after NES Classic, a.k.a. the NES mini, but failed to meet the obvious demand of their customers and pissed everyone off. Again.
VR is a thing now, but that's not the only weird gaming trend of 2016. For some reason, Sony and Microsoft have decided generations need to die, and be replaced by the ever evolving console. Sony announced the PS4 Pro, which is meant to be a Playstation on steroids, while Microsoft shared its love letter to the Xbox Scorpio, likewise a Xbone on steroids. I get the appeal of keeping up with technology and catering to the die hards, but I personally don't have much to invest in these improved consoles.
Mighty No. 9 and No Man's Sky - two highly anticipated games, one of which was funded by "the crowd" - finally released after many delays and... well it wasn't pretty. Not too many people had nice things to say about these titles, which is a shame. No Man's Sky was set to change the face of online gaming and it's always unfortunate when backers don't get what they hoped for.
Final Fantasy XV was also delayed and then finally released... Still don't have a fuck to give.
In happier news, Uncharted 4 finally came out and I FINALLY GOT A PS4. No big deal. Also from the Dog house, we learned that there is indeed going to be a Last of Us sequel, and also some new thing called Uncharted: the Lost Legacy - probably standalone DLC.
We also learned Red Dead Redemption is getting a sequel. This seems to be one of those games that actually deserves it. I need to play Red Dead.
And lastly, Pokemon Go happened. If that's your thing.

In terms of events this year, I managed to pull myself together long enough to head into the city for New York Comic Con! Of course there was meant to be some sort of article dedicated to that but you've already heard my excuses. I haven't given up on it yet, so stay tuned!

When I can't play games, I look to others to keep me informed and entertained. Once again my contacts on Twitter, Youtube, podcasts and blogs came through for me. And I've added some new friends to these lists! But first: obligatory tribute to the Cartridge Club.

Okay, but seriously. There is a reason I never shut up about these guys. Over the last two years the club has amassed a pretty large crowd, all of whom are respectful, talented and supportive. I owe a great deal of my own success on this site to the club, and it's always a ball to interact with them on the forums or during the monthly podcast. But you don't have to take my word for it, head over there yourself, or follow and few of us on twitter, and it'll only be a matter of time before you're part of the family.
To the existing members: thank you for all your love and support over the years. It's a curious feeling, telling your man he has to respond to random e-mails you've received while you're away because they're from "family" he's never met. I hope you know these feelings are reciprocated 100%. Love you guys.

You'll notice a few newcomers in my affiliates bar. Quality, not quantity, boys. Before she went ham on her Youtube channel, Pam mostly tended to her website of the same name, Cannot Be Tamed. Pam continues to baffle me by proving how two people can be so much alike and yet have nothing in common.
I don't know what took me so long to add Retro-Def to that list, as its proprietor RyHo is one of my most loyal readers. In spite of claiming he has no time, he's much more interesting and active than I. A thoughtful and wonderful dude, as well; he's definitely worth a minute of your time.
If you're in need of a dash of positivity in your life, my pal and former Splatoon partner Chris is your guy. He's constantly tapping up cool articles on Pietriots about his experiences and thoughts on games. Chris' bright spirit never ceases to amaze me, and he'll kick your ass at Splatoon, too.

I don't know if I mentioned this in my last G.O., but a number of my pals have what are actually really great podcasts. I know there's a little bias here, but the truth is I have a very short fuse when it comes to podcasts, so the fact that I actually listen to these kinda says something...
In addition to the CC monthly podcast, my internet brothers have started a weekly show for the club in which they discuss themselves, the industry, the club and a bunch of other stuff. It's really not difficult to fall in love with these guys, so I can't help but recommend them. Search 'Cartridge Club' on your favorite podcast hub to find them.
From the club, a few members have paired off to start their own culture shows. Most notably, the always blunt martian, Buried on Mars teamed up with the club's international reporter, Ram Vox to start Retro Fandango. Marvin's a big fan of creative editing and has some fantastic remixes in each episode, and you'll quickly develop Vox addiction, for which you will frequently experience withdrawal.
Meanwhile, in Canada, Enzzy and the Cartridge Canuck began Leftover Bits. I especially like their show because it's one of the few that includes a sports segment! They also like to talk about food and Enzzy makes sure you're never bored while Paul is giving a lengthy monologue.
One of the earliest podcasts I remember the C-Bros recommending to me is the Rad Rascals. I've spoken of them before here; they're hilarious, insightful and sometimes vile. Sadly they do not upload nearly as often as I demand, but I do get my Sexy Ben fixes on twitter, which is like a condensed version of the show.
Perhaps one of the most respected podcasts in our community is the North American Retro Collective - or NARC podcast. These fellas put on a highly polished show which usually features a game segment that you can't help but play along with. Not too long, not too short, and great guests as well. Look 'em up!
If there's no such thing as "too long" to you, you must seek the boys over at Collectorcast. These guys remind me that being an adult doesn't always have to suck. They have a great dynamic and can talk for 3 or 4 hours straight without ever boring you. They're tethered to the RF Generation, which is a community much like the Cartridge Club. Highly recommend.
When you're ready to leave the sausage party, look up the girls from Media Mavens. Pam and Riley add some much needed femininity to the nerd world, and they have no shortage of educated opinions and guests you may not have met before. Great for expanding your horizons!
When you're ready to go back to the sausage party, you need to hit Start to Continue - or STC pod. Everyone loves how these guys have a show that emulates two dudes shooting the shit over their lunch break, and they certainly have a relationship that you won't find anywhere else.
One of the newer additions to my subscriptions, thanks to P2 who may or may not actually be Rob: Bonus Barrel. Listening to these folks feels like hopping on a Skype call with your friends - a little unpredictable at times, but you'll never want to hang up.
If you need a soundtrack for your dog walks or long commutes to work, this lot has you covered.☝🏻

I'm doing my best to keep up with the all the Cartridge Clubbers who have Youtube channels, so there's been a lot of new additions over there, the last two years. That said, they're kind of hard to keep track of. I hope I'm not missing anybody! Here goes:

Nesromancer - for the most bitchin' covers you'll ever hear
Game Time with Kyle - for some quality time in your living room
Girlfriend Vs. - to watch my favorite actor torture his beautiful, eloquent girlfriend
GamingWiz13 - to join a brilliant young man as he explores development
Mighty QDawg - #IWannaBeIntheQDawgHouse
Canadian Retro - for one of the most impressive collections you'll see in a guy's background
Musty Hobbit - a Bradley Cooper doppelgänger who plays games
Cannot Be Tamed - for a reminder of then and now, with wine
Nintendo Hodge - for some of the most diverse content you'll find on one channel
RetroPixel - when you need an adventure!
Toku Joe - for reviews from a fantastic British comic
Brasel the Gamer - for high quality videos from a guy who's truly passionate about it
Retro Power Up - perfect for the obsessive compulsive game picker upper

And th-t-th-tha-th-t-th-that's all folks!

Oh wait… I STARTED A YOUTUBE CHANNEL! Ahaha! Woo! I don't crank out nearly the caliber of content as these fine ladies and gents, but I did shoot some electricity into the channel to host videos to accompany my articles - you've no doubt noticed a few of them have videos within. That's really all the channel is for now but many people have subscribed to me anyway, so thanks for that! And who knows? Maybe someday I'll post channel exclusive content or try something new over there. Stay tuned!

Lastly, I should probably give a little credit to twitter. Since joining I've not only met tons of incredible people and discovered great sites, podcasts and youtube channels, but my general knowledge of the gaming industry has spiked ten-fold. I wish I had twitter when Pier Solar was announced, or even Xenoblade Chronicles, so I could have understood what those games were going to offer and made a better effort to pick them up before they became scarce and overpriced. I usually feel pretty up to date on gaming news and industry to dos (except the stuff I deliberately ignore) and these days everyone offline seems to come to me for updates. I owe you one, twitter.

What's a year end (and by "end" I mean "beginning") blog without some resolutions? This is my new addition to the G.O. universe, and I've got quite a few goals for the up coming year!

But first, let me share some of my undocumented goals from the last two years, and see how I did with them.
First thing I hoped to accomplish was to get some Metal Gear Solid representation on this site...
My second goal was to fulfill my poll and have something representing the survival/horror genre on ATSG... well that's a failure then. The good news is, I still plan to play Silent Hill 2 and/or Parasite Eve for the site, so this goal will be added to 2017!
One of my ongoing goals is to be a better gamer and play some new releases. I jotted down Zelda, Star Fox, U4 and others as potential helpers but they all got delayed! Afterward, between delays and my personal deterioration, I just lost interest in many.

So for 2017, my goals are as follows:
1. Once again, play some new releases, at or around release time.
2. Create a new 'Chronicles' article. I haven't done one in years! Lame!
3. I think I'd like to add some Disgaea to ATSG.
4. Also Grand Theft Auto. We need GTA up in 'ere.
5. I want to try a new action franchise. I don't play enough straight up action games. I thought Just Cause would be a good place to start? I've picked up 2 and if that goes well I may try 3, as I mentioned earlier!
6. I get e-mails every now and then about the progress on the new Shenmue game (I backed it on Kickstarter). It occurs to me that I've essentially bought a game I know virtually nothing about. I'd like to rectify this before the new one comes home.
7. Stop lying to people about the poll. In other words: play Silent Hill.
and lastly,
8. More consistent uploads on ATSG. It truly bothers me that I don't do a better job here.
A hefty undertaking, for sure. Hopefully my schedule allows me to accomplish at least a few of these.

Not that anyone asked, but I thought I'd go ahead and throw some of my personal resolutions down here, too. For one: I want to stop wasting food. I'm really terrible about buying a ton of produce, sticking it in my fridge/fruit bowl, and just letting it rot. I desperately need to stop this.
As a kid I was really involved in the arts. I played many instruments, drew, painted, built intricate furniture or art pieces, created digital music and art... I've really lost touch with my inner artist. I'm not so happy about that, so I hope to try and get back into a few things this year. I actually intended to do this last year, but blah blah blah. Fun fact: this is actually why I created my Instagram account! Hint hint!
For the last few years I've been turning down an opportunity to relocate for work. I kept saying no because moving is hard; I'd be in a very different place; away from friends; money and so on. Now that things have changed so much for me, I'm considering actually making this move. Not 100% sold on it yet, but it would certainly shake things up for me. Possibly even mean more time for games! But I doubt it.

Have you made any game (or personal) resolutions for this year? Let me hear it!

And that brings us to the star of the show! The reason you're all here! Cream of the crop!

...or it might be if I actually played anything and told you about it. I've added two new awards to the site this year, because I think there's something to be said for a game's ability to excite you, even before you play it. Without further ado...

CONSOLE OF THE YEARs: Sony Playstation 4
I don't know how I could really choose any other console. I finally got my PS4 in 2015 and it's pretty much the only console I've bought anything for in two years! Playstation has been on a pretty consistent high since its announcement, and it continues to crank out titles I wanna play. It's not without its hangups (coming soon), but of all the consoles I have right now, I'm drawn most to my Playstation 4. Also I got the sexy Uncharted one with my man all over it. 😎

CHARACTER OF THE YEARs: Junkrat (Overwatch)
With a motto like, "if at first you don't succeed, blow it up again!" how could Junkrat not be the greatest character in recent memory? This guy is my spirit animal. For those of you living under a rock, Junkrat is one of the many playable heroes from Overwatch. Despite falling under the defense umbrella, Junky is a fast-paced and memorable explosion during your match. He's not too difficult to pick up - which is a plus for a noob like me - but he's got a ton of potential and I really enjoy playing him.

From the moment I booted up Axiom Verge on my PS4, I was blown away by the depth of the soundtrack. I immediately abandoned my playthrough and scoured the internet for the game's full soundtrack, and it does not let you down. The OST really supports the atmosphere and one might say the "Metroid-ness" of the game. But really, the depth. What an amazing contrast to the older-style graphics and simple, albeit tight, controls. The tracks are varied but they tie together well, and the whole thing just puts me in a strange, digital trance.

GAME DESIGN OF THE YEARs: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Naughty Dog never fails to impress me with their design talent. In fact, the last time I remember having more fun looking at a game than playing it was their DLC effort, Left Behind. U4 was no exception. I spent so much time just staring at the fine details of the landscape, the characters and the overall design of the game! I had lengthy discussions with my artist and developer friends, picking apart the layers and trying to figure out just how Naughty Dog does it. You don't have to be a ND fan, but you have to admit: they design a damn good game. I know I screen capped this game more than any other in years, so if I have to give it to a single game: it's this one.

I don't care what anybody says, I've been waiting a long, long time for this game. It seems to be receiving mixed reviews, now that it's out, but for fans of the developer, this has been a long, emotional journey. The fact that this was ultimately released at all is something of a triumph for gamers. I'm actually afraid to start playing it, not 'cause I think it'll be bad, but because I'm pretty sure I'm just going to bawl my eyes out the entire time.

MOST ANTICIPATED, UPCOMING: South Park: The Fractured But Whole
As I said earlier on, I'm a massive South Park fan. While the Stick of Truth has its fair share of mechanical issues, the fidelity to the show alone was enough for me to enjoy it. Now that it's moved to a new developer, and they've heard the cries of the fans, I think FBW is poised to be an equally funny and technically improved sequel, and will probably be a day one buy for me.

With my poor attention to new releases over the past couple years, I'm not left with much to choose from here. My own fault - admittedly. But here's what it boils down to: I picked up Splatoon day one. I probably sunk a solid 24 hours into it in my first three days. It took virtually no effort to convince my friends to buy it, and many of them still play. I even convinced (although unintentionally) someone to buy a WiiU to play! And I've simply played Splatoon more than any other game I own over the last two years, and what's more: I'm still playing it!
In theory, Splatoon has a number of hurdles to overcome to get me to play it: it's an online shooter, which isn't really my jam; there's no online communication, which works both for and against it; and it's kinda... childish. Yet here we are.
Additionally, Splatoon scores high in all of the above categories, too! It was a console seller; its characters are adorable and memorable; the Splatunes are out of this world; the design is solid and fitting; and I look forward to playing it almost as much now as I did before it came out. I just can't think of any game I've played recently more deserving than this one!

As for you, yes you, the one reading this right now: you da man! Or woman. Whatever you want to be. I was gone for a solid 4 months at the beginning of 2016 and I came back to find my traffic had stayed relatively the same during that time, with many of my articles peaking. I'm baffled that everyone didn't just give up and assume I was dead! I can't thank you enough for that. This website has provided me so much happiness from something as simple as you reading it, and I know many of you come back all the time, and I could never thank you enough for that. Thanks again for your support, and I will try to bring the rain back this year! Happy new year, y'all!
This is my favorite picture of 2016.


  1. Glad to see a new post from you. And what a post! Thanks for the shout-outs. I need to play Axiom Verge soon.

    1. Thanks for popping by, Pam. I need to get BACK to Axiom Verge soon...

  2. Wow. Great article. I am in the same boat with Shovel Knight and Majora's Mask. Need to finish it and give it a real go. I even made Eric open MM up because I said "I'm going to play it for the club" Whoops. Thanks for the mention. I really do hope you're #InTheQDawgHouse one day.

    1. Thanks, Mrs. Q! If only we had men to take care of all our responsibilities for us so we could play games...🤔
      I will come visit some day!

  3. Hi, Lo! Thanks for the kind words. The feeling is mutual! Here's to a great 2017! Steelers just got a TD as I typed this, haha.

    I hope you reach all your goals this year and that we see lots of stories on ATSG (ya know, if you have time)!