Trendspotting: How Gaming’s Changing In 2012 (Sez I)

By Alec Meer on October 9th, 2012 at 5:00 pm.

No doubt there are big things yet to come from the last quarter of 2012, but even by October it feels like it’s been an uncommonly important, even vital, year for games. The hit rate of great things, expected and unexpected, has been pretty steady, but on top of that there have been major emerging trends as gaming starts to move out of the awkward transitional phase between olde worlde boxed sales and anything-goes online existence.

I’m really just ruminating on a truly fascinating 10-ish months to myself here, but see if you agree with – or better still can add to – any of these arguably defining aspects of the year nearly gone.

Note – I’ve not included the ongoing move to phone and tablet gaming here, purely because it’s a little too far from RPS’ remit. But yeah, that. And there will only be more of it, of course.

1) The year of comebacks

The many, many openly nostalgia-centred projects on Kickstarter – from Wasteland 2 to Double Fine’s adventure game to Leisure Suit Larry to LootDrop’s curiously unspecific Old School RPG – are obviously the bedrock of this, but they’re not the sole element of old favourites and old values returning. Dishonored picks up Thief’s abandoned baton, XCOM is as much an attempt to reinvent turn-based strategy for a new era and a new audience as it is a veneration of an ancient game and Tribes: Ascend wants a return to multiplayer shooting that’s built around movement first and foremost. You can even look to FTL and the Binding of Isaac (a 2011 game, but its 2012 expansion pack Wrath of the Lamb has kept it a mainstay for many this year) as putting roguelikes in the front and centre of a far less niche consciousness, again remixed and reimagined for a changed age.

2) The year of the MOBA

This terrifies me. It seems to have happened so fast, and yet of course it’s been brewing for years. It’s not that I don’t understand MOBAs/lane-pushers/whatever you want to call them, or that I don’t see the appeal. It’s that they hold no appeal to me, and as such I cannot be truly educated in them, at least not without an undue amount of forcing. It creates a bigger issue both personally and, perhaps, for this site – gaming is going into places that many 30-somethings such as I struggle to reach. I am an old dog, and I already make myself learn more new tricks than I’m necessarily able to.

But it’s important that we cover this stuff, and hopefully we will do a better job of it soon. MOBAs seem to me to be the point where the competitive gaming/e-sports we’ve unconvincgly been told are The Future for years actually meet the mindset of the layperson. League of Legends, Dota2 et al are games for everyone (as demonstrated by their pan-generational playerbase: these are not purely young folks’ games), not just a ludicrously skilled elite, and as such they encourage the same hyper-competitive thinking and the swift learning of a new language. Once, the raid and PvP aspect MMOs like Warcraft were fulfilling this role, this need for great learning and great teamwork at ferocious speed, but now the MOBAs are performing some of the same purposes with all the filler and all the drek, even all the long climb, removed. You go straight to it, and you get better at it. I am too tired for it, I really am, and that scares me, but these games, their culture and whatever spins out of them are a vital movement, both in terms of persistency and being a necessary reaction against the errant perceptions of gaming ‘skill’ brought about by Achievement culture.

3) The year the PC returned to ascendancy

I don’t wish to bang any drums with a zealous expression here. Yes, the PC is inevitably the technologically superior platform due to its modular nature, but the age of today’s consoles isn’t the real cause of the recent shift back towards PC, or at least I don’t think so. Contemporary console games look pretty darn good on a decent telly, y’know – developers have become better at wringing every ounce of power out of them even as engines (especially Epic’s ubiquitous Unreal) mature and offer more. It’s simply the freedom of PC that’s caused it to return to the head of the pack. We’ve been all but force fed hyper-scripted action games for quite some time now, and as such hungry communities have organically formed around alternative offerings – see the MOBAs above, or Tribes Ascend, or TF2. Even seemingly (but not, I well know) out-of-nowhere indies like FTL and before it Minecraft. Word of mouth, Twitter and Facebook are making small games gain huge attention.

At the same time, low-end but perfectly capable gaming laptops have become more affordable than ever before, lowering the pecuniary barrier of entry. That so many of the PC’s games are much cheaper, or even free to play much of, than the increasingly absurd-seeming £40+ console games is likely informing this new escalation too.

4) The year free to play made sense

No longer just a dirty word, and no longer inextricably intertwined with the horrible, cynical shit on Facebook, free to play is on its way to becoming the new demo. But in a more powerful way, both for players – they get to actually attach to the game, not simply be teased by a tiny portion of it – and for developers – they have a new arsenal of ways to try and convince a speculative player to turn into a paying customer, rather than the simple do or die methodology of a demo. I don’t believe free to play is the only future of games, but I do believe it is a necessary part of the future. An analogy I’m reaching for but haven’t quite polished into full sense, but if traditional, paid-for games are movies (be it on DVD or at the cinema), free to play is the serialised TV drama (be it in a boxset or broadcast week-by-week). Microtransactions can far too easily be made deeply unsavoury, but as well as/instead of a means to exploit they can also be a means of handing out a game at a schedule and/or financial rate that feels more palatable to the many, many people who feel short of both time and money.

I’m not saying that it’s done right most of the time – because it isn’t, it really isn’t – but the concept of it makes sense on levels far beyond arguments of pay to win or meanly chopping games into chunks.

5) The year the role of violence in games was questioned by games

Only questioned. Not damned, not decried, not dismissed, but there’s definitely been a trend towards exploring the issues around our bloody proclivities in games. Again, I’m not arguing that there’s a shift in the industry towards wagging a finger at violence, but I think there is one of discussing its consequences rather than having it be simply be something that happens then happens again. Spec Ops is obviously the poster child for this, and the argument around it commenting so much on the horrors, both literal and psychological, of grand-scale killing while at the same time being a pretty routine third-person manshooter will rage for a long time to come. (Pretty much every feature pitch we’re sent on RPS seems to concern it, to the point that I’m worried it’s become the new ‘I cried when Aeris died’). Me, I’m just glad to have the discussion at all – or at least something that tries to have me turn the mirror on myself rather than just flex my digital biceps.

But Spec Ops is far from alone in sniffing around this question. Dishonored offers not just the option for a non-lethal (or even entirely non-violent) playthrough, but whole new quests dedicated to uncovering and enacting bloodless neutralisations of the ‘assassination’ targets around which each level revolves. And there are, of course, pay-offs – both in the events of the plot, but also the contents of later levels. It isn’t a half-hearted option for a creepily dedicated niche, but an entire, endorsed and pandered-to method of playing the game through while roleplaying with hardline principles. In an age where blockbuster action games are promoted off the back of their INTENSE VISCERAL GUNPLAY, too see something of Dishonored’s importance to a large publisher’s bottom line offer a non-lethal alternative is deeply refreshing.

Then there’s the unexpectedly incredible Walking Dead series, which does great, moving things with both the need for and consequences of violence. The knowledge that an innocent child observes my every move in a planet turned to horror informed my actions enormously, while life seems so very precious in a world so desperately short of it.

More discussion/consequence comes from other unlikely sources – while obviously a freeform multiplayer game rather than the more direct choices and ruminations of a singleplayer campaign, a critical part of DayZ is assessing, without any visible cues or clues, whether someone can help you or hinder you, whether they’ll most do so alive or dead, and whether the short term gains of either attacking or allying with them could come back to bite you later. Solving this dilemma involves true, human interaction with people (by talking, by spying, by intuiting), adding a skein of honest morality absent from something that’s essentially scripted. Meanwhile, Lone Survivor offers flight or fight options, even to the point that you actively choose to take certain in-game medications to turn it towards a gun-wielding survival horror affair.

Yeah, the permutations, consequences and avoidance of in-game violence is barely a concrete trend, let alone a conscious movement, but it feel it’s but one glacier-slow rumble of movement towards greater maturity from this industry, and I’m excited to see even the slightest signs of it.

6)The year always-on perhaps won more battles than it lost

I’m going to massively and probably unhelpfully stretch the definition of always-online here, because I mean more the concept of and consumer comfort with a game constantly talking to a server rather than the abused reality of a game that unnecessarily demands to be online for no reason other than publisher paranoia. Ubisoft backed down, as they needed to do, but it’s the games that have stealthed into always online that have, I’m afraid, scored a major victory in the war. Games like Diablo III, like Guild Wars 2 (at least as much a singleplayer RPG as it is an MMO), like Mass Effect 3 and its victory rating gubbins, like Borderlands 2′s drop-in play, like Dark Souls’ clues and invasions from other players… Aye, several of those don’t go all the way or fit the descriptor neatly, but what they are doing is further acclimatising us to the idea of being online and that because of that we can experience more, rather than simply have our freedom constrained. There are and there will be many people doing it desperately wrong, insensibly using it as an anti-piracy tool that punishes their legitimated customers, but as more games move into being more enriched by being online in ways big and small, the question of the online requirement is more than likely to become less acute than once was. For more worthwhile always-on systems to win, the bad types have to lose, and their creators must understand why they are bad – and, thankfully, there are increasing signs that’s happening. Of course, where there’s still choice of on or offline there’s no complaint – whether the rewards of being thoughtfully online are anything like enough when/if that choice is taken away is a whole new battle yet to come.

7) The year fan pressure was taken seriously

Communities are becoming able to mobilise in ways that are probably profoundly terrifying for developers and publishers. Bioware bringing in a replacement ending for Mass Effect 3 as outrage over unmet promises reached fever pitch is the most notorious moment of this (whether it’s positive or negative is not a question I wish to address), while a more unanimously happy outcome was Namco releasing a PC version of Dark Souls after an enthusiastic petition. The port might have been a bit iffy, but people still adore it and it’s been, as far as I can tell, a commerical success – so the wisdom of the crows can certainly work. We’ve also seen CCP have to take big steps to appease EVE fans after trying to foist faintly absurd microtransactions upon them – and of course there’s Ubisoft finally, finally backing down on their self-sabotaging always online DRM for singleplayer player games. You could perhaps also argue that fan petitions around the eternally absent Half-Life 3 has eked some response out of Valve, even if it’s not the desired illumination.

8) The year that gender roles and perception took baby steps towards equality

Whatever side of the argument you might stand on, we are seeing the issue come up time and again, both in terms of depictions of women in game and the industry’s treatment of women outside of games. Whether or not you symapthatise with some, all or none of the controversies that have peppered the year (and I’m well aware that a great many gentlemen who don’t agree that they play life on Easy Mode believe undue, even hysterical, fuss is ritually being made by observers and media alike), the industry is nonetheless being forced to address subjects it formerly steamrollered right over without thought. The outcome is uncertain, but the debate keeps coming back. We’ve got the Hitman nuns, Borderlands’ ‘girlfriend mode’ hoo-hah, Anita Sarkeesian’s divisive Tropes vs Women in Videogames project and attendant abuse for it, a game conference (Eurogamer Expo) mandating no more booth babes and banning a big YouTuber who was either acting like or pretending to act like a sexist jackass (the jury’s still out there)… All of these caused outrage on both sides of the fence, and both sides were guilty of unwise words: but again, the debate is happening more and more. We’re also seeing a huge rise in writing from both inside and outside the industry on the problems around its depiction and treatment of women, and there is a slow but refreshing rise in games journos who aren’t straight white men.

I’m not saying we’re on the cusp of a seachange. Sadly, there’s such a long way to go before that. I’m not even saying every example of controversy is justified. I’m just saying that the conversation’s happening more and more, and I honestly believe that’s ultimately good for the industry and for its customers. (I’m also very glad to see that two of my favourite games of the year, Dishonored and XCOM, both entirely avoid sexualising their female characters. I hope those games don’t prove to be happy aberrations in that regard).

9) The year of new independence – and its silent masters

Kickstarter has freed some important developers from the shackles of publisher demands and fears – Double Fine, Obsidian, InXile, Revolution – the list goes on – while Steam’s Greenlight has opened at least a door to marketing budget-free indie games getting onto Steam without having to meet the unknown demands of invisible gatekeepers. There’s a long way to go and not a little risk of over-pandering to the loudest minority, but it is a massive movement towards game-makers and game-players having direct access to each other and making the games people really want rather than the game a CEO’s bottom line wants to make. It’s a ridiculously exciting prospect, very much in line with the interests of this site, and I can’t wait to see the first fruits of this new deal next year. (In a similar vein, if the aforementioned Dishonored and XCOM sell well that may help persuade publishers not to be quite so risk averse, to know that there is an audience for the stuff people on forums constantly cry out for after all).

But even if the power of publishers is winding down, gatekeepers still exist. Kickstarter and Steam (and to a lesser extent IndieGoGo and Desura) wield enormous power now, and as they struggle with the paradox of appearing to be quasi-philanthropic and interference-free while needing to forever increase profits they may well make any number of mistakes. The $100 Greenlight fee could be said to be one (though there is much debate, to say the least), while Kickstarter’s wariness about ensuring the legitimacy of projects on it might be another. Hopefully all will be well – I just can’t help but think of Twitter and its many botched attempts to turn a system that’s inherently about freedom of expression into a source of greater revenues. Then there are rumours that big publishers are trying to stealth their way onto Kickstarter, using fan-favourite developers as a front for their projects. Hopefully just flash in the pan darkness – but wherever the prevailing winds of profit are, someone will turn up to try and exploit it.

A confusing year. A busy year. A year full of controversies. A year with a whole lot more still to come. Most of all, I think, a year of a hope – big baby steps towards a brighter future for games. Things are changing fast, in profound ways – even if there are many lessons yet to be learned, and no doubt some nasty falls with them.

I honestly don’t know what 2013 will bring, but where a couple of years ago I was seriously worried that (mainstream) gaming had become entrenched in cynical, often lowest common denominator ways, I now feel once again that it is still young, still with so much left to happen, and that we still don’t know it at all. And hooray for that.

, , , , , .

195 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    I remember one year ago, I was playing Binding of Isaac nontstop, while most “commercial” games bored me to death, and asking myself what the hell the future would have in store.
    2012 did not disappoint.

    • sebmojo says:

      “Wisdom of the crows” is genius, though I’m almost certain it’s a typo.

      The wisdom.

      Of the Crows.

  2. aliksy says:

    Year of the sequel. Diablo 3, Borderlands 2, Guild Wars 2, Torchlight 2. I’m sure there’s more, and I’m sure other years were also full of sequels, but those were some big names getting sequels in a 4 month stretch.

    • shadowy_light says:

      Yep. This is true this year as it has been for probably a decade.

      I do think it’s worthwhile noting that the surprise here is that all of those games are quality productions that by and large only enhance the reputations of their forebears.

      (… cue D3 dissent…)

      • Premium User Badge

        Matt_W says:

        We get so used to seeing lackluster movie sequels that we sometimes fail to recognize that it is typical for video game sequels to be better than the original, particularly for a AAA franchise. I tend to think this is because video game publishers are more conservative, and thus are more willing to throw money and people at an established IP. It also probably also has to do with the skill curve of the developers (which is more important in games) and with the ability to re-use assets on a second game so more focus can be made on gameplay and story elements.

        • Isair says:

          I think the big factor is that mechanics are more suited for iteration than narratives are. It’s much harder for a movie sequel to get away with being like the first one, but with more polish.

    • Premium User Badge

      Smashbox says:

      More like the ninth sequel to the year of sequels.

  3. nackertash says:

    The year that they didn’t announce a sequel to Giants: Citizen Kabuto

    Again :(

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Or Little Big Adventure 3. Or resurrect Outcast 2. Or show concrete evidence that we might ever play Beyond Good and Evil 2.

      Still despite that, a good year!

      • Flint says:

        On the flipside though, Black Mesa actually became reality.

        (yes yes it’s a mod and not a proper game as such but still)

    • Premium User Badge

      DeVadder says:

      I am feeling with you. And the saddest part is, the game did not age too well. It has become so ugly that i can not even enjoy a third (or is it a fourth) playthrough anymore, let alone multiplayer.
      Oah, my legs.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      A single tear rolls down my cheek every time someone mentions that game. It’s never been surpassed in offering you the ability to play a monster that impales creatures onto its body spikes so that they can be eaten later.

    • Spengbab says:

      Giants 2 is slated for release after Homeworld 3 – Seque of the space dolphins

    • Joe Duck says:

      Giants is unsurpassed. Developers do not even dare to try, they do not have the balls to take on such an amazing game.
      A pity.

    • The Colonel says:

      Also the year that Grim Fandango didn’t appear on digital distribution sites with a widescreen option. :(

  4. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    It was the year I was beguiled by a metric arse-ton of games, but had sod all time to actually play (m)any of them.

    OH WAIT THAT’S EVERY YEAR.

  5. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Don’t want to be a richer man,
    Just gonna have to be a different man.

  6. Tiax says:

    It will also be the year of the crushed hope of ever seing a sequel to Nexus, judging by its kickstarter current statut. : (

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      This made me think (ouch): Could this also be the year of video game franchises actually resting in peace? There’s quite a few comments – as there always has been, in the gaming world – about kickstarted sequels of one game or the other in this thread, but what happens to failed sequel kickstarts?

      I still see – perhaps a bit conservatively so – Kickstarter as some sort of last resort for some developers. “The big publishers won’t give us money for our already well-established gaming franchise revival, perhaps someone in the world will”. What happens to a franchise if this fails? Isn’t that then an even more direct response saying, “there’s no place for your game”?

      • MrLebanon says:

        there’s a few that you see continue development anyways – without the additional resources a kickstarter would have provided. I’m sure that many a failed kickstarter disappear though… R.I.P.

  7. Jamesworkshop says:

    8-big-changes-in-games-this-year

    shouldn’t that be nine

    9) The year of new independence – and its silent masters

  8. cyrenic says:

    Excellent article. Sums up a lot of recent developments quite nicely.

  9. Brave Dave says:

    Great write up,

    I reckon it’s been a belter this year, fingers crossed it carries on and this old git can carry on enjoying his hobby. Instead of how i’ve felt over the previous two years (that gaming is for kids n teens now and i should maybe read more)

    Playing Spec Ops at the moment and must say I’m shocked (in a good way)

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Well, one generally could stand to read more. Better gaming doesn’t equal more gaming (in time spent), after all.

  10. Synesthesia says:

    Hoorah! It was a good year indeed. I also rented my first place! No reason to mention it, but all the celebrating got to me.

    Now bring me the paddles and lets properly resurrect survival horror. Amnesia and lone survivor are not nearly enough. Can we slap mikami a few times in the face and tell him repeatedly that he is not michael bay? I really, really miss the good resident evil feel.

  11. Premium User Badge

    AlwaysRight says:

    I officially call it: Best year for PC gaming ever.

  12. povu says:

    It was a great year for modding too. The release of the KOTOR 2 restored content mod and Black Mesa, and the expansion of Steam Workshop to non-TF2 games that helped introduce modding to the mainstream. And of course Day Z.

    You could also count the new patch for Thief/Thief2/System Shock 2.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      I was going to mention Black Mesa. One of the best games I’ve played this year.

      Oh, and Crusader Kings 2! Has been a long time since I’ve spent over a hundred hours in a single player game.

  13. lordcooper says:

    Um, doesn’t Dishonored have a level set in a brothel?

    • Dominic White says:

      Yes? Because those are things that, historically, have existed, still exist, and will continue to exist. They also were, are, and will likely continue to be good places for catching corrupt politicians. Your point is?

      • Premium User Badge

        Vandelay says:

        To be fair, this crossed my mind too. How can you have a game full of sexless characters with a section set in a brothel? Do the ladies just pat the clients on the back?

        It is not a criticism of the game, although brothel is almost as common place in a FPS now as toilets are. It is strange wording in the article though.

      • lordcooper says:

        “Dishonored and XCOM, both entirely avoid sexualising their female characters”

        Just that this will be the first time I’ve ever come across a non-sexualised portrayal of a prostitute.

        • MrLebanon says:

          think a little deeper than that! Think more along the lines of the main female characters in the plot not being walking airbags

      • Eddy9000 says:

        And which particular part of the worlds history is Dishonoured set in? Dishonoured is fantasy fiction and the authors chose and designed the history of the fictional world. As a fiction Dishonoured could be set in a world where men are used as playthings by powerful women, featuring powerful female characters and a male brothel full of preening and vacuous himbos.

        I haven’t played Dishonoured so I’m obviously not saying that it’s representation of women is derogatory or not, I just think it’s worth bearing in mind that especially in fantasy-fiction, and even in real-life or historical fiction (lets face it even in non-fiction) elements of the ‘real world’ are cherry picked and represent social attitudes, agendas and ideologies which can often be marginalising or disempowering, rather than being ‘how the world is’. A game without a brothel would not be historically inaccurate for example.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Hmm, that is true, and I guess makes my comment not entirely accurate. But it does, quite admirably so, avoid sexualising its prostitutes. You’re not going to be lusting after them. As well as not doing the obvious visual treatments, it emphasises that this a seedy, nasty place frequented by a corrupt elite and that some of these women aren’t exactly happy to be there.

  14. alundra says:

    3) The year the PC returned to ascendancy
    R// Nah, the year before consoles return and publishers start with their bullshit again, how quickly we forget, how quickly.

    4) The year free to play made sense
    R// Sense for what?? Mediocre P2W games?? No thanks.

    5) The year the role of violence in games was questioned by games
    R// OMG Mr.Meer, this has been going on since the 90s.

    6)The year always-on perhaps won more battles than it lost
    R// Won what?? The battle in showing everyone how much people dislike this?? Of the given list Always On only applies to D3, a dismal failure in developing a healthy online community, the rest are either full blown MMO or offer SP/offline options

    8) The year that gender roles and perception took baby steps towards equality
    R// Seriously, and you quote Anita Sarkeesian?? An radical and extremist feminist?? So much for equality.
    Could we get in touch with reality here? You have no problem in using the words Man Shooter together, but you argue in favor of equal treatment of…videogame characters??

    Tell you what, it all gets solved by enforcing an audience rating, everything up to R features sexless characters and the target audience is teenagers suffering from arrested development, anything that comes after R is targeted for mature adults who can distinguish reality from fiction.

    Really, you took Mr. Walker’s torch all the way to end, you nearly emulate Jack Thompson now.

    • Premium User Badge

      Stellar Duck says:

      He did not quote Anita Sarkeesian. He mentioned her. Learn the difference.

      And while I personally disagree with her on quite a few points, there is merit to examining gender roles, in games as in real life. The fact that her project got the reception it did provides ample evidence for that.

      Edit: you know what? It’s comments like you that fuck up the discourse. Everytime you label her as a extremist feminist or whatever else you do, you poison whatever discussion there is to be had. And there *is* a discussion to be had. But you prevent us from having it on any rational basis with ad hominems (feminems I suppose) and basically proving them right.

      As I said, I have some issues with the way she proposes her research but I can’t fucking discuss that because the conversation is poison by now and it is short circuited in a bunch of straw men and an us and them mentality.

      • RandomEsa says:

        I think it’s more of the fact that Anita is a wrong kind of person for covering this topic. She represents another side of feminism that is very anti-sex and gaming media seems to take her side of the issue instead of comparing the two sides.

        I think the KSI thing ( video here the girl in question is at 00:06) is a perfect example. It was blown overboard with at least by one journalist and it got the man banned from all the eurogamer cons and losing his sponsorships(?). While the only woman who got even sexually “abused” in this video was defending the man against the journalist who wrote the whole article.

        But I guess it doesn’t matter how she feels. It only matters how she should feel.

        • Jesse L says:

          The year I decided to stop reading comments on the internet…I wish.

          • RandomEsa says:

            I know! The youtube comments are awfull but I just keep reading them.

          • vivlo says:

            I’m sooo with you guys… :/ (and here is another lame comment someone won’t be able to not loose the time reading)

        • Premium User Badge

          Stellar Duck says:

          It’s wrong to say that there are two sides in the Sakeesian case. When one side says ‘I’m going to look at women in games in this and this faction,’ and the other goes ‘Skank, slut, whore, stay in the kitchen!’ there really is only one side worth listening to.

          There might at one point have been another side that, when she had made her videos, could have watched them and made counter arguments if any were applicable. That well is poisoned now though. No matter how well reasoned a counter point to her videos is it’ll be tarred with the idiots who went nuts during the Kickstarter.

          • RandomEsa says:

            If you ignore the well thought out arguments made against her then you’re no better than those people who trash her before hearing her argument first ( which is what you’re doing). There are legitimate arguments against Anita even before her video’s have been released.

            For reference see her videos about Bayonetta and Kanye West’s “My beautiful dark twisted fantasy” analyses.

          • Fincher says:

            Has it ever occurred to you that there are more schools of feminism than the one Anita Sarkeesian champions?

            Has it ever occurred to you that dismissing whatever valid arguments those against Anita have is just as foolish as only listening to Anita’s arguments (I use the term loosely)? Ignoring other feminists because A) Anita is now the posterwoman of feminism in gaming (ugh, nice one RPS) and B) she’s the one who got the attention, the press, the noise.

            Feminism is a far broader field than the gaming media would have you believe. Many embrace sexuality and recognise that tropes plague male roles as well as female roles. You’re the kind of contrarian who thinks he’s righteous when supporting Anita, when in reality you’re supporting the homogenisation of a far more complicated subject.

          • Premium User Badge

            Lambchops says:

            Bollocks.

            Somebody making a bunch of bile filled comments does not invalidate reasonable discourse that succeeds those comments. Distracts from it, sure. But to suggest the braying of idiots makes any future attempt at a useful discussion fruitless would many very few discussions would ever be had, particularly over the internet!

          • Muzman says:

            Thanks RPS? Thank the internet MRA brigade and the trolls. If you wanted a sane and sensible debate about what she has to say, people should have just let her talk. Boosting her up is frankly brilliant. (she’s not an anti sex extremist either. Sorta just past the middle on a left to right spectrum into the extra analytical territory)

        • El_Emmental says:

          “I think it’s more of the fact that Anita is a wrong kind of person for covering this topic. She represents another side of feminism that is very anti-sex and gaming media seems to take her side of the issue instead of comparing the two sides.” +1

          Exactly what I’m thinking.

          -

          We have a woman who, like thousands of men and women in the world, thought “hey, female characters in video games are often portrayed as sexist stereotypes, this is wrong”.

          She could have done like everyone else did in the past, is doing right now, and will do in the future, and just post about it on her Facebook/Twitter to discuss it with her friends, or made a more complete blog post about it. She could have started a round of debate on it by asking other bloggers, journalists and developers about their opinions on the matter.

          Or she could have started a real research on the subject, diving into hundreds of games and books, comparing ancient books, movies, comics, music and History. Basically what senior students and professors do at the university: they work hard, over long period of time, to improve our understanding of a topic, a problem, a phenomenon.

          Instead, she decided to play the troll card, to get some attention, thinking it would allow people to debate about that topic, once everyone is sitting at the same table.

          Hopefully, it doesn’t work like that. Being lazy (not doing your homework) and being over provocative doesn’t result in a good debate, it just bring angry people with very strong opinions on the same topic for a week, feed the media and disappear.

          -

          You can clearly see her complete lack of homework in her interventions, as it’s pointed out in this article:
          http://www.destructoid.com/a-response-to-some-arguments-in-anita-sarkeesian-s-interview-230570.phtml

          High heels ? sexist !
          Feminine dress ? sexist !
          Subtle character personality that you miss if you don’t pay attention to the story ? sexist !
          Main character is a male ? sexist !
          Secondary/side-kick character is a female ? sexist !

          Where are the analyses ? Where is the context ? Where are the thorough researches ? Where are the comparisons with other games, from the early 80s titles to the recent ones ? Where does she details her opinions ?

          -

          I’m sorry, but it seems she’s acting like a “journalist” trying to get his “topic of the week”, or a politician trying to entertain the voting-base for a month. Giving her so much media attention and 160k dollars is doing it the wrong way, in my honest opinion.

          All you’ll get is “Ho look, it’s funny, girls boobs are big in these games”, “there is 5 types of girls in video games: the damsel-in-distress, the supporting character, the mysterious side-kick, the…” and “my top 5 pro-women games / my top 5 sexist games”. And a vlog of a gamer girl who make her let’s play of various games of her choice.

          => Hurrai, what a great victory over sexism: we got a video version of the article of tvtropes on women in video games mixed with gawker-ish entertainment.

          -

          I really wish Anita will wake up and start working.

          We would hear again from her some 6 months later, then a pause of 6 months, and 2 years later we would have 200 pages (for other researchers) on sexism in video-games, with summarized version of 20 pages (for people interested in the topic), 2 pages (for most people), 2 paragraph (for journalists).

          That’s what the Kickstarter should have been about (in my opinion), documenting sexism in video games, and throughout the cultures and History. Not paying for extra effects and guests on an average vlog series.

          • Muzman says:

            Your charge that making videos is somehow more attention seeking than other forms of research and writing on this subject is frankly idiotic. Where have you been the last six or seven years? Videos are the things now.
            I hope the results are as thorough as you do, but it is as though you’ve bought into some notion of “I don’t like her; I’ve heard of her, therefore she’s an attention whore” like many others.

          • El_Emmental says:

            Oh no, you didn’t.

            “Your charge that making videos is somehow more attention seeking than other forms of research and writing on this subject is frankly idiotic.”

            => Short videos, designed to fit an attention span of the viewer shorter than with a writing, a speak of 45 min, or a 60 (up to 120) minutes documentary, are mostly about seeking attention. About a topic, a danger, or a person.
            They aren’t here to provide thorough informations on a topic, or provide and develop solid arguments on a complex issue. Their goal is reaching people, not informing or educating people.

            “Where have you been the last six or seven years? Videos are the things now.”
            => simply because a thing “is the thing now” doesn’t mean it fits the requirement of the task at hand or is the most appropriate way of conveying an information.

            People still wrote books when being in a band was “the thing now”, people still made movies when demonstrating in the streets was “the thing now”. People are still publishing theses, when creating a fad and its group on Facebook is “the thing now”.

            Emails/texting/FBing are “the things now”, it doesn’t make my letters less meaningful – that’s more the opposite, people enjoy them more than any virtual communication. (nb: I’m less than 30 years old, sending emails and texts on a daily basis)

            “I hope the results are as thorough as you do, but it is as though you’ve bought into some notion of “I don’t like her; I’ve heard of her, therefore she’s an attention whore” like many others.”
            => but it is as though you’ve bought into some notion of *I don’t like his opinion; he’s criticizing her, therefore he’s calling her an attention whore* like many others.

            I’ve seen attention whores, I have dealt with attentions whores in real-life (in my family, at friends’ places, at the university, at the office), and her behavior is disturbingly hinting at such behavior.

            But since I’m not that sexist person you’re trying to portray me as, I haven’t called her like that, I’m awaiting for the evidences – the videos – to go as far as calling her an “attention whore”.

            That’s why I never wrote that she was an attention whore. By misreading (consciously or unconsciously – note how I am not assuming you did it on purpose, you’re free to say it was a mistake) what I wrote, you put words in my mouth that were only in your mind: I wrote the word “attention” three times, let’s see where.

            First: “Subtle character personality that you miss if you don’t pay attention to the story ? sexist !”
            => paying attention to the story. Not really about her, right ?

            Second: “Instead, she decided to play the troll card, to get some attention, thinking it would allow people to debate about that topic, once everyone is sitting at the same table.”
            => Here, I am not labeling her an “attention whore” like you did, I am only pointing out that for her Kickstarter campaign she deliberately chose a polemical approach in order to spark some online “buzz” and possibly a “debate”. That’s exactly like everyone else is doing online, including some of the writers at RPS (ex: a few of the John Walker angry rants, mostly about DRMs – well justified in my opinion, that’s not the question here).

            That’s not attention whoring (which implies repeated offenses), it’s just a cheap tactic at artificially generating relevance of a topic.

            Third: “I’m sorry, but it seems she’s acting like a “journalist” trying to get his “topic of the week”, or a politician trying to entertain the voting-base for a month. Giving her so much media attention and 160k dollars is doing it the wrong way, in my honest opinion.”
            => “giving her so much media attention”, here we’re talking about the attention the media gave to her. It doesn’t mean she’s an “attention whore” (that’s usually the contrary, attention whores rarely succeed in their quest for the spotlights), it doesn’t mean anything regarding her behavior regarding attention seeking. It is only about the media and the readers giving attention to something not worth it, not about what that “something” was doing.

            So, thank you for using a stereotype when facing the criticism I wrote. It means a lot to me: you failed to provide counter-arguments and used the “stop calling her an attention whore” card.

            I’m now reassured that only stereotypes-using people felt the need to answer to my post.

            For your defense, I assume you saw “to get some attention” and unconsciously thought of “attention whore”. Maybe you’re sexist – you should see an expert on that topic, just in case. I think Anita is accepting patients without appointment :)

      • Josh W says:

        Ad feminems? Guess who’s back, back again…

    • Premium User Badge

      AlwaysRight says:

      “4) The year free to play made sense
      R// Sense for what?? Mediocre P2W games?? No thanks.”

      Tribes: Ascend? Guild Wars 2?, Planetside 2? Mediocre? P2W? Eh?

    • HothMonster says:

      RE: 6)

      Just because borderlands and Dark souls allow you to turn of the constant connectivity doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t greatly suffer as a result. As small of a role that multiplayer has in DS it has a huge impact on the feel of the game. The notes from other people, the ghosts walking the same path as you and the threat of invasion in new areas in exchange for the bonuses brought on by opening yourself up to that threat all add greatly add to the experience that is dark souls. I would highly recommend that no one ever play it offline as it really does remove something very special from the experience.

      And borderlands2 bores me to death by myself.

      The point isn’t, I don’t think, that you have to use these systems. But them being there and being such an integral part of the experience gets people use to being always online. It makes it acceptable it makes it almost wanted. I tried playing DS when my net was down and was longing for that connection the whole time. The more comfortable we are with using these things and the more we like the benefits they give the less likely we are to rally against them. That is how always-online will win, not by being jammed down our throats ala ubisoft and D3.

      I feel like if D3 had been a new ip there would have been very little resistance to it despite it doing so many of the always online “features” very very poorly.

    • HothMonster says:

      ” You have no problem in using the words Man Shooter together”

      Do you play the types of videogames he is talking about? That is what you do, walk around shooting men. It is a very apt description. Though ironically I fell that many of the people that hate anita so might really enjoy the industry producing a few womanshooters.

    • Premium User Badge

      Matt_W says:

      Anita Sarkeesian: “radical and extremist feminist?” Hilarious. I watched a few of her videos during the Kickstarter fracas. My main criticism of her stuff is that it lacks some of the nuance I’m used to seeing in contemporary feminist critiques. But “radical and extremist”? She’s about as mainstream a feminist media critic as there is, which is pretty remarkable given the vitriol that’s been directed at her. I suspect that for you, ‘radical’, ‘extremist’ and ‘feminist’ are just synonyms.

      • Eddy9000 says:

        I totally agree, I watched the Videos about Lego being gradually gendered towards men rathe than being aimed at a gender neutral audience and thought her argument was really well presented, and actually was as much about what boys are missing out on through gendered marketing than what girls were missing out on. Then every single comment when she is mentioned says ‘yeah but this is the same woman who said Lego was sexist’. Still there isn’t a louder and more aggressive bunch than majorities who are having their entitlements threatened so it shouldn’t be a surprise.

  15. serioussgtstu says:

    10) The year of the clickclickclick.

    Some of the things that have happened to the ARPG genre this year provide a neat little overview of what gaming is going through these days. The success of great franchises like Diablo don’t always equate to bigger and better experiences for gamers. Companies like Runic have shown us that a willingness to stay small and play ball with the great unknown of modding might make their game more of a mainstay in years to come just because it’s so much more accessible, both price wise and through lack of DRM. Grinding Gear are going even further, by showing big developers that goodwill towards their costumers and free to play models are just as relevant as preorder bonuses and AAA pricetags.

    Hooray indeed.

    • MacTheGeek says:

      And Crate’s successful Kickstarter project for Grim Dawn could point the way forward for crowd-sourced funding of new IP.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    Next year will be equally important, as we will get to see whether the hysteria over kickstarter has been justified. I for one am very excited to see what Double Fine et al will show for the pledges many of us have given and hope that it will be as good as we are expecting.

    Great article, as ever.

    • HothMonster says:

      While I am certainly hoping for an amazing game I feel like I already got my moneys worth out of the documentary. Whichever developer gets 2playerproductions to sign onto their kickstarter next is going to get quite the boost I imagine, I will happily back almost any product if they are going to be hanging around.

      Probably some of that is how charismatic and entertaining Tim is but all of their segments have been interesting and great imo.

  17. Nighthood says:

    “8) The year that gender roles and perception took baby steps towards equality”

    God, here we go again. Talk about a cracked record. Besides, those “baby steps” have been going nowhere but the wrong direction, trying to shoehorn gender issues into places they’re irrelevant, in the name of an “equality” which is actually just promoting one side and demonising the other.

    Great job, RPS. Things continue down the churnalism rabbit hole yet again.

    EDIT: Oh, and don’t break out the “Misogyny” thing again. I don’t hate women. I hate it when developers are pressured into changing games because they hurt people’s feelings.

    • Alec Meer says:

      I don’t know whether you’re a misogynist, but you’re certainly not much of a reader.

      • J.Kruegger says:

        Are you censoring comments?? Oh man, how I miss the RPS of yore.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          What, you mean when I would delete dozens of comments every day? Rather than now, when we seldom delete anything?

          The “RPS of yore” was militant comment fascism, as I have explained on many occasions. We’ll happily delete anything we don’t want to see, there’s no freedom of speech here, so don’t whinge about it.

          • J.Kruegger says:

            No, the RPS of yore I mention was one in which you could exercise free speech. I had three tabs opened for three comments I wanted to reply to, they all are gone.

            That’s all.

          • Jim Rossignol says:

            Well that’s an imaginary one, because we have *never, ever* exercised a free-speech policy on here. That said, you might just have been got by the anti-spam bot.

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      “trying to shoehorn gender issues into places they’re irrelevant”
      it seems relevant as regards gaming – why would you purposely exclude half your audience due to outdated attitudes?

      • Randomer says:

        And they aren’t just excluding half the audience. There are plenty of men who are extremely bored of seeing the same cliches played out over and over.

        • Dark Nexus says:

          This. When it comes to my personal decisions on what games to play, over-sexualization is always a strike against.

      • YourMessageHere says:

        There is absolutely nothing in which gender issues are not relevant. Unfair treatment based on gender is for my money the biggest social problem in the world, and it needs to be flagged up and discussed and squashed wherever it pops up.

        • Nick says:

          Whist it is a big (and shitty) problem, I think it might be a huge overstatement to call it the biggest social problem in the world…

        • Apolloin says:

          IMO – Slavery, religious extremism and poverty are bigger social problems.

          • pipman3000 says:

            I really hate how we people can only do one thing at a time, I’d really love to help the hungry but first I must eat.

          • Josh W says:

            This is actually a real problem, keeping a social change going until it gets stable is pretty hard, and most people focus on at most 3 causes and vaguely get involved in others.

            People’s attempts to fix this by creating grand platforms encourage conspiracy theorism about how oil is anti-gay, television advertising to children is imperialist, and the pay of football stars causes the breakdown of family values.

            I think the solution is probably to find ways for people to be only partially engaged but still productively help to get a cause off the ground, adding useful voices without allowing them to be trolled to easily.

    • diamondmx says:

      I’m sure you don’t mean to, but your post makes you look like a terrible person.
      You might want to consider looking into the issues and forming an informed and rounded opinion.

      PS: “It’s not my problem so stop talking about it” is not good enough.

      • Dominic White says:

        Amen to that. I, as a man, am thoroughly sick of women in games falling into the same handfull of tired roles. My girlfriend is even more irked, although moreso by the lack of equally strong female protagonists to play as.

        Whenever people try to shut down any discussion on the subject, or claim that it’s the straight white men who are the ones really being oppressed here (as a white male with a non-white GF, I call bullshit), I can feel my blood pressure rise.

        • ElVaquero says:

          Double amen. RPS, we are your decent, reasonable silent majority! Do not forget us when sigh-ing at angry commenters.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            Tripledonkeydare Amen. I wish that instead of complaining about gaming growing up people would try and grow up a bit with it.

        • hungrytales says:

          So you being a white male erases any notion of white males being oppressed?

          And why are those traditional roles “tired” roles? Are we tired now of how the things are and always have been? Guess, we really have to invent a new world with new roles then. And force it down the throats of every last one of those silly backward conservatives who cling to these outlandish notions of most women being rather significantly more delicate and affectionate than most men and most men significantly more violent-prone and cold-blooded than most women (hence making them an obvious choice for a strong protagonist in a violent game).

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            Wow. Are… are you seriously saying white men, the most powerful and influential faction of humanity, are being oppressed?

            Also, equality does not mean making everyone homogenous. Seriously.

            /Poe’s law?

    • Guard Dag says:

      I’m sorry to hurt your precious feelings but you are a misogynist. Gender issues are extremely important, it doesn’t matter what medium or context they take place in. We have all these complex and intriguing male characters but the woman get the same deal every time. At best, they try to create a good female character but it gets bogged down in society’s image of how women should be. At worst, they’re just tits on a stick that speak in order to move the plot forward. Honestly, this is boring. I want to play games that represent reality, not the deluded attitudes of bigots. And stop with the whole “they’re demonizing us menz, what did we ever do?” We tilted society in our favor since the dawn of civilization and smashed anyone who tried to make things anymore equal. Given that shitty track record, I wish we saw games that examined this issue. Contrary to your expectations, those baby steps we’re seeing now are about setting the record straight. So until you decide to call out all the bullshit and start changing society for the better, you’re just part of a long line of bigots that will be looked down upon later, a baddie if you will. So, to rap this up, here’s a video to enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpZ8EkK3eWY

      Someone replied to this but they’re comment is gone, but I’d still like to show what I posted:

      Sure, there are a small minority of games out there that have strong female characters worth a damn, but that’s drowned out by the rest of the shit. The plain truth is that the majority of games cater to men.

      And what exactly are you going to criticize Feminism about exactly? Is it going to be the same old tired Men’s Rights bullshit? If that’s the case, we’re going to be in for a very vigorous discussion. Or would you criticise the state of Feminism today for how racist, transphobic, classist, and all that other ‘fun’ privilege. Believe me, there is plenty to criticize it about but the whole “what about the menz?” is the same old bull shit spouted for thousands of years.

      Ooh, so you’re under the delusion that we’re progressive now, the very pinnacle of all of human civilization, that we’re not bigots like our ancestors were? I wish that was true but it’s far from the case. Let’s see, there’s still a 30% wage gap between men and white women and that gets worse for minorities. Women can’t walk somewhere at night without worried about getting raped. If she does, people will just say, “If she hadn’t worn this, she wouldn’t have been raped” “If she hadn’t been drunk, she wouldn’t have been raped” “If she hadn’t done this, she wouldn’t have been raped” Blaming the victim, putting her in an even worse hole of despair then she’s already in. Let’s play off this more, you know how many rapists get put in jail, 1 in 10. That is a mockery of of our system of justice. For additional ‘fun’, people will joke about rape, this horrible thing, as if it’s just another day at the office.

      So, no, I’m not going to think our hands are somehow clean. We’re not some enlightened civilization that is the guiding light, we’re barbarians and nothing more. Until that changes, we’ll just keep playing in the dirt.

    • DiamondDog says:

      No. Nope. Equality in gaming isn’t irrelevant. It’s pretty bloody relevant.

      But feel free to stick your head in the sand. We’ll just be over here in adult land, trying to work things out.

    • dE says:

      It’s not the discussions, they could be worthwhile and are certainly important to be had. But it’s the way the issue is discussed that isn’t helping at all. With RPS and the Internet in general, when it comes to these topics, there are two options: You either agree wholeheartedly or you hate and suppress women.
      The discussion lacks a middle ground and anyone aiming for the middle-ground is immediately lobbed in with and shunned by BOTH sides. Curious thing is, actual gender studies and social sciences are firmly rooted in the space in-between, not leaning to either side.
      But the way those discussions are held now, they’re essentially a suggestion list for the blocking feature. For folks from both sides.

    • Nick says:

      Thankfully your feelings on the issue aren’t relevant to anyone that matters.

    • Premium User Badge

      cspkg says:

      I’m loving the responses to this comment. Just to throw in my own: surely the original commentator’s name is ironic, for they speak as if chivalry is dead. Let this thread put paid to that thought.

      I personally have RPS and PC Gamer’s Tom Francis to thank for opening my eyes to playing as (and enjoying) a leading female character in Mass Effect. Yes the series wasn’t exactly the beacon of feminism, but the fact that they invested time in a female lead (which ended up being a better experience than the male version) and they responded to fans’ love for the character in ME3 was really fascinating and satisfying to watch. And despite the ending, I really felt close to my Shepard to the extent that the male version just looks and feels so *wrong*! Now I make a point to play as female characters where possible (and in games!), much to my wife’s chagrin (resident evil 6 co-op).

      These are why I love games. There is so much potential to change or even transform us, and it is sad to see so much of it wasted. Good on you Mr Meer for picking up on these issues in this article.

    • derbefrier says:

      I agree. It just feels like controversy for the sake of it. political correctness being used as a form of censorship. I say let people make the games they want. if there is a demand for them they will sell, if not they wont. Its as simple as that. no need to pretend to have some moral high ground or act like the equal treatment of women is going to be set back 10 years because a Hitman trailer had some crazy sexy killer nuns in it. Its fantasy, please learn to tell the difference. Do you guys get all bent out of shape every time a movie or TV show, music video or any other form of entertainment overly sexualizes women? How many of you here regularly watch anime?

      You know its up to the individual to make the distinction between reality and fantasy. Its bullshit to sit here and say its okay to force you perceptions on other people when the world is never so black and white. I think sometimes people get so caught up in their own BS they become as mindless as the people they are attacking. not open to debate but just want to take any opportunity to harass and belittle and ram their opinion down the throats of anyone who dares to have an opposing view and the replies to this comment only reinforce that thought in my eyes.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Everybody knows it’s not just in games. But this is a PC gaming blog.

        Also, sure, there should be freedom to make the games developers want to make. The idea is more that many games used to and still are for the most part marketed to a certain demographic. With more and more people coming into gaming it stands to reason that games developers respond to the changing audience. Consider certain rather immature things we’ve seen (grope a booth babe? How about the Blizzcon debacle?).

        That, and, as a non-insignificant part of it, there are quite some people who ruin things for the rest of us by their behaviour/attitude. And this is less a responsibility for the developers/publishers as it is a responsibility for the gaming community as a whole. Of course we’re not all to blame, but we can help people, gaming communities and developers/publishers be more aware of the issue and try to at least be open to it.

  18. RandomEsa says:

    Personally?

    The year when gaming journalism got really questionable. The sheer number controversial topics ( take your pick really) have really shown that game journalism is really unprofessional. I guess for an example whole me 3 ending debate. When a freelancer journalist from forbes gets flak by journalists from escapist, destructoid, pa and others for trying offer an another opinion for the whole me 3 ending debate and arguing that the review process for games is being influenced by the publishers ( see the ads on the sites [ even RPS had this]).

    Then there was the Jennifer Hepler incident where every journalist took her side when she called everyone who dared to question her talent a lonely virgins who won’t never have a job in video games industry and vagina ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QLz0CqtMVc&feature=plcp).

    For games I try to think every year by the merit that would I play any of these games or remember them as classics in 10 years times? For 2012… I guess I might see myself playing Torchlight 2, Spec ops: the line, Trine 2, Legend of Grimrock, The Walking Dead and maybe Dishonored and X-COM but I haven’t played those yet.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Huh, I wonder why people took Hepler’s side?

      Must have just been Questionable Journalism. I doubt there was any merit to her case at all!

      • Kaira- says:

        You say people would jump on a hating bandwagon using lies, misintepretation and slander? Well I never.

      • RandomEsa says:

        In my opinion both sides are at fault here. I personally believe that Hepler’s writing is mediocre at best and her way of thinking how games should be marketed and designed towards women completely misses the point how games are unique in telling their stories.

        I would side with her on that whole incident if she wouldn’t really had told everyone that they’re losers who will never see a vagina and will never have a job in video games industry. ( Maybe it hit too close to home).

    • bladedsmoke says:

      You are mistakenly equating “Questionable Journalism” with “Journalism Which Reaches Conclusions I Disagree With”

    • diamondmx says:

      Watched the Jennifer Helper video – some of it raised some interesting points. Not sure they were *true* points, but worthy of consideration. Mainly that there were legitimate criticisms of her influence on the games she was involved in, and that her taste in storytelling clashed with what the audience was asking for.

      Couple of issues that kind of ruined the whole thing:
      Firstly, the speaker in the video does not seem to acknowledge that the hate spewed against her was pretty misogynistic in tone and word. Whether there is legitimate reason for complaint or not, it is impossible to have a reasonable discussion if one side feels that the opinion of the other side is irrelevant due to gender.

      Secondly, the opening of the video focuses on pictures of Jennifer, for a long while. This is clearly part of the point the speaker is trying to make. He does this at several points in the video.

      Thirdly, if the speaker was trying to claim a fair and unbiased viewpoint – he should NOT have finished on a fat-chick joke. Because then, he’s just an asshole. A pretty clear example of how any point a person might be trying to make is steamrolled by the way in which they make it.
      If you want your point on misogyny to be heard, try not to be actively and blatantly misogynistic while making that point.

      I think, with the level and toxicity of criticism she was suffering, if she called out the people laying all that on her as “jobless virgins” – it might have been unwise and unpleasant, but it was not really undeserved.

      • iucounu says:

        “Firstly, the speaker in the video does not seem to acknowledge that the hate spewed against her was pretty misogynistic in tone and word.”

        Cor, that’s the understatement of the year. It was a real eye-opener for me.

    • Muzman says:

      I thought it wasn’t particularly games journalists who were late to the party, but it was a reddit thread that was late to the party and rapidly filled up with the things reddit threads fill up with. It may be besides the substance of the debate but she’d have to burn down a village or two of starving children to look worse than abuse of a million butthurt male nerds (who were also mostly ignoring the substance of the debate)

  19. Ateius says:

    Is this just “Alec Meer: The Blog” these days? Everywhere I turn it’s another brilliant opus from the ever-present Meer. Although I must question your decision to include an MMO (GW2) in the “always online DRM” crowd; it’s not like D3, whose predecessor was a beloved single-player game.

    Still, looking forward to the future.

    • mandrill says:

      I’m sure it’s just a phase. There have been similar epochs in the past. The heady days of the Keiron era, the short Rossignol interregnum. These days of Alec will pass in time and another will step forward.

  20. WedgeJAntilles says:

    Great write-up of what’s been going on. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been so optimistic about games as a medium, and as a culture.

    On a personal note, 2012 is also the year that I decided to revisit my dream of being a game developer. I gave up on that dream years ago, amid stories of awful working conditions and astronomical budgets that meant being a “game programmer” would just mean being a cog in a machine instead of doing creative, interesting work. The rise of the indie scene and crowdsourcing has convinced me that I could actually do this for a living and enjoy it.

  21. HothMonster says:

    “Then there are rumours that big publishers are trying to stealth their way onto Kickstarter, using fan-favourite developers as a front for their projects.”

    Now relaunching the Black Isle brand makes sense.

  22. WCG says:

    Places you thirty-somethings struggle to reach? Ha! What about us sixty-somethings?

    Oh, yeah, BTW, what’s a “MOBA”?

  23. Bob says:

    Yeah, 2012 has been wonderful so far. Borderlands 2, Mass Effect 3, and I’m pretty sure the yet to be played Dishonored will join the other two as my big three for the year.

    Hopefully 2013 will see the eradication of the “This gaming related site advertises games, you must be corrupt” comments.

  24. mandrill says:

    Nice insightful piece. This is why I come here :D

  25. iucounu says:

    This is a handy comments thread for spotting who needs blocking. Thanks, RPS!

    • Alec Meer says:

      It was an accidental honey-trap, but it’s certainly a very useful one…

    • Fluka says:

      I finally registered to A) Finally get around to improving my comment experience by keeping a tidy block list and B) Say the exact same thing. Excellent article, by the way! And as far as I can *now* tell, good comments!

    • Furiku says:

      Ignoring other peoples opinion (on even a rather heavy-handedly moderated site no less that already feels like the proverbial echo-chamber) has always made them go away, and you automatically right, I’m glad you’ve finally come to see that.

      • Dominic White says:

        You’re right. We need to step up to IP bans, until this is a place where women can actually interact with others as equals without being told that they’re tyrannical oppressors of all good menfolk if they react poorly to ‘tits or gtfo’.

        • Furiku says:

          So women need to be protected from opinions other than yours or those not agreeing with the notions of neo-feminism? I’d even wager to say that there are women who don’t agree with the goals of this new form of feminism, imagine that.

          And really, “a place where women can interact with others as equals”, I didn’t know we were talking about parts of Africa and the Middle East and not a largely anonymous comment system on the Internet where everyone can give him or herself any nickname they want and nobody is even able to judge anyone else by “who they are” but only the quality of what has been said.

          • Guard Dag says:

            Yes, women need a little help with that. Put on the shoes of a woman for just a moment, I’m going to walk you through all the shit they have to deal with every moment of their life. Everywhere they go, someone is sexualizing them. And not in a good way either, it’s the uncomfortable and horrid kind where you just want to get away. Everywhere you go, someone is leering at you. You can’t even escape it either. Go online and and they’ll say the most sexist things you can imagine. You want to play a video game? Chances are the women in it are just tits on sticks. There’s no reality to them. Just something pretty for the male gamers to look at. You want to know why the majority of women just play casual games, it’s one of the few respites from the noxious tide of misogyny and sexism that fills their life otherwise. The majority of video games don’t offer that escape though. Hell, they could go see a movie but it’s just the same issue as before: All the women are back drops, 2-dimensional characters that only help the lead character, who’s a male by the way, move the plot forward. They’re not complex characters that play a integral part, they’re just a background to it all.

            Everywhere you go, it’s the same tired shit. You’re not going to get a break like that. Imagine yourself having to deal with this everyday. You’d never have a chance to get away from the shit. You’d be stuck in it and sooner or later, you’d turn into a cockroach in this kafkaesque nightmare. If you were lucky, you’d explode and try to fight it, but it is tiring to have to do it all the gorram time.

            So excuse me if I hurt your precious feelings if I think this place should be a safe place for women. For them to get away from the general horridness of reality. For them to feel like they’re equals and not someone for men to gawk at and harass.

          • Furiku says:

            o_O And you people are calling me “wrong headed”.
            What place do you live in, the Iran or Los Angeles?

            Anyway, here we have several people again deeming that women apparently can’t protect themselves or speak their mind on their own or have their own opinions and agree or disagree, they obviously need *your* help to do that for them, even on the Internet.
            Same thing as the story I was commenting on below, obviously she needed the heroic games journalist to speak up, cause she couldn’t do it herself, they aren’t agents of their own lives and have no agency, they need you for that to fend them off from the bad people and bad opinions. xD

            And whenever a woman doesn’t agree with your apocalyptic viewpoint, she has obviously been influenced by the patriarchy and doesn’t know what she is talking about.

            The only “precious feelings” I see hurt are yours.

          • Muzman says:

            ‘Neo-feminism’? What in god’s name are you talking about? Are you about 15 by any chance?

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Furiku: You are confusing the idea of men speaking out against harassment of women with the idea of men co-opting the viewpoints of women.

            This is a typical troll-tacitic and very tiresome, and either dishonest or extremely uninformed.

            In circles such as online gaming, men/males are currently far and away the majority, and it’s going to fall on men/males who participate in these circles to do a significant amount of the work to change behavioral norms. Sure, women can do their part, but your stance is effectively suggesting they can and should be expected to do all of it. Which is in fact chauvanistic. Despite the fact that you are trying to paint everyone else with that brush.

          • Delusibeta says:

            @Guard Dag: To be perfectly blunt, that reads like someone who is paranoid.

      • iucounu says:

        Oh, I think you might be confused about what I’m intending to do by blocking people. I’m not expecting them to stop existing, and I don’t think ignoring them somehow proves a point. I just don’t need to see the opinions of any more posturing MRA / antifeminist cocks on RPS, because they’re all over subcultures I inhabit like an angry infected rash already (gaming and atheism, say.) I know the arguments, thanks, I see them every day, and I don’t actually require any more mansplanations.

        It’s a problem Neal Stephenson pointed out in Snow Crash: “It was of course nothing more than sexism – the especially virulent type espoused by male techies who sincerely believe that they’re too smart to be sexist.”

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          As someone who doesn’t hang out in atheist circles… huh? Aren’t atheists supposed to be against patriarchal institutions, since they’re so often related to/an integral part of religions?

          • iucounu says:

            Misogynist people exist in atheism just like in theism, unfortunately. If you’re determined to hate women, it doesn’t seem to matter whether your justifications for that are secular or religious. See also racism, homophobia, etc etc.

    • hungrytales says:

      I see unashamed narrow-mindedness is the in thing on RPS these days.

      • iucounu says:

        Narrow-mindedness implies an inability to appreciate some other person’s point of view. I’m perfectly able to appreciate the POV of sexists or misogynists or racists or homophobes – I understand what they believe and what their arguments are. That’s one of the main reasons I don’t need to wade through their effusions of bile and bullshit any more than is strictly necessary.

        • hungrytales says:

          If Olympics had a competition of profuse label-spitting, you sir, would be a gold medalist.

  26. mickygor says:

    The year anyone writing for RPS that isn’t Cara still prefixes anything about MOBAs with at least 1 paragraph of idgi. We get it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Faldrath says:

      Well, this year RPS has at least been much better about getting guest writers to cover genres that they do not know very well (MOBAs, racing games, The Flare Path, and so on), so that should be praised.

      • mickygor says:

        Perhaps, but it’s still no justification to write nothing of substance about what is arguably the most popular genre in online PC gaming today, instead opting for “This terrifies me.”

        • DiamondDog says:

          I really think guest writers is the best way to cover MOBA games if the main RPS writers have no interest. Having them force themselves to learn the game would only end up being a massive time sink and still most likely piss everyone off because they got some minor detail wrong.

          I think the only way to do it would be a regular column from a writer who is active in the scene. But then do you have one person trying to cover Dota2, LoL and HoN?

          Honestly, if I were RPS I wouldn’t want to be poking that bee hive.

          • Skabooga says:

            I agree. Not covering Lane-Pushing Games certainly falls within RPS’s stated mission of covering those PC games and issues which interest them most. I’d hate for the writers to feel forced to play a game they had little interest in and have that lack of enthusiasm carry over into their writing.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            I liked how you said ‘game’ instead of ‘games’. :)

          • mickygor says:

            Yea, I’m happy with them subbing it out to Cara, she’s entertaining to read. I’m just weary of reading “I don’t understand why people enjoy these games” every time one of them has something newsworthy. If a thread were created like that on the forums it would be considered trollbait at best.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Sure there is. It’s their blog and if they don’t like it (or know it) they don’t have to post about it. I’m sure there are other places where you can get your DOTA news fix.

          But you don’t have to.

          -edit- Thinking on this, maybe it’d be nice if they would list a couple of places which do discuss gametypes RPS doesn’t generally post about (that frequently). But I don’t imagine they’d be too hard to find if they’re as popular as you say DOTA games are.

          And yes, you can’t stop me saying DOTA. :oP So there.

  27. pilouuuu says:

    I think that this year has been very good so far, but things will get really exciting in 2013 because we will see the results of these new trends.

    My predictions so far:

    - Indie games and kickstarter will continue to amaze us.

    - Developers will start to innovate more, afraid that gamers will get bored of the same game released over and over again. We will continue to have Call of Duty and Need for Speed, but they’ll try to inject some interesting ideas even in those games.

    - Lots of follow-ups, but more new IPs.

    - Games will get better endings and developers will be extra careful with those thanks to ME3 effect.

    - Developers will try to find new ways to merge storytelling and gameplay.

    - Better actions-consequences multiple paths in games, especially RPGs. Games may be shorter, but will have better replayability. I call that the Walking Dead effect.

    - FPS games are going to finally decline! I call that XCOM TBS is better than FPS suck on that Syndicate effect.

    Obviously all that will change once the new consoles arrive and we may lose all the industry advanced… But at least PC games won’t be restricted to crappy textures and most limitations consoles have nowadays, but innovation may be stuck again with dumbed down lowest common denominator experiences being massively present once again.

    Overall I’m pretty optimistic and I think the industry is finally moving forward since the stagnation it was stuck in.

    Bring on 2013 gaming!

  28. Premium User Badge

    Continuity says:

    This has been a great year, possibly the best year, and a lot of that is because gaming and game development has been unleashed from the traditional publisher/store shackles.

    So much great stuff is happening, from innovative takes on gaming in games like DayZ to the fan funding of games like wasteland 2 and Obsidian’s Eternity project.

    Seriously I was having kittens when this stuff started happening earlier in the year because this is the renaissance that gaming has desperately needed for so long now.

  29. Enkinan says:

    Just popping in to say: good article!

  30. Mirqy says:

    Wait, wait, wait. Aeris died?

  31. secretdoorinvisiblewall says:

    Nice read.

    I think it’s worth noting, in respect to point #6 (Always On Requirements), that Dark Souls was originally developed as a console-only release, and thus the integration of always-online gameplay was intended purely to enhance the game experience. Anyone who has played the game knows that the online aspects are quite important and arguably essential to the core experience.

    This is in clear contrast to Diablo III, where it’s impossible to make a definitive statement as to whether the primary reason for eliminating offline play was to enhance the game experience (as Blizzard would like us to believe) or to prevent PC piracy. Obviously both play a role to some extent, but it’s impossible to prove which motivation primarily drove them to take the dramatic step of eliminating offline play entirely (personally, I’d bet on the latter).

    What I’m trying to say is this: if always-on is integrated to clearly enhance the game experience without detriment to the player (easiest way to ensure this–allow offline play), then I’m all for it. But if it stinks of forcing everyone to play online simply in order to prevent piracy/increase sales, then I think it’s a dangerous precedent that we should continue to condemn as loudly and as often as possible.

    • Damn Skippy says:

      The major factor for Blizzard making Diablo 3 always online wasn’t really either of reasons you posited in your second paragraph, though they were no doubt a sizable factor. Mainly, they wanted to secure their long-term revenue stream, the RMAH. By making everything but the renderer/audio run server-side, they have much more control of dupes, hacks, exploits, etc., and they don’t have to worry so much about uber-items flooding the marketplace (due to them creating and being able to limit them) so things will stay rare and prices will have a better likelihood of staying up.

      That said, I agree with everything else you say about always-online, and think about it like this: If a game can be experienced single player, I want an offline option, but if you make me want to be online (for enhancements, drop in co-op, something new nobody has tried yet) and make it a clear benefit to the player I will gladly stay always online when I can. There are other factors, like modability and controlled servers (for fps, at least), but that basic tenet is true, at least for me.

  32. ElVaquero says:

    The first half of 2012 was an incredible watershed of exciting things happening in game-land. I got so jumped up about it that I decided to switch my career from IT to game development (probably not the only one either!)

  33. DyvimTvar says:

    For me this is also the year the Unity 3D engine keeps popping up all other place whereas I had never heard of it before.

    “idunstry”
    “happens then happens gain”
    “more than likely to become less acute than once was”

  34. MythArcana says:

    Nothing to see here. Just Valve taking over the Internet. Definitive isn’t marketable, trends are big gains, stale ideas rule the masses, and they keep dropping off the Steam conveyor belt like candy bars of shit. Right now, every dev that can put on a pair of pants is running over to Valve to get their Money Hat and trade in their integrity for a vendor ID number.

    That’s what’s going on in the industry.

    • The Random One says:

      There are still some devs heroically ignoring Steam, or at least moving towards it not with a hop of joy but with a shrug. Have some hope.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I like how your post addressed nothing specifically mentioned in the post and is just a complete non sequitur. Onwards, hobbyhorse!

  35. Totally heterosexual says:

    On less positive news, RE6 is a piece of shit.

    But hey, was a good year though. Im happy.

  36. Klonopin says:

    “I’m also very glad to see that two of my favourite games of the year, Dishonored and XCOM, both entirely avoid sexualising their female characters.”

    I haven’t played it yet, but doesn’t Dishonored have an entire level that takes place in a brothel? If those characters are entirely un-sexualised then it sounds like the least fun brothel ever.

    • Emeraude says:

      I’d love to know why sexualizing a character would be wrong per see too.

      I seem to notice a strong current of conservatism rising in modern feminist discourse that tries to equate sexy, sexual, and sexist, which I find rather troubling.

      • Guard Dag says:

        In a environment where both parties want it, and it’s not some rude male who just wants to have sex, sexualizing is nice and healthy.

        The issue arises is when it happens all the time to women. There’s no escape from it. They’re told they have to fit exactly with this image, otherwise, they’re unimportant. This message is repeated everywhere they go.

        When it comes down to it, a women wants to be treated and respected like a regular person. They don’t want to be the eye candy to every man around them. It’s uncomfortable and horrid to be in that situation.

        • Emeraude says:

          The issue arises is when it happens all the time to women. There’s no escape from it. They’re told they have to fit exactly with this image, otherwise, they’re unimportant. This message is repeated everywhere they go.

          I understand perfectly the problem of volume imbalance in discourse.
          But what I note is that it’s always the sexual figure who’s attacked – even when if valid in its use (see the reactions to DA2′s Isabella, a very sexual character whose romance starts with sex and only, maybe, ends with actual emotional trust. Too bad the execution was so poor, it was refreshing for the medium). The iconification of women (of which the Empress in those Dishonored trailer seemed like a case in the making – though I can’t judge, I won’t play the game) rarely if ever gets touched upon though (and when it happens, you can often expect a backlash; see the reaction of some people to being told that Ico, though a masterpiece, does have some really unpleasant sexist undertones).

          What I was noting was what appears to me like an ongoing reappropriation of the feminist discourse by conservatives, though obviously only when it can be re-purposed to fit some of their agendas.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        The term ‘sexualize’ has an object. That is, someone is sexualized. This means they are placed in some sexual context by others. That’s the context. It is talking about something “done to” someone else.

        To honestly express being sexy, interest, etc, and deal with the issues that come with the territory in a mature way (rebuffs, etc) isn’t really what’s implied by this term. At least usually.

        Separately, the term is “per se”.

        • JackShandy says:

          Edited massively, because I misread a comment:

          It’s impossible for sexuality to come from within if we’re talking about a videogame character. They don’t have sexual desires. Any characteristics they have, sexual or otherwise, have been “Done to them” by an outside author.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Sure, so the term is a bit odd in the context of works of fiction or art as opposed to interactions between humans. Of course it doesn’t make it invalid when there are so many common scenarios when women are introduced into works simply as props to use as objects of sexual desire and nothing more.

            (Not that I think we’re in disagreement.)

    • Fluka says:

      See above comments by Alec. It is apparently a most depressing brothel indeed.

  37. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    “I’m also very glad to see that two of my favourite games of the year, Dishonored and XCOM, both entirely avoid sexualising their female characters. I hope those games don’t prove to be happy aberrations in that regard”

    What is the brothel in Dishonored, then? I haven’t played Dishonored yet, so it might make sense for the place and level.

    Edit: Wow, person above me, we wrote the exact same thing. Magical. It also got commented on a few pages back.

  38. Hans Capp says:

    “they play life on Easy Mode”

    Could this be the birth of a new epic meme?

  39. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    Crusader Kings 2. It has been years since I’ve spent over a hundred hours in a singleplayer game. But after that I spent another 80 in Victoria 2 and 40 in Europa Universalis.

    It’s the game that brought grand strategy games to the foreground for me, and I’m sure, many other players.

  40. Premium User Badge

    Talon says:

    As long as RPS keeps writing articles like this, I will read you guys forever.

  41. Premium User Badge

    cspkg says:

    Just popped in to say great article. Also, I really appreciate the point made about violence. Although I’ve been brought up on a steady diet of violent games (and on the pc!), Far Cry 2′s ending had a really profound impact on me a while back. I still enjoy a good man- shoot from time to time, but I do wonder when the majority of this industry will diversify away from the shock and awe tactics to draw in its audience. Dishonoured for me is a really exciting prospect for that reason. Here’s to hoping that it shows other major corporations that pacifist games can be fun and can also sell loads of copies.

  42. Furiku says:

    I can agree with most of the stuff, although Diablo III is kind of the poster boy for paranoia-induced, DRM-based “always online” and Torchlight II would’ve been a better choice and in Mass Effect 3 it was entirely unnecessary and made the game worse for it by forcing people to play the Online mode that didn’t want to.

    I especially think that KickStarter will change the way of the industry and it is a welcome change, developers have gotten to have a looser connection to publishers than before and closer contact to the community, but you completely lost me at: “8) The year that gender roles and perception took baby steps towards equality”

    I’d like to think more of it as the year “gaming journalists” have screamed sexual assault and slandered a man when there was none: http://www.gameranx.com/features/id/9838/article/sexually-assaulting-women-at-gaming-conventions-is-not-ok/
    And the year so-called “feminists” turned batshit insane for everybody to see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvEJfN-jiS4

    I’ll mark the day down and celebrate when people don’t mistake and connect this neo-feminism movement with any movement for equality anymore, like it was in the past and see it for what it truly is.

    • Dominic White says:

      Whoo! You go, bro! Keep fighting the good fight, and keep those women down. They’ve gotten a little too uppity and out of line, haven’t they? I mean, objecting to being asked ‘Why aren’t you fingering yourself?’ by random men in public? Terrible. That’s a privelege that all men enjoy, and it should never be threatened! I mean, Eurogamer are even in on it – they banned the guy from all future events they host! Clearly they’ve been infiltrated by communist feminazis.

      Oh god, I feel so dirty for typing that, even as sarcastically as one can hit keys. Please shut up and stop making me feel guilty about sharing a gender with you.

      • Furiku says:

        I’m not sure how you come to the conclusion that I like or support his video, I found it rather vile and unfunny to top it off and I don’t think he has the charisma displayed by others doing similar things e.g.:
        Joe Goes To E3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeJWAepHkxk or
        Joe Goes To BlizzCon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_mIQaTG4BE

        • Furiku says:

          But calling it “sexual assault” and insinuating that he “sexually assaulted” women which are rather loaded words with criminal penalties and slandering the man publicly is another thing entirely, and I’d be rather happy if he goes through with it and sues that “gaming journalist” for libel.

          It shows just how far these pieces full of journalistic integrity and investigative fervor (for instance the entirety of the Anita Sarkeesian pieces were almost unilaterally just copying content from her blog, never questioning their validity, her methods or the purpose) go to further their narrative on “gamer misogyny” and feminism.

          This time the alleged victim also came out and openly defended the guy, too:
          https://twitter.com/Brandy_Brewer/statuses/254360240764637184
          And attacked said journalists outright, on her birthday no less: http://i.imgur.com/l2tzK.png
          One of the other ladies he allegedly “assaulted with a microphone” also came out and said “hahah, it’s alright!”, but removed her Tweets after the story started getting all the publicity.

          They haven’t objected to anything, the ones not interested in his antics walked away or could have verbally attacked him for it. What we have here is “gaming journalism” out for blood and the next incident they can frame that way and create some fake outrage and controversy. It’s good that this time around there is actual video evidence of what supposedly happened so that people can see for themselves and the people depicted got involved themselves too and debunked most of the accusations opposed to some cases in the past where it’s mostly “he said”, “she said” and a lot of outrage.

          When even the alleged victims you are trying to defend are questioning your integrity and sanity, maybe it is time to take a step back and look at what you are doing and why.

    • Dark Nexus says:

      I’d like to think more of it as the year “gaming journalists” have screamed sexual assault and slandered a man when there was none

      No….. they were pretty much right about what he did. There’s a line, and he was definitely on the wrong side of it with some of the crap he did.

      Edit: A better term might have been “Sexual harassment” rather than “sexual assault”, but some would argue that sexual harassment is just another form of sexual assault.

      • Strangerator says:

        Agreed, there are definitely times the line is crossed.

        There are also times when the line is yanked across someone’s ankles to trip them up. Like what happened to the Gearbox guy who said “girlfriend mode.” People have been trying to err on the side of tolerance, understandably, but there was no way an objective person could mistake the intent of the comment. People weaken the terms “masogynist” and “sexist” when they apply them equally to this kind of throwaway comment, and things like groping women in public.

        • Guard Dag says:

          Read this: This is the issue right here. This is what people are getting irritated about: http://www.microaggressions.com/about/

          • Delusibeta says:

            What was the saying again: “do not attribute to malice what could also be explained by stupidity”. The Gearbox incident was a fine example of foot-in-mouth syndrome, but it really shouldn’t have prompted a shitstorm as large as it did.

  43. frank3n says:

    Great read! Proud as hell to be a computer gamer in 2012 – there’s been a fresh, new vibrancy in the air. No, I’m not talking about Alec’s Engi ship blowing up in FTL. Or mine, for that matter. It’s been a year of discovering, for me, that ‘indie’ doesn’t equate to ‘bad’ or ‘half-ass’. And that some AAA developers actually still give a damn about the quality of their titles. Looking forward to 2013!

  44. Premium User Badge

    Napalm Sushi says:

    Between the recent success of FTL, the ongoing growth of Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress, the promise of future titles like Planetary Annihilation and my recent discovery of a little gem called Space Engine, as well as the growing need for developers to save man-hours without cutting corners, I’m expecting the 2010s to be the decade when procedural content generation finally hits its stride. I’m really looking forward to seeing what people do with it in the coming years.

  45. Tritagonist says:

    Interesting read. I have to admit most of these issues flew right by me, except for the BioWare meltdown. I’ve mostly been having good fun with little games I’ve picked up in various sales this year. That (re)discovery of small and old gems for ridiculously low prices has been the main thing as far as gaming is concerned. Gaming is the only thing I can think of that just keeps getting cheaper these days.

    Another interesting thing I’ve seen pop up this year in gaming-related forums, blogs, and sites is the idea of looking beyond the purely gameplay aspects of titles and examining games in the broader societal context. Whether anything worthwhile has come out of it yet I don’t know. I’m not sure that it has, but it’s been interesting at times and indeed often quite amusing.

  46. hungrytales says:

    “Things are changing fast, in profound ways – even if there are many lessons yet to be learned, and no doubt some nasty falls with them.”

    Every flight begins with a fall. Or not? So they say in Game of Thrones but then stubbornly won’t ever take off.

    edit: Also RPS, you are SO mainstream with this whole gender affair and SO not mainstream in everything else. I very much want to hug you for the latter and poke you in the eye for the former.

  47. KenTWOu says:

    Dishonored picks up Thief’s abandoned baton…

    Unfortunately Dishonored’s AI too dumb to pick up that baton.