Wot I Want From 2015

I couldn't think of a relevant picture, so here's Tom Baker turning into a cactus instead

2014 wasn’t a great year on a personal level, although it was also an epochal one on a personal level – I bought a (very small) house, I saw my daughter grow from ever-wailing baby to mostly-smiling toddler, and I finally accepted that I should just take my increasingly dusty Rock Band kit to the charity shop (there’s a certain satisfaction in accepting that your party glory days are behind you).

But 2014 was the year in which I barely had an unbroken night’s sleep (which takes a severe toll on both memory and emotional state), played far fewer games than in any year since around 2006, for a second consecutive year was let down by collaborators and thus failed to get my own project (a strategy game about cats, since you ask) off the ground, saw a ‘community’ I thought I shared a hobby with attempt to destroy my livelihood and the lives of people I care about and/or deeply respect, and to add insult to injury the new Civilization game was kind of lousy. Get out of here, 2014.

The logical side of me tells me not to associate the change of a digit on the calendar with real change. Time is a continuum, not a series of sealed boxes, each distinct from the last. The emotional side of me tells me that January 1 necessarily draws a line under a bad year, and that 2015 can only be different. Logic be damned, I want to go with the emotional side because hope is the best cure for the blues. I’m going to need help, though. One form of that is finding a game to attach to, something that really gets its hooks into me, something that makes me burn to tell other people about it. I want to froth, I want my prose to turn as purple as a tin of Quality Streets, I want to spend my every waking moment wanting to play more of whatever it is. I want, at the end of the year, to be able to say [ENTER GAME NAME HERE] WAS MY GAME OF THE YEAR AND SCREW ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE.

That didn’t happen last year, but I don’t know if that’s down to the baby-limited time I had in which to play games, or to 2014’s crop not containing whatever it is I needed. Where was my King’s Bounty, my Risen, my Gone Home, my Kentucky Route Zero? (Ironically, there were games from most of those lineages last year, but the surprise factor was gone).

I have a strong suspicion I spent too much time with too many games which use the Assassin’s Creed structure – the map full of icons, each pinpointing exactly where the next known quantity was, each one closing the door on having an experience which felt in any way personal. It’s a simulacrum of freedom – really, you’re in a theme park, repeating a sanitised and mechanical experience. You know exactly what’s where, exactly what’s going to happen, exactly how it’s going to feel.

The time passes pleasantly, maybe even thrillingly at times, but it means nothing, there’s no sense of achievement other than Achievements. Maybe it’s more compulsive masturbation than Disneyland (or maybe Disneyland is masturbation? Discuss) – make the itch go away, risk a faint sense of guilt and self-disgust afterwards, then do it again anyway.

I’m perfectly happy for these things to exist, and even to spend some time with them myself, but I worry a) that this model is taking over, that the hollowness of Farmville is creeping into games on an intrinsic level and b) that I’m too lazy to resist playing them. I don’t want to miss out, and once I start playing I struggle to stop until most of those icons go away, because some reptile voice at the back of my skull tells me that cleaning up the map is essential to my wellbeing. That’s not what I want for myself.

So right now, I’m casting about, looking at this and that, in search of something to inspire me. I was wracked by jealously when Adam excitedly declared a couple of days ago that a game (Depths of Tolagal) he was looking for a quick news story had stolen his affections enough that he was going to write a feature about it instead. The lucky sod, to find it so fast. That’s what I want! Something that, for a brief moment, feels like it’s been made just for me. Something that isn’t what I expected it to be. Gimme.

I won’t fail to find it this year, this I resolve. It’s out there, somewhere. What’s it going to be? It’s in this big fat list somewhere I’m sure. Hopefully later this year I’ll be hopping from foot-to-foot, burning to tell you about it. Hopefully I’ll also finally manage to make something, or at least contribute to something. It’s only a digit change, but maybe that’s enough to make the world seem full of adventures rather than threats. Hello, 2015, what have you got for me?

This article was originally published as part of, and thanks to, the RPS Supporter Program.

82 Comments

  1. padger says:

    Best headline picture ever.

    • Anthile says:

      I certainly hope Alec won’t turn into a cactus. Unless it’s voluntary, in which case be as prickly as you wish to be.

  2. Chuckaluphagus says:

    I finally accepted that I should just take my increasingly dusty Rock Band kit to the charity shop

    AAAH! Go get it back!

    On a miserable rainy day this past year, I was searching around for something to occupy my toddler son’s attention and pulled the Rock Band instruments down off the shelf. He adores it – we set the game to “No Fail Mode”, he gets a guitar, I take the other guitar or some drums, and we play through songs together. Even my wife will join in some times. It has all the perfect elements for kids – music, colors, buttons, and playing games with Mommy and Daddy. Plus, those instruments are proving to be surprisingly capable of withstanding the attentions of a two-year old.

    Rock Band has turned out to be the first video or computer game that I can truly play together with my son. It’s given me a whole new appreciation for the game.

    It doesn’t hurt that he’s also becoming a fan of rock & roll. He now asks to listen to “Rock Band music” in the car, too.

    • MechanicalPen says:

      ESPECIALLY because Harmonix just released new songs as DLC for Rock Band for the first time in 2 years. And they are starting on Rock Band 4.

    • Kefren says:

      I play it every week: we use real instruments through an amp, but with dongles to make the game think we’re plugged in, and no fail mode set so we get the notes coming up for drums and guitars, and words for the singers. It’s cool, we are gradually learning the songs, and now can do a few without the game. Such a good way to learn music, with friends.

      • Premium User Badge

        Schmouddle says:

        Rocksmith is even better for playing real songs by real instruments, of they’re guitars, of course. :)

        • Kefren says:

          I have that too, though find switching between vertical and horizontal tabbing systems in the two games to be confusing! Since I am mostly playing with a “full band” I tend to stick to Rock Band games and practicing the songs in that, but when my skill improves I’ll play Rocksmith more. Also, I’l switch from Rocksmith Xbox to PC (I own both) so I can play guitar in different rooms. :-)

  3. Melody says:

    As always, I see my own thoughts reflected in your writing, although I perhaps take that attitude a step further than you do (i.e. I refuse to play any version of the ubisoft game, but I also refuse to play time sinks like Far Cry and Dragon Age, precisely because I know I’ll feel compelled to do so much dull stuff; and my time is more important than that) and I value that sense of guilt more; I try to listen to it, and silence it, not by ignoring it but by removing what’s causing it.

    Unfortunately (?), that means I’m drifting away from mainstream gaming (and mainstream gaming culture) more and more with every passing month. I’m starting to look at itch.io with more interest than I look at Steam. Not that I don’t find some great gaming experiences anymore, among more “traditional” games. Transistor and The Talos Principle are wonderful, and Dreamfall Chapters is a thing. (just 3 games of 2014, off the top of my head) But they’re handpicked and unique games in a sea that mostly looks… uninteresting and unappealing, when not downright manipulative (Skinner Boxes, achievements, bars to fill, collectibles to find) and dedicated to the pursuit of escapism beyond repair. (Hollow is a good word for it)

    Gaming is the only environment in which “addictive” is used as a positive term.

    Sorry for the rant, but thanks for writing this. Hope this article becomes available to non-supporters.

    • dahauns says:

      I experienced the same drift away from AAA gaming you describe in your second paragraph. But I definitely don’t share the pessimistic outlook re “few gems in a sea of uninspired crap”. Not that this sea doesnt exist – au contraire! ;)
      But just look at that huge 2015 games list linked above. I’d say we’re in the golden age for ‘discerning gamers’. :)

      • jezcentral says:

        Agreed, and don’t feel bad about the word “addictive”. We use it all the time with every other piece of media. TV is “compulsive viewing”. Film entrance people so they “can’t tear their eyes from the screen”. Books are so good that you “can’t put it down”.

        Narratives are compelling. People are gripped. “One more turn” is just yesterday’s “page turner”.

        • LaurieCheers says:

          And yet, there is a difference between “compelling” and “addictive”. It’s like the difference between a delicious meal and a big packet of crisps.

          The meal is nutritious, and on finishing you feel full and satisfied. Whereas the crisps are just moreish: at some level you want to keep eating more and more, even after you’re starting to feel sick.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Likewise, 2014 was the year of the break with AAA for me as well. It was the year I found Eurotruck Sim 2 and a G27 racing wheel. It was the year I found Elite: Dangerous and a Thrustmaster T Flight.

      I loved Transistor completely. I also loved Call of Juarez: Gunslinger and Dark Souls 2. I quite liked Shadow of Mordor even with all its flaws. I really did.

      But then I found ETS2 and Elite. And I have not touched an AAA game since. Nor do I think its likely I will do for some time. They just feel…well, yes, hollow is a good word indeed. Empty and soulless work as well I think.

      I’ve drifted along a path wildly different from the mainstream in gaming for quite some time now…and I like where I’m at, to quote a certain song of which I am overly fond.

  4. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    “>hope< is the best cure for the blues"

    You misspelled whisky Alec ^^

    & if you find that ALL CAPS game this year, I know you'll tell us but put a link to this article in the WIT. It's a good article, I'll enjoy coming back to it.

    /tiphat

  5. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Screw collaborators, go it alone. Become the Meer Meier.

  6. amateurviking says:

    Here’s to everybody finding their allcaps game. Seems like forever since there’s been an opportunity to get giddy en masse. A symptom of a larger readership?

    There always seems to be someone ready to violently piss on something in the comments these days*, it’s such a buzzkill.

    *it was ever thus I know, it just seems…different now. I mean Wizardry turning up to demand that everyone stop using the term RPG is fine, part of RPS’s rich tapestry and all that, but there seems to be a dedicated band of detractors who take to the comments to denounce the latest hotness for being this, or not being that, or being an insult**, or what have you. It’s very wearing (doubly so for the people writing above the line I imagine).

    **still can’t get my head around people being ‘insulted’ by the lack of arbitrary resolutions in a port or something.

    ANYWAY sorry. Positive vibes. 2015’s gonna be a great year. Looking forward to the purplest of prose.

  7. ffordesoon says:

    Word. 2014 can fuck off.

    • Premium User Badge

      MonkeyMonster says:

      It already has! Now it’s time to carve warning words into the chest of 2015 to make sure it knows how to behave… For me 2013 sucked big time and 2014 was coming back up for air. Who knows what 2015 will bring apart from Shadow of Mordor already being nicely good.

    • sonofsanta says:

      I know Microsoft Office is hardly the most exciting proposition, but even so, that’s quite a strong stance to take.

  8. Lars Westergren says:

    Looking forward to your cat strategy game if it ever gets done, that sounds great. Is it cat vs cat, or assymetrical combat? Cats vs dogs? Cats vs feet?

    • phelix says:

      Cats versus furniture, naturally. Co-op PvE, if you will.

      • Shadowcat says:

        Maybe some kind of tower-defence derivation, whereby you need to place old furniture of various sorts such that the incoming waves of cats are all captivated, and won’t reach the new curtains.

  9. almostDead says:

    I think long war’s continual development is good enough for me. It’s amazing how hard that group fights against a game that didn’t want to be modded.

    But the thought of starting a new campaign for b15, is like looking at a back yard with grass up to your knees and weeds and gubbins everywhere. Hard work.

  10. Laurentius says:

    Wierd, 2014 as PC Gaming goes was I year I had a blast after blast. When I look back I see myself having so much fun throughout whole 2014: The Banner Saga, ShadwrunReturns:DragonFall, FTL:Advanced Edition, Distant Worlds, Divinity:OriginalSin, Fallout1 and 2, Wasteland, Endless Legend, Tie Fighter, X-Wing Alliance, Starlancer and wedged between neverending games of: CK2 , Hexcells, SuperHexagon and GTA IV. More of that please in 2015 !

    • airmikee says:

      Same here, I found plenty of fun games to play last year. There were so many great games last year that if it continues this year, I’ll start to consider this a new Golden Age of Video Gaming.

  11. Shazbut says:

    What you say about “Assassins Creed” games is exactly right and why their hollow escapist cynical meaningless trite formulaic hearts have to be exposed for what they are. Your compulsion to clean the proverbial garbage of their content is your weakness which the games hook you with. It’s like giving positive recognition to crack. There are too many good games out there to bother with any of them, no matter how much money went into their creation.

    • SomeDuder says:

      Ehhh, I dont mind Assasins Creed, but perhaps thats due to the way I play them – no sidequests, not gathering all the items (feathers, flags, art, data, etc), just following the main storyline. Its an enjoyable interactive romp through a very nicely recreated historical location.

      Its the CoDBlOps/BFs/MoHs in this world that piss me off, with all the dispassionate hype induced by advertising fueled with American junkfood and sugarwater. Oh, and any game which calls itself a MOBA can wither and die, for that matter. Videogames, sjeez…

    • UnholySmoke says:

      Agreed, and let’s not leave Far Cry out of this conversation. A zillion question marks strewn across the landscape. The sense of awe and wonder at finding some tiny hidden cave, with a stunning buddha inside, is lost a bit when my reward is finding a chest containing not a condom, but a piece of text saying the word ‘condom’. Which is of no use as a condom and is just clutter for my loot bag that I will sell as soon as possible. I think I’d rather just find the place and get some XP.

  12. Geebs says:

    2014 was the year when nerds (predictably) turned out to be normal, regular people after all. Frankly, it was always going to happen.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It did? When did that happen?

      • Geebs says:

        It began when people started getting furiously angry with each other over the Internet about things you didn’t require at least a doctorate to understand.

        It ended when people lost the ability to argue altogether.

        There was a long middle period of jousting with logical fallacies, and, worst of all, arguing about things normal people care about,

        • tormos says:

          The comments Geebs leaves are always interesting to me because they obviously SEEM like they mean something coherant to Geebs but I can never make heads or tails of them.

  13. celticdr says:

    Gaming has indeed past the golden age dear Mr Meer, I was recounting the days of games such as Settlers (on the now ancient Amiga 500) just the other day, there is certainly a loss of innocence with gaming, yes a video game is merely a bunch of set parameters with graphics to engage the player but the amount of hand-holding or coddling of the players feels unprecedented today.

    I remember drawing a map of Colditz with my uncle whilst playing the eponymous game, eagerly striving further in the map only to be cruelly cut down by our Nazi oppressors before we had a chance to escape the cold granite-clad POW castle. We have become spoiled as gamers. Recently I’ve read about how obtuse Elite: Dangerous is in the RPS comments no less – cries of “I have to look up trade routes online which breaks the immersion” reverberate off the fact that the original Elite game was just as obtuse, in the old days you didn’t so much need a challenge, hell at the age of 10 with an Amiga 500 winning a game was an almost Everest-like achievement whispered in the corridors of school “holy shit you beat that!? what happened at the end!?”, but you lived with the fact that games were build with a twitchy enter-one-more-coin arcade mentality in mind and you just dealt with it. Not like today *curmudgeonly rant over*

    I think the thing that is missing for gamers like you and I Alec (I assume you’re in your mid-thirties like me) is an experience that forges outside of the “conventional gamer” rules. For example I recently finished The Walking Dead season 2 (having finished season 1 a few months back) and was disappointed to find no other games that I could play, that I hadn’t already finished, that ditched twitchy shooter mechanics (although TWD2 had some QTE’s they were noticeably few and far between compared to the first game) in favour of the story… even more recently this evening I finally got around to playing Bernband – RPS’s walking simulator (though any FPS that doesn’t involve bloodshed is lumped into this limited-minded genre name) of the year and after finishing this brief though well accomplished game I was left un-sated, I wanted more. Sadly there are few and far between games that forsake running around shooting for story and that is where I am at as a gamer, and I suspect you too Mr Meer.

    The sooner game designers head in the direction of games like those mentioned above, and Hac: A Pilgrimage (which I have been following intently thanks to RPS) the better… at this stage I almost find myself implored to learn how to code and load up Gamemaker and build a game from scratch… something Noir-ish or Cyberpunk (yes, I love Blade Runner!) but with a story that is dialogue-centric with the occasional “I have to shoot someone” but with many dire consequences.

    In any case I hope you are reading this Mr Meer, and I hope you realise there are people out there like you bored of the same endless cycle of games that end up leaving the player unfulfilled… you are our champion Mr Meer – go forth and write about the shitty commercial games! (that sounded much more noble in my head) Lead the charge for better games, with better story-telling, because we need you Alec Meer!

    • Reapy says:

      For a while with me multiplayer has been the last place to find a gaming high. I’m like yourself and in my mid 30’s with two kids. I feel at times like an addict that has built a tolerance to my favorite drug. Still, it is really the internet that has altered how we play games.

      The answer to your problems are always about half a second away. The volume of games to try and ability to acquire them is multiplied a hundred fold from when I was younger. It is way too easy to move on and try another thing in the limited window we have.

      There is also fatigue, I can only level something up so many times, I can only plow through and memorize this level so many times. It does not take very long to overlook a game and see what is needed to beat it or even master it. It then becomes a question of, is this really worth it? Do I like this game enough to finish everything, or train this new muscle memory, or even figure out the answer to my question on my own?

      Usually the answer is ‘no’ and thanks to the internet we can just look up stuff like that and still see most of the game before moving on.

      I’ve only found multiplayer games to really offer the original thrill of mastering a game. You can get most of everything exposed about the mechanics and still need to practice execution. Human opponents are often more predictable than AI, but then there are always a huge crew of players that are very much unique to themselves, and your discovery of playing them is like finding a brand new game at each corner.

      Finding the right game to be fun enough to be ‘worth it’ is still hard for me, but that effort is strictly has been for multiplayer for the last decade and a half or so for me.

      Also while we are being honest 2014 was the year I really found that I think nothing like many game journalists that I thought I had things in common with due to our like of gaming, but turns out I think nothing like them, and has resulted in me skimming articles I used to read and enjoy.

  14. TheSplund says:

    Hmm, I was wondering what the half-cactus/half Tom Baker was all about

  15. bill says:

    Nobody warns you that babies destroy your memory and your back.

    I (vaguely) remember reading lots of articles about the effects of ageing. Poppycock. Ageing doesn’t do it.. a year of zero sleep and bending down to pick up 6kg 100 times a day is what turns you from a young hip youth to a wizened altzhimic old man with a bad hip in short order.

    Bah!

  16. Fnord73 says:

    Just spend a year playing Nethack. Every day. Then everything will look fresh and shiny in 2016.

    • airmikee says:

      That’s what I’m thinking the problem here is as well. People looking at the past without the burden of their memories reminding them of all that crap that we used to have to go through to play video games. Games, that while fun, weren’t quite all that because of the limitations of hardware that have now pretty much disappeared.

      “You can’t please everyone all the time.”

  17. Radiant says:

    Sorry man 2015 is looking a bit grim too.
    Although I have just discovered a new genre of porn I didn’t think I’d be into. ;(

  18. Jamesworkshop says:

    yeah i’ve felt the, I just wanna leave 2014 behind myself, but i’d used self deceit to override that logical blind-spot, thanks for ruining that for me :)

  19. Necron99 says:

    Looks like a doctored up picture from the cult classic, “Scanners”?

  20. SomeDuder says:

    Haha, no. All that fuss about dishonesty in games”journalism”, the GG “scandal”, pre-launch DLC, multi-milion cashprize videogame tournaments?

    It’s only going to get worse before it gets even more terrible.

    • Premium User Badge

      teije says:

      2014 – the year gaming writing lost its virginity.

    • airmikee says:

      Dishonesty in gaming journalism? Is this 1991? Can we please stop pretending that the problems of today are new, and not just incredibly public rehashes of millions of private conversations that have taken place over the last few decades?

  21. Horg says:

    Pillars of Eternity and Witcher 3 have strong potential to get the year off to a good start. Also keep watching Invisible inc.. I have a feeling that will be the sleeper hit of the year. Star Citizen could be great if they can turn their money into content and deliver even half of what they pitched. Evolve is probably the team shooter we need right now, if they don’t accidentally screw themselves with bad monetization decisions. I’m more dubious about Blizzards Overwatch, considering their strategy over the last few years has been ”simplification, simplification, simplification”, but you never know. They might not stray too far from TF2s design. That’s my watch list for the year so far.

    I would also like to register my interest in your cat based strategy game. You caturgy game, if you will. Get on with that.

  22. Faxanadu says:

    CTRL+F

    “oculus-” RED?!?? WHAT DO YOU MEAN RED? MAYBE IT’S MISTYPED THERE SOMEWHERE… *takes out magnifying glass*

  23. okcomposite says:

    Agreed, Alec.

    It’s not that the games were bad this year. They were all (for the most part) competent. I don’t recall playing a game that was offensively bad. But they were also the most minimum of twists on 3 or 4 game archetypes that we’ve all seen a thousand times by now. It used to be that gaming was easily my #1 primary hobby. Now it’s just this thing I do when I have literally nothing else worth doing. I suppose in reality that’s actually the more healthy way of running my life but I can’t help but feel a little bit sad about it. So, as always: Crusader Kings 2 GOTY every year

    • Enkinan says:

      Dungeon of the Endless is one I can think of that jumped out at me as a refreshing and fun.

  24. Wytefang says:

    If you’re take on the community being in an uproar over various things was that they were “trying to destroy you and close friends” maybe it’s time to take a step back and really examine why there WAS such an uproar in the first place. Maybe your perspective was the skewed one? Just saying.

    I didn’t have much care about all that ruckus (to some extent) but when you’re immediate response is to play the victim card, life has shown me that usually it’s time to step back and re-examine your stance on things.

    Good luck with 2015.

    • April March says:

      Yes, Alec shouldn’t have worn those slutty skirts to begin with.

      • Synesthesia says:

        you win the internet today.

      • DeadOwl says:

        Can’t say I disagree with Wytefang. When you reach the point where you are accusing a social movement of trying to “destroy your livelihood”, maybe take a step back and think that line through again. It’s inflamatory comments like these that ensure nothing good can come out of this debacle.

        Also congratulations on your quick knee-jerk response to a civil post, you saved feminism. Well done.

        • Kala says:

          Mr. Fang and Mr. Owl – might be worth stepping back and looking hard at your ‘social movement’ and defence thereof, rather than glibly claiming someone must be overreacting. Particularly when they are in a position to know if their friends and their livelihoods have been threatened or attacked, and you are not.

        • RARARA says:

          Maybe you should take a step back and reexamine your life if you are joining a ‘social movement’ born out of fucking 4chan.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          I didn’t see one mention of a social movement. What I did see though was a reference to people who made a deliberate and targeted attempt to harm RPS’s revenue stream. This is kind of important to your livelihood when it’s your full-time job.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      No, that was his take on the people who were trying to sabotage RPS and who were attacking his friends and colleagues. It’s written there in his word-things. Whether those people were also in “uproar” about anything is kind of beside the point.

    • El_Emmental says:

      Nearly all writers made the same mistake when they circled the wagons, please don’t do the same.

      The “uproar” and its “movement” is a nebulous group of various people, each with their perception of reality and goals regarding life and/or gaming. Some of these people behaved inappropriately (from aggressive verbal taunting to illegal acts) and it’s clear Alec Meer is referring to these latter people.

      From his point of view and situation, the fact that these people might have been piggyback-riding the uproar, might have been a minority, might have been responding to an aggressive escalating response – doesn’t matter – for him. From his life and seat, all he could see was friends and colleagues being unfairly and viciously attacked and it’s a natural and humane reaction to feel threatened and sick about it.

      Oh yes, maybe he “could” have crawled his way down the rabbit hole that was this uproar, to better understand what was happening, why it was happening. But there’s something important to note here: while all that was happening, he and his friends/colleagues were being targeted. It’s much harder to stop, think and investigate in full rationality, when an important part of your social and emotional mind is already greatly involved in dealing with the same subject. I don’t think it is fair to 100% hold it against him (or his friends) to have a negative experience and perception of that “movement”.

      What’s more disappointing is how the media and the journos not involved in that uproar completely failed to properly investigate, decipher, analyze and report on it. Having to investigate myself on my free time and listen to the various groups involved (no matter what is their approach and ideology) to simply know what was happening (not even analyzing!) is a terrible shame, because I know the vast majority of people will not do any research nor will take the time to re-contextualize all the information they will get – and that ignorance is very likely to fuel the flames and reinforce the extremists of all origins and “sides”.

  25. Frank says:

    2014 was a pretty good year for me, with The Wolf Among Us, Broken Age, Aerena, The Banner Saga, Vertical Drop Heroes, Coming Out Simulator 2014, Invisible, Inc., Valkyria Chronicles, Heroine’s Quest (or its arrival on Steam). Nothing that makes me want to use ALL CAPS like BEYOND GOOD & EVIL or DEUS EX, but certainly an above-average year. 2007 and before was pretty sparse in terms of games I really love… arriving at about two a year, but I’m happy with where the industry has been headed lately.

    It was really sh***y to see public figures in gaming get doxxed and verbally attacked by halfwit trolls all year, though. Not cool.

    Wot I want from 2015: Telltale had better not sell itself off, and the FTL guys had better not quit the industry. I am patient; as long as cool folks aren’t despairing of making more good games, all is well.

  26. Steve Catens says:

    2014 was a great year for cRPGs. One of the best in some time.

  27. PopeRatzo says:

    Could the “drifting away from AAA games” have something to do with the fact that you’re an indie game developer?

    Don’t lose hope, Alec.

  28. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Guys, we’re getting a new Metal Gear Solid game this year. Things won’t be all bad.

  29. Psychomorph says:

    2014 sucked, so did 2013, as well as 2012 and 2011.

    2015 then…

    Gaming wise 2014 was “interesting” for me. I have never before bought and pre-ordered as many games as in October.

  30. Zikzor says:

    2014 was the year I got hopelessly addicted to Counter-Strike GO. I’d played the various games occasionally in the past on public servers and the like, but in late 2013 or maybe early 2014, I started to get into the competitive side of it. It’s only the last 2 months or so I’ve really taken time to do other things. Sure I’d had a look at some other games but whenever I played them I felt like it was a waste of time. After all, I could instead spend that time honing my counter-strike skills.

    2014 for me was a trap. Hardly played any games because of one game. One game that, looking back at it, I didn’t want to play half the time. but when your mates expect you to be there for the team….

  31. quarpec says:

    i agree, ubisoft has had a net negative influence on gaming for the last decade. stop buying their dumb idiot games

  32. bill says:

    I agree. Maybe due to being in a similar life stage.

    As gaming isn’t my job, I have had even less chance to play games over the last few years due to baby. As such, I’ve found myself more following gaming (on RPS) than actually gaming itself.
    And therefore when all the shitstorm happened it bascially soured me on a large part of the hobby/interest.

    I guess it’s partly due to RPS getting bigger and therefore losing a sense of a small community, which tends to happen to all successful sites, but I’ve just found a lot more negativity and meanness of spirit in the comments than there used t be.
    That and we seem to be in the era of internet driven crusades, which can be used for good, but usually aren’t.

    Plus, you know, the economy is bad, sales taxes went up, it’s hard to earn enough money to support my family, my savings are depleting, I can’t afford to buy a house, the UK government won’t allow me to come back to the UK with my family, so I’m essentially trapped in a bad life situation. Not feeling much positivity in life and the world and gaming in 2014.

    I didn’t have time to play many games this year, but to be honest, there weren’t many games that I really WANTED to play. There were lots of games that looked good, but not much that looked amazing or interesting. Unlike previous years.
    On the plus side, I actually finished a few games. I finally started to enjoy a turn based strategy game.

    To be honest, the most pure gaming FUN that I had this year was playing AvP classic after GOG gave it to me for free. It’s hard to remember stress when you’re blasting aliens at 100kmph while the aliens theme plays in your headphones. Try that Alec!

  33. mantid says:

    I had to make an account just to thank the author for this post.

    I’m 41… was a pretty serious gamer in the 2600, DOS, NES, and early PC days. Around PS1, started to be too busy and disappointed in how mundane games were getting as tech was improving. Working in IT/development, after work that last thing I wanted to do was stare at the screen more (although I will confess to some Starcraft here and there). I started to get really sick of first person shooters, since thats what everything was for a while. New skins, new settings, but same thing.

    I thought all games were like this (even the driving ones) for a while.

    Parappa, vibRibbon, and Katamari Damacy showed me that, at least in Japan, someone was trying to shake things up, but I was still too busy.

    Now I have my own 5 year old, and wanted to share with her the joy of old games. She is all over the ipad games but they drive me insane… so I put together a gaming PC with the idea that Steam would have some interesting things for her to explore. So far, so bad… but I have found that I do like some of the newer offbeat titles. We do play Proteus together, and I played through Stick it to the Man late at night while she was asleep.

    I’ve tried a big handful of indie games, and I love that people are making them, but indie or not, so many games at this point just feel like work. Hoops to jump through, resources to manage, key commands to memorize, stats to analyze… it really feels like it should be paying into my retirement fund in many cases.

    I guess that just leaves me with “walking simulators” where I still enjoy the thrill of exploration. In fact, the Unigine Heaven and Valley benchmarking tools are more fun for my kid and I than most of the games I have purchased this year.

    I’m totally willing to admit it is me, not the games. I don’t really like real-world card games anymore either. Again, feel like work. Building a house of cards, that would be fun. Setting up dominos to knock over, that is fun. But competing, doing math, following arbitrary rules? Nah. I do that all day long. Its not relaxing anymore.

    I guess I am so shellshocked from doing computer work as a career that what I really need in a “game” is something akin to popping the bubbles in packing material. Or some kind of psychedelic finger painting where simple gesture on my part leaves a cascading trail of imagery to enjoy.

    I did enjoy, some years ago, Black and White… at least the first several hours of it, it did get tedious. I liked the concept though, of actions having ramifications.

    The pitch of the Talos Principle is cool, but I haven’t gotten deep enough into it for it to be philosophical at all, it is just more “i should get paid for this” puzzle solving.

    I didn’t “get” 30 Flights of Loving. I actually thought it was terrible, but I don’t really enjoy crime or violence.

    I played Verde Station and also thought I was missing something. I liked it at first and then it was over quite suddenly, like the author ran out of time and patched on a really quick end.

    Don’t Starve is very well done, but again, just WORK.

    Limbo is gorgeous and fantastic as art and revisiting old platformers, but I’d to see a kid-safe version. Dark and morose is fine, but less scary would be cool.

    I was super stoked for Never Alone, but the execution falls short of the promise in the demo. I love that it was made, but man…

    Its probably the case that I have just passed through the gaming zone; I think honestly it peaked for me with Zelda on the NES. Such discovery, such music… I would stay up all night and go to school, bleary eyed, thinking about the puzzles where I was stuck. Lore about the game was traded like black market items, you had to hunt down the kid who knew where to place the bombs, he might tell you, if he was in a good mood. Now with google you can just go through the paces of a game like a relationship you no longer believe in. Just to see another poorly-rendered cinematic cut scene as reward for “winnning”.

    I am for sure glad that games are no longer $40-50 a pop… I can stomach $5 on a game that isn’t quite right for me.

    And after all this, I am still thinking about replacing my old ipad with an nvidia shield…

    • bill says:

      Get a used gamecube and play all the fun happy games. Or a DS.
      If you didn’t already, play Portal.
      Find a used copy of Guitar Hero or Rock band.
      Lego games. (and real lego).

      I’m in almost the same state as you though.

    • TemplarGR says:

      You should try a 3DS. A great little handheld for all the family.

      With a great library of both 3DS and DS games.

      Being a PC gamer for 2 decades, i picked a 3DS in 2011 and was amazed about what i had been missing.

  34. Blackrook says:

    2014 – The lived kickstarter lived – and died – I think after the initial keenness a lot of people will
    be disillusioned with the kickstarter model and a lot less games will get successful funding on it.

    Over all for me 2014 was not bad gaming wise – FTL/Mordor/BF/CODAW/The Crew/7 Days to Die/Elite
    But apart from the first 2 of those, mainly the fun is in the multiplayer ->
    to a certain extent its not what game you play as to who your playing with.
    I’ve with a few select friends over the last 10 years from UT2004, through COD4, BF3 etc and
    other little games between. Our general pissing about is what makes/keeps the game fun.
    I’ll get bored of a solo game after a week or so but a multiplayer game I can go back to for months
    or years even if playing with the right people.

    Another factor about fun in games is your age. As someone over 40 – we’ve seen most
    game types before so most stuff is just a variation on a theme – so it doesn’t give us the wow
    factor of say the original Elite, or Doom or whatever.

  35. Niche93 says:

    Hey hey, it wasn’t that bad. Twitch Plays Pokémon was this year. And Secrets of Rætikon, best game I’ve played since Journey.

  36. Contrafibularity says:

    Unless your baby is a jack-hammer going on for 20 hours five days a week, and that jack-hammer also has a predisposition to sing and shout indecipherable gibberish, I doubt you’ve gotten less quality sleep than I have in 2014, which should automatically make you feel better, I’m told.

    It’s funny, 2014 was also the year I turned away from shit “games” of the kind Ubisoft & Co. produce. When every week consists of perhaps 10 good hours interspersed with non-stop machinery sounds that make your brain want to leave its body, completing Far Cry 3 for (what turns out to be) no reason at all (because it’s a pile of total shit and I can’t possibly imagine how it became RPS GOTY 2013) made me rethink my tolerance for these AAA “games” that all my friends supposedly enjoyed. Increasingly they’re just lazy content vehicles (for lazy content) made for lazy gamers with (as you say) a lazy resistance to lazy “games” (opinion, but I think future gameologists will back me up on this). For clarity, I’m referring to yer AssCreeds and Far Cries, mostly the only AAA games I could’ve conceivably tolerated playing, and weren’t any fun at all, nor even interesting in the least. I’m beginning to suspect Ubisoft spends more on viral social marketing than the actual games themselves.

    (But please RPS, don’t recommend a Ubisoft “game” ever again, not even if it’s to expose the depths AAA has sunk to, which I’m guessing was the point.)

    On the plus side I greatly enjoyed my time with Shadowrun: Dragonfall, Teleglitch, Skyrim, Papers, Please, Arma 3 and Race the Sun. Next up: Dark Souls or MGS Ground Zeroes, which I’m told are very gamy games indeed.