As December approaches like a runaway sled and we prepare to say our goodbyes to 2016, it’s natural to reflect on the year as a whole. Those reflections could easily take the form of laments but we’re keeping our focus firmly on the world of PC games, where we’ve identified ten trends that may not have defined 2016, but have certainly helped to shape it. We delve into Sorcery and synthwave, DOOM and Danganronpa, and much more besides.
To read through the entries you can use the arrows beneath or below the image at the top of each page, or using your arrow keys.
Drive gets the credit – or the blame – for this. Even in the midst of a seemingly inexhaustible, collective nostalgia for the ’80s that had already lasted more than the decade which spawned it, it took Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 film to reintroduce most of us to the pleasures of brooding, neon-dripping synths and suggestive mid-tempo beats. Games have been flirting with the genre ever since – GTA V even had a radio station originally planned to be hosted by scene-legend Kavinsky – but it was 2016 that saw unprecedented levels of synergy, the aesthetic no doubt granted an extra layer of visibility by the year’s most famous title sequence in Stranger Things.
In the meantime, synthwave has been providing the soundtrack to all sorts of virtual journeys, from violent uprisings rocking pixelated post-communist dystopias in Mother Russia Bleeds, to hallucinatory road trips through glowing, shifting landscapes in Neon Drive. Even relatively low-profile releases like Blood Alloy: Reborn feature big-name collaborations with the likes Perturbator and Magic Sword, so it should come as no surprise when Furi kicks things up a notch by mobilising all of the major artists contributing to its soundtrack for a live show to celebrate the game’s release.