It's January 1st. It's 2:38am here. It's a new year. And that means the 100 Game Kumite is over for another year. How well did I do? How well did any of us do? This will be a retrospective that also includes the last three entire years, since I started doing the Uezielog, which then transformed into the 100 Game Kumite as I continuously finished my backlog. First let's go over December.
Assassin's Creed: Black Flag - outside of the sailing, which is more monotonous than it ever was in Wind Waker, the game is identical to every other AC game. It has boring tailing missions, a character who possesses skills for absolutely zero reason, a meandering and largely pointless story, way too many collectibles, and a tacked on facebook game complete with "get friends to help to make this faster!" mechanic. I still finished it but eugh, I'm just done with the series at this point. And AC2 was easily one of my favorite games on 360.
Need For Speed: Rivals - racing AI has not advanced since Smuggler's Run. The fact that that game is old enough for people to have forgotten it existed should tell you something. I don't care if it's supposed to be "high tension" or whatever, losing all of your built up points because rubberband AI cops rammed into you 5 at a time with no way to escape is an awful mechanic. There's no point to upgrading speed because the rubberband AI will just catch up in a few seconds anyway and none of the stats matter. What does it even mean to have 7.2 durability? Doesn't matter. The game's too busy trying to shove a story in your face. A story that might as well have been written by an angsty mid 90s teen. Yeesh. Both of those games sure are pretty though.
Call of Duty: Ghosts - you're noticing a pattern here now. Yeah, it's that I played a bunch of games I didn't like. CoD Ghosts is no exception. The action is as braindead as ever except now the story somehow makes even less sense. The distances between objectives makes zero sense, with you sneaking through a house only to turn a corner to find a bustling enemy base with helicopters buzzing around that you apparently couldn't hear from 100 feet away. And the game ends in a completely stupid cliffhanger. Multiplayer's filled with poorly thought out maps and the same poor matchmaking and spawning the series has had for ages. I'd suggest you get a new engine but that sure didn't work out for Battlefield. Or even Need For Speed for that matter. Plenty of weird graphical glitches back there.
Super Punch-Out!! - I needed a cleanser. An old classic. I can still get some of the stuns. Game is still great.
Puppeteer - ahhhh finally something refreshing. Lovely characters! A funny story! Musical numbers! Great aesthetics! The game is boring! What? Yeah, I'm kind of noticing a trend with me and Sony's big platformers these days. Knack, Puppeteer, and the currently playing Tearaway all seem to suffer from the gameplay not matching up to any other part of the game. In Puppeteer's case the platforming is just very bland and while the story is funny and charming, it's entirely too indulgent. I don't need a 5-10 minute cutscene before and after every level. So far in Tearaway's case, it doesn't have much for story to get in the way but it does have bland "quick draw something and stick it on this thing to continue!" sections that really bog the game down. I think I would still recommend it though. It's been quite cheap and it's pretty different from other platformers.
So that was apparently my December. Final count for 2013 is 103 games completed. That is I started them and got to the final credits sequence. Other games were played that did not have credits sequences so they don't get counted no matter how much time I put into them. RPGs were replayed and not finished (I'd recently started a minimal characters playthrough of Chrono Cross).
But what about the last three years? I started keeping track in 2011 with Donkey Kong Country Returns, all because I was sick and tired of wasting money on games that I would buy and then not play until they had dropped in price so much that it just made me feel gross. What an awful habit. I learned to only buy games I knew I would play in the very immediate future and that has stuck. I finished my entire backlog (not counting Steam here) within the first 15 months as I remember it and from that point I would only really gather up more stuff going through Fall-Winter as many big games tend to come out at once and RPGs have a habit of being longer than other games.
It's been a long journey and an interesting one. I've seen more varieties of gameplay than basically anyone. I'd be amazed if there's anyone that's actually completed as many games as I have in the same amount of time. I think most people would have a hard time matching what I've done over the entirety of the last generation, which hasn't really ended yet as the PS3 has plenty of good games still coming.
But what does it mean? Well, little to nothing really. I'm not going to say I know more than anyone else. I will say I have a better understanding than anyone of what the baseline of quality is in gaming these days. I've seen way more examples, both good and bad. I've learned to understand that even bad games can be interesting in a lot of ways. I've learned that being a great game doesn't have to even mean that it's well-built. I've learned that being well-built doesn't make your game great. I've learned to take games only for what they want to show me, without judging them for what I'd like them to be.
Would you like to see every game I've completed since January 1st, 2011? It's 356 games. Close to a game every 3 days. You can view the complete doc over here.
Looking back makes me smile. So many good games. So many good times. I've had to say goodbye to my 360 as I finished buying games for it. It's here and I still have the few exclusives it had that I would like to replay. It's odd for me to think of how little play it got towards the end though. Rock Band and then Rock Band 2 were days and days of my time. Street Fighter 4. Modern Warfare 1 and then yes, MW2. I played those games for a very long time. But eventually we move on. But only sort of. Rock Band 3 was just not as interesting to me as RB2 was and I had basically passed every song I wanted to pass. The DLC wasn't to my liking whereas before I had waited every Tuesday for the new update in the early times. Some of my favorite moments in this entire generation.
Lately I've caught myself having a hard time sitting down with my games. I usually have two hours before and after work to play but I'll only actually play for a half hour of that time. Things must reverse. Go back to the way I was. My zeal for seeing the unseen and discovering new games has dripped away. There is no space for being jaded. Some things in life have intruded but life must move on. Things must be enjoyed. Games must be played.
I love gaming. Here's to another great year. Here's to another wonderful 100...and one.