It’s that time of year again where everyone posts their “Best Of” lists for 2015. I decided to go a little different this year with a personal top three winners of the year, along with biggest losers, and a few honorable mentions. Without further ado: The JpSr388 2015 Awards.
What can I say about Splatoon that hasn’t been said already? Some Kotaku editors had words about it. GBD said stuff about it. It redefined the shooter genre in a very Nintendo way. I LOVED the final boss fight. It is the greatest game final boss I’ve played in a long time. I want more of that, whenever (if ever) Nintendo releases the Splatoon follow up.
It wasn’t the shooter that got me into shooters, but it was a shooter that showed me shooters could be fun. I know we won’t be seeing a new you for a while Splatoon, but don’t go changing too much when I see you again.
Nintendo did something to me with amiibo: they made me a collector. I’m not usually the sort of person who keeps big organized dioramas of plastic around. I like collections to be short and sweet. Succinct. Before amiibo, the Harry Potter series of books was the biggest “collection” of a single thing that I’d owned. Everything else was one-ofs and twos or threes. That isn’t to say I’m not a collector. I’m a gaming completionist. I like displaying the physical things I have. But large amounts of a series of things become overwhelming to me. Amiibo broke that mentality.
It’s probably a lot to do with how much of a fanboy I am. Most of you around here know I love Nintendo. Generally speaking, they do no wrong in my book. Amiibo preys on the Nintendo nostalgia in me. I have payed eBay prices. I’ve pre-ordered. I’ve lined up at stores. I drove an hour to some obscure Walmart in po-dunk Alabama. Everything I never thought I’d do, I have now done. Am I embarrassed to admit it? Yes and no. I want to be too cool for school and whatever, but I’m not ashamed of the gamer part of me and the ‘cool story bro’ feeling when I tell people I’ve done those things.
Whatever my feelings for or my tactics in obtaining them, they somehow have made me think about how gaming is a part of me and my personality. They are the closest to a literal embodiment of “wearing my gaming hobby on my sleeve” I’ll get. They are a very physical, inexpensive-individually-but-as-a-group-expensive way of showing people who walk into my place that I am a gamer and I’m happy to show it off. Especially in my the custom made displays, built by my own hands. Thanks for making me realize that amiibo.
Nintendo went HARD into the Free-To-Play thing this year! Between Stretchmo, Pokemon Shuffle, and Pokemon Picross we see them playing with different pay models which treated gamers fairly and respectfully. Nintendo Badge Arcade made it’s debut in Japan late last year, but didn’t make it to other regions until a few months ago. It has the traditional pay-to-play model which made it a bit more conservative compared to other F2P Nintendo games, and unlike Pokemon Shuffle and Pokemon Picross didn’t have a cap for how much of your real world money you could spend.
In it we get introduced to the hilarious Sales Bunny, who has incredible fourth-wall shattering dialogue and an engaging characterization. We have a revolving door of badges from all the Nintendo franchises we love. Plus, if you know where to look, you can see Miiverse posts with commentary from Mr. Sales Bunny himself. Personalized commentary. From Nintendo. For user generated content. It’s amazing! It’s bare bones as a game, but I find myself coming back every morning for my practice-machine free-plays.
Now I’m not one to spend money on F2P gaming. It’s frivolous, and I generally see those gaming experiences as insubstantial. But I’ve spent a shameful amount (like $30?) on plays to get badges for franchises I liked, or sometimes simply to finish a set that I wanted to complete. But Nintendo Badge Arcade is more than just a F2P collector’s nightmare for me. It represents a direction I want Nintendo to take with their console’s UI. A toe-dip into creative menu customization and effective User Interface I crave. Also, transfer my badges to the NX in 2016 please.
If you game on PC or either of the beefier home consoles this year you’d say I’m wrong. There’s been a great number of hit titles to satisfy any respectable gamer on those platforms. To this I say congratulations: You owned a system that wasn’t from Nintendo this year. For those of us who still can’t decide between PS4 or Xbox One, a.k.a. Me, I’ve been shouldered with a year of filler. That’s not to say there weren’t big names to be had on the Wii U (Did I mention Splatoon?). It’s just that between the two big names, Nintendo somehow filled the time with underwhelming market reception, critical mediocrity, or sometimes outright boredom.
Games like Project S.T.E.A.M., a decent game by most people’s standards, never left the station because Nintendo for some reason skimped on marketing after it’s release. Kirby’s Rainbow Curse was beautiful but never took shape in the gamer market. Woolly World, despite being a great game, suffered from a quiet and globally staggered release. Titles that should have gotten attention fell under the radar thanks to a lack of post-release advertising.
Titles that should never have needed to be made somehow made it into my Wii U and 3DS also. The Animal Crossing franchise took the brunt of the damage with two (probably) unnecessary titles in Amiibo Festival and Happy Home Designer. One critically panned the other with lukewarm-at-best reviews, and beyond that they were both just forgettable filler.
The big titles that we were hoping to see this year, Star Fox Zero and the new Zelda Wii U have been pushed into next year. Miyamoto and team are working on a new Pikmin (that we have’t heard news of since July) too, right? At least that means that 2016 will be chockablock with fun blockbusters.
I had my old iPhone 4 for four years. It lasted through drops and scrapes so many different accidents that I’m surprised it lasted so long. That phone, rest it’s soul, is now in the hands of some person who bought it from me on eBay. My new phone, my iPhone 6, lasted about six months before I reached for it from the pool and it fell from it’s precarious position on a pool-side lounge chair onto the concrete. The screen shattered. I didn’t get the screen replaced for about a month.
A month later it fell into a washing machine. The glass didn’t break, but the screen popped out of the casing. It worked mostly, with random bouts of typing the letters ‘k’, ‘u’, and ‘l’. Then kickball happened and one September morning I awoke, without any memory of leaving DC, in my bed with a shattered phone screen. I didn’t get the screen replaced until last week. I maintained with a broken phone screen for three months before deciding I wanted to get it fixed. Literal chunks were missing from it. I had to guess at battery life since about a sixth of the screen’s pixels had died. After dropping it again there was a constant pink ghosting on the screen. But I refused to replace it so soon after already doing it once.
I only recently got it fixed because I decided having a good looking phone on New Years had some symbolic meaning in my life. Here’s to 2016 iPhone 6, hopefully you don’t shatter your fucking screen again.
Sometime soon after Kirby and the Rainbow Curse early this year I found myself with a problem. I stopped finishing games. I used to 100% games, where now I just didn’t feel the compulsion. Most people would say this is a good thing, I’d broken the shackles of the gaming worlds OCD. But what it meant to me was that many games were being left unfinished. And as time passed ‘unfinished’ crept from not being 100% to literally not beaten to now games just sitting on a list of “Games I want to play”. It’s a sad state. Part of it is not having the time. Part of it is feeling I’d need to restart fresh with some of the games I started. Those games I haven’t purchased just keep losing priority.
It makes me feel bad because these aren’t bad games; They deserve to be played and I’d like to finish them. I’m dedicating 2016 to getting caught up!
It sort of pulled through on at the 11th hour. 2015 started with a bang (literally) and has been a sporadic emotional year for relationships (Or lack thereof), following the tragedy that was 2014. Just when I thought all was lost for love, I started doing this thing people always say works, ignoring it, and suddenly decent guys start making their way from odd corners of the community.
As I’m still in the beginnings, a “casual dating” point, I’m not gonna give it the prestigious position in the top three, but I’ll give it an honorable mention. Dating, you pulled through when it counted. You made The holiday season a little more bearable and exciting. Late to the party, but I’m glad you decided to show up. Since I already have dinner at a pretty great guy’s house set up next year, I’d say 2016 looks like the year you are a winner.
There wasn’t one point in time when something was trying to take money from my leather money and credit card holding apparatus in my back pocket. Amiibo, Games (some I haven’t even finished playing), Drinking, Friends and Fun. There was just too much to do and you almost didn’t make it through the year.
Almost is the key word here. Somehow you managed to squeak by, saving where you could. That’s why my wallet only get’s an honorable mention in the losers list. If you somehow didn’t pull through and provide for all of the expenses I’d had this year it’d been a disaster. But you managed. Heres to hoping you fare a little better in 2016.
So there you go. My winners and losers of 2015. Hopefully you enjoyed 2015 like I did, no matter how much of a big beautiful disaster it was.
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JpSr388 is a casual(ish) gaymer, hardcore Nintendo fan, and aspiring designer & writer. He writes about what he cares about, and is always good for some opinions. Find his sexy ass on Twitter here. Or keep on the lookout for more editorial, QuickDraws and reviews here.