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Monday, December 28, 2015

Games I've Played in 2015


This seems to be a thing. This year it seems to have been started by Belghast (OMG man!) on his blog Tales of the Aggronaut. Liore of Herding Cats then picked it up. Now Wilhelm Arcturus, The Ancient Gaming Noob has done his as well today. I find these sorts of summaries interesting and insightful. Of course I had to do one for myself. And it'd be a shame not to share it.

I used to track the hours I played using Raptr. That came to an end when I upgraded my system to Windows 10 in September. I couldn't get Raptr to run in the background immediately after the upgrade, and then I sort of forgot about it for a couple months. That sort of ruined my data stream. Oops.

However, it is easy enough to compile a quick spreadsheet of activity like this. The blog makes that somewhat easy, though there are a few games I chose to keep just for myself. The above chart is what I ended up with, borrowing Wilhelm's idea of listing games down the left side and months across the top.

This is a fairly inclusive list. If there was a game I played this year that isn't on this list, it just wasn't that memorable and I didn't write anything about it. Of those on this list they are all memorable for one reason or another.

Let's start with the memorable for a bad reason. That honor has to go to Mortal Kombat X. It wasn't really a bad game. It was perhaps the best Mortal Kombat done to date. The issue for me is I quickly became bored of it. It was the same thing over and over, repeated as quickly as your fingers could pound it out on the controller. After a couple of months I'd had my fill. I think many are experiencing this with Star Wars: Battlefront right now. Mortal Kombat X was one of the reasons I didn't get excited about that game. Glad to see I can still learn a lesson.

Next, I want to talk about memorable for nostalgic reasons. That honor goes to Elite: Dangerous. If you could pull a game you love out of your past from 20 or 30 years ago and feel about it's reincarnation like you did about the original, that would be Elite: Dangerous for me. The up side of this nostalgic love affair is that the updated graphics are phenomenally beautiful. I literally spent hours upon hours simply sight seeing in the game. I've slacked off a little during the last quarter of this year, but there will probably be a large bar for it in 2016 too now that we can land of planetary bodies and multi-person ships are coming.

The other often played and very memorable game for me this year is World of Warships. I am not a huge fan of PvP games in general, and MOBA style games in particular, but WoWS is different to me. I gave League of Legends a shot and even got to play with my nephew and his son and had a group I could join at any time. However, it just wasn't my thing to do the rinse, lather, repeat required to progress by that game. It was basically always the same every game. You could say the same thing about World of Warships, but it isn't true. I could play five games in a row with the same ship on the same map (and nearly have, LOL!) but the games themselves are always unique. What works in one game doesn't typically work in another because there is so much variability in whose matched with whom. Your ship may be the same. The map may be the same. But the teams most certainly are not the same. That makes for a dynamic game I find myself drawn to time and again.

There are some old favorites in this list as well. I still tinker with Kerbal Space Program from time to time. I am slowly working through career mode with no mods. Wow, is rocket science hard when you don't get a computer to automatically calculate everything for you and control your ship afterwards. I also get my SimCity fix from time to time, but now from City Skylines since they went and ruined SimCity itself.

There is even a new MMORPG on the list: Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's hard to post about this game because it's been around so long. And really, who cares what my character did that thousands upon thousands have already done? But it's like crack cocaine. I spent my entire day yesterday working my way through the Voss missions as a Smuggler Gunslinger. I just kept working my way from one boss to the next until it was all done. I even hit 60th level! Yeah, they tend to give out way too much XP in the game. But they downscale your character to cope. It's all good.

But of all the games on my list, the one that emotionally impacted me the most this year was The Vanishing of Ethan Carter from a little known independent Polish studio named The Astronauts. It won the BAFTA Games Award for Innovation. They say it is a horror adventure game. I don't agree. It is a riveting story with a strong plot that sucks you in and makes you care about Ethan Carter. Yes, horrible things have happened. That only makes you want to find Ethan even more. But you have to puzzle it out. And when you finally do, it's... NO SPOILERS. Just go out to steam and get the game. It'll only cost you $5.99 until January 4, 2016 on Steam. It takes less than 20 hours to complete. Be sure to play the The Unreal Engine 4 remaster called The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux as it corrects some quirky mouse behavior. I don't think you'll regret a minute spent playing it.

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