games / Columns

Average Gamer 1.16.13: My Year In Review

January 16, 2013 | Posted by Dan Watson

Wow, it feels like so much has happened since the last time I was able to post here. Well for starters, Happy New Year everyone. Having the holidays fall on a Tuesday makes the week feel very strange. I completed my vacation down in New Orleans. The food was great, the drinks were good, and the people were strange but overall it was a good time. Not very often do you find a town like that with so many tourists on one small street. The big party street down there is nothing like what people on television make it. The other big news is that I am currently in the process of purchasing a new home. The last offer fell apart and this new home fell into our laps very quickly.

In the gaming world, I have continued to try to get to as many different games as possible. Far Cry 3 has taken a large majority of my time currently. The series was never my favorite but that is changing quickly with this installment. If they would have released this game a month or two sooner, it would have contended for game of the year. I have also been busy with Halo 4, Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2, and The Walking Dead. This time of year is great because there are only a few major titles releasing early in the year which allows me to play my backlog a bit more.

Good-Bye 2012

2012 was kind of a strange year. According to NPD, the overall sales of games were down by about 20% on some estimates. The reason, I believe, is because we didn’t have that title that was new or different; instead we have relied heavily on sequels. There were some great games though to come out and some crazy news so let’s take a look at 2012 and say good-bye the proper way.

Good-Bye Companies

We lost a few companies this year to bankruptcy or other issues. Near the middle of the year we had Curt Schillings’ 38 Studios go under and create a ton of media attention. The game that had released, Kingdoms of Amalor, was actually a pretty good game. It sold okay but didn’t do amazing by industry standards. The problem was apparently, miscommunication and understanding, when it came to borrowing from the State of Rhode Island. We also lost THQ at the end of the year. It still remains to be seen what will happen to the titles that company owned but I am sure this will take a good chunk of time to figure that out.

So there you have it we lost two decent companies within a year. This isn’t anything extremely new as companies change names, ownership, etc. all the time. The only difference in this year was that both were so highly publicized.

Sequels Galore

2012 was the year of the sequel that is for sure. We saw sequels for the following series this year: Halo, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, Borderlands, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and many others. Most of these titles were great games but they didn’t really bring anything new to the table. We needed new titles to take a stand and help out but instead there were not many and the ones that released didn’t seem to be that good. In the end the sequels took the year.

Game of the Year is a DLC Title?!?!

So this year Walking Dead won best game or game of the year. The game is surprisingly good in terms of story and making you care about the characters. The gameplay is different and more of a point and click style game but the story gets you. Most gamers will experience deep sadness near the end of Episode 4 and definitely throughout Episode 5. Another reason this game did so well was the fact that your choices actually matter as you play through the game. It isn’t if you save one person the other lives for just a minute longer, no some of your choices haunt you until the end of the game. This game deserved awards but I am still not sure if it deserved game of the year or not.

The Next Generation Begins

Near the tail end of 2012 we saw the first new console of the next generation launch, the Wii U. So far, I have not been impressed but it is still early in its life to say it failed or anything like that. Even if the console fails to win over the “hardcore” gaming audience, I am sure Nintendo will create something new to grab the casual market. Maybe the tablet controller will take hold, though I highly doubt it. Nintendo’s bread and butter is their franchise and they will make good on releasing a ton of those I am sure.

Looking Ahead

With 2013 already half a month in, it is time we start looking ahead. We have more of the same series coming back in new forms with BioShock Infinite, Gears of War, Tomb Raider, Grand Theft Auto, and many more. There are rumors that this year will see the announcement and release of PS4 and the next Microsoft console. Tablet and Mobile gaming are sure to continue their dominance in the market as well. In the end 2013 will be the year that the next generation gaming battle goes full swing. I am sure we will see a few more companies go under as well as a few new companies start up with a new title or series. The gaming industry is in full swing and even though numbers are down, popularity is up. Kids are no longer talking about sports or movies; they are talking about video games.

That is it for me this week everyone. I do apologize for my absence but cannot promise there will not be more missed weeks. Buying a home is more hands on than I had anticipated and has taken a lot of my time away from things I enjoy. If you are interested in writing for 411mania Games shoot me an email with a sample piece and I will be sure to look it over. My email is [email protected]


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Dan Watson
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