Games of 2017

2017 was an odd year in gaming for me. My list of games contains new games, old games, replays of games, remastered games, and Zelda games. I began 2017 hoping to put a dent in my backlog. With everything that ended up happening, 2017 became the year of my comfort gaming. I have a whopping twenty games on the list this year, which surprises me. This list is ordered in the order I started to play the game in 2017. Each game gets its own special category. I also include some stats about my play sessions. All stats are captured from this year; the stats do not include older playthroughs. Let’s begin.

This is not Portal, pesky human

The Turing Test (PC)

Release date: 8/30/2016
Number of hours played: 7.5
Number of achievements earned: 15/15
Number of screenshots taken: 81
Games of 2017 - The Turing Test

T.O.M. – you spelt “center” wrong, you asshole. This is America.

The Turing Test does nothing wrong. The graphics are great. The sound design creates an eerie atmosphere. The puzzle mechanic is unique. Overall, the gameplay is solid. Everything comes together to create a good game, but not a great one. The premise is interesting. You wake up on a space station, and are informed your team has gone missing on Europa. You are guided by an A.I. named T.O.M. Once on the ground, you discover the ground team has setup puzzles that only humans can solve, hence, the title of the game, The Turing Test. The narrative between T.O.M. and the main character is alright, but the story never surprises or does anything interesting. The puzzle mechanic is unique, but the puzzles are mostly bland. A few puzzles I struggled with, only to realize I was not properly introduce to a new mechanic. The game is fine, but that is mostly because it is not a full priced game. It’s a good budget title.

Even Higher!

Just Cause 3Air, Land & Sea Expansion Pass (PC)

Release date: 3/15/2016, 6/11/2016, 8/18/2016
Number of hours played: 10
Number of achievements earned: 13/19 (56/66 for full game)
Number of screenshots taken: 22
Games of 2017 - Just Cause 3 DLC

Eden, Rico can only get so erect.

The Land, Air, and Sea Expansion Pass for Just Cause 3 is the perfect excuse to jump back into the world of Just Cause. I played the base game back in 2015, but I wanted to wait until all three DLCs were released before jumping back into the chaos. The three DLCs are separate, and each one tells a different story. Of course, Rico has to save the day in each one. Each DLC adds something new. The Air adds the Bavarium wing suit. It allows you to fly around the map and reach new heights to solve the problems found in the sky… or just cause (ha!) more chaos. The Land adds mechs to the Just Cause universe. They add new ways to destroy. The Sea adds the Loochador rocket boat. It’s a boat designed with rockets, because, just ’cause. The Expansion Pass is the perfect excuse to return to the game. The new modes of transportation and destruction is well worth the extra price.

Fun, the sequel

Dishonored 2 (PC)

Release date: 11/11/2016
Number of hours played: 104
Number of achievements earned: 50/50
Number of screenshots taken: 121
Games of 2017 - Dishonored 2

The whole mansion is this insane. Each lever you pull, the mansion does weird shit like this.

Dishonored 2 is my favorite kind of game. I loved the first Dishonored, because it let me play how I liked. I love sneaking around, exploring the levels, and stabbing/knocking out every single enemy in sight. Of course, you don’t have to play like that. You could run around in plain view, and fight everything that gets in your way. Dishonored 2 is more of that, but with even more unique and interesting level design. Entire levels change up the formula defined by the first game. Rooms can change with the pull of a level in Jindosh’s mansion. In Stilton’s manor, you travel between the past and present. Plus, the developers added a second playable character. She has a completely different set of skills than her father, Corvo. I would have been happy with a fresh coat of paint for a sequel, but the level design and the new skills really make this a sequel that surpasses the first.

Why would I use fast travel?

Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)

Release date: 2/28/2017
Number of hours played: 86.75
Number of achievements earned: 56/56 (56/58 post patch)
Number of screenshots taken: 91
Games of 2017 - Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn – photo mode the game

Horizon Zero Dawn may very well be the best game I have ever played. The open world is rich, and filled with discovery. I chose to walk to my destination over using a mount or fast travel. The enemies (dinosaur robots, for Pete’s sake!) require study and strategy to successfully take down. I could never just run into combat with a random weapon, and mash buttons; I would die. The lore and story run parallel with one another. As the mystery of the apocalypse untangles, so does Aloy’s story. I cared what happened to Aloy, because I cared about the world (and vice versa). Plus the world is absolutely breath taking.

Crawling in vents

Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Missing Link DLC (PC)

Release date: 8/23/2011 and 10/18/2011
Number of hours played: 31
Number of achievements earned: 40/59
Number of screenshots taken: 57
Game of 2017 - Deus Ex: Human Revolution

In the future, everyone just throws their papers and magazines everywhere

Deus Ex: Human Revolution scratches my sneak around and knock people out itch. It does not do as good of a job as Dishonored, but it has the cyberpunk angle. I did not really like the combat in Human Revolution too much, but I had a blast finding every nook and cranny in each level. I tried to play the game when I first bought it, but it did not grab my attention. I stopped playing after an hour or two. I started over in 2017, and I had a lot of fun. The level design and lore/story made the journey worth it.

Punching through walls

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PC)

Release date: 8/23/2016
Number of hours played: 44.75
Number of achievements earned: 35/81
Number of screenshots taken: 35
Games of 2017 - Mankind Divided

Augment those rights, yo.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was the main reason I tried Human Revolution again. Sneaking around and knocking out enemies in a cyberpunk setting sounded cool, so I gave it a shot. I liked Human Revolution. On paper, Mankind Divided sounded like a proper sequel. Better graphics and more cool skills. The game has a lot of hidden nook and crannies, but the level design was not as interesting to me. I came to dislike Prague, where I spent most of my time. The city is split into two parts, and has a loading screen between the two areas. Missions constantly have you move back and forth between the two areas. It is annoying. The story is interesting, but not as interesting as Human Revolution. At this point, I am invested and will most likely get the next game in the series, if they make one.

Comfort gaming

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX (GBC)

Release date: 12/15/1998
Number of hours played: 16?
     (forgot to track; rough guess between How Long To Beat 
     and the other Zelda GBC games)
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 2
Games of 2017 - Link's Awakening

A giant poke-a-dot egg. Kinky.

By the time July rolled around, I needed some comfort gaming. I went back to my very first Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. I originally played it on my gray Gameboy, but this time I played the DX version on the Gameboy Color. I had a very strong sense of adventure as a kid, so Zelda should have appealed to me. I could best the first dungeon in Link’s Awakening, but I had trouble figuring out how to get into the second dungeon. Even though I could not get to the second dungeon, I would still play the game over and over again as a kid. In high school, I played through most of the Zelda games, and I finally beat Link’s Awakening to completion. Turns out I needed to find Bow-Wow to progress. Playing Link’s Awakening in 2017 really hit the spot for me. Nostalgia makes this my favorite 2D Zelda game. It also started a new Zelda binge in 2017.

Not as relaxing as I had hoped

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC)

Release date: 5/14/2001
Number of hours played: 18.5
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 5
Games of 2017 Zelda: Oracle of Seasons

I’m mother nature, bitch!

After completing Link’s Awakening, I was still craving more Zelda on the Gameboy. I decided to tackle the Oracle series, starting with The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons. I played the Oracle games for the first time during my Zelda high school binge, but I remembered very little about them. I remember really liking them for some reason. Oracle of Seasons plays very much like Link’s Awakening. You get a staff that can change the seasons if you stand on tree stumps. Changing the seasons is a really cool mechanic. You can also ride animals, including a kangaroo. However, Oracle of Seasons is not as much fun as I remembered. I actually died a lot; the enemies are kinda brutal. Changing seasons is still a cool mechanic, and the puzzles are top notch for the series.

Hah! System link… get it?

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC)

Release date: 5/14/2001
Number of hours played: 18.75
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 1
Games of 2017 Zelda Oracle of Ages

Isn’t that adorable? Link is serenading a tree. Wait… is Link an arborphiliac?

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages was my favorite of the two Oracle games. Where Seasons only allowed you to change seasons in a limited number of locations, Ages allows you to pretty much switch between the past and present almost anywhere. This makes the mechanic a lot more interesting. I probably liked it more because of the linking system between the two games. Linking allows you to unlock more items, as well as play the combined ending. The payoff for linking the two Oracle games is very satisfying.

The beginning of items

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)

Release date: 4/13/1992
Number of hours played: 15
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 3
Games of 2017 Zelda A Link to the Past

Here we see Link being worshiped by his followers in the Church of Zelda.

After completing the Gameboy Zelda games, I was still craving more 2D Zelda. So, I played through The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. My cousin owned this game on the Super Nintendo, and I would watch my brother and him play it (they were kinda mean to me and wouldn’t let me play). I really did not remember too much about it from my childhood. I completed it during my high school Zelda binge, and loved it. I remembered quite a bit about this game when I played through it again in 2017. Everything from the story, map, dungeons, and items are Zelda staples of more modern Zelda games. Pretty much everything that makes Zelda, Zelda, was either started in this game, or refined. If I were to toss nostalgia out the window, I think The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past would be my favorite 2D Zelda game.

Buttery smooth on PC as well

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

Release date: 9/30/2014
Number of hours played: 37.5
Number of achievements earned: 59/74
Number of screenshots taken: 27
Games of 2017 Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Watch me chop this orc like a fucking tree

Normally, I play games two at a time. When I started my Zelda binge, I was playing one game at a time. When I got to A Link to the Past, I decided to start a second game, but I did not want it to be a Zelda game. Instead, I chose Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Yeah, the game made the list in 2014, but that was the PS4 version. Also, I had never played the DLC. I bought it the game of the year edition on PC, and needed to get some achievements. The base game was as great I remembered. Killing Orcs (or whatever the hell they are called in this game) is a ton of fun. The Lord of the Hunt DLC is more orc killing fun, but with new mounts and more Tovin, the wise-cracking, hunter dwarf! Sneaking up on orcs while mounted on a Caragath is entertaining, and ridiculous. Like, how the fuck can’t they see me while I am on the back of a very large wolf-creature? The Bright Lord DLC, sounded cool, but really wasn’t. It disappointed me and I never finished it. Expanding on the character Celebrimbor is cool, but removing almost everything that made the game fun is not cool. Overall, revisiting the game on PC was worth it.

Shiney but the same

Starcraft: Remastered (PC)

Release date: 8/14/2017
Number of hours played: 44
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 12
Games of 2017 Starcraft Remastered

I imagine Oprah’s spit is the same thing a hyrdalisk spits

Starcraft: Remastered was the perfect excuse to play through the story again. I love the lore of Starcraft. I am not good at Starcraft. I can beat the Terran campaign, and part of the Zerg campaign without cheating. However, to finish the story, I used cheats, and I don’t care. I still had fun. The remaster is a faithful remaster. The graphics have been redone, and they look great in widescreen and 4k. All of the mechanics and physics are the same, for better or worse. Starcraft 2 is infinitely better in the gameplay department, but I still love revisiting this game for its story. Thank you Blizzard for making it playable on modern systems.

Shiney but also better

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)

Release date: 6/19/2011
Number of hours played: 28.75
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 103
Games of 2017 Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D

I never noticed, but link has some freakishly long legs

Speaking of remasters, I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D after completing A Link to the Past. Where Starcraft was a faithful remaster (keeping the gameplay and everything intact), Ocarina of Time 3D remasters the original designers’ intentions. I played Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64 for the first time in high school, and it had not aged well by that time. The graphics were awful, and the frame rate was atrocious. It actually affected gameplay in things like the Water Temple. However, Ocarina of Time 3D, fixes all of that. The game is just beautiful, and it runs at a respectable 30 FPS; compared to the N64 version, it is silky smooth. The touch screen makes the inventory management bearable, as well as easy access to the map without pausing. The remaster designers also made some visual tweaks to dungeons, making navigation in the Water Temple logical, and easy to figure out without backtracking too much. The remaster actually bumped this game up to one of my favorite Zelda games, if not my most favorite.

A bump of HD

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (WiiU)

Release date: 9/20/2013
Number of hours played: 37.75
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 8
Games of 2017 Zelda The Wind Waker HD

Sailing. Now with permanent NOS!

Wind Waker was my favorite Zelda game, so I had to play The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for the WiiU after playing Ocarina of Time 3D. I actually got this game when I bought the Wind Waker edition of the WiiU, but I never got around to playing it. My Zelda binge was the perfect excuse. Wind Waker did not really need an HD remake, but boy does it look great in HD. The touch pad is also very handy for item management and referencing the map. They did make one tweak: they made the game less tedious. They added a sail where you go faster, and you don’t have to manually change the wind directory when sailing. It is the perfect minor tweak, that does away with a lot of tedium that sailing and exploring can cause. Wind Waker is as good I remembered. The Ganon in Wind Waker is my favorite version of the character. It’s difficult to choose between Ocarina of Time 3D and Wind Waker HD for favorite Zelda, but I think Wind Waker edges it out. I think Wind Waker will continue to age well, but Ocarina of Time 3D might not because of art style.

Touch screen controls suck

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)

Release date: 10/1/2007
Number of hours played: 2.25 (unfinished)
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 4
Games of 2017 Zelda Phantom Hourglass

Great… another fairy. This one represents crappy touch screen controls.

Normally I don’t put games that I didn’t complete on this annual list, but I decided to make an exception with The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. I tried to play Phantom Hourglass when it was first released, but couldn’t get into it; I put it down after an hour. After having so much fun with Wind Waker, I just wanted more of the world. So I decided to give Phantom Hourglass another go since it was a direct sequel to Wind Waker. Nope, still did not like it, but I did decide to at least complete one dungeon. I hate the touch screen only controls. I think the movement should at least be tied to the D-pad. Completing the first dungeon was such a chore. I completed it, and made it back to the central dungeon, and then I turned it off. I found out I would have to go through the central dungeon several times, and I was not having any of that. The story did not grab me, the gameplay sucked, and so I was not going to waste my time.

Poorest implementation of a stamina bar

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

Release date: 11/20/2011
Number of hours played: 45
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 18
Games of 2017 Zelda Skyward Sword

You literally raise your sword skyward in this game… I miss when they used puns using Link’s name

Speaking of bad Zelda games, I also played The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Unlike Phantom Hourglass, I actually completed Skyward Sword in 2017. I originally played it when it was first released, and I got pretty far before losing interest. I could not remember why I lost interest, so Zelda-Binge 2017 was the perfect excuse to replay. It does three things wrong. First, the motions controls are a problem. After getting used to it, the sword fighting was cool, and the one-to-one movement with the controller added strategy to sword fights. The motion controls were great for most of the items. The Wii Motion Plus elevated the motion controls from a shallow gimmick to a cool feature. However, the motion controls leave little room for mistakes, which can be very frustrating, especially in the heat of a boss battle. Minor gestures have you doing things that you did not plan. Also, mainly because of the motion controls, this game has some of the longest tutorials ever in a Zelda game. The second issue is the stamina bar. It serves no good purpose. It can’t be upgraded, so all of the obstacles are perfectly spaced so you can get through them without depleting your stamina. It depletes in a matter of seconds, and takes three times longer to replenish. It makes “running” around the world annoying as hell when you have to stop every three seconds and walk for 10. This leads into the third issue, which is backtracking. You are constantly backtracking, and the sky, hub world is filled with so much empty space. It is really a shame Skyward Sword has these issues. The music and sound design is some of the best of any of the Zelda games, and maybe of any game period. The story adds a lot to the Zelda lore, and has some of the best characters in the series. The dungeon and item design is some of the best in the series as well. It is hard for me to recommend, but it is also a sin to not play this game if you are a Zelda fan.

Complete the story

Starcraft 2 (PC)

Release date: Wings of Liberty - 7/27/2010
              Heart of the Swarm - 3/12/2013
              Legacy of the Void - 11/10/2015
Number of hours played: 52.75
Number of achievements earned: Lots
Number of screenshots taken: 23
Games of 2017 Starcraft 2

Zealots would make good chefs… wait

After finishing Starcraft Remastered, I decided I needed to play Starcraft 2. I never finished the last expansion, Legacy of the Void, so I figured I might as well start at the beginning of Starcraft 2, and finish the story. I really love the lore and characters from Starcraft, and Starcraft 2 is a lot more intimate with the characters. Wings of Liberty is focused on James Raynor, and trying to save his love. Heart of the Swarm is about Sarah Kerrigan getting revenge on the one she hates the most. Legacy of the Void is a little more larger scale; save the universe from a great evil. In the end my favorite part of the three campaigns is how the ending tied up the story of Raynor and Kerrigan. It was fun to watch it from the beginning in the first Starcraft, to the end of Legacy of the Void.

Best use of time

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (3DS)

Release date: 2/13/2015
Number of hours played: 30.75
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 32
Games of 2017 Zelda Majora's Mask 3D

Gather around as Link plays a ditty

My high school Zelda binge was missing Majora’s Mask. For my 2017 binge, I decided to play The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D. To some Zelda fans, Majora’s Mask is their favorite, and boy do I see why. It’s different, but still feels like Zelda. I am surprised no one has successfully pulled off the time mechanic like Majora’s Mask did. If you don’t know, you have three days to save the world. If you run out of time, time resets back to the beginning of the three days, and you lose most of your progress. However, you get to keep your masks. The masks do some cool and clever things to help you progress in the world. The time mechanic should have made me stressed, but I had a lot of fun with it. It’s implemented just right, and would be very difficult for another game to pull off without stressing the player. Being on the 3DS, it runs and looks great. It is not my favorite Zelda, but I can definitely see why so many people love it.

I guess it’s HD

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (WiiU)

Release date: 3/4/2016
Number of hours played: 42
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 6
Games of 2017 Zelda Twilight Princess HD

Wolf Link is calmed by the blazing hot sun

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD takes place in the same timeline as Majora’s Mask, so I decided to play it next. I played it on the Wii when it first came out; in fact, Twilight Princess was the reason for my Zelda binge in high school. The graphics definitely look better in HD, but definitely not as good as The Wind Waker HD‘s graphics. It has to do with the art style. Twilight Princess went for a gritty look with a lot of greens and browns. The Twilight realm is pretty, but everything else looks like a HD release of a Wii game. Graphically, Twilight Princess will continue to age poorly. However, that’s not why one plays Zelda. I love Twilight Princess. It checks all of the boxes of a fun Zelda game. Unique items. Fun dungeons and puzzles. Epona. A sidekick. It even goes beyond by introducing Link’s wolf form and the Twilight realm. However, I can’t stop feeling a little bit of disappointment. It’s definitely a great game, and a great Zelda game, but I feel like it has more potential that it did not achieve. I can’t really explain why I feel that way, but that’s how I feel. Maybe I am just getting tired of Zelda after playing so many games in the series in a row.

Swearing at Toad has never been more fun

Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

Release date: 12/4/2011
Number of hours played: 25.25
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 195
Games of 2017 Mario Kart 7

Bowser is pissed

Originally, I did not think Mario Kart 7 would make the cut for 2017. However, I visited family, and had a lot of time to kill riding in the car. Between the traveling in the car, and downtime during the holidays, I was able to get at least one star on all of the grand prix races, and put in a lot of races online. It is odd having played Mario Kart 8 before 7; it is a de-evolution of the series. Many things I praised Mario Kart 8 for doing are present in Mario Kart 7 in a simpler form. However, Mario Kart 7 does offer some of my favorite tracks ever created for a Mario Kart game (three of them appear in Mario Kart 8; one I hate also appears in 8). Overall, I like having a portable Mario Kart, even if it is a step down from 8.

2017 Gaming Statistics

Total number of games played: 24
Total number of hours: 725+
Total Number of gaming sessions: 315+
Oldest game played: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (4/13/1992)
Newest game played: Starcraft: Remastered (8/14/2017)
Game with most achievements earned: Horizon Zero Dawn (56)
Game with most hours played: Dishonored 2 (104)
Personal game of the year: Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)

As I mentioned, I needed some comfort gaming. Zelda, Starcraft, and Shadow of Mordor all filled that role. I was able to put a small dent in my backlog by playing the two new Deus Ex games, and the Just Cause 3 DLCs. I also played some newer games. The Turing Test had come out just a few months before I played it, as well as one of my personal favorites, Dishonored 2. If it weren’t for Horizon Zero Dawn, Dishonored 2 would have won my personal game of the year for this list. Horizon Zero Dawn came out, and I knew I had to play it right away; it is so good.

How was 2017 for the health of the video gaming industry? Pretty damn good. Nintendo is kicking ass with the Switch, with outstanding titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey. Arkane put out two single play games I need to play this year: Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, and Prey. Nier: Automata and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus are also on my play list. For shorter games with AAA shine, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice look great. I also hope to play them in 2018, but we will have to see. I am not a big multiplayer fan, but I love to watch Muyskerm play Playerunknown’s Battle Grounds (PUBG). I am also not a fan of horror games, but it looks like Resident Evil 7 brought the series back on great footing. There has also been a ton of indie games, like Cuphead and Everything getting critical acclaim. I could go on and on listing the great games of 2017.

2017 was not all good for gaming, but no year is completely without controversy. Loot boxes and pay-to-win game design were huge controversies in 2017. However, these things have been in gaming for a lot longer than most people realize. Most of the games in the previous paragraph (the exception being PUBG) do not have loot creates and/or pay-to-win mechanics. I will reiterate what I said last year: gamers need to buy fun games. As a consumer, gamers have many resources at their disposable to make educated purchases on what game they think will be fun, and which ones won’t. There is no need to boycott a publisher. People forget that EA published Titanfall 2, which was showered with praise and free updates. At the same time, if you think the loot boxes in Battlefront 2 (also EA) will affect the amount of fun you will have in the game, then do not buy it; buy something else. Gamers have all of the power in this relationship.

I did not get around to too many new games in 2017. Honestly, there are only a handful of games coming out in 2018 that I am excited for. I am hoping I can make a huge dent in my backlog in 2018.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I spent a lot of time gathering the screenshots you see here; I hope I captured some shots you think are cool. I am a numbers guy, and I manual track many of the statistics shared in this post. You probably do not care, but I think it adds some context to my opinion of the game. Generally, the higher percentage of achievements I get, the more I like the game. It’s not always true; sometimes the achievements are just really easy to get. The hours played should fill in the rest of the context. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I hope your life will be filled with fun in 2018.

I Care

Note 01/29/2018: I wrote this July 22, 2017. Two days after the death of Chester. I wrote it, saved it, and closed it. I knew I wanted to publish it, but I was not ready at the time. I looked at it for the first time to edit it after 2017 – Raw Hindsight was published. I edited it before posting, but with the intent to keep the raw emotion intact. I actually shed tears while editing this article; I also smiled. I did not want to rewrite it from my January 2018 perspective. That would ruin the therapy.

I have been meaning to write about two things. One, about the bad shit happening in my life in 2017. Two, a review for Linkin Park’s newest album, One More Light. Chester Bennington’s, the lead singer of Linkin Park, death brings about reason for me to write about both. Somewhere I can place my emotions.

Chester committed suicide July 20th. This is one of the few celebrity deaths to shake me to my core. I make no secret that I am a huge fanboy for Linkin Park; I probably understate my affection for the band. Chester’s voice carried me through some of the most emotional times of my life. The songs from Hybrid Theory and Meteora got me through my teenage years. The lyrics are often times memeified as “angsty,” which is not 100% wrong, but that’s also the kind of music I needed in my teenage years. Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns carried me through my post high school life as I formed my own opinions about how the world should and shouldn’t work. A lot of the lyrics from these albums are filled with political statements about how things are going wrong, but they also offer hope. Living Things and The Hunting Party came about when I became a functioning member of society; a life with a career and other adult things. The lyrics are filled with motifs like losing a relationship, feeling powerless in life, and masquerading as someone you are not. I literally grew up with Linkin Park, and Chester’s voice playing in my head.

My anticipation for their newest ablum, One More Light, was nothing I have ever experienced. Before it was released, the members of Linkin Park commented that they had changed their writing process for this album. They wrote the lyrics and melodies before the music. They treated their writing sessions like group therapy; “how was everyone’s day?” someone would ask. Everyone answered honestly, and based on the answers, they would write lyrics. If a band member was feeling like they were neglecting their family, they would talk, and write lyrics. When someone close to them died, they wrote the title track, One More Light. This writing process definitely shines through the album. The album shows you what it is like to be human. The melodies might be upbeat, but the lyrics are downright emotional.

Chester’s singing cuts right down to the core, from the start of the first track Nobody Can Save Me. “I’m dancing with my demons, I’m hanging off the edge, storm clouds gather beneath me, wave break above my head.” Chester’s vocals paint a very desperate picture. “Who cares if one more light goes out, well I do,” from One More Light is filled with caring and empathy. I love it when Chester performs this track live and yells “I do!” near the end. The final track Sharp Edges, Chester sings “Sharp edges have consequences, Now every scar is a story I can tell.” Chester’s voice gets sharp by the end between “can tell.” That bite shows us this man has experienced so many sharp edges from life. The song writing on this album is Linkin Park’s best work, but it is also Chester’s best vocal work. His voice drips with emotion. I can tell these songs mean a lot to him.

By the beginning of the 2017, Linkin Park had shared that they were writing the lyrics first, and that this album would be the most human album they had ever created. This sounds cool, and made me excited for the album. However, something else fed my anticipation for the album; gave me need to hear it. 2017 has been shit for me, and this album sounded like something I needed.

In January, my mom was rushed to the emergency room. She was moved to the ICU, and needed a breathing tube. My mom was pretty calm, and told us not to worry and go home. As the nurses were prepping her breathing tube, the doctor took us aside and said, “The swelling is getting worse, and if we don’t put in a breathing tube she could die…” and at that point, I stopped listening. Die? My mom? Being in your late twenties, and told that your mom might die shakes you to the core. Can you imagine a world without your mom? I couldn’t. I had a minor crisis at this point.

February rolled around. Family and friends were gathered at my house. We were playing Jackbox, and having a good time. A huge “POP!” noise broke our laughter. The lights flickered. Someone ran to the basement and yells “fire!” I called 911, and the firefighters arrived. The circuit breaker caught fire. We were without power for two days; we were out of our house for a week.

March. My cousin died in a house fire, leaving behind two toddlers, one less than a year old, and a wife, not to mention his parents and the rest of our family. No parent should have to bury their kid. We went to his funeral, and visited my grandma in the nursing home. She was not feeling too well, and wanted to sleep…

Easter in April was rough. We visited my grandma in the nursing home. She was not getting out of bed or eating. She did not look like herself. What should be a fun time with food and family, was a very solemn occasion. We have Easter dinner with my uncles, but everyone’s thoughts were preoccupied about my grandma. I knew this would be the last time I see her, and I made the most of it. Leaving shook me to the core. One of my friends got married out of town a week later. I went, and put on a fake smile, and pretended to have fun on the days leading up to the wedding. At the reception, another friend and I snuck out for a moment to visit the bar. We were sitting there in silence, and he asked me, “How are you doing?” I broke down, and answered truthfully, “Shitty. I can’t stop thinking about my grandma, no matter how much I pretend.”

In May, we had my grandma’s funeral. I do not know how my uncle can take it; burying his son, and now his mother. The entire family was shaken. She taught us the importance of family. She is the reason we have frequent family reunions, and the reason why I know my cousins, even though they all live several hundred miles apart.

By the middle of May, One More Light could not come soon enough. It was so much more than just anticipating their new writing approach. I did not know what it could provide me. I just knew I needed it. I eagerly awaited the leak, so I could listen to it early. It did not leak until the week of release. I hungrily downloaded it, hoping it could provide me with something I needed. Hoping it would be everything I needed it to be. And it was. No other album in my catalog could lift my heavy heart. I feel like life dealt me a shit hand in 2017. One More Light reminds me the heaviness is all about being human. Life can be cruel sometimes, but you have to revel your battle symphony and march onward.

Chester’s death left a hole in the world. He marched onward despite his depression. Abuse, drug addiction, loss, and more contributed to it. But he touched so many lives with his voice. He helped others fight their own depression, even if he couldn’t save himself. For that, I thank him, and wish someone could have saved him.

I could bury myself in the depression, but I choose not to. My mom didn’t die in January. She wasn’t worried in the least, and told us to go home, while nurses ran around preparing her for her breathing tube. She told us not to worry her mom (my other grandma who is still alive), or her sister. Of course, we did the opposite, and they came and supported her. She made a full recovery, and I am thankful for that.

The fire in February didn’t hurt anyone. It didn’t even destroy any of our belongings. All it did was kill our power for a few days, and made our house smell like smoke for a week. That was cleaned up, and we were able to continue to live normally.

My cousin’s death left a hole in this world. But all I can do is continue to live and remember him as he was.

My grandma lived to be 97 years old. My grandpa died when I was ten, and I remember him a little bit, but not very well. With my grandma, I was able to get to really know her, and learn from her. I’m able to take the lessons she taught me, and apply them to my life. I would not be the same person I am today without her. Having her for 28 years of my life is a blessing, and I won’t take that for granted.

One More Light can be a very sad album, especially if you are someone who life seems to keep throwing shit at you. Addiction, loss of a loved one, or not being able to be there for the ones you love. All of these themes can be found in the album. But we must not forget that this album wasn’t written by a robot. This was written by a group of people; people who have felt all of these things. Chester was one of them, and hearing the songs he sang from this album, you could tell there was true emotion in his voice. The words that Linkin Park wrote, the vocals of Chester and Mike, and my own personal experience makes this one of the most important album I have ever heard.

My heart goes out to Chester’s family, his friends, and the rest of Linkin Park. I pray that Chester doesn’t feel like he’s hanging off the edge anymore. RIP.

I don’t have a leg to stand on, Spinning like a whirlwind nothing to land on
Came so far never thought it’d be done now, Stuck in a holding pattern waiting to come down
Cause I’m tired of the fear that I can’t control this, I’m tired of feeling like every next step’s hopeless
I’m tired of being scared what I build might break apart, I don’t want to know the end, all I want is a place to start
– Mike Shinoda, Place To Start

2017 – Raw Hindsight

The year 2017 might be the shittiest year of my life. I try to stay positive. I really felt bad for people who said 2016 was the worst year of their life. It seemed like everyone on social media was complaining about it. 2016 was a great year for me. I wish the good fortune would have continued. Life just kept handing me lemons, and I could not keep up. Every month, a new “fuck you!” surfaced. Every month, my positivity dwindled.

After work one day in January 2017 my dad tells me my mom is in the emergency room. She had just finished talking to him on the phone, and he is about to leave. I tell him I will drive him to the hospital. We wait about an hour in the waiting room. Finally, the nurse tells us we can go see her. At this point, we have no idea what’s going on. My mom is in good spirits, but the doctor tells her not to talk. He explains she has a rare case of Epiglottitis, which is the inflation of the flap at the base of your tongue; it stops food from going down your trachea. The epiglottis is slowly expanding, and will most likely cut off her airway. The doctor admits her to the ICU, and the doctor needs to place a breathing tube. While the nurses prep her, the doctor explains all of this again. He also says the words that will forever haunt me: “Your mom could die.” Hearing that phrase for the first time really puts things into perspective. This is my mom, who I thought would live forever; however, that is not the case.

February rolls around, and my grandma and aunt are visiting. A few of my friends are over as well, and we are all playing a game from the Jackbox Party Pack. We are having a great time. Suddenly, a popping noise comes from the basement. The TV turns off, and the lights flicker. My uncle runs downstairs, and yells, “Fire!” My brother grabs the fire extinguisher from the under the sink. He runs me over as I attempt to do the same. We stay in a hotel for over a week as the damage is repaired.

I get a text message from my mom in March. She tells me my cousin is dead. Coincidentally, he had died in a house fire. It feels like a cruel joke played by the universe. He left behind our family, including both his parents. He also left behind a wife, and two children; one of them not even a year old. I am very sad at the loss of my cousin, but I am even more devastated for his wife and two sons. His sons won’t get to know their father.

April is not about to let up. I visit my other grandma for the last time. Before April, her mind was sharp and she was in good health for a 97 year old. However, she caught the bug that was making its rounds at my cousin’s funeral. It is too much for her. She stops eating, and is bedridden. April should have been a joyous time. My friend got married, but at his wedding reception I had to put on a happy mask. I want to celebrate with my friends, but I cannot stop thinking about my grandma. The mask cracks at a bar outside of the reception hall. I break down and lay it all out to another friend.

I expect May. My grandma passes away after spending several weeks in bed, and not eating. I attend her funeral.

At this point, I expect something to happen in June. Spending time in the hospital, being in and out of hotels, and traveling for funerals really puts a strain on me. All I want is a return to normalcy. Thankfully, June is uneventful.

July is a bit rough. Linkin Park was going to perform in a city near me in August, and I purchased tickets as soon as they were on sale. This would have been my fourth time seeing them live. I was so excited. In July, I read a Reddit post saying the lead singer, Chester Bennington, is found dead. I do not idolize celebrities, but this one hurt. I grew up listening to Chester’s voice. His voice was there for many major events in my life, including my cousin’s and grandma’s deaths. The song, One More Light, did not tell me that it was going to okay; it told me there are other people who know how I feel, and it fucking sucks! There are people who care if one more light goes out! And now Chester’s light has gone out.

August did not give me a break. Our dishwasher floods into the bathroom, and destroys quite a bit. It forces me to use a different bathroom to shower for a few weeks. All I want is everything to be normal, and showering daily in a different bathroom is not normal. It is a little thing, but really wears on my psychological health.

September, October, November, and December are spent finding my normal; to rejuvenate my mental and emotional health. I do not travel, except to see my other grandma. I take a week off from work just to take a staycation. Although I have scars, I eventually feel replenished. I can finally look back and see the good.

My mom did not die! The doctors were able to insert the breathing tube. They did not need to do a tracheotomy. She stayed in the hospital a few nights for observation, and then she went home. God bless her, her spirit was never broken. I wish I could be as calm as her.

The fire did not harm any one or any of the pets. No possessions were destroyed. My family and friends sprang into action, got the fire out, 911 called, and all of the pets escorted to safety. I owe a whole lot of gratitude to them. The only thing ruined was the circuit breaker and box. We had to stay in a hotel for a week in the middle of February, but it was mild weather during this time. Humans and pets moved back once the mess was cleaned up.

My friend got married to the love of his life! How cool is that? I wish I could have celebrated with them during their big day.

Yeah, we also saw a flood, but we got a new shower out of it. It’s better than the old one!

With my grandma, I am thankful I got to say goodbye to her. I got to love her, and know her for 28 years of my life. Knowing she is not suffering anymore is a blessing, but I wish she had not had to suffer the last few weeks of her life. Even though I got to say goodbye I wish I could talk to her more.

I have not found the silver lining to my cousin’s death. The reality is, there never will be one. No parent should have to bury their son or daughter. Every son should have a chance to know their father. Maybe, one day, I’ll get to share a story about their father to his sons.

Through all the bad things, 2017 offered other good things as well. 2017 will always remind me not to get hung up on the bad things. When bad stuff happens there are two things you can do: change the situation, or accept it. Sometimes, you can help other people change their bad situations, and you should strive to help. Sometimes, you have to accept it and move on. Part of moving on is focusing on the positive and see that they outweigh the negatives. That does not mean the negatives don’t hurt; they absolutely do.


I will make it through this, Digging deep; sinking in
I’m done with everything holding, holding me down
I will make it through this, There’s a time to die and a way to live
I’m not going out like this
– Nothing More, Tunnels

2018 – The Starting Point

A healthy part of experiencing tragedy is to create and achieve goals for yourself. Making sure your life moves forward despite what happened. Last year, I told myself I need to get back into reading. I have finished three books since November, and just started a fourth. I plan on continuing to find the time to read, even though I probably will not reach the frequency I did in middle school and high school. Also last year, I made a goal to work on the backlog of shows I want to watch. Now, the only Marvel Netflix show I have left is The Punisher, and I’m a few episodes in; I should finish it within a month. At the beginning of January, I created new category in my Steam library called “Games to Play in 2018” to put a dent in my gaming back catalog. I have completed one of them, and I am almost finished with two others. Sometimes a short term goal grows out of a short term goal. I plan on buying a house before I am thirty, and if things go well, I should be purchasing one this year.

To accomplish goals, you need a starting point. A goal I have been setting for myself for years now is to write and publish more. Sure, I write some things that never see the light of day, but I never publish them; even those writings are very infrequent. Consider this post a starting point.

At first, I did not think I needed this post. I have three articles written about the year 2017, and how I experienced it. I have been writing the articles since December, but they have been in my head since January 2017. Two of the articles are very personal. They were written out of negativity. At first, I thought I needed an introductory article to give you a warning. However, this article you are reading now is only an assurance that I am moving forward. I am making progress on goals no matter how small. As long as I push on, I can hold my head up high and say tragedy may have changed me, but it did not keep me down.

If you are feeling knocked down, or stuck in a rut because of tragedy, I suggest creating goals for yourself. Making progress on those goals can feel rewarding. Maybe you will not feel it right away, but when you look back you can take pride in the progress you made. All it takes is a starting point, and then you can feel good looking forward, instead of dwelling on the past.

The next few articles might have been written in negativity, but they were also written as therapy. 2017 hangs heavy over me, but I have a good feeling about 2018. Please check in on the blog in the next few days. Thank you for taking the time to read.


Put my filters on tell myself “I think I can” increasingly harder, When you’re aware of your surroundings
So, cast your vision or get cast as a victim, If I’m getting knocked out I’m going down swinging
Optimistic child nothing was impossible, All eyes on tomorrow with something to aspire to
Gratitude keeps us strong self-pity makes you fragile, But sometimes we can’t see our dreams just the obstacles
Some people say no regrets as a form of denial, Some people say no regrets when they’re out of control
Some people say it with their backs against the wall, It’s always best to say it after you’ve given it your all
– John Reuben, Oh Baby Don’t Waste Your Time

Games of 2016

Another year, another list. I played quite a few games in 2016, and I had a ton of fun. Looking at the list of games I played this year, twelve of them are worth mentioning for Games of 2016. This time I ordered the list in the order of when I played them. As with years past, each game gets its own category.

Stupidest Use Of Zombies (Zombies Scare Me)

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (PS4)

Number of hours played: 13.25
Number of achievements earned: 34/54
Number of screenshots taken: 76
Games of 2016 - Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

Uncharted. Now with selfie mode.

I played through all three of the Uncharted games when they were released, and I told myself I’d play through them again. I never did go back and play them on the Playstation 3, but Uncharted: the Nathan Drake Collection on the Playstation 4 gave me a good reason to go back and play through one of my all-time favorite series. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune’s graphics are starting to show its age, even in this remaster, but it is still a fun adventure. I should have played Drake’s Fortune on Hard difficulty, but I was worried that the aiming issues that plagued the original release were in the remaster. Thankfully, it seems it was fixed in the remaster. Drake’s Fortune was really an ambitious undertaking for Naughty Dog. The pacing is almost perfect, juggling between combat, puzzle solving and platforming. Compared to Uncharted 2 and 3, Drake’s Fortune’s story isn’t great, but the characters are loveable, and the gameplay is fun. I’ve made another promise to myself that I will come back to this series and play it again.

Coolest Coop Story Book

Rayman Legends (WiiU)

Number of hours played: NA
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 16
Games of 2016 Rayman Legends

It appears I’m tickling his pickle.

A friend of mine recommended Rayman Legends to me. I ended up buying it when I purchased New Super Mario Bros. WiiU, and Super Mario 3D World, because I needed games for the WiiU. Rayman ended up sitting on my gaming shelf for a few months. A different friend came over to my house and suggested we play a couch coop game. I was Mario’d out, so I decided to give Rayman a try. I’m so glad I did. The story book art style is charming, the soundtrack is whimsical and one of my all-time favorites, and the platforming is rock solid. To round it all out, it is one of the best couch coop games I have ever played. My buddy used the gamepad to control Murfy, who you control with the touch screen, and I usually played the platforming parts, because I like to run around, and jump to collect stuff. When people ask me what couch coop they should get to play with their friend’s, I say, “Forget Mario; go for Rayman Legends.” Rayman Legends made me take notice of a franchise that I never cared about. I look forward to what Ubisoft will do with franchise in the future.

Most Lazers Shot

Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition (PS4)

Number of hours played: 41
Number of achievements earned: 32/44
Number of screenshots taken: 34
Games of 2016 Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition

I found some more dudes.

I’ve played a lot of Diablo III on the PC. It made my Games of 2014 list. When it was announced for the consoles, I really didn’t care. Then, Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition was released on Playstation 4. Reviews were saying how much fun it was on console, and how the couch coop was so enjoyable. I ended up tossing it on my Amazon wish list. I kinda forgot about it. Then I received it for a Christmas present last year. I decided to play through as a Wizard. I had a lot of fun, but I disliked playing through the story yet again. Thankfully, I have that out of the way, and now I can just do bounties and rifts, and never touch the story again. After Reaper of Souls came out, Diablo III became a really fun game, and it’s a really fun game on the Playstation 4 as well. It’s one of those games that I come home after a hard day at work, turn off my mind, maybe throw Malcolm in the Middle on a second TV, and play Diablo III while sitting in my recliner; its very relaxing. It just makes sense as a console game, and it’s my preferred way to play.

Most Unrelaxing Train Ride

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (PS4)

Number of hours played: 19
Number of achievements earned: 40/53
Number of screenshots taken: 76
Games of 2016 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

I could use a sauna

I didn’t want to jump right into Uncharted 2 after Drake’s Fortune, because I thought I might get burnt out. However, the itch had been scratched after the first game, and I didn’t take too long of a break between the two games. For the sequel, I did start playing on Hard difficulty. Drake’s Fortune created the core mechanics of the series, and Among Thieves took that and blew everything off its hinges. The combat, platforming, and puzzle solving are all solid, and the pacing is spot on. Naughty Dog takes everything they learned from the first game, and polishes it up to eleven. Naughty Dog created a roller coaster ride with quiet puzzles leading up to action packed platforming, combat, and memorable set pieces. The Uncharted series is one of my all-time favorite video game series, and Among Thieves falls within my top five video games of all time. I believe every gamer should play this game.

The Sandiest Sand

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (PS4)

Number of hours played: 16
Number of achievements earned: 42/59
Number of screenshots taken: 64
Games of 2016 Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

This was not what I was thinking when I wanted a sauna.

After completing Uncharted 2, I jumped right into Drake’s Deception. Drake’s Fortune sets up the core mechanics, Among Thieves perfects the formula and pacing, and Drake’s Deception tells an emotional story. The core mechanics are all polished here, however the pacing is slightly off, but certainly not bad. Drake’s Deception is less about the roller coaster ride, and more about the story, which is great, but I do feel it is not as good as Among Thieves. Drake’s Deception is a lot more emotional, telling the story of Drake and Sully.  Completing Drake’s Deception got me pumped to play Uncharted 4, but I haven’t gotten it yet.

Best Use Of Demonic Invasions

Doom (PC)

Number of hours played: 19
Number of achievements earned: 22/51
Number of screenshots taken: 82
Games of 2016 Doom

At first, I only had about 60 screenshots, but none of them usable because of motion blur. Once I disabled motion blur, I got this pretty screenshot. Fuck you, demon!

I almost skipped Doom. I didn’t really pay attention to it before it was released. After it was released, I noticed that it was getting really good reviews. I read through Arstechnica’s review and Polygon’s review, and my interest grew; I told myself that I would wait until a price drop. Then Markiplier started playing it, and I watched two of his videos from his series on it. I saw the run and gun shooting, no reload, and noticed that the levels were all battle arenas, and I was all in. I bought it right away. Doom feels so good to play. Every kill is so satisfying, and the movement is so smooth. And the music; it adds so much to the gameplay, and its right in your face. I can’t get enough of this game. Check out NoClip’s documentary on the Doom. Danny O’Dwyer does very good work, and he did an outstanding job on this documentary.

Best Use Of Adrenaline Built Up From Playing Doom

Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box (PC)

Number of hours played: 41.75
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 23
Games of 2016 Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box

Fuck the police… oh, wait. I am the police. Well then, fuck you in particular.

I play through Burnout Paradise every now and again, and it was about time that I do it again. As much as I loved Doom, it turned up my adrenaline, and I needed to take a break every few hours, and let out some of that adrenaline. I thought Burnout Paradise would work well, and I was right. Burnout Paradise is kind of relaxing for me; the type of relaxing where I yell obscenities whenever I fail at something. But it feels good. I’ve completed that game a few times, and I needed to do it on PC, so I did. It still holds up really well. I wish they would make another one. I also want to note that this is the first game that I played on my Steam Link, and it worked really well.

The Game That Gives No Fucks

Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair (PS4)

Number of hours played: 58.25
Number of achievements earned: 7/52
Number of screenshots taken: 20
Games of 2016 Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair

Giant insects? Check. Friends in the guns? Check. Giant robot in a pimpin’ stance? Double check.

If you’ve never played an Earth Defense Force game before, there’s a few things you should know before playing The Shadow of New Despair. Almost everything about this game is awful. The graphics suck, the controls are terrible, and the story only exists in a B grade movie fashion. You play as a member of the Earth Defense Force (EDF). There are four character classes, and each one is completely different from the last, which is kinda cool. Your job is to save humanity from aliens. These aliens are giant ants, giant spiders, giant wasps, giant dragons, giant robots, and giant spaceships. You do this by blowing up every single building on each level, and then killing the bugs, because buildings get in the way of killing bugs. Along the way you unlock weapons and more health. There’s probably thousands of weapons you can unlock, and most of them are interesting, but useless. You can play with four other people, which I highly recommend doing. Almost everything about this game is bad, but the few things that are good make the game fun. It’s so satisfying to complete a level and unlock a new weapon, even if the weapon is complete shit. It’s also one of my favorite games to play with friends. If you played Earth Defense Force 2017 on Xbox 360 and liked it, you’ll like this one. I’m still playing this game with three other friends, so that play time is going to go up.

Best Pretty Chainsaw Kills

Gears of War 4 (PC)

Number of hours played: 10.5
Number of achievements earned: 26/75
Number of screenshots taken: 47
Games of 2016 Gears of War 4

I think he’s trying to tell me something, but I can’t hear him over the sound of chainsaw cutting out his insides.

Gears of War 4 was a slow build up for me. Before it was released I wasn’t too excited about it. But the more trailers I saw I got a little more exited for it. Hearing about the features, like cross platform buy between Windows 10 and Xbox One, and cross platform play between the two got me excited. The final straw was reading the reviews after it was released. Hearing about the technical mojo The Coalition packed into Gears of War 4 excited me, and I bought it. I loves me some 60 FPS, graphical benchmarks, and all that jazz. I have to say, I had a lot of fun. One thing I wished they left out of the trailers was the inclusion of Marcus Fenix. That would have been a lot more emotional of twist if they would have kept that a secret. Overall, I had a lot of fun with Gears 4. I skipped Judgement, so I had a little bit of an itch that only a Gears game can scratch. Gears of War 4 doesn’t stray from the Gears formula, but the franchise is in good hands with The Coalition. I’ve just played through the story, and look forward to playing some Horde with my friends once they get it.

Best Use Of The Line “… will remember that.”

The Wolf Among Us (PC)

Number of hours played: 8.25
Number of achievements earned: 30/35
Number of screenshots taken: 19
Games of 2016 The Wolf Among Us

We see two Fables making the Big Bad Wolf mad, as another fable does a badass pose in the background… I’m not sure why I described this screenshot to you.

The Wolf Among Us was an experience that I prepared myself for. I have Philips Hue light bulbs, and I set the colors to match the atmosphere of the game. I set the light on my keyboard to also match. I knew I had to play The Wolf Among Us in October, around Halloween. And so I prepared myself, and got ready to be immersed. I have to say, it worked. The Wolf Among Us was the first Telltale game I’ve ever played, and it was fantastic. The world of The Wolf Among Us is very interesting. You play as the Big Bad Wolf, who has to solve a grisly murder of a fellow Fable. Along the way, you interact with several down-on-their-luck Fables who are trying to make a living in the human world. It’s a dark game that keeps you hooked with each episode. It feels like your choices actually matter. I really hope they make a sequel.

Best Use Of Blood And Bacon

Blood and Bacon (PC)

Number of hours played: 2
Number of achievements earned: 11/36
Number of screenshots taken: 11
Games of 2016 Blood and Bacon

See, you want to shoot them right in the ass, that way they explode right into the meat grinder.

I watched Markiplier play Blood and Bacon and it looked like a ton of fun. It’s a coop, mindless, wave based shooter, and all you do is shoot pigs. Shooting pigs in the butt makes them explode. You then take exploded pig parts and put them in a meat grinder to get more ammo and items. Then, you rinse and repeat. It’s fun for the price, and it’s a hoot to play with friends.

Most Felonies Described In The Title

Grand Theft Auto V (PC)

Number of hours played: 60.75
Number of achievements earned: 20/69
Number of screenshots taken: 60
Games of 2016 Grand Theft Auto V

It appears I have committed several felonies.

I didn’t like Grand Theft Auto IV. It became a chore after a while, and it just wasn’t fun. Luckily, Grand Theft Auto V never got boring. I had such a blast, literally, in Los Santos. There is always something fun and interesting to do. I thought the switching between characters thing was going to be gimmicky, but it actually added to the fun of the game. I thought the story was the perfect GTA story with just the right amount of pop culture satire. They really did fix everything I didn’t like about GTA 4. The amount of detail put into Los Santos is outstanding. I completely understand how a game that came out in 2013 is still beloved and played to this day; I wouldn’t be surprised if lots of people are still playing it when GTA 6 gets released, whenever that will be.

2016 Gaming Statistics

Total number of games played: 23
Total number of hours played: 356.25+
Total number of gaming sessions: 171+
Game with most achievements earned: Uncharted 3: Drake’s 
     Deception – Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (42)
Most played game: Grand Theft Auto V (60.75)
Personal game of the year: Doom

I played a lot of remasters and sequels this year. Some people think that’s a cancer for this hobby, but I disagree. Remasters give me an excuse to go back and play great games, and sequels are usually better than the originals. Of course, I did play a few original titles. In the end, gamers need to buy fun games. It doesn’t matter who published a game, who developed it, if it’s a sequel, if it’s remaster; if it is fun and you think it’s a great game, then it’s time and money well spent. We live in an age that you should be able to know if you can enjoy a game before you buy it. Gamers have access to review sites, let’s play videos, demos, user feedback, and so many sources of information all at the tips of your fingers. I encourage every gamer to find a game critic who has similar tastes as they do, and read their reviews before buying a game. I encourage gamers to think critically about how much they would pay for a game based on the resources I just mentioned. There’s no reason to pay full price for a game if you think you will only get $30 of enjoyment from it. Sales, and Playstation Plus and Games For Gold free games are something gamers as consumers need to leverage.

Before I get off my soapbox, I think the game industry is healthy. Gamers, the consumers of video games, have most of the power. Today, many developers just want to make fun games; from the small indie developers to the big game studios, they just want to make games that are enjoyed by people. Sometimes bureaucracy and money gets in the way, but that’s the way of a consumer driven industry. If you are passionate about this industry, I implore you to look at the positives, not just the negatives. 2016 was a great year for games, and 2017 is shaping up to be even better.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I took all of the screenshots shown in this post. I also manually track my gaming statistics, and I like to share them with readers. After getting screenshots and statistics, I then write up this post, and edit it about a million times. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Have a happy 2017.