Welcome to “Games of…” wait. This is not right. It’s April. Oh, yes! I remember. I made this, Games of Remaster! I also made this, a proper appendix! When I posted “Games of 2020,” I noticed the number of posts was getting too big to summarize at the beginning of each post. So, I slapped together this old appendix. The gaps between 2012 and 2013 gnawed at me. I thought, “Could I fill in the gaps?” After mulling it over, I determined I could do it and more. For four months I worked on gathering the data, drafting the posts, and creating a proper appendix.
I chose 2005 through 2014 purposefully. I started manually tracking my video gaming in 2015. I have a Google form I fill out when I start playing a game, and when I finish. I do this every time I play, so I know how many “sessions” it took for me to complete a game, and how long each “session” is. The form dumps the data into a Google doc. When I have time, I copy the information from that Google doc into a database. I have been doing this since 2015, so I am very confident in that data. I wanted accurate data from before 2015, too.
When I first started this project, I did not know how far back I could go, but I did want to identify which games I played and when. I determined which stats were required for me to move forward. I needed the game name, platform, release date, and the last time I played the game. If I could not get this information, then the games could not appear on these “remastered” posts. Hours played, achievements, and purchase information were optional.
I began looking at each platform individually to figure out which games I played on them. I started with the Playstation 4 and moved backwards from there, before looking at Nintendo’s and Microsoft’s consoles. On the newer Sony and Microsoft systems, achievements and trophies were a huge help. I was able to use the timestamps from those to determine when I last played a game. Save game timestamps also helped fill in some missing pieces. Some of the save game data even had hours logged. There were a couple of games I had to boot up to scrape some hours played.
Nintendo consoles are interesting. Without achievements, I thought it would be impossible. However, it turns out both the Wii and WiiU track when I played a game, and for how long. I was able to scroll through pages and pages of data and get every single play session for every game.
The PC was a mixed bag. Most Steam games have achievements, at least going back to around 2010. Then there are the games not on Steam, like games I played on Origin or Blizzard games. Mass Effect 3 and Titanfall were the only games on Origin that I was able to scrape together some stats. I relied on old save files I have backed up from old computers (thank you Game Save Manager). I was amazed that I was able to piece together all my game sessions for Call of Duty games, because of how their autosave works. I did not boot up any of the old save files; I did not want to install dozens of games on my current computer just to check for hours that may or may not be tracked. Modern Blizzard games do not directly track how many hours I have played them, but they do have some indications in-game. For example, Diablo III keeps track of how many hours I played with each character.
I explained I started manually tracking data in 2015, which is why I chose 2014 as my upper limit to create these posts. Why 2005 for the oldest post? I have been blogging since 2005 on royfuss.com. I have posts dated where I talk about buying a game, beating a game, etc. I used the timestamps of those posts as my “Last played” in those circumstances where I just did not have any save files. Because of those posts, I remembered playing through games like Warcraft, Unreal Tournament 3, and Super Monkey Ball. I do not remember much about those games, but reading those posts did rouse some memories from that time in my life. This is why I create gaming posts each year. Not to necessarily remember the games, but to remember my life around these games. Rebuilding and constructing these posts allowed me to re-experience some old memories I did not know I had.
The year 2005 is the perfect year to start “Games of.” I was a high school sophomore. My parents gave me my first car. I got my first job to fuel my first car. My first job gave me disposable income, which I started spending on video games. Before 2005, I rented games, and played the same game over and over. After 2005, the number of unique games I played started to rise. The more games I played, the more I followed the industry. The year 2005 was the jump start needed to kindle my passion for this art form.
I hope you check out some of those posts I created. I will admit they are not my best writing. However, there are some good games to discover in them. I have already created a list of games I want to replay from them.
Welcome to “Games of 2020.” I did better this year. I completed eleven games! The total number of hours playing games this year surpassed several of the previous years, so I feel good about 2020. Variety was a little lacking; I am disappointed that I did not play any indie games. In the end, I had fun with each and every game.
What is this? Well, every year I create a post that highlights all of the games I completed in the year. It is not a “game of the year” countdown post. The series has taken several forms throughout the years, but I have tried to standardize in the past few years. There are a lot of posts, so here is an appendix.
For this post the games did not have to come out in 2020. In fact, none of them, at least not officially, did. Each game in the list includes my thoughts about the game. Do not expect a full review with details; I like to keep it simple. I also include my favorite screenshot I took, and some statistics about my time with the game. Let’s dig in!
Just How I Do
Borderlands 2 (PC)
Release date: 9/18/2012
Number of hours played: 118
Number of achievements earned: 64/75 (85%)
Number of screenshots taken: 177
Acquisition date: 9/18/2012
Acquired from: Steam
Purchase price: About $78.56 (List $59.99 +
$29.99 Season Pass)
I had been making my way through the Borderlands series before the Steam release of Borderlands 3. After playing through the first game and the Pre-Sequel, I tackled Borderlands 2. Like the first, I already had a couple hundred hours invested in it, but I itched to play through it again. Like the first, the critical hits are satisfying, but not as satisfying. The gore is not anywhere near the first game’s, and it affects the visceral feeling the first had. Also, I am not a fan of how they approached loot in second game. There is more variety in the weapons, but when I found one I liked, it was only good for a few levels before it needed to be replaced. For example, if I found an epic grade sniper rifle I liked, I might have to replace it with a lower grade pistol a few levels later just because the pistol did more damage. Borderlands 2 does story better than the first game. Handsome Jack is one of the best, if not the best, antagonist in any video game. He is a psychotic douche bag, and yet charming and relatable.
I decided to play as the mechromancer, Gaige. I had never played as her before, and I had a blast! I love summoner classes, and Death Trap was a fun companion. Her Anarchy skill is way overpowered, but joyful to use. For my first playthrough, I completed the main game including all side missions. For my second, I only completed the main story missions. During my third playthrough, I completed the main game, all side missions, as well as tackled the DLC. I enjoyed the first DLC, Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty. Scarlett, although not as good as Jack, was a fun antagonist. The second DLC, Mr. Torque’s Campaign of Carnage, was not as fun to play, but it had Mr. Torque, so it is hard to complain too much. It is a perfectly serviceable story to kill baddies, and get more loot. I did not like the third, Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt. I really like Sir Hammerlock, but I did not like the DLC’s setting. The antagonist, who also makes an appearance in The Pre-Sequel, just sucks.
In past playthroughs, I never finished the fourth DLC, Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep. I am glad I completed it this time. The D&D setting should not work in a Borderlands game, but somehow it does. I am not a huge fan of Tiny Tina, but she is fantastic in this DLC. You get to see how she processes trauma, and it is kinda sad. This DLC is my favorite from Borderlands 2. DLC five, Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary, was released almost seven years after the main game was released. It bridges the story between 2 and 3… sorta. I got more Vaughn, some closure on a character’s death from Tales, and got to see what happens to Sanctuary. I also got more Dahl, which I missed.
Overall, I like Borderlands 2. I mean, I have over three hundred hours in the game. It has flaws, but I did enjoy my time replaying it now.
Loader Bot Is Love, Loader Bot Is Life
Tales from the Borderlands (PC)
Release date: 11/25/2014
Number of hours played: 10.75
Number of achievements earned: 35/35 (100%)
Number of screenshots taken: 62
Acquisition date: 6/11/2015
Acquired from: Steam
Purchase price: $12.49 (List $24.99)
Tales from the Borderlands is my favorite Borderlands game. All of the characters are well written, and fully developed. There is not a single character I dislike. It is not too surprising, since it is a Telltale game. It does have a little bit of Telltale jank to it, but it is easy to look past it since the story, voice acting, and characters are so good. I am disappointed that Gearbox did not bring back Troy Baker (Bioshock: Infinite, Last of Us) for Rhys in Borderlands 3; in Tales, Troy’s performance is incredible. Tales has a stacked cast overall: Laura Bailey (Last of Us Part II, Gears 4/5), Chris Hardwick (Singled Out, some podcast show), Patrick Warburton (The Venture Bros., The Tick), and more. The story is an emotional rollercoaster. I never thought I would cry over a loader bot. Laugh at a nerd’s abs. Gush over how cute Gortys is. Hang onto the edge of my seat during a finger gun battle. The game thawed my cold heart, and opened it up to love. And isn’t that what’s important?
Rackin’ Em Up
Borderlands 3 (PC)
Release date: 3/13/2020
Number of hours played: 179.75
Number of achievements earned: 72/78 (92%)
Number of screenshots taken: 140
Acquisition date: 3/13/2020
Acquired from: Steam
Purchase price: $49.99 (List $89.99 for Super Deluxe)
I do not know what it is about mainline Borderlands games, but they just miss the mark of perfection by a hair. Borderlands 1 had good combat and loot, but not the story. Borderlands 2 had a slight downgrade in combat, a misstep with loot, but had a great story and good writing. Borderlands 3 nails combat and movement. Guns have satisfying weight to them. Vaulting infinitely improved the platforming sections of the game. The story is not bad, however, it suffers from terrible writing and plot points that had me thinking, “That’s just dumb.” The loot is better than 2‘s, but too much. There are so many legendaries, that they do not feel legendary. There is no point in keeping any weapon below an epic. I am not much of an end game guy, but the end game relies on specific weapons for your build. It is okay, since there are a lot of choices, but it still boxes you into a specific build if you want to continue doing damage at higher mayhem levels. I am not into that, so I did the story, and the four DLC’s, and called it good.
The DLC’s are a little better than the main game from a writing perspective. Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot drug Jack back into the limelight. Guns, Love, and Tentacles has a cool Lovecraftian feel to it, and it brought back Gaige. This one was my favorite. Bounty of Blood is a Western, including a grizzled narrator. It is a fun, but short, story. Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck should have been my favorite DLC, since I do enjoy Krieg. But it is too short, the bosses are bullet sponges, and there are only a handful of new locations. It is still an okay DLC, but not what I was hoping for.
Despite its flaws, I still put in a lot of hours into this game. I enjoyed my time with the game, but I do not really see any reason to revisit it, unless they put out a new story DLC.
Taking On The Big Boys
Shadow of the Colossus (PS4)
Release date: 2/6/2018
Number of hours played: 9.5
Number of achievements earned: 19/38 (50%)
Number of screenshots taken: 70
Acquisition date: 3/14/2020
Acquired from: Playstation Store
Purchase price: $0.00 (List $19.99)
I remember working at Target, and buying the Greatest Hits version of Shadow of the Colossus for the Playstation 2. It was a fun and interesting game at the time. It only has 13 enemies, and a large, mostly empty world. The enemies are puzzles. The graphics were a bit blurry, but I thought the art style was unique. The Playstation 2 version is a little rough to play now.
Good thing Bluepoint nailed the 2018 remaster. The graphics are some of the best on the Playstation 4; it is absolutely stunning. They somehow kept the art style, while getting rid of the blur. The controls are also updated, and it feels great. With all of the updates, it still feels like the old PS2 game, just a bit more modern. As far as I am concerned, this is the gold standard on how to do a proper remaster.
This game is just special. The fights are tense and thoughtful. Between fights, riding Agro allowed me to have a breather while taking in the beautiful environments. It is a perfect balance, and a near flawless game.
My Brother’s Keeper
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4)
Release date: 5/10/2016
Number of hours played: 55
Number of achievements earned: 46/68 (68%)
Number of screenshots taken: 102
Acquisition date: 2/18/2018
Acquired from: Playstation Store
Purchase price: $19.99 (List $39.99)
I tried to play Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End on hard difficulty for my first playthrough. I had beaten Uncharted 2 and 3 on hard. However, I had to knock it down to normal during chapter 8. There is not a lot of combat in the first seven chapters. I struggled a little bit, but I just thought I was rusty from not playing a shooter on the Playstation 4 in awhile. By chapter 8, I could not sneak up on very many enemies before being spotted. Enemies would rush me from all directions. I just kept dying over and over again. Finally, I knocked it down to normal. I was able to stealth kill many more enemies without issue, and when they finally spotted me, I was able to take the remaining enemies out. The difficulty gap between normal and hard is absurd. Once I was on normal difficulty, I just sat back and enjoyed the story.
I love a good pirate adventure, and Uncharted 4‘s story is exactly that. Nate’s long lost brother, Sam (voiced by Troy Baker), asks Nate (Nolan North) to hunt down one last treasure before hanging up his adventuring boots for good. Although the brothers’ relationship is center stage, I felt Nate and Elena’s (Emily Rose) relationship had the biggest emotional impact in the story. The story is definitely the most emotional out of all the Uncharted games. It closes the chapter on Nate, but keeps the door open for other treasure hunters.
After beating the game, I craved more of it. So, I decided to hunt some trophies. I started with the speedrun trophy. I used infinite ammo, selected the one-hit-kill gun all the time, set the difficulty to explorer, and turned on auto aim. It was a fairly easy trophy to get. I still craved more. I decided to do a Brutal playthrough. I did use most of the same “techniques” as above, with an added cheat of bullet time. The gun still was capable of one hit kills, with a few exceptions. It was not too bad. There were a few frustrating parts, but I had a ton of fun playing this way. I highly recommend unlocking cheats, and playing through the game again on Brutal. I had to play one more time, because my accuracy got glitched, and I did not get the over 70% accuracy trophy. I did not earn all of the trophies, but I felt satisfied with the ones I did get.
Release date: 8/19/2019
Number of hours played: 3.5
Number of achievements earned: 8/34 (24%)
Number of screenshots taken: 27
Acquisition date: 7/26/2020
Acquired from: Playstation Store
Purchase price: $0 (List $9.99)
I cannot call Erica an interactive movie; it is more of a movie with interactive elements. You can play it with a Playstation Dualshock 4 controller, but it encourages you to sync your cell phone to control it. You can select dialog for Erica, flick objects, open things, etc. all using the touchpad on the controller or your phone. It was free on Playstation Plus, and I decided to have my friends help me make choices.
The story is a thriller. We played as Erica. Erica has nightmares reliving her father’s death. One morning, she receives a package containing a severed hand. She works with police to help them solve this mystery. In the meantime she moves into the Delphi House, an asylum her parents had worked at. We made choices for her, mostly related to dialog, to solve the mysteries of the Delphi House, severed hand, and a distinct symbol.
The game reminds me of the FMV games from back in the day, except Erica is fairly high quality. The acting is great, music compliments the thriller atmosphere, and the overall production value seems high. The story has unexpected – and sometimes bizarre – twists and turns, with the writing being passable. My friends and I spent most of the time making fun of the writing and Erica’s facial expressions. We played Erica as someone who only would talk to the detective, and refused to say anything to anyone else. This gave us lots of time to make comments as we waiting for the timer to run out.
Overall, I cannot really recommend paying money for Erica. It reminds me of an indie movie from a first time director, and it is just strange. If that is your thing, then I say, “go for it.”
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4)
Release date: 8/22/2017
Number of hours played: 24
Number of achievements earned: 50/50 (100%)
Number of screenshots taken: 113
Acquisition date: 8/9/2020
Acquired from: Playstation Store
Purchase price: $14.99 (List $14.99)
After beating Uncharted 4, I craved more Uncharted. So, I bought and downloaded Uncharted: Lost Legacy. It was nice playing someone other than Drake. Chloe (Claudia Black) takes center stage, and I got to see what she has been up to. India provided an absolutely stunning backdrop for the story. Every moment was a screenshot opportunity. There are points that Chloe can stop and take a picture. The setting is my favorite out of all the Uncharted games. It is a shorter game, but the story does not have a lot of excess fat to it, and it is packed with emotional punches. Gameplay is more of the same from Uncharted 4, which is just fine. After beating it, I craved more, and played a few more playthroughs to platinum it.
Breathing In Space…
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Release date: 11/12/2007
Number of hours played: 55
Number of achievements earned: 121x2/121x2 Stars
Number of screenshots taken: 56
Acquisition date: 12/9/2007
Acquired from: Target
Purchase price: $49.99 (List $49.99)
I have been wanting to replay Super Mario Galaxy for a few years now. I had not played it since it first came out. I busted out my WiiU to play it, hoping that upscaling would make it look better… it did not. The graphics were blurry. After playing a few levels, I decided to move it to the PC. The Dolphin emulator is the best way to play Mario Galaxy. It plays in full HD, 60 FPS, and looks crisp. I was able to use Wii remotes, and it was just like playing it on the Wii (except prettier). I know motion controls are not well liked, but Galaxy was designed for the Wii remote. I did not have any issues “waggling” the controller to spin, or using the IR pointer to grab star bits. In my opinion, Wii remotes are the definitive way to play it.
Other than graphics, playing on an emulator had other advantages. I remember when I first played it on the Wii, I got so frustrated that I broke a Wii remote. On an emulator, I had access to save states, making those parts a lot more bearable. When I got to a difficult section, I could create a save state right before it, and load if I died.
Galaxy actually has the best story out of any Mario game. Yes, the princess is kidnapped by Bowser, but Rosalina’s story is very moving. I never thought I would tear up in a Mario game, but Galaxy tugged on the old heartstrings. The hub world is also my favorite in any 3D Mario game. I kind of wish the game had more exploration elements, but the platforming more than makes up for it.
… Because It’s Breathtaking
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
Release date: 5/23/2010
Number of hours played: 34
Number of achievements earned: 142/142 Stars
Number of screenshots taken: 34
Acquisition date: NA
Acquired from: Probably Target
Purchase price: $49.99 (List $49.99)
Of course I played Super Mario Galaxy 2 after playing the first one. I played it on the Dolphin emulator as well, and it looks just as stunning as the first one. Save states calmed my rage during frustrating parts. Galaxy 2 does not have the story the first one has, but it tightens up the gameplay, and adds Yoshi.
Let’s talk music. Mario games always bring their A game with their music. The music in both Galaxy games are absolutely amazing. The first Galaxy has my most favorite video game soundtrack of all time. I am a sucker for those catchy strings. Galaxy 2 remixes tracks from previous Mario games, and it is stunning.
Galaxy and Galaxy 2 are my favorite 3D Mario games, but it is so difficult to say which one of the two is better. Galaxy has the music, story, and the hub world, but Galaxy 2 has the better controls, platforming, and Yoshi. I have to combine them to say that they are the greatest of the 3D games in the series.
The Exercism Of Mario Mario
Super Mario Odyssey (NS)
Release date: 10/27/2017
Number of hours played: 53.75
Number of achievements earned: 60/61
Number of screenshots taken: 77
Acquisition date: 12/25/2019
Acquired from: Gift
Purchase price: $0.00 (List $59.99)
I wanted to love Super Mario Odyssey. The art style integrates some realism, while keeping it distinctly Mario. It looks fantastic in high definition. Mario’s moveset has increased from previous games, and he controls great… with a controller. The Switch’s Joy Cons just did not work for me. I tried to use them while performing a timed platforming puzzle. I needed to use a series of long jumps, which I have been doing since Mario 64. I ended up failing dozens of times. I finally switched to a regular controller, and got it on the first try.
Cappy is a wonderful companion and works in lieu of the regular power-ups. Basically, Cappy allows Mario to possess objects, animals, and enemies which is… horrifying. It works really well, and is a ton of fun. Within the first two levels, I was able to possess a tiny frog and jump really high, and, later, possess a giant T-Rex that allowed me to smash through enemies and objects.
Exploration is the heart of Odyssey. I found around 850 of the 880 power moons. Some moons are just sitting right in the open, while others made my blood boil. I really wanted to get all of the moons. I got all of the stars in 64, shines in Sunshine, and power stars in Galaxy and Galaxy 2. I could not get the remaining moons though. I do not have the skills. At least I did not break anything like I did with the Galaxy games.
Odyssey is still a great game, but I do not see myself replaying it like I do other Mario games.
The Legend Of Stop Motion Christmas Movies
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (NS)
Release date: 9/20/2019
Number of hours played: 18.75
Number of achievements earned: NA
Number of screenshots taken: 68
Acquisition date: 11/28/2020
Acquired from: Amazon
Purchase price: $42.79 (List $49.99)
The Gameboy Color version of Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening kicked off the great Zelda binge of 2017. I was able to scoop up the remake for the Switch on sale, so I wasted no time playing it right away. I love the interactions with the Koholint Islanders, the story, the music, the dungeons, and the items in this game. The remake makes everything better. Moving from just two buttons on the Gameboy to the Switch controller streamlines many items and actions. Not only are the graphics better, but the folks at Grezzo changed the art style; it reminds me of the old stop-motion Christmas cartoons. It is a bold move to change the art style for a remake, but it is perfect for Link’s Awakening’s dream world. The expanded resolution also better allows you to see how locations relate to one another in the world. The music is amazing on the original Gameboy version; I am always amazed what Nintendo EAD was able to pull off with the original hardware. Hearing the music on the Switch for the first time was, well, music to my ears. Hearing the actual instruments as you collect them is a dream come true. I’ll stop with the puns.
The remake still feels like the original. Link’s movement, and interaction around the island is unchanged. Grezzo made some quality-of-life improvements. It has more warp points, for instance. They added bottles for catching fairies. They replaced the Picture Shop from DX with Dampe’s create-a-dungeon shop. Throughout the game, I collected lots of dungeon tiles. Seashell collection, and fishing is greatly expanded to accommodate this new collection item. The Trendy Game has also been revamped and expanded. Overall, there is a couple of hours worth of new content.
It always feels good to revisit Link’s Awakening. This remake was a great excuse.
Total number of games played: 11
Total number of hours: 562
Oldest game played: Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Newest game played: Borderlands 3 (PC)
Total number of gaming sessions: 234
Game with most achievements earned: Borderlands 3 (PC)
Favorite game to Platinum: Uncharted: Lost Legacy (PS4)
Game with most hours played: Borderlands 3 (PC)
Total spent: $318.79
Personal game of the year: Uncharted 4 (PS4)
I had a good year gaming. I got to replay several of my favorite games. It is weird being able to read my original thoughts on some of these games from old blog posts; weird in a good way. It is one of the reasons I continue this series each year. I also played new entries in my beloved series. I even tried out a weird movie-game thing. My only regret is not playing any indie games. You will have to tune in next year to see if I remedy that.
Normally I give some thoughts on the game industry, but I do not have any new thoughts for this year. Just play the games you think you might like. There are a lot of different ways to figure out which games you might like from trailers, reviews, Let’s plays, walkthroughs, and more. Do not let things like a specific publisher stop you from playing a game; that’s stupid. Pre-ordering is also dumb, unless it is for a collector’s edition. I guess with game prices rising to $70, I encourage you to become a patient gamer. Prices always drop… unless they are made by Nintendo. XBox Game Pass is also a good deal, especially with EA Play getting added to the PC version of it in 2021.
I really liked what I did last year. Here is a list of games that came out in 2020 that I did not have a chance to play.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Honestly, it looks like a fun viking game. I just wish it was not associated with the Assassin’s Creed series. I feel the new ones have strayed from what defined the series.
Cyberpunk 2077. Even with the disastrous launch, I am still looking forward to this game. I am going to wait for the bugs to get ironed out; maybe a price drop down to 30 bucks. But I will get it one day.
Doom Eternal. This is pretty close to the top of my list of games to play in 2021. It is on XBox Game Pass (which I have on PC), so I will probably play it sooner than later.
Final Fantasy VII Remake. The only Final Fantasy game I liked was VIII. I tried playing VII back in the day, but did not make it too far. I am looking forward to playing Remake, but I am choosing to wait until the full game is out. It might be awhile.
Ghostrunner. Fast-paced. Violent. Looks jaw-dropping. Not much more to say.
Ghosts of Tsushima. It is near the top of the list for games I want to play next year. It just looks fun.
Hades. I almost forgot about this one, but Supergiant Games has won my loyalty. I am not into rogue-likes, but I heard this one is more of a rogue-like-lite.
Half-Life: Alyx. I will probably never play it, but I really have to give credit to Valve for making a AAA game for VR.
Immortals Fenyx Rising. This was not on my radar at all. It kept showing up on “biggest surprise of 2020” game lists. It looks really fun, but their marketing really dropped the ball. I plan on getting it for the PS4 next year.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning. There was so much potential in Kingdoms of Amalur. I’m glad THQ Nordic brought it back, and I want it to sell well enough that they make a sequel. I only hope that they bring R.A. Salvatore back for the lore.
The Last of Us Part II. I will probably never play this game, but I really want to watch someone play it. I watched Cry play the first one, but he has some controversies that he is dealing with. I will have to find a new Let’s Player.
Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020). I want to play this game, but I want a flight stick that is simple, and under $70. The flight stick community is making this difficult.
Resident Evil 3. I watched Markiplier play through it. It did not look as fun as 2, but it was still enjoyable to watch.
Saints Row: The Third Remastered. I really like the Saints Row series, and the remaster is a good excuse to replay the third game. It just needs to come to Steam first.
Streets of Rage 4. I used to play this series in the arcade at the bowling alley. It has been a long time since I played an old school beat-em-up.
Teardown. I like destroying things, and everything in this game can be destroyed. I am into it. It needs to leave early access.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. Once it is on Steam, the game will be mine. I loved these two games on the PS1, and it looks like they did a proper remaster this time around. I want it on Steam, just in case the music gets removed, so modders can mod it back in. I still refuse to use the Epic store.
Thank you for reading this mess. 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year, but hopefully gaming brought you a well needed distraction. Here’s to 2021 being a better year, and a playable Cyberpunk 2077.
This past year was different. Normally, I strive to get into the teens with the number of games completed in a year. This year, I only completed five. To even get close to the teens, I would have to count games I played for just a little bit, mobile games, and tabletop games. Still, if I included all of those games, I think I would fall short.
For the past couple of years I have created posts that highlight all of the games I have completed in a year. Lately, I have been prefacing the title of these posts with “Games of.” Really, these posts go back as far as 2007. The titles of the posts have changed, and the format of the content has evolved over the years; but they’ve always been about games.
The origins begin with a series of posts I titled “Games to the Video…” followed by a number. You can find them on my archived HTML site. Here are the links to “1,” “2,” “3,” “4,” “5,” “6,” and “7;” you may have to scroll, since I am too lazy to add HTML page anchors. These posts mostly highlighted upcoming games – at least at the time – but at the end of the posts I gave a brief summary of what I played from the previous list.
The current format started taking shape with the launch of a now-defunct website, Your Personal Gamer. I’ve imported the posts from Your Personal Gamer into this blog. Here is my post for the year of 2010, “Level 1 – 2010.” The post was just a list of games with a very small blurb about my thoughts on the games. I finally started to use the title “Games of …” with the year for the year of 2011, “Games of 2011: What I played.” I played around with the format, and tried to space out the posts by doing a multi-part series throughout the year. This part only covered the first half of 2011. Unfortunately, I never did do a part two for the second half of 2011. I also skipped 2012, which means I have lost a year a half of my gaming history.
In 2013, I came back strong with “Games of 2013.” The post format was solidified, screenshots added, and I became consistent with creating a post every year. I continue to slightly tweak the format, including adding different statistics, with “2014,” “2015,” “2016,” “2017,” and “2018.”
With the coming of 2020, another “Games of …” post comes to fruition. For those new to the series, this is not a “game of the year” post. No, this is merely a list of games I completed in 2019. The games do not have to have been released in 2019; in fact, none of them were. The order of the list is the order I played the games. This introduction has gotten longer than the list, so let’s jump into the games.
More Bugs – The Insect and Glitch Kind!
Earth Defense Force 5 (PS4)
Release date: 12/11/2018
Number of hours played: 83.75
Number of achievements earned: 9/40 (22.5%)
Number of screenshots taken: 71
Acquisition date: 1/3/2019
Acquired from: Playstation Store
Purchase price: $59.99 (List $59.99)
In the end, Earth Defense Force 5 is just more EDF. It does have new features from EDF 4.1, like better graphics, more physics, blood spray, and weather. Surely, the game runs better, right? No, you just stop being a silly bitch with your silly questions! These improvements make the game run worse.
Even though the game performs poorly, has a ton of glitches, and doesn’t look the prettiest, I still love this game. The amount of mayhem on screen – mostly caused by my friends and me – is fun and satisfying, and the developers should be commended. Yes, things like physics or AI do not behave properly. However, it is a huge accomplishment of the developers to have hundreds of enemies on screen at one time, while explosions go off and buildings collapse all with four player coop. I don’t think I will ever not like an entry in the mainline series of EDF.
Taking It For Yet Another Spin
Burnout Paradise Remastered (PS4)
Release date: 3/16/2018
Number of hours played: 44
Number of achievements earned: 70/95 (73.68%)
Number of screenshots taken: 152
Acquisition date: 10/9/2018
Acquired from: Playstation Store
Purchase price: $8.99 (List $19.99)
I mentioned in “Games of 2016” that I like to replay Burnout Paradise every so often. Burnout Paradise Remastered was an easy excuse to do just that in 2019. I love so much about this game. I love the adrenaline rush of weaving through the city at high speeds, the sound and visuals of crashing, and the satisfaction of taking down an opponent. I would love to platinum this game if there weren’t so many trophies related to online play.
I played the Playstation 4 version of the remaster, but I also bought this game on PC, since I could upgrade The Ultimate Box for cheap. With the release of the remaster, the Big Surf Island DLC is finally available to the PC version. One of these days I’ll play the PC version just to have another excuse to play.
Maneuverability with Loot
Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition (PC)
Release date: 11/5/2015
Number of hours played: 44.25
Number of achievements earned: 39/50 (78%)
Number of screenshots taken: 69
Acquisition date: 6/11/2015 (Upgraded on 11/5/2015)
Acquired from: Steam
Purchase price: $11.99 (Darksiders Pre-2015 pack. List
After replaying the first game last year, I wanted to play Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition. Normally, I write down my thoughts on a game after completing it. I forgot to do it on this playthrough, so I don’t have a lot of things to say about this game. It kind of sucks, because I also lost my thoughts on playing Darksiders II the first time, because it was back in 2012/2013. I’ll give a try now though.
The original Darksiders II came out in 2012. Death’s combat definitely feels like other action games from that era, but I was used to it since I replayed the first game a few months before playing this game. Death has a lot more finesse than War, which makes exploring the world a lot more fun. The developers added a loot mechanic to the game, which is relatively simple compared to other loot-based RPGs, even from that time. However, it is still fun to find new and exciting weapons and armor. I really enjoyed the upgrading mechanic for possessed weapons, and it is a memorable feature from the game. Overall, I like this game, and the series. I’m looking forward to playing Darksiders III.
Yes! I Feel It!
Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced Edition (PC)
Release date: 4/3/2019
Number of hours played: 63.25
Number of achievements earned: 63/80 (78.75%)
Number of screenshots taken: 144
Acquisition date: 9/6/2016 (Upgraded on 4/3/2019)
Acquired from: Steam
Purchase price: $7.49 (List $29.99)
In preparation for Borderlands 3 releasing on Steam in 2020, I wanted to replay all of the games in the series, including the first Borderlands. Getting upgraded to the new Enhanced Edition was also a good excuse to replay it. The critical hits are so, very satisfying. The sounds, blood and gore, explosion of loot, and your character’s voice over makes everything come together. Surprisingly, so few games are able to replicate the visceral feeling.
I had already put hundreds of hours into this game and its DLC’s, but I did a full playthrough, including playing through the main game twice, and all of the DLCs once. Playing through it again reminded me of how much I love the loot in this game. There’s a lot of garbage weapons, but when I found something special – like a volcano sniper rifle – I could use it for several levels. The story of the first game is pretty bland, but Gearbox really spread their wings with the DLC. The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned started the trend, but Gearbox hit their stride with Secret Armory of General Knoxx. They made such a good villain with the character Knoxx. Part of the reason why he is interesting, is because he communicates directly with the character throughout the DLC, and he is relatable. Gearbox must have realized how special they made the story in this DLC, because they basically copied the villain’s format for Borderlands 2, which is a great thing. I really enjoythe Borderlands series, and replaying the first game reminded me why.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (PC)
Release date: 10/14/2014
Number of hours played: 88.25
Number of achievements earned: 38/63 (60.32%)
Number of screenshots taken: 195
Acquisition date: 6/9/2019
Acquired from: Steam
Purchase price: $4.32 (Borderlands: The Handsome
Collection. List $59.99)
This was the first time I played Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I skipped over it for a few reasons. The oxygen (O2) mechanic sounded burdensome. It sounded like just another meter to keep track of without adding anything to the gameplay. Reviews were a little cold on the story. Two of my friends played a little bit of it, and they stopped playing it after a few hours; they didn’t enjoy it. I got it for cheap, and decided to at least go through the story.
I was surprised by it. Pandora’s moon, Elpis, is such an interesting setting. It gave the developers reign to add interesting mechanics, like low gravity and O2. Both of these mechanics refresh the Borderlands formula. Combat had more verticality, allowing me to jump to dodge bullets, and snipe an enemy before touching the ground. Gear also took advantage of this by giving boosts to killing enemies who were airborne, or killing enemies while airborne. The O2 mechanic, which I thought I would hate, was actually pretty easy to ignore. It is easy to get O2 by killing enemies, looting the environment, or finding an atmosphere. At the same time, O2 is not a throw away mechanic. Again, gear had stats that would give you different bonuses if you were in an atmosphere environment, or not. Also, shooting an enemies O2 mask would make their health slowly drain. This mechanic works very well in practice, and I would frequently take out an enemy’s mask, see it only had a sliver of health left, and move on to another enemy, because I knew the first enemy would die soon. O2 and low gravity comes together with another new mechanic: the butt slam. Jumping into a large group of enemies, and performing a butt slam to damage all enemies with elemental damage was a frequent tactic of mine, and I never got bored with it.
Elpis is more than just new mechanics. It also allowed the developers to experiment with the color palette of the series, and inject their own culture and humor into the game. 2K Australia used Australian voice actors, and slang to create a very distinct setting. The developers also created some very unique characters, like Janey Springs, Pickle, and Nurse Nina. I hope we will get to see more of these characters in future games and DLC. The story is mostly fine, but nothing outstanding. It was interesting to get a little more backstory on Handsome Jack, but I didn’t really feel it added too much from Borderlands 2. There were a few standout moments like a certain AI, and the ending of the DLC Claptastic Voyage. Overall, I enjoyed my time with the game.
Total number of games played: 8 (Borderlands 2, Horizon Chase Turbo, and Gears 5 did not make
Total number of hours: 365
Oldest game played: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (PC)
Newest game played: Gears 5 (XOne) (Did not make list)
Total number of gaming sessions: 168
Game with most achievements earned: Burnout Paradise Remastered (PS4)
Favorite game to Platinum: No games with Platinum
Game with most hours played: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (PC)
Total spent: $92.78
Personal game of the year: Borderlands GotY Enhanced Edition
It is a short list for 2019. But, I did put in a lot of hours; about 85% of 2018’s hours. I did not get around to very many games that I wanted to, but I still had fun with the games I did play. I got some ambitious plans for 2020, so we’ll see how I do over the next year.
I don’t have any new thoughts on the game industry. I think it is healthy, and more and more games are coming out all of the time. I think it is difficult to find new games that do not get a lot of attention by the game’s press; there are a lot of hidden gems buried in the depths of Steam, and several other PC storefronts. I also think my preferences have shifted as I get older. I used to be more willing to try a game on a whim, but now I put in a lot of effort to research a game before buying it; many times I’ll wait for a sale, or even a second and third sale before buying a game, just because of time constraints. I’m hoping I can play at least one surprise in 2020.
Because of the short list of games for 2019, I want to try something old, but new. I just want to list games that came out in 2019 that I did not have a chance to play. Here is the list in alphabetical order.
Beatsaber. This is one of the first games I played in VR. I think VR is still in its infancy, but I think Beatsaber pushed it closer to the mainstream. Being a rhythm game makes it really easy for people who aren’t gamers to pick up and play. VR is still expensive – although getting cheaper – and there’s issues like motion sickness, and the bulkiness of the equipment.
Borderlands 3. I love the Borderlands series, and have put in a lot of time int he universe. I haven’t gotten Borderlands 3 yet, because it is not on Steam. I’m indifferent on the Epic Store, but I don’t really trust the security of it yet. Epic is fairly new to handling money transactions, and being a game studio focused on creating games. I won’t go into more detail, but I do look forward to Borderlands 3 coming to Steam, and playing it right away in March.
Control. This game is everywhere on game of the year (goty) lists. It’s pretty, has a strong story, looks fun, and has a very experienced developer behind it. I’m hoping I can play this in 2020.
Darksiders Genesis. It’s made by some of the same people who made the original Darksiders and its sequel. It’s a different take on the series, with a fixed camera, and coop, but it does look like a lot of fun.
Death Stranding. I don’t know how I feel about this game. It’s on a lot of game of the year lists. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Kojima’s games, but I am glad he is creating games in the industry. The gameplay sounds like it would be either really frustrating to me, or really fun. The story just sounds weird. I don’t know. It’s hard to say if I will ever play it.
Disco Elysium. Another game on several game of the year lists, mainly for it’s narrative and story. I plan on playing this in 2020.
Far Cry New Dawn. It’s been awhile since I’ve played a Far Cry game, and this one looks fun. The setting sounds interesting for a Far Cry game.
Gears 5. I played some of the new Horde mode with friends, and I had a lot of fun. They streamlined some things, making it a lot better than Gear 4‘s rendition of the mode. I’ll most likely be playing through the story sometime in 2020 since I now have XBox Gamepass Ultimate.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Link’s Awakening was my first Zelda game, and is one of my top three games in the series. I just got a Switch recently, so I will be playing this remake soon.
Outer Wilds. Also on a lot of goty lists. I wasn’t going to put it in this list, until I watched NoClip’s documentary on the game. It looks right up my alley.
The Outer Worlds. This basically looks like Fallout in space, and it is made by the developers of Fallout: New Vegas. I’m looking forward to playing this.
Pistol Whip. I first saw Pistol Whip when Markiplier played it on his channel. It looked like a lot of fun, and then I got to play it. It is fun. You feel like John Whick, even though you actually look like a dumbass. It’s a fun concept: a rhythm game meets shooting.
Rage 2. Avalanche (Just Cause series) and ID (Doom) teaming up for Rage 2 sounded like a good idea. The game looks fun, and I do plan on playing it some time.
Resident Evil 2. I am a big wimp when it comes to scary games, but I did watch Markiplier play Resident Evil 2 remake. The RE Engine is so gorgeous. I’ll never be able to play it, but it was so much fun to watch someone else.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. There’s a lot of talented people this game. It sounds like it is a solid Star Wars adventure title. I’ll probably pick it up at a discount and play it down the line.
Wolfenstein: Young Blood. This game was made by Arcane. It sounds like fun, but I need to play Wolfenstein 2 first.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. 2019 was a great year for games, and I am sad that I didn’t play very many of them. I’m hoping 2020 will be a better year, personally, for gaming. I hope you will find your new favorite game in 2020.
Twenty one games!? I did not expect I would have twenty one games for Games of 2018! My backlog needed clearing, and 2018 was the year to do it. In January of 2018 I created a category called “Play 2018” in Steam, and set a goal to get through most of the games in 2018; I ended up getting through half of them!
If you are new you might be asking, “What is this?” Well, “Games of” has evolved through the years. Its beginnings can be found in old posts titled “Games to the Video.” Here is where you can find 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7; you may have to scroll, because I am too lazy to add anchors to the old HTML code. At the time, the posts mostly highlighted upcoming releases. Near the end of each post I gave a brief blurb about games I did play from previous “Games to the Video” lists.
“Games of” really started taking shape in a 2011 post titled “Level 1 – 2010.” Coincidentally, Darksiders makes the list in 2018 as well. The basic format was there, but was missing stats and screenshots. In 2011, I started to experiment with the format, and started “Games of 2011: What I’ve Played” which covered games I played in the first half of 2011. It seems crazy that I had completed fifteen games in just half a year! It was similar in format to the 2010 post. I never did finish the three part series, so the second half of 2011 was lost. I started my downward spiral of not posting anything, so “Games of 2012” does not exist in any form. However, I started picking up steam for “Games of 2013.” Screenshots and the overall format took a more solid form. I have been religiously posting a new “Games of” post every year since, while tweaking things here and there. “Games of 2014” was very similar to 2013. “Games of 2015” saw the introduction of stats. Previous years can be found here: 2016, and 2017.
“Games of 2018” continues my weird obsession. It is my game-of-the-year list. Instead of being only games released in 2018, it consists of all of the games I played in 2018; it usually does not include games that have made the list in past years, but sometimes I make exceptions. The games are in the order I started to play them. Each game gets a fun title. I also present some stats about the game and my play through (now with more stats!). You also get a nice screenshot that I took while playing the game. Then, I offer up a paragraph or two on my thoughts about the game. Ready?
Inspired by Cypress Hill
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (PS4)
Release date: 6/30/2017 Number of hours played: 42.25 Number of achievements earned: 60/77 (78%) Number of screenshots taken: 124 Acquisition date: 10/5/2017 Acquired from: Gift Purchase price: $0.00 (List $39.99)
My notes from Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy are not positive. My notes while playing Crash 1 starts out, “This is an awful remaster.” However, I recall having a lot of fun with the games. Sure, these games are frustrating; Crash 1 is a difficult game from an era trying to figure out how to do 3D platformers on the first Playstation. However, the remaster of Crash 1, and to lesser extent Crash 2, is frustrating for different reasons. The physics are not right, and the player’s hit boxes are misshapen from the original. I saw the “Continue?” screen a lot in Crash 1, and moved on to Crash 2. After dying a lot in Crash 2, I almost gave up on the N. Sane Trilogy as a whole.
I ended up skipping ahead to Crash 3; immediately my eyes lit up with joy. This is the game I remember from my childhood! The game is so much fun. The remaster plays just as good as the original, and it looks great. It helps that Naughty Dog found the sweet spot for its final sequel. Vicarious Visions uses the physics from Crash 3 for all three remasters. This makes the remaster of Crash 3 play as good as the original. After beating Crash 3, I tried Crash 2 again. Getting familiar with the physics helped a lot, and I was able to beat it. I moved on to Crash 1, and beat that as well. Although not as much fun as the Crash 3 remaster, Crash 1 and Crash 2 is fun to play through. If you are looking to revisit – or play for the first time – these classic games, I recommend to start with Crash 3, and move backwards; you will have a more enjoyable time. Also, look up how to max out your lives early on in each game. Overall, the remasters brought me back to the fun times of the original Playstation era.
3D Stealth with One Fewer Dimension
Mark of the Ninja (PC)
Release date: 10/16/2012 Number of hours played: 18 Number of achievements earned: 29/38 (76%) Number of screenshots taken: 6 Acquisition date: 7/16/2013 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $3.74 (List $14.99)
Mark of the Ninja has been sitting in my back catalog since 2013. I love stealth games, but I had never tried a 2D stealth game. I did not know what to expect from Mark of the Ninja. It controls greats. I ended up playing it through Steam Link with an XBox controller. The art styles makes the cartoony violence pop after taking out enemies. The movement in Mark of the Ninja is outstanding. Everything from climbing around the environment to lowering yourself down for the kill is a blast. I was able to play my way with different upgrades available to me. In a world with so many 3D stealth games like Dishonored and Metal Gear Solid, Klei deserves a lot of credit for creating such a well executed 2D spin on the genre.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux (PC)
Release date: 9/12/2015 Number of hours played: 3.5 Number of achievements earned: 12/14 (86%) Number of screenshots taken: 25 Acquisition date: 12/28/2015 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $5.99 (List $14.99)
It took me a couple of months to complete The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Not because it is long, but because I could not get past a section without some help. I really like Ethan Carter’s style. For the most part, there are no enemies. The puzzles are fun. It was really satisfying to recieve an “Ah ha!” moment after spending a few minutes banging my head against the wall. The game did not hold my hand, and I like that. I could have walked all the way to the end of the game without solving a single puzzle. Doing this is not recommended, as I would have missed out on such a great story.
So, why did it take me a couple of months to finish The Vanishing of Ethan Carter? The music and the general tone of the game gives off a great, albeit creepy, vibe. There is one enemy in one section of the game, and he is freaky as hell. The sound design is so eerie that even the anticipation of encountering the enemy made me turn off the game. I had to have a friend play through it while I watched. He did not even encounter the damn enemy! After the section, I completed the last leg of the game, and I got the whole story. I’m happy. The Astronauts (the developer) deserve a ton of praise for the graphics, atmosphere, and sound design in the game.
A Game Surprisingly Lacking in Tombs
Rise of the Tomb Raider (PC)
Release date: 1/28/2016 Number of hours played: 46.75 Number of achievements earned: 92/143 (64%) Number of screenshots taken: 94 Acquisition date: 5/29/2017 Acquired from: Humble Store Purchase price: $23.99 (List $59.99)
Rise of the Tomb Raider is more of the 2013 reboot, Tomb Raider. The combat and movement continues to be just as fluid and floaty in the sequel. It offers more platforming and stealth killing, which I enjoy. Everything from the original reboot is here, and it feels even better. Stealthy bow kills, run and gun combat kills, cinematic moments, etc. The story is pretty good and kept me interested. I liked that the Blood Ties DLC expands on Laura’s past. Really though, the gameplay is the star of the series, not the story. I am looking forward to playing the third game. If you enjoyed the 2013 reboot, you will like this one.
I have to give a shout out to the coop Endurance mode. It is really cool (ha!). My friend and I raided tombs while trying to survive the Siberian wilderness. We had to stay warm, combat hunger, and survive human and animal attacks. As the days progress, our food and heat became scarcer and the enemies became stronger. I had a ton of fun with a friend.
The Classiest Classic
Super Mario World (SNES)
Release date: 8/13/1991 Number of hours played: 7.5 Number of achievements earned: 58/63 (92%) Number of screenshots taken: 34 Acquisition date: NA Acquired from: NA Purchase price: NA
I try to play through Super Mario World every year. I told myself I would not write about it every year, but here I am. I love the level design, the platforming, and everything that makes Mario, Mario. I discovered Retro Achievements, and had to show off my achievements. Some of them are darn-right brutal. It was a great excuse to revisit this classic game.
Most Educational About WWI
Valiant Hearts: The Great War (PC)
Release date: 6/25/2014 Number of hours played: 8.75 Number of achievements earned: 17/20 (85%) Number of screenshots taken: 41 Acquisition date: 3/12/2015 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $8.75 (List $14.99)
Valiant Hearts: The Great War is fantastic. The gameplay is pretty simple. It is an adventure game where I controlled a character to explore an environment to solve puzzles. What makes the game unique is the atmosphere. The music fills in the tone and mood of the game. A boss fight is cast in a more lighthearted aspect, because of the music. I found myself surrounded by death and destruction, but the music lifts the mood. The graphics also contribute to the atmosphere. They are very storybook style, and whimsical. Valiant Hearts, which follows four people in Europe during World War I, should be sad, but its presentation kept the mood light for the most part. As I got closer to the end of the game, the cheeriness of the music became gloomy, and the graphics took a dark turn. Ubisoft Montipillier, who also made Rayman Legends, is a true master of music and art style.
Fun: The Add-on to the Sequel
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (PC)
Release date: 9/15/2017 Number of hours played: 24.25 Number of achievements earned: 30/30 (100%) Number of screenshots taken: 34 Acquisition date: 11/23/2017 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $14.99 (List $29.99)
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is more Dishonored. I have too much fun with these games. Death of the Outsider is a standalone DLC, but it is basically an add-on to Dishonored 2. It is more exploring and stealth-gameplay goodness. It follows a different protagonist, while expanding on the lore of the Outsider, which has been mysteriously shrouded in past games and DLC. Reaching the conclusion of the mystery is kind of bittersweet. The Outsider has always been intriguing in past games, and it was fun to speculate about him. However, it is satisfying to finally get straight answers about him in Death of the Outsider. If you are a fan of the series, definitely pick this one up. If you have never played any of the games of the series, pick up the first two games; they are on sale quite often, and they are some of my favorite games of all time.
Stealthing Around In Wet, Skintight Suits
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PC)
Release date: 12/18/2014 Number of hours played: 2.75 Number of achievements earned: 2/16 (13%) Number of screenshots taken: 8 Acquisition date: 11/27/2016 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: NA (purchased in bundle)
I wanted to play Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but I decided I should play the prequel mission, Ground Zeroes, first. Ground Zeroes really turned me off to Metal Gear Solid V. It has been a long time since I have played through Metal Gear Solid 1 and 2; a few years ago I watched one of those YouTube “Game Movies” for Metal Gear Solid 3. Ground Zeroes just threw me in the middle of the lore. I had no idea what was going on, or who all of these characters were, let alone why I should care about them. I really felt disconnected from the story. It is kind of my fault, because I do not remember much about the series.
I also did not like the gameplay, even when I ignored the story. Normally I love stealth gameplay, but Ground Zeroes does not support the kind of stealth that I enjoy. I enjoy sneaking around, and knocking people out. It is possible to do that in Ground Zeroes, but enemies wake up quickly. I ended up just shooting them with my silenced weapon. I am okay with that type of stealth as well. However, my silencer broke, and I could not find another one. No more stealth for me. I just went guns blazing, and it is not a fun way to play Metal Gear Solid games in general. Between the story and gameplay, Ground Zeroes turned me off of playing Phantom Pain. I might play it someday, but it will not be anytime soon.
The Beginner’s Guide (PC)
Release date: 10/1/2015 Number of hours played: 1.75 Number of achievements earned: NA Number of screenshots taken: 19 Acquisition date: 12/28/2015 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $5.99 (List $19.99)
The Beginner’s Guide is made by one of the developers of The Stanley Parable. The Stanley Parable ties the dialog to the player’s actions. It has a greater commentary about the state of choices in video games, while also being incredibly funny. It is a very easy game to recommend to people.
The Beginner’s Guide is difficult to recommend. It is not a funny game. It is basically a walking simulator with a narrator. Like The Stanley Parable, the narrator commentates about the mindset of a creator, and the need for outside recognition. Later, it develops a deeper commentary, which I will not spoil. I respect the developer for accomplishing what they set out to do, but it is not for me.
Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist (PC)
Release date: 12/4/2015 Number of hours played: 1.5 Number of achievements earned: 1/6 (17%) Number of screenshots taken: 9 Acquisition date: 3/6/2018 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $0.00 (List $0.00)
Dr. Langeskov is made by the other creator of the The Stanley Parable. If you like funny video games, and you have thirty minutes, download Dr. Langeskov from Steam; it is free. The game is a funny take on how video games work. I will not spoil anything, because there is nothing stopping you from downloading this game and playing it. It is a short game, but it does have some replay value if you can get the achievements to work; I could not.
A Little Bit of Feels with Your Violence
God of War (2018) (PS4)
Release date: 4/20/2018 Number of hours played: 59.25 Number of achievements earned: 37/37 (100%) Number of screenshots taken: 254 Acquisition date: 4/20/2018 Acquired from: Amazon Purchase price: $47.99 (List $59.99)
I love the God of War series. When I saw the reveal trailer with Kratos walking through a snow covered forest with a child, I could not contain my excitement for the newest installment. The trailer left me with questions, of course, but I thought a reboot would be a good thing for the series. Later, I learned that the new God of War is not a reboot with a new Kraots; it is a continuation of Kratos’s story after leaving Greece! My excitement levels filled the charts.
There is so much I love about the new God of War. The combat is the best in any video game I have ever played. When Kratos swings or throws his axe, I feel it as a player. It has weight to it. I can spend several paragraphs writing about the combat alone, but I will not in this post. Cory Barlog crafted an outstanding story with his team at SIE Santa Monica Studios. It really refreshed the character of Kratos, without throwing away everything from the original games. I am looking forward to replaying this game.
Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)
Release date: 11/13/2011 Number of hours played: 20 Number of achievements earned: NA Number of screenshots taken: 55 Acquisition date: 12/9/2017 Acquired from: Target Purchase price: $29.99 (List $29.99)
I was excited to dive into Super Mario 3D Land. I heard nothing but good things about it. But, just like Super Mario 3D World for the WiiU, 3D Land left me unsatisfied. It is just a worse version of 3D World. The biggest cause of disappointment is the 3DS’s nub; it does not lend itself well to 3D platforming. I died so many times, because the nub misinterpreted the direction I meant to go. In later “Special” levels, I played through remixed versions of earlier levels. These “Special” levels might include something like “complete the level in 30 seconds” while allowing me to gain 10 seconds for each enemy I killed. Some of these levels are 3D platforming at its finest. For example, when the level is designed perfectly for a speed run, I could quickly platform my way through a level, and smoothly kill enemies without losing momentum. These “Special” levels can also be platforming at their worst. Shadow Mario spawns on some of these levels, and shadowed my every move. When he catches up, I die. This sucks on levels where I was waiting for a platform to move towards me, but I am also fighting the clock and the damn nub. I ended up beating the game with five stars, although, I can say it was painful to do. It is more than I did with 3D World.
RARE Replay: Perfect Dark (XOne)
Release date: 8/4/2015 Number of hours played: 9.5 Number of achievements earned: 3/20 (15%) Number of screenshots taken: 12 Acquisition date: 11/27/2015 Acquired from: Amazon Purchase price: $19.99 (List $24.99)
I have a lot of nostalgia for Perfect Dark. I had never beaten Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64, but have attempted the feat every couple of years. The same thing happens every time I tried to play it: I would play for an hour or two, and then just lose interest. With the RARE Replay version on Xbox One, I decided to make it to the end.
During the first hour or two, nostalgia kicked into high gear; I was having a blast. After a few hours, I realized I was just running down a corridor, enemies would pop up, and I killed the enemies; rinse and repeat. It is your standard first person shooter during the N64 era of games. However, the gameplay gets stale quickly. I persevered, and finally beat it! There is a lot to like about the game. The weapons are still unique to this day. The story is bizarre, while offering a little bit of incentive to continue with the repetitive gameplay. I wanted to complete all of the missions on higher difficulties, but I cannot bring myself to do it; the gameplay is just too repetitive. I finished the story this time, and that is good enough for me.
Best Modern Classic Point and Click Adventure Game
Broken Age (PC)
Release date: 4/28/2015 Number of hours played: 8.75 Number of achievements earned: 31/45 (69%) Number of screenshots taken: 85 Acquisition date: 6/28/2014 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $8.49 (List $24.99)
Broken Age released in two parts. Part one released in 2014, and part two released in 2015. I decided to wait to play it when the game was completed… then I waited a few more years. Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine Productions knows a thing to two about classic point and click adventure games. Monkey Island, one of my all-time favorite games, was created by Tim. So, when he went to Kickstarter for an adventure game, I became interested. I did not contribute to the Kickstarter. There was some controversy, but both parts of the game were finally released. A documentary is also free on YouTube, which I highly recommend watching if you are interested in video game development.
The game is funny, well voice acted, and has everything I expect from a classic adventure game. I think the first half of the game is better than the second half. The first part has the perfect balance of story and puzzles. The puzzles are a little on the easy side, but I did not mind; I suck at figuring out classic point and click puzzles. The second half is where things start to get bogged down. The story is still great, but the pacing is slower, which was odd as I moved closer to a conclusion. Part of the problem is the puzzles start to feel like padding, and can be outright frustrating. A simple hint system, like the one implemented in the Monkey Island remasters, would have gone a long way. Overall, the story is charming and the conclusion is very satisfying. The voice cast is impressive. I cannot think of anyone better to play Shay than Elijah Wood. If you like old school point and click adventure games this game will satisfy that itch.
Best Exploration Gun
Prey (2017) (PC)
Release date: 5/5/2017 Number of hours played: 58.25 Number of achievements earned: 48/48 (100%) Number of screenshots taken: 152 Acquisition date: 11/23/2017 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $19.99 (List $39.99)
Similar to the Dishonored series, the new Prey is an immersive sim. Usually, I play immersive sims all stealthy-like, and nonlethal. Not Prey. No, I entered each new room with my shotgun locked a loaded. Each new enemy met my shotgun/combat focus combo with prompt death. Prey should be a scary game. The music is eerie, which leaves the space station feeling desolate. If I were weak in the game, then the aliens would be something to fear. However, I always had the choice to kill them dead, and to show those monsters who should really be afraid of who!
Talos I, the space station in Prey, has so much to explore. Each area has loot just waiting around to be pilfered. It was important for me to pilfer said loot; it allowed me to craft more ammo and upgrade my abilities. The jump in the game is one of my favorite things about it. It can be upgraded to add a little extra boost and glide to it. Exploration is a lot of fun. If I could see it, then I could find a way to reach it. Overall, I got all of the achievements, because I loved spending time on Talos I.
Worst Database Search Engine; Thought Provoking Story
Her Story (PC)
Release date: 7/24/2015 Number of hours played: 5.75 Number of achievements earned: 13/13 (100%) Number of screenshots taken: 12 Acquisition date: 6/23/2016 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $2.99 (List $5.99)
I completed Her Story in a few hours, but I was still thinking about it days later. It is a story centric game with very simple gameplay. I played as a person watching interviews recorded during a police investigation. The videos for the interviews are split up in a database. Each video only contains the response of the person being interviewed; I did not get to hear the questions asked by the police. Each video is a few seconds long, with a couple exceptions being a few minutes. I could only view the video clips by searching for a word or phrase transcribed from the video. For example, if I searched for the word “murder,” the database would return all of the videos where the interviewee said the word “murder.” The catch is the database only returns the first five videos. If my search returned more than five results I had to use a different word or phrase to view the remaining videos.
It is an interesting gameplay mechanic, but it does not make Her Story stand out. The mystery of the murder grabbed my attention. The point of watching these videos is to find out the interviewee’s story; her story. I did not hear her story in order. Instead, I got bits and pieces from the various stories she tells. After completing the game, I was still thinking about the story. The story comes to a satisfying conclusion, but does leave some loose ends that had me filling in the blanks. It is an interesting concept, and makes the game easy to recommend.
Release date: 2/9/2016 Number of hours played: 4 Number of achievements earned: 8/10 (80%) Number of screenshots taken: 41 Acquisition date: 6/23/2018 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $4.99 (List $19.99)
The art style is the first thing that stands out in Firewatch. It is bright, and uses a lot of yellows and oranges. During the game I spent my time in the same forest, but the art style allows the environment to feel different as days turn into nights, and the fire gets closer with each day. It feels like a different environment as time progresses. The game is mostly just two people talking to each other over the radio. There are some minor gameplay puzzles, but not much. The dialog between the player character, Henry, and Delilah unravels an interesting story, while also diving into the backstory of Henry. It is easy to recommend to both hardcore and casual players.
The Best and the Worst
Release date: 5/21/2014 Number of hours played: 7 Number of achievements earned: 10/33 (30%) Number of screenshots taken: 113 Acquisition date: 11/1/2014 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $14.98 (List $29.99)
Transistor is Supergiant’s second game. Bastion, their first, has one of the best video game soundtracks. Bastion is also known for its narrator. Transistor continues both of these trends. The soundtrack is out of this world, and the narration is top notch. The art style is absolutely gorgeous. I spent a lot of time just studying the backgrounds, and gawking at the animations of the environment. I was thrust in the middle of the story, which is a little disorientating. Once I caught up and filled in the blanks, the story started to grip me. It is satisfying to learn about the main character and how the world ends up in such a disastrous state.
I did not like the combat. I could attack in real-time, but it was difficult to play this way. Instead, I could pause time and queue up attacks, similar to Fallout’s VATs system. Abilities take up memory, so I was limited to how many and what attacks I could use. The game rewards experimentation by chaining together different abilities. It is interesting, but takes a lot of time to get used to. Because of the combat, I became very familiar with the unique death system. You do not die if you lose all your health; instead you lose one of your combat abilities. This sucks early in the game when I did not have very many abilities; actually, it sucks in general. I found it easier to restart from a previous checkpoint if I lost all my health instead of continuing without that ability. You do get your ability back after finding two access points, but it is a bitch later on to find them. Overall, I liked the game despite disliking some of the game’s aspects.
Biggest Money Sink
Hellgate: London (PC)
Release date: 10/31/2007 Number of hours played: 37.5 Number of achievements earned: NA Number of screenshots taken: 248 Acquisition date: 10/31/2007 Acquired from: Gamestop Purchase price: $209.99 (List $49.99)
Originally, I was going to write an entire blog post on Hellgate: London. It was going to be a retrospective piece, and I might still do it. However, I ran into an issue where I could not remember why I liked the game. I decided to replay it. I installed my old DVD copy of the game, downloaded the latest patches, and installed some mod patches from Hellgate Revival to bring the game up to multiplayer patch levels. Even with all that installed the game still has a ton of bugs. The game crashed if I played it for more than a couple of hours at a time. I would get stuck often. The randomly generated levels create the same corridors over and over, and the level skins get boring fast. The summoner class is still under powered, which makes soloing the game feel grindy. The story is interesting, but so poorly told; it is literally told through unvoiced dialog boxes!
However, there is an addictive gameplay loop here. Level up, get cool skills, get better loot, fight harder enemies, repeat. After all, Hellgate: London was created by some of the best action RPG designers in the industry. The gameplay loop is what really kept me playing. I cannot recommend it to anyone, but it does hold a special place in my heart. If you so desire to play it, it was just released on Steam.
More Important Than the End or the Start
Release date: 7/21/2015 Number of hours played: 2.25 Number of achievements earned: 1/14 (7%) Number of screenshots taken: 133 Acquisition date: 9/18/2016 Acquired from: Playstation Store Purchase price: $0.00 (List $14.99)
Journey made me smile. I was genuinely smiling with joy at times during my own journey with the game. The art style is charming, the movement is whimsical, and the music perfectly complements the gameplay. I do not have a lot to say about the game, because it would just spoil it. Everyone should play Journey.
Definitely (Not) the Best Game from 2010
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
Release date: 11/29/2016 Number of hours played: 24.5 Number of achievements earned: 33/43 (77%) Number of screenshots taken: 124 Acquisition date: 6/11/2015 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $6.00 (List $29.99)
Darksiders is a weird cross between The Legend of Zelda with the original God of War. It is a product of 2010, unsurprisingly. Playing the game again in 2018 was kind of jarring, especially after playing the new God of War. The combat does not feel as responsive as it should be. I died a lot at the beginning of the game while I got used to it. Once I reverted to my 2010 gaming ways I got better at the game, but it did highlight something for me: action games have really improved in the past five to ten years.
Darksiders is not a bad game; I loved playing it again. I am a big fan of the Legend of Zelda, so the dungeons in Darksiders 1 are a lot of fun. I love apocalyptic lore, so a game that does a “four horseman of the apocalypse” story is aces in my book, and Darksiders executes it well. I love the comic book art style of the series, and Mark Hamil as a voice actor in the first game is a treat. I am looking forward to replaying Darksiders 2 as well. I am definitely glad I am replaying the series before Darksiders 3.
Total number of games played: 24 (Diablo III, Minecraft, Mario Kart 8 did not make this list) Total number of hours: 422.5ish (Minecraft not tracked) Oldest game played: Super Mario World (8/13/1991) Newest game played: God of War (4/20/2018) Total Number of gaming sessions: 202ish (Minecraft not tracked) Game with most achievements earned: Rise of the Tomb Raider - 92/143 Favorite game to Platinum: Dishonored: Death of the Outsider Game with most hours played: God of War (2018) - 59.25 hours Total spent: $429.00 (Hellgate kinda messes up this number) Personal game of the year: God of War (2018)
I really put a dent in my backlog. I played one game I bought in 2013; two games from 2014. A whopping five games bought in 2015! Three games purchased from 2016. And another five from 2017. I replayed Super Mario World and Hellgate: London. On top of all that, I also played three new games from 2018.
The industry is just as healthy as it was last year. AAA single player games, like God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Red Dead Redemption 2 (although it has a multiplayer), are all critically acclaimed and sold well. Monster Hunter: World, normally a very niche series, broke into the mainstream. Indie games like Celeste, Dead Cells, and Into the Breach are all getting their due praise. Tons of multiplayer options for players, like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, released in 2018. Fortnite and Destiny 2 continues to expand their content well beyond their original releases. No matter your tastes you can find a game that fits your style.
I think the biggest problem for the industry is finding games. So many gems get buried. Developers might not have the marketing budget, or the game does not hit the right algorithms to get recommended. I saw a game mentioned on Reddit, and looked it up. It looked cool, and I thought for sure I would remember it later. When I went to look into it some more I forgot the name. I got home, and tried to find it. I thought I knew about when the release date was. I opened up the Steam store, sorted by date, and boy was I overwhelmed. Hundreds of games released each month. As I was going through the titles, I actually saw games that I had never heard of, but looked interesting. Granted, there are a lot of games that are in early access, or they are just shitty games, but it is surprising how many games with positive user reviews fall through the cracks.
I think I am going to start doing something different next year. At the end of each month, I will load up Steam, and go through every game released the previous month, and add any games that catch my interest to my wish list. Maybe you will see some of those games in next year’s “Games of” post.
Thank you for taking the time to read. I put in a lot of work on this post. All of the statistics are tracked manually, even though Steam does some of the work. I think the statistics add some context when determining if I liked a game or not. As you can see I capture a lot of screenshots. Finding the right screenshot to share in this post can be a difficult thing, but I like it. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. May your life be filled with fun games in 2019.
Another year has come and gone. I do not have a lot to share. I wrote some stuff this year, but I did not share. Most of it is in various stages of editing. Some of it is just way too fucking long, and I bit off more than I could chew. One of them was a ten year analysis of me using Steam. It is a very in depth look at the games I have bought on Steam since I started using it. I got to 2014, and it was very long and very boring. Another post I would still like to post is a Hellgate: London retrospective. At the beginning, I felt pretty good about it. However, it started going in a direction that I was not feeling. With Hellgate: London releasing on Steam last November, I might still clean it up and post it. As mentioned, there were other writing pieces, but nothing of note. In the end, I have not posted anything since April.
Big things started to happen in my life in April. I found a house I liked, and made an offer. Buying a house is stressful. I got closer and closer to closing, and the deal ended up falling through. It bummed me out, and my energy was just gone. Afterwards, I would look at houses online, but I did not feel like actually going to look at them. I mean, why spend all that energy if deals just fall through?
Luckily, I had an awesome realtor. After a few months of radio silence, he texts me a listing and says, “I think you should check this house out.” I checked out the listing. I had scanned over it before, but I decided to give it a second look. I liked a lot of things about it, and it was cheaper than the house I put an offer on in April. I asked my realtor to setup a time to check it out. I fell in love with it. I put in an offer right away, and we had an offer acceptance by the end of the week. This seller was very easy to work with. In September, I was a proud homeowner. Hitting one of my major goals before turning thirty feels great.
In October, I turned thirty. Not only was I a new homeowner, but I have a great support network of family and friends, as well as a great job. Life just feels good. Life was going great, so turning thirty did not feel any different from any other birthday. However, it did get me thinking about my memories. It is strange how my memories evolve over time. As a child, I was more concerned with the here-and-now; this is probably because I had such a limited context of time. In high school, I started have a reference point for memories. I would reminisce with friends and say things like, “Remember when we stayed up all night to play Resident Evil: Code Veronica?” When I got together with high school friends in college, I started saying things like, “Oh, this memory was five years ago.” That is a quarter of my life. In my mid-to-late twenties it turned into, “Holy shit, that was ten years ago.” That’s a third of my life. Now I am referencing memories that took place over half of my life, and it just feels weird.
One thing that keeps me going is the creation of new memories. Going out and having fun with friends. Traveling. Being more outgoing. If all I have are memories that happened fifteen years ago, then my life is truly wasted. With a major goal like having a home I can call my own, I look forward to creating these new memories, both at my home and away from it.
The year 2018 was a good year for me. 2019 is looking to be another good year. I plan on doing more writing, although I cannot guarantee that all of them will be posted. I do have “Games of 2018” written and compiled. I need get it in WordPress, edit it one or two more times, and then it will be up. Expect it very soon.