Gaming Log 2014

The other day, the Daughter and I sat and watched Video Games: The Movie, a documentary about the history of gaming.  One of the commentators likened video games these days to novels, only you interact with them.  I've said it many a time here that gaming is my escapism.  I mostly play games that present situations I could never participate in in real life.  So you'll note I don't play many war shooters like Call of Duty or sports games like Madden.  I also don't play that much, maybe an hour or two in the evenings or a bit more over the weekend (after chores of course).  However, that little break I get from the real world is just as enriching to me as a book or film.

There are challenges to my physical dexterity or mental acuity to be met, stories to experience, and visual and audible wonders to behold.  In years past I've announced on social media when I've beaten a game or automatically posted trophies earned on the Playstation Network.  But at the end of 2013 I saw an article where the author listed all the games he'd played and the ones he had played to completion for that year.  It also serves as a method to chip away at the gamer's dreaded "stack of shame," those games bought, but never played.

With my re-entering into the world of PC gaming (I used to play shooters, sims, and mmorpgs until the habit got too expensive) I've seen the landscape changed entirely.  You can actually reap a ton of games for just $5.  My stack of shame, even though digital, has grown quite extensive.  So, I kept a running tab of my gaming experience for 2014 and I'll share that with you, the interested party.  Most of these are older games, remember, I'm gaming on a budget.  I'm hardly your leading edge gamer and even still, as I mentioned, I only play a little throughout the week (actually, I find that even if a game is short, playing only in short spurts offers a lasting experience).  I intend to add dates started and completed to the list for 2015, it was an afterthought that occurred much too late when I started this list.  Also, I hope to see a majority of the games started in 2014, completed in '15.  Of course, some of those games I'm playing are never ending and will just be among the games I'm always playing.

Without further ado:

Played/Playing (in very little order):
Saints Row IV (PC) - I played the opening of this on a "free-to-play" weekend on Steam.  Ended up purchasing the game when an excellent deal presented itself.  I will most likely re-start and complete this with Dave @keebnuts.  How do you beat dismantling a rocket in flight while Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" blares?
 
Titanfall (PC) (online multiplayer w/ Dave) - Played the beta and a free-to-play weekend on Origin, enjoyed it, but pretty much got the experience from those two go's.
 
Skyrim (PC) - This is one of those that remain on the "Playing" list for some time to come.  There is an endgame, but Skyrim's world seems to know no end.
 
GTA IV (previously beat on PS3) (PC) - This game is ridiculously gorgeous layered with the right mods.  I really just screwed around, taking in the sights.
 
GTA: Vice City (PC) - I needed to hear and see some 80's, man.
 
Poker Night 2 (PC) - I lol'd many times.  I'd say this game could be considered beaten if you earned all the bounties, but I've mostly played this to while away an afternoon.
 
Surgeon Simulator (PC) - This is a wonderful experience, you can play it straight or totally fuck off...guess which I did more of?
 
Nintendoland (Wii U) - Only got to play a little and not even multiplayer, this is one I'd like to report back on.
 
Goat Simulator (PC) - Wreck shit as a goat, what else needs to be said?
 
Nidhogg (PC) (online multiplayer w/ Dave) - Fast paced fencing side-scroller where victory earns you a place in a giant worm's stomach.  There's skill to be learned here, but you probably wouldn't laugh as much as Dave and I did.
 
Tower of Guns (PC) - Bullet-hell first person shooter, really only played the first couple of stages but they were a blast.
 
Dr. Luigi (Wii U) - Free game from Club Nintendo, fun to play on just the gamepad while the news is on.
 
The Bridge (PC) - Spatial awareness puzzle game.  I'm a sucker for puzzles...even if I do suck at them.

Pictobits (DS) - Another freebie from Nintendo, sort of like Tetris, but you have more control over where pieces go.  That actually makes things a lot harder, but you build classic Nintendo 8-bit sprites and the music is good.
 
Star Wars Commander (iPhone) (online multiplayer) - I'm playing as the Empire.  I have no strategy, I just try and build up enough army to win through overpowering.
 
Angry Birds: Star Wars (iPhone) - Everyone knows Angry Birds
 
Bejeweled Blitz (iPhone) - I made a million points!
 
Words With Friends (iPhone) (online multiplayer w/ ALT & people / local multiplayer w/ the ANT) - It's scrabble for you phone, you know this.  I'm okay...the strategy is placement, a good vocab helps, but playing "jazz" in just the right place wins you everything.

Mountain (PC) - I hesitate to add this, as it's more digital art.  There's little manipulation available to you other than changing your viewing angle and playing piano keys that have no bearing on what's going on.  But, it's in my gaming library and I would have it on as I wrote, the mountain's cryptic quotes providing ponderous inspiration.
 
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PC) - I got this for free for filling out a game of the year ballot and played through the opening in order to get the dlc expansion at a deep discount.  It had been something I was interested in, consumer of nostalgia that I am, and look forward to actually completing the game in the coming new year.
 
Super Smash Bros for 3DS (demo) / Wii U (local multiplayer w/ the ANT & online) - I can't say I'd want this experience in a handheld, playing the demo was fun, but when you have a game with "smash" in the title, it's safe to assume you're going to beating on some buttons.  The 3DS isn't meant to handle aggressive button mashing.  However, for the Wii U, this is still what you would expect of Smash, at its core.  I miss the sort of one-player mission of Melee and Brawl, but I've still been having a ton of fun playing this anyway, either meeting challenges, playing with the Daughter, or online.
 
Dishonored (PC) - Another free-to-play weekend on Steam, I really wanted to like this game...and maybe with some more time and patience I could get into it, but in the time I spent with it, it did not grab me.  I can't tell you why, I can barely remember what I played through.  Therein probably lies the rub.
 
Injustice: Gods Among Us (PC) (local multiplayer w/ the ANT) - Still yet another free-to-play weekend.  DC super heroes and villains fighting in the Mortal Kombat engine...it was janky as all get out on Steam, but when it worked, the Daughter and I had a blast pummeling each other...but it was not something I wanted to revisit.
 
Dead Island (PC) (online multiplayer w/ Dave) - This was an interesting and memorable experience.  I tell Dave, "we need to play a scary game for Halloween."  So we play Dead Island.  We're playing the third mission maybe, having to go rescue some dude on the beach.  I'm having fun so far, I like scary stuff, but not scary games.  I get too invested, but playing with Dave made it bearable.  So here we are on a sunny beach with zombies and in the real world there is this epic boom and all the power goes out.  Some dumb ass kids wrapped a truck around a power pole and caused a surge at a nearby power station and power was out for a large chunk of midtown for several hours.  So, where the game was shaping up to be fun, I'll never forget my first time playing it.
 
Crossy Road (iPhone) - Picked this up because the guys on the Giant Bomb Bombcast kept talking about it.  Didn't regret it.  Free Frogger game on iOS with cute little characters.  I mean, that's it, it's Frogger.  But sometimes simple and familiar with new clothes is just fine.
 
Shovel Knight (Wii U) - Brand new game and property in 2014 featuring the best mechanics from childhood favorites, like Mega Man, Castlevania II, and SMB 3?  Yes, please!  I only just started this game and it'll probably be completed early in the new year.
 
Duck Hunt (Wii U) - It took Nintendo way too long to port Duck Hunt.  It should have been on of the first Virtual Console games on the Wii.  But, better late than never.  It's still fun, maybe a bit too easy with the reticule, but the Daughter loved it.
 
Super Meat Boy (PC) - Picked this up super cheap, another nostalgia based new property...from 2010.  But I love barely squeaking by to the goal, whether that through skill or luck.  And it's funny and the music is great.
 
Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (PS3) - For a free-to-play base game where you're expected to shell out for individual characters, I'm A-Okay with the couple of fighters available because this game is pretty and fun.
 
Tekken Revolution (PS3) - A bit more content than DoA, same concept, but slow-mo when you beat your opponent and hilarious death screams as a result.
 
Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade (PS3) (local multiplayer w/ the ANT) - The Daughter felt like playing Street Fighter...might play a bit more, especially since Ultra dropped and I intend to pick that up.
 
Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PC) (local multiplayer w/ the ANT) - Like GTA, I played the old school MK's to fool around.  The Daughter likes fighting games, too, so bonus family gaming time.

Beat:
Little Inferno (Wii U) - Did you know burning effigies can stir horror of life and death?  For a fireplace simulator, this is intensely emotional.

Bravely Default Demo (3DS) - The demo for this game is its own game!  I'd like to pick up the whole game after playing this, this is what Final Fantasy should be doing.
 
New Super Mario Bros U (Wii U) - Mostly played this on the gamepad while the girls watched shows they were more interested in than I was.  It's Mario, it's gorgeous, it does some fun things with old mechanics, and I enjoyed it.
 
Uncharted (PS3) - I borrowed this from a friend when I first got my Playstation 3...years ago.  But I finally came back around to it...after buying it probably two years ago in a controller pack.  For playing a game on "easy" it was very hard.  But I enjoyed the story and it's what kept me plugging forward.  Even though it goes crazy off the rails towards the end.
 
Darksiders (PC) - God of War and Legend of Zelda with Biblical End of Days mythos.  I had a lot of fun, though saddened knowing there's only one more game when you kind of expect to get to play a quadrilogy.
 
LoZ: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) - Revisiting A Link to the Past was wonderful, some of the mechanics, especially the 3D, are so fun I had a hard time putting it down.  You're told this is a more open world game that you can tackle the dungeons in any order, but that's a misnomer.  Maybe the last four you can do in any order, but there are things you have to do before you can complete or even get into certain dungeons.  Regardless, this is a wonderful entry in the Zelda franchise that I was thrilled to played.
 
Ducktales Remastered (PC) - Nostalgia!  Music and graphics and voice-acting are all wonderful in this and I burned through it in a hurry.
 
Hotline Miami (PC) - Despite technically being a shooter, this is a puzzle game.  Graphic, bloody, and violent, but a puzzle game.  I loved figuring out each floor and more often laughed at my failure than getting frustrated.
 
Fez (PC) - Another older indie I only just got to, but this was another nostalgia trip with simple graphics that was just fun to play.  I cheated a lot, granted, but even still I had a blast.  I even beat it on accident.  After finding the "secret" ending online, I'm actually happier with the ending I got.  Epic drum solo!
 
The Swapper (PC) - This was another game I burned through in just a few play-throughs.  I absolutely loved solving these puzzles and only got stuck a few times.  And the story that develops is eerie and haunting.
 
Mario Kart 8 (placed in every race) (Wii U) (local multiplayer w/ family & online) - I wasn't entirely impressed with the items in this entry, though!  I enjoyed the characters, tracks, and karts.  Honestly, we haven't played this as much as we did MK Wii, but I am glad to own this.
 
The Stanley Parable (got all endings) (PC) - Another game I lol'd my way through.  This was just a joy to play through.
 
NES Remix (3 starred every stage) (Wii U) - Holy crap, both the Remixes were so much fun, both in playing by the rules and experiencing the titular remixes.
 
NES Remix 2 (3 starred every stage) (Wii U) - See above...
 
Kirby's Adventure (3D Classics) (3DS) - A freebie from Club Nintendo and one I picked up purely thanks to NES Remix.  I played through it pretty quickly, it is an old-school game, but I was glad to experience something old as though it were brand new.
 
Borderlands: GOTY (PC) (online multiplayer w/ Dave) - Old game I'm only just now getting to, and Dave and I are still burning through the DLC, but we did beat the prime game and saw the credits roll.  I had a blast, Dave & I laughed through deaths and killing sprees and idiot dialogue.  "Look at this shit!"
 
Red Faction: Guerrilla (PC) - Like Uncharted, a very hard easy...probably the hardest easy game I've ever played.  But I made it and loved knocking everything over.  Everything.
 
Papo & Yo (PS3) - An emotional platformer...for real.  Also a pleasure to actually play, I beat this in just one weekend.  The lift ride where the monster turns into the father is pretty heart-wrenching.
 
Guacamelee: Gold Edition (PC) - Metroid with luchadors.  'Nuff said.
 
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) (multiplayer w/ the ANT) - Take all the best parts of every Mario game ever plus a few new surprises and simultaneous multiplayer and this is a beautiful send-up of Mario and the platforming genre in general.  Loved playing with the Daughter, loved the game.
 
Castle Crashers (PC) (online multiplayer w/ Dave) - A hack 'n slash where forest animals rocket around thanks to explosive diarrhea.  Awesome.
 
Ni No Kuni (PS3) - This was probably the biggest, longest, most involved experience.  Because of it being an RPG, but it's a pretty intense story of growing up, loss, and accepting loss.  It's beautiful and emotional and layered with these stories of individual change.  Wonderful, and easily a game that could be revisited and explored in depth.
 
Home (PC) - Got this as a gift from a friend, played it one sitting, enjoyed the open-ended mystery.  The cat did it.
 
Scribblenauts Unlimited (PC) - There's not much to be said, it's word puzzles, and sometimes those words are Cthulu and Shoggoth.
 
Antichamber (PC) - Visually simple and gorgeous as a result, I have no idea how I beat it, and loved it because of that.
 
Hyrule Warriors (Wii U) - To be clear, I beat this in that I beat the main story and the credits rolled.  There is still a lot to play through and I look forward to it.  But that main story tied the different games together in a fun way and I had a blast playing it.
 
Gauntlet (PC) (online multiplayer w/ Dave) - Dave and I beat this just last night!  We had fun, cursed, laughed, and I died.  A LOT.  There are arguments that this isn't really a Gauntlet game.  It was enough for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

And that's it!  If you made it this far, you probably just scrolled down to see how long this is.  I think, after seeing the list and my opinions completed, I had a pretty good gaming year.  Looking forward to 2015!

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