Of 2014: The Most Next-Gen Things I Did

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While we’ll never live in the future we sold ourselves on in the past, 2014 did provide some impressive strides toward a magical sci-fi world.

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Xbox Play
The most useful of these advancements has been the reliability of the phrase “Xbox Play”. I can now resume a movie while walking back into the room with hands full of food and drink. The other voice commands still feel flaky and I don’t find them that useful but the play and pause phrases have been indispensable.

Fast Moves and Fifteen Year Old Games
I played a digital version of a European copy of a 15 year old game that let me emulate swapping out music CDs, sold 100% legit from Sony. I’m happy to finally own Vib-Ribbon but even beyond the game it’s great to see Sony able to make it all happen in the span of a few months. It makes me hopeful for quicker turnarounds on everything going forward; old game re-releases, indie games and AAA’s alike.

Everything IS Connected
When we were kids we all wondered why “Sega tapes don’t work on a Nintendo”. That miraculous cross-console box is still a dream but I did do an amazing cross-platform thing in 2014. Playing from an app on my phone I was able to pose as the collective police force of Chicago in Watch Dogs against players on five different platforms. Beyond the platforms it was amazing to interact with other players in an entirely different, controller-less way and still have a major impact on the experience.

Not every next-gen thing I did was a positive

HDistractions
It used to be you could tell which doors you could and couldn’t open by their textures. Door with a modeled knob: open it. Door with a knob drawn onto a low resolution texture: keep moving. Watch Dogs was my first experience with this in 2014 and it led me down almost every alley, pointlessly trying to open every door like it was the first time I’d played a 3D action game.

VR is Real… and I can’t see it
I finally got to try out the Oculus Rift… and it made me pretty sick and didn’t do much for me. When it comes to strapping a screen to your face I may fall into the disabled gamer category as my eyes don’t focus correctly up close. Eye strain doesn’t leave much time to appreciate that VR is finally real but maybe a future version of the hardware will help. It’s neat but not necessary in my life.

 

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  • The door thing is going to get me for a while.