I wrote down a bunch of games that I personally didn’t care for but it’s not like they were bad, broken or offensive, it just wasn’t my time to embrace them. Instead, my Bummers of 2016 are all about trends, both personally and industry-wide.
Playing Fewer Games
I miss my glory days when I was able to put my hands on hundreds of PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and PC titles. Between press contacts, freelance writing, working at Blockbuster — and regrettably, piracy — I played through so many more games than I have in the past half-decade. Nowadays I seem to double down on a smaller assortment of endlessly replayable experiences. The kind with more mystery to their mechanics rather than an emphasis on story or the size of their worlds.
It’s not that I feel I’m wasting my time or am left unsatisfied — in a lot of ways these games are more personally rewarding than 12-hour single player campaigns — but there are still loads of games I’d like to have seen through first hand. See the Might’ve Been Cools for just a tiny list of games I intended to play, but still haven’t.
Xbox, what’s that?
I really did love the Xbox, all the way back to the original. The 360 era was my favorite generation of gaming and most of it was thanks to that console. We even got an Xbox One around its launch and I fully expected it to be my platform of choice this generation. But the games, they did not come. Instead it was the PlayStation 4 that brought the most exclusives that I was personally excited about. With the PS4 always at the ready it became the place I preferred to play and watch just about everything in 2016.
- After 7 years I let my Xbox Live Gold membership expire and I don’t feel even a pang of remorse about it.
- Not even their offerings of “free” games were enough to keep me on the hook.
- We still only own a single Xbox One controller.
- Even Kinect, whose voice commands are the best way to navigate the kludgy Dashboard, was retired.
Maybe Scorpio will win me over or maybe I’ll build a new gaming PC and the Play Anywhere stuff will really take off. But outside of a precious few exclusives like Inside and FRU the whole Xbox experience in 2016 was a dusty, distant and dormant afterthought for me.
Delisted Games and Delisted Games
I didn’t fall into a rabbit hole with delisted games so much as I dove into a labyrinthine ant nest with contorted tunnels sprawling out into the darkness. I launched DelistedGames.com in 2016 and spent the spring and early summer really drilling into things. It’s still very much console-focused but without the support I was hoping to find it’s going to be much longer before it grows to encompass PC and mobile delistings. Still, I have a pretty good base and I’ve done my best to keep up with shutdown notices and sudden disappearances throughout the year.
We lost even more games in 2016 due to licensing deals and studio consolidation. Just a very few include: Project Spark, Dead Star, Disney Infinity, The Beatles: Rock Band DLC, Xbox Fitness, Asteroids: Outpost, Asheron’s Call, SMASH+GRAB, Forza Horizon, Castle of Illusion, The Devil’s Third, Planetside, Legends of Norrath, DUST 514 and Nosgoth. Thankfully we got more advanced notices in 2016 so fans could temper their emotions and enjoy the last few days, weeks and months with these games.
It’s still sad to see a game go and it isn’t going to stop, ever. It’s also getting harder to dig up details after the fact as so much of the modern web lacks permanent URLs. Even the invaluable Archive.org can’t capture the current PlayStation Store leaving research to exhaustive data mining or forum heresay. Microsoft recently transitioned all their web stores over to a similar structure leaving a mess of URLs that may or may not be navigable in its wake.