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For the term "everything i played in 2012".

Everything I played in 2018: July – September

Everything I played in 2018: July - September

Video games, I still love them… I think. No wait, I absolutely still love them! It’s just modern games that are getting on my nerves. In 2018 I played fewer total games than any year in the past and fewer “new releases” than ever before. Instead, I spent most of my time playing older titles, timeless favorites, retro games, and some grindy stuff with friends online.

It’d be impossible to rank them in typical categories like Graphics, Story, or Game-as-a-Service so in lieu of all that I’m just going to recap everything I played in 2018 (just like I did in 2012). These are just some quick thoughts on the games I spent a reasonable amount of time with, or ones that stuck with me over the months. Let’s take this one fiscal quarter at a time, moving ahead with Q3: July through September or The Nope-too-hot-for-Outsides.

P.S. The 📅 emoji denotes a 2018 new release.

 

July

Bust A Move Dance Summit 2001 (PS2)
I played through the original Bust A Move games a few more times but the big achievement of the summer was finally tracking down a copy of the PlayStation 2 sequel that I had never laid hands on. Literally laid hands; I also found a pair of “clap controllers” that were made specifically for the game and they work like soft DDR pads for your hands.

You tap, slap, and smack the palms and backs of your hands instead of jamming on controller buttons. It worked well enough to have fun and after an initial tepid reaction the game’s dancers and songs really grew on me. I’m really happy to have finally found the game and controllers, and complete the series collection in 2018.

Elevator Action Deluxe (PS3)
I’ve had my eye on this game for a while but really only because I wish it was Elevator Action Returns from the Saturn. It was on sale for $5 and I expected it wouldn’t get any cheaper again so I finally jumped on it. It’s a decent little abstraction on the arcade original’s gameplay but I didn’t hang with it for long.

Also played in July: Tons more GTA Online (PS4)

 

August

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
The best thing about BotW was subverting all the things it wanted me to do. Cooking, crafting, hunting, fishing, fighting, riding horses, and even questing for NPCs. I hardly engaged with any of it, and actually thought a lot of it was rubbish. Instead I simply set out to explore the world, fill in my map — and most surprisingly of all — roleplay as Vegan Link. It’s totally possible and made for a far more interesting challenge than those puzzle shrines.

Despite ignoring most of the gameplay I still look back on my time with it fondly because unlike so many open world games, BotW actually let me explore. And explore, I did. The Switch says I spent about 95 hours with the game across August and September.

Also played in August: Mafia 3 (PS4)

 

September

Sparkle 2 (PS4)
Hey, didn’t you just read I spent most of two months and nearly 100 hours on Breath of the Wild? I didn’t play much else in September but I did check out Sparkle 2 for free as a PlayStation Plus offering. It’s a fun Zuma clone with some satisfying power-ups. Katy completed everything the game had to offer but I only stuck with it through a few dozen stages.


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Q1: January – March ~ Q2: April through June
Q3: July through September ~ Q4: October through December

Everything I played in 2018: April – June

Everything I played in 2018: April - June

Video games, I still love them… I think. No wait, I absolutely still love them! It’s just modern games that are getting on my nerves. In 2018 I played fewer total games than any year in the past and fewer “new releases” than ever before. Instead, I spent most of my time playing older titles, timeless favorites, retro games, and some grindy stuff with friends online.

It’d be impossible to rank them in typical categories like Graphics, Story, or Game-as-a-Service so in lieu of all that I’m just going to recap everything I played in 2018 (just like I did in 2012). These are just some quick thoughts on the games I spent a reasonable amount of time with, or ones that stuck with me over the months. Let’s take this one fiscal quarter at a time, continuing with Q2: April through June or The Rainy Season.

P.S. The 📅 emoji denotes a 2018 new release.

 

April

Starlit Adventures (PS4) 📅
A colorful and fun, free-to-play puzzler. It was a nice little diversion for a few hours until I hit the please-pay-for-better-scores paywall.

April was Retro Month! (PlayStation 1 & 2)
After my Dad picked up a free CRT TV I went a little heavy on old PlayStation games. I softmodded my PS2 and ripped all of the Bust A Move rhythm games to the hard drive. Muscle memory and nostalgia fueled me through all four Bust A Move games (U.S. and Japanese versions) and I also squeezed in an hour with Runabout.

I picked up a copy of Pitfall 3D from a friend on Instagram and finally gave the game all the attention it deserved… which wasn’t a lot. Like Contra, I couldn’t hang without a cheat code to give me more lives but I *did* physically get through the entire game. Ultimately, it wasn’t that memorable outside of Bruce Campbell’s one-liners but I’m glad I finally saw it through.

Finally, with Ace Combat 7 looming in the distance (and Ace Combat Infinity officially dead by this point) I set out to run through the entire series. In April I managed to play Air Combat for the very first time outside of demo discs. Coming from the arcades, it’s fairly plain and straightforward but they sure blew it out for Ace Combat 2. It might be my favorite entry in the series and establishes most of the style and feel of future titles.

Also played in April: Mad Max (PS4), Q*bert: Rebooted (PS4), Trackmania Turbo (PS4)

 

May

Ace Combat 4 (PS2)
I skipped Ace Combat 3 on my marathon because the U.S. version was stripped of most of the story content and I didn’t have the time to figure out the English fan patch that was recently released. Instead, I jumped to Ace 4, probably the tops of the series for me with outrageous speed and missions that have brought me to tears, seriously.

Ace Combat 5 (PS2)
Ace 5 was another one that was all new to me. I’ve had it for years but maybe I needed a little more time between Ace 4 and 5 because I just had to look up a mission list to separate the two. Nevertheless, it was more solid flying and shooting with even more anime sci-fi layered on top of its real-world planes.

Unfortunately, this is as far as the Ace Combat playthrough made it. I still have Ace Combat 0, 6, and Assault Horizon to get through before Ace 7 hits!

State of Decay 2 (Xbox One) 📅
With a laptop unable to run the game, I returned to the Xbox One for the first time in years! State of Decay 2 brought more and more of what I loved about the original and I spent nearly 60 hours slaying, upgrading, and managing my little communes of survivors. It didn’t hook me nearly as much as the first game but it’s well recommended in my book!

Also played in May:Banished (PC), Mercenaries (Xbox)

 

June

XCOM 2 (PS4)
As much as I have loved XCOM, all the changes that I saw in XCOM 2 rubbed me the wrong way. It also launched with a lot of bugs so I put it out of mind until it was literally given to me as part of PlayStation Plus in June. I begrudgingly started it up but even without the highly acclaimed War of the Chosen expansion I was quickly hooked.

The classic tension and expletive-inducing A.I. had my nerves on edge, and the Quick Load button at the ready. There’s still some janky edges but I was having a great time in the early Summer wrangling my ragtag band of survivors. It just got put on hold once Katy lured me back to…

Grand Theft Auto Online (PS4)
Who needs stressful and genius strategy when you can run simple missions ad nauseum to watch meters fill up!? Katy and I ventured back into GTA Online for most of the Summer and it was a blast: playing with friends, discovering all the systems that Rockstar has added over the years, and causing mayhem for the NPCs of Los Santos. It was a load of fun and a game we’ll probably dip back into again in 2019.

Also played in June: Trials Fusion (PS4)


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Q1: January – March ~ Q2: April through June
Q3: July through September ~ Q4: October through December

Everything I played in 2018: January – March

Everything I played in 2018: January - March

Video games, I still love them… I think. No wait, I absolutely still love them! It’s just modern games that are getting on my nerves. In 2018 I played fewer total games than any year in the past and fewer “new releases” than ever before. Instead, I spent most of my time playing older titles, timeless favorites, retro games, and some grindy stuff with friends online.

It’d be impossible to rank them in typical categories like Graphics, Story, or Game-as-a-Service so in lieu of all that I’m just going to recap everything I played in 2018 (just like I did in 2012). These are just some quick thoughts on the games I spent a reasonable amount of time with, or ones that stuck with me over the months. Let’s take this one fiscal quarter at a time starting with Q1: January through March or The Wintering Months.

P.S. The 📅 emoji denotes a 2018 new release.

 

January

Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4)
I came back for the tombs and exploration. But I was put off by how identical the gameplay was to ‘Shadow’ while at the same time adding another couple hundred piles of scrap, animal carcasses, weapon upgrades, and assorted trinkets to track down. From the very start of 2018 I was feeling SO over all of that.

The Italian Job (PS2)
I got this in a haul of PlayStation 2 games and finally gave it a shot. All these years I’d been ignoring it because of its movie tie-in but it turned out to be a fun arcade frolic a la Top Gear Dare Devil or GTI Club.

Ace Combat Infinity (PS3)
With its impending demise looming just a few months away, I was going hard on ACI early in 2018. The missions, the music, and the ridiculously gargantuan tech tree continued to enthrall me as I recorded as much of the game as possible for posterity.

Crossout (PS4)
2017’s unexpected Most Fun Game still had its hooks in me early in the new year but it was waning. Most dedicated players were using builds I didn’t find fun so I unofficially retired from the game, probably to focus more on Ace Combat Infinity.

Also played in January:  Dying Light (PS4), Disneyland Adventures (Xbox One), Tomb Raider (PS1)

 

February

X-COM: UFO Enemy Defense (PC, GOG)
While Giant Bomb continued their exploits with the newer Enemy Within expansion I went back, all the way back! The original X-COM is assuredly one tough turkey! Like, being-killed-coming-down-the-ramp-of-the-dropship tough. I only made it 6-8 hours in but I really enjoyed how hardcore it was, and finally seeing where the inspiration for Enemy Unknown/Within came from.

Contra Hard Corps (Genesis)
When Giant Bomb gets into a game I like, I have to run through it ahead of them. I never paid Hard Corps a lot of mind but delving into it now I found it as wild and unique as its Genesis counterpart, Castlevania: Bloodlines. New respect for that soundtrack too!

Metal Gear Survive (PS4) 📅
Here’s my first 2018 release and the game I *think* I spent the most time with all year. I was worried the game would be light on content and while it wasn’t nearly quite as sparse as I’d feared, it did leave something to be desired. Nevertheless, the survival was real and fueled me through more than 100 hours of exploring The Dust, crafting, and scouring for resources, and generally exploring the game’s world.

I finally got into the co-op mode and spent another 30 hours horsing around with kids from my Friends list and generally having a blast. The grinding for upgrades was daunting though and by late March I’d pretty much had my fill.

Also played in February: Zoo Keeper (DS), Dynasty Warriors 9 (PS4)

 

March

Don’t Bite Me Bro (PS4)
In my write-up I summed it up as “Mini” Gear Survive and the rest of my intro serves just as well here: Don’t Bite Me Bro! boils down the crafting, scavenging, farming, base-building, and tower defense of Survive’s single player campaign into such a surprisingly tiny and satisfying package.

Also played in March: WarioLand 4 (Game Boy Advance), Mario Pinball Land (Game Boy Advance)


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Q1: January – March ~ Q2: April through June
Q3: July through September ~ Q4: October through December

Of 2013: The Games I Played the Most

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  • Grand Theft Auto V/Online (354)
  • Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (98)
  • Dungeons of Dredmor (36)
  • State of Decay (34)
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown (33)

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Wow… so, uhh… I can explain. After the 97 hours I put into Grand Theft Auto V’s single-player game I figured I’d at least check out what GTA Online was all about. It was mostly a mess for the first week as servers imploded, but as things stabilized Katy and I discovered a whole new kind of GTA that we could play together and alone, away from the unwashed masses on public servers.

The game has layers of unexplained options, features and mechanics and discovering them with Katy and our growing cadre of international cohorts drew us back night after night. Around 250 hours later I was finally starting to tire of things when Rockstar rolled out a weekend’s worth of beach themed content and shortly after that, the content creator tools. It was another week of obsession where I couldn’t stop playing, only this time it was brainstorming and plotting out races and stupid deathmatch arenas. It’s been about a decade since an online-only game latched onto my heart and it reminded me of why people love playing Call of Duty or MMO’s.

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Before the GTApocalypse dominated my life I spent nearly 100 hours creeping around Capcom’s peculiar stab at expanding its Western audience in Dragon’s Dogma. The Dark Arisen re-release included all of the game’s questionably priced DLC from 2012 in one cheap package so I had no issues with sleazy marketing. The game lays out tons of odd systems and doesn’t explain much of how they work but isn’t as punishing or plodding as Dark Souls. It’s Dark Souls-lite and I had a blast puzzling out how the world works and exploring its nooks and crannies without the overpowering fear of perma-death.

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My big at-the-office hook was 2011’s Dungeons of Dredmor; a roguelike overflowing with nerd fan service. The constant fear of being perma-killed at any second balanced with the increasing armory of weapons and skills had me wrapt for close to 40 hours. It’s perfect for work as everything is turn-based with simple 2D artwork that promptly minimizes to the desktop. After one epic run that lasted for two weeks I was finally destroyed by Dredmor himself and, well, let’s just assume I beat the game and moved on.

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Similarly roguelike-ish was State of Decay, a zombie survival game where you’re number of “lives” depended on how many people you could keep alive, happy, and well fed. If that weren’t stressful enough, your stock of food, medicine and ammo depletes even while the game is turned off! I would eventually get too stressed to keep playing, shut it down and immediately start panicing about all the things that I wanted to escape. It was immensely effective and it made for a few great, tense weeks with the game.

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I would never have bought XCOM: Enemy Unknown on its own but after I got it as a bonus for pre-ordering Bioshock Infinite I figured I might as well give it a try. Wow, how foolish I’d been to ignore this game. I didn’t realize it before but it fits perfectly with the roguelikes I’d been playing with tense, critical battles that could wipe out my progress with a single misstep. I was hooked and determined to see it through to the end while juggling research, squads, income and global threat levels.

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My Top 20 from the Independen Games Festival 2012

Every year when the Independent Games Festival rolls around I vow to check out the entrants and winners to find clever and special games to pin my heart to. I usually start to look through the hundreds of entrants but always get sidetracked from the daunting task by whatever retail console games come out at the time. That’s decidedly NOT INDIE! I stuck with it in 2011, though, and despite changing jobs and moving states through the hectic holiday season I managed to pour over all 567 entrants and play many of them myself. From there I created a spreadsheet and narrowed it down to 140 games I was particularly interested in.

After much personal struggle I have finally whittled it away to what you see here today, my Top Twenty of the IGF 2012. They’re in alphabetical order because as hard as it was to pin down to just 20 games, trying to rank them without having even played some of them would be stupid. This is also solely my own opinion. Some days I was tired of looking at artsy games and some days I was tired of seeing outer space, it’s all very personal. I’d implore you to check out all the entrants for yourself and post your own favorites but that’s something only crazy people do, right?

Some of these games require a visual explanation so I put together a Youtube playlist if you’d rather watch than read me geeking out over 2D, pixelart aesthetics and puzzle/platformers.

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Causality Flux by Peter Stock Lots of games have mucked around with time mechanics over the years. Braid, Retro/Grade, Achron and countless other indie offerings. Causality Flux stood out to me for its super simplistic 2D pixelart and what little dialog you can see in the prototype video. Using doorways to zap back in time so there are multiple versions of yourself running around, moving objects and holding switches is neat enough. What really got me was seeing the girl’s cat walk into a pit of spikes and her sobbing dismay. I’ve never wanted to solve a puzzle so bad in my life and that’s the kind of puzzle setups I hope this game is full of.

Children of Liberty by Lantana Games “Children of Liberty is a stealth-based platformer that takes place on the eve of the American Revolution.” I’m not much of a patriot but there are so few games that explore the early years of America and its folklore that I’m completely intrigued. It’s still early days for the game but I like what I’m seeing: a Klonoa/Tomba mix of 2D art and 3D worlds with an emphasis on sneaking past redcoats in the shadows. The 3D turning mechanic looks great and I love the lighting effects so much it’s a shame to have to blow out my candle and skulk around in the dark.

Crabitron by Two Lives Left The way you make finger pincers on the iPad to control Crabitron’s intergalactic claws is one of the best uses of touchscreen controls I’ve seen in years! It reminds me of something Nintendo would dream up for a WarioWare game only Crabitron has much more going on. Grab passing space traffic and maneuver it into Crabitron’s maw and deflect incoming fire back at space cops. There’s also space sharks with laser beams on their heads and everything flops, wiggles and explodes thanks to a great physics engine.

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Crystalides by Onipunks You couldn’t possibly have ever expected something like Crystalides from a Java-powered cellphone (not smartphone) game! Crystalides is jam-packed with amazing animations, RPG systems, huge sprites, flashy effects and more gameplay styles than anything on a mobile device I’ve ever seen. The trailer’s payload of buzzwords and quick cuts is all I needed to see to get completely excited about this game! The only downer is that I may potentially have to hunt down an ancient Nokia handset just to play it.

Dust: An Elysian Tail by Humble Hearts Like Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, Dust is a game largely made by a single person and yet hand animated like a studio team spent years making it. It also looks to be a super fast side-scrolling brawler/platformer with the promise of some RPG elements. The only problem I have with it is the main character just screams “furry” to me. I can’t not see it!

Fader by Chris Makris An absolutely stunning looking mix of simple design and color. A side-scroller where you control multiple versions of your character at the same time; the way the different worlds overlap and mix colors is just a joy to look at. It’s also a clever action/puzzler that sees you — among other things — ducking under shots in one dimension while simultaneously flipping switches in another. It seems very rhythmical and with the right soundtrack it could transcend to a whole other level of love in my heart.

Fez by Polytron Corporation Clearly Fez has to be on this list. Of all of these games it’s the one I’ve waited the longest for, the one I’ve co-opted for my online persona and the one that makes me happiest just to look at it. That’s to say nothing about how it actually plays: an open-ended 3D exploration game that happens to make sharp 90-degree turns to provide a 2D experience. Just, uhh, watch some videos and you’ll understand.

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Gunpoint by Tom Francis, John Roberts and Fabian van Dommelen Gunpoint is like a glorious amalgamation of gameplay styles I didn’t even know I wanted so bad. It looks Elevator Action but plays Splinter Cell with an emphasis on rewiring switches so hapless security guards do the dirty work for you. And should a hack go off wrong you can always drop in on a guard or — my favorite — leap at a guy from behind and ride his body out the window and down to the ground floor! I could look at its tiny office buildings and dark, noir stylings forever but I’m also desperate to finally play the game myself.

Jamestown: Legend Of The Lost Colony by Final Form Games A shmup that’s actually fun for me to play!! Most modern shooters go overboard with the Bullet Hell, something I’ve never gotten particularly good at dealing with. Jamestown offers loads of ships with a good risk/reward system and stuff to unlock that doesn’t feel limiting when I play it on Easy or Normal difficulty. That it spins a tale of America’s early years on an alien, clockwork Mars — and takes itself seriously while doing so — adds a charm that I wasn’t expecting but totally loved.

Leshy by Radioactive Dodos Oh great, another puzzle game where you’re a rolling ball and OH GOD IT JUST KEEPS SHRINKING!!! As you collect power-ups you can grow and shrink by greater degrees enabling you to roll over the whole level or shrink down to find other puzzling environments nestled in the space between walls. It’s a completely unique new way to play as a ball rolling around in 3D spaces, something I thought would never happen again.

Nous by Awesome Shark Volcano A brilliant series of events that break the fourth wall and comment on what it means to be both in a video game and playing one. The goal was to marry arcade action with an art project and it succeeds wonderfully. It plays like a twin stick shooter but in its brief 30 minute playtime Nous had me laughing and yelling at my screen for entirely different reasons than you’d expect.

Nitronic Rush by Team Nitronic A wonderful homage to the San Francisco Rush series and a devilishly fast racing game that’s actively out to kill you! As you drive (and fly!) through glowing TRON-esque raceways it becomes clear that the A.I. city doesn’t like you. Traps appear out of nowhere and you’ll have to twist and flip your car at high speeds to move from roads to walls to ceilings and back again.

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Project Zomboid by The Indie Stone This is pretty much the game I’ve been dreaming up in my head since 2003 and I’m delighted to see it come to life even if I didn’t make it myself. It’s a game of zombie survival where a good plank over the door is as good a defense as a weapon. The field of vision is terrifyingly claustrophobic and your player “needs” work like in The Sims. Food, water and sleep are as crucial as bandages, weapons and shelter as you struggle not to win but only to survive as long as possible. My first run? Two days and two hours before I burnt the house down making soup and found myself cornered in a smoldering bathroom with only a hammer. It’s still early on at this point and the game doesn’t look fabulous but all the terrifying realities of a zombie apocalypse are in place for a hundred memorable stories.

Proteus by Ed Key and David Kanaga A beautifully abstract world of pixels and reactive music to explore. I’ve only played the very early demo but it’s already quite mesmerizing and serene. I can’t wait to see (and hear) how the full game turns out.

Red Rogue by Aaron Steed Good ideas seem to come along at the same time and throughout the IGF entrants this year were quite a few unique roguelike experiences. Red Rogue remains my favorite with ultra tiny pixelart, a great grayscale palette highlighted with lots of red blood and a simple side-scrolling presentation and menu system. And it’s not even a finished product yet but I keep playing it!

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Retro City Rampage by Vblank Entertainment Inc. A glorious parody to all things 80’s (but especially the games)! Take the original Grand Theft Auto games, devolve them back another 10 years to the NES, then pour it full of pop culture homage. Like Fez, Retro City Rampage has been in development for so long I’m simply happy getting a new look at it. The idea of finally playing it is almost too much to handle.

Sr. Mistu by We Choose Fun A wonderfully artistic game of timing where you draw a path for the hapless Sr. Mitsu and his guide dog to follow. It looks like a children’s book sprung to life and features comical brushes with death. It’s a simple and brilliant use of the touch interface on iOS but the song that plays throughout feels really out of place to me. My only gripe about an otherwise great experience.

Tiny and Big: Grandpa´s Leftovers by Black Pants Pushing objects around in a physics sandbox is nothing new. What Tiny and Big bring is the ability to slice almost anything in their stylized world and maneuver it to solve puzzles, scale heights and find secrets. It’s got a great comic book/graphic novel look and I love all the onomatopoeia that flies out of every on-screen action.

Treasure Adventure Game by Robit Studios Clearly I love 2D pixelart graphics but despite all the varieties I’ve seen the look of Treasure Adventure Game stands somehow alone. I don’t know what it is but I like it! The open world design with its day/night and weather cycles is a surprise and the platforming is just challenging enough to make me hate to die but want to keep at it to see more. It’s also got a great chiptune soundtrack to match the 8-bit visuals.

Where is my Heart? by Die Gute Fabrik Not only a wonderful looking 2D pixelart platformer, it takes each level and splits it up into misaligned boxes. Hilariously disorienting, it’s a feeling we’re not used to associating with a side scroller and that’s one of many reasons this remains a personal favorite.

Originally posted the week of February 6th, 2012 at PEGreviews.com