In a week it will be one year since it hit me on a cold winter night in bed, while on the toilet, eating a pizza, that 2011 was going to be so massive, it'll need it's own dedicated releases thread. And then this titan came to life.
And now that I look back at these 12 months, I realize that this has been one of the most significant years of my life.
Looking backLet's do a little comparison:
Pre-2011, I was a fat unemployed long-haired teenager. I still thought i was 'special', like any idiot teenager would, and I had absurd principles and an overall childish mentality. On January 2011,
I got a new amazing job of few hours and big pay.. a lot of socializing and traveling, hours spent on the highways enjoying a good drive and great views all across the country. The hair was gone, wardrobe was updated.. I also lost a little weight, started working out once a week. And I grew up mentally, started cutting back on the teenager bullshit.
12 months and the job is still going great, I'm very grateful for having a steady paycheck and a big-time employer taking care of my insurance.
I've also visited the university of Jerusalem for two days and applied there, so there's that. Weed burns my fucking throat.
Pre-2011, I had a tired 8600GT PC, on which I mostly played shooters, third person action adventure games, and a few 3D platformers.
In 2011 I got the most beastly gaming monster I've ever owned, started playing RPGs (I still can't believe I've beaten a few, including THE WITCHER), and my gaming taste evolved immensely. Not to mention that I've been transforming my gaming habits into more stable persistent ones, rather than the moody "I'm quitting this game halfway through" / "This game sucks and I won't try to change my opinion" style I used to have.
I remember the first time I tried The Witcher in 2008. It scared me. I didn't sleep that night. Feels good to evolve as a gamer, conquer the genres and playstyles and game scopes that used to exhaust and put you off.
Pre-2011, I was 19, this year I turned 20. That's a big deal, bro.
And last but not least, on January of this year I decided to become an active organizer of the Giant Bomb community in playing games such as Bad Company 2, Team Fortress 2, Red Orchestra 2, Brink, Battlefield 2/Battlefield 2142 and Battlefield 3 together. Thanks to Sweep for jumpstarting this whole shindig with a BC2 thread and Steam group.
Not all of them were a success, but the ones that were (TF2 for 3 months, BC2 for 10 months, and now the focus has shifted to BF3 and it has been going strong), have been the most amazing multiplayer experiences of my life.
I never thought I'd rent and maintain two servers for this community, and here we are today, with that reality.
The fact that running with you guys in BC2 and BF3 has exceeded the fun I had during my Battlefield 2 clan days, says a lot to me.
As I try to gather and HOLD ON TO the titles that came out this year, in my mind, and fail miserably every time as they slip and pour out of my ears, I feel I have a few things to say about the experiences that mattered to me the most.
RPGs? RPGs!Like I mentioned above, I was never into RPGs, simply because I could never get into them.
Ages 5 through 12, I played Commander Keen 4, Duke Nukem 1, DOOM 2 (oh the nightmares), Fifa 99, Crazy Taxi, Need for Speed 2 and GTA 2. Then I became best friends with this crazy kid who liked screaming long-hair freaks with their guitars and blood-filled music videos (I love how I hated metal music), who introduced me to Max Payne, Halo: CE, Call of Duty 1, MU Online, Age of Empires and The Punisher.
Then I went on to explore games on my own, lurking the articles and calendars of Gamespot.com, playing all the triple-A "fun" games that everyone plays.
Tried to get into Jade Empire in 2006, Oblivion in 2007. The Witcher in 2008. Mass Effect in 2009, and the result was always the same: "I can't take this crowded HUD, I can't endure the aimless wandering, I have too much freedom, It's uncomfortable for me. Also, too many vicious enemies, I'm too vulnerable, aren't I supposed to kill everyone and be boss?"
Then by some miracle, I forced myself to sit through Mass Effect, learn how to interact with the HUD, use the weapons properly, ACTUALLY CONVERSE WITH AI (what the fuuuuuuck?) and make decisions.
Next thing I know I had beaten the game, and it's sequel, and began fiddling with the riddled-with-the-unknown Oblivion.
The highlight of my year, however, was The Witcher.
I never realized that such video games actually existed. The ever-charming fiction of a fantasy RPG, combined with a strong character who has seen and been through a lot, compelling swordplay and magic combat, extremely diverse and breathtaking environments infested with lively beasts and plants of all shapes and traits, and most of all, a TERRIFIC political story where a neutral man must pick a side, and to top it all off, a fascinating mind-fuck ending..
Absolutely tremendous game that has given "gaming" a new meaning to me.
Honorable mention to S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl, which I've been trying to access/enjoy for 4 years, only to beat it in two weeks earlier this year and jump into its sequel!
A certified persistent gamerYes, I achieved that certificate recently. Thank you, it wasn't easy!
This is the year when I stopped myself from bailing out on games for long periods of time (or forever), like I used to it. My average progress in a video game was 70%, at which point I stopped playing that game (yes, I used to either lose interest or get scared off whenever the pre-last stages of a game began).
This year, with games such as the new Dead Space 2, Alice: Madness Returns, Bulletstorm, Skyrim, Hydrophobia Prophecy, Portal 2, Bastion, Trine 2, Witcher 2, the a-little-old S.T.A.L.K.E.R all of Pripyat, James Bond: Blood Stone, inFamous, LittleBigPlanet, Ratchet & Clank Quest for Booty, and the aforementioned The Witcher and S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl, I kept going, didn't let the occasional frustrations hinder my progress, and found the persistence (in some cases, addiction) to be extremely enjoyable.
No more moody cowardly playstyles, it's time to take the dedication to the next level with these games, as they themselves have grown in caliber and scope.
In retrospect: 2011*Crysis 2 was the biggest disappointment I had in anything ever. Whenever I think of the misfortunes of 2011 in the future (personal ones), mine will be Crysis 2.
I will hold a urinating ceremony every year where I take my copy of Crysis 2 and drench it in warm piss on its release day. You are welcome to grab your penis and join me in this piss festival. Bring your own copy!
Way to give a massive finger to the work of genius that was Crysis, Crytek.
*The Witcher, as I said and will say again, is my 2011 [non-2011 year] game of the year. Thank you to CD Projekt RED for changing me as a video game player.
*Dead Island, thank you for being the straw that broke the camel's back. No. More. Survival. Games.
*Oh Duke.... I'm sorry, man.
*Portal 2, game of the year.
*Playing Oblivion for 38 hours this year totally prepared me for the mammoth that is Skyrim. Will be playing this same playthrough in 2013, and I can't wait to get there.
*Dead Space 2 is among my top 10, but I do not desire a sequel. No more.
*Limbo came out on PC this year, and it wins my Best Atmospheric Game Of The Year award. It has been my Downloadable game of the year until Trine 2 kicked the door down and punched it off that throne.
*A good year for PC games. I enjoyed giving the makers of Witcher 2, Red Orchestra 2 and Battlefield 3 full price on their great contribution to the platform. Hopefully I will expand into RTS/Indie PC games in 2012 and support them too.
*Assassin's Creed.. What can I say? If I'm a fanboy of any non-multiplayer game, it's Assassin's Creed. I fucking love Assassin's Creed. And I think I'm in love with Altair..
However, Revelations is one big meh :(
- To Deus Ex: Human Revolution, for snubbing it in favor of other games this year. Will totally buy it on the nearest sale to play in 2012.
- To Bastion, for judging it based on the demo and resenting it. Now that I've decided to buy and play it on Steam, I change my opinion completely. But it's not entirely my fault. The way the game is built to be understood (understanding the mechanics, combat and pacing) is a total hit and miss.. You either get it, or you struggle trying to find the correct playstyle. I feel Super Giant Games should've made the learning process a little smoother, since you jump in expecting a simple downloadable game!
- To L.A. Noire... Lol I'm kidding fuck L.A. Noire, I hope it's having a good time in the manor ditch I threw it in.
- To Saints Row: The Third, for not having the time or mood to enjoy it properly, and ditching it after 3 hours of gameplay. I will return to you when I'm in the right head to ENJOY you.
- To RAGE, Driver: San Francisco, Warhammer 40K Space Marine, Uncharted 3, inFamous 2, Shadows of the Damned and a few more games, for finding you mediocre and prioritizing other games over you. Will come around to trying you next year hopefully.