It’s got to be hard to make a game. To create an entire reality that fits on a disk is no small task. We take for granted things like gravity, light, air, water, etc, but these are all things developers have to recreate when building a game. Sadly, it doesn’t always turn out so well. Likewise, running a business is hard and running a business that deals with video games is probably pretty stressful. Given that, why don’t we feel pity when games go wrong. Instead we typically feel ripped off. Thus is the reaction of a person parted with their money. When this happens nobody ends up happy, so allow us to vent a little on what we felt where the worst parts of the game industry this year.
Will Says: I’m not really hip to actual game industry news. I’m more of a comic book/superhero movie news guy. I have noticed something going on with the rest of the Okie crew though. They are all buying these Amiibo things. And they are buying them like mad, at thirteen dollars a pop. I don’t think the game developer side of the industry is making the worst decision. I think it’s the consumer side. I think getting every single Amiibo is a waste of money. They’re like Beanie Babies or Pogs. They will be gone in a year and no one will care anymore. Meanwhile, they’re taking up a ton of real estate in your house and aren’t good for anything except shooting down with a rubber band or maybe as replacements for your missing electronic football players. All of the Amiibo says are just letting Nintendo know that they don’t need to focus on making more games, but just making a few games that cost people hundreds of dollars each because of the accessories. I don’t know about you, but to me, Amiibos are the devil. Read more…
Oddly enough, we hear game music all the time and probably don’t realize it. If you think about it, nearly every moment in a game, every menu, every credits sequence has music. Typically it doesn’t really stick with you since you are focused on the game. However, some soundtrack stand out and stand on their own as music outside of game. Below you will find the crews selections for music that stuck out the them this year.
Gaz Says: I had a hard time deciding between Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. for this one – both have amazing soundtracks which compliment the on-screen action, and its hard to imagine either game being quite as good without the soundtrack to back it up. But on the basis that Mario Kart 8 has entirely new tracks throughout, I’m handing it this category.
Set to a jazzy, upbeat tempo, Mario Kart 8’s soundtrack adds to the chaotic and utterly joyful atmosphere of the game. The likes of Cloudtop Cruise and Rainbow Road take established tunes and play with them in new ways, while Electrodome’s theme is a crucial part of the circuit itself. And if that doesn’t sell you on it, what about a jazz remix of F-Zero’s Mute City theme? Perfection. Read more…
Editor’s Note: Gaz said I could write an introduction for his article, but I’ll just let him get straight into what he thought were his favorite games of the year.
5) Octodad: Dadliest Catch (PC)
Comedy in games is always a hard thing to achieve, and in an age where grittier and darker is still the main theme, it is refreshing to play a game that revels in the ludicrous. Slapstick humour is the main aim of Octodad: Dadliest Catch, a game where you play as an octopus trying to lead out a normal life with his human wife and kids, while remaining undetected as an octopus. It’s absolutely absurd, and the gameplay continues that theme, with buttons mapped to individual limbs. The result is flailing around corridors as you attempt to perform menial tasks, knocking over priceless vases and the comedy stalwart, slipping over banana skins and flailing wildly. A true delight from start to finish.
4) Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
When I first heard about Hyrule Warriors, I was absolutely against it. A Zelda game developed by an external developer? No thanks. Yet the result was a true celebration of the franchise, despite it being set in an unfamiliar gameplay system. A unique take on the Zelda universe, Hyrule Warriors managed to blend classic series elements with the chaos of Dynasty Warriors, and the result was a lot of fun to play through. The addition of a clever, era-spanning story made Legend Mode a worthwhile experience alone, while numerous upgrades and an Adventure Mode added to an already complete package.
3) Super Smash Bros for Wii U (Wii U)
As a stalwart of Nintendo’s arsenal of games, Super Smash Bros always has a sense of occasion about its launch, and the Wii U version was no different. Once again, Sakurai and his team have packed Super Smash Bros full of content, with a wealth of modes, characters and stages to explore. The game looks gorgeous too, and is perhaps the most finely detailed Nintendo game ever produced. Yet with the 3DS version demanding parity and diverting resources, Super Smash Bros falters in a few areas, with fewer new stages than its predecessor and the lack of Ice Climbers as part of the character roster. Nonetheless, a tremendous achievement, and already a worthy successor to Brawl.
2) Nintendo Pocket Football Club (3DS)
Nintendo and simulation games aren’t two words that often cross paths, yet in Nintendo Pocket Football Club, we have a prime example of Nintendo succeeding in a new genre almost instantly. Part football management sim, part RPG, NPFC sees you take a team of nobodies and craft them into a title winning side, using your tactical skill to guide them. Of course, you need to mould your team into contenders, which is achieved by using training cards collected in-game, or by entering the murky waters of the transfer market to bolster your squad. A surprisingly deep sim, with outstanding pixel graphics that add a lot of charm to the game, NPFC was one of my most-played games of the year, and a huge surprise hit in 2014.
1) Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Ever since I first played Double Dash!! on GameCube, Mario Kart has been my go-to Nintendo game whenever I want to play something fun. As a fan of racing games, and a lifelong fan of Mario, Mario Kart is the perfect meeting of two of my favourite genres, and if you look under the surface chaos, a surprisingly challenging racer. And in Mario Kart 8, they got everything right.
A remarkable game to both look at and play, Mario Kart 8 is the ultimate Mario Kart experience. Absolutely beautiful and full of minute details, the game has been lovingly crafted, and this stunning presentation adds a certain shine to the on-screen chaos. The racing itself feels more competitive and engaging than ever, and with a (largely) lag-free online mode, the racing can keep going forever. And the added bonus? Add-On Content that not only justifies the price tag, but wildly exceeds it. Mario Kart 8 isn’t just the best game of 2014, it’s one of the very best Wii U has to offer, and a true landmark of this current generation.
The year is ending and we are going to review everything that happened. But first, we will cover what happened this week. We find our captain and we meet our destiny. Also, a story of epic proportion is told as the creepin’ come to a close.
Starring – Tony, Micah, Shannon, Ethan, Shelby
Run time – 1:56:01
News will be pretty light next week so write in an email and help us make content. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can join into our end of year discussions over at Facebook and you can keep up with what articles are hitting the site with Twitter. Also, YouTube. Check it out.
Games don’t just appear out of thin air. They have to be developed. The teams behind games can be as small as one or two people or have as many as three to four thousand people working on them. Sometimes one developer stands above the rest. Whether the one game they made in a year was head and shoulders better than everything else or they had a solid body of work that included multiple games. We take a look at the developers we thought were better than everyone else this year.
Shannon Says: 2014 was one of the best years I’ve seen from Nintendo in quite a while. My year started off with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze then changed gears to Mario Kart 8, Tony slashed through the summer with Hyrule Warriors, and is drawing to a smashing close with Super Smash Bros. And that’s just their top tier Wii U releases, my 3DS has seen more use this year than it ever has with a list of games a mile long! Read more…
You can’t really have a video game without characters. Most of the time they’re essential to the story. Sometimes you find characters you relate to, find endearing in some way or you absolutely can’t stand. Characters like Mario, Sonic, Master Chief, Samus and Pac-Man have stood the test of time. Each year we get introduced to new, many times, interesting people through the games we play. Some characters stand out above the rest. Who stood out above everyone in 2014?
Tony Says: I had a tough time deciding whether to Delsin or to Fetch from Infamous Second Son. Both of them were great characters. In the end, though, I decided to give it to Delsin because I enjoyed his growth as a character more. From the very beginning of the game he was likeable. He was cocky and arrogant, but likeable. He was dealing with gaining a new set of abilities he didn’t really want and then figuring out what to do with them. He had the opportunity to go in two different directions, depending on which choices you as the player made. Choosing to go down the good path led him from wanting to use his powers to better himself to using them to help those he loved. He made sacrifices. He had to deal with the death of his brother, who was in many ways a father figure to him.
The last moments of that game, just before it fades to credits were some of the most touching scenes in a game I saw this year. You saw just how much he loved the people around him and you felt incredibly good about the journey he had to take from the beginning of the game through the end. I really hope we haven’t seen the end of Delsin Rowe. Read more…
10. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Shelby’s been trying to get me to buy Amnesia for years. I didn’t really want to for the sheer fact that it’s on PC/MAC. I’m a console guy, through and through. I finally broke down and bought Amnesia after making a list of all the best horror games I didn’t already have. Amnesia is okay, but I just didn’t like it that much. The atmosphere is scary, the sounds and music are eerie, but the gameplay just annoyed me. I don’t like running out of oil and having to search in the dark for more. I guess this is supposed to make it scarier, but it just seemed to make me angry. Josh Beebe and I played it for awhile, but we never got around to beating it. I was just disappointed because some people consider it to be the single scariest game there is. I also hate when I get stuck in games as I did in this one. I don’t mind puzzles, but I do mind tasks that take forever to complete just because you don’t have a clue what to do. That’s why I like new Zelda better than old Zelda, cause I can actually play the stinking game without getting lost. I don’t want my video games to feel like chores.
Anyway, Amnesia did make my top ten, but only cause it was funny watching Josh dodge the invisible monster. Not that scary though.