Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! Looking back at 2013

While not everyone celebrates Christmas, the New Year happens to everyone whether you are ready for it or not.

As such - Happy New Year!


2013 was a big year for me personally, but it was also a ridiculously busy year for gamers as well.
Taking a look back over the last year, there were a lot of big games and topics for gamers to play and discuss. I did not get a chance to play everything. For example, the latest Zelda 3DS game has come and gone without having had the time to play it, but a lot of bigger and smaller titles did find their way to my television screen and here is a look back at the last twelve months here at Chalgyr's Game Room

January:

The first month of 2013 was a fairly quiet one for me, but it did give me a chance to reflect back on the Nintendo Wii, a console that my family quite enjoyed - though its use decreased steadily over the last two years.

The biggest game I reviewed was Kid Icarus for the 3DS. I was a bit slow in posting about this one, having spent a lot of time with it over the prior several months, but it was a great title definitely worth the play.

February:

Without a doubt the single biggest story for me in February of 2013 was the release of Fire Emblem on the 3DS. This was my 3DS game of the year, and honestly it was probably one of my top four or five games overall as well. This was the start of a very good showing for the 3DS in 2013.

Also huge on the handheld gaming front - my wife bought me a Vita, which is an awesome bit of hardware.

March:

Early in the month I plowed through some Dead or Alive titles in short order, but probably my two biggest games were Assassin's Creed III on the Xbox 360 and To the Moon on the PC. Assassin's Creed III was the first in the series I found myself really liking, but even then despite it's big AAA production values, there were enough frustrations with the title that it still failed to sell me on this series personally. The other end of the spectrum presented To the Moon, a tiny RPG/interactive story that had amazing music and an incredibly touching story. I almost never played this, but a friend of mine gifted it to me on Steam so I gave it a chance. A much more deserving use of my time than AC3.

April:

It was in April that things really started to pick up for me in gaming. More titles were coming out, I was creating more articles and I began chipping in at Digitally Downloaded more than ever. Probably the most notable game from that month for me was Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, which absolutely enchanted me with its visuals, music and story.

That being said, there were a lot of other items that caught my eye that month. I went and played the Halo anniversary remake, got to review Guacamelee! - which was probably my favorite PSN and Vita game published this year, bonded with my son over some great fighting games in Soulcalibur V and Injustice: Gods Among Us, and spent time with my oldest non-gaming daughter playing and talking about Bioshock Infinite - which she absolutely adored.

Oh, I also had the good fortune of finally writing about Guild Wars 2 and sharing the announcement that my favorite NFL player, Barry Sanders, was voted the Madden 25 cover athlete. Did I mention that the reboot of Tomb Raider had also made its way into my Xbox 360?

April was a crazy month.

May:

May is the month of my birthday, so I really did not expect things to slow down much - and I was right.

I did a huge set of Dead Space reviews. I had already reviewed the original Dead Space before 2013, and in May I reviewed Extraction for the Wii, Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3 for the PlayStation 3, while also writing up a review for the popular iPad version of Dead Space. All of this led to a lengthy article I wrote, bemoaning the direction of the franchise which started with an amazing bang but has concluded with a bit of a whimper.

A couple of my favorite PC games came out in May as well, with the wonderfully atmospheric Metro: Last Light. This was also the month my daily views began to double, jumping from about 250 a day to around 500. My guess is it had something to do with the groundwork of gaming business I had put down the prior month, but it was very encouraging to see.

June:

In terms of games played, June was actually somewhat a of a slower month. However, there was this little thing called E3, and I tried to really cover it in some detail for the first time ever. Over a dozen article on the conference show up on this search.

This was also a significant month for me because it turned me around on the next generation of gaming consoles - something I had been quite down on previously.

That is not to say I neglected my games completely. In fact, I reviewed quite a bit of Uncharted content and had an opinion piece on that series and Tomb Raider.

July:

Things did not slow down -

Magic 2014, Project X Zone, NCAA Football 14, and a top 30 Famicom/NES games list I put a lot of time into to celebrate the system's 30th birthday helped to top off a month that featured one of my favorite titles of the year - The Last of Us.

August:

It was in August I realized that my frantic gaming and writing pace in 2013 was not going to lighten up any. Of course, this is a hobby and not a job, so I could have scaled things back at any time - but I certainly did not want to. I was having entirely too much fun with it all.

The Nintendo 3DS continued its strong showing with a decent RPG title, Shin Megami Tensei IV.

I also got my second PlayStation 3 platinum trophy playing Time & Eternity. I wrote my first ever trophy guide as a result - which was a lot of work but also pretty fun to do.

Also - the end of August also means the NFL is about to kick off, which also means more Madden. My favorite sport and my longest running franchise, Madden has provided me with a lot of memorable moments over the years, which I discussed in this article.

September:

Madden 25 review. I am still playing this with my old college buddy as of two days ago.

Might & Magic: Duel of Champions takes over as my CCG of choice.

Journey finally gets the chance to impress and really, amaze me for the PlayStation 3.

Also - my favorite title I played this year actually came from 2012 and not 2013. It just took me well over 100 hours to get through everything Persona 4 Golden had to offer me. This game alone justified my Vita purchase earlier in the year.

October:

Lots of games in October, but none that were incredibly memorable. I enjoyed Persona 4 Arena and stumbled onto the absolutely amazingly fun and surprising Card Hunter, but also found myself slogging through some unfortunate uses of time like Girl Fight. Probably my biggest surprise was The Guided Fate Paradox, which came out of nowhere to thoroughly impress me.

The Wolf Among Us by Telltale Games was also fun, but the long gestation period between episodes is starting to turn me off to the game a bit. I prefer watching entire seasons of a show on disc so I can do so all at once - weekly format just does not work for me and I get the feeling that will prove true of episodic game releases as well.

November:

The prior month was the proverbial calm before the storm - because November was probably the craziest month of gaming for me - ever. Keep in mind, I've been doing the gaming thing for about 33 years now.

Only once in my life prior to this year had I purchased a release day console - the original PlayStation. My wife had already spoiled me with the Vita earlier in the year, but she allowed me to purchase the Windwaker Wii U for the family as a Christmas gift, a PlayStation 4 on launch and an Xbox One on launch to serve as a Thanksgiving Day present.

Of course, the systems alone are pretty exciting, but when you consider the glut of games I got with it including LocoCycle, Knack and Super Motherload over the first couple of days - I kept plenty busy. I was also posting a lot of next-gen console content over at Digitally Downloaded.

Oh, and Chalgyr's Game Room turned four. Crazy, crazy month.

December:

And this leads us to our last month. The new console blitz continued with the likes of Resogun, Killzone and Peggle 2.

With a year that saw me acquiring the Vita, I got to help close out 2013 with the thoroughly enjoyable RPG grindfest that is Rainbow Moon, and I managed to sneak in a review for one of 2013's most controversial titles, Beyond: Two Souls.

Readership here has never been higher, I have had the opportunity to talk with a lot of gamers just as passionate about our hobby as I am and I feel as though 2013 was an outstanding year for us. I enjoyed looking back with you here and have my hopes quite high for 2014 as well. Just off of the top of my head, games like:

Infamous: Second Son
Destiny
Titanfall
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD
Final Fantasy XIV for the PS4
The Witcher 3
Dragon Age 3
Halo 5
The Order 1886
Super Smash Bros
Mario Kart 8
Project Spark
Dark Souls 2
Game of Thrones
Outlast for the PS4
Bravely Default

What about you? What were your favorite titles from 2013? How about 2014 coming up?

Thanks for the shares, the reads and your time spent here. Here is to an excellent 2014!