Well, dear readers. Here we are. The end of one year, the birth of a new year; the last year, if some are to be believed. Will we all die horribly in a planetary, perhaps, galactic upheaval? Time will tell, dear readers — time will tell.
It has been quite a year though, hasn’t it? A year of revolutions, fallen dictators, I think there were some natural disasters in there. And while all of that happened, we played video games. Join me in a contemplative moment of righteous self-loathing, won’t you?
Ah, there we go. Clean conscience.
It was a banner year for video games, as well. Too good a year, if you ask me. So many titles I wasn’t able to get to, but so, so, so many I did. Countless hours, in fact. Hmm… shall we quietly hate ourselves again? Yes, I believe we shall.
Ah. Like a cold shower on a crisp winter’s morning.
Yes, it was a fine year that is now at an end all too suddenly. How could we possibly sum up? Why, the only way TV year-end summaries have always taught me, of course — awful rhyming!
Dead Space 2 heralded Our year of Gaming.
It had chills, thrills, spills, kills,
frightful sights in atmospheric light of the eternal night of space.
Outer space. Where no one can hear you scream.
When you die. When you sleep.
To sleep perchance to dream.
Because the sounds of screams are near and dear in the fevered dreams of Isaac the engineer.
But then again… scares are no large fare when your game can posit
That monsters simply dwell in closets.
Or fucking air vents.
Bulletstorm begat a year of frat-house humor that spat forth the cancerous tumor Forever known as The Duke.
See, the Duke’s return was a burn to all that we’d learned of comedy in games, spoiled as we were
by GLaDOS and Wheatley a few months before,
and not to mention the birth of Garcia Fucking Hotspur.
Because after an idea what comes next
No, the context,
The Suda 51 joint viewpoint that makes Shadows of the Damned more than…
We marveled at L.A. Noire’s facial expressions while its developer burned amidst in-house insurrections.
Meanwhile Mortal Kombat was reborn to relieve all those torn
Between super-hero-fighting galore and Street Fighter IV.
Bastion’s bard got us wet while Deus Ex tried hard to forget the trappings of a genre marred with regret.
Why can’t more shooters meet the standard it set?
A game where the player has a voice, where murder is a choice,
Where theme is more than a scheme of un-sought after-thought,
Where the toughest foes are fought with words and… your elbows can turn into swords….
But those boss fights were THE worst.
Catherine was a tale of emotional jail…
Nah, fuck that game.
Some called Dead Island a failure because it wasn’t its trailer,
But if you want to bash zombos you’ll find no better combo
Than open-world hijinks and life-saving energy drinks.
If you prefer something zombie-free along came Gears of War 3
With 50 waves of locust killing sprees and…
Gears 3 did have zombies…
The game got some girls, the gears saved the world, Dom… died…
While Mad World tried to make us cry, but really just made me sigh.
Too bad it was all for nigh — you commit genocide and the world is still fried.
Kind of a downer ending.
RAGE finally arrived and made PC gamers cry amid graphics driver jive and texture resolution lies.
Those who get it working say the graphics are smoking,
But from id to anyone ATI is hosting,
‘Surely, you must be joking?’
From Dark Souls was born a place where unicorns mourn,
Where serenity is torn with a devil’s horn of fun-lorn masochism porn.
I didn’t play it.
Arkham City gave us Catwoman, with all of her sass.
We all sucked playing her, too distracted by her ass.
But I know you cried when the Joker died.
Two shootery titans huckstered all the bluster they could muster,
But with Battlefield and Modern Warfare 3, I have a bone to pick, see;
You’re the same, reveling in fame and suffering not the shame that you’re not games.
You sell the hyperactive as the interactive, the inactive as the proactive,
But you offer no agency, no way to break free.
These tales you tell of terrorist cells and World War knells fail to spell ‘War is hell.’
Your exploitations of these conflagrations offer no exploration, just stagnation as a conservation of incestuous self-derivation.
You hold the medium as though a mirror to your vanity,
The tedium which makes clearer your profanity
That games shouldn’t be more than gallery-shooting corridors.
Curses, EA and Activision, for the excision we all pay when only purses you envision.
You make of us spiritual widows…
Something, something, something, my opinions are not those of Digital Hippos.
2011 left me a little bit sour, bereft as I was of Drake’s finest hour.
Not much to say, having not played….
It remains shelved until the year 2012.
Revelations in Assassin’s Creed led to reservations with Ubisoft’s greed.
It proposed a tricky question,
‘How to make a game every year?’
That it disposed with concession,
‘Don’t quake with fear, make no claim to be saddened…’
‘Any game can be more like Madden!’
Skyrim, oh Skyrim, we beseech with heavy sigh-rim.
How are we ever to be free when you offer us gleely a world of such majesty?
For there is the rub, like the drug of unrequited love,
How can we be free of this lovely slavery when we don’t truly want to be?
Skyrim, oh Skyrim, take the next hundred hours of my life and fly-rim.
Saints Row the first was Saints Row the worst,
But haven’t you heard that the Third is absurd?
Forget Shakespear the bard and his twee, rhyming pace,
The Saints got you hard and finished on your face,
Because Gangstas in Space and dildo bats to the face…
These… yes, these are the coup de grace of the human race.
I must make a confession of my unhealthy obsession with life’s greatest question:
The Zelda timeline progression.
I’ve yet to complete Link’s latest adventure of a sword from the sky,
But I have a few guesses to venture, a twinkle in my eye…
The Master Sword travelled through time!
Eh? Pretty good?
So ends 2011, my year of games,
So many unmentioned, much to my shame,
2012 should be hell, have you seen Q1?
Nary a dry spell, every month a home run.
Until then, I rest…
Originally written for Digital Hippos