Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On 2013

End of the Year Notes

Good Year?
You needed to ask me? Holy fuck yes. The Last of Us, Gone Home, Papers Please, The Stanley Parable, Consensual Torture Simulator and Metal Gear Rising, and that’s just counting the stuff that my meager means allowed me the privilege of playing.

Better than 2012?
Similar in form and quality! AAA games took similar self-investigative turns as last year’s major games, and Indie games continue to provide fresh and exciting experiences. Seriously guys, high fives all around, it has been an incredible year, and that’s saying a lot considering 2012 was also a really good year, one of the best ever.

Game I Thought Was Best This Year?
The Last of Us: Everything about the game served only to emphasize its aesthetic and its themes. I can’t say it was a pleasure to play, but it was a moving and wholly worthy experience. And yes I’ll openly admit to a bias towards the console/AAA releases.

My Favorite Game This Year?
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Worst Game of the Year That I Can’t Be Bothered to Get Mad About
Ride to Hell: Retribution

Worst Game of the Year
Bioshock: Infinite

Game That Surprisingly Sucked the Least
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Best Soundtrack?
That’s a question? Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Best Villain?
Senator Armstrong – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Game With Worst Camera
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Game That Will Not Age Well
Bioshock: Infinite considering it seemed outdated about 45 minutes in.

Taking a Lemon and Making Lemonade
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Oh C’mon, Blood Dragon Was Gross
Yeah, but I wanted to use that joke to piss on Far Cry 3. Fuck that game.

One True Fighting Game

It’s Still Not Out on USA PSN
Guilty Gear Accent Core +R

My PC Can’t Run It
King of Fighters XIII: Steam Edition. I’m really mad about it.

Still Not Buying The WiiU
Deus Ex: Human Revolution looks so good on the WiiU.

That Sold in America?
The Hatsune Miku game is getting a sequel released in America. Whoulda thunk it man.

Best Example of Sexism in Gaming
As always there were a more than a few good ones (not the least of which was the continuing embarrassment that is gamesmens’ reaction to Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes Vs. Woman in Videogames), but there only being one female hero in The Wonderful 101 is pretty good.
Oh wait, no, it’s definitely the gigolo missions in Killer is Dead.

Would Ya Please Stop Already
Killer is Dead, Grand Theft Auto V

Best PS4/XB1 Launch Title
Can you buy FFVII on a PS4 yet?

Am I Going To Talk About Music More In The Future?
Yes, starting now. (Don’t worry, it won’t be too often.)

Favorite Album
The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation

Favorite Debut Album
Turnover – Magnolia

Favorite EP
Diamond Youth - Orange

Favorite Kanye West Album Released This Year

Favorite Rap Album Not Released By Kanye West
. . . I need to listen to more rap.

Best Black Metal Album That Cannot Be Reasonably Labeled Black Metal
Deafheaven – Sunbather

Best Album I Checked Out Because Dan Ozzi Said He Hated It
Deafheaven - Sunbather

Favorite Band I Discovered in 2013 That Didn’t Put Out an Album This Year for Me to Talk About
In Flames went from “Well I’ve heard of them,” to one of my top 5 favorite metal bands in the space of about a month. Clayman is one of the hands-down best metal albums ever recorded, The Jester Race, Whoracle, Colony, Reroute to Remain and Come Clarity are all track-by-track great as well, and Soundtrack to Your Escape, A Sense of Purpose and Sounds of a Playground Fading are all ranging from great to almost-perfect.

Will Final Fantasy XV Be Released in 2014?
Well it was announced to be in “full development” in 2011 so, my money says no.

Is That a Joke About Square’s Development and Release Cycles?

Can It Be 2014 Yet?
Metal Gear Solid V is going to be fucking amazing and that is a fact.

In All Seriousness
2013 was a turbulent year in my life. I went from jobless and single, to being neither, and back. School was hell. My parents broke up, and that was also hell. I moved out of my mom’s place, into my dad’s, and now it looks like us two are moving back into my old house. I became a founding member of a pop-punk band[1], and I got a bitchin’ new amplifier to help me make some noise. I also finally started a game blog. I named it Haptic Feedback after ICO.[2] I wrote an essay about Metal Gear Solid that I’d been meaning to try for years. Point is, writing gamecrit helped me get through quite a lot this year, and I hope it’s been as meaningful for anyone reading this as it has been for me to write. It’s not yet been a year, but I’m looking forward to playing and writing for the rest of my life. Thank you for reading.

-       Austin C. Howe, Maryland, 2013

[1] http://thebreadshots.bandcamp.com
[2] It’s my interpretation of the controller vibration when you hold Yorda’s hand: most people just take it as feet hitting the ground, but I like the idea that it’s the excitement in Ico’s heartbeat when he holds Yorda’s hand, or maybe it’s the excitement in hers. Maybe it’s both.


  1. You forgot Lunar Strain! But perhaps you recognize this song anyway...


    The band I've listened to the most this year is Opeth, which I had a similar experience with as you had with In Flames:


    They lean more toward death, but as with early in flames also incorporate some more blackish elements.

    Also, here is my 2013 (and every other year for that matter). :P


  2. I'm interested in Lunar Strain since it's ostensibly an In Flames album with Mikael Stanne on it, and he's arguably just as good a frontman as Anders Friden. It's weird how those two bands pulled a switcheroo, but then again their debut albums are both usually regarded as pretty weak compared to any of their later work, so I guess that swinging worked out pretty well.