My Two Gils’ Year in Review
Another year in the books. Are you drowning in nostalgia of the year past? Are you desperately trying to play games from 2014 to make sure you have an opinion on the games of the year? Are you contemplating the fact that all of your old consoles are a year older? Or are you waiting for some random person on the internet to FINALLY acknowledge that the PSP and DS are retro?
However you are spending the last few days of this magnificent year, I hope you enjoy it. Take it in, appreciate this magnificent last 365 days for it was truly magical. At first, 2014 may look like an uneventful year, exempt from a huge social media and games journalism related outcry constructed as an attempt at made up controversy, but a lot of things are worthy of mention.
Now, if you want a list of notable news, I would suggest you consult Simon Reed and his video series on the subject. I’ll take the time to thank him for providing some information that I did use in this column. As for myself, I prefer the editorial approach to events as it allows me to control the flow of information while trying to impose my views on all readers. How do they call that again? Oh, right, censorship.
After their initial effort on the 3DS, Game Boy Advance games are made available on the Virtual Console! … for the Wii U. Many still wonder why they did not decide to release these games on the 3DS eShop. Some may dismiss this by saying Nintendo gets a free pass on any controversy, but I beg to differ.
Nintendo doesn’t get a free pass because of its fanboys, Nintendo gets a free pass because, whatever it does, the games released will remain great. Think of it as a birthday cake. You can wonder why the person who baked it didn’t choose chocolate over vanilla, but it’s still a freakin’ birthday cake. Who can complain eating a cake? No one.
In any case, Advance Wars is pretty good.
A book, by author Blake J. Harris, based on the 16-bit era of video games along with its own film adaptation were announced. The Sony Pictures movie adaptation will be written by Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg. The book was released in May 2014, but the movie is planned for 2015.
The book, called Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation is a fan fiction/novel where the author portrays Sega as a competitor in the 16 bit era, glorifying its importance and imagining a world in which the Super Nintendo did not win by a landslide over the Sega Genesis and its lackluster library.
There have been a lot of wacky crowdfunding campaigns over the course of the last year, but is there one zanier than this one? The Shaq himself was trying to raise the funds for a Shaq-Fu sequel. Shaq-Fu, this classic fighting game of the 16-bit era that made notorious appearances in many “worst games” lists. Shaq-Fu, this incredibly lackluster if not broken game in which the Shaq himself is the only redeeming quality.
The question is, who asked for this sequel? Is there a game out these less deserving of a sequel than Shaq-Fu? Apparently, there is, a lot. Surprisingly enough, the campaign reached its goal and a new generation of gamers will know the atrocity of a Shaq-Fu game, without the novelty of knowing who the hell Shaq is. I don’t know who funded this, but I only know of two beings excited for this game:
Whether it was a myth or not, an “expedition” group undertook the task of digging up the E.T cartridges from a New Mexico Landfill. Led by Zak Penn and Major Nelson, the team also discovered other unpopular game had been buried such as the horrible Pac-Man port. The now defunct Xbox Entertainment Studios released a documentary on the dig and various cartridges have started to hit eBay.
While no one can predict the impact of this excavation and its findings in video gaming history, we can without a doubt see that this dig is the only instance in which individuals have been able to get E.T. out of that fucking pit.
Do you remember the Retron 5? That game console able to play all kinds of catridges and was announced roughly around the time Duke Nukem forever was planned? Well, it’s finally out! With all the hype that was built up, it’s only natural that the price would be jacked to 140$ at the last minute!
All in all, the reviews range from average to good. Will you pick it up? Of course not, everyone on this site loves retrogaming enough to procure the next product on our list: This beauty of an NES completely made out of aluminum alloy. I mean, you love retrogaming enough to dish out 500$ on a console… right?
Of the many successful crowdfunding projects to release this year, few gained a notoriety close to what Shovel Knight achieved. At the top of many “best of 2014” lists, Shovel Knight was marketed as a love letter to the NES. While I was skeptic at first, it seems the game delivers more than a novelty nostalgia. There’s really not much to say here… I can’t seem to dig up a good joke.
People were waiting for it and now it’s coming! Grim Fandango! A dark humor adventure games inspired by a very specific and culturally representative art type. While this seems to describe three quarters of the crowdfunding, in this case, it’s actually a good game that should deliver, according to cult followers. To the surprise of the many people who refresh GoG.com every 5 seconds in the hopes of seeing it appear, the game will be released on the PS4 and Vita, by the well-known Double Fine. To my own surprise, the Vita still exists… Huh.
Some would say the month of July, following E3, didn’t have much gaming news, not to mention retro gaming news. These people are wrong. July brought forth the greatest gift of all: A way to make one of the greatest game ever made better. Someone hacked the rom of Ocarina of Time to replace Link with Waluigi. Bask in the glory of this masterpiece by russmarrs2.
An underwhelming effort was made to remaster the cult FMV classic: Night Trap for a whopping crowdfunding sum of 330 000$. A bad launch, an horrible PR including accusations on former Nintendo US president and a generally uninteresting campaign partially explain that the project only managed to raise 40k$. Other hypotheses include the fact that most people know that you can find free soft porn on the internet way more easily than you could in 1994.
Another surprise news hit the gaming and movie worlds in September. A Tetris movie adaptation was announced by Treshold Entertainment. How one could look at Tetris and imagine a movie, I’ll never know. That’s coming from a guy whose first article was a decorating guide using Tetris! They have assured people that the movie will be a sci-fi adaptation of the general idea of Tetris. How the hell are they going to do that? Nobody really knows… Except maybe 1 More Castle’s movie expert: Adam Ezagouri a.k.a The Retro Critic. Here’s his preview.
Anyway, they made the Mortal Kombat adaptation, so of course it’ll be good… RIGHT? HELLO?
Retro gamers rejoice! The highly successful Retro Magazine will have another season of published content thanks to its successful Kickstarter. I cannot say that I have experienced the glory of this magazine yet, but I hear it’s a pretty good source of retrogaming content. You know, if you want information from people more credible than that guy with the Cat Avatar. Unless… Are they hiring?
The remake of the third generation of Pokémon Games was revealed. While the Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire remake was announced back in may, the month of October was filled with details about the game. It also began a slew of previews. Now, I’m not a games journalist, but previews are often based on impressions and opinions, as made evident by this tweet from Kotaku.
— Kotaku (@Kotaku) October 14, 2014
Needless to say, combined with scattered underwhelming reviews, the release of Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby was the most entertaining release of the year on social media. Don’t worry. I paid for my arrogance later on.
Back in June 2014, the owner of the world’s largest collection auctioned off all of it. After the auction concluded at a price over 750 000$, it would seem no official transaction had taken place.
But, now FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY! You can get his MOST PRIZED POSSESSION for a low low price! You too could own EXTREMELY rare games! This is the auction YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! Most of these items are truly the HOLY GRAILs of video game history! Don’t miss your chance for this once in a lifetime unique opportunity! This collection has been VERIFIED by none other than the Guiness Book of World record! That’s the equivalent of a VGA rating of 9.7564!
Chalk one up for the hipsters. After many years of speculation, Nintendo finally decided to remake Majora’s Mask. The adventures of Link through Termina and that creepy Moon thing and Mask thing… will reach your 3DS next year. In the meantime, I’ll be trying to finish the N64 version I haven’t touched yet. For those who are wondering who to thank for this magnificent news, I had the chance to follow on Twitter the wonderful person who managed to convince Nintendo. In fact, Tom Hall had the chance to sit down with him.
— Tingle_eMaps (@Tingle_eMaps) November 6, 2014
The man considered to be the father of video games, Raphaël Baer, passed away in the last month of the year. Many people took the opportunity to commemorate the creator of the Magnavox Odyssey and his importance in the gaming industry, but, as is often the case, nobody dared mentioned that his games didn’t really age well. Hypocrites. Speaking of not aging well…
After the release of many Final Fantasy titles and Square classics on Steam, iOS and Android, no one really knew what to expect from Square Enix at their appearance on the Playstation Experience conference in December. That’s when the infamous Final Fantasy VII cinematic of the burning Nibelheim made its appearance.
Many Final Fantasy VII had given up on their chance to see a remake in their lifetime, including yours truly. However, with Nintendo remaking the often requested Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire and Majora’s Mask, forgive us for our lack of rationality.
Square Enix then revealed the impossible: Final Fantasy VII was coming to the PS4… as a direct port from the PC version already available on Steam. While the hopeful, like myself, went ahead and procured a fair amount of ointment to ease their butthurt-ness, other, far superior minds, proceeded in telling the world how a remake of Final Fantasy VII was not necessary. Though they make a couple of good points, it would be wise for me to remind them that they can go and get bent.
Story of the year:
Twitch plays Pokémon
I know many people will be surprised by that choice, but when I remembered that this ephemeral phenomenon happened this year, it was an easy pick. Before we tackle the reason, let me offer some context. In February this year, an individual decided to do a little experiment using the video game streaming website Twitch.tv. He programmed a rom of the original Pokémon Red so that the controls could be dictated by the people in the chat. Slowly, the code evolved and entered a feature that enabled either Anarchy or Democracy. One took into consideration every command input, the other the most voted command input.
This gave way to a very long, very confusing Pokémon game that ended in a success, 16 days later, thanks to the upwards of 120 thousand people inputting commands at the same time in the chat. Pokémon, of course, not really having any kind of game over function, there have been several failures during the course of those days.
What’s so special about this? Everything that was created around this. Though some people snubbed the event, calling it a fire in a haystack, which it was, many enjoyed it to the point of creating a story for it. Every Pokémon’s convoluted name laid way to a completely justified nickname. The Helix Fossil, constantly used without reason, became a deity. Every event was explained perfectly by this new religion that was so spontaneously created. To sum it up, see the Dorkly guide on the whole thing. As an example of what was achieved, here’s an Egyptian style mural:
In short, the gaming world took something that could’ve been worthlessly abandoned, completely ignored and turned it into an inspiration source. Sure, there were a couple of conflict, but nothing lasted. The collective internet just casually grouped around with an irrational love for a new way to play the Nintendo Classic. Can YOU believe that happened this year? After all the frenzy the last few months threw at us? I couldn’t and that’s why I want to embrace it. I NEEDED to embrace this stupidly genius phenomenon to convince myself that 2014 was a good year.
What about you? Any memorable events/moments in 2014? What are you looking forward to in 2015? Let me know in the comments! I’ll see you next year!