Mmm… Nostalgic rush. (Secret of Mana)
Life as a child wasn’t easy. Growing up we had our social and financial issues as plenty of others did. We’ve all heard that old chestnut of being raised on the idiot tube, and my story isn’t entirely different or unique even. I’ve never been big on television shows, but love games and film. It was always great to escape to a world of fantasy adventure. While I played games through like Super Mario World, Bad Dudes, or Skate and Die, they never had much of an impact on how I see the world.
Japanese Role Playing Games on the other hand were ripe with life lessons disguised through stories. For the most part you were always the hero, doing the right thing. These sprites were presented with hardships that were rallied against through very human traits. So even though you were flying the skies in an airship you still dealt with betrayal, loss, friendship, isolation, hope, fear, and a complete range of human emotions. At the time I just thought they were great stories that completely trumped their contemporary offerings like Donkey Kong Country, Turtles in Time, Mega Man X, and Street Fighter 2. Those were all fine games in their own right, but they haven’t stuck with me through the years the way going back to the RPGs of the 90’s has.
So what kind of influence and values did these wonderful stories impart on my young, impressionable mind..?
Lately I’ve been thinking about anger from others directed at game developers and the industry en whole. The full scope of developers too; publishers, marketing, accountants, etc. The people involved behind the scenes that aren’t just creating the content, but supporting those that do. Publishers get vilified for anything players are unhappy with. This has ranged all over the place with…
So with all that on the table among everything else players want to get angry about, why can’t the industry just get it right? Well, maybe that’s because it’s not the industry that’s in the wrong here… Maybe the consumers are the ones at fault?
2014 was a heck of a year for me. Lot’s of life transitions and health issues to deal with. It was also a time of reflection and gaming. What gaming meant to me, what I value in games, why I play them… It’s basically the reason why I started keeping this blog. The way I felt about games over the past year have changed, or at least changed back. I’m approaching a lot more of what I want to play and a lot less of what I feel I guilted into playing. I put to death the idea of a backlog in lieu of a philosophy of just playing whatever I want to play, however long I want to play it. Two of the titles I’ve clocked in enough time to clear 10-15 other game campaigns. In previous years I would have gotten itchy about spending too much time on one game. In 2014 I learned just to keep playing until I didn’t feel like playing anymore. It’s definitely paid back in dividends for my fulfillment during game time.
But onto the reason we’re here today, a review of 2014 games that I enjoyed. I’m making no attempt to be objective in my analysis, but purely addressing the amount of fun these games brought me. As a small recap I’ve completed the campaigns of 36 different games this year (some multiple times), but these are my standouts. The only restriction I’ve enforced is limiting the games to a 2014 release on that platform I played them on. With the way things get ported or updated and given the availability on platforms I’ve always found it unfair to lock a game’s eligibility to the original release year. Sometimes the experience is altered entirely by the new platform, as Deus Ex: Human Revolution proved on the Wii U. Either way, here are my favorite titles of 2014.