Me as a Gamer: 2016

In conversation at a Christmas party last month, I was asked what kind of video games did I like to play. This person was clearly making smalltalk and wasn't all that interested in the answer to the question but I, being a few drinks in, took a significant pause and gave him my honest answer which went on a bit too long for my conversation partner, as he finished his drink and claimed he had to refresh it during the first lengthy pause.

I've thought more about it since, and thought it might be an interesting topic of discussion.

Me as a Gamer: 2016
Last year, I discovered that I am a fan of Walking Simulators. This is not surprising as I used to write stage plays and have always been most interested in story in games (video- and board-). But the affection I had toward Firewatch and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture was of an unexpected intensity, and has had me searching for similar experiences.

My interest in that kind of game is part of a shift, overall, in my gaming interests. In years past, I've been AAA-centric with a few non-shooting-people indies sprinkled throughout. But, clearly, my tastes have changed. My most memorable games of the last year were the aforementioned Firewatch, Virginia, Transistor, Rocket League, Beyond: Two Souls (memorable because of how I came to hate it while I played – quitting mid-way out of disgust), The Last of Us, Fez, Fallout 4 (didn't finish, got bored), Battlefield 1 (multiplayer) and a continuing obsession with Spelunky that will likely never fade.

Battlefield 1 is a game I play with a group of friends a couple of nights a week. While it is a good implementation of the BF template, it's memorable primarily because of the time shared with people I don't see often enough in meatspace. But the games that have grabbed me in a most significant way are the ones that immersed me in a story or world that I wanted to explore. (Rocket League is purely joyful flying car soccer that needs no story.)

This wasn't sudden, or surprising when I looked at it, but I hadn't taken the time really to look at it. I'm in my 40s and for various reasons haven't kept up with some of my previous creative outlets. Gaming is fulfilling a different these days.

Anybody else take a look back at the year and see changes in their gaming selves?

Let's see. This sounds like an interesting opportunity to reflect myself.

Gaming Styles
Hard to say it changes within 2016, but it certainly changed since when I started my steam account (which was really the born of my gaming self).

Started out with Left 4 Dead 2 with a bunch of high school friends. Went on to Diablo 3 and Borderlands 2. I'd say this was phase 1, where I focus on multiplayer coop games.

Then we moved on to League of Legends, and boy did that last awhile. In fact we were playing League of Legends only till 2015/2016.

Start of 2016, we went back to more co-op games. Highlight: The Division. Then we all got Civ V, then AOE II. We even revisited L4D2 because killing things with friends is always fun.

Midway through 2016 I've started my current job, and have a lot less time to play all these AAA games or even these online games that can't pause, and so I dived into my steam backlog and started checking off all those Indie single player game. Bastion, Battleblock Theatre, Tomb Raider. I've also finished a lot of 3DS classics: Ocarina of Time, Pokemon X, Fantasy Life .

At the end of 2016, I picked up Overwatch and Rocket League, so this could be a rise of multiplayer competitive games for me again.

So if I'd put a tl;dr of my gaming in 2016, it'd be:
Coop -> Competitive -> Coop -> Single -> Competitive (?)

Gaming Attitude
I think this is where I change the most throughout the past year, likely due to being out of school and working now.

1. I don't shy away from paying for games anymore. I'd still cautiously review them, but I don't mind paying $30 for a game I know I'll like. Versus beginning of 2016 I still nitpick games that cost under $5. In fact I clog up my backlog from all the $1 humble bundle and am still at the process of checking them off

2. This is prevalent when I was into competitive games (LoL). I get tilted by my performance, by my teammates' performance, by the opponents' performance, by anything. And a lot of time I went to bed with a salty taste in my mouth wanting to do one more game. That changed really quickly as I started playing more single player games, where if I'm frustrated with a puzzle or a level, I stop and take my mind off. That really changed how I view the whole "video gaming" activity.

What a neat topic! I'll never turn down an opportunity to talk about me.

2016 was the year I went whole hog into the farming genre. It was the year I sank a lot of time into Farming Simulator 17, Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing and Monster Hunter Generations.

It was also the year that I found myself enthralled by more AAA titles than ever before. I bought Doom, The Division and Titanfall 2 at full price, and also picked up Battleborn (which I maintain is a much better game than it gets credit for) on sale, though not before it went on sale for 75+ percent off. I'm currently working my way through Final Fantasy XV. 2016 was the closest I've come in decades to being "part of the conversation." I'm still not sure how much it profited me, but I did enjoy the heck out of Doom. that's probably enough.

Finally, and most notably, 2016 was the year that I really put an effort into online multiplayer for the first time. I struggled to enjoy Splatoon, but didn't give up and even managed to enjoy Titanfall 2 enough that I saw myself improve at it. I also joined up for some weekly Rocket League action, which is so far out of character for me I thought I'd look in the mirror and find myself painted white with a backwards S on my chest.

That's just the changes, though. I still consumed a lot of obscure games, as always, and I continued to find new favorites in everybody else's discard piles. I've always been a fan af Charlie Brown Christmas trees.

Basically, if I think about it, I spent a lot of time outside of my comfort zone in 2016. I suppose that's something to be proud of, or at least neutral about.

You filthy neutral

I basically did 3 things in 2016. Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Stellaris and VR.

Binding of Isaac is just here to stay. Im generally a huge tourist of games, never playing one for more than 2 weeks, but the difficulty and discovery ramp on Rebirth and Afterbirth is just so masterfully crafted. It's right on the borders of my capability, so I am able to continue to progress, with some difficulty, but I'm never just stone-walled.

Stellaris was the first 'grand strategy' game I've been able to get into. I really enjoyed it and came back for more in December. Its one I can see coming back to a number of times over the next few years.

Then there's VR. It's the first year this stuff has been 'real'. Not a pre-mature pipe dream, not a dev toy, but a real product, with real games. There have been a ton of great little bite-sized experiences and now I've started to see some meatier stuff. Of all things, I've put the most hours into Eleven: Table Tennis VR. When you've got exactly 1.5m x 1m to play with, what better thing to play than ping pong? You're actually playing the game, there's nothing video gamey about it, you're just playing! So good.

VR actually pushed me into game development for the first time. I've been in video games for 14 years as QA but had been unsatisfied with work all year. I took a 2 week stay-home vacation and got my Vive on day 1 of the vacation. I played around with some games, then fired up Unity. At the end of the 2 weeks I had a prototype on my hands that pushed me to quit my job and try and make it real. Still working on that part. That's my challenge this year

polypusher wrote:

You filthy neutral :D

IMAGE(http://gamersyndrome.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/True-Neutral.jpg)

polypusher wrote:

VR stuff

Oh yeah, I forgot that I tried VR this year.

IMAGE(http://www.newnownext.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/hated-it.gif)

polypusher wrote:

You filthy neutral
Then there's VR. It's the first year this stuff has been 'real'. Not a pre-mature pipe dream, not a dev toy, but a real product, with real games. There have been a ton of great little bite-sized experiences and now I've started to see some meatier stuff. Of all things, I've put the most hours into Eleven: Table Tennis VR. When you've got exactly 1.5m x 1m to play with, what better thing to play than ping pong? You're actually playing the game, there's nothing video gamey about it, you're just playing! So good.

VR actually pushed me into game development for the first time. I've been in video games for 14 years as QA but had been unsatisfied with work all year. I took a 2 week stay-home vacation and got my Vive on day 1 of the vacation. I played around with some games, then fired up Unity. At the end of the 2 weeks I had a prototype on my hands that pushed me to quit my job and try and make it real. Still working on that part. That's my challenge this year :)

Yow. Now that's a change! Best of luck with your project.

I got to play a few VR games last week as someone brought their Oculous in and left it for us to play with during downtime. The Climb – a mountain climbing sim – and SuperHot both blew my mind. I don't see me shelling out the $$$ to get a rig because I don't have that kind of disposable income, but I totally respect VR as a viable product/system now.